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Get It Seen

1 Apr

No, that title isn’t just an instruction from us… it’s also the name of a new underground film festival taking place at legendary venue The Hen & Chickens Theatre in Islington this month.

© Hen & Chickens

The venue, which has been a spiritual home for TVO regulars for almost two decades – from The Mighty Boosh and Garth Marenghi to recent shows like the magnificent Kill Phil, has gathered together some of the finest low-budget features and shorts of recent years to come out of the London comedy scene, to show from today through to April 26th,

This includes Peacock Season on April 1st, 4th & 11th.  This legendary film about the Edinburgh Fringe shot at the festival features a top-notch cast including Justin EdwardsPaul FootRichard Glover, Nina Conti, Rhys Darby, Richard Herring, Reece Shearsmith, Isy Suttie, Glenn Wool and co-writer James Wren.

Other TVO connected films on offer include Phil Whelan‘s slapstick farce Clowntime Is OverStephen Evans‘ nostalgic short The Notorious Bruiser Brothers Revisitedand a chance to see the star-studded Bob Pipe masterpiece The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains on a big screen!

© Bob Pipe

There’s loads more on offer too: we particularly recommend Adriel Leff’s brilliant mockumentary Bloody Lip! To see the full list of shows, and to pick up tickets, visit the festival’s Facebook page now!

Kill Phil Vol. 2

22 Feb
© Phil Whelans

© Phil Whelans

The sublime comedy play Kill Phil returns next month at legendary London venue The Hen & Chickens.

The show is the brainchild of Pros From Dover veteran (and writer/star of My First Planet), Phil Whelans, and co-stars Marny Godden of brilliant sketch troop The Grandees and TVO’s very own Stephen Evans and James Wren.

The plot is simple: Hector and Laramie Van Heusen’s mysterious death and the bequeathing of their only begotten son – who is a man – to a complete stranger – who is another man – sets in motion a murderous train of destruction, slapstick, betrayal, puns, communion with the dead and betrayal by pun that can only end badly.  Except, the show has a good ending.

Featuring a murder, a funeral, a will-reading and a séance, the show is a gloriously witty delight, in turns truly inspired and downright nonsensical in the best possible way. Every cast member has a moment or three to shine, and the fourth wall is positively left in rubble by the time the play is over!

image

The show first ran at The Hen & Chickens back in January, and it is here it stages a triumphant return from Wednesday 5th to Saturday 8th March. Tickets are available now!

Breezing To Inner Joy With Barratt

29 Jan

© Mog/The Velvet Onion

On Monday night Julian Barratt played his first ‘solo’ live show in a considerable number of years. Tickets for the gig sold out fast, but we made it our duty to be there and report back. Of course we did. Here then is our review:

It’s only a few short months since we were lucky enough to witness The Mighty Boosh‘s reformation downstairs at the Soho Theatre. In the same location on Monday night we had the privilege of experiencing another return to live performance involving Julian Barratt.  Generally viewed as  ‘the one who’s less keen on gigging’, it was a rare and real pleasure to see him on stage.

He performed under the guise of Jon Breeze, a flakey new age lifestyle guru, resplendent with blond flowing (nylon) locks, box fresh slacks and linen slip-ons. Bowls of pine nuts and water refills were provided for the audience by his earnest brigade of white-clad helpers, or “Wellness Companions” (Oly Ralfe, Stephen Evans, Will Adamsdale and Matt Steer).

Over the course of the evening Breeze guided us through a series of modules, designed to relax our inner selves and re-connect us to “now”. Occasionally this took on the form of song, with deadpan musical accompaniment from Ralfe and Evans – a particular highlight.  Evans’ hissy fit and off stage strop was a delight.

At the start of the evening one did wonder whether the premise could be stretched across an entire show; but the perfect attention to detail, Barratt’s ability to continuously delight our minds with surprising strings of words (“The distant scream of saffron” was a particular favourite of ours), and the on-stage chemistry that he radiates simply by being there meant that the giggles built and the joke crystallised over the course of the evening.

© Mog/The Velvet Onion

The nonsense that Jon Breeze spouted was ridiculous enough to be entirely credible, which was part of its joy. People’s handwritten troubles were pulped in a blender to create a “worry smoothie” and “now cloaks” were offered to anyone who felt themselves to be at risk of “overflowing”. You get the gist. By the final module, which involved a fretless bass (allegedly the instrument that vibrates at the same frequency as the vulva…), the audience was putty in Breeze’s hands.

What binds this character to Barratt’s other creations is his pomposity. From Howard Moon to the Mayor in Government Inspector and various others in-between, Julian has a real skill for portraying characters who can’t hide that they believe themselves to be above the rest of us. Exactly the kind of people we enjoy laughing at, though not necessarily with; and that’s not a complaint.

The other fascinating aspect to watching Julian perform solo for the first time in many years is being able to better appreciate what he and Noel Fielding bring to the Boosh as individuals. It felt a bit like suddenly being able to understand how red and blue combine to make purple. That’s not to say that their independent creative output should only be assessed against the Boosh, of course – but it was interesting to observe nonetheless.

Jon Breeze’s modules were punctuated by short set pieces by Adamsdale and Steer (as unsuccessful jobbing actors), TVO favourite Steve Oram (as borderline headcase and cleaner at Millets HQ, Jeanette) and Andrew Buckley and Ed Gaughan (as a couple of Mark Morrison-singing priests).  Although it took a moment for the audience to adjust into and out of these breaks, the changes of pace that it offered worked well.

The show ended with a joyous singalong to ‘Come With Me’ (a little strange to begin with, given its provenance as a Boosh song), with the audience being invited to follow the performance up into the theatre bar – and then out onto the streets of Soho, to the bemusement of passers’ by. A gloriously silly finale for a gloriously silly evening.

Whether Jon Breeze has the same lifespan as some of Barratt’s other creations remains to be seen, but if he chooses to extend this show beyond a one-off in the West End, definitely try to see it!

Barratt’s Soho Guests

24 Jan

© Unknown

As announced earlier this week, Julian Barratt will be performing a solo show at Soho Theatre on 27th January. And we’ve now had confirmation of who his special guests will be!

Appearing alongside Julian’s alter-ego, Jon Breeze, will be two TVO-related names (yes two!): the extremely fabulous Steve Oram and the just-as-fabulous Stephen Evans. Also on the bill is Will Adamsdale.

Although Will isn’t one of our regular featured artists, he has appeared alongside folk who are, in films such as The Boat That Rocked and Four Lions.

Regular peelers will be aware that Julian and Steve (of the Oram variety) are working on a particularly out-there film project, so it’ll be interesting to see whether any monkey business spills over into Monday’s live show. You may recall that Stephen Evans has also appeared with Julian on celluloid – in Curtains, a short directed by Julian.

The one-0ff date at Soho Theatre sold out within minutes, so if you were lucky enough to bag a ticket you’ve got a stonking line-up to look forward too. We’ll see you there!

Kill Phil

5 Jan
© Phil Whelans

© Phil Whelans

A brand new TVO-packed stage show will be unveiled later this month at legendary London venue The Hen & Chickens.

Entitled Kill Phil, the show is the brainchild of Pros From Dover veteran (and writer/star of My First Planet), Phil Whelans.  It also features a what’s who of the sketch comedy scene: including Marny Godden of The Grandees and TVO’s very own Stephen Evans and James Wren.

The plot is simple: Hector and Laramie Van Heusen’s mysterious death and the bequeathing of their only begotten son – who is a man – to a complete stranger – who is another man – sets in motion a murderous train of destruction, slapstick, betrayal, puns, communion with the dead and betrayal by pun that can only end badly.  Except, apparently, the show has a good ending.

What we know is it will include a murder, a funeral, a will-reading and a séance!

We can’t wait, and thankfully, we won’t have to for very long. The show runs at The Hen & Chickens from Wednesday 15th to Saturday 18th January, and tickets are available now!

The last time Whelans & Wren collaborated was for Bob Pipe‘s sensational, star-packed The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains, which you can see again below.

Four Days Left For In Holoserica Cepa 2013!

4 Jan

In Holoserica Cepa 2013It can’t have escaped your attention that, with all this review of the year gubbins, TVO has been relatively silent on the news front. Given the relative silence of a new year, we decided to temporarily suspend normal service at TVO Towers until tomorrow, when we’ll return to our usual ways of bringing you all the news, reviews, interviews and fun stuffs that we can muster from the realm of Onion Land.

You can see our four part review of the year below if you’ve hopped straight to our home page, or individually by clicking on the words one, two, three and four in this sentence.

To round off this period of reflection, we felt it prudent to remind you on this one final evening of indulgence that there’s just four days left to download our 100% FREE Six-Track musical EP, featuring some of the finest musical names in Onion Land.

In Holoserica Cepa 2013 includes the official release of ZaNg‘s epic Yogiebogiebox - the alt-rock brainchild of Paul Kaye & Adie Hardy, which features actor Marc Warren on harmonica.  It also packs the first release of Waen Shepherd‘s festive ditty, Little Old Nick in character as Beach Boys esque alter-ego Colin Watson, and the debut of James Cook‘s sensational cover of XTC’s Making Plans For Nigel.

And, like all gifts that keep on giving, there’s a preview of Stephen Evans‘ forthcoming one-man comedy show via his track Walking, made in collaboration with Rob Halcrow – and a rare chance to hear a new track from Dead Dog In Black Bag which pays homage to one of the biggest influences, Prince.  Lastly, but by no means least, the EP is the only place you can pick up a digital copy of Baloo My Boy sung by Richard Glover on the soundtrack to A Field In England, which was previously only available on limited edition vinyl.

You can hear the full thing above, or alternatively DOWNLOAD IT OVER YONDER.  But hurry, because just like our first EP this time last year, come January 9th, they’ll be gone for good.

As always, TVO would like to thank everyone involved with the making of these tracks, and the compiling of this collection.  You all know who you are, and to you, and everyone out there reading this – a very happy new year to you all. We love ya.

For full details on the tracklisting, click to read more…  Continue reading

TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part Four

4 Jan

Hello and a warm welcome to the final part of our Review of 2013. Although October to December may feel like it only just happened, prepare to be amazed by how much you’ve forgotten. We were, but then we’re getting on a  bit.

So here are the best bits from the fourth quarter of the year – cherry-picked from news stories about both our regulars and a few new faces too. Enjoy.

OCTOBER

October was the month that Booshmania returned.  Just as the fantastic Behind the Boosh exhibition started its run at Proud Camden, showcasing the history of that most Mighty of comedic troops via the majesty of Dave Brown‘s photography, the boys were back in town.  Or rather, on the pier, as The Mighty Boosh went from the Soho Theatre to Tenacious D’s Festival Supreme in LA. A final (chaotic) UK warm-up show and a further run through at The Comedy Store, almost halted by a Visa saga, paved the way for a live performance that turned out to be one of the Festival’s highlights. Fan forums and social media platforms were buzzing with photos, footage and reviews of the show.

Another announcement that got us more than a bit over-excited in October was the news that Ben Wheatley is to direct the first 2 episodes of the next series of Doctor Who, starring the new Time Lord, Peter Capaldi. How good is that!?  We’re itching to see what happens when you combine one of the UK’s finest directors with its biggest export, now in the capable hands of an Oscar-winning acting legend to boot.  You can see the moment Capaldi became the Doctor in the 2013 Xmas special below…

More telly stuff, with the launch of Matt Berry’s new series, Toast Of London.  We’d been itching to see it since the pilot back in 2012, and it did not disappoint…

Elsewhere, Richard Ayoade established himself as a permanent fixture on prime time panel shows with a stint as team captain on Was It Something I Said? on Channel 4. Ayoade’s intellectual sparring with host David Mitchell certainly made our Sunday evenings feel a bit more highbrow!

What else?  Well, in movie news, there was an update on the cast for Paul King‘s long-awaited Paddington Bear feature film, which included mention of Rufus Jones and James Bachman. To end the month, TVO artists offered us a veritable smorgasbord of comedy options for Halloween night’s out, with special spooky performances from Colin Hoult and Richard Sandling.  And we were sad to lose the talented comedy actor Felix Dexter, who died at the too-young age of 52. He left behind an incredible legacy of great TV performances on shows like Bellamy’s PeopleAbsolutely Fabulous, The Fast ShowKnowing Me Knowing You… With Alan Partridge, Mongrels and Alexei Sayle’s Merry Go Round to name but a few. He will be much misse, and would typically hate all this fuss about him, so let’s remember him with one of his silliest moments – dancing for Sport Relief alongside Rhys Thomas and Lucy Montgomery.  What a dude.

Continue reading

TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part Three

3 Jan

If you’ve previously taken a mosey through Part One and Part Two of our Review of 2013, you’ll already be aware that it’s been a busy old year in Onion Land. July to September was no exception, with news, reviews, new shows and live performances from both our regulars and the new names on our roster.

So here are the best bits from the third quarter of the year – hand-picked from over 700 news stories across 2013, and jam-packed with forgotten treasures and instant classics alike. Enjoy.

JULY

The month began with the release of Dan Clark‘s debut album, Dan Clark & The Difficult Three, which had been funded via a successful Pledge Music campaign. Combining genuinely funny lyrics with proper tunes played by a bona fide band, the record offered fans of Clark’s musical comedy an opportunity to re-live some of his live show classics and enjoy some newer compositions. For a wee taster, here below is a live recording of ‘Don’t Kiss Me’ (and if you fancy buying a copy of the album, head on over here):

We also featured a series of introductions to the TVO-recommended artists you could see at 2013′s Edinburgh Fringe. We intentionally mixed up the folk who we already write about with the people who we define as “beyond the Onion”; those featured included Colin Hoult, Tony Law,  Paul FootSpank, Joey PageAisling Bea, Late Night Gimp Fight, Tim Fitzhigham, Jonny & The Baptists (+ Jonny Donahoe), Pete Heat and Glen Wool.

On 19th July the world of comedy sadly lost one of its pioneers, in the shape of Mel Smith. Whilst Smith’s contribution to modern comedy is undeniable, we can also claim a link between him and the TVO family, with Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthew’s first TV sketches being written for Alas, Smith And Jones. You can watch one of them below:

In terms of new TV and film projects, this month saw the release of Ben Wheatley‘s hotly-anticipated follow-up to Sightseers, the psychedelically historical A Field In England, which launched simultaneously in cinemas, on TV and on DVD on 5th July.

Filming also began on the second series of Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy, and the Marmite-like TV adaptation of Graham Linehan’s Count Arthur Strong also hit our screens. Chris O’Dowd continued with his world domination of the airwaves with a role in the part-improvised US sitcom Family Tree:

Finally, fans of The Mighty Boosh got all hot and bothered over Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt‘s first live performance together since 2010 when the pair performed at The Barbican at a concert to honour the musician, Beck. Expect a bit more of the Boosh boys down below (honestly not as rude as it sounds)…

Continue reading

TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part One

1 Jan

2013 has been a funny old year in Onion Land. We’ve seen our regulars scoop bucketloads of awards, from Best British Film at the Empire Awards to International Emmy Awards and everything in-between. Some names on our roster have reached new heights of success, becoming household names to people who have no idea of their cult origins. Others have just continued being quietly amazing, but all of them have been worthy of your attention.

As a result, we’ve been ploughing through the 12 months of TVO, to pluck out the best bits from over 700 news stories across 2013. This first instalment of our round-up covers January-March, and is jam packed with forgotten treasures and instant classics alike.  Enjoy.

JANUARY

The year began quietly, with the only key new show on the box being, on the surface, designed for kids. FIT was a sports-based sketch show on CBBC from the team behind Sorry, I’ve Got No Head, and featured TVO regulars Tony WayRufus Jones and Aisling Bea in its ensemble cast. For the most part, however, it was the involvement of Peter Serafinowicz - reprising his beloved cult character Brian Butterfield – which got everyone’s attention…

On the other end of the spectrum, Michael SmileyDan Tetsell and Simon Farnaby turned up in the very-much-for-grown-ups cyber-thiller Utopia on Channel 4. The show concerned itself with attempts to trace the only known copy of a graphic novel which left a trail of bloody carnage in its wake. With Four Lions star Adeel Akhtar part of its ensemble cast, as well as Kill List actor Neil Maskell as a creepy hitman, and The Thick Of It‘s Paul Higgins as a blackmailed civil servant, the show became an instant cult hit, and will be returning for a second series in 2014.

Closer to home, and the good folk of Onion Land seemed keen to dish out advice. Comedic agony aunt Rachel Stubbings was offering specially crafted miniature versions of herself for sale to anyone in need of a friendly ear. Or, to be more exact, a bit of unemotional plastic which happened to look a bit like her, in a variety of costumes. The Stubby Buddy was a quick sell out, though something tells me we won’t be seeing them in the shops next year…

Elsewhere, conceptual artist and Luxury Comedy star Kim Noble was offering handy tips on how to buy an oven

And as Bowie-fever gripped the world, James Cook released his own, haunting interpretation of Mr Jones’ classic track, Ashes To Ashes

Continue reading

Sherlock Connections

29 Dec

© BBC

We suspect that a great many of you reading this will be getting a tad excited about the impending 3rd series of Sherlock, which begins on new year’s day.  But did you know how many TVO connections the show has?

The fact that our very own fairy godmother, Alice Lowe, will be appearing in the new series as a nurse has inspired us to collate a list of The Velvet Onion’s who’s who of Sherlock:

First up, the big man himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, appeared on Nathan Barley as Robin. Next up, we have his sidekick, Martin Freeman, who was in Blake’s Junction 7 alongside TVO folk Stephen Evans, Justin Edwards and Simon Farnaby (which was also directed by Ben Gregor).

In terms of the people who we write about who have appeared in Sherlock, you may have spotted Katherine Parkinson and Tony Way in the final episode of the second series, and Jonathan Aris, who played Anderson in Sherlock, was also in Sightseers and The World End. Finally (and marvellously tenuously!), Louise Brealey, who played the part of Julian Barratt‘s daughter in the 2011 production of Government Inspector at The Young Vic, plays Molly Hooper in all three series of the show.

You can catch the first episode of series 3 (‘The Empty Hearse’ – you can watch the trailer here) at 9pm on BBC1. For those who can’t quite wait that long, here’s a 7-minute prequel mini-episode:

FREE DOWNLOAD: In Holoserica Cepa 2013!

25 Dec

In Holoserica Cepa 2013It’s that time of the year again. The big fat bloke has been, and given you all lots of lovely jubbly presents, with hopefully a few TVO related goodies amongst them!

As our friends, naturally, we had to provide you with a gift or some variety, and given the runaway success of last year’s festive EP, we’ve managed to bring together another collection of great tracks from our musical members absolutely free for a limited time only.

In Holoserica Cepa 2013 features six tracks to download completely free between now and January 8th, including some rather special exclusives, which you can also hear below.

Just visit our Soundcloud page to get the EP, featuring the likes of James Cook, DeadDogInBlackBagStephen EvansRichard Glover Paul Kaye and Waen Shepherd.  But hurry, because just like last year’s effort, come January 9th, they’ll be gone for good.

As always, TVO would like to thank everyone involved with the making of these tracks, and the compiling of this collection.  You all know who you are, and to you, and everyone out there reading this – a most merry of holiday seasons to you all. We love ya.

TRACKLISTING

© Paul Kaye

© Paul Kaye

Yogiebogiebox – ZaNg

Comedy legend Paul Kaye has provided us with the world exclusive download of Yogiebogiebox, the first effort from ZaNg: his musical project with Adie Hardy, featuring actor Marc Warren on harmonica.  It’s a hard-hitting slice of alt-rock madness, and we’ve been grooving to the demo all year, so it’s great to finally be able to share a finished version with you all.

© James Cook

© James Cook

Making Plans For Nigel – JAMES COOK

You may know him from his time fronting electropop wonders Nemo, or from his numerous appearances in The Mighty Boosh, but in recent years, James Cook has branched out into an increasingly healthy solo career.  Ahead of his second studio album proper, he’ll be releasing a selection of covers across two EP releases early next year, and this gorgeous reworking of an XTC classic is amongst them.

© Stephen Evans

© Stephen Evans

Walking – STEPHEN EVANS feat. ROB HALCROW

Former Hyperdrive star Stephen Evans is no stranger to the live circuit, having performed as part of Dutch Elm Conservatoire (alongside Rufus Jones & Dan Skinner), and more recently alongside regular collaborator Colin Hoult.  As he prepares a solo live show of his own, he’s very kindly offered us this rough mix of a track he’s written for inclusion in the show.  Recorded with the aid of musician Rob Halcrow, the singalong chorus features “quite a few anonymous comedy performers singing their hearts out” towards the end.

© Dead Dog In Black Bag

© Dead Dog In Black Bag

Prince Lives In My Garden – DEAD DOG IN BLACK BAG

We love Dead Dog. And Dead Dog really love Prince.  Things have been awfully quiet on the Black Bag front of late, as the electropop filthsters take a well earned break whilst Suzy Evelyn-Hall celebrates motherhood for the first time, but her partner in crime Holly Jane Shears (of Circulus fame) has very kindly sent us this recording of a live fan favourite.

© Rook Films

© Rook Films

Baloo My Boy [Excerpt from 'A Field In England'] – RICHARD GLOVER

Anyone who has seen Ben Wheatley‘s glorious A Field In England will have fallen in love with Richard Glover‘s kind-hearted simpleton peasant, known only as Friend.  This track from the soundtrack in which Friend sings a jaunty ditty receives its digital première here, having previously only been available on a limited edition vinyl release earlier this year, thanks to the good folk at Rook Films.

© Waen Shepherd

© Waen Shepherd

Little Old Nick – COLIN WATSON & THE EARLY BIRDS

Another comedy veteran offering us a world exclusive is Waen Shepherd, who has sent us a track by his Beach Boys inspired alter-ego Colin Watson, entitled Little Old Nick.  This festive ditty offers a rather twisted view on the traditional festive number, and we’re sure will become a staple of alternative Xmas playlists for years to come.

The Baron Is Unleashed

24 Sep

The Baron - a short film by Tom Meeten and Gareth Tunley - is now available to view online.

© Gareth Tunley & Tom Meeten

Inspired by the character Tom used to frequently bring to life on stage (and in C4 sketch show Blunder), the short co-stars Steve OramBarunka O’Shaughnessy and Stephen Evans.  It also features music from Waen Shepherd and photography from Sightseers cinematographer Nick Gillespie.  

All in all, it’s an impressive lineage for a delightful short film that we’ve been itching to share with you since we caught a preview many moons ago.

Now you can download the tale of a downtrodden office worker dreaming of wreaking revenge in SD, HD or even a mobile variant via Gareth Tunley’s vimeo page, so get on over there and savour its delights, which you can also see below.

TVO Live Videos Part 9: David McNeill with Stephen Evans & Gareth Tunley

9 Sep

After a Summer break, it’s time once again to bring you more videos from The Velvet Onion Live!!

That star studded event in May 2012 featured the likes of Dave Brown, James Cook, Antony Elvin, Stephen Evans, Suzy Evelyn Hall, Mike Fielding, Richard Glover, Alex Kirk, Alice Lowe, David McNeill, Tom Meeten, Steve Oram, Laura Patch, Richard Sandling, Holly Jane Shears, Rachel Stubbings, Will Summers, Dan Tetsell, Gareth Tunley, Dolly Wells and the disembodied voice of Rich Fulcher.

We’re inching slowly but surely towards putting on more events in the future, and began showcasing footage from that glorious night of madcap fun earlier this year.  Then we got a little distracted on filming a documentary on the set of a certain forthcoming second series, and the videos had to go on hiatus.  Hell, if Doctor Who can do it, so can we!

So, enjoy the latest slice of lo-fi posterity, which just so happens to be one of the strangest parts of the evening.  Here, David McNeill explains the danger of David Chang, with help from Stephen Evans and Gareth Tunley.  It’s completely bonkers, but we loved it on the night, and we love it now…

If you missed our previous videos in the series, you can check them out via this handy playlist over yonder. There’s still plenty more to come, including the sets from Dan Tetsell, Waen Shepherd (as Gary Le Strange), Rachel Stubbings, Richard Sandling and James Cook, so stay peeled!

There’s Still Time To Join The Carnival of Monsters

10 Jul

© Idil Sukan / DrawHQ

The first episode of Colin Hoult’s radio series Carnival of Monsters aired on Monday on BBC Radio 4 Extra. If you missed it, don’t fret –  you can listen to it on iPlayer for another 5 days.

The weirdly wonderful sketch-based series consists of four episodes and was recorded over two nights in front of a live studio audience.  In each one we’re invited to enter into a parallel world inhabited by the freaks and monsters of Colin’s mind.

Most of the voices belong to Colin himself, but he’s ably supported by his regular collaborators, Stephen Evans, Zoe Gardner and Dan Snelgrove. To listen click here. Episode 2 airs on Raio 4 Extra at 9am on Monday 15th July.

Don’t forget that you can see Colin live this August at the Edinburgh fringe. For more information about his two shows and to buy tickets have a look at this.

 

Onion Radio

7 Jul
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

As we mentioned last week, Colin Hoult‘s new 4-part radio series, Carnival of Monsters, starts tomorrow at 10.30pm on BBC Radio 4 extra. The show is based on his live show, so expect the unexpected!

Colin’s is not the only TVO related radio show being broadcast at the moment. Phil Whelans has written and stars in My First Planet, which is repeated on BBC Radio 4 at 6.30pm on Thursdays.

The show, about a colony on a distant planet, also stars Nicholas Lyndhurst, Vicki Pepperdine, Tom Goodman-Hill, Cariad Lloyd and John Dorney. You can catch the first two episodes on BBC iPlayer.

The Brig Society starring Marcus Brigstocke is on Wednesdays on BBC Radio 4 at 6.30pm. This features Marcus being put in charge of something every week with variable success.

The show also stars Rufus Jones, William Andrews (Anna and Katy) and Margaret Cabourn-Smith. You can also catch up on the first two shows on BBC iPlayer.

Join The Carnival

4 Jul

© Idil Suki / Draw HQ

The air date for the first episode of Colin Hoult‘s sketch-based comedy show Carnival of Monsters has been confirmed – and it’s this Monday!

It’ll be broadcast on Radio 4 Extra, BBC radio’s specialist comedy, drama and children’s programming station (available via digital radio).

You can catch the first show at 9am and 10.30pm on 8th July, then at 2am on 9th July. Click here to listen in when the show airs.

Carnival of Monsters features a chaotic collection of colourfully weird and ever-so-slightly sinister characters, taken from Colin’s live show of the same name. They’re played with extraordinary vocal skill by Colin, and the support of his regular collaborators, Stephen Evans, Zoe Gardner and Dan Snelgrove.

Monday’s broadcast will be the first of four episodes which were recorded over two nights in May this year. We were lucky enough to be at one of the recordings, so we can say with a fair degree of certainty that it’s worth tuning in for.

TVO Live Videos Part 5: Richard Glover & Stephen Evans

1 Jul

May 31st marked the first anniversary of The Velvet Onion Live – our inaugural live event, which will hopefully be followed by many more in the future.

That star studded event featured the likes of Dave Brown, James Cook, Antony Elvin, Stephen Evans, Suzy Evelyn Hall, Mike Fielding, Richard Glover, Alex Kirk, Alice Lowe, David McNeill, Tom Meeten, Steve Oram, Laura Patch, Richard Sandling, Holly Jane Shears, Rachel Stubbings, Will Summers, Dan Tetsell, Gareth Tunley, Dolly Wells and the disembodied voice of Rich Fulcher.

Over the coming weeks, as we inch slowly towards putting on more events in the future, we’re showcasing footage from that glorious night of madcap fun.

Due to a technical hiccup, last Friday’s video was delayed.  Audio issues with our upload meant we were unable to offer you our latest slice of lo-fi posterity until now.

At long last, please enjoy Richard Glover and Stephen Evans wonderfully silly sketch below…

Come back each Friday for a brand new installment, and stay peeled for further developments of TVO Live: The Sequel, coming soon…

Brains Redux

1 Jul

Just as we had started to miss The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains - there’s a brand new version of it to savour!

The sitcom-sketch-hybrid from the minds of Bob PipeJames Wren and Phil Whelans arrived on YouTube channel The Multiverse earlier this year, and featured a whole bevvy of TVO regulars in the cast.

Now some of the best bits from the short episodes have been put together into a 30-minute version, which demonstrates how wonderfully the concept would work on television.  Revisit the magic below…

If you missed it earlier this year, you can read our interview with Bob, James & Phil about all things Brains right here

Onion Talking: The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains!

5 Jun
© Bob Pipe / Channel Flip

© Bob Pipe / Channel Flip

You’d have to have been living under a rock these last few months not to notice us banging on about a brilliant new web series called The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains.

Jam-packed with TVO regulars, the show is the brainchild of Bob Pipe, and as the show comes to the end of its first run, TVO spoke to Bob and co-writers James Wren and Phil Whelans for the scoop on …Brains.

They came from outer space. Ok, not really. They live in London, but outer space sounds more exciting. Their mission: to suck out our brains. Again, this may be a lie. They’re more interested in stimulating our limbic systems within said organs to make us laugh.

When Forgery Club head honcho Bob Pipe got the call to create his own web-series, he turned to two regular collaborators – Hen & Chickens guru James Wren and improv legend Phil Whelans – to help develop it. The trio are jacks of all comedic trades and masters of several, and the resulting series became The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains, which premiered exclusively on YouTube earlier this year.

The cast list for …Brains reads like a who’s who of alternative comedy, with Richard Glover, Colin Hoult, Waen Shepherd, Alex Kirk, Stephen Evans, Gareth Tunley, Richard Sandling, Neil ColeAntony Elvin and Will Summers all furthering the TVO connections. Phil Whelans is also on hand as recurring scientist Professor Langhorne, who pops up to offer invaluable advice on avoiding brain sucking with his esteemed colleague Dr Von Busey (Glover). Alex Kirk plays the hapless Prime Minister with no clue how to handle the crisis, which sees everyone from Army heroes to spaced out teenagers to simple Northern Folk facing the wrath of the alien invaders. It’s all gloriously silly, and insanely addictive.

“To be fair,” Phil Whelans explains, when asked where it all began, “it was all Bob Pipe’s idea. But if it’s successful, then I’ve always wanted to do it. If not, then I thought it was a terrible idea. This concept is called ‘Schrodinger’s Answer’ – the theoretical concept that, in a lead-lined box with a decaying radioactive particle, my answer to this question exists in two distinct states at the same time.”

Bob Pipe directs Will Summers & Antony Elvin [© Bob Pipe]

“Bob is a go-to guy for filmed comedy,” he adds on a more serious note. “For people who are used to turning up at a venue with a bag of props and just walking on stage, filming stuff can be a bit daunting, but Bob knows how to make it happen.”

…Brains has been gestating in Bob Pipe’s mind for many years, with an early version of it forming Bob’s end of year project in his Media Studies HND back in 1999. “We only had a shitty S-Video camera, video deck editing and no proper actors at our disposal,” Bob remembers. “I knew I was limited at what I could make, so I decided to make a B-Movie! I tried to remake it when I was the In-House Director for [now defunct website] ComedyBox, but I never got round to it. Me and a friend tried to pitch it to Channel 4’s Comedy Blap initiative a few years ago but it never got picked up.  But I’ve never given up on the idea, so I pitched it again to Channel Flip when I heard about The Multiverse, who loved it. The rest is history. Or perhaps, the future?” Continue reading

The Velvet Onion Live: One Year On…

31 May

Today marks the one year anniversary of The Velvet Onion Live!

In character, Matt Berry once memorably said: “Time is a menstruous woman. One cannot control her eddying currents.”  Rarely has a truer remark been uttered in jest.  It’s hard to believe a whole twelve months have passed since our inaugural live event at The Vandella, Shepherd’s Bush, made in collaboration with James Wren and Bob Pipe.  And yet, there it is – a big fat first anniversary.

To celebrate this occasion, as we slowly but surely gear ourselves up to arrange further live events before the second anniversary is upon us and we increasingly look like one-hit-wonders, we will be bringing you weekly installments of footage from the jam-packed event.  It’s fairly lo-fi due to a few technical hiccups on the night, but we recorded the whole event for posterity and now, at last, we can share it with you all.

For those not in the know, the event gathered together a number of our regular names for a night of fun and games.  We had live comedy sets from duos Steven Oram and Tom MeetenRichard Glover and Stephen EvansDolly Wells and Laura PatchGareth Tunley and Alex Kirk.  We had solo sets from Dan TetsellRichard Sandling and Rachel Stubbings, whilst David McNeill nabbed Evans & Glover back for a spot of twisty-nonsense.

And that wasn’t all. Alice Lowe and Antony Elvin gave us a set from Hot Brew, whilst Elvin also regaled us with jaunty ditties alongside Will Summers.  There was a rare chance to see DeadDogInBlackBag perform, and we heralded the return of Waen Shepherd as Gary Le Strange.  The night was rounded off with a sumptuous set from James Cook, and we had Mike Fielding DJ-ing whenever performers took a well earned rest.

The night began, proper, however, with an important health and safety announcement from our honorary member, Bollo:

We’ll be bringing you more footage, all being well, on a weekly basis, so come back next Friday for your next installment!

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