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So Hot Right Now #15

26 Jan

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more.  Click through for the LATEST NEWS, and see what’s so hot right now below.

SEVEN IN ONE

This week sees not one, not two, but SEVEN great shows with direct TVO connections airing across UK television and radio. The result is over three hours of brand new great comedy for you to enjoy. Each one is as important as the other to us, as has always been The Velvet Onion way, so we’ll tackle them in chronological order.

MONDAY: DRUNK HISTORY

© Drunk History

© Drunk History

Now at the new time of 9:30pm on Monday 26th, the third episode of Drunk History UK once more sees famous British comedians get absolutely plastered in the name of reciting tales from the past – which are then re-enacted by a top notch cast.

With the likes of Tony Way, Tom Rosenthal, Dustin Demri-Burns (one half of Cardinal Burns), Mat Horne, Marek Larwood and Rebecca Front on re-enactment duties across the series, and tonight’s edition featuring Joel Lycett, Romesh Ranganathan and Brian Pern himself, Simon Day, it’s no doubt another edition worthy of your attention.

You can see a preview clip, telling the story of Dick Turpin, below.

MONDAY: CATASTROPHE

© Ed Miller / Channel 4

© Ed Miller / Channel 4

Monday 26th at 10pm brings us Episode Two of Catastrophe - the brand new comedy from Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, in which an American man and an Irish woman fall in love in London whilst navigating the choppy waters of their increasingly complicated lives.

In this week’s edition, Sharon faces the reality of having a giant new room-mate in the form of Rob, the man whose child she happens to be carrying, and her brother Fergal (Jonathan Forbes) doesn’t make life any easier. Rob also meets up with an old school friend and comes up with a proper proposal to help Sharon feel better about their situation.

It’s another first rate episode, following up the huge promise of last week’s debut with a refreshingly honest, remarkably brutal and deeply satisfying take on modern life and relationships. If you missed Episode One, you can catch up with the series now via 4oD. Sharon and Rob were also on BBC Breakfast last week, which you can see for yourself below.

TUESDAY: COCKROACHES

© Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

© Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

Tuesday evening (27th January) at 10pm sees Episode Three of Cockroaches air on ITV2. The post-apocalyptic comedy stars Daniel Lawrence Taylor (How Not to Life Your Life), Esher Smith, Jack Whitehall and Tom Davis, alongside a string of big name guest stars such as Dan Skinner, Alexander Armstrong, Caroline Quentin, Robert Bathurst and Nigel Planer.

In this week’s episode, Tom (Daniel Lawrence Taylor) assembles a team to go to the supermarket as the camp is running out of food, where the group discover Steve Giggle: a terrified old children’s entertainer, as well as Spectrum: a gang of cannibal women roaming the countryside and preying on unfortunate victims.

Last week’s edition featured Dan Skinner a little earlier than we realised, and is available to view on ITV Player, alongside the Laurie Rose shot first episode, right now.

TUESDAY (and Wednesday): COUNT ARTHUR STRONG

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

Also on Tuesday 27th January comes Episode Four of the second series of Count Arthur Strong airing on BBC One at three different times, depending on your location.

Viewers in England can see it at the slightly later than usual time of 10:45pm, whilst those watching in Northern Ireland have to wait until 11:10pm. However, if you’re in Wales, you’ve got to wait even longer, as it airs at 11:15pm – and poor ol’ Scotland has to wait until Wednesday for an airing at 10:30pm!

Despite the schedule shuffling, the series from the pens of star Steve Delaney and Graham Linehan (best known for The IT Crowd and Father Ted), is still going strong.  In Episode Four, a conman posing as a plumber has swindled the locals out of hundreds of pounds, but he soon regrets the day he tangled with Arthur.

WEDNESDAY: LOVE IN RECOVERY

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

Wednesday evening sees the return of Love in Recovery to Radio 4 for it’s fourth episode. If you haven’t checked in yet, the series – written by Pete Jackson – follows the lives of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting group, made up of characters portrayed by Sue Johnston, John Hannah, Eddie Marsan, Rebecca Front and Paul Kaye, whilst Julia Deakin plays village hall cleaner Marion.

In this fourth episode, Andy has a date for the first time in….well….longer than he’d like to admit. It’s up to the rest of the group to rally round and get him match fit. It’s another charming episode of a show based upon the real life experiences of Pete Jackson, and with one of the greatest casts ever assembled for a radio comedy, it’s a must listen. If you missed them, you can catch all previous episodes on iPlayer now.

THURSDAY: CRIMS

©  Robert Viglasky / BBC

© Robert Viglasky / BBC

Thursday evening brings us Episode Four of Crims - the new BBC Three sitcom from the pens of Mongrels writer Adam Kay and Grandma’s House writer Dan Swimer – at 10pm. Starring Elis James and Kadiff Kirwan, alongside Cariad Lloyd, Ricky Champ and Theo Barklem Biggs, the show has been attracting rave reviews and is a firm favourite in the iPlayer charts, which is good news – as it continues to build on its starting blocks for the rest of its run.

In this week’s episode, a prisoner manages to escape the Young Offenders Institution, and Prison Governor Riley – played by guest star Tracy Ann Oberman of Toast of London, Big Train and Doctor Who fame – goes on the warpath to discover how he did it.  With Creg in the firing line, Marcel forces Luke to work out how he did it.

It’s another suitably bonkers episode, with the cast on great form and some one-liners to die for. If you’ve missed previous episodes, you can catch up on iPlayer now.

THURSDAY: COLIN HOULT’S CARNIVAL OF MONSTERS

© Colin Hoult

© Colin Hoult

At 11pm on Thursday 29th, it’s time to visit the Carnival of Monsters once more, as Colin Hoult and the gang bring the show back to Radio 4 for the fourth and final time this series.

With regular collaborators Stephen Evans, Dan Snelgrove and Zoe Gardner in tow, Colin brings some of his most memorable characters from his successful stage shows to life once more, such as wannabe Hollywood screenwriter Andy Parker, outrageous forgotten movie star Anna Mann, acid jazz obsessive Eddie Cartezian and troubled god Thwor.

If this isn’t enough Colin for you, don’t forget his regular updates to his YouTube channel, with new videos appearance every weekday until, he collapses from comedic exhaustion (never gonna happen). You can enjoy them all below.

WHEN I’M FIVE

It’s hard to believe it, but The Velvet Onion marks an important landmark of its own this week. We officially launched on January 30th 2010, making us five years old on Friday!

In that time, we’ve had numerous contributors and written thousands of articles on New Wave Comedy, as well as offering countless exclusives, dozens of competitions and a direct connection to many of the biggest and best names on the alternative comedy scene.

And we’ve got so much more to do. Thank you for the last five years, here’s to five more, and watch out on Friday when we’ll be bringing you a little treat to celebrate. As always – stay peeled.

AND THE REST…

As always, here’s some of the news you may have missed during the last week, via our Twitter feed. We’ll see you again next Monday, and throughout the week for more news, reviews and interviews, plus that Friday treat!

Horgan’s Catastrophe Is Anything But

20 Jan

© Channel 4

Hands up if you tuned in for the first episode of Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney’s new show Catastrophe, which aired on Ch4 last night? If you didn’t, you missed out because it was properly bloody funny!

Catastrophe was well-written, darkly sweet and featured two main characters who could (should?) have been hateful, but became something rather wonderful in Horgan and Delaney’s hands.

If you didn’t see it, we strongly urge you to watch it on 4oD. But don’t just take our word for it – here’s our round up of today’s reviews (click on the link to read the review in full):

The Guardian absolutely loved it calling it “depraved, sweet and very, very funny” and saying: “Praise be, after scores of British sitcoms based around the nonspecific, warm, fuzzy feeling generated by people being kind at each other, a half hour of narrative comedy that bursts with jokes. Solid, delicious chunks of funny pudding rather than the funny-flavoured foam we’ve been doused in lately.”

The Times gives the show 4 stars and says, “This new comedy, penned by Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, manages to be believable, good-hearted, raw and rude.”

The slightly less superlative Independent describes it as “an enjoyably rude romcom that’s safer than it thinks it is” and The Telegraph calls the show “promising”.

However, The Arts Desk raves about it, describing it thus: “Often filthy, very funny, and occasionally dark, it includes some of the most frank descriptions of childbirth ever heard on TV and a triumph of a scene which relies on seemingly endless repetition of the word “cancer” for laughs.”

So there you have it, empirical evidence that Catastrophe was pretty darned good.

Head over here for some clips from the show and filmed interviews with the two stars. And don’t forget to tune into episode 2 on channel 4 on Monday 26th January at 10pm.

 

So Hot Right Now #14

19 Jan

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more.  Click through for the LATEST NEWS, and see what’s so hot right now below.

CATASTROPHE FOR SHARON HORGAN

Monday 19th sees the launch of Catastrophe - the brand new comedy from Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, in which an American man and an Irish woman fall in love in London whilst navigating the choppy waters of their increasingly complicated lives.

© Tim Bret Day

© Tim Bret Day

With the pair embarking on a wild affair, Rob is forced to abandon plans to return to the US when Sharon falls pregnant and he vows to stick around and provide the support she so desperately needs.

First developed after a hugely popular web short, Kinky Sex, the show is hilarious and very, very rude, and sees Horgan’s welcome return to writing tv comedy of her own, following Dead Boss and Pulling.

With Ashley Jensen (Extras) and Mark Bonnar (Psychoville) in supporting roles, Catastrophe is full of promise and well worth your attention.  You can see a trailer for the show below, and catch the first episode on Monday 19th January at 10pm on Channel 4.  It will, of course, be available on 4oD after transmission, and we hope to bring you some catastrophic exclusive very soon, so stay peeled.

TELLY CONTINUATIONS

Catastrophe isn’t the only TVO related show on telly this week, as Drunk HistoryCockroaches, Count Arthur Strong and Crims all continue their runs on Comedy Central, ITV2, BBC One and BBC Three, respectively.

© Comedy Central / Tiger Aspect

© Comedy Central / Tiger Aspect

Drunk History - airing Monday evening at 10pm, with repeats throughout the week – features top UK comedians getting bladdered, then talking their way through key moments in history… which are then re-enacted by a team of top notch comedy talent.

Based on the hit US show, Episode One featured Tony Way, Rebecca Front, Dustin Demi-Burns, Matt Horne, Marek Larewood and many more – most of whom should be appearing in later episodes, too.  Sadly, as we went to press, information on Episode Two is thin on the ground, but we’ll update this page with more info after transmission.

If you’re worried about the clash with Catastrophe, the show gets repeated on Tuesday evening at 11pm, and it will be available on demand via SkyGo and Now TV after transmission. For more info, and some preview clips to savour, visit the Comedy Central UK website.

© Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

© Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

Cockroaches - ITV2’s new post-apocalyptic comedy starring Daniel Lawrence Taylor (How Not to Live Your Life, Hunderby, The IT Crowd), Esher Smith, Jack Whitehall and Tom Davis continues on Tuesday evening at 10pm.

The show is set following a nuclear holocaust, as the remnants of the British population do their best to get on with life.  The first episode was shot by acclaimed cinematographer Laurie Rose (Sightseers, High Rise, Kill List), and guest stars across the rest of the run include Alexander Armstrong (Armstrong & Miller), Nigel Planer (The Young Ones) and Dan Skinner.

In Episode Two, newly appointed leader Tom struggles with people fighting, a broken water supply system, and the ever-present threat from cannibals. Elsewhere, Suze attempts to set up a school, and daughter Laura is forced to answer questions about her mum and Oscar. Caroline Quentin guests in this episode, and you can catch up via ITV Player now.

© Freemantle Productions / BBC

© Freemantle Productions / BBC

Directly after Cockroaches, hop on over to BBC One to catch the third episode of Count Arthur Strong‘s second series at 10:35pm.  Unless you’re in Wales, in which case, it’s on at 11:05pm.  And if you’re in Scotland, it’s on at 11:35pm!

In case you’re new to the show, it’s the brainchild of Steve Delaney, who plays the titular character, and is written by Delaney with Graham Linehan of The IT Crowd, Big Train and Father Ted fame.  Bond star Rory Kinnear co-stars as the son of Arthur’s former variety partner, turned biographer and generally put-upon collaborator.

This week, Arthur plans to tackle noise pollution by running for the local election.  He gathers together a crack team which cannot be ignored… or can they?

©  Robert Viglasky / BBC

© Robert Viglasky / BBC

Lastly, but by no means least, Crims returns on Thursday evening at 10pm on BBC Three.  The sitcom starring Ellis George, Kadiff Kirwan, Theo Barklem-Biggs, Ricky Champ and Cariad Lloyd is written by former Mongrels writer Adam Kay alongside Grandma’s House writer Dan Swimer, and is set in a young offenders institute.

This week, put upon accidental criminal Luke decides to propose to his girlfriend Gemma, in an attempt to send a clear message to her new flatmate Roger.  However, first he must try and get her parent’s permission, and her brother Jason isn’t helping.  Meanwhile, Isaac struggles to give up snitching, and Dawn continues to fend off the advances of hapless Creg.

It’s another great episode from a sitcom that just gets better and better, and we sure hope you’ll be tuning in.  You can catch up on previous episodes, including Sylvester McCoy’s star guest turn in Episode Two, via iPlayer now.

RADIO LAYERS

Radio shows featuring TVO regulars also continue apace this week, starting with Love in Recovery, on Radio 4 starring Paul Kaye.

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

The show following the lives of five very different recovering alcoholics, played by Sue Johnson, John Hannah, Eddie Marsan, Rebecca Front and Paul Kaye, as well as cleaner Marion (Julia Deakin), continues on Wednesday evening at 11:15pm on BBC Radio 4, with previous episodes available now on iPlayer.

Elsewhere, Colin Hoult brings us another edition of his Carnival of Monsters on Thursday evening.

© BBC

The show features a combination of new material and vintage pieces from Colin’s seminal Edinburgh shows, and reunites the team behind those via supporting artists Stephen Evans, Dan Snelgrove and Zoe Gardner, produced by Sam Bryant (Alice’s Wunderland, I Regress).

You can hear the latest episode at 11:00pm on Thursday night – again on Radio 4, with previous episodes available now on iPlayer.

Elsewhere, Colin continues his five-weekly vlog posts from a range of characters trapped in his mind.  You can see all the latest videos below.

AND THE REST…

As always, here’s some of the news you may have missed during the last week, via our Twitter feed. We’ll see you again next Monday, and throughout the week for more news, reviews and interviews. Keep on peeling!

So Hot Right Now #9

8 Dec

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more.  Click through for the LATEST NEWS, and see what’s so hot right now below.

THE RETURN OF BRIAN PERN

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

This week sees the long awaited return of Brian Pern to our screens, in the brand new series Brian Pern: A Life in Rock.  As always, the show is the brainchild of Fast Show veterans Rhys Thomas and Simon Day, the latter of whom plays the titular prog-rock legend turned hapless world music pioneer and obscure charity fundraiser.

Whilst the first series, The Life of Rock with Brian Pern focused more on telling the story of rock across the generations in documentary format, the second shifts its tone to be more of a candid look at the life of Brian, and those around him.  This includes his luxury yacht loving manager John Farrow (brilliantly brought to life by Michael Kitchen), world music goddess Pepita (TVO regular Lucy Montgomery), Brian’s former bandmates in Thotch (including Paul Whitehouse and Nigel Havers as Pat Quid and Tony Pebble) and his driver Ned (Tony Way).

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

Also along for the ride this series are big name guest stars Martin Freeman, Jack Whitehall, Kathy Burke, Roger Allum, Kevin Eldon, Chrissie Hynde, Mel C, Roger Taylor, Roy Wood, Rick Parfitt and more. TVO devoured all three episodes in one sitting, and can confirm this is a joyous continuation of a much loved character, with a wonderful set of supporting characters filling out his world, and once more – some glorious tunes (courtesy of Steve Burge) in the mix.

You’d be mad to miss it. And if you tune in to BBC Two on Tuesday evening at 10pm, you won’t.  Stay peeled this week for an exclusive interview with creators Simon Day & Rhys Thomas, and maybe a word or two from Brian Pern himself…

COMEDY COLLAB

© Colin Hoult

© Colin Hoult

If you haven’t caught up with Colin Hoult‘s unique blend of dark humour and outright silliness yet, you’ve probably not been reading TVO properly. First coming to our attention via his work with Julian Barratt & Dave McNeill on Zimbani, the character comedian has crafted numerous sell out live shows and appeared on our screens in shows as varied as House of RoomsDerekLife’s Too Short and Being Human.

Now he’s back with some of his most beloved live favourites, preparing for an onslaught of sheer characterness on his own YouTube channel.  Five days a week, Colin will be posting a new vlog from one of the strange people in his mindtank, starting today!

Mondays will bring us a new video from the delightful (if failed) actress Anna Mann, whilst Tuesdays are a chance to get some expert tips on survival, scriptwriting and what movies you must all watch on pain of a poke in the eye, from Ninja Turtle fan Andy Parker.

On Wednesdays, everything will be coming up Saint Germain, as we get a little jazzy with our favourite beret wearer, Eddie Cartizian. And on Thursdays, its time for care in the community, as the Mighty God Thwor weilds his powerful hammer in our direction. Bang, bang.

© Colin Hoult

© Colin Hoult

Finally, each Friday will bring us a surprise guest from Colin’s oeuvre, including new characters and old favourites – some of whom you may remember from his excellent radio series Carnival of Monsters, which is due back on Radio 4 soon. You can see the first episode, featuring Anna Mann discussing her old actress friend Miriam Crotch below, and don’t forget to subscribe to see more!

ONIONS AIRING

© Talkback / Brian Ritchie

© Talkback / Brian Ritchie

As we’re keen to keep reminding you, there’s a large bevvy of shows currently airing with TVO connections.  Monday nights see not one, not two, but three new shows to savour beaming into your homes: Trollied on Sky One at 8:30pm featuring Aisling BeaNever Mind the Buzzcocks on BBC Two at 10pm, featuring Noel Fielding alongside Phill Jupitus and Rhod Gilbert; and Toast of London on Channel 4 at 10:35pm, featuring Matt Berry.

©  Sky

© Sky

But wait – there’s more on telly this week! Psychobitches continues on Sky Arts every Tuesday evening, featuring Sharon Horgan, Katy BrandReece Shearsmith and many many more, whilst Not Going Out featuring Katy Wix returns to BBC One on Friday evening. It’s a good time to be an Onioner, eh?

HOOKED TO THE SILVER SCREEN

Don’t forget that Paddington - directed by Paul King and featuring a host of TVO cameos amongst is big-name cast – is currently wowing the crowds in UK cinemas, having taken a whopping £5.1 million in its opening weekend alone!

© Studio Canal

Alongside Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Nicole Kidman et al, are little sneaky guest appearances by Alice LoweSteve OramTom MeetenJames BachmanSimon Farnaby and Justin Edwards – so you’d be mad to miss it.

Also out at the moment are Bill Murray vehicle Saint Vincent, featuring Chris O’Dowd, and a film which almost sneaked past our radar – submarine-based action thriller Black Sea starring Jude Law, Tobias Menzies, David Threlfall and Michael Smiley. US readers can see the film, alongside Paddington in January. Check out the US trailer below.

THE BRAIN SUCKING CONTINUES

Finally this week, the campaign to get a movie version of The Day They Came to Suck Out Our Brains off the ground needs your help to reach its goal, and we’ll leave you with this clip of TVO regular Stephen Evans to explain why.

DONATE HERE!

Keep on peeling, and we’ll see you back here soon!

TWEETS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

So Hot Right Now #7

24 Nov

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more.  Click through for the LATEST NEWS, and see what’s so hot right now below.

PADDINGTON ARRIVES

©  Studio Canal

© Studio Canal

The British media has gone absolutely potty for the new Paddington movie, which is released this week – and it’s not hard to see why.  The live-action adaptation of Michael Bond’s iconic tale of a bear from Peru features a top-notch cast including Nicole Kidman, Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Jim Broadbent and former Nathan Barley actor turned Bond movie star Ben Wishaw as the voice of the marmalade guzzler himself.

©   Nils Jorgensen/REX

© Nils Jorgensen/REX

Of course, we’re remind you about it because – whilst the posters and the trailers seem to ignore this fact – the film is directed by none other than Paul King, the man behind all three series of The Mighty Boosh as well as his incredible debut feature, Bunny and the Bull.

Paul also directed the live runs of Garth Marenghi, before becoming Assistant Director on Darkplace prior to his run with the Boosh, which also featured both their mammoth UK live tours.

He’s been silent since directing Come Fly With Me back in 2011, which shows just how long he’s been working on Paddington and we can’t wait to see the results.

Paddington is on general release in the UK this Friday, with the rest of the world following soon. Oh, and watch out for Steve Oram and Tom Meeten as a pair of lazy guards, too!

LE STRANGE RETURNS!

This week’s other big news is the return of Gary Le Strange - the iconic glam-tinged New Romantic pop god wot looks an awful lot like Waen Shepherd in silly clothes and makeup.

©  Andy Hollingworth

© Andy Hollingworth

Le Strange was a huge cult smash with his debut Edinburgh show Polaroid Suitcase in 2003, and followed that success with further shows Face Academy in 2004 and Beef Scarecrow in 2006, before disappearing without a trace.

He resurfaced on the live scene six years later, including a rare appearance at The Velvet Onion Live, and last year, following digital reissues of his audio masterpieces, a ‘Lost EP’ featuring works from Waen’s abandoned second album surfaced online, by the name of Glamoronica.

© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

Now Le Strange is back with his first brand new material proper – and it’s a suitably stonking slice of Numan-esque, Bowie-scented pop rock.

Norman (I’ve Dropped My Cup of Tea) is available on Amazon, CD Baby, iTunes and Spotify this week, with the former going live on Tuesday, 25th November. Click on the links below to buy the song from Amazon – we’ll add iTunes links when we have them!

Download the original, explicit mix here.

Download the original, explicit mix here.

Download the radio edit here.

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TVO ON AIR

The current runs of TVO favourites continue apace this week, with Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Toast of London, Trollied and Not Going Out all airing new episodes throughout the week – and available via catchup services after transmission.

This weekend also sees the debut of a new CBBC pilot, The Muckers - which is directed and edited by Ealing Live veteran (and IT Crowd postman) John ‘Willie’ Hopkins.  It airs at 10am on CBBC this Saturday, 29th November, so get your young ‘uns watching!  There’s a preview clip to be had below.

Also this weekend marks a celebration of Chris Morris on Radio 4 Extra, presented by Mary Ann Hobbs, as detailed in our news post over yonder, which you’d be mad to miss!

© cookdandbombd

But the big broadcast news this week comes with the long awaited return of Pyschobitches to Sky Arts HD.

The show features former Chris Morris illumni Rebecca Front as a psychiatrist to the stars: or more specifically, dead, female personalities.  Each episode sees the likes of Sharon HorganKaty Brand, Frances Barber, Samatha Spiro and Selina Griffiths bring famous faces back to life, and this series they are joined by House of Fools star Morgana Robinson, as well as Seb Cardinal and Dustin Demri-Burns of Cardinal Burns fame.

©  Sky

© Sky

Also game for a laugh this year are Andy Nyman, Liza Tarbuck, Mark Benton, Miranda Richardson, Kathy Burke, Sheridan Smith, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Jack Whitehall and Reece Shearsmith.

With direction from League of Gentlemen star Jeremy Dyson, and a top notch writing team that includes Lucy Montgomery, we’re overjoyed to see the show return, and you can see the results from Tuesday 25th November at 9pm, with the episodes staying on demand afterwards for any SkyGo and NowTV customers. There’s two fantastic preview clips featuring Sharon Horgan shaking her booty, and Reece Shearsmith feeling unloved below.

For more on the show, visit the Sky Arts website now.

AND THE REST!

As always, there’s so much going on, that we’re using Twitter to keep you informed quicker these days. Join the other 11,900+ of our regular readers by following us there, and get regular updates such as these:

The Pyschobitches Are Back!

24 Oct

Psychobitches returns for a second series on November 25th.

© Sky Atlantic / Tiger Aspect

© Sky Atlantic / Tiger Aspect

The show – written and directed by Jeremy Dyson (The League of Gentlemen) on Sky Arts started life as a one-off pilot, before getting a full series comission last year.

Starring Rebecca Front (The Day Today, The Thick of It) as psychiatrist to the stars, an ensemble of comic talent portrayed famous women of history.  These included TVO regulars Sharon HorganKaty Brand and Julia Davis, alongside Samantha Spiro, Selina Griffiths, Frances Barber, Sheila Reid, Zawe Ashton, Joanna Scanlon, Kathy Burke and, rather brilliantly, The League of Gentlemen – including Reece Shearsmith as Old Mother Shipton.

The show was – and is – an absolute treasure, so we’re delighted to report it is back with a second run.

The teaser trailer below features Sharon Horgan as Bonnie Parker alongside House of Fools regular Morgana Robinson, Frances Barber and Sam Spiro.  Also back on board are Katy Brand, Michele Gomez, Doon MacKichan, Sophie Ellis-Bexter, Meera Syal, Cardinal Burns, Sheila Reid, Selina Griffiths, Zawe Ashton, Jack Whitehall, Frances Barber, Sheridan Smith and Alexa Chung.  Bring it on.

For more on Psychobitches, visit the Sky Arts website now… and you can catch Series One on demand through Sky or Now TV while you wait!

Pub Chat With Horgan & Bea

4 Sep

© The Sun/Hoxton Radio

A couple of weeks ago a hole in the fabric of TVO time was nearly created when one of the artists who we we cover interviewed another of the artists that we write about. Crikey.

The people in question were Sharon Horgan, who was being interviewed by Ailsing Bea – in a pub of all places, as part of the BBC Radio 4 Extra Comedy Club interviews series.

There are two 5-minute interviews; in the first one Sharon talks about the Bailey’s-based cocktail that she’s invented and how she got into comedy, and in the second interview the duo chat about Horgan’s forthcoming new TV shows: a second series of Psychobitches (out soon!), and a new Ch4 comedy called Catastrophe, which will be out in 2015.

You can listen to interview 1 here and interview 2 there.  So raise a glass of your favourite tipple and enjoy!

Parkinson & Eldon Join Crackanory Series 2

5 Jul

© Dave

Earlier this year we reported that anthology comedy Crackanory would be returning for a second series.

Series 1 included TVO regulars Sharon Horgan, Kevin Eldon, Tom Meeten, Steve Oram, Alex Kirk and John ‘Willie’ Hopkins on screen, whilst the score for the show was composed by Waen Shepherd and two episodes were directed by Gareth Tunley.

Like its predecessor, series 2 will be made and broadcast by UK freeview channel Dave, and will feature top drawer British comedians telling Jackanory style stories for grown ups.

So far, those confirmed for the new series include Vic Reeves, David Mitchell, Meera Syall, Warwick Davies, Ben Miller, Sue Perkins, Johnny Vegas, Ruby Wax – and Katherine Parkinson. Emilia Fox and Simon Callow will lend their voices to the series too, and it’s hoped that a performance by the legend that is Rik Mayall will also be shown.

Writers for the new series include Yonderland and Mitchell and Webb scriptwriter Toby Davies, Holly Walsh and Kevin Eldon, who will be authoring his second story for the show and will also make an appearance in another tale.

The new series will air on Dave in the Autumn.

Psychobitches Returns

1 Apr

© Sky Arts HD

Filming has started on a second series of Sky’s Psychobitches, the sketch show which has starred a few TVO artists from the fairer sex, including Katy Brand, Julia Davis and Sharon Horgan.

The show puts history’s most iconic women into the psychiatrist’s chair to have their psychoses and obsessions analysed. It will return for six new episodes later this year. Sky have said of the show’s return: “Following the success of the first series, the therapy sessions in front of discerning therapist Rebecca Front are set to continue as the appointment diary looks as booked up as ever.”

Executive Producer Ben Cavey added: “It’s fantastic to bring the team back together for Series 2 of Psychobitches. We have a whole new line up of women from history getting a dose of modern day therapy and the results promise to be just as clever, insightful and downright silly.” The final line up for series 2 hasn’t been confirmed, but we hope to see a few familiar faces.

The new series is being directed by Jeremy Dyson from The League Of Gentleman, and it will air later this year on Sky Arts 1.

Sky Arts Presents Kevin Eldon

5 Mar
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

Playhouse Presents..., the series of one-off comedies and dramas on Sky Arts is returning for 2014.

The channel has announced the series line-up, which includes Damned, a comedy written by Jo Brand and Morwenna Banks, set in a social services department and starring Ms Brand and Kevin Eldon, to be broadcast on 1st May.

The series will also feature the UK TV debut of Friends star Matthew Perry alongside Tim Key in The Dog Thrower, to be shown on 12th June.

Previous series of Playhouse Presents have featured many TVO favourites, including the debut short film from Matt Holness: A Gun for George, and Paul Kaye starring with Kylie Minogue in Hey Diddly Dee.

The last series also led to a full series of Psychobitches, featuring Katy Brand, Sharon Horgan and Julia Davis.

To read more about all the drama’s in the series pop over to the British Comedy Guide.

Crackanother!

3 Mar

Anthology comedy Crackanory has been recommissioned for a second series, it has been revealed.

© Dave / UKTV

© Dave / UKTV

The show, which was made for and broadcast by UK freeview channel Dave, featured the cream of British comedy both involved with the short stories told across live action sequences or animation, and sat in a big ol’ Jackanory-esque chair telling the tales in the first place!

The likes of Harry Enfield, Charlie Higson, Sally Phillips, Rebecca Front, Jack Dee, Jessica Hynes, Hugh Dennis and Stephen Mangan were joined by TVO regulars Sharon HorganKevin EldonTom MeetenSteve OramAlex Kirk and John ‘Willie’ Hopkins on screen, whilst the score for the show was composed by Waen Shepherd and two episodes were directed by Gareth Tunley.

© John Willie Hopkins

Proving to be a huge ratings hit for the channel, with British Comedy Guide reporting that over half a million homes became regular views (up 82% on the channel’s average for the timeslot), it’s no surprise that the show is set to return in the Autumn.

The stars of series two have yet to be announced, but we’re holding out hope there’s still links back to Onion Land’s family of collaborators to make it a must-see.  In the meantime, Series One is being repeated from March 29th on Dave, so be ready!

Sharon Mans Up

25 Feb

© Sharon Horgan

Sharon Horgan has been cast in a new rom-com, Man Up, which is currently filming in London.

The film stars Spaced legend Simon Pegg alongside American actress Lake Bell, Count Arthur Strong regular Rory Kinnear, the inimitable Ken Stott and, of course, the magnificent Sharon Horgan as a character called Elaine.

It focuses on a single woman (Bell) who is mistaken for a stranger’s blind date, which leads her to finding the perfect boyfriend.

Standard rom-com stuff, perhaps, but what peaks our interest beyond that impressive cast is that the director is Ben Palmer - whose current cv has a rather large number of TVO connections.

Best known for his work on The Inbetweeners (featuring Waen Shepherd), he was also at the helm for fully fledged TVO smash Star Stories, which featured Tom Meeten, Dolly Wells, Laura Patch, Fergus Craig, Rhys Thomas and Alice Lowe to name a few.

© Ben Palmer

© Ben Palmer

Before that, he directed Barunka O’Shaughnessy in Bo Selecta and it’s various spin-offs, and after it, he was in charge of several Channel 4 pilots featuring our regulars: Penelope Princess Of Pets (starring Julian Barratt & Simon Farnaby), Milton Jones’ House Of Rooms (featuring Colin Hoult), and Them From That Thing (with Dan Skinner). 

Most recently, he was at the helm for the incredible Bad Sugar - which featured Sharon Horgan alongside Julia Davies, Olivia Colman, Reece Shearsmith, Kayvan Novak, Peter Serafinowicz, Julia Deakin and David Bradley… a cast so interstellar that the proposed series had to be cancelled as they could never get all that talent in the same place at the same time for long enough again.

Quite the connected fellow, then, and yet another incredibly talented Ben in our behind-the-scenes midst.

Man Up currently has no confirmed release date, but filming continues across London for the next few weeks, with the Daily Mail papping Pegg & Bell filming on the London Underground earlier this month.  As soon as we hear more, we’ll let you know, so stay peeled.

In the meantime, Sharon tweeted a photo of the main cast, which you can see below.

© Sharon Horgan

© Sharon Horgan

TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part Two

2 Jan

Yesterday we brought you a round-up of the first quarter of 2013, as we’d probably forgotten half of it ourselves, let alone you lovely lot out there.  The second quarter provided loads more great things to celebrate, so we’ve been ploughing through TVO’s archives to pluck out the best bits from over 700 news stories across 2013. This second instalment of our round-up covers April-June, and is jam packed with forgotten treasures and instant classics alike.  Enjoy.

APRIL

April, or Ape-ril as it was renamed by the Sumatran Orangutan Society, began with a plea from TVO regulars Dave Brown and Tony Law to grow your beard as large as possible.  This was, of course, in aid of ape conservation: we are all 96.4% Orangutan after all…

The facial hair theme continued apace, with some of Onion Land’s most mighty beard-wearers being active this month.  First up, Paul Kaye hosted a short exhibition of his art, with TVO attended the star-studded press night to admire his work and have a quick chat to the man himself, though sadly his hectic schedule postponed our latest catch-up… we’re gonna get ya in the new year, mate! Kaye also became the latest big name to join the cast of hugely acclaimed fantasy show Game Of Thrones, as warrior Thoros of Myr.

He wasn’t the only one, either. Whilst the world got increasingly excited about his (then) forthcoming film A Field In EnglandBen Wheatley did the last thing critics expected, and made a string of commercials for Go Compare, further proving he works on his own terms ahead of one of the oddest films of 2013…

Another beardy Onion layer up to good things this month was Matt Berry, who was quietly preparing to unleash his new album, Kill The Wolf. May and June would see an awful lot of Berry activity, but April was no push-over, either.  First off, his radio series I, Regress… returned to the airwaves, and he went on to release the first snippet of his new album with a track called The Devil Inside Me

He wasn’t the only one returning, either. Rhys Thomas brought back his incredibly popular Radio 4 show Down The Line for a fifth run – the sixth if you include short-lived tv spin-off Bellamy’s People. Once again it featured Thomas’ fellow Fast Show veterans Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Simon Day and the late, great Felix Dexter. Also along for the ride were Look Around You star Robert Popper, Big Train(and It’s Kevin) actress Amelia Bullmore, Citizen Khanwriter Adil Ray, and another TVO regular (and Rhys’ wife), Lucy Montgomery.

Also back this month were Boosh veterans and indie-folk legends The Ralfe Band, who released the single Come On Go Wild from their new album, Son Be Wise, and toured as support to Manchester’s finest ever band, I Am Kloot.  A video for the single followed on 1st May, which can be seen below.

This month also saw us bid farewell to Life’s Too Short, which returned for a one-off special at Easter. Sadly lacking in Matt Holness magic (Matt was a regular in the show’s first and only series), it nevertheless found the time to bring back Colin Hoult as Warwick Davis‘ useless psychic, Brian. Also along for the ride were telly veterans, Les Dennis, Keith Chegwin and Shaun Williamson, as well as former Batman star Val Kilmer. A fine send-off, then, for a show that ended way too soon.

Continue reading

Sharon’s Catastrophe

16 Dec

© BBC

Sharon Horgan will be returning to television next year with a new sitcom pilot for Channel 4.

Entitled Catastrophe, it marks the second major collaboration between Horgan and comedian Rob Delaney following their BBC Comedy viral smash, Kinky Sex, late last year.

The one-off pilot, produced by Adam Tandy who was responsible for The Thick Of It, could follow in the steps of Man Down and Toast Of London and become a full series commission.

We’ll bring you more info as soon as we have it, and for full details of Channel 4’s latest commissions, visit the good folk at Chortle now.  Kinky Sex, which also featured Waen Shepherd, can be seen below.

The British Comedy Awards 2013 Nominations Announced!

3 Dec
© Channel 4

© Channel 4

Next week sees Channel 4 host the annual British Comedy Awards ceremony in Wembley, which will also be broadcast live on the channel.

Starting at 9pm on Thursday, 12th December, the ceremony will be hosted by Jonathan Ross, and feature some of the cream of British comedy – including, of course, a number of TVO regulars.

Most notably, the category of Best Sketch Show has a guaranteed winner from Onion Land, as its nominations have all been featured on our pages.  Sky’s new star-packed historical therapy show Psychobitches will battle it out with the nation’s sweetheart, Horrible Histories and the long awaited It’s Kevin and veteran favourites Harry And Paul.

Between them, those shows featured some of our most beloved regulars: Alice Lowe, Matt BerryKaty BrandSimon Farnaby, Sharon HorganAlex KirkJustin EdwardsJulia Davis and, of course, Kevin Eldon.

“The Actor” Kevin Eldon is also nominated for Best TV Comedy Actor, alongside Greg Davis, David Mitchell and Jack Whitehall, whilst Psychobitches is also up for Best New Comedy Programme, alongside CuckooPlebs and another TVO favourite, Count Arthur Strong.

Elsewhere, the man behind Count Arthur, Steve Delaney, is nominated for Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist, alongside Adam Hills, Jonny Sweet and Tom Basden, whilst the show itself (directed by Graham Linehan, no less) is up for Best Sitcom against Bad Education, Getting On and Peep Show.

To find out who the winners are, join Channel 4, a whole host of comedy legends, and TVO itself, on 12th December.  The full list of nominations can be found below the ‘jump’, and to find out more visit: Channel4.com now! Continue reading

And The Winner Is…

25 Nov

Awards season is upon us, and a few TVO-connected TV shows have been getting some well-deeserved recognition from the juries!

© CBBC

First up is Horrible Histories, which has picked up another award, this time for Best Children’s Comedy at the Children’s BAFTAs. In doing so, it pipped another TVO-related show to the winning post in the shape of FIT (a sports-based sketch show airing on CBBC, which features Tony WayRufus Jones and Aisling Bea in its ensemble cast – plus Peter Serafinowicz as Brian Butterfield). Click here to watch the presentation of the award to the Horrible Histories team.

To see the full list of winners and nominees take a look at the Children’s BAFTAs website.

Next, a look at the Southbank Sky Arts Awards, the winners of which will be announced at a ceremony on 27th January, presented by Melvyn Bragg. The nominations feature three of our lot, with AlanPartridge: Alpha Papa and Psychobitches both up for ‘Best Comedy’, and Philomena (co-written by and starring Steve Coogan) up for ‘Best Film’. For the full list of nominees click here.

Congratulations to everyone nominated, and the best of luck for the awards ceremony in January!

 

Bad Sugar Decayed

22 Jul

The proposed six-part series Bad Sugar has become a victim of success, having been cancelled by Channel 4.

© Phil Fisk

The show was to follow the original pilot episode last year – a twisted spoof of telenovellas written by Sam Bain & Jesse Armstrong (Peep ShowFour Lions and Fresh Meat), and starring Julia DavisSharon Horgan, Olivia Colman, Reece Shearsmith, Kayvan Novak, Peter Serafinowicz, David Bradley and Julia Deakin.

That pilot, which aired almost a year ago, was filmed before most of its incredibly talented cast went off to do hugely successful “other things”.  The wonderful Olivia Colman won two BAFTA gongs earlier this year, and leads the cast of smash hit ITV drama Broadchurch alongside David Tennant.  Julia Davis, of course, has also been winning awards aplenty for Hunderby, which is set to return for a second series, and Sharon Horgan is currently working Stateside on the US version of her cult show Pulling.

Shearsmith has since starred in A Field In England and has a number of exciting projects on the go, and Serafinowicz is about to direct his first feature.  David Bradley and Julia Deakin are as in demand as they have always been, with the former starring as legendary Doctor Who actor William Hartnell in forthcoming biopic An Adventure In Time And Space.  And the wonderful duo of Bain & Armstrong are working on more Peep Show and Fresh Meat, which go from strength to strength for the channel.

Channel 4’s head of comedy Phil Clarke broke the news to trade publication Broadcast, stating: ‘In the end, it proved impossible to bring all the talent – writing and performing – together at the same time for a series.’

Sad times, but perhaps to be expected. We can, at least, revisit the delightful pilot episode via 4oD below.

Brand On The BBC

9 Jun

Katy Brand was interviewed on BBC’s This Week…erm, this week.

© BBC

In the week when Michael Douglas has been criticised for  over-sharing, while Angelia Jolie has been praised for doing the same, Katy discusses celebrity indiscretions with the show’s panel of guests. You can watch the clip by clicking on this link here.

Don’t forget that you can see Katy, plus fellow TVO artists Julia Davis and Sharon Horgan, in the critically-accalimed Psychobitches on Sky Arts on Thursdays. For more information about the show, which sees famous historical figures on the therapist’s couch, take a look at this earlier post.

Psychobitches Starts Thursday

29 May

A while back we mentioned that a full series of Playhouse Presents…Psychobitches would start airing in May 2013. Well hold onto your hairdo, because the first episode is on tomorrow night!

© Sky Arts HD

Psychobitches reads like a who’s who of female TVO artists, featuring the likes of Katy Brand, Sharon Horgan and Julia Davis amongst its A-grade comedic cast. The five-part series follows the format of last year’s one-off episode, putting history’s most iconic women into the psychiatrist’s chair to have their psychoses and obsessions analysed.

In this week’s episode the discerning therapist (honorory TVO artist, Rebecca Front) meets with super-divas, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford (Frances Barber and Mark Gatiss respectively); Selina Griffiths, Katy Brand and Sarah Solemani as the arguing Bronte sisters, and Davis as the not-so-jolly Sylvia Plath.

In addition to the all-star woman cast the series includes characters from Jack Whitehall and Harry Enfield. And what’s more, it reunites The League of Gentlemen team of Jeremy Dyson (writer) with Mark Gatiss, Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton. Seriously exciting stuff for us comedy fans!

You can see epsiode 1 of Pyschobitches on Sky Arts HD at 9pm this Thursday.

Horgan Runs And Jumps In New York

23 Apr

Sharon Horgan features in a new film, Run and Jump, which premieres at the Tribeca Festival in New York.

The Irish-German co-production, directed by Oscar-nominated Steph Green,  is based on an original screenplay by Ailbhe Keogan. It follows the story of  a spirited Irish woman who struggles to rebuild her family when her husband returns home after suffering a stroke that has left his personality fundamentally changed. She finds comfort in an American ethnographer sent to document the recovery process. Actress Maxine Peake plays the lead part, while  Horgan plays the role of her friend, Tara, in the film. You can see her in the trailer below:

Run and Jump can be seen for two further screenings at Tribeca: this evening, Tuesday 23rd at 8.30pm at Clearview Cinemas Chelsea 4 (be quick!), and then finally on Friday 26th at 6pm at AMC Loews Village 7 – 1. For more information, availability and tickets click here.

The Tribeca Festival runs until 28th April. Its mission is to help filmmakers reach the broadest possible audience, enable the international film community and general public to experience cinema and promote New York City as a major filmmaking centre. For more information take a look at their website.

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