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Box of Issues & the Work of Tom Golding

3 Feb

© PBJ Management

One of the joys of The Velvet Onion is that, by concentrating on a particular family of regular collaborators, we get to draw your attention to some great material that could potentially go unnoticed by more mainstream comedy websites. Of course, the downside to this is that it’s very rare we get an opportunity to go outside our remit – and gawd knows we get requests from all over the place to cover this, that and the other, with varying degrees of quality flung our way.

Every now and then, a name will keep cropping up, however, and we’ll mark them as one to watch. One such name is Tom Golding, who appeared in Anna & Katy and The Ministry of Curious Stuff, whilst eagle-eyed Doctor Who viewers may remember him as one of Martha’s followers in Last of the Time Lords way back in 2007! He’s also made a habit of cropping up in online sketches – including the ingenious James James Bond by Thomas Nelstrop, alongside Richard Glover.

Golding also makes sketches of his own, including A Wooden Boxa frankly baffling yet brilliant sketch with William Andrews of Pixelface, Sorry I’ve Got No Head and more recently, Broadchurch fame – and a sketch with Gemma Arrowsmith which is possibly the most disturbing take on The Chuckle Brothers legend ever made. We’re not quite sure what goes on in Tom’s mind, but we like our occasional visits there an awful lot.

Anyhow, as we always pride ourselves on chances to give shout outs to talented names not quite on our roster (see also Late Night Gimp Fight and Jonny & The Baptists to name but two of our favourites), we felt this was a prime time to direct you towards Tom’s output, particularly as his latest video, Box of Issues, features a cameo appearance from our very own Stephen Evans.

So if you like what you see, why not delve into Tom’s world a little more? And for more recommendations on names just outside our regular fold, keep an eye on our Twitter feed, where we’ll always be happy to share some great comedy that doesn’t quite make it onto our news pages on technicalities alone.

So Hot Right Now #16

2 Feb

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 VELVET ONION IS FIVE

This week marks our fifth anniversary, and to celebrate, a number of our regulars sent us video messages wishing us a very happy birthday. Kind of. The video below features, in order of appearance: Rachel StubbingsColin HoultDave BrownJames CookBob PipeDave McNeillKaty BrandNeil ColePhil WhelansJames WrenSpencer MillmanWaen ShepherdJacqueline WrightHolly Jane ShearsRufus JonesStephen Evans and Tony Way.

Our huge thanks to all involved – and we’ve got a few more messages coming through to give you Part Two very soon, so stay peeled!

THE WEEK IN TV & RADIO

A couple of regular shows wrapped up last week, but we’ve still got a number of great things on telly to savour across the week. Each one is as important as the other to us, as has always been The Velvet Onion way, so for ease of understanding, we’ll tackle them in chronological order.

MONDAY: DRUNK HISTORY

© Comedy Central UK

© Comedy Central UK

Airing at 9:30pm on Monday 26th over on Comedy Central UK, the fourth 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, Seb CardinalDustin Demri-Burns, Tom Rosenthal, Mat Horne, Marek Larwood, Tom Stourton, Alex Owen, Ben Bailey Smith and Rebecca Front on re-enactment duties across the series, tonight’s edition also features Ben Ashenden, Russell Kane and Joy Lycett getting hammered. Enjoy.

MONDAY: CATASTROPHE

© Ed Miller / Channel 4

© Ed Miller / Channel 4

Monday 2nd February at 10pm brings us Episode Three 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’s hormones plague her with waves of different emotions, and she has a chance meeting with an old flame (Phil Nichol), which leads to dinner. Meanwhile, Rob struggles to generate advertising business, since he has very few contacts in London, and begins a clandestine friendship with Chris, who is married to a woman Sharon can’t stand.

After wowing critics and audiences alike, Catastrophe will be returning for a second series, so it’s naturally a treat to watch the story unfold a little more this week.  If you missed the first two episodes, you can catch up with the series now via 4oD, whilst iPlayer houses Sharon and Rob’s last minute guest appearance on The Graham Norton Show last Friday.

TUESDAY: COCKROACHES

© Colin Hutton / Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

© Colin Hutton / Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

Tuesday 3rd February at 10pm sees Episode Four 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 the survivors race to find an antidote after the camp’s children turn green – believing they may have nuclear radiation sickness or have become vampires – and the Doctor has gone power mad. If they do not find a cure, Tom may be forced to go through with a grisly deed.

As to be expected, you can catch up with past episodes via ITV Player, and the series will also be released on dvd on February 23rd.

TUESDAY (and Wednesday): COUNT ARTHUR STRONG

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

Also on Tuesday 3rd February comes Episode Five of the second series of Count Arthur Strong airing on BBC One at FOUR 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 11:40pm. However, if you’re in Wales, there’s an even sillier timeslot, as it airs at 12:15am – and viewers in Scotland can see the episode on Wednesday at 10:40pm!

Episode Five, once more from the pens of star Steve Delaney and Graham Linehan (best known for The IT Crowd and Father Ted), sees a documentary team arrive to film a profile of Michael, but Arthur threatens to steal the show with his new career. Fun stuff, as ever.

WEDNESDAY: LOVE IN RECOVERY

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

Wednesday 4th February brings us Episode Five of Love in Recovery on Radio 4. Written by Pete Jackson, the series 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.

This week’s episode focuses on Kaye’s character, Danno, as he deals with the death of his father after returning from his memorial service – in the pub down the road.  If you missed previous installements, you can catch all previous episodes on iPlayer now, but be quick – as Episode One will vanish in four days time…

THURSDAY: CRIMS

©  Hal Shinnie / BBC

© Hal Shinnie / BBC

Thursday 5th February brings Episode Five of Crims - the new BBC Three sitcom from the pens of Mongrels writer Adam Kay and Grandma’s House writer Dan Swimer – at 10pm. And gawd, have we been waiting to rave about this one.

As ever, starring Elis James and Kadiff Kirwan, alongside Cariad Lloyd, Ricky Champ and Theo Barklem Biggs, with a guest appearance once again by Toast of London‘s Tracy Ann Oberman, this week’s episode draws on Adam Kay’s musical comedy background in the best possible way, as plans for the Young Offenders Institute to put on its own theatre production, are hijacked by Marcel, and turned into a musical interpretation of Twilight, which poor ol’ Luke has to write in 24 hours.

Typically bonkers, with charming tunes and possibly the best Elton John joke ever, this is possibly our favourite episode of the run, and the cast and crew seem to agree. If you only see one episode, make sure it’s this one, but if you have missed previous episodes, you can catch up on iPlayer now.

SATURDAY: HORRIBLE HISTORY’S SPECIAL

©  Phil Miller / Laura Rawlinson / LionTV / BBC

© Phil Miller / Laura Rawlinson / LionTV / BBC

On Saturday 6th February, Horrible Histories returns for a one-off special focusing on the story of King John and the Magna Carta.  As you can see from the image above, comic actor Ben Miller leads the cast as King John, by sheer coincidence, just a few months after he appeared as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Doctor Who!

Whilst the original HH team moved on to create Yonderland for Sky One, and the forthcoming movie Bill, regulars Jim Howick and Simon Farnaby return for this special, with Farnaby’s famous character Death now hosting his own chat show.

As fun as ever, this transitional episode prior to the next series (with a mostly new leading cast), airs on Saturday evening at 5:15pm on BBC Two.  The team have also made a series of new videos promoting internet safety for children – you can see Farnaby’s contribution (alongside Matt Baynton) 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!

Happy Birthday to us, Happy Birthday to us!

30 Jan

This weekend marks TVO’s fifth anniversary, so what better way to celebrate than to grab as many video messages from the good folk we feature on these pages as physically possible, and put them all together for your enjoyment?

Huge thanks to everyone who contributed a message, as well as to all of those who really wanted to but have various deadlines and personal matters to take care of that have kept them out of this compilation. If you’re one of our regulars, and you haven’t been featured in this video – we’re still up for hearing from you, so do get in touch asap!

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!

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

Brains Movie is a (indy) Go-Go!

24 Oct

© Bob Pipe / Channel Flip

It’s the news we’ve been waiting for… The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains is becoming a movie – and YOU can get involved with the production!

Written and created by Bob Pipe (the man behind The Forgery Club) and James Wren (the man behind The Hen & Chickens), the film will be an adaptation of the cult web series, which featured a whos-who of TVO and beyond.

Phil WhelansRichard GloverColin HoultStephen EvansAlex KirkNeil ColeGareth Tunley, Waen ShepherdAntony ElvinWill Summers and Richard Sandling were joined by Warwick Davis (Life’s Too Short), Chris Kendall (Crabstickz), Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones), Ricky Grover (Red Dwarf), Phil Nichol (Holy Flying Circus), Marny Godden, Thomas Nelstrop, Lizzie Roper, Nick Helm, Katy Derby and many, many more for the 50s B-movie homage.

If you haven’t seen it, and really, with all the love we gave it at the time, you really should have, you can see the each individual episode – including several off-shoots featuring Colin Hoult as egotistical actor Eric Shepherd and Warwick Davis as preposterous movie mogul Stanley Chester, over yonder – or right below this sentence.

Now the team are gearing up for a full length version of the tale, and are asking for pledges from fans and supporters through Indiegogo.

PLEDGE FOR THE MOVIE HERE!

For £5, you get a simple thank you, and £10 gets you a social media based thank you.  Where it gets interesting, is if you want to stump up a little more…

If you fancy a Brain Drain goody bag, you can have one for just £25.  If you’d prefer a unique, personalised picture of James and Bob holding hands in bathing shorts thanking you – and frankly, who doesn’t need one of those in life – it can be yours for just £40.

Pop your bid up to £50, and get all of the above, plus a movie poster – which you can have signed if your bid reaches £75.

© Bob Pipe

Those budding filmmakers out there may want to bump their bids up to £100, you get online access to the whole production and making of process – including scripts, storyboards and edits.  And if you have even more cash, £500 will give you a daily skype chat update with the film makers during film festivals, whilst £750 will get you pints and chats with the film makers AND the stars about the production at Shoreditch House.

For really flashy types, £5000 will get you the pints, and also the opportunity to be an extra in the film… and £10,000 will make you an associate producer with an invite tot he film festival of your choice.

All in all – this is a great opportunity to support independent film makers and see a brilliant project reborn as a whole new adventure.  So get involved now!

Mongrels Return – To Dave

14 Jun

© Alexandra Thompson

Although it’s not quite the return we had hoped for, series one of Mongrels is set to air on Dave from Monday 30th June at 3.15am!

As regular readers know Adam Miller‘s foul-mouthed puppet show featured Tony Way as Gary, the owner of a South London pub that just so happens to be surrounded by vermin – from meek metrosexual fox Nelson (Rufus Jones), and his best friend, simpleton feline Marion (Dan Tetsell), to psychopathic champion vulpine swearer Vince (Paul Kaye), and deranged, scheming pigeon Kali (Katy Brand). With Gary’s pedigree chav dog Destiny (Lucy Montgomery) completing the line up, the show was an instant cult smash, until it was axed by BBC3 a couple of years ago.

Dave is a digital channel and part of the UKTV network, who are now making original content for their channels, including the recent revival of BBC 2’s cult favourite Red Dwarf. UKTV Gold has also recently announced that they have the rights to show the final Monty Python live show, so they are obviously serious about investing in content for their channels.

If you can’t wait to see Mongrels again, you can get both series from TVO Store.

Freaking Forgery

9 May

© The Forgery Club

Seminal comedy night The Forgery Club is to return next month, in its spiritual home of The Albany, Great Portland Street.

The club night is the brainchild of Bob Pipe, and has seen many a TVO regular grace its bills over the years.  The last event took place back in December, though it’s been a regular haunt since the birth of The Velvet Onion itself.

The latest birthing is that of a fully fledged Freak Show, hosted by up and coming sketch trio The Grandees, and featuring Stephen Evans, Harry Deansway and Spencer Jones, plus more acts still under wraps and a freak show disco til 2am afterwards.

Tickets for the event on June 7th are just £10 on the door, or £8.03 (including booking fee) online now, so get in!

Stephen Evans Live!

3 May

Stephen Evans is appearing at ACMS (Alternative Comedy Memorial Society) on Monday (5th) at The Soho Theatre, alongside Rachel Stubbings. More information and tickets can be found here.

He will also be performing as a solo guest at Colin Hoult‘s Mega Carnival on the 11th May in Brighton. He’ll be doing some of his own stuff alongside a song or two with Colin for old times sake.
See this earlier peeling for full details.

Stephen won’t be performing in Carnival Of Monsters or Enemy Of The World this time round so Martin White will be taking his place for those, and Thom Tuck is taking Dan Snelgrove’s place for Enemy of the World.

If you can’t get along to any of these shows, you can see Stephen with Richard Glover below at TVO Live!

St Albans Welcomes The Baron & Philomena

1 May

The Baron, the short film directed by Gareth Tunley, starring Tom Meeten and written by both of them, will be shown on Saturday (3rd May) as part of the St Albans Film Festival. The film also stars Steve Oram, Steven Evans and Barunka O’Shaghnessy, with music by Waen Shepherd and Nick Gillespie (Sightseers) as Director of Photography, so plenty of TVO connections there!

The film will be screened alongside 18 other films as part of the Programme of Main Shorts. This is divided into two parts – Beauty and Futility – and The Baron is in the ‘Futility’ section. Entry to see all the films, from 3pm to 7pm, is a tiny £8, so it is well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Philomena starring Steve Coogan and Dame Judi Dench will be shown at 7.30pm. The film has a special relationship with St Albans as the real Philomena lives there. Tickets for this are £6 – £8.

The Awards Ceremony and Closing Party takes place on Sunday 4th from 7.30pm until late. Tickets for this are £20 and include entry to the ceremony and party featuring Cassette Boy Vs DJ Rubbish, or for £10 you can attend just the party. Tom Meeten is nominated for the Best Actor award, so it might be worth going to both.

For information on times, tickets, venues and the rest of the extensive line-up for the Festival, take a look at the Programme.

If you can’t make it to St Albans and have not seen The Baron yet, you can watch it below.

Colin’s Final Carnival

24 Apr

© Colin Hoult

Colin Hoult will be performing his seminal Carnival Trilogy of shows one final time next month as part of Brighton Fringe.

The three shows – Carnival of MonstersEnemy of the World and Inferno - originally ran in London and Edinburgh in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively, and featured Dan Snelgrove, Zoe Gardner and, for the first two shows, fellow TVO regular Stephen Evans.

Much of the material from them turned up in his radio series for BBC Radio 4, also titled Carnival of Monsters, which aired last year.  This particular writer still maintains that Enemy of the World is the finest hour of live comedy he’s ever seen, so make of that what you will!

Now Hoult is bringing them to a final end, and throwing last year’s show Characthorse and a new work in progress night into the bargain.

The full run-down of shows is as follows: May 5th: Carnival of Monsters | May 11th: Mega Carnival [featuring special guests] | May 14th: Enemy of the World | May 15th: Inferno | May 23rd: Characthorse | May 25th: Work in Progress

Tickets for all the shows can be bought now via the Brighton Fringe website and box office over yonder.  For more info on the shows, including titbits on where exactly the names came from (we think some of you will be pleasantly surprised!), check out the official Facebook Event Page.

Hoult, who is currently appearing in Ricky Gervais’ second series of Derek for Channel 4, is also offering free tickets as part of a Twitter competition, which runs until April 29th… details below!

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Please note – this competition has nothing to do with TVO, so please direct any questions to the official Derek Twitter page.  Fans of the show can see Episode One on 4oD now, with Episode Two (also featuring Tony Way) airing on Wednesday 30th April. Enjoy…

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.

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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)…

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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

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