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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.

TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part Four

4 Jan

Hello and a warm welcome to the final part of our Review of 2013. Although October to December may feel like it only just happened, prepare to be amazed by how much you’ve forgotten. We were, but then we’re getting on a  bit.

So here are the best bits from the fourth quarter of the year – cherry-picked from news stories about both our regulars and a few new faces too. Enjoy.

OCTOBER

October was the month that Booshmania returned.  Just as the fantastic Behind the Boosh exhibition started its run at Proud Camden, showcasing the history of that most Mighty of comedic troops via the majesty of Dave Brown‘s photography, the boys were back in town.  Or rather, on the pier, as The Mighty Boosh went from the Soho Theatre to Tenacious D’s Festival Supreme in LA. A final (chaotic) UK warm-up show and a further run through at The Comedy Store, almost halted by a Visa saga, paved the way for a live performance that turned out to be one of the Festival’s highlights. Fan forums and social media platforms were buzzing with photos, footage and reviews of the show.

Another announcement that got us more than a bit over-excited in October was the news that Ben Wheatley is to direct the first 2 episodes of the next series of Doctor Who, starring the new Time Lord, Peter Capaldi. How good is that!?  We’re itching to see what happens when you combine one of the UK’s finest directors with its biggest export, now in the capable hands of an Oscar-winning acting legend to boot.  You can see the moment Capaldi became the Doctor in the 2013 Xmas special below…

More telly stuff, with the launch of Matt Berry’s new series, Toast Of London.  We’d been itching to see it since the pilot back in 2012, and it did not disappoint…

Elsewhere, Richard Ayoade established himself as a permanent fixture on prime time panel shows with a stint as team captain on Was It Something I Said? on Channel 4. Ayoade’s intellectual sparring with host David Mitchell certainly made our Sunday evenings feel a bit more highbrow!

What else?  Well, in movie news, there was an update on the cast for Paul King‘s long-awaited Paddington Bear feature film, which included mention of Rufus Jones and James Bachman. To end the month, TVO artists offered us a veritable smorgasbord of comedy options for Halloween night’s out, with special spooky performances from Colin Hoult and Richard Sandling.  And we were sad to lose the talented comedy actor Felix Dexter, who died at the too-young age of 52. He left behind an incredible legacy of great TV performances on shows like Bellamy’s PeopleAbsolutely Fabulous, The Fast ShowKnowing Me Knowing You… With Alan Partridge, Mongrels and Alexei Sayle’s Merry Go Round to name but a few. He will be much misse, and would typically hate all this fuss about him, so let’s remember him with one of his silliest moments – dancing for Sport Relief alongside Rhys Thomas and Lucy Montgomery.  What a dude.

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TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part Three

3 Jan

If you’ve previously taken a mosey through Part One and Part Two of our Review of 2013, you’ll already be aware that it’s been a busy old year in Onion Land. July to September was no exception, with news, reviews, new shows and live performances from both our regulars and the new names on our roster.

So here are the best bits from the third quarter of the year – hand-picked from over 700 news stories across 2013, and jam-packed with forgotten treasures and instant classics alike. Enjoy.

JULY

The month began with the release of Dan Clark‘s debut album, Dan Clark & The Difficult Three, which had been funded via a successful Pledge Music campaign. Combining genuinely funny lyrics with proper tunes played by a bona fide band, the record offered fans of Clark’s musical comedy an opportunity to re-live some of his live show classics and enjoy some newer compositions. For a wee taster, here below is a live recording of ‘Don’t Kiss Me’ (and if you fancy buying a copy of the album, head on over here):

We also featured a series of introductions to the TVO-recommended artists you could see at 2013′s Edinburgh Fringe. We intentionally mixed up the folk who we already write about with the people who we define as “beyond the Onion”; those featured included Colin Hoult, Tony Law,  Paul FootSpank, Joey PageAisling Bea, Late Night Gimp Fight, Tim Fitzhigham, Jonny & The Baptists (+ Jonny Donahoe), Pete Heat and Glen Wool.

On 19th July the world of comedy sadly lost one of its pioneers, in the shape of Mel Smith. Whilst Smith’s contribution to modern comedy is undeniable, we can also claim a link between him and the TVO family, with Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthew’s first TV sketches being written for Alas, Smith And Jones. You can watch one of them below:

In terms of new TV and film projects, this month saw the release of Ben Wheatley‘s hotly-anticipated follow-up to Sightseers, the psychedelically historical A Field In England, which launched simultaneously in cinemas, on TV and on DVD on 5th July.

Filming also began on the second series of Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy, and the Marmite-like TV adaptation of Graham Linehan’s Count Arthur Strong also hit our screens. Chris O’Dowd continued with his world domination of the airwaves with a role in the part-improvised US sitcom Family Tree:

Finally, fans of The Mighty Boosh got all hot and bothered over Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt‘s first live performance together since 2010 when the pair performed at The Barbican at a concert to honour the musician, Beck. Expect a bit more of the Boosh boys down below (honestly not as rude as it sounds)…

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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.

JANUARY

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

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Richard Sandling & The DoctorDonna

23 Dec
© Absolute Radio

© Absolute Radio

Diehard Whovians take note - Richard Sandling has been working with both former Doctor David Tennant, and Tennant’s former companion, Catherine Tate.

As we reported last week, Sandling was responsible for writing this year’s Absolute Radio panto, which turned featured the Timelord superstar alongside Eastenders regular Shane Richie and breakfast show host Christian O’Connell, with Richard also in amongst the ensemble cast.

After airing on Absolute Radio on Friday, footage of the event - Zombie Claus – was uploaded to YouTube, with all three parts available to view at the foot of this article.

© BBC / Tiger Aspect

© BBC / Tiger Aspect

The next time Richard will be on telly, however, will be with Donna Noble herself – the glorious Catherine Tate – who has revived her popular Nan character for a one-off special.

Catherine Tate’s Nan will air on Saturday, January 4th, at 9:30pm (11:20pm in Wales), and features the colourful pensioner paying a chaotic visit to the local council offices and then the hospital.  Regular collaborator Mathew Horne also features as Nan’s grandson Jamie, and Sandling will be playing a character called Steve.

We’ll aim to bring you iPlayer links shortly after transmission, so stay peeled, and in the meantime, you can savour that Xmas panto madness below.

Absolute Sandling

18 Dec

© Richard Sandling

This Friday sees the return of Absolute Radio’s annual live panto, and there’s a TVO connection for anyone tuning in.

Zombie Claus promises to be a star-studded dose of silliness broadcast live from the Soho Theatre, as part of Christian O’Connell’s Breakfast Show.

Confirmed to appear are Doctor Who and Broadchurch star David Tennant, Eastenders veteran Shane Richie and Absolute Radio’s Christian O’Connell and Richie Firth.

The festive foolery has been written by none other than Richard Sandling – he of Perfect MovieSquat Betty and Forgotten Picture Show fame, so we’ll be tuning in with the rest of you on Friday morning to find out what he’s come up with.

The show airs between 7am and 10am on Absolute Radio, and will probably turn up on YouTube at some point in the future, like last year’s madness, which can be seen below.

Sandling & Meeten On Monday

3 Nov

© Richard Sandling

One of the reasons that we do what we do is because of the glorious cross-pollination that takes place between the artists that we write about on TVO.  And tomorrow night is your chance to experience one such comedy mash up, with Tom Meeten appearing on the bill at Richard Sandling‘s Squat Betty Spoken Word Night.

Monday (4th November) will Sandling hosting his regular evening of comedy, poetry, storytelling & more at the Duchess of Cambridge Pub in Goldhawk Road, London W6. In addition to Meeten (and Sandling, of course), you can also see Matthew Crosby and Richard Tyrone Jones.

Tickets are just £5 and doors open at 7.30pm for a 8pm start. For more information visit the event facebook  page.

Squat Betty Tomorrow!

6 Oct

© Richard Sandling

Tomorrow (7th October) will see Richard Sandling host a charity special of Squat Betty’s Spoken Word Night with an excellent line-up presenting a mix of comedy, storytelling and more.

Richard Sandling will preside over the evening which will see a frankly magnificent line-up of Phill Jupitus, Thom Tuck, James Acaster, Sarah Bennetto, Sofie Hagen and Tim Wells take to the stage in aid of Epilepsy Research UK. The show is at the Duchess of Cambridge Pub in Goldhawk Road, London at 8pm tomorrow and entry costs just £10. More information can be found at the facebook event page, here.

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.

© Reed.co.uk

© Reed.co.uk

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 reed.co.uk, 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…

Get Spooked With Sandling

15 Sep

© Leicester Square Theatre

Richard Sandling is holding another of of his Perfect Movie comedy nights at the Leicester Square Theatre in London – on Halloween.

The film fanatical comedian will present a special Halloween-themed version of his multimedia stand up comedy show on 31st October, which will featuring the usual mix of special guests, comedians, sketches, classic movie trailers, games and the recreations of favourite movie scenes. Expect 90 minutes of brilliance!

Along with Sandling as MC, the line-up includes James Acaster and Nathaniel Metcalfe, with more acts to be announced. The show starts at 7pm and tickets cost £10. For more information and to book tickets click here.

Perfect Festival, Poems & Poppies For Sandling

27 Aug

© Edward Moore

Keen eyed fans of Onion Land will know how great Richard Sandling is, and there are a number of chances to see him live over the next few months.

First up, anyone visiting Bestival this weekend can catch an hour of his regular club night Perfect Movie in the comedy tent this Saturday at 1pm.

Sandling joins the eclectic line-up that includes the likes of Elton John, Snoop Dogg, Franz Ferdinand, Johnny Marr and The Polyphonic Spree, plus the various plays and art performances that make these sorts of things just a bit more interesting.

The rest of us will be waiting for his next ‘normal’ live appearance next week, when Squat Betty’s Spoken Word Night returns to The Duchess Of Cambridge pub on London’s Goldhawk Road next Monday (September 2nd).

This time around, he’ll be joined by We Are Klang’s Steve Haull, plus Radio 4 raconteur Chris Neill and comic book enthusiast Rob Debb.  There’s currently no planned Squat Betty show for October, but the November 4th event will feature Pappy’s member Matthew Crosby alongside Richard Tyrone Jones, Pete Dillon-Trenchard and Anna Freyberg.

The day before that – Sunday, November 3rd – sees Sandling host a rather impressive looking event in aid of the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.  Sandling is joined by Phill Juptius, Richard Herring, Pappy’s, Lili La Scala, Brian gittins, Jim Bob, Bec Hill, Brian Damage & Krysstal, Gemma Whelan, Nethaniel Metcalfe and Ash Frifth – with more acts still to be announced!

With a corking line-up like that, for just £20 a head, you’d be mad to miss it.  And it’s all for a great cause too, so book your tickets now.

Peeder Jigson – Wrap Party

23 Aug

© Peeder Jigson

Peeder Jigson, the famous director of The Hubbard, has posted a video of the wrap party for the film, showing some lovely comments from the cast members.

While you’re watching, look out for some familiar faces, who might not be who they are supposed to be!

Also appearing are Simon Kane and Yonderland writer Toby Davies.

To see the wrap party in full swing, click here.

Wheatley Plays Pop

9 Aug

Ben Wheatley has directed his first music video – a spaghetti western-style promo for Editors’ single Formaldehyde

The video was shot in  Almeria in Spain, on the old sets used in Sergio Leone’s ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’, and stars Simon Smith who appeared in Wheatley’s Down Terrace. The crew  also included regular Wheatley collaborators, with Nick Gilespie shooting and Claire Jones producing.

In a recent interview with Creative Review magazine, Wheatley said of the project: “A lot of directors come up through making pop promos: I didn’t. My route in was through advertising, internet and television. The pop promo is something I’ve always been interested in. Music plays a big part in my film work and I’ve always admired the work of Michel Gondry, Chris Cunningham,  David Wilson and Dougal Wilson to name but a few. I was very flattered to be asked.”

With epic vistas and sinister, dreamlike sequences, you might detect echoes of A Field In England in there too:

While we’re on the subject of music and A Field In England, you can now treat yourself to a FREE download of a track from the movie’s soundtrack, courtesy of Drafthouse Films! All you have to do is click here.  Easy peasy.

Breaking Bad Mash Up

9 Aug

If you’re anything like the person writing this you’ll be quaking with excitement about the forthcoming final instalment of Breaking Bad. And if so, you’re going to love this…

With the last 8 episodes of Season 5 only days away Richard Sandling has chosen to honour the groundbreaking US drama with one of his epic youtube mash-ups. For his patience alone, he deserves our utmost respect!

So be prepared to be impressed, as we bring you Sandling’s production of Walter White doing ‘My Way’:

 

 

Sesame Street Sandling Does Dr Who

4 Aug

Richard Sandling is well known for his brilliant mash-ups of picture and sound that grace Youtube.

From Mad Men performing Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up to Downtown Abbey doing One Direction, Sandling combines razor-sharp editing with downright silliness.  With the dust barely settled following the announcement of the 12th Doctor, he’s already created a filmic homage to Peter Capaldi…with a Sesame Street groove! Take a look at the clip below:

For those of you with a childhood fondness for Sesame Street whose nostalgia has been piqued (or for those too young to remember the original and therefore in need of some serious popular culture education), here’s what it’s based on:

 

Both awesome, huh?

Two Richards And A Big Heart on Radio 4

28 Jul

This evening’s episode of Richard Tyrone Jones’s Big Heart on BBC Radio 4 featured Richard Sandling.

© thatawesomemovieguy.com

The radio show is based on Tyrone Jones’ Wellcome Trust supported solo show, which toured in 2012. It tells the story of a 30 year old man who finds himself unexpectedly stricken by heart failure.

Confined to hospital, surrounded by old men, stuck on drugs and drips and forced to cope with curious medical procedures and even curiouser fellow patients, he wonders if he will die, or worse, be doomed to life on a mobility scooter at home with his parents in Dudley. With the help of poetry, cod philosophy and his friends each episode illuminates a different aspect of the experience of illness and facing your own mortality with a sense of humour.

Sandling contributed material to the show (as well as appearing in it), which first aired this evening at 7.15pm. You can listen to it here on iPlayer until 4th August.

Squat Betty Monday Double Bill

14 Jul

© Richard Sandling

This Monday, 15th July, sees the final set of Squat Betty Spoken Word Night Edinburgh Preview Double Bills from Richard Sandling.

Monday’s show features two full Edinburgh previews: Phill Jupitus (he of Buzzcocks-other-team-captain notoriety) as Porky The Poet, and Nathaniel Metcalfe: Enthusiast – all brought to you by Sandling. And it all happens at The Duchess of Cambridge pub in W6. Doors open at 7.30pm for an 8pm start time and entry is only £5 (tickets available on the door).

For more information about Squat Betty and the two acts performing on Monday night, check out the event’s facebook page.

Brains Redux

1 Jul

Just as we had started to miss The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains - there’s a brand new version of it to savour!

The sitcom-sketch-hybrid from the minds of Bob PipeJames Wren and Phil Whelans arrived on YouTube channel The Multiverse earlier this year, and featured a whole bevvy of TVO regulars in the cast.

Now some of the best bits from the short episodes have been put together into a 30-minute version, which demonstrates how wonderfully the concept would work on television.  Revisit the magic below…

If you missed it earlier this year, you can read our interview with Bob, James & Phil about all things Brains right here

Squat Betty & Perfect Movie

15 Jun

© Richard Sandling

The next Squat Betty Spoken Word Night is a special Edinburgh preview night which stars Nick Helm and James Acaster. They will be performing a full version of their Edinburgh shows for your delight, on Monday (17th June) at 7.30pm. For more information and tickets see the Facebook Event page.

Richard Sandling is taking his Perfect Movie Show to the Southend Comedy Festival at Southend Pier on Saturday July 20th. Joining Richard will be Eggsy (GLC), Nathaniel Metcalfe, Paul Gannon, Ash Frith and more to be announced.

Doors open at 4pm for the show at 4.30. Tickets are only £6 (including a return journey on the pier railway) and can be bought here.

You can read more about Richard and the Perfect Movie Show in this interview by Such Small Portions.

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