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“That’s Our Slot!” – BBC Three Axed To Drive Cost Cutting With Aunty

5 Mar

Digital channel BBC Three is to be dropped from Freeview, satellite and cable, as part of the BBC’s drive to save £100 million, it has been announced.

© BBC

The station, which focuses mostly on comedy and reality television aimed at ‘young adults’, is to move entirely online, with its shows living on exclusively on iPlayer.

The decision follows director general Tony Hall’s speech last week, in which he stated that “tough choices” were needed, and that the BBC was “in the final stages of a budget process to find an extra £100m of savings.”

Launched in 2003, BBC Three was responsible for a number of big name projects featuring TVO regulars – amongst them The Mighty Boosh, Mongrels, Snuffbox, Nighty Night, Dead Boss, Pulling, Tittybangbang, Being Human, How Not To Live Your Life and AD/BC: A Rock Opera.

© BBC

However, in recent years, alternative comedy on the channel faced tough times, as it focused more on reality programming – though the last few months had seen something of a resurgence with popular shows like Cuckoo and Uncle pulling in viewers.

News of the closure has come under significant public backlash, which may reserve the decision as was previously the case for both 6 Music and Asian Network.  Yet with the continuation of the service as an online alternative, and the recent resurrection of BBC Two as a hub for alternative comedy via hit shows like It’s Kevin, House Of Fools and Inside No. 9, perhaps this won’t be such a bad thing after all…

To commemorate the channel’s past successes, we’ve set up a special section in The Velvet Onion Amazon Store, celebrating some of their finest achievements which feature a cavalcade of TVO regulars. You can peruse the collection over yonder now.

88 Keys for Big Talk Talent!

29 Nov
© Tim Minchin

© Tim Minchin

In series-universe, The Velvet Onion was a happening nightclub frequented by Vince Noir and his cohorts.  In reality, the name is all the more fitting, as the many layers of our sphere of interest spread outwards like a great big comedic group-hug.

So we’re particularly excited that a fellow we at TVO have a lot of time for, Tim Minchin, will be appearing in a new BBC sitcom pilot, 88 Keys, which has a number of ties back to what we call Onion Land.

First off, it co-stars the sublime Kayvan Novak (Four Lions, Bad SugarPhonejacker), and is written by the immense talent that is Jon Brown – who wrote a substantial chunk of Mongrels and forthcoming flick Cuban Fury.

The show is also coming from the splendid folk at Big Talk – who were responsible for Sightseers, The World’s End, Spaced and lots more, with the producer of those classics, Nira Park, on board.  Set to direct is Martin Dennis, who has the likes of How Not To Live Your LifeBlack BooksMen Behaving Badly and even Allo Allo on his impressive cv.

Set to feature Minchin as Charlie the cocktail pianist stuck in the Carlton Arms Hotel with grand ambitions, and Novak will be the hotel’s regular barman.  It all sounds rather intriguing, and we’re sure it’s going to be a show most of you will be itching to see.  A non-broadcast pilot will hopefully be followed by a full series commission, so stay peeled for more info as and when we get it.

For more details, visit The Guardian’s article over yonder.

More Clark Exclusives For Pledgers

28 May

© Ben Meadows (at Shambles)

As regular Peelers will know by now, Dan Clark is funding the release of his new album through Pledge Music. One of the most popular items on the site has been the signed How Not To Live Your Life DVD box sets; so much so in fact, that they all got snapped up. Thankfully, Dan has added some more to the pile of goodies on offer!

Five further signed box sets were added earlier today at £50 each, and there are still four left…if you’re quick!  To nab one for yourself, and to find out what other exclusives are available to pledgers visit Dan’s Pledge Music Page. He’s currently at 73% of his target, so let’s see if we can nudge him along that final furlong!

And don’t forget, Dans fans, that the much-missed iconic comedy night Clarks will be returning for a short run at the Soho Theatre 4th-6th July. No news yet on who else is on the bill, but based on our previous experiences of Clarks, it’ll be a corker! For more information and tickets take a look at the theatre’s website.

Chatty Dan

9 Oct

© Harrogate News

On the eve of Dan Clark‘s LA gig, we bring you news of a new interview with the man himself.

Friends of TVO, Such Small Portions, have asked Dan all about his forthcoming shows, his feelings about How Not to Live Your Life ending and his views about non-mainstream comedy. To be honest, they didn’t ask him about that last subject, but Dan gave an interesting answer about it! As he says, “Stand-up at the moment feels like we’ve gone back to the seventies. Men in shiny suits talking about their wives…But I would much rather see Paul Foot or Tony Law pop up on one of these stand-up TV shows than a billion ‘bloke down the pub’ types.”

To read the interview in full, and find out why Dan’s embarrassed about his musical youth, what Tim Minchin has in common with Victoria Wood, and what he knows about series 2 of Luxury Comedy click here.

And if you haven’t booked your tickets for Dan’s These Songs May Contain Jokes UK tour yet (kicking off on 25th October in Nottingham), check this out for details of venues, dates and tickets.

 

The Don Of Boxsets

17 Aug

image

The complete run of How Not To Live Your Life Wilkinson be available as a boxset this Autumn.

Starring Dan Clark as arrogant yet lovable Don, the series concluded after three hit series with an acclaimed Christmas special last year.

With guest stars over the years including Julian Barratt, Tom Meeten and Noel Fielding, the show is a Booshniverse classic and well worth your attention.

The boxset is up for pre order now for just £24.69 via The Velvet Onion Amazon Store.  There’s currently no news on a standalone release for the Xmas special but as soon as we hear anything we will peel it at your faces.

Clark Treads On The Pier

27 Jul

© Mog

Dan Clark will be making some appearances in Bath and Brighton near the end of this year!

The comedy club Komedia will be welcoming Clark to both of their venues in November as he brings These Songs May Contain Jokes – his song-based show that recently premiered in London earlier this year.

You can find him in Brighton on November 1st  and in Bath on November 16th!  You’ll be able to find more information and ticket links at their official website.

This announced whilst Dan and musical partner Ben Parker have been recording an album of songs from his past live shows and How Not To Live Your Life; so we do suspect more gigs to come in parallel with the release of said album!

Stay peeled for more information as we find it and you can buy your tickets to Dan Clark’s Brighton show here and the Bath show right here!

Onion Talking: Dan Clark, Rock’n’Roll Star

24 Apr

As any good peeler will know Dan Clark is performing a short run of his new show These Songs May Contain Jokes from 2nd-5th May at the Soho Theatre in London. We were lucky enough to grab a cuppa and a slice of cake with Dan as he was starting rehearsals for the show. Velveteer Mog reports:

© Mog

Dan Clark is the kind of bloke mothers wish their daughters would bring home: slightly dashing, well-spoken, a hint of tweedy academia – all neatly wrapped up in boyish charm. My Mum’s loss is Dan’s gain.

The day we meet he’s fizzing with excitement about his new live show, having embarked on rehearsals with his band the previous evening. “It was so good, so good!” he beams.

Dan explains why this show differs from previous ones: “The tour (in 2011) was 70% stand-up but this one is mainly music. I had a huge number of songs, some of which I’ve never done before, some that I did in the show last year and some from the TV show – but I needed to make them feel different. We’ve completely reworked them, so even though the lyrics and the jokes are the same they feel very different.”

For the new show the musical partnership of Dan and Ben Parker (“A master of melody and harmony”) has been extended to include bass player, Jimmy Sims (“He’s brilliant and he really gets comedy”) and  drummer Johnny de’Ath (“An amazing professional musician who tours with loads of bands”).

I ask Dan how the writing process plays out now that he’s working with a full band. “They’re all my songs that I go in to play to them,” he explains, “With some of them I’ve got a clear idea of what I can hear at different points, and then at other times I’m like, ‘Here’s the song, what do you think?’ There was one last night that we ended up doing completely differently to how I’d imagined it, and it came to life. I was literally buzzing afterwards – I got to fulfil my rock star fantasies!” His enthusiasm for this project is palpable. He goes on to describe a song he wrote only last week, which will feature in the show: “Ben told me it was the best song I’d ever written so I was beaming with pride. Playing it last night was so much fun – there’s a guitar solo, a drum solo…it’s proper cheesy rock n roll!” Dan looks genuinely delighted.

The enthusiasm with which he talks about These Songs May Contain Jokes leads me to ask if he has plans to tour the show. He says that although he’d love to take it to other cities, sadly it’s not financially viable, and he doesn’t want to scale it down. “If you see the show you’ll see why. I think it feels special – it just has a really good vibe about it.” He says.

© Ben Meadows

So who are the other music/comedy acts that Dan relates to? He cites Flight of the Concords and Tenacious D as examples of artists who strike a balance between being funny with being genuinely musical: “All of our songs are written as comedy but because of the nature of the melodies and chords they don’t sound like ‘comedy jazz hands’…they’re not wacky” Dan explains, waggling his elbows…wackily, by way of illustration. “They’re all written like I was writing a serious pop song. If you can get a few belly laughs out of a song whilst you’re also caught up in the music it’s brilliant. I’ve got a handful of songs that have managed to achieve both!” He laughs.

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Talking About Tom

29 Jan

© E4

Tom Meeten is currently entertaining us in roles as diverse as Andy Warhol, Daran Cache and a fruit fly in Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy.  TVO’s Afroharold sheds a bit of light on his rich and varied career to date…

Whilst many comedy fans know him best for his work with Steve Oram, for a lot of Velvet Onion readers he will forever be identifiable thanks to his roles in The Mighty Boosh.  His first appearance on the series is in Fountain of Youth, as Pepo the artist who kills himself when Vince isn’t impressed with the fringe on his portrait.

© BBC

He later appeared as the disreputable Lance Dior in the third series’ The Power of the Crimp. A near perfect clone of happy-go-lucky Vince, he and his jazzy Northern sidekick Harold Boon (Simon Farnaby) memorably fought Vince & Howard in an epic Crimp Off. Later, the character reappeared at The Royal Albert Hall, attempting to replace Vince at the opening of Noel Fielding’s Teenage Cancer Trust comedy night.

Casting Tom as Lance Dior was an inspired move as he has a similar  take on acting as Noel, an attractive man who is willing to make himself unattractive to the point of grotesque to bring a character to life. No one could call the fruit fly in Luxury Comedy attractive! Tom’s comedy partner is also a bearded bloke from somewhere north of London!

© Andy Lane

Away from the Boosh, Tom’s most notable collaboration has been with the aforementioned Steve Oram – himself no stranger to Vince Noir, having played Donny the Tramp in The Strange Tale Of The Crack Fox.   After a string of successful live shows, including memorable turns at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the pair crafted a television pilot together for Comedy Lab and posted a string of sketches on YouTube including cult classic Porto & Roy.

In 2011, Oram & Meeten developed a new pilot show for So Television, entitled The Forgotten Picture Show, joined by a huge cast of TVO favourites in a pitch perfect homage to 50s rock-n-roll movies.  The pilot is currently under development with plans to make a full series, and we at TVO can’t wait to see the results.

Collaborations with other names at TVO are frequent – from appearances in Jackal Films with Alice Lowe, such as the stupendously silly Birdhandler to his work with James Bachman and recently Arnab Chanda on sketches for BBC Nought – including a truly inspired turn as Jools Holland!

© Channel 4

He has also appeared in a number of other notable shows from the TVO stables, including The IT CrowdHow not to Live Your Life, Saxondale, Lifespam and Beehive. He also made an everlasting impression in Blunder on Channel 4 as the surreal evil known as The Baron and the stupendously rude Karate Johnson. Although studio executives were impressed with his work on Blunder, he still hasn’t been given the opportunities his talents deserve to showcase them to a wider television audience.

Last year, following cameo appearances in Magicians and Burke & Hare, he played his first major leading role in a film via lo-budget Manchester rave scene flick Weekender, and he is set to appear in Oram & Lowe’s forthcoming film The Sightseers too.

As you can see Tom is a very talented actor, singer, writer and comedian, who has appeared in a variety of roles and is not afraid to wear outrageous costumes to complete a character. So if you were watching Luxury Comedy and wondering where you’ve seen him before, now you know!

2011 Pops Off With a Bang!

8 Jan

The final months of 2011 were an exciting time for the Booshniverse. Join us for now for the final instalment of our four-part retrospective as we relive it all over again. . .

October

© BBC

October began buzzing with Booshy delights. The month’s start saw previews for the upcoming 25th series of Never Mind The Buzzcocks.  Meanwhile, Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher continued on their North American Snuff Box DVD tour in Canada, Los Angeles, and Fulcher in NYC.

While London Madcaps prepared to get their books scribbled by Noel Fielding and Dave Brown, the BBC were busy at work filming the Victorian spoof drama Bleak Old Shop of Stuff. The series, starring TVO regulars Katherine Parkinson and James Bachman, as well as Stephen Fry, is meant to start airing in the New Year. The Sightseers, the Alice Lowe/Steve Oram film collaboration was also underway by mid-October. For the nostalgic at heart, cult DJ extrodinaire Pogo released “Zoo Zoo”, a Mighty Boosh mash-up.

© IAMX

The first of four TVO Scribblings wristband competitions was announced, with peelers in London, and soon thereafter Edinburgh vying for guaranteed admission to meet the Shambletons. Psycho Delia mixed some tunes, and IAMX fans were pleased to see the band’s triumphant return to a London stage in one hell of a show! Friend of TVO, Hayden Black, saw Goodnight Burbank, his series that started as webisodes with cameos from the likes of Rich Fulcher and John Barrowman, make its North American televisual debut. Familiar face Alan Partridge, the infamous alter ego of Steve Coogan, announced his returning to both radio and TV.

© Steve Agee

Blackpool’s Comedy Carpet was unveiled, Booshy jaunts included! Lucky American peelers got the opportunity to catch the Matt Berry/Steve Agee film Angry White Men as it enjoyed a limited release in California and North Carolina. In yet another bout of nostalgia, Vlad the Impaler returned to the handlebars of Serge and the rest of Kasabian’s musical bicycle.

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A Not-So-Summery 2011…But Here’s A Summary Of July-Sept

4 Jan

When you think of last summer, what do you think of? Rain? Rioting? Well don’t think about that – if your memory fails you, first have a look at our reviews of January to June, and then let’s take a look at what happened in the world of Booshdom from July to September, in Part 3 of our review of 2011...

JULY

© Watch

2011 may have been a dreary and somewhat brief summer, but July kicked off with some magic as Dynamo showed off his skills to Noel Fielding, stunning him with a rogue deck of cards right in the palm of his hand!

The comedy world also saw acts big and small peeking out into the non-sunlight as they prepared for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival! It was a busy month for comics, including Rich Fulcher who arranged warm ups left right and centre. As they all profusely scribbled down their work in the build-up to the festival, the musical Booshdom also picked up its pace. Robots In Disguise released their fourth album (funded by their fans!) Happiness vs Sadness. We were eager to listen to it ourselves and bring you a song-by-song evaluation of it.

© Becky Johnson

IAMX were also in the midst of releasing their new single Bernadette and at the same time brought us two alternative versions of the music video – we would expect nothing less from perfectionist Chris Corner!

This summer was also a lucky time for the Velvet Onion in terms of tracking down some great talent. We attended a Q&A with the cast of How Not To Live Your Life, then Richard Ayoade also answered some of our questions following the release of Submarine. Then there was even more excitement with the release of our chat with the delectable Hot Brew!

Someone who’s also always up for a debate is Steve Coogan, who voiced his opinions on Newsnight this month regarding the recent closure of News Of The World!

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Spring Back In Time: A Look Back At April-June 2011

2 Jan

So far our review of 2011 has covered January to March. Today we bring you the sequel: April to June. Aaaah, Springtime…the time of fresh starts and new beginnings! And it turned out to be a very busy time in the Booshniverse too!

April

© BBC

April started with the news of Chris O’Dowd’s appearance in The Crimson Petal and The White, a Victorian drama adaptation miles away from The IT Crowd! It was a fantastic production with a great cast and Chris was excellent in it.

The London Comedy Writers Festival took place this month, with input from TVO favourites Alice Lowe, Jaqueline Wright and Colin Hoult. It was a very busy month for Alice, she starred in  Tap at the Window, appeared with Antony Elvin at Popcorn Comedy, and had the pilot  Alice’s Wunderland broadcast on BBC Radio 4. At the time we were lucky to bag an interview with her which you can read here. We also reviewed Jackal films 2010 calendar project.

Colin Hoult announced the second New Adventures show and Paul Foot was in Australia, tweeting as he went.

TVO enjoyed a bit of a spring clean itself in April with a revamp of the TVO Amazon store, making it even easier to cater for all your comedy needs!

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The Velvet Onion Calendar 2012

29 Dec

The Velvet Onion are pleased to bring you our exclusive 2012 calendar!

We’ve been working with a number of our friends both in front of the camera and behind it, to bring you twelve great shots to print out and stick up on your wall between January 1st and December 31st.

With a fantastic new design from one of our own Velveteers, inspired by the beautiful design work Peeler Kerrie Leisch provided for the site back in 2010, we really hope you like the results – which are available for a free download by clicking on the picture above!

Thank you to everyone involved, and to all of you – our dearest Peelers – for a truly fantastic 2011… here’s to another great year in the realm of the Onion!

It’s Gonna Be Alright With Clark

24 Dec

© Brown Eyed Boy / BBC Three

It was a sad day this previous Thursday, as we all sat back to watch the finale of How Not To Live Your Life. Not only did Clark bring us an hour long Christmas special, the episode was a tour-de-force with laughs, tears and cringe-worthy moments galore (as in full Danbury spirit). We at TVO couldn’t be more content with the conclusion of one of our favourite sitcoms. If you missed it then it is available on BBC iPlayer until next Thursday.

With most episodes from the series, we have come to expect some memorable songs from the show – and this special did not disappoint. Ealier this week Clark teased in an interview with us:

“The songs we’ve done for the Christmas special are so good”

Then referring to musical partner Ben Parker:

“The thing I wrote was good, but he makes it brilliant.”

Now these songs; the enthusiastic ‘It’s Gonna Be Alright’ and the touching ‘Christmas Song’ can be downloaded on itunes right here. We recommend you add these to your Christmas playlists, turn your speakers up loud and clap your hands along all day!

As if this wasn’t enough, earlier today Dan also suggested a music-tour of his comedy songs with Parker! What do you think? If you’re as excited at the prospect as we are then let him know!

The Mongrels, The Monkey & The Booshniverse!

5 Dec

© BBC

Here at TVO, we like to keep you informed about all the latest developments in Booshdom, and Mongrels is no exception.

We trust our UK viewers have been watching faithfully each week, as the show goes from strength to strength, but tonight’s edition about a failed Bubbles impersonator added a few more TVO-related touches which, due to last minute schedule changes, we were not able to pre-warn any casual viewers about in advance!

Joining our regular cast tonight were two more faces from Booshdom – How Not To Live Your Life/Special Forces star David Armand became Marion’s new owner… or rather, one of them!  But even more importantly for us, our very own Rich Fulcher as a voice-over director trying to get Morgan Freeman to pronounce words correctly!

© BBC

News of Rich’s involvement in the show was announced here when the series launched, but we were unsure which episode he was in until tonight – which was technically Episode Five, despite being shown sixth in the running order, due to a blink-and-you’d-miss it joke which was deemed insensitive in light of real-life events days before it was first due to be shown.

To our knowledge, the show will continue with Episode Six next week, of which we showed you preview clips last week, before rounding off with its eighth and final proper episode the following week.  At some point before Christmas, there is also a bonus ninth episode, promising to be an unusual clip-based package featuring Miquita Oliver.

We”ll bring you more on these episodes as soon as possible.  In the meantime, check out the entire run so far on BBC iPlayer – and US readers can now catch Series One on Hulu too!

Booshdom All Over Our Christmas Television Screens

5 Dec
As we’ve told you, December is full with various Booshniverse events… but what happens when you’re not in the UK or simply cannot get to those fantastic shows? The Velvet Onion brings you a guide to all the Christmas television that features our amazing Booshdom artists.
Whether you like long films or just want a solid 30 minutes of entertainment; a Victorian drama or a comedy quiz show – you can pick and choose because there’s a hearty selection to choose from.
Read on, bring your calendars and note down what to watch and when…

December 11th

© Channel Four

Black Mirror

The second episode of Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker‘s techno-satire, features Booshdom’s Julia Davis. Davis plays a judge on a talent contest called ‘Hot Shot’, which in this reality with nothing but a gloomy future where the residents toil away, is the only way out of misery.

More information about Black Mirror and the Fifteen Million Merits episode can be found at our previous post.

Black Mirror airs on Channel 4 at 9.30PM.

December 17th

© Andrew Crowley

Catherine Tate: Laughing at the Noughties

A new addition to our Christmas viewing guide! @ChloeeCakes has alerted us to Catherine Tate: Laughing at the Noughties, a 2-hour show presented by Catherine Tate that casts a look back at the best comedy of the the last decade. We hope to see a few of the acts that we cover on TVO included in that one! Noel Fielding is listed as one of the contributors to the show as well, so it’s well worth a look.

It airs at 10pm on Channel4.

December 19th

© BBC

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It’s A Wonderful How Not To Live Your Life

2 Dec

© BBC / Brown Eyed Boy

Dan Clark has finally announced that the Christmas special of How Not To Live Your Life will be airing on Thursday 22nd December.

The show is sadly one of many of our favourite BBC comedies to feel the sting of the BBC cuts earlier this year, meaning that this hour long special is to be the final conclusion of the show (which may mean we can now cease coming up with How Not To Live… puns, but we’re devastated nonetheless).

The episode, entitled It’s A Don-Derful Life, will be rounding off all those questions we’ve been asking ourselves since the end of series 3 – will Abbie come back? Is anyone guest starring? And what really is Eddie’s story? Let’s hope Clark is kind to us and we can sleep easy that night!

You’ll find HNTLYL on BBC3 at 9pm on Dec 22nd. You can buy all the previous series right here with us along with all of Clark’s other work.

How Not To Sleep

15 Oct

© Brown Eyed Boy / BBC Three

If you’re wondering whether this Saturday night is worth staying up for, or you’ve just gotten back from the boozer and are reading this, How Not To Live Your Life is being repeated tonight at 1.25am – and not only that, it’s a double-bill!

Catch Don Danbury and his boss Jason in some unusual outfits that you’d usually Pay-Per-View to see at that time and then following that, you can see what everyone makes of the shocking news that Don is dying! Apparently.

This all on at it’s usual home over on BBC Three at 1.25am.

Along with this, the final Christmas special has just wrapped over in Glasgow and Tom Meeten has also been announced to be returning for his usual cameo in the show, along with Julia Davis as we found recently!

If you’re staying up, let us know what your favourite HNTLYL episode is and remember to keep your collection updated from our TVO Shop!

How To Guest Star

7 Oct

© Dan Clark

It seems that the Booshdom bonds are as strong as ever as we find out that Dan Clark is lucky enough to have recently enjoyed Julia Davis‘s company. Davis has played a cameo role in Clark’s How Not To Live Your Life Christmas special!

She joins the ever-expanding list of TVO artists that have graced the show with their presence, including Julian Barratt, Tom Meeten, Noel Fielding & Arnab Chanda.

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