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Chris Morris Radio Retrospective

23 Nov

© cookdandbombd

Next Saturday the BBC will broadcast a three-hour tribute programme devoted to the radio work of new wave comedy pioneer, Chris Morris. ‘Raw Meat Radio’ will look back at Morris’ radio career, and will include rarely-heard archive material

Mary Anne Hobbs (who we’ve been talking about a fair bit this weekend) will present the show, which airs on BBC 4Extra ay 7pm on 29th November.

It will feature contributions from Armando Iannucci, David Quantick, Peter Baynham, Matthew Bannister (who suspended Morris from Radio 1) and Morris’ biographer Lucian Randall, amongst others.

If you read TVO regularly, you’ll be familiar with Morris’s creative output, but for those of you who aren’t (what??), he’s probably best known for his work on spoof news programmes The Day Today and Brass Eye, during which he lured a host of celebrities into backing increasingly bizarre public awareness campaigns. He also worked with Julia Davis and Kevin Eldon on Jam, and appeared on IT Crowd as Denholm Reynholm. Behind the camera, he co-wrote the Channel 4 media satire Nathan Barley alongside Charlie Brooker, and wrote and directed the 2010 film Four Lions.

He has also produced an as-yet unheard audio comedy with Noel Fielding and Richard Ayoade, set in an old people’s home. We live in hope of hearing it one day!

We’re sure that we speak on behalf of many of you when we say how delighted we are that 3 hours of radio airtime have been given in Morris’ honour. Don’t forget to tune in next Saturday!

Sabotage For Dan & Colin

13 Nov
© Hat Trick

© Hat Trick

TVO regulars Dan Clark and Colin Hoult are taking part in Sabotage, the hour-long radio show that prides itself on being ‘a comedy show for comedy fans’!

The first series featured Aisling Bea and Kevin Eldon, among a host of great comedy favourites.

The show is made by Hat Trick productions and you can get tickets here for the recordings. Colin and Dan are at the 3rd December recording and there is also one on 26th November.

The philosophy of the shows is ‘ make our audience feel like they are part of something very special and exclusive’, so why not give it a try if you are lucky enough to get tickets.

Julia Davis & Dan Clark Collaboration Gets The Green Light

11 Nov

© Alasdair McLellan/Knock2Bag

At The Velvet Onion we get particularly excited when the different artists that we write about join forces to create something new together. Morning Has Broken is one such project – featuring the talents of Julia Davis and Dan Clark.

Morning Has Broken is a sitcom written by and starring Davis, and directed by Clark. Back in April we reported that the 45-minute pilot episode was in production, but there was no news about a likely full series. When we spoke to Dan during the summer he wasn’t even sure if we’d ever get to see it. Thankfully, on the strength of the pilot Channel 4 have decided to commission a full 6-part series!

The series follows the story of Gail Sinclair (Davis), the star of daily television programme, Good Morning… with Gail Sinclair. After eight years of high ratings and awards, the show featuring ‘The Queen of Daytime’ starts to lose viewers and tensions build within the production team.

Producers of the show have said: “It’s a show less about the making of television and more about the relationships between a group of co-workers who, everyday, are under the immense pressure to deliver topical, meaningful content in the world of current affairs, lifestyle, medical issues and showbiz.”

The series is planned to air on Channel 4 in 2015 – and we’ll be bringing you more news as we have it!

A Toast To The Nominees (Sorry)

10 Nov

There are a fair few TVO-connected nominees in the just-announced shortlists for this year’s British Comedy Awards, including eight for Matt Berry and Toast Of London!

Matt’s sitcom has been shortlisted for best sitcom, best new comedy programme and best comedy moment of the year. And Matt himself has been shortlisted for best TV comedy actor and – bizarrely, given how long he’s been making us laugh – for best breakthrough artist! He also has a nomination in the new internet comedy short category for his Lone Wolf sketch:

Other TVO-related nominees include Horrible Histories for best sketch show; House of Fools, Moone Boy and  The Trip to Italy for best sitcom; Inside No 9  for best comedy drama and best new comedy programme; Aisling Bea for best female TV comic; and finally, Katherine Parkinson for best TV comedy actress.

Brett Domino Trio (a firm favourite at Rich Fulcher‘s Fulchfest a few years ago) also get a nomination for best comedy short, for their film ‘How to Make a Hit Pop Song’. There are a few obvious omissions, in our eyes – but perhaps those particular shows’ inability to be be categorised has flummoxed the shortlisting process?

The full list of nominees is shown below. The ceremony will be hosted by Jonathan Ross and televised on Channel 4 on December 16th.

Best Sitcom
House of Fools
Moone Boy
The Trip to Italy
Toast Of London

Best Comedy Drama
Inside No. 9
Rev
The Wrong Mans
Uncle

Best New Comedy Programme
Inside No. 9
Man Down
The Wrong Mans
Toast Of London

Best International Comedy Programme
Girls
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Modern Family
Veep

Best Internet Comedy Short
Brand New Morph
Carpark
How To Make A Hit Pop Song
Matt Berry: The Lone Wolf

Best Comedy Film
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Pride
The Inbetweeners 2
The Lego Movie

Best Comedy Moment of 2014
8 Out 10 Cats Does Countdown
Harry & Paul Story of the Two’s
Monty Python Live (mostly)
Toast of London
Would I Lie To You

Best Male Television Comic
David Mitchell
Lee Mack
Sean Lock
Stewart Lee

Best FemaleTelevision Comic
Aisling Bea
Bridget Christie
Isy Suttie
Nina Conti

Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist
Harry Peacock
Joe Wilkinson
Matt Berry
Nick Helm

Best TV Comedy Actor
Harry Enfield
Matt Berry
Mathew Baynton
Paul Whitehouse

Best TV Comedy Actress
Doon Mackichan
Jessica Hynes
Katherine Parkinson
Zawe Ashton

Smiley Says

9 Nov

© Zimbio

Michael Smiley has been in more TVO-connected films, TV shows, and even music videos, than you can shake a stick at. He brings a particular type of menace to the screen, whether victimising mushroom heads in A Field In England or robbing banks while Blue Song plays. So it’s nice to come across an in-depth video with the man himself, in which he discusses his entire career.

Smiley was recently interviewed by Moviehooker, a blog that recommends movies to people. It’s a comprehensive, candid piece and well earth a read if you want to familiarise yourself with everything that Smiley has done.

The interview runs the gamut from his early says of stand up in Northern Ireland, via his time working with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, right up to date with his latest feature film with Ben Wheatley, Free Fire (currently in pre-production).

When asked about his career highlights, Smiley says: “I’m very proud of my plays that I did in the 90s. But I’d say my highlight for me was winning the BIFTA Award for Kill List. That was a major highlight of my life. Nothing would have come close to that. I was in a room with incredibly well known and incredibly talented people. I was on a list with Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy and Eddie Marsan, then they called my name out!…When my name was called out, there was a roar, it was like I went deaf, it was like that scene in fucking Goodfellas when he’s taking her to the restaurant – people moving out of your way, just going up to the podium.”

Awesome stuff! To read the interview in full click here.

Tony Way To Appear In New Matt Lucas Comedy

30 Oct

© imdb

Tony Way has been confirmed as one of the cast in the forthcoming new comedy Pompidou. It will be broadcast on BBC One in 2015, and will be launched exclusively in the US via Neflix (in Netflix’s first investment in an original comedy from outside of the US).

The series is co-directed by and stars Matt Lucas as Pompidou, an elderly aristocrat who has fallen on hard times; Alex MacQueen (The Thick Of It) plays his long-suffering butler. The six-part series is largely dialogue-free, along the lines of Mr Bean.

Way plays the part of Merrick. For the full details of cast and crew click on this.

The Pyschobitches Are Back!

24 Oct

Psychobitches returns for a second series on November 25th.

© Sky Atlantic / Tiger Aspect

© Sky Atlantic / Tiger Aspect

The show – written and directed by Jeremy Dyson (The League of Gentlemen) on Sky Arts started life as a one-off pilot, before getting a full series comission last year.

Starring Rebecca Front (The Day Today, The Thick of It) as psychiatrist to the stars, an ensemble of comic talent portrayed famous women of history.  These included TVO regulars Sharon HorganKaty Brand and Julia Davis, alongside Samantha Spiro, Selina Griffiths, Frances Barber, Sheila Reid, Zawe Ashton, Joanna Scanlon, Kathy Burke and, rather brilliantly, The League of Gentlemen – including Reece Shearsmith as Old Mother Shipton.

The show was – and is – an absolute treasure, so we’re delighted to report it is back with a second run.

The teaser trailer below features Sharon Horgan as Bonnie Parker alongside House of Fools regular Morgana Robinson, Frances Barber and Sam Spiro.  Also back on board are Katy Brand, Michele Gomez, Doon MacKichan, Sophie Ellis-Bexter, Meera Syal, Cardinal Burns, Sheila Reid, Selina Griffiths, Zawe Ashton, Jack Whitehall, Frances Barber, Sheridan Smith and Alexa Chung.  Bring it on.

For more on Psychobitches, visit the Sky Arts website now… and you can catch Series One on demand through Sky or Now TV while you wait!

Smiley And The Black Sea

23 Oct

A new film, Black Sea, featuring Michael Smiley amongst its cast, will be hitting cinema screens on 5th December.

The film stars Jude Law (with suspect Scottish accent) as a rogue submarine captain who pulls together a misfit crew to go after a sunken treasure, rumoured to be lost in the depths of the Black Sea. Soon greed and desperation take control on board the claustrophobic vessel, and the increasing uncertainty of the mission causes the men to turn on each other to fight for their own survival. Smilie plays the part of crew member Reynolds.

The screenplay was written by Dennis Kelly, creator of the cult Channel 4 series Utopia, which also included Smilie in its cast, as well as TVO chaps Dan Tetsell and Simon Farnaby (briefly).

Early reviews of Black Sea have been pretty positive; you can watch the first official trailer below:

Coogan In Northern Soul

27 Sep

Steve Coogan will be appearing in a forthcoming film which celebrates the iconic music and youth movement from the 1970s, Northern Soul

The film tells the tale of two Northern boys whose worlds are changed forever when they discover black American soul music. Northern Soul was phenomenally popular with young Brits in the 1970s, taking the North of the country by storm. The movement was well known for its amphetamine-fuelled all nighters, most famously at the Wigan Casino.

Coogan plays the part of teacher, Mr Banks, and his brother Martin Coogan, also appears in the film (as a Polish Club owner). It was directed by Elaine Constantine, who says of the project: “I’ve spent a third of my life on this project. Please go and see it at the cinema.”  How could you possibly say no?

Northern Soul is released in UK cinemas on 17th October and on DVD/Blu-ray on 20th October; to find out more about the film and where it will be screened visit the movie’s website.

In the meantime, check out Coogan’s thatch in the trailer below:

Eldon On Stage And Screen

26 Sep

© Steve Ullathorne

Kevin Eldon is set to feature in an upcoming family film as well as appearing with his poet cousin Paul Hamilton (left) in London.

As part of London Lit Weekend 2014, King’s Place will be hosting ‘Kevin Eldon and Stewart Lee present cult poet Paul Hamilton.’ Paul, once described by the Poetic Literary Review as ‘a diabolical libertarian’, is the subject of Eldon’s recently released book My Prefect Cousin.

The event takes place on October 10 and tickets can be bought here.

Meanwhile, he Kevin is out and about filming for The Friday Download Movie: a spin-off of the CBBC series. He, along with David Mitchell and Marcus Brigstocke will star alongside the show’s current presenters in a ‘family romp, live action Scooby Doo-esque adventure’.

The film is set to be released next Easter.

What’s The Crack? 10pm Tonight!

24 Sep

The long awaited second series of Crackanory starts these evening on Dave, and as is often the case, it comes with a bevy of TVO regulars on board.

© Dave

Comedy legends Vic Reeves and Rik Mayall (in one of his final performances) tell the first two stories in the anthology saga’s sophomore run, both of which are written by prestigious comic talents you’ll have seen us mention a fair few times before.

In Space, No One Can Hear You Clean is written by Nico Tatarowicz, whose previous TVO related credits include Tittybangbang, Mr and Mrs Fandango, Otherworld and the sublime The Second Second Coming.  ISNOCHYC is his third Crackanory tale, and is double billed here with The Weatherman by TVO regular Tony Way.

With a top-notch cast featuring Simon FarnabyAlice LoweSteve Oram and Tom Meeten, this opening episode couldn’t become more essential viewing if it tried.  Oh, wait a minute – Waen Shepherd has composed the music for the whole run yet again. Are you convinced yet?

Later episodes in the run will feature Katherine Parkinson and Kevin Eldon, alongside David Mitchell, Simon Callow, Emilia Fox, Meera Syall, Warwick Davies, Ben Miller, Sue Perkins, Johnny Vegas, and Ruby Wax – whilst Eldon joins Alex Kirk, Holly Walsh, Ali Crockett, David Scott, Melissa Bubnic, Katherine Jakeaways and Toby Davies on scriptwriting duties.

So set your DVR’s, or switch your telly to Dave tonight and lose the remote – because the next few Wednesdays are going to be fun fun fun.  You can see a trailer for the series below.

Online Comedy Awards

14 Sep

© British Comedy Guide

The British Comedy Guide is running an awards programme to honour online comedy – and there are just 24 hours left to vote for which videos you think deserve to be on the shortlist!

There are a fair few TVO-connected entries, including Bob Pipe‘s awesome The Day They Came to Suck Out Our Brains, videos from Matt BerryReece Shearsmith, Rufus Jones and Lucy MontgomeryKing Dredge, plus the Brett Domino trio, a regular musical fixture at Rich Fulcher‘s epic comedy night Fulchfest, a couple of years ago.

To view the loooong (and often hilarious) list of entries and to vote for who you think should be shortlisted visit the Awards site. But be quick – voting closes soon!

New Film Role For Coogan

12 Sep

© imdb

Hot on the footsteps of Steve Coogan‘s appearance in Oscar-nominated Philomena is the news that he will play the lead role in the forthcoming movie Boswell For The Defence.

It was announced that he has signed on to play the title role in the film adaptation of the acclaimed West End play at the Toronto film festival this week.

Boswell For The Defence tells the true story of how the Scottish lawyer, diarist and Samuel Johnson biographer, James Boswell, takes on one last impossible case at the tail-end of his career – to save the life of the convict Mary Bryant from the gallows.

Gregor Jordan (Buffalo Soldiers, Ned Kelly) will direct, and production is set for 2015. Producers Mark Pennell and Steve Chasman have said of the film: “Whether it be ‘Lincoln’ or ‘Thatcher’, bringing a historical figure to life is always a challenge, but Steve’s extraordinary ability to blend humour and pathos make him the perfect artist to bring such a complex character like Boswell to the screen. We are excited to see him make this role his own.”

Gold After Dark

7 Sep
© gold.uktv.co.uk

© gold.uktv.co.uk

UKTV Gold are running a new late night strand at the weekends. Starting on Friday (5th), they are “celebrating the very best in dark humour and cult comedy classics every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11pm”.

There are a lot of TVO related people and shows, starting with the reason most of you are here: The Mighty Boosh will be shown on Friday nights at 11:40pm. It’s been a while since the show has been on TV, and I’m sure, like us, even though you have worn out your DVD’s, you’ll be tuning in!

Of course there’s nothing dark about our favourite show, but that can’t be said for the next TVO related offering – Nighty Night starts it’s run at 11:40pm tonight. The show, written by and starring Julia Davis, is described as “a West Country Fatal Attraction”, and also stars Kevin Eldon, Mark Gatiss, Ruth Jones, Angus Deaton and Rebecca Front among others. If you like watching your comedy from behind the sofa then this one is for you. It’s not for those of a nervous disposition, but is very funny once you get over how nasty Jill is.

Gold are also showing another Julia Davis dark comedy. Human Remains is written by and stars Julia and Rob Bryden as six different dysfunctional couples. The first episode follows Nighty Night at 12:35 tonight.

Today at 11pm sees the first episode of The League of Gentlemen (maybe the picture gave you a clue!). As you probably already know, this was the work of writer/performers Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, and writer Jeremy Dyson. This one is definitely in the ‘dark’ category, but also very funny.

Saturday at 11.40pm is The Thick of It, starring Peter Capaldi, Chris Addison, Justin Edwards, Jo Scanlan, James Smith, Roger Allam and Alex McQueen. This is a dark political satire, with some laugh out loud moments.

Also on Saturdays at 1am is  The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, starring Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. Best just watch it and see what happens.

Also scheduled is 15 Storeys High, a flat-share comedy written by and starring Sean Lock and Benedict Wong (The IT Crowd), straight after The Mighty Boosh on Fridays.

To see the full schedule and more information about the programmes, see the Gold Website.

Crackanory 2 – Starting Soon

3 Sep

As we mentioned last month, the second series of Crackanory, the popular storytelling series on Dave, features a story read by the late, great Rik Mayall. The iconic comedian reads The Weatherman by TVO regular Tony Way.

It has now been confirmed that this will be the first story of the new series, alongside a story read by Vic Reeves called In Space No One Can Hear You Clean.

As in the first series, each half-hour episode contains 2 stories, narrated by guests and illustrated with either live action or animated sequences.

Katherine Parkinson will also read a story, and series 1 veteran Kevin Eldon, has written his second story for the series and will also make an appearance in Man’s Best Friend written by Alex Kirk.

Other stories will be read by  David Mitchell, Simon Callow, Emilia Fox, Meera Syall, Warwick Davies, Ben Miller, Sue Perkins, Johnny Vegas, and Ruby Wax; all providing their vocal talents to dark and intriguing stories written by comedian Holly Walsh, Ali Crockett and David Scott, Nico Tatarowicz, Melissa Bubnic and Katherine Jakeaways, and Yonderland scriptwriter Toby Davies .

The new series starts on Dave at 10pm on 24th September and you can see the new trailer below. If you missed the first series of funny, twisted tales then they are all available on demand from Dave.

 

Smiley On Who

31 Aug

© BBC

Dr Who fans out there will be aware that another TVO face, Michael Smiley, featured in yesterday’s episode Into the Dalek. What you may not be aware of is that Smiley recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly about his role in the iconic show.

In the short interview he discusses how director Ben Wheatley contacted him to invite him to be in it: “It was just a call out of the blue,” says Smiley.

“Ben was asked to do the first two episodes and he gave me a ring and he said, ‘What’s your view on Doctor Who? If a part came up that would be right for you, would you be interested?’ I said, ‘Yeah, of course.’ It’s part of your life, Doctor Who. I remember Patrick Troughton!”

To read the interview in full click here. You can catch a glimpse of Smile as Colonel Morgan Blue in the trailer below, and the full episode is available to watch on iPlayer for a further 2 months.

 

Kev In Your Diary (and your shopping basket too!)

27 Aug

© Faber & Faber

Fans of The Actor, Kevin Eldon, have a rare chance to see him live in November.

Eldon will be appearing at Mostly Comedy at The Leicester Square Theatre on November 12th, alongside That Pair and Jay Cowle.  The night, hosted by Dogget & Ephgrave, will feature a grab-bag of stand-up, sketches and music, and tickets are on sale now for just eight of your English pounds.

If you can’t make it, you can always console yourself with a copy of Kevin’s first ever hardback: My Prefect Cousin: A Short Biography of Paul Hamilton, which focuses on the character made famous by his Titting About live show a few years ago.

You can pick up a copy via the TVO Amazon Store now for just £9.79.

If that’s still not enough Eldon for you, then Set Fire To The Stars - the Dylan Thomas biopic he stars in alongside Elijah Wood – has been picked up for UK distribution following its premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival in June. There’s no clear release date yet, but it’s surely set to appear before we know it – so stay tuned!

Reece Q & A

24 Aug
© David Levene for the Guardian

© David Levene for the Guardian

There’s a short but interesting Q & A featuring Reece Shearsmith in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper.

In it we find out what his greatest fear is, and what is his relationship with the man who gives out ShortList magazine at tube stations?

The interview is available online at the Guardian website.

Dead Funny

20 Aug
© amazon.co.uk

© amazon.co.uk

News has just reached us via the Ginger Nuts of Horror blog, that a new horror anthology, featuring stories from todays top comedians, will be published on 1st October.

The book – Dead Funny – has a few TVO connections, with contributions from Matt Holness, Reece Shearsmith, Katy Brand and Noel Fielding‘s Buzzcocks companion – Phil Jupitus.

The book is edited by Robin Ince (The Infinite Monkey Cage) and Johnny Mains (horror writer and editor), and is published by Salt Publishing.

This “unique exploration into the relationship between comedy and terror” also features contributions from Mitch Benn, Bridget Christie, Richard Herring, Stewart Lee, Charlie Higson, Rufus Hound, Robin Ince, Josie Long, Sara Pascoe, Al Murray, Danielle Wheeler, Tim Key, Neil Edmond and Michael Legge.

You can find out more about the book and the story behind it here at Ginger Nuts of Horror.

Dead Funny is available to pre-order now from TVO Store.

Who’s A-Coming

19 Aug

This weekend sees the launch of the long awaited latest series of Doctor Who, with the first two episodes directed by TVO regular and all-out genius Ben Wheatley.

© BBC

© BBC

Episode One, Deep Breath, is a 75 minute special being simulcast in cinemas across the UK at 7:50pm, when the episode airs on BBC One.  It will also be shown on television and in cinemas around the world on the same day.

It features a recently regenerated Doctor arriving in Victorian London, where he discovers a dinosaur on the loose terrorising the city’s inhabitants, and mysterious robotic men causing a string of murders.

As we reported some time ago, regular Wheatley collaborator Tony Way has a cameo in the first episode, whilst Michael Smiley appears in a meatier role for Episode Two, Into The Dalek.

The Beeb have typically gone into publicity overdrive – with new star Peter Capaldi on the cover of almost every magazine, and BBC idents being interrupted by transmissions from The Doctor, as well as a world tour of Q&A sessions and screenings, footage of which can all be seen on the Doctor Who YouTube channel.

Deep Breath will also be released on a standalone dvd and blu-ray next month, with a full series box-set on dvd and blu-ray later this year.  We’re all big Doctor Who fans here at TVO Towers, so we really can’t wait to see what’s in store!

Until then, enjoy the preview images from Deep Breath below, and we’ll bring you a selection from Into The Dalek  as soon as we have them.  If that’s not enough, flashback to our 2012 interview with Ben Wheatley in support of Sightseers over yonder.

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