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Good Grief Goes Live

29 Jul

Good Grief - the short film written by and starring Rachel Stubbings alongside Alex Kirk - is now available to watch and download for free online.

© Rachel Stubbings

The short was shot last year, and it premièred as part of The Comedy Project in Soho back in April.

Now, audiences around the world can see the film, in which Stubbings and Kirk play a grieving daughter and father, coming to terms with the loss of a loved one.

Laced with Rachel’s dark humour, and graced with flawless performances from both cast members, this is a charming – if oddball – film that you’d be mad not to give twelve minutes of your life to.  Enjoy.

An Early Look At Luxury 2

24 Jul

© Channel 4

Last week we were lucky enough to get a sneaky peek at the new series of Luxury Comedy. So without giving away any spoilers, what can we expect when it finally hits our screens on 31st July?

In interviews about the new series, Noel Fielding has been pretty open about his decision to move away from the sketch show format of series 1, towards a more narrative programme structure with a beginning, middle and an end to each episode. He says it’s because he’s a story-teller at heart, and it’s what he does best. This change of structure is certainly one of the most noticeable differences between the two series. So does it work?

Luxury Comedy is Noel’s stand up in visual form. That’s not to do it down; the fact that anyone has managed to capture the fantastical mayhem that goes on inside Fielding’s mind is impressive enough. Noel’s stand up material is at its best when allowed to slowly weave its shapes, layer upon layer, over a period of time. Stories unfold, characters evolve and concepts crystallise through repetition. By contrast, on the occasions I’ve seen him perform short slots on crowded comedy bills, his ideas don’t always have time to develop. This is not a man for the rat-tat-tat of machine-gun punchlines.

In the same way, expanding his TV ideas into 30-minute stories gives them proper form, allowing the viewer to step inside, appreciate their complexities and get carried along with the narrative. These are ideas rich enough for full episodes; and to reduce each of them to a sketch of a few minutes would underplay them. For me, then, the new format isn’t just about telling stories – it’s about telling strange stories much better.

© Channel 4

The different characters whom we encounter across the series are now part of each week’s story, which gives them purpose and makes the interaction between them feel genuine. The relationships between the characters are one of the aspects of the new series that gives the show its heart. This is no longer a disjointed collection of strange misfits; they’re friends, neighbours, and occasional enemies – as the story requires.

The friendship between the main four – Noel, Dolly, Andy and Smooth, allows for a solid dynamic at the centre of the action. The series 2 versions of the core team feel more ‘human’ and rounded, and as a result more sympathetic than before. Noel, in particular, presents a very different on-screen persona to anything we’ve seen from him previously: awkward, eager to please and uncool, he’s the Howard to Dolly’s preening Vince. Devoid of Howard Moon’s pomposity, however, this Noel is a character with whom we empathise, not just the one we laugh at.

Noel has said that he and Nigel spent longer writing the second series, and this comes across. I loved the first series, but there are more funnier moments in series 2 (based on the two episodes we saw). The writing’s sharp, the physical comedy is hilarious, and the characters are beautifully honed and gloriously wonky at the same time. Look out for star turns throughout from a whole host of TVO faces, including Richard Ayoade, Steve Oram, Dave Brown, Rich Fulcher, Arnab Chanda, Tania Wade, Barunka O’Shaughnessy, Stuart Silver, Simon Farnaby and others.

© Channel 4

This series is arguably the most self-aware output that we’ve ever seen from Fielding, with a number of knowing references to the public reaction that series 1 generated. He’s said that it’s a natural reaction to criticism – you try to get in there first before anyone else does. And it works well in this context, tethering the strange Luxury world to our own experience from time to time (thereby making it more relateable), and imbuing the series with a large helping of humility which, one hopes, the cynics out there will respond positively to.

Added to all of that, Luxury Comedy is still a fabulous feast for the eyes: the distinctive day-glo sets, wardrobe, make-up and animation all combine to create a uniquely visual world. Huge credit to Nigel Coan and his production team for putting it all together; you can see that it’s a labour of love in every single scene.

So will the rest of the world like it? I hope so. If people enjoyed the Boosh and the naysayers can get over their disproportionately extreme reaction to series 1, they would like this. Genuinely funny, beautifully magical and full of heart – what’s not to love?

Don’t forget to tune in: Luxury Comedy series 2 airs at 10pm on E4 on 31st July. For the less patient amongst you, episode 1 is available to view from TODAY –  a whole week early, on 4oD here.

Join The Carnival Of Monsters

23 Jul

© Colin Hoult

Colin Hoult is recording a second radio series of Carnival of Monsters for BBC Radio 4, and you could be in the audience!

Colin will be recreating his unhinged netherworld of oddball characters at the iconic BBC Radio Theatre in London on 6th September and 4th October. To apply for audience tickets for both dates click here. Tickets are free but are limited to 2 per application. Attendees must be over 14.

Having been lucky enough to watch Colin rehearsing and recording some of the episodes from his first series last year, this comes thoroughly recommended. Watching Colin leap from character to character without a moment’s hesitation is a spectacle itself. Plus it’s as funny as it is clever.

Enter if you dare…

Tony & Aisling Stand Up For Shelter

19 Jul
© shelter.org

© shelter.org

If you’re heading to Edinburgh this August, you can catch a whole host of the biggest stars of the Fringe at Stand Up For Shelter; taking place for one night only on Saturday, August 23rd at 9pm, in Bristo Square.

Acts taking part so far include Frisky & Mannish, Max & Ivan, Sara Pascoe, Rob Deering, Tony Law and Aisling Bea with more names to be confirmed.

Tickets are £20 (+£1 booking fee) and all proceeds from the night will go to Shelter, directly helping families facing homelessness across the UK.

Hoult Joins Nurse

16 Jul

© Broadwaybaby

Colin Hoult has been confirmed as an addition to Nurse, a new BBC2 comedy co-written by and starring Paul Whitehouse.

The series, which has just started filming, focuses a community psychiatric nurse as she does her daily rounds visiting the homes of her patients.

Paul Whitehouse takes on the roles of many of her patients and relatives, and he’s joined by a cast which includes Colin, along with Esther Coles Simon Day, Cecilia Noble, Rosie Cavaliero, Jason Maza, Vilma Hollingbery and Ben Bailey Smith.

Previously a successful series on Radio 4, the BBC’s Shane Allen has said of the show: “Nurse has gone down very successfully on radio and we are very excited about the TV version. Nurse gives a sympathetic insight into the world of some of society’s marginalised people. Paul is the leading character comedian of his generation and he has the ability to make you cry with laughter one minute and cry with empathy the next with the characters that he brings to life.”

Four 30 minute episodes are being filmed, with the show due to be broadcast on BBC Two later this year.

This marks another welcome return to our screens for Colin, who has most recently been seen on Derek, with Ricky Gervais.

Stubbings And The Milkman

9 Jul

Rachel Stubbings will be appearing in a new short film from director Dan Berg – The Milkman.

The 9-minute movie is described as “comedy drama” and follows the story of milkman Lee, as he struggles to retain his customers, while pursuing romance with one of the few who remain. Stubbings co-stars with fellow comedians Joe Bor and Nick Helm.

As yet, there’s no information about the planned release of the film, but you can watch the trailer below. We’ll let you know more as soon as we do:

TVOers On Tour

7 Jul

tvoukWith the Edinburgh Festival looming, the time has come for preview season to hit the land, and a number of TVO regulars – some of which are usually confined to the London area – are out and about and possibly in your area!

First up, Dan Clark will be previewing his Edinburgh show Me, My Selfie And I in Darlington (Sunday 13th July) and Leicester (Tuesday 22nd July).  The continually touring Paul Foot will also be visiting Leicester (Wednesday 23rd July) and is at the Larmer Tree Festival next week (Friday 18th July) – as well as taking his Edinburgh show Paul Foot’s Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon Sharp Major on tour in the Autumn.

There’s a rare chance to see Sarah Kendall‘s Edinburgh show Touchdown as part of the Cambridge Comedy Festival on Sunday 20th July, whilst Aisling Bea (without an Edinburgh show this year, sadly) continues her near constant gig schedule with appearances at Latitude Festival the same weekend, and The Pheonix Fringe in London on August 7th.

Festival booking seems to be the in-thing at the moment – as Colin Hoult is rocking Camp Bestival between July 31st and August 1st in East Lulworth, and cheeky chappy Joey Page is at Milton Keynes Fringe on Sunday 20th July.  Meanwhile, King of Krazy Tony Law lets the good people of Tring enter the Tone-Zone on Sunday 13th July, the folks in Leicester on Wednesday 16th July, and lots of places across the land this Autumn.

This week also sees friend of TVO and frequent Rich Fulcher collaborator, Harry Deansway make a rare excursion to the North West – he’s performing at The King’s Arms in Salford on Thursday night, previewing his new show Harry Deansway is a Bit of a Character Android.  Tickets are available right now.

TVO Favourites In New Roles

22 Jun
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

This week has seen news of new roles for some TVO folk.

July sees the launch of nine new Comedy Feeds pilots exclusively on BBC iPlayer, with a cast including Aisling Bea and Katy Wix. The pilots will be available on iPlayer from 20 July.

Speaking about the Comedy Feeds, Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy Commissioning, says: “This exciting range of shows and new talents cement BBC Three’s place as the key place for emerging comedy talent on and off-screen. With so many spin-off series springing from these, the Comedy Feeds show serious commitment to finding the next best writers, directors and faces of British comedy.”

This year’s Comedy Feeds include:

Fried
A new manager tries to motivate the staff of a fried chicken shop. Starring Katy Wix, Mandeep Dhillon, Simon Greenall and Imran Yusuf. Written by Jack and Harry Williams (Roman’s Empire, Full English, Bamboo). Produced by Sarah Hammond. Directed by Nick Collett. Executive Produced by Harry Williams and Jack Williams. A Two Brothers Pictures production.

Vodka Diaries
Four girls share a flat and get up to no good. Starring Aisling Bea, Cariad Lloyd, Rosamund Hanson and Gwyneth Keyworth. Written by Rachel Hirons (Powder Room). Produced by Iona Sweeney. Directed by James De Frond. Executive Produced by Lawrence Bowen. A Feelgood Fiction production.

Otherworld
Surreal sketch show set in an alternative universe populated by puppets. Written by Mongrels’ Adam Miller and Nico Tatarowicz. Produced by Chris May. Directed by Adam Miller. Executive Produced by Helen Williams. Hat Trick Productions.

The other Comedy Feeds will be Josh –  Sitcom based on the stand up of Josh Widdicombe, In Deep, Parents Evening, Flat TV. Rude Boys and Access all Areas with Jenny Bede.

In other news Aisling Bea is also joining the cast of Sky 1’s hit supermarket based comedy Trollied, as Charlotte, the hopeless daughter of the owner of Valco.

We have also heard that Tony Way will be a guest in the much-anticipated new Matt Lucas visual comedy Pompidou, which started shooting this week and will be aired in early 2015. The show stars Lucas as Pompidou, who has fallen on hard times and lives in a caravan outside his dilapidated estate, with his faithful butler Hove (Alex MacQueen) and Marion, an elegant Afghan Hound.

The Edinburgh Fringe Approaches

17 Jun

© The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

For three weeks every year thousands of shows from the worlds of comedy, theatre and anything else you can think of descend on Edinburgh for the largest arts festival in the world. The full programme for the Edinburgh Fringe 2014 has now been launched and of course there are many TVO regulars making an appearance.

The full programme can be viewed and all tickets can bought over at the fringe website. Read on to see our round-up of what’s on offer.

Continue reading

Wee Paper People

1 Jun

Regular readers of TVO might remember Paper People – cut out and keep paper models of your favourite TVO folk. We’ve just revisited the site and there are many, many more characters for you to cut out and keep. How many do you recognise from the pictures below?

If you can’t wait to get your hands on your own Wee Paper People, all you have to do is click on the website, download your favourites then print and assemble. Assembly instructions are on the site.

If you want something more personal, the creator of all these fantastic models, Sally Grosart, can make personalised little people of your friends and family, or personalised cards or banners. To contact Sally and see the rest of her creations click here.

Sandling’s Perfect Podcasts

31 May

© Richard Sandling

Richard Sandling is hosting more of his Perfect Movie Podcasts in June and July at The Betsey Trotwood 56 Farringdon Road London EC1R 3BL.

Dates and line-ups so far are:

Wednesday June 18th – Ashens & Chris Boyd

Thursday July 3rd – Casting Call Woe & Sofie Hagen

Wednesday July 16th – Marcus Brigstocke & Nathaniel Metcalfe

Wednesday July 30th – Scroobius Pip & Brett Goldstein

For all shows doors open at 7.30pm, show at 8.00pm. Entry is £5 and tickets are available here.

Anyone who is Chippingham based or fancies a trip there, can see Richard doing Perfect Movie as part of the Chippingham Comedy Festival on Saturday 7th June at Old Road Tavern from 4pm to 5pm – tickets £5.

Monk-day Approacheth!

12 May

This week sees the broadcast of the new pilot episode for revamped project, Monks, featuring TVO regulars Fergus Craig and Justin Edwards.

© Anna Brabbins / BBC

© Anna Brabbins / BBC

As we’ve mentioned previously, the project has been on-and-off for 14 years, no less – first appearing on radio as Hey Hey We’re The Monks - a one off episode of BBC Radio 2’s Comedy Showcase.  Co-written by Danny Robbins (We Are History) and Dan Tetsell (Mongrels, Lab Rats), this pilot starred none other than future megastars Bill Bailey and Catherine Tate, yet it has never been repeated… lost into the ether (and the BBC Archives, we hope!).

Eight years later, and a non-broadcast tv pilot version featured James Corden, David Bamber, Geoffrey Whitehead and the addition of TVO regulars Fergus Craig (Colin and Fergus, Star Stories) and Justin Edwards (The Thick of It, Lifespam).  Sadly, the show was not commissioned, and that, it seemed, was that.

Until January of this year, that is, when a new attempt at the format was filmed at Elstree.  Standup and Mock The Week regular Seann Walsh is the new leading man, starring as benefits cheat Gary Woodcroft, who joins a religious order to avoid a jail term, only to find his choice of Rudley Abbey is just like prison, but with added praying.

Also along for the ride are Spaced veteran Mark Heap, The Vicar Of Dibley‘s James Fleet, former Have I Got News For You host Angus Deayton and, once more, Mssrs Craig and Edwards.   It’s all gloriously silly fun in the traditional sitcom mould, so any fans of Graham Linehan’s output or more mainstream fair like Miranda and Not Going Out should definitely check it out.  You can see a preview clip below:

The new pilot – For Whom The Bell Tolls – again written by Robbins, airs as the final edition of Comedy Playhouse this Tuesday evening at 10:40pm (11:10pm in Northern Ireland), and will be available on iPlayer shortly after transmission.  For a smattering of promotional images, look no further. Amen.

 

Page-in(g) Soho

9 May

© PBJ

Joey Page is to perform a one-off gig at The Soho Theatre next week.

As we previously mentioned back in March, the surreal stand-up and one-time burnt sausage has been awfully quiet of late, but he’s back with a bang, promising an hour of abstract comedy, where he will, he claims: “spend roughly the first half an hour setting up flights of fancies and tall tales then the second half doing the appropriate punch lines/ payoffs”.  Well, quite.

With the promise of general tomfoolery, plus a quiz, a short play and even one traditional joke, the whimsical fantasy man can be seen for just ten of your English pounds next Thursday (May 15th) at 9pm.

Tickets are available over yonder, and don’t forget his fellow Luxury Comedy alumni Dan Clark will be at the same venue in June.

Bird Island Returns

9 May

Bird Island - the radio sitcom from Katy Wix – returned to BBC Radio 4 this week, and you have exactly one week to catch Episode One via iPlayer.

© BBC

As we mentioned earlier this week, the show is an atmospheric comedy about Ben: a cheery scientist working in Antarctica, played by Reece Shearsmith.  The show focuses on his chirpy Dictaphone diary, populated by his fellow scientists, played by Julian Rhind-Tutt (Green Wing, A Touch of Cloth), Alison Steadman (Gavin and Stacey, Fat Friends) and Katy Wix herself.

It’s delightfully silly fun, and you can hear it every Friday night via BBC Radio 4 Extra.  Tonight’s broadcast on Episode Two is at 10:00pm, and it will be available online shortly after transmission – alongside Episode One, which is over yonder now.

Bird Island

5 May
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

Bird Island, starring Reece Shearsmith, started a second series on BBC Radio 4 yesterday. We missed the first series of the  15 minute comedy, which is written by and also stars Katy Wix alongside Julian Rhind-Tutt and Alison Steadman.

The four-part series follows the adventures of Ben, a young scientist working in Antarctica, who tries to adapt to the loneliness by keeping a cheery audio diary on his Dictaphone. In the first episode he becomes obsessed with cereal bars.

The show is repeated on Radio 4 extra on Friday at 7.30am and 10pm, or you can catch up anytime on BBC iPlayer.

Weekly Video Round Up

3 May

This week we’ve been mostly spotting the occasional TVO-related video on the World Wide Web. And we thought it was only right and proper to round them up and share them with you:

First up is Fergus Craig, with his useful guides to (1) talking Geordie (a dialect “with a desperation to it”, according to Craig); and (2) Talking Liverpudlian (probably better not to watch it if you have any personal connection to the city yourself):

Next up we have Rachel Stubbings with her Kitchen Gym idea, which amazingly enough already has 8 backers on Kickstarter! Born out of the mind of Stubbings’ alter-ego, Rybekah Roxton-Sandbach, Kitchen Gym is a fitness programme which combines exercise and recipes for smoothies. To watch the video click here, and to visit the not-entirely-serious Kickstarter page click there. Go on, she needs £6K by the end of the month.

Finally, is this video about people’s book collections, which includes Neil Cole amongst its stellar cast. To find out what his book collection says about him (and to hear all about David Attenborough’s and Joanna Trollope’s book shelves too) click on the clip below:

Happy viewing!

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!

Welsh Funnies This Weekend

1 May

Better late than never goes the adage, so we hope you’ll forgive us our eleventh hour notice of the Machynlleth Comedy Festival, which we’ve just discovered starts tomorrow!

The Welsh comedy festival runs for 3 days – from this Friday through to Sunday, and it features an impressive list of top acts, including 3 TVO faces. Aisling Bea, Colin Hoult and Tony Law will all be performing at the festival; to find out where and when (and to see who else will be there), check this out.

Tickets for shows (which take place at different local venues) can be bought individually here, with starting prices as low as £1.50 (seriously!). To find out more about it check out the FAQs on the festival website.

We say get out of the big smoke and head on over to Machynlleth for your giggles this weekend!

Preview Peeling: Cardinal Burns Series 2

29 Apr
© Channel 4

© Channel 4

This week sees the long-awaited return of Cardinal Burns to our TV screens, with Episode 1 airing at 10:30pm.

The madcap sketch show starring Seb Cardinal and Dustin Debri-Burns is, once again, co-written by a large number of comedic talents, including TVO regulars Rufus Jones and Fergus Craig.

But with the show moving to Channel 4 – has it developed stronger legs to survive another run? TVO’s editor in chief, Paul Holmes, sat down with the first two episodes to find out…

Sketch shows are strange beasts. Since the early days of The Goons, Monty Python’s Flying Circus and The Goodies, right through The Two Ronnies, Not The Nine O’Clock News, The Real McCoy, The Fast Show, Goodness Gracious Me and Little Britain, they’ve been the source of some of the most memorable characters and classic lines in the history of British comedy.

Yet they’re also, by nature, incredibly haphazard and difficult to summarise. We all remember the Dead Parrot or Computer Says No, but we often forget the dregs that fill the gaps in-between the classics: Ed Winchester, anyone?

Such selective memories are often called into play when judging new attempts at the format in an increasingly negative manner – a fate which befell the likes of Beehive and tittybangbang in the last decade.  Cardinal Burns, returning for a second run, has polarised opinion as all sketch shows seem to do, and with the show being upgraded from E4 to parent channel Channel 4, the pressure for a smash hit, it seems, is on.

© Channel 4 / Jules Heath

© Channel 4 / Jules Heath

The pedigree is certainly there.  Hot new talents Seb Cardinal and Dustin Debri-Burns honed their skills at the Edinburgh Fringe and countless live dates on the London comedy circuit, and whilst the first series offered Aisling Bea and Bridget Christie in its supporting ensemble, this year sees Catherine Shepherd (The IT Crowd), Simon Greenall (Alan Partridge) and series co-writer Rufus Jones joining the dynamic duo. Continue reading

Bea’s Delivery

29 Apr

© Richard Gilligan

ITV have announced a new sitcom which features Aisling Bea in its ensemble cast.

The Delivery Man focuses on a policeman played by Darren Boyd (Spy, Holy Flying Circus, Hippies), who decides to change his career to become a midwife.

According to British Comedy Guide, the show will also feature Fay Ripley (Reggie Perrin), Dominic Coleman (Trollied), Holli Dempsey (Derek), Alex Macqueen (The Thick of It) and Miss Bea.

It’s from the minds of former Green Wing staff writers Robert Harley & James Henry, and is produced by the creator of the much loved Channel 4 sitcom, Victoria Pile.

With a pilot already filmed, the show joins Semi-Detached starring Katherine Parkinson in ITV’s sudden influx of new comedy commissions, following the ratings success of Vicious and Benidorm. We’ll aim to keep you posted on both shows, as soon as we hear more.

In the meantime, fans of Aisling can see her live this Thursday at Tooting Rhubarb Comedy Club, this weekend at the Machynelleth Comedy Festival and loads more dates across May and June in London, Cambridge, Telford, Inverness and Kilkenny – all of which can be found on her website.

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