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So Hot Right Now #31

18 May

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 THIS WEEK below…


Wednesday, 10pm, BBC THREE

© BBC / Tiger Aspect / Ollie Upton

© BBC / Tiger Aspect / Ollie Upton

BBC Three’s delightfully silly murder mystery sitcom gameshow hybrid Murder in Successville continues on Wednesday, with this week’s guest rookie more used to barking orders than taking them.

Dragons Den star Deborah Meaden joins tough, gruff DI Sleet (the impeccable Tom Davis) to investigate the murder of Lady Gaga – poisoned in her own mansion. Under suspicion this week are her niece, Lady Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (a pitch perfect Cariad Lloyd), her invalid aunt Nicki Minaj (Jenny Bede), retired scoutmaster Boris Johnson (Marek Larwood) and her butler Jay-Z (Jason Lewis).


Sunday, 9pm, BBC ONE

© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

Following huge acclaim for its first episode, BBC One’s new magical epic returns on Sunday evening, as Eddie Marsan, Bertie Carvel, Paul Kaye and Edward Hogg form a chunk of the incredibly talented ensemble cast bringing Susanne Clarke’s novel to life.

Also featuring Ariyon Bakare, Charlotte Riley, Enzo Cilenti, Samuel West, Alice Englert, Vincent Franklin, Brian Pettifer and a scene stealing turn from Marc Warren, this week’s second installment sees Strange arrive in London to take up an apprenticeship with Mr Norrell, and almost immediately the two magicians are recruited to rescue a stricken ship. Elsewhere, the mysterious Gentleman exerts a sinister influence over Sir Walter Pole’s household, and takes butler Stephen Black to a shadow kingdom where he discovers the price of Lady Pole’s resurrection.

If you missed Episode One last week, you can catch up on iPlayer now, and read our exclusive interview with star Paul Kaye over yonder.


Wednesday, 9:30pm, ITV1

© Monicker Pictures

© Monicker Pictures

ITV sitcom The Delivery Man comes to an end on Wednesday evening on ITV1, as Darren Boyd and company bring the maternity ward to life one last time.

This week, the hospital’s drug cupboard is raided and a police forensic team is called in: one of whom is Matthew’s ex, keen to get back together. Elsewhere, Ryan returns, Caitlin has a date with Luke and one of the midwives receives a proposal of marriage.

Co-starring Aisling BeaAlex MacQueen, Faye Ripley and Paddy McGuiness, The Delivery Man has sadly struggled to find its audience, and this may be the last we see of Matthew and his team, so savour it while you can.


Friday, 10pm, CHANNEL 4

© ITV / This Morning

© ITV / This Morning

With Inside No. 9 now out on dvd, and post-production on High Rise nearing completion, Reece Shearsmith takes some time out of his schedule to sit down with Alan Carr for a chat on this week’s edition of his chat show.

He’s joined by former comedy actress turned reality tv judge, Amanda Holden, and her Britain’s Got Talent co-judge Alesha Dixon, as well as indie band The Vaccines. The show will be filmed later this week, so keep an eye on Alan’s Twitter for more info.



Sunday, 7:15pm, ITV1

© September Films / GME / ITV

© September Films / GME / ITV

Fast becoming a regular on our screens, the delightful Aisling Bea makes an appearance on Celebrity Squares this weekend, joining host Warwick Davis for his revival of the classic game show.

Fellow celebrities having fun this week are Nina Wadia, Katherine Kelly, Frank Skinner, Dane Bowers, Rylan Clark, Alice Levine and regulars Tim Vine and Joe Wilkinson.


There’s almost always a chance or two to see a TVO regular on stage, often in London, but as demonstrated this week, also up and down the country. Here’s where you can find them throughout the week.

© Unknown

© Unknown

Monday 18th May

Kevin Eldon, Simon Munnery & Liam Williams
The Soho Theatre, London
7:30pm, £15

Wednesday 20th May

Tony LawPaul Foot, James Acaster, John Robins, Robin Ince, Sara Pascoe & Terry Alderton
The Bloomsbury Theatre, London
7:30pm, £17.50

Richard Sandling & Nick Helm
Betsey Trotwood, London
8pm, £3.50 – £5

Thursday 21st May

Aisling Bea & Sara Pascoe
Market Theatre, Hitchin
8:45pm, £10.45

Paul Foot
Bridgwater Arts Centre, Bridgwater
8pm, £13.75

Rachel Stubbings: Shooting the Breeze
Shortwave Cinema
7:15pm, £7.70

© Grand Theft Impro

© Grand Theft Impro

Phil Whelans, David Reed, Susan Harrison & Paul Foxcroft
Wheatsheaf, London
8:30pm, £5.50

Friday 22nd May

Aisling Bea, Tony Burgess, George Zach, John Gibson & Raymond Mearns
The Stand, Newcastle
8:30pm, £6-£12

Kevin Eldon, Elis James, Phil Nichol & Nick Helm
Bush Hall, London
7pm, £16

Paul Foot
The Watermark, Ivybridge
8pm, £12.50

Saturday 23rd May

Aisling Bea, Tony Burgess, George Zach, John Gibson & Raymond Mearns
The Stand, Newcastle
8:30pm, £6-£12

Paul Foot
The Plough Arts Centre, Great Torrington
8pm, £13.50

Sunday 24th May

Aisling Bea, Tony Burgess, George Zach, John Gibson & Raymond Mearns
The Stand, Newcastle
8:30pm, £6-£12

Paul Foot, Ardal O’Hanlon, John Robins & Sara Pascoe
Comedy Hullabaloo, Staford Upon Avon
9pm, £18.50

Tracy Ann Oberman in McQueen
St James Theatre, London
7:30pm (and Saturday matinee at 2:30pm), £25-65


As always, there’s so much going on at the Velvet Onion, it’s easy to miss things. As well as our News pages, the best way to keep track is via our Twitter feed, so here are a few highlights from throughout the week gone by. Until next time, keep on peeling!

Onion Talking: Paul Kaye on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

15 May
© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

This weekend sees the long-awaited launch of BBC One’s fantasy epic Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, based on the best selling book of the same name, and adapted by the makers of Wallander, Sherlock and Dotor Who.

Set during the Napoleonic Wars in an alternate England where magic was once commonplace, the show focuses on two very different men who are drawn together by their talents in the art, and an ancient prophecy may just be their making, and their undoing.

The top notch ensemble cast including Bertie Carvel, Eddie Marsan, Enzo Clienti, Alice Englert, Charlotte Riley, Marc Warren and TVO regulars Edward Hogg and Paul Kaye, and the result is an intelligent, magical drama that’s definitely got ‘smash-hit’ written all over it.

As Paul Kaye just so happens to be one of TVO’s biggest supporters, we were itching to catch up with him to talk Strange & Norrell, and we were naturally delighted that one of the busiest men in the industry was very keen to tell us all about it, and offer up exclusive images from his archives for good measure. Enjoy…

© Paul Kaye


In a world where magic, at least real magic, is long thought lost, two men are forced to form an uneasy alliance to protect the realms of men – and each other – from the darker side of forgotten secrets that have been brought to the surface.  In our world, where genre television for adults, at least good genre television for adults, is long thought of as a mostly American thing, the BBC has forged ahead with an seven part adaptation of Susanne Clarke’s epic novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell.

With a dynamite cast spearheaded by Eddie Marsan and Bertie Carvel, and also featuring the likes of Enzo Cilenti, Charlotte Riley, Alice Englert and Marc Warren, and both a screenwriter (Peter Harness) and director (Toby Haynes) having cut their teeth on prestigious productions such as Wallander, Sherlock and Doctor Who, and it’s safe to assume that expectations for Strange & Norrell are high.

For The Velvet Onion’s part, the impressive talent in front of and behind the camera is augmented not just by the presence of the brilliant Edward Hogg, but by a regular stamp of quality, in the form of designer turned musician turned comic turned hugely-in-demand actor Paul Kaye as the street magician and accidental prophet Vinculus.

A man of many talents, Kaye’s work on the whole over the last two decades has quality imbedded right down the middle like Blackpool rock, and – in this post Game of Thrones world, when seemingly everyone and their cousin wants to cast Kaye in their production – to actually bag the man himself is usually a sign of a production worth investigating.  This time around, however, it was remarkably easy to get Paul involved, given his admiration for the source material.

© BBC / Todd Antony

Jonathan Strange (Bertie Carvel) & Mr Norrell (Eddie Marsan) © BBC / Todd Antony

“I’ve only seen Episodes One and Two, so far,” he tells TVO as we grab a few moments in a rare bit of downtime between roles. “I was a big devotee of the book, and they’ve done a extraordinary job of visualising it and squeezing it all in. It took me a while to read it, because it has all these footnotes, which were really annoying to begin with” He refers to the near two-hundred additions to the novel made by Susanne Clarke, which illuminate her alternate history and provide an entire fictional body of magical scholarship, should you wish to engage with the book in a more ‘enlightened’ manner.

“Slowly but surely they grow on you,” Paul reveals. “You start to look forward to them. If there isn’t a footnote on the next page, you’re disappointed. They substantiate everything, and enrich it. And that book was on set every day. It was like the Oracle. Everybody loved it, and was determined to do it justice.  ”

Having never read the book, TVO is keen to point out that the series stands on its own two feet – taking the source material as a guide, but never a crutch. The first episode builds slowly, with our guide into the world of magic a curious admirer of the practise, John Segundas, played by Edward Hogg, still perhaps best known for his incredible leading performance in Bunny and the Bull. It is through Segundas that we meet Mr Norrell (Eddie Marsan), who is reluctant to demonstrate his knowledge publicly, until he realises that his skills could be of great value to the ongoing war efforts, and moral duty gets the better of him.

© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

Vinclus meets Childermass (Enzo Clienti) © JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

However, the connection between Norrell and his titular companion Jonathan Strange is made by Vinculus: a street magician who prophesises the two men will form an alliance, as fortold by the mysterious Raven King hundreds of years previously. Played with Paul’s usual vigour and punk-infused zest, Vinculus has the keys to the engine room as the story ramps up a notch, stealing materials from Norrell’s servant to persuade Strange to pursue his destiny.

Watching Kaye on screen a Vinculus, stealing almost every scene from some of the nation’s finest actors, it’s hard to imagine a universe in which he wasn’t the ideal choice for the role.

“I was playing Vinculus in my head when I read it,” Paul reveals. “I was obsessed with chapter 67, The Hawthorn Tree and read it over and over. But I never imagined I’d ever, ever get to play the part.  I love the way Vinculus floats through the story. He’s such a contradiction, because he is a charlatan, no question about that. And yet there’s real truth about him. He’s carved out a reputation and a repertoire on the street, which includes conjuring up the ‘spirit of the River Thames’!  He lives a chaotic life, he blows with the wind and he is unquestionably full of shit, but he has been blessed.”

He laughs, and deadpans: “That last bit’s not a bad description of myself, really.”


Dennis Pennis & Thoros of Myr LEFT IMAGE: © Paul Kaye | RIGHT IMAGE: © HBO

Of course, in recent years, Kaye’s stock as an actor has risen tenfold. Where once the shadow of a certain loud-mouthed, red-haired former alter-ego would precede the very mention of his name, these days he is far more likely to be referred to as ‘Game of Thrones star Paul Kaye’, following his six episode stint in the sprawling fantasy epic, which may just about be the biggest show on television. “I think you’re being kind,” he laughs when TVO mentions the shift, “‘cos I’ve read on several occasions that it’s ‘Dennis Pennis’ who’s is in Game of Thrones, not me.”

Nevertheless, Paul’s been busy of late, spurred on by settling down from his wilder days to raise a family and write TVO random emails in the midle of the night to keep us updated. Recent activities have included parts on radio (including Tracy Ann Oberman’s Mrs Robinson, I Presume), and in Reece Shearsmith & Steve Pemberton’s superlative Inside Number 9, playing Richard Two Shoes in The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge. “Those guys are on another level,” he states. “It was a writing and performance masterclass working with them.”

This week, he’s filming on Sky’s new adaptation of Fungus the Bogeyman alongside Timothy Spall, Victoria Wood, Andy Serkis, Keeley Hawes and his longstanding friend and occasional collaborator Marc Warren – who also appears alongside Kaye in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

Marc Warren as The Gentleman © JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

“I love working with Marc,” Kaye tells TVO, proudly. “No-one does dark like Marc. He was Mike Strutter’s lawyer, for fucks sake! He’s got such an extraordinary energy on set. We’ve got this great scene together later on in the show, and on the day, his intensity pushed me into doing it in a completely differently way to how I’d planned on playing the scene. I had no choice, he just turned from being a mate into a monster on a sixpence and he spooked the shit out of me.  I remember seeing him in Oliver Twist [the 1999 BBC prequel series] on the telly and it was one of those Gary Oldman moments. He turns up on screen and I think: “Who the hell is this guy?” He blew my head off, and within 24 hours of seeing that I bumped into him in Tescos, and I had to say something to him. We became great friends after that.”

Warren isn’t the only familiar face for Kaye in the production, having worked with both its leading men on previous productions: Eddie Marsan on the sublime Radio 4 series Love in Recovery, and Bertie Carvel in Tim Minchin’s highly acclaimed musical adaptation of Matilda at the RSC and in the West End.

© Jean Goldsmith

Kaye & Carvel, 2014 © Jean Goldsmith

“It’s great working with Bertie again,” Paul states. “We shared a dressing room on Matilda The Musical. That was our first taste of magic together. And Eddie,” he quips, “Dear Eddie is just about as lovely and adorable as a Tottenham Hotspur fan can be. Bertie and Eddie’s relationship in Strange and Norrell has wonderful echoes of Mozart and Salieri.”

TVO wonders if the familiarity allows for a more rewarding experience on a shoot. Kaye thinks for a moment, and suggests the reason Strange & Norrell worked so well was that all involved had a shared goal. “You feel like you have an obligation,” he states. “And a duty to bring it to life in the best way possible. I know Bertie had read the book 10 years ago and felt he was born to be Strange! Toby Haynes fought so hard to direct it as well, and he was such a joy to work with. Such incredible enthusiasm. Marc Warren was told he was destined to play the Gentleman by Richard and Judy! When everyone’s pushing in the same direction for the greater good it’s like being part of one of those ginormous balls of herring, which might be my favourite thing in nature!”

Next time you see Paul going hell for leather in a role, think of those herrings. There’s a delicious moment in the first episode of Strange & Norell where Vinculus is awoken from his slumber under a bush. In a matter of moments, he manages to completely befuddle and bewitch Jonathan Strange in equal measure, before tumbling off into the distance, dancing a merry jig of his own design in the middle of a field, all by himself. It’s a moment, TVO opines, that perhaps only someone with a spirit as fiery and energetic as Kaye could pull off.

“There’s a scene in episode 6 I think,” he reveals, chuckling, “where I fell backwards and landed badly on this rock. Everyone on set thought: ‘That’s it. He’s out’, but I groaned for a while, dusted myself off and carried on. It reminds me of when I used to hurt myself at school sports days doing the high jump. I’d do the Fosbury flop onto a fucking sand-pit! I’d wind myself after every jump but it was worth it because I could jump higher using that technique than the other kids who did ‘the scissors’. I loved all the drama and attention of doing a great jump, getting injured, recovering heroically and then doing it all over again. Bit of a twat, really.”

© Paul Kaye

Mike Struter live on stage © Nickie Divine

“Basically,” he affirms, with all the wisdom of a man who actually broke his neck pratfalling with a hat during the first run of Matilda The Musical, “I always thought that if I didn’t put myself in A&E on a shoot, I hadn’t worked hard enough. Things have changed now slightly. The titanium bolt I now have in my neck post-Matilda has sadly meant I’ve had to knock things like the Mike Strutter Group on the head.” Kaye’s live punk-rock cabaret carnage featuring his alter-ego of the same name was a huge underground hit five years ago, with celebrities in the audience and Oram & Meeten’s Wingnut as regular guests. “I miss it dearly,” Paul explains, “but you can’t be fronting a car-crash band anymore if you’re not prepared to go through the windscreen”.

Following Strange & Norrell, Kaye will be seen in Gareth Tunley’s secretive movie debut The Ghoul, alongside Tom Meeten, Alice Lowe and Waen Shepherd, but more on that another time. He also makes a glorious cameo in Kayvan Novak’s new comedy Sun Trap. Again, we’re keeping schtum on that one for now! Perhaps most excitingly, following that, Kaye will next be seen on our screens making a two-part guest appearance in Doctor Who. Whilst his role is understandably shrouded in secrecy, Paul was quick to sing the praises of its production team.

© Olivia Hemmingway

RIP, Walter Sabchak © Olivia Hemmingway

“They’re so committed and passionate about that show ” he reveals, “Peter Capaldi is just the warmest man, right from the read through he gives you a big hug and you feel really buzzed about being part of it all.  I had one of those moments when I walked past my first Dalek in the corridor and thought “Jesus Christ, I’m in Doctor Who!” It was quite odd because one of the locations we filmed at was a huge semi-deserted army base out in the Welsh countryside. As we were shooting this rather intricate scene, there were territorial army guys running after fake ‘insurgents’ in robes and keffiyehs accross the hilltops. I don’t know about national security, but it looked like a Benny Hill sketch.“

And should Susanne Clarke ever finish her sequel to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which is set to focus on Childermass and Vinculus, would Kaye return to his role?

“Finish it?” he asks. “I’m not sure she’s started it yet, has she? But in the event of that happening…” He pauses for a moment and grins. “Oh yes,” he confirms. “With a trillion bells on.”

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell begins on Sunday, 17th May at 9pm on BBC One and is released on Blu-Ray and DVD in the UK on 15th June. The show also airs in the US from Saturday, June 13th from 10pm (9pm Central) on BBC America, and you can read our preview of Episode One now.

Preview: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

14 May
© BBC / Todd Antony

© BBC / Todd Antony

This weekend sees the long-awaited launch of BBC One’s fantasy epic Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, starring Bertie Carvel, Eddie Marsan, Enzo Clienti, Alice Englert, Charlotte Riley, Marc Warren, Edward Hogg and Paul Kaye.

Set during the Napoleonic Wars in an alternate England where magic was once commonplace, the show focuses on two very different men who are drawn together by their talents in the art, and an ancient prophecy may just be their making, and their undoing.

TVO recently caught the first episode ahead of transmission, and to whet your appetites, there’s a spoiler-free preview peeling below.

Ten years is a long time in television, and it’s now over a decade since Doctor Who returned to our screens, bringing back with it not only the intrepid wandering in space and time, but also the notion that good quality, fantasy television could co-exist with game-shows, reality programming and chat-host ego trips in the realm of prime-time TV.

And whilst the boom in the industry has blossomed worldwide in the years since, production companies within the UK have generally struggled to find a genre show which would have a sizeable impact since Merlin, commissioned in the post-Who flurry, called it a day three years ago. For all it’s shared DNA with Doctor WhoSherlock is hardly science-fiction and far removed from fantasy – beyond the notion of why the cleverest man in England elects to take a taxi everywhere in London when the Tube would be much faster.

The truth of the matter is this: expectations are high for Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. The push for the show to be a roaring success isn’t helped by the BBC’s previous wobbles in fantasy adaptations: Gormenghast, we’re looking at you in particular, here. The greatest cast in all the land can’t save a production that doesn’t get it right behind the scenes and on the page.

© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

Which may be why the makers of Strange & Norrell, as we’ll call it for shorthand, are led by familiar names for fans of BBC Wales’ recent output. In the directing chair is Toby Haynes: who cut his teeth on Being Human and Spooks before heading up the five successive episodes that made up the end of Doctor Who‘s fifth series, it’s 2010 Christmas Special, and the start of it’s sixth ‘nu-Who’ run. Haynes was also responsible for probably the most talked about drama episode in the last five years, as he led Sherlock‘s titular detective to his apparent death in the sublime The Reichenbach Fall.

He’s not the only Who allumni on board, either, as the adaptation of Susanne Clarke’s novel comes from Peter Harness, writer of 2014’s Kill the Moon episode, and two further episodes to air later this year. Harness was also responsible for the underrated Frankie Howerd biopic, Rather You Than Me, starring David Walliams as the troubled comic, and his last adaptation of a popular novel turned out to be the Kenneth Branagh smash Wallander.

So far, so good, and collating a cast that includes Bertie Carvel (Les Mis, Sherlock), Eddie Marsan (God’s Pocket, The World’s End), Enzo Clienti (In the Loop, The Theory of Everything), Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures) and Charlotte Riley (Edge of Tomorrow) was an impressive coup. Adding the ever sublime Marc Warren to that cast was the cherry on top, and by adding in Bunny and the Bull star Edward Hogg and the legendary Paul Kaye: Well, now you’ve really got our attention.

© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

Hogg’s role is our way into the story: as John Segundus, he channels innocence and devotion to his cause, as a determined scholar of magic curious to find out why conventional practise of the art died out three centuries ago. Travelling to York to join a gentlemen’s society of magicians, he is instructed that magic can never be performed, only studied, until, that is, he discovers Mr Norrell.

Played with world-weary heart by the eternally impressive Eddie Marsan, Norrell is content to keep himself to himself and practise magic only when he needs to do so, but Segundas’ curious soul manages to persuade him to demonstrate his powers to a flustered society in a sequence which features CGI so impressive, it may finally blur the lines between what Hollywood does as standard and the Beeb can do with a little effort.

Then, as if by magic (sorry, couldn’t help that one), we’re taken out of this narrative, and introduced to the other half of our title: Jonathan Strange. A drifter and clear romancer, he is enthused with ‘posh-toff-charm’ yet for all his flaws, is immediately a likeable soul, thanks in no small part to the nuances of Bertie Carvel’s portrayal. Sure, he’s hopeless, hopping about on his perpetual holiday from responsibilities, but a brief look into his family life demonstrates whose side the audience is meant to be on, and when the inevitable plot-device to free him of his predicament arrives, things begin to look up for ol’ Jonny-boy.

© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

The connection between these two men is in the hands of a street magician, Vinculus, played by Paul Kaye with all his usual punk-rock gusto. He’s charming yet threatening, likeable yet disgusting at the same time, and Kaye has long since been a master of turning grubby little shits into characters you can’t help but root for.

Vinculus has received a prophecy concerning two magicians, and he approaches first Norrell, then later Strange, in his attempts to push the two together. The former has become embroiled in London’s high society, uneasy at his new-found fame after ‘The Miracle of York’, and is immediately cautious of Vinculus. Strange, on the other hand, is fascinated by his visitor, and thus begins a chain of events that could make or break everyone involved.

© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

We could say more. There’s the entire matter of Marc Warren’s character, and how he becomes involved in the plot, that we haven’t even touched upon. There’s a sequence involving a pack of tarot cards that offers Kaye and Enzo Clienti a wonderful sparring match to savour. There’s the involvement of a cringeworthy society-luvvie, desperate to cling onto NorrrrrrELL for a moment in the spotlight, brilliantly brought to life by The Thick of It and Cucumber star Vincent Franklin. And there’s the story of Sir Walter Pole (Mr Selfridge star Samuel West), whose initial scepticism is disproven in ways he could never have dreamed.

But to say more would rob the opening episode of its strongest gambits. What we will say is that, though beautifully shot, and subtly scripted, the tale of Strange & Norrell is slow to get underway, and certain impressive sequences seem at odds with the majority of the episode. This is a dialogue-heavy show, and whilst said dialogue is richly nuanced, it is very much of the period and its half-truths and political implications could be hard to follow if you’re not giving it your full concentration.

Then again, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is a show which deserves your full concentration. In an age where Twitter offers a live commentary of every programme, an awful lot of viewers on Sunday evening won’t really be paying attention, and that’s a worrying thought. Because Strange & Norrell rewards your efforts, and by the climax of the first episode, those who stick with it will be itching to find out what happens next.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell begins on Sunday, 17th May at 9pm on BBC One. It airs in the US from Saturday, June 13th from 10pm (9pm Central) on BBC America, and is released on Blu-Ray and DVD in the UK on 15th June.

So Hot Right Now #30

11 May

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 THIS WEEK below…



Sunday, 9pm, BBC ONE

This week sees the long awaited launch of BBC One’s new fantasy drama Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell which features Paul Kaye and Edward Hogg amongst its hugely talented ensemble cast.

© BBC / Todd Antony

© BBC / Todd Antony

The show is based upon Susanne Clarke’s bestselling novel, and there’s a strong pedigree behind the camera, with writer Peter Harness and director Toby Haynes having previously worked on Doctor WhoWallander and Sherlock between them. Eddie Marsan and Bertie Carvel lead the cast, which also includes Charlotte Riley, Alice Englert, Enzo Clienti, Vincent Franklin, Brian Pettifer and Marc Warren in full on ‘spooky bastard’ mode.

We’ll have a full spoiler free preview of the first episode for you later this week, as well as a catch-up with star Paul Kaye. In the meantime, we can tell you that while the serial may be slow to get going at first, the mystery and intrigue builds as the episode proceeds, the cast act their socks off, and it leaves you wanting more. Which you’ll receive each Sunday for the following seven weeks.

For now, then, set your DVRs, put a reminder in your phones or keep an eye on iPlayer, because we guarantee this is one not to be missed. Episode One airs on Sunday evening at 9pm on BBC One. US audiences can see the show from June 13th. In the meantime, you can see a trailer below.


Wednesday, 10pm, BBC THREE

BBC Three’s new partially improvised sitcom-gameshow-hybrid Murder in Successville continues this week, with Radio 1 DJ Greg James the new rookie partner for Tom Davis unorthodox DI Sleet.

© BBC / Tiger Aspect / Ollie Upton

© BBC / Tiger Aspect / Ollie Upton

This week, the murdered celeb in the run-down town of Successville is none other than Reese Witherspoon, here the owner of Successville’s biggest chain of bars, in one of the daftest puns we’ve heard in a while. As ever, one of the town’s inhabitants did it – but is it the right honorable Reverend Gary Barlow (Colin Hoult), strip club owner Mary Berry (Frances Barber), or casino boss Justin Bieber (Cariad Lloyd)?

For some, the delightful aspect of Murder in Successville is watching the immersed celeb guest crack under pressure, and with Tom Davis ripping him to shreds with his gruff, no-holds barred madness, there’s plenty of that on display. For us, though, the real delight is watching the impressive cast improvise characters around the bewildered star, which never gets old when your cast is this good.

Radio 1 DJ Greg James is the poor rube dropped into the entertaining, immersive murder mystery. He’s got to work out why Reese Witherspoon, owner of Successville’s biggest chain of bars (see what they did there?), has been murdered. Playing junior to the gruff, unorthodox-verging-on-insane DI Sleet (deadpanned brilliantly by Tom Davis), he’s criticised for being “a bit camp and weird”.

Also featuring Liam Hourican, Luke Kempner and Nick Mohammed, and music by Waen Shepherd, you can catch Episode Two on Wednesday evening at 10pm. Episode One, which also featured Tony Way, is available on iPlayer now. You can see a preview clip of this week’s episode, in which Greg James is forced to tackle an unexpected phone call, below, and catch our interview with Tom Davis over yonder.


Thursday, 10pm, BBC TWO

The second series of the critically acclaimed W1A ends this week, days after star Jessica Hynes received a BAFTA for her work on the show.

© BBC / Jack Barnes

© BBC / Jack Barnes

In this fourth and final instalment, the corporate merry-go-round continues to turn as the recent appointment of David Wilkes (Rufus Jones) to the post of Primetime Factuality Executive hasn’t improved his ability at actually making shows work, and it’s up to Izzy (Ophelia Lovibond) to provide inspiration for content to fit inside his new title One Big Family.

Elsewhere, personable Lucy Freeman (Nina Sosanya) has been persuaded to stay at the BBC by being made Head of Inclusivity, but a difficult situation involving a BBC London weather man and a female present threatens to blow up and take the management team with it, and Freeman’s feelings towards Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) are now rivalled by those of the brutal Anna Rampton (Sarah Parish).

Hynes role as PR guru Siobhan Sharpe is, by her own admission at Sunday’s BAFTA ceremony, just one part of the talented ensemble, which also includes fellow BAFTA winner Jason Watkins, acclaimed actress Monica Dolan, and up and coming talent Hugh Skinner. The award win means we’ve unlikely seen the last of the team, and that’s no bad thing, as this episode demonstrates the show doesn’t so much go out on a high, but stays consistently magnificent from start to finish. More, please.

Catch the final episode on Thursday evening at 10pm, and previous editions on iPlayer now. The first two series are also released on dvd at the end of the month, and can be ordered for £14 from The Velvet Onion Amazon Store.


Wednesday, 9:30pm, ITV

Episode Five of The Delivery Man airs on Wednesday evening, once again starring Darren Boyd alongside Faye Ripley, Paddy McGuiness, Aisling Bea and Alex MacQueen.

© Monicker Pictures

© Monicker Pictures

This week, former policeman turned midwife Matthew (Boyd) discovers a baby abandoned in one of the hospital’s cupboards. As he desperately tries to track down the mother before the authorities are called in, he must fend off senior consultant obstetrician Luke (MacQueen), who can sense something is up. Elsewhere, Lisa (Aisling Bea) plays agony aunt and Pat (Llewella Gideon) shows her colleagues a startling artwork she has created.

You can catch the latest episode on Wednesday at 9:30pm on ITV, and previous episodes are available now via ITV Player. There’s currently no sign of a dvd release, so if you’re a fan of the show, it’s probably a good idea to savour these while you can.


There’s a chance to see Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa if you haven’t already bought it (and really, you should have done a long time ago!), as the long-awaited debut feature-film for Steve Coogan‘s irrepressible broadcaster airs on BBC Two on Saturday from 9:20pm.

© BabyCow

© BabyCow

That’s followed an hour after it finishes by another chance to watch the sublime In the Loop – which put The Thick of It‘s Malcolm Tucker (the incomparable Peter Capaldi) on the big screen, sparring against the late James Gandolfini as US Army General Miller. Coogan makes a memorable guest appearance as irate constituent Paul Michaelson (“Five megapixels”), and regular members of TToI team also make appearances, including Tom Hollander, Chris Addison, Joanna Scanlan and TVO regular Alex MacQueen.  Catch it at 11:45pm on BBC Two.

Elsewhere, Spaced legend Simon Pegg makes a guest appearance on The Graham Norton Show on Friday evening, discussing his new film, Man Up, which features Sharon Horgan and is released in UK cinemas on 29th May. We love a bit of Peggy-goodness, as his work often draws him into our peripheral vision, so if you’re in on Friday night, you could do a lot worse than tune in for this, starting at 10:35pm on BBC One.


There’s almost always a chance or two to see a TVO regular on stage, often in London, but as demonstrated this week, also up and down the country. Here’s where you can find them throughout the week.

© Paul Foot

© Paul Foot

Monday 11th May

Aisling Bea with David Elms, Evelyn Mok, Jack Barry and John Hastings – The Pleasance, Islington, 8pm, £5

Tuesday 12th May

Aisling Bea and Diane Morgan – The Old Queen’s Head, London, 8pm, £7

Aisling Bea with Carey Marx, Chris Coltrane, Imran Yusuf & Joe Wells – Union Chapel, London from 7:30pm, £15
Wednesday 13th May

The Colin Hoult Comedy Collab – The Warren, Brighton, 6:30pm, £8.50

Cariad Lloyd as part of the Comedy Store Players – The Comedy Store, London, 8pm, £17

Thursday 14th May

The Colin Hoult Comedy Collab – The Warren, Brighton, 6:30pm, £8.50

Paul Foot: Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon Sharp Minor – Slaughterhouse, Liverpool, 8pm, £12.50

Friday 15th May

Alien with Science Commentary by Richard Sandling and Adam Rutherford, hosted by Helen Arney – Old Town Hall, Chelsea, 6:30pm, £11.00

Channel 4 Comedy Gala with Aisling Bea, Alan Carr, Jack Dee, Jason Byrne, Jon Richardson, Josh Widdicombe, Katherine Ryan, Kevin Bridges, Michael McIntyre, Paul Chowdhry, Rich Hall, Rob Becektt, Romesh Ranganathan, Sara Pascoe, Sean Lock, Seann Walsh and Shappi Khorsandi – o2 Arena, London, 7:00pm, £44.75 to £165.75

Cariad Lloyd – The Camden Head, London, 8pm, Free

Paul Foot: Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon Sharp Minor – Alhambra Studio, Bradford, 8pm, £14

Saturday 16th May

Paul Foot: Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon Sharp Minor – Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, 8pm, £12.50

Sunday 17th May

Paul Foot: Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon Sharp MinorNuffield Theatre, Southampton, 7:30pm, £10-£15

Cariad Lloyd as part of the Comedy Store Players – The Comedy Store, London, 8pm, £17

Kevin Eldon & Tony Law with Adam Buxton, Adam Hess, Bec Hill, Benny Boot, Darren Walsh, Marcel Lucont, Mat Ewins, Nick Helm, Pete Johansson, Sophie Hagen and Michael Legg – Leicester Square Theatre, London, 7:30pm, £20-£25


As always, there’s so much going on at the Velvet Onion, it’s easy to miss things. As well as our News pages, the best way to keep track is via our Twitter feed, so here are a few highlights from throughout the week gone by. Until next time, keep on peeling!

Magic is Coming: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell UK & US Air Dates Revealed

9 May
© BBC / Todd Antony

© BBC / Todd Antony

Brand new BBC fantasy saga Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is confirmed to air later this month in the UK, and US audiences can see the show from June.

Set during the Napoleonic Wars in an England where magic once existed and is about to return and two great men begin a dangerous battle against one another through the dark arts.  Based on Susanna Clarke’s bestselling novel, the adaptation comes from Peter Harness (Wallander, Doctor Who) and director Toby Haynes (Sherlock, Doctor Who), and features a stellar cast to catch your attention.

Eddie Marsan (The World’s End, God’s Pocket) and Bertie Carvel (Matilda, The Crimson Petal and the White) lead the way, and are joined by TVO favourites Paul Kaye and Edward Hogg, plus Charlotte Riley (Peaky Blinders), Alice Englert (New Worlds), Enzo Clienti (The Theory of Everything), Vincent Franklin (The Thick of It), Brian Pettifer (Rab C Nesbitt) and Kaye’s regular collaborator Marc Warren (The Musketeers, Hustle).

Little has been revealed about Edward Hogg’s role, at present, with the Bunny and the Bull actor playing Segundus in all seven episodes, but it’s clear that Paul Kaye’s character, Vinculus, is integral to the plot: a vagabond magician of Threadneedle Street who tells Norrel he is destined to be a great magician.

© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

© JSMN Ltd / Matt Squire / BBC

If you’re intrigued – fear not… we’ll have a full spoiler-free preview here on TVO soon, and if that simply isn’t enough, we’re also planning an exclusive catch-up with Paul Kaye for you to savour before the series launches.

UK audiences can see the show every Sunday evening on BBC One at 9pm, starting 17th May. US viewers fear not: BBC America will be airing JS&MN at 10pm (9pm central) starting Saturday June 13th. In the meantime, there’s a gallery of images from the first episode below.

A Sneaky Peek At WarpFilms10

4 Nov

© Warp Films / Golden

A few months ago, we told you about the forthcoming WarpFilms10 boxset from seminal film production company Warp.  Made to celebrate the company’s tenth birthday, this deluxe presentation of some of their finest work over the past decade including a number of big movies from Onion Land.

The limited edition Book and DVD Set features exclusive behind-the-scenes photographs and unreleased archive materials, plus ten key productions from the Warp legacy.

To make it even more sweet, the book contains a foreword by Chris Hewitt of Film 2013 fame, and an exclusive interview with Warp Films creative bods Mark Herbert and Steve Beckett.

In chronological order, the set features: Dead Man’s Shoes, This Is England, All Tomorrow’s Parties, Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee, Bunny And The BullFour LionsSubmarine, Tyrannosaur, Kill List and Snowtown.

Mark Herbert, who also produced Four Lions and Submarine, will be signing and hand-numbering the first 1000 copies, to make the set even more collectible.  It will only be available on dvd, sadly (no blu-ray copies it seems for some reason!), and will retail at £95, but pre-orders can currently be placed for just £80.

It’s money well spent, we feel, and you can join the elite club of owners of this gorgeous bit of kit over yonder.  But just in case you needed any further persuasion, the good folk at Warp have very kindly sent us this exclusive preview of one of the book’s spreads on Bunny And The Bull – featuring previously unseen production stills featuring Edward HoggSimon FarnabyJulian Barratt and director Paul King.  Just click on the preview below to see a bigger version… enjoy.

© Warp Films / Golden

© Warp Films / Golden


24 Jul

Seminal film production company Warp are celebrating their tenth birthday this year, and film buffs and collectors can savour a very special presentation of some of their finest work over the past decade, including a number of big movies from Onion Land.

© Warp Films / Golden

WarpFilms10 is a deluxe limited edition Book and DVD Set, featuring exclusive behind-the-scenes photographs and unreleased archive materials, plus ten key productions.  To make it even more sweet, the book contains a foreword by Chris Hewitt of Film 2013 fame, and an exclusive interview with Warp Films creative bods Mark Herbert and Steve Beckett.

The ten films included, in chronological order, are: Dead Man’s Shoes, This Is England, All Tomorrow’s Parties, Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee, Bunny And The BullFour LionsSubmarine, Tyrannosaur, Kill List and Snowtown.

Mark Herbert, who also produced Four Lions and Submarine, will sign and hand-number the first 1000 copies, to make the set even more collectible.  It will only be available on dvd, sadly (no blu-ray copies it seems for some reason!), and will retail at £95, but pre-orders can currently be placed for just £80.  Money well spent, we feel, and you can join the elite club of owners of this gorgeous bit of kit over yonder.

End The Month With The Comedian

30 May

© Trinity Filmed Entertainment

A new feature film, The Comedian, featuring Edward Hogg, is release in UK cinemas tomorrow, 31st May.

In case you can’t quite place the name, Hogg comes with two TVO connections: he played the fretful Stephen in Bunny & The Bull and he also played the part of Henry in the series Dead Boss.

In this film Hogg stars as stand-up comedian Ed, failing to make it on the London comedy circuit. He spends his nights performing in small rooms above pubs and his days trying to earn a living at a call centre.

The film focuses on Ed’s passionate affair with a man he meets on a night bus, which forces him to make a choice between his attraction to a man and his love for a woman.

Director Tom Shkolnik, filmed his debut feature on the streets of London to a specific set of rules: including only using natural light, just one take per scene and improvising without a script. It’s an approach that should certainly make for an interesting viewing experience.

To celebrate the release of The Comedian London folk can enjoy a special screening at the Curzon Soho tomorrow at 6.45pm. In addition to the film itself, there will also be intro and post-screening drinks with the Director & cast members, Edward Hogg, Elisa Lasowski and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett. To book tickets for this event click here. If you fancy seeing the film but you’re not able to not able to go to the special screening, please check your local cinema listings for information about general screening times.

If you’d like to find out more about The Comedian (and to see clips, reviews and photos) take a look at the film’s website. In the meantime, why not check out the trailer below?


TVO Triple!

12 Jul

You wait ages for one comedy show then, like buses, three come along at once! Tonight is one such evening, as Onion layers take over the airwaves!


First up at 10pm on E4 is episode two of The Midnight Beast, directed by Ben Gregor and featuring our favourite funny man called Simon Farnaby in the shape of, er… Simon Farnaby!

In tonights edition The Midnight Beast turn to the murky world of visual artists to craft a new music video, with suitably anarchic results. We are not 100% sure Simon features this week but its worth a watch regardless.


Following this, hop over to BBC Three for the series finale of Dead Boss, featuring its cowriter Sharon Horgan alongside Bunny and the Bull star Edward Hogg, at 10:30pm.

In tonights episode, Helen (Horgan) is being transferred to another wing whilst prison governer Margaret (Jennifer Saunders) faces a transfer to another prison altogether. Meanwhile, lovelorn Henry (Hogg) makes a gruesome discovery…

With a special guest appearance by one Miranda Richardson, no less, alongside impressionist John Sessions, it looks like Dead Boss will be going out with a bang!

After the show, its time to turn off the tv, and maybe the lights too, as you flick your dials to Radio Four (you may wish to do this before turning the lights off) – because at 11:00pm, the first episode of Alice’s Wunderland arrives.


Described by its epicentre Alice Lowe as “the Poundland of magical realms” – Wunderland is a strange and silly place we first visited last year in a one off pilot. Now we can finally return, and alongside Alice are a host of TVO names.

The likes of Richard Glover, Waen Shepherd, Rachel Stubbings and Clare Thomson are part of its ensemble cast, and we can’t wait to hear the results.

This being the 21st century all three shows will be available on catch up not long after broadcast. Pop back here tomorrow for the links, or sit back tonight and embrace the whole bally lot of them…. We will be!

Editor’s Note: The artist behind the Wunderland artwork above – Lewes Herriot – is currently exhibiting at Maison Berteaux, so do check it out if you are nearby!

Dead Boss Pulls A Crowd

15 Jun


Nearly half a million viewers tuned in for the launch of Dead Bossthe brilliant new series from Sharon Horgan, it has been revealed.

Just short of 500,000 people watched the opening double bill of the murder mystery sitcom on BBC3 last night, which is a fantastic result for a late night slot on a digital station.

TVO has been keeping an eye on the show for a while – formerly known as Life Stories and briefly known as Bitches, it is the first of two Horgan projects set to hit our screens this year, with her collaboration with Julia DavisBad Sugar, due any time soon.

Directed by none other than Steve Bendelack, who shot The Boosh pilot episode all those years ago, but is perhaps best known for his work with The League Of Gentlemen, and script edited by League member Jeremy Dyson – the pedigree of Dead Boss was sky high even before it was revealed that its cast would be augmented by comedy legend Jennifer Saunders.

And it seems viewers loved the results, though the critical opinion of the show is somewhat divided at present – with positive reviews from the likes of The Telegraph tempered by somewhat more negative thoughts from the Radio Times.

If you missed the show, you can make up your own mind via BBC iPlayer now – with the first two episodes available already, and the promise of Series Catch-Up keeping them online for the duration of the run.  You may also wish to cast your eyes over this rather positive article from The Guardian, which cites Horgan, Davis and Wix & Crilly amongst the key players making the term ‘comedienne’ less of a stigma by being so brilliant.  Enjoy.

Horgan Celebrates Middle Age (And Ends Up In Prison)

10 Jun

© Hat Trick Productions

Sharon Horgan is set to return to Channel 4 to front a two-part documentary series that challenges perceptions of older women.

In the films Horgan will talk to women between 40 and 59 years who are going through a major change such as moving to a new place, taking up an activity, or whose children are leaving home. The films explore how older women are portrayed and raise questions about what is expected of them.

The two-part series is being produced by All3Media’s North One Television, who also made the Horgan-fronted How to Be a Good Mother for Channel 4.

© BBC 3

Don’t forget that you can see Horgan in the new prison-based comedy  Dead Boss  next week, which kicks off on BBC3 on Thursday14th June.  Episode 1 airs at 10.30pm, with episode 2 straight afterwards at 11pm. For additional transmission times for the first two episodes click here. And if you can’t wait until Thursday, you can check out the trailer now.

Post-Pay Day Pre-Order Frenzy!

29 Jan

Just been paid? We reckon the first pay-day of 2012 deserves a celebration! And what better way to celebrate than spending some of that pay cheque on yourself? If you’re after some inspiration, look no further than the Booshniverse-related DVDs that are due for release during 2012 and beyond.

© Channel 4

Charlie Brooker’s acclaimed techno-thriller trilogy Black Mirror is released on 27th February. The second part, entitled ’15 Million Merits’ features the wonderful Julia Davis in super-glam form. As yet there’s no news about DVD extras, but for more information about the release, to read reviews and to pre-order click here.

Life’s Too Short, the latest sitcom from the pens of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, about the exaggerated life of Warwick Davis – the world-famous cult actor with dwarfism, is released on DVD in October 2012. While it’s still some way off, you can pre-order it now by clicking here. The series features three Booshniverse-related artists: Matthew Holness, who plays Ian Wald – the lawyer in Warwick’s divorce case, and Steve Brody, who starred in Angelos and Lifespam, plays Eric – the worst accountant in the world. The series also features cameos from Colin Hoult and Tony Way.

© Sony Pictures

Anonymous is a historical melodrama which offers a bosom-heaving alternative view of Shakespeare’s world. It also stars Edward Hogg (Bunny & The Bull) and Tony Way, so deserves a mention here. Anonymous is released on 5th March and you can pre-order it on DVD and Blu-ray at the Velvet Onion Amazon store by clicking on the relevant links.

You can also purchase a DVD of the Ab Fab three-part special which aired over Christmas. You’d better be patient though, because the release date is 13th August 2013! However, for all the Ab Fab obsessives out there you can pre-order the show that features MongrelsLucy Montgomery here.

Finally, for those of you who have already pre-ordered the DVD of Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy (or for those of you who are planning to do so) please note that the release has moved back from its original optimistic date of 19th March 2012 to a more realistic 28th January 2013. Given the team are still finishing off the TV series this is hardly surprising, but it means we’ll have to be super-patient. You can pre-oder Luxury Comedy here.

We’ll be letting you know about further TVO-relevant DVD releases as they happen. Time to start counting the days until the second pay-day of 2012!…

Onion At The Oscars? Yes, Way!

25 Jan

© Columbia Pictures

Two films featuring Tony Way feature in the 2012 Oscar Nominations!

David Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, in which Tony plays the small but important role of hacker Plague (due to reappear in further films in the trilogy), is up for five awards: Actress In A Leading Role for Rooney Mara, Cinematography (Jeff Cronenworth), Film Editing (Kurt Baxter and Angus Wall), Sound Editing (Ren Klyce) and Sound Mixing (David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson).

Meanwhile, another film featuring Tony, Roland Emmerich’s historical thriller Anonymous has been given a nomination for Costume Design, thanks to designer Lisy Christl.  This latter film is available for pre-order now on dvd and region-free blu-ray in The Velvet Onion Amazon Store, and also features Bunny And The Bull star Edward Hogg!  It’s due for release on March 2nd, and the 84th Academy Awards ceremony takes place on Sunday, February 26th.

Whilst we have your attention, Mr Way is next set to appear in cult series Game Of Thrones which airs on HBO and Sky Atlantic in April.  We’ll aim to bring you more news on Tony’s role in the show nearer to transmission.

Booshniverse At The BAFTAs – And Beyond

8 Jan

© Warp Films

The long list of films voted for by BAFTA members for entry in the 2012 Orange British Academy Film Awards has been announced, and there are a few Booshniverse-relevant favourites in there!

Richard Ayoade‘s critically-acclaimed debut Submarine is in the list for Outstanding British Film; and Anonymous, featuring Tony Way and Bunny & The Bull‘s Edward Hogg, is included in the lists for Best Original Screenplay, Production Design, Make-up And Hair and Costume Design.

Arthur Christmas, featuring the vocal talents of Rich Fulcher and Julia Davis is entered for Best Animated Film and Best Original Screenplay, and the much-lauded Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, which features Tony Way as hacker Plague, is listed in thirteen categories! Tyrannosaur, a Warp Films production (and therefore dear to our hearts!) is also listed in five categories.

Nominations in all categories will be announced on 17th January, and the winners will be announced at the Orange British Academy Film Awards on 12 February. For the full BAFTA long list click here.

© Optimum Releasing

While we’re on the subject of film awards, the ‘Critics Circle’ nominations have also recently been announced, and once again, the Booshniverse has fared well: Ayoade is up for Breakthrough British Film-maker and both Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige are nominated for Young British Performer of the Year – all for Submarine.

Modern horror, Kill List, directed by The Sightseers’ Ben Wheatley, and featuring TVO faces Gareth TunleyAlice Lowe and Steve Oram, also gains nominations for British Film and Supporting Actor of the Year. Tyrannosaur again features, with two nominations.

Click here for the full list of nominations for the Critics’ Circle awards. The awards ceremony takes place in London on 19th January.

Congratulations to all of the nominees. We’ll let you know how they all fair on the respective awards nights, so keep you fingers crossed!

Anonymous Release

26 Oct

© Sony Pictures

The blockbuster Elizabethan drama Anonymous is released in theatres nationwide this weekend.

We first told you about the film’s release back in April, as its ensemble cast, spearheaded by Vanessa Redgrave, Rhys Ifans, David Thewlis, Joely Richardson, Jamie Campbell Bower, Rafe Spall and Sir Derek Jacobi also features our very own Tony Way as poet Thomas Nashe, and Bunny & The Bull star Edward Hogg as Robert Cecil, the First Earl of Salisbury.

A political thriller by director Roland Emerich, which is based upon the numerous theories that Shakespeare was not the real author of his plays, the film has been recieving mostly positive reviews – including comments on Hogg’s “stand-out” performance from The Guardian, which US based magazine Variety described as “disturbingly chalky” and “delicious”.  However, not all critics have been kind to the film, with Empire giving it only 2 out of 5 stars in their review.

Following its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last month, the film received its UK premier earlier this week.  With such polarising reviews, perhaps it is best if peelers make up their own mind about Anonymous, which they can do in cinemas from tomorrow.

Anonymous in Toronto

3 Sep

© 2011 Columbia TriStar

Ahead of its theatrical releases in October, Anonymous premieres at the forthcoming Toronto International Film Festival later this month.

A political thriller by director Roland Emerich, the film advances the theory that Shakespeare was not the author of his plays. The drama is set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I and the Essex Rebellion against her. We first told you about it back in April, as it features Tony Way as Thomas Nashe and Edward Hogg (pictured right) as Robert Cecil. Bunny And The Bull fans will recognise Hogg from his role as Stephen, Bunny’s best friend.

Anonymous will be showing at TIFF on 11th, 12th and 17th September. If you like your history served up with a large helping of big-screen drama, it’s well worth a look. For full details of the screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival and to purchase tickets visit TIFF’s website.

To view the movie’s three (yes three!) trailers click here.  It is released in cinemas in the UK and US from October 28th.

Bunny And The American Bull

29 Apr

© Warp X / Optimum Films

Great news for all our Stateside peelers! Bunny and The Bull has finally been released on DVD in the US.

Bunny and The Bull is a film about Steven Turnbull, a man with OCD who hasn’t ventured outside his house ever since he returned home from a European road trip with his best friend Bunny. The film is a visual delight and tells the story by looking back at what caused him to become a hermit.

The main characters are played by Edward Hogg, Simon Farnaby and Veronica Echegui but Paul King’s film is chock-full of Boosh connected people, including Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt, Rich Fulcher and Richard Ayoade.

While UKers have been enjoying Paul King‘s directorial big screen début on DVD since 29 March 2010, America has been neglected… until now.

April 26th marked the day of the American DVD release. You can purchase your Region 1 copy at for $17.99.

Not American but don’t own Bunny and The Bull yet? Don’t worry, you can easily remedy that by going to The Velvet Onion Amazon store where you can find it on both dvd and blu-ray.

It comes highly recommended – this is a film you’ll want to have in your personal collection!


11 Apr

© Sony Pictures

Something tells us next year’s Oscars will have a tinge of Booshdom, as two familiar faces are set to appear in historical thriller Anonymous this Autumn.

The film, which hinges on the question of who really wrote William Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, is to be released on September 30th 2011.  Directed by Roland Emmerich of Independence Day fame, it stars Vanessa Redgrave, Rhys Ifans, David Thewlis, Joely Richardson, Jamie Campbell Bower, Rafe Spall and Sir Derek Jacobi, alongside TVO’s very own Tony Way and Bunny And The Bull star Edward Hogg.

Way plays poet Thomas Nashe in the film, whereas Hogg appears as Robert Cecil, the First Earl of Salisbury.   The latter can be glimpsed several times during the trailer.  This is also the first of two films this year set to feature Tony Way alongside Joely Richardson, as imdb reports that he will also be appearing in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo in December.

You can view the trailer below, and we’ll naturally be bringing you more details closer to release.

TV Bunny

8 Mar

© Warp X / Optimum Films

Bunny And The Bull is to receive its free-to-air television premiere next week.

The 2009 film directed by Paul King tells the story of obsessive compulsive Steven Turnbull, who has not left the house since returning from a disastrous road trip with his friend Bunny the previous year.  Through a series of personal belongings and collections, Steven relives his misadventures and has to come to terms with his lot in life.

Starring Edward Hogg, Simon Farnaby and Veronica Echegui, King’s directorial film debut is scored by The Ralfe Band and features cameo appearances by Julian Barratt, Noel Fielding, Richard Ayoade and Rich Fulcher!  Whilst, as our review showcased, it is not to be missed by Boosh fans, it’s fair to say that even unbiased film fanatics ranted and raved about the film upon its release, and it is set to be a cult favourite for years to come.

If you haven’t bought it on dvd or blu-ray yet from The Velvet Onion Amazon Store – and why not? – then you can catch it on Film4 next Thursday, 17th March at 9pm.  The film may be repeated several times after this, so check your listings!

Editors note: thanks to Emma Smith for bringing this one to our attention!

Bunny And The Bull – Out Now On DVD & Blu-Ray!

29 Mar

© Warp X / Optimum Films

Bunny And The Bull is released on dvd and blu-ray today in the UK.

The film, directed by Mighty Boosh director Paul King, stars Edward Hogg & Simon Farnaby as two flatmates, Stephen & Bunny. Stephen (Hogg) is a profoundly neurotic young man suffering from a recent bout of agoraphobia, recalling a disastrous vacation in Europe with his friend Bunny (Farnaby).

Bunny And The Bull also features cameo appearances from Julian Barratt, Noel Fielding and Richard Ayoade, plus a soundtrack from The Ralfe Band.

While none of the online retailers seem to list the extras for the dvd or blu-ray, we can confirm the following additional features.

* Audio commentary by Paul King & members of the cast.

* Paul King’s guide to the film.

* Interviews with the cast & crew.

* Behind the scenes featurette.

* Bloopers reel.

You can buy both from all good retailers now, but if you can’t wait to go to the shops, you can order them via & The Velvet Onion Store below.

Order Bunny And The Bull [DVD]

Order Bunny And The Bull [blu-ray]

Order Bunny And The Bull Soundtrack CD

The Velvet Onion contributor BabyOnFire gives her view on the release below. Click to read more…

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