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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.

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.

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…

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.

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!


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.

TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part One

1 Jan

2013 has been a funny old year in Onion Land. We’ve seen our regulars scoop bucketloads of awards, from Best British Film at the Empire Awards to International Emmy Awards and everything in-between. Some names on our roster have reached new heights of success, becoming household names to people who have no idea of their cult origins. Others have just continued being quietly amazing, but all of them have been worthy of your attention.

As a result, we’ve been ploughing through the 12 months of TVO, to pluck out the best bits from over 700 news stories across 2013. This first instalment of our round-up covers January-March, and is jam packed with forgotten treasures and instant classics alike.  Enjoy.


The year began quietly, with the only key new show on the box being, on the surface, designed for kids. FIT was a sports-based sketch show on CBBC from the team behind Sorry, I’ve Got No Head, and featured TVO regulars Tony WayRufus Jones and Aisling Bea in its ensemble cast. For the most part, however, it was the involvement of Peter Serafinowicz - reprising his beloved cult character Brian Butterfield – which got everyone’s attention…

On the other end of the spectrum, Michael SmileyDan Tetsell and Simon Farnaby turned up in the very-much-for-grown-ups cyber-thiller Utopia on Channel 4. The show concerned itself with attempts to trace the only known copy of a graphic novel which left a trail of bloody carnage in its wake. With Four Lions star Adeel Akhtar part of its ensemble cast, as well as Kill List actor Neil Maskell as a creepy hitman, and The Thick Of It‘s Paul Higgins as a blackmailed civil servant, the show became an instant cult hit, and will be returning for a second series in 2014.

Closer to home, and the good folk of Onion Land seemed keen to dish out advice. Comedic agony aunt Rachel Stubbings was offering specially crafted miniature versions of herself for sale to anyone in need of a friendly ear. Or, to be more exact, a bit of unemotional plastic which happened to look a bit like her, in a variety of costumes. The Stubby Buddy was a quick sell out, though something tells me we won’t be seeing them in the shops next year…

Elsewhere, conceptual artist and Luxury Comedy star Kim Noble was offering handy tips on how to buy an oven

And as Bowie-fever gripped the world, James Cook released his own, haunting interpretation of Mr Jones’ classic track, Ashes To Ashes

Continue reading

Alice Returns To Wunderland

6 Dec

© Lewes Herriot / Alice Lowe

Alice’s Wunderland - the surreal radio sketch show from the mind of Alice Lowe returns next week to Radio 4.

The show is set in the titular Wunderland – the pound shop of magical realms which is home to waifs, stays, ghosts, pensioners and squirrels, all brought to life by Alice and her incredible cast.

That includes TVO regulars Richard GloverRachel Stubbings and Clare Thompson, as well as Alan Partridge star Simon Greenall and acting legend Marcia Warren.

Series One aired back in July and August of last year, and we talked to Alice in depth about the show even earlier than that, when the pilot aired in April 2011.  You can read our interview again here.  This time around, the incredibly in-demand wonder that is Ms Lowe is ridiculously busy, so we’ve not been able to offer you a fresh tease.

However, from what we’ve heard about the new run, and from how much we enjoyed Series One, we’re sure it’s going to be something pretty darn special.

The show airs on BBC Radio 4 at 11pm on Thursday 12th December, and continues until January 2nd.  Episodes will be available on iPlayer shortly after transmission, and we’ll provide reminder links when we can.

Though really, nothing will beat wrapping up warm on Thursday night, and taking a trip to a (cheap) magical realm with the rest of us… meet you by the bins at 10:55?

Second Friday Arousals With Stubbings & Sanders

4 Oct

© Lou Sanders & Rachel Stubbings

The delightful duo of Rachel Stubbings and Lou Sanders have announced details of a new monthly comedy night featuring top notch names for no cash whatsoever.

The second Friday of every month (so that’s October 11th, November 8th, December 13th and so on) will see Rachel & Lou host an evening of free entertainment at The Camden Head, situated on Camden High Street minutes from the tube station.

The shows promise the likes of James Acaster, Katherine Ryan, Joe Lycett & Sara Pascoe, all trying out new material as the never ending cycle of getting ready for next year’s Edinburgh fest begins in earnest.

Each show will take place from 8pm, so there’s plenty of time to pop down after work and enjoy some top notch comics in an intimate setting, and help them figure out what works. Go giggle a lot.  For more info, visit Rachel’s website, over yonder.

Onion Selling

16 Sep

Whilst TVO appears to be in a ‘proper telly’ lull as we await a few big name shows coming soon, there’s no shortage of Onion faces cropping up on our screens thanks to the world of ad-breaks.



Such is the fickle nature of the acting profession – and stand-up comedy for that matter – every once in a while, TVO regulars crop up in commercials.

Whilst some may baulk at the notion of talented people turning up in adverts, let us remind you that, much like voiceover work, it pays well, doesn’t take long, and adds to the portfolio.  And hey, if it’s good enough for John Cleese, Dawn French, Kylie Minogue and Kevin Bacon, to name but a few big names who succumb to acting in ads, then who are we to complain.   Plus… it gets our good friends on the tellybox when we least expect it!

In the past, we’ve rounded up a number of commercials featuring so many faces of Onion Land, and the last month or so has seen the debut of three more such ads.

First up in this latest collection is the return of Rufus Jones as the face of job website, in an advert which debuted during this weekend’s top-rated edition of X-Factor, no less.  Once again Richard Sandling is one of his potential targets for new work after a rude awakening…

Elsewhere, Channel 5 is keen to push it’s own catch-up service, Demand 5, which is now available on smart televisions, as well as NOWTV boxes, their website and YouTube.  Catching up on Neighbours with a rather heavy hangover in this commercial is none other than Rachel Stubbings

And then there’s Virgin Media, who are using athlete Usain Bolt and company founder Richard Branson in a series of adverts, all of which are voiced by Richard Ayoade

Lastly for now, is the return of Paul Kaye in typically maniacal form as the star of BetVictor’s long running campaign.  Here, Victor Chandler is enjoying a nice, gentle, first-class train ride, but typically, Maurice can’t quite leave him in peace…

As long as there is an Onion Land, it seems, there will be commercials featuring its inhabitants.  There are far too many for us to possibly collate, but we’ve done our best to dig into the archives and find you some of the better moments via the handy playlist below.

Included here are such classic moments as Julian Barratt advertising Metz way back in 1997, and his co-hort Noel Fielding being creative with handcuffs for Carling Live five years later.  There are big name ads you’d never realise had TVO links, from Simon Farnaby voicing a horse with a penchant for NutriGrain through to Ben Wheatley helming recent Go Compare ads.

Of course, there’s a huge chunk of voiceover king Matt Berry, but his IT Crowd co-stars Chris O’Dowd and Katherine Parkinson get a look in too.  Regular collaborators Tom Meeten and Barunka O’Shaughnessy pop up in a few ads, and we’ve got loads more to savour featuring the likes of Richard GloverLaura PatchAlex KirkRhys ThomasJustin EdwardsDan TetsellAnna CrillyKaty Wix and the well trained eye of Paul King.  We’ve also got a ridiculously early tv appearance by Steve Coogan, and a couple of later ads in character as Paul and Pauline Calf. Enjoy…

Good Grief

30 Aug
© Rachel Stubbings

© Rachel Stubbings

Rachel Stubbings and Alex Kirk are to star in a short film, Good Grief, to be released soon.

The film was written by Rachel, directed by Jim Owen, and produced by Matthew Mulot.

Filming took place this week, with a still from the production seen here.

We’ll bring you more details in the coming weeks, including, we hope, a link to see the results, so stay peeled!

Stubbings & Sanders Play Again

6 Aug

© Camden Fringe

Following an initial run of 5 dates as part of the Camden Fringe, there’s one final opportunity to see Rachel Stubbings and Lou Sanders  at the Camden Head tomorrow night (Wednesday).

The show features a half our set from each comedian, and it  comes highly recommended by both Time Out and our editor-in-chief, who caught Sunday’s performance and said of it: “You will never think of grieving or sugar in quite the same way”. Stubbings herself promises that they’ve, “got curly kale & a joke on offer.”  Of course.

The extra show starts at 9.30pm and tickets are only £7.50 (£5.50 conc). To purchase tickets click here.


Stubbing Camden

15 Jul

© Rachel Stubbings

Rachel Stubbings will be making a few appearance in Camden town!

The Camden Head has seen many of our lot tread their boards, whether it be for a warm-up, preview, a one-off or a long run – now during the first week of august, Rachel Stubbings will be joined by Lou Sanders as part of The Camden Fringe – paralleling the usual Edinburgh Fringe for Londoners than cannot make it up for the festival.

Stubbings will be standing up from 1st August until the 4th August each night from 8pm, and only for a mere £5 if you prebook right now!

For more information and for your tickets, you can click right here.

Camden Comedy Nights

1 Jun

© Rachel Stubbings, Oram & Meeten

Three TVO-connected artists will be performing at The Colonel Fawcett in in Camden in the forthcoming weeks.

On Wednesday 12th June you’ll be able to see Rachel Stubbings, and then on Wednesday 26th June, you’ll be able to see Oram & Meeten (who, we’re guessing, will be honing their Club Fantastico show for its official debut on 3rd July).

Both shows are hosted by Lee Kern, and what’s more, tickets are only £2!  Yes, you read that correctly – for less than the price of a coffee, you can see a cracking night of comedy. What’s not to like?  There doesn’t appear to be an advance booking system, so we recommend just turning up on the night; the shows start at 8pm.

The Velvet Onion Live: One Year On…

31 May

Today marks the one year anniversary of The Velvet Onion Live!

In character, Matt Berry once memorably said: “Time is a menstruous woman. One cannot control her eddying currents.”  Rarely has a truer remark been uttered in jest.  It’s hard to believe a whole twelve months have passed since our inaugural live event at The Vandella, Shepherd’s Bush, made in collaboration with James Wren and Bob Pipe.  And yet, there it is – a big fat first anniversary.

To celebrate this occasion, as we slowly but surely gear ourselves up to arrange further live events before the second anniversary is upon us and we increasingly look like one-hit-wonders, we will be bringing you weekly installments of footage from the jam-packed event.  It’s fairly lo-fi due to a few technical hiccups on the night, but we recorded the whole event for posterity and now, at last, we can share it with you all.

For those not in the know, the event gathered together a number of our regular names for a night of fun and games.  We had live comedy sets from duos Steven Oram and Tom MeetenRichard Glover and Stephen EvansDolly Wells and Laura PatchGareth Tunley and Alex Kirk.  We had solo sets from Dan TetsellRichard Sandling and Rachel Stubbings, whilst David McNeill nabbed Evans & Glover back for a spot of twisty-nonsense.

And that wasn’t all. Alice Lowe and Antony Elvin gave us a set from Hot Brew, whilst Elvin also regaled us with jaunty ditties alongside Will Summers.  There was a rare chance to see DeadDogInBlackBag perform, and we heralded the return of Waen Shepherd as Gary Le Strange.  The night was rounded off with a sumptuous set from James Cook, and we had Mike Fielding DJ-ing whenever performers took a well earned rest.

The night began, proper, however, with an important health and safety announcement from our honorary member, Bollo:

We’ll be bringing you more footage, all being well, on a weekly basis, so come back next Friday for your next installment!

Stub Your Monday For Two Quid!

19 May
© Rachel Stubbings

© Rachel Stubbings

Londoners have a chance to see Rachel Stubbings on a top notch bill tomorrow for a measly £2.  And if you happen to be an animal, you may enjoy it even more…

Rachel and her cohorts have realised that, whilst there’s loads of comedy about animals, no-one is currently targeting the animal market directly.   Sounds like she and her cohort Jess Foteskew, are onto something there!

Holding out their hands with the duo towards any rogue paws, flippers or aroliums in the vicinity will be Nathan Dean Williams, Luke Benson and two faces you may recognise from the tellybox: recent Russell Howard’s Good News guest stand-up Lou Sanders, and Sara Pascoe of The Thick Of It, 2012 and Being Human fame.

The evening of Orwellian comedy takes place at The Miller on Snowsfields Road in the Southwark area (5 minutes walk from London Bridge Underground Station), and tickets can be picked up for £2 now via wegottickets.

If you’d prefer, you can buy ‘em on the door, and for more info, including questions like “Do you know what Japanese bees do to hornets?”, visit the event’s Facebook page!

Good Grief In Soho

4 Apr

© Soho Theatre

Next week sees the launch of The Comedy Project at one of TVO’s favourite venues, The Soho Theatre, and as can be expected, a TVO talent or two is on hand for the celebrations.

The four night season takes place every successive Monday in April (8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th) and features a number of talented writer/performers – both established and up-and-coming – previewing new work.

Each evening sees two or three different performances, ranging from sitcom pilots and radio plays to stand-up and filmed sketches, and all will be given feedback on the night by a panel of comedy industry experts.

April 15th sees the debut performance of Good Grief written and performed by Rachel Stubbings with co-star Alex Kirk.  The plot tease is intriguing, stating: “Nancy knew her Mum’s funeral was going to be tough but nothing could’ve prepared her for the visual sh*t bomb that’s on its way…”

Tickets are available now for just £10, and can be picked up via The Soho Theatre website.  For a full list of shows and performances, click here.

Elsewhere, Stubbings has recently appeared with her occasional collaborator Luke McQueen in a rather brilliant sketch about a Bad Date, which you can see below.

Stubbing Out Problems at Kings Place

26 Feb

© Rachel Stubbings

The all-knowing, all-healing Rachel Stubbings will be stubbing out your problems live at the Kings Place in Kings Cross next Thursday.

To prepare you for the healing process there’s an informative new video online, providing a digest of the agony aunt phenomenon so far.  You can see the vid below, and play a quick round of Spot The TVO Faces!

Rachel also tells us of her remarkable talent for healing in this month’s Kings Place Podcast, which makes for brilliant listening.

Tickets for the show can be obtained over yonder, and you get a discount if you book in advance online, so don’t hang about peelers!

Bill & Sinclair

25 Feb

© Baby Cow Productions / Sky Atlantic

Baby Cow and Sky Atlantic’s series of highly inventive comedy shorts, Common Ground continues tonight with a heavy dollop of TVO talent.

One half of tonight’s double bill – directed as ever by Dave Lambert – is an episode written by and starring Rufus Jones and Dan Renton Skinner – the latter another one of those ‘not-quite-TVO’ faces we love, perhaps best known as his alter-ego Angelos Epithemiou, but also a regular collaborator with a number of our regulars.

Bill & Sinclair tells the story of a banker, William [Jones], who has had an almighty fall from grace, and is forced into a frosty reunion with his roguish brother, Sinclair [Skinner], who takes great delight in this new turn of events, especially as Bill’s wife Francesca knows nothing of her husband’s sticky situation.

If the reuniting of Jones & Skinner, who were both part of sketch troupe Dutch Elm Conservatoire with Stephen Evans many moons ago, isn’t enough – the short also features the likes of Rufus’ Mongrels co-star Paul Kaye, and a role for everyone’s favourite agony aunt stand-up comic, Rachel Stubbings.

You can see the show tonight only on Sky Atlantic at 9:15pm.  It will then be available on SkyGo for subscribers only, and if we hear of a dvd release, we’ll be sure to keep you peeled.

Stubbings Returns

6 Feb

© Rachel Stubbings

Londoners can catch a night of new material from top comics this evening.

Rachel Stubbings and Luke McQueen are hosting a New Material Caper at the Old Black Heart right beside Camden Tube Station.  They’ll be joined by Matthew Highton, Tania Edwards, Lou Sanders, Mark Stephenon and George Ryegold.

Tickets are a measly £2 in advance via WeGotTickets and £4 on the door, so all you North London comedy fans have no excuse to spend your Wednesday evening doing anything else.  Get on down there!


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