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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…

Noel Fielding Added To Comedy Gala

22 Apr

© Channel 4

Noel Fielding has been confirmed as a new addition to the line up for 2014′s Channel 4 Comedy Gala.

The event at The o2, Greenwich, features a star-studded bill that also includes our very own Aisling Bea, along with the likes of Adam Hills, Alan Carr, Jack Dee, Jason Byrne, Jason Manford, Jo Brand, John Bishop, Jon Richardson, Jonathan Ross, Josh Widdicombe, Kevin Bridges, Lee Evans, Michael McIntyre, Paul Chowdhry, Sean Lock and Seann Walsh.

A few tickets for the show on May 16th are still available, priced from £40 up to £100, and are available here. So get in there, Fieldmice! The evening aims to raise money for a new operating theatre at Great Ormond Street Hospital, so it’s comedy for a worthy cause too.

Don’t Forget Derek

5 Apr

We suspect that Ricky Gervais isn’t too reliant on any publicity that we can give him, but we wanted to remind you to tune into the second series of Derek to see two TVO faces.

Colin Hoult and Tony Way both appear in the new series, which starts on Channel 4 on 23rd April (UK) and then on Netflix on 30th of May for the rest of the world. In fact you can briefly see Colin if you watch this series 2 trailer very carefully:

Gervais has said of the new series, “Personally, I think it’s better than the first series, but you’ll be the judge of that”, so why not tune in and see for yourself?

 

 

Rachel & Lou Get Aroused

3 Apr

The magnificent Rachel Stubbings and her regular collaborator Lou Sanders are launching a brand new comedy night next week: An Arousing Night of Comedy.

© Lou Sanders / Rachel Stubbings

The delightful duo are kicking off the Edinburgh warm-up season with preview sets at quirky arts venue Drink, Shop & Do on London’s Caledonian Road, Kings Cross.

For the first night on Wednesday 9th April, the hosts will be joined by alternative comedy legend Richard Herring, as well as Mae Martin and Patrick Turpin.

Tickets are just £3, and can be bought over yonder. For more info, keep an eye on the Facebook event page.

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!

Ultimate Sandling

28 Mar
© Edward Moore

© Edward Moore

We all know how much Richard Sandling loves his movies. The Perfect Movie host and avid VHS collector is synonymous with epic home-made recreations of the favourite film scenes of his comedic pals, including a number of fellow TVO regulars, and now he’s got a chance to tell the telly people all about it.

This weekend sees Channel Five broadcast Top 40 Ultimate Action Movies, as voted for by its viewers.

Presented by Vinnie Jones, the countdown promises the greatest stars, car chases, catchphrases, stunts, pyrotechnics and villains ever to blast their way onto the silver screen.

Sandling is one of many Talking Head contributors to the show, though he’s stressed he has no idea “how much of [his] blathering will end up in the show”.  Still, we’ll be watching! 

You can see the show yourselves on Sunday, 30th March at 9pm, and it should be available on Demand5 after transmission.

Stubbings Edinburgh Preview

16 Mar

© Time Out

Rachel Stubbings will be previewing her 2014 Edinburgh show at the Camden Head on 24th March.

According to Rachel the new show is called ‘Doing It For Himself’ and will feature a microkorg synthesiser with inbuilt vocoder, some puppetry and more than two jokes. She has also noted that, “Tony Benn will no longer be joining me for ‘the dance bit’.”  Please note that parts of that sentence may not be entirely accurate.

Fellow comedian Lou Sanders (frequently to be found on the same bill at Stubbings) will be previewing her Edinburgh show at the same event.

The show starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost just £3; they can be purchased from the venue.

Joey Page & Dan Clark In Soho (& Beyond)

15 Mar

© Amused Moose/Dan Clark

Soho Theatre has hosted gigs by a bevy of TVO-related artists over recent years and the next few months are no exception, with shows  from Joey Page and Dan Clark in the pipeline.

Joey will be bringing his fantastical bag of comedy goodies to Soho on Thursday 15th May. He’s be performing at Soho Upstairs and tickets for the show cost £10. For more information about Joey’s gig and to book tickets click here.

Dan will be performing upstairs at the theatre for a run of 5 nights from 3rd – 7th June (inc.). He’ll be trying out new material for his upcoming new stand up show, so head on down there to see the magic taking shape. Tickets are £10 for each night and can be purchased here.

The impatient amongst you don’t have to wait that long to see Dan either, because he’s performing at awesome comedy night Shambles this week, on Thursday March 20th. The gig takes place at 7pm at Aces & Eights, 156-158 Fortess Rd, Tufnell Park London and tickets cost a mere £6.95. They’re available to procure in advance here.

 

 

The Ghoul’s Cast Begins To Form

11 Mar

As filming continues apace on Gareth Tunley‘s directorial film debut, The Ghoul, a few more exciting cast details have emerged.

© Gareth Tunley

© Gareth Tunley

The film, which is written and directed by Ealing Live veteran Tunley, features Tom Meeten alongside Alice Lowe, who was revealed to be part of the cast last month.

© Gareth Tunley

© Gareth Tunley

Since filming began, it’s been revealed that they will be joined by a cavalcade of talented TVO regulars, with Rufus Jones, Rachel Stubbings, Waen Shepherd and Paul Kaye all shooting scenes for the picture in the last few days.

Also on board is comedy legend Geoffrey McGivern, who is perhaps best known as the original Ford Prefect in the radio version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, but has also appeared in shows as prestigious as Blackadder The Third, 15 Stories High, Peep Show and A Bit Of Fry And Laurie.

© Andy Hollingworth

© Andy Hollingworth

His TVO connections are sound, too.  McGivern appeared alongside Waen Shepherd and Stephen Evans in Hypderdrive, as well as a regular role in Lab Rats alongside Dan Tetsell and Chris Addison.  Geoffrey was also involved in the first series of Big Train alongside Kevin Eldon, and more recently turned up as a useless lawyer in Sharon Horgan’s Dead Boss (alongside Aisling Bea), and cameoed in Holy Flying Circus alongside Rufus Jones. Wowsa.

So if you’re not excited about The Ghoul yet, you really, REALLY should be. We can’t wait to see the results, and of course, we’ll keep you updated as and when we can. Stay peeled…

Bea On Air And In A Field

11 Mar

© BBC

Fans of Aisling Bea can experience her comedy via the radio airwaves later this week, and then at a festival in July.

She’s part of the cast in The Architects, a new four part BBC Radio 4 comedy series by Jim Poyser and Neil Griffiths, set in a struggling architectural practice. Bea plays the part of the practice receptionist, Hayley.

You can catch the first episode, ‘Talking Point’ at 11.30pm on Friday (and on iPlayer afterwards). For more information about the show and its cast click here.

She has also been confirmed as one of the comedy acts appearing at 2014′s Latitude Festival, which takes place 17th-20th July in Suffolk. For details of the full festival line-up click here. You’ll also find information about tickets, camping, and all sorts of other useful stuff there too.

Onion Land Catch Up

11 Mar

The past week has seen a smattering of TVO regulars make appearances across television and radio we didn’t have chance to warn you about ahead of transmission, plus a couple of shows you should already be watching have been airing too.

As such, we thought it prudent to give you a quick catch-up, starting with the incredibly popular detective comedy drama Jonathan Creek. The show, starring Alan Davies as the titular sleuth, returned for it’s fifth series recently, with Davies now accompanied by his new co-star (and comedy legend) Sarah Alexander.

© BBC

Episode two, The Sinner And The Sandman, featured James Bachman as Rev Hugh Chater, whose vicarage is being plagued by tales of a strange hump-backed beast that has been seen prowling in the garden by night.  You can see the episode for yourselves via iPlayer now, and it’s also available to pre-order on dvd now via The Velvet Onion Amazon Store for release next week!

Elsewhere, another veteran of Ealing Live cropped up on topical discussion show Loose Ends on Radio Four.  The show’s usual presenter, Clive Anderson, was absent, but in his place were Nikki Bedi and Emma Freud – who pronounced over a panel of very talented women.

© BBC

Film director Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham), actress Imelda Staunton (Pyschoville) and artist Victoria Melody joined our very own Katy Brand on the panel. Brand was discussing her long awaited crowd-sourced novel, Brenda Monk Is Funny, which can still be ordered over yonder. If you want to jump straight to Katy, you can find her 39 minutes, 40 seconds in on iPlayer now.

Sticking with the Beeb for a moment, let’s not forget that Inside No. 9 - the latest stroke of genius from Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton – is almost at an end, with Episode Six airing this Wednesday (12th March).  Previous episodes – including appearances by Katherine Parkinson and Julia Davies amongst others, can be seen again via iPlayer now.

© BBC / Des Willie

© BBC / Des Willie

Inside No. 9 is also available on dvd as of next Monday, with pre-orders possible now via The Velvet Onion Amazon Store.  Shearsmith & Pemberton are also undertaking a dvd signing at HMV Oxford Street on March 20th, so if you want a chance to tell them how great the show is, and get a squiggle on your box, that’s as good a time as any.

That’s not the only BBC2 comedy of the moment to have TVO connections. The glorious Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle returned recently, and the inimitable comic genius is regularly grilled each week by Chris Morris in-between chunks of his stand-up routines.  Regular collaborators Kevin Eldon and Paul Putner are also involved, appearing in sketches at the end of every episode.

© BBC / Colin Hutton

© BBC / Colin Hutton

The first two – focusing on Shillbottle and a certain “political” party – are available to watch on iPlayer now, and we’ll keep you posted on an eventual dvd release.

Finally, for now, whilst we recently bid goodbye to House Of Fools, The Life Of Rock and The Midnight Beast, there are two other very fine shows featuring TVO regulars still underway on Sky channels.

© Baby Cow

© Baby Cow

Moone Boy is currently airing on Sky One, and features co-creator/writer Chris O’Dowd as the imaginary friend of a young boy in early 90s Ireland. A delightful little gem, this show has quite rightly won almost every award thrown at it, and if you can’t catch up via Sky Go, you can at least pre-order the dvd release, due out on March 31st.

Whilst it hasn’t yet won any awards, it would be criminal if the critically acclaimed Doll And Em doesn’t pick some up before the year is out.

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD / HBO

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD / HBO

Currently airing on Sky Atlantic, the show features Dolly Wells and Emily Mortimer as hyper-exaggerated versions of themselves, and features cameo appearances from big name Hollywood stars as well as Tom Meeten, Laura Patch and Noel Fielding.

Again, the show is available on Sky Go, but there’s sadly no sign of a dvd release yet. It’s due to air on HBO shortly, so perhaps we’ll hear more then. Stay peeled… and if you see any shows with our regulars we miss, do get in touch so we can spread the word!

Good Grief Is Coming…

7 Mar

Good Grief - the long awaited short film written by and starring Rachel Stubbings – will be released soon.

© Rachel Stubbings

© Rachel Stubbings

The short tells the story of Molly (played by Rachel), whose mother passes away, forcing Molly to return home.  Yet when she gets there, she uncovers a dark family secret.

Co-starring Alex Kirk as Albert, the film was directed by Jim Owen, who previously collaborated with Stubbings on past shorts Green-Eyed MonsterCan We Talk and the yet to be released Panic Stations.

You can see a teaser clip from the film below.

Gala Bea

3 Mar
© Channel 4

© Channel 4

This year’s Channel 4 Comedy Gala will feature Aisling Bea as part of its star-studded line-up.

The event, which in previous years has attracted the likes of Noel Fielding, Kevin Eldon, Rich Hall, Bill Bailey and a truckload of other great acts, returns for its fifth year to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The award-winning stand-up joins a jam-packed bill at The o2, Greenwich, which also features Adam Hills, Alan Carr, Jack Dee, Jason Byrne, Jason Manford, Jo Brand, John Bishop, Jon Richardson, Jonathan Ross, Josh Widdicombe, Kevin Bridges, Lee Evans, Michael McIntyre, Paul Chowdhry, Sean Lock and Seann Walsh.

Tickets for the show on May 16th are available now, priced from £40 for the top tiers down to £150 for the front blocks, and are available via The o2 website now.

As always, the show will be recorded for broadcast and dvd release, with dates for both still to be confirmed.

Those of you with slightly less money in their pockets, and a preference for more intimate comedy venues, can also see Aisling tomorrow night (Tuesday 4th March) at The Harrison, Kings Cross, for just £5.50, with tickets available now.

FREE! Hoult’s Play At The Pleasance

22 Feb

© Colin Hoult / Dawn Sedgwick Management

Colin Hoult will be performing a rehearsed reading of Glioblastomer 4, at The Pleasance Islington on 2nd March – for no pounds or pence whatsoever!

Glioblastomer 4 is a new play written and directed by Colin, about a man who has recently been diagnosed with a tumour. He and his wife are struggling to cope with his memory loss, confusion and sudden inexplicable anger. One day an old friend comes to visit…but his motives may not be quite as pure as he says they are.

Colin’s stage shows have always been flavoured by strong accents of the dark and the theatrical, so this promises to be a good un.

The first rehearsed reading will feature Zoe Gardner, Dan March and Paul Putner. To book your FREE ticket (+ £1 booking fee), visit The Pleasance’s website.

Onion Talking: Dolly Wells on Doll & Em

18 Feb
© Gina R Snape

© Gina R Snape

Today sees the UK launch of Doll & Em, the new dramedy from Dolly Wells & Emily Mortimer for Sky Living HD and HBO.

The show features its titular stars playing exaggerated versions of themselves, as well as showbiz cameos from Hollywood A-Listers and a few TVO regulars for good measure.

With Dolly Wells now residing in New York City, TVO’s East Coast correspondent Gina R Snape went in search of the Luxury Comedy star to talk about all things Doll & Em…

Dolly Wells doesn’t know it, but she’s on the verge of becoming a real New Yorker. Battling the subway, dealing with the horrific cold fronts and wave after wave of skin-scourging cold and snowstorms, it’s a far cry from the warmth of Los Angeles or the hot bright lights of the Luxury Comedy studio.

We meet to chat about Doll & Em, an extraordinary, complex six-part series written by and co-staring Dolly, with overtones of independent cinema: “my baby” is how she describes it. Sitting down over tea and chocolate, the conversation meanders from the making of this new TV show to the filming of Luxury Comedy and back again. Delightful and chatty, introspective and considerate, a conversation with Dolly takes many turns.

Discussing the inspiration behind Doll & Em, Dolly explains: “Basically, we wanted an excuse to hang out because Emily was living here and I was living in London and we’d both started having children and things. If we were going to be hanging out we had to be doing something to justify it to our families.  So we began sort of tepidly, if that’s the word. By the time we thought of this idea we’d been doing it for a long time.”

Inspired by the Harold Pinter play The Servant, and the film All About Eve, Emily began adapting the central concept from a variety of sources.  “We got really fascinated by people having assistants,” reveals Dolly.  “We’d hear stories about other actors, very successful actors, who’d have assistants and there’s just something innately funny about it. Of course, it’s a totally serious job, but there’s something funny about your job being somebody else. Because the person who is the ‘star’ is at some point going to behave like a child, or do something weird, the person working for them in that capacity is going to feel slightly resentful. So if you make it two best friends, who are completely equal…it felt like it was a massive canvass to put silly ideas on.”

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD / HBO

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD / HBO

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ACMS Returns!

14 Feb

© ACMS

The Alternative Comedy Memorial Society, or ACMS, returns for a new run of shows at the Soho Theatre next month and Tony Law and Aisling Bea will be performing.

ACMS is a new material night for both established and newer acts and encourages comedians to try out their more experimental material. The result is one of the best and most fun comedy nights out there, so we strongly advise you try to get to one.

Hosted by non-traditional double act John-Luke Roberts and Thom Tuck, the guests vary with each show. On 10th March, Tony Law is among the acts (as is an apparently very special secret guest) and on 7th April, Aisling Bea will make an appearance. For full line-ups visit the ACMS website.

It will return to the Soho Theatre on March 10th and there will be a show about once a month until July. Tickets are £12.50 from here but a discount code (for £8.50 tickets) is sent to the mailing list which you can sign up for here.

The ‘rival’ show AACMS (The Alternative Alternative Comedy Memorial Society) will  be returning to the Good Ship in Kilburn on 17th March and tickets are a mere £4 from here.

Invisible Dot Round-Up!

14 Feb

© Invisible Dot

As more and more shows are getting announced  for King’s Cross venue, the Invisible Dot, more and more TVO names are being added to the bills. Here’s a round-up.

First off, this Sunday sees a band of established comedians coming together for an ‘anything goes’ new material night called Experiments. It’s hosted by Mike Wozniak (recently seen in Man Down), with guests Tony Law, Rachel Parris, James Acaster and a mystery special guest.  Tickets are a mere £8 and can be found here.

Next up is Pancake Day on March 4th – a comedy night where pancakes will be served! The line-up so far is Katy Wix, James Acaster and Henry Pertidis, with more to be announced. Tickets are £12 (including the all-important pancakes) and can be found here.

The Dot’s Saturday Night Show, ever increasing in popularity, has some stonking line-ups for the coming season, with the wonderful Kevin Eldon in two shows on March 8th. He’ll be appearing alongside Cardinal Burns, Alistair Green and Nathon Caton and guests for other dates include Bridget Christie, Will Adamsdale (who some of you may have seen as one of Jon Breeze’s Wellness Companions at Julian Barratt‘s latest Soho show), Simon Munnery and Josie Long. Tickets are £10, thisaway.

Finally, on 25th March, 22nd April and 27th May, Triceratops will return to the Invisible Dot. This is a night showcasing three masterful character comedians (and no dinosaurs) performing both collaboratively and solo. The three are our own fantastic Colin Hoult, the marvelous (and slightly terrifying) Adam Riches and a special guest. Tickets are £8, you know what to do.

Panic Station Stubbings

13 Feb

Rachel Stubbings stars in a new short from production company Partizan.

Panic Stations features Stubbings as a woman about to catch her train home at the end of a date. However, heading home alone couldn’t be further from her mind, and her attempts to reel her man in become increasingly desperate, and just ever-so-slightly weird.

You can watch the film in full below. Go on, it’s only two minutes long!

 

Preview Peeling: Doll & Em

11 Feb
© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD

Next week sees the launch of Doll & Emon Sky Living HD.  Written by and starring Dolly Wells & Emily Mortimer, the show also features appearances by Dolly’s fellow TVO regulars Tom Meeten, Laura Patch and Noel Fielding, as well as a number of Hollywood stars.  

The first episode airs on Thursday 18th February at 10pm, and will be available on SkyGo from 10pm tonight (11th Feb).

TVO has been given exclusive access to the full series, and our spoiler free preview is below…

The great pantheon of work created by those we write about at The Velvet Onion quite often focuses on collaborations between friends and frequent associates.  Talent finds talent, and connecting the dots between the legends of alternative comedy is something which can span generations.  There’s a wibbly line right through the work featured on these pages which can, if you so wished to do so, be traced right back to the pioneers of silly: the Pythons, Goodies and Goons of yesteryear, even if our focus is on the last two decades or so.

Yet for all the talk of family: of Ealing Live, The Mighty Boosh and friendships forged in blood and sweat and late night petrol stations when a gig in the middle of nowhere’s gone awry, there’s one friendship which has remained untapped until now… and that’s that of Dolly Wells and Emily Mortimer.

Though an actress for some time, we first came across Dolly as the stunning Methusula – wife of Head Shaman Dennis in Series Three of The Mighty Boosh.  From there came multiple roles in Star Stories and The IT Crowd, plus recurring roles in Free Agents and Campus and more recently Some Girls and Spy.

© Dave Brown / Secret Peter / Channel 4

© Dave Brown / Secret Peter / Channel 4

To many, though, she is simply Dolly – the German socialite friend of Noel in Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy.  Ahead of the second series of this candy-cane slice of liquid nonsense, comes a very different project which sees her first work with lifelong friend, Emily Mortimer.

Mortimer, of course, also started out as an actress in English television, before a series of film roles became increasingly high profile.  The 51st State catapulted her to stardom in America, which was followed up by roles in Match PointThe Pink PantherCity Island, Cars 2 and mega-smash Shutter Island.  Recently, she’s been appearing in the hugely successful HBO drama serial The Newsroom.

© HBO

© HBO

Through Doll & Em, which the two titular stars co-wrote with director Azazel Jacobs, the pair play hyper-exaggerated versions of themselves.  Emily is the movie megastar, currently filming a motion picture in LA with John Cusack and a hot-shot director who is adamant his film is not a female version of The Godfather.

Dolly, on the other hand, is not an actress, but a lifelong drifter whose nasty break-up with her slimy ex (played by her Luxury co-star Tom Meeten in a series of increasingly cringe-inducing cameos), gives Em the perfect idea.  In need of a break, Doll becomes Emily’s assistant, and whilst at first all seems cozy, it’s not long before the cracks in this set-up begin to show.

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD

What begins almost as the pitch for a romantic comedy, complete with Doll and Em both falling for the same man, turns in a surprisingly different direction.  There’s a sense of British awkwardness abroad, and some scenes do perhaps play as broader than others – a seemingly disastrous encounter with a legendary actress, or Dolly getting locked out of the house springing instantly to mind – but the naturalistic tone soon takes hold and allows the flowing narrative room to breathe.

Those celebrity cameos never seem to get in the way, perhaps because they’re not handled the way a show like Extras did it.  Andy Garcia, Susan Sarandon and John Cusack are there because they’re acquaintances in Hollywood, not to bag ratings or give the actors a ‘wacky’ moment to play on.  Similarly, the appearance of Noel Fielding in the final, London-based episode doesn’t feel shoehorned in, even if his surreal suggestions for a great night in are so typically Noel!

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD

It’s this naturalism that makes the show stand on its own legs, as the slow burning dissection of a lifelong friendship takes hold of Dolly and Emily.  As Doll starts to find her feet both on set and as a mature woman, Em’s own insecurity begins to take its toll.  A string of bad luck moments bring out her selfish side, which in turn causes a similar reaction in Dolly, and the two actors rise to the challenge of portraying this on screen beautifully.  When they finally confront one another in the penultimate episode, you feel for them both equally, and their mutual despair is heartbreaking.

If there’s one complaint, it’s with the show’s format.  With each episode only twenty-two minutes long,the piecemeal mini-plots do seem to be over so very quickly.  Where this show will shine, perhaps, is in its lifespan after broadcast: the digital age actively encourages marathon gorging sessions, and at just over two hours, it’s very easy to just sit back and let the whole series run through.

Indeed, TVO watched the series pretty much back-to-back, and the end result was reminiscent of an independent feature: you could re-cast this with Laura Linney and Catherine Keener, put it out in arthouses as a two-hour feature and it would still work, even though we’d be missing those glorious central performances.  Doll & Em just has that amount of class. As such, it will be interesting to see how it takes hold of an audience tuning in each week, as the nuances of the story may be clearer without the weekly gaps in broadcasts. We’re definitely hoping for a blu-ray release so we can revisit this world in one go once again.  

Throw in a cheeky little appearance from Dolly’s other long-standing collaborator Laura Patch, and perhaps this is a show to set your DVR for, and swallow whole, but if you’d rather not do that, then stick with this it to find something you’ll treasure for a long, long time.

Doll & Em airs on Thursday 18th February at 10:00pm on Sky Living HD.  It will be available exclusively to Sky Go customers from Tuesday 11th February at 10:00pm.

Stubbings Work In Progress

10 Feb

© Rachel Stubbings

You can catch an early version of Rachel Stubbings’ new Edinburgh show this Wednesday, 12th February, at the legendary Hen & Chickens, in Islington, London.

Stubbings will be previewing her new show alongside fellow comedian, Jessica Fostekew. The gig starts at 9.30pm and tickets cost just £6.95.

For more information and to buy tickets visit Ticketweb.

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