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The British Comedy Awards – Tonight!

16 Dec

Tonight sees the 2014 British Comedy Awards take place in Wembley, with broadcast taking place on Channel 4 tomorrow evening – and as ever, there’s a huge chunk of TVO nominees.

© Kuba Wieczorek

© Kuba Wieczorek

As we’ve mentioned previously, Matt Berry is up for a bevvy of awards – with a whopping six direct nominations for him, Toast of London and his one-off BBC sketch Lone Wolf. His Toast co-star, Harry Peacock, is also nominated for his role in the show, as is House of Fools in which he co-stars alongside Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer and Dan Skinner. We’re expecting big wins for Matt tonight!

Also up for nominations are Aisling BeaSpencer Millman (via The Inbetweeners 2 and Man Down), Katherine ParkinsonHarry and Paul’s Story of the Two’s (which featured Justin Edwards), Inside No. 9 (from Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton), Cardinal Burns (featuring Rufus Jones and Fergus Craig), Moone BoyThe Trip to ItalyHorrible Histories - we could go on!

© BBC

© BBC

In fact, every nomination for Best Sitcom, and three out of four nominations for Best Sketch Show have direct links back to our regulars, so we’re almost certainly in for a celebratory night!

TVO will be cramming ourselves into the press pit to talk to the talent on camera, for a video report we hope to bring you very soon. Good luck to all the nominees, especially those we feature and that we – and you, dear readers – love.

For the full list of nominees, see below. Anyone with a direct TVO connection is highlighted, so you know who to cheer for most!

Moone Boy S2

Best Sitcom

House of FoolsMoone Boy The Trip to Italy | Toast of London

Best Comedy Panel Programme

8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown Have I Got News For You QI | Would I Lie To You

© Channel 4 / Jules Heath

 Best Sketch Show

Cardinal Burns | Harry & Paul Story of the Two’s | Horrible Histories Monty Python Live (mostly) – One Down Five to Go
 

Best Comedy Entertainment Programme

Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe | Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle The Graham Norton Show | The Last Leg
© BBC

© BBC

Best Comedy Drama

Inside No. 9 Rev | The Wrong MansUncle

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

© BBC

Best Internet Comedy Short

Brand New Morph | Carpark | How To Make A Hit Pop Song | Matt Berry: Lone Wolf

Best Comedy Film

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues | Pride | The Inbetweeners 2 | The Lego Movie

Best Comedy Entertainment Personality

Adam Hills Alan Carr Ant & Dec  Graham Norton
© Balloon (50 Year Special) Limited / Mark Johnson

© Balloon (50 Year Special) Limited / Mark Johnson

Best TV Comedy Actor

Harry Enfield Matt Berry Matthew Baynton Paul Whitehouse

Best TV Comedy Actress

Doon Mackichan Jessica Hynes Katherine Parkinson Zawe Ashton
©  Aisling Bea / Kernan Andrews

© Aisling Bea / Kernan Andrews

Best Male Television Comic

David Mitchell Lee Mack Sean Lock Stewart Lee

Best Female Television Comic

Aisling Bea Bridget Christie Isy Suttie Nina Conti
©  Objective / Channel 4

© Objective / Channel 4

 Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist

Harry Peacock | Joe Wilkinson Matt Berry Nick Helm

Best Comedy Moment of 2014

8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown | Harry & Paul’s Story Of The Two’s | Monty Python Live | Toast of London | Would I Lie To You

The British Comedy Awards 2014 take place tonight in Wembley, and will be broadcast on Channel 4 on Wednesday, 17th December from 9pm.

So Hot Right Now #7

24 Nov

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 below.

PADDINGTON ARRIVES

©  Studio Canal

© Studio Canal

The British media has gone absolutely potty for the new Paddington movie, which is released this week – and it’s not hard to see why.  The live-action adaptation of Michael Bond’s iconic tale of a bear from Peru features a top-notch cast including Nicole Kidman, Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Jim Broadbent and former Nathan Barley actor turned Bond movie star Ben Wishaw as the voice of the marmalade guzzler himself.

©   Nils Jorgensen/REX

© Nils Jorgensen/REX

Of course, we’re remind you about it because – whilst the posters and the trailers seem to ignore this fact – the film is directed by none other than Paul King, the man behind all three series of The Mighty Boosh as well as his incredible debut feature, Bunny and the Bull.

Paul also directed the live runs of Garth Marenghi, before becoming Assistant Director on Darkplace prior to his run with the Boosh, which also featured both their mammoth UK live tours.

He’s been silent since directing Come Fly With Me back in 2011, which shows just how long he’s been working on Paddington and we can’t wait to see the results.

Paddington is on general release in the UK this Friday, with the rest of the world following soon. Oh, and watch out for Steve Oram and Tom Meeten as a pair of lazy guards, too!

LE STRANGE RETURNS!

This week’s other big news is the return of Gary Le Strange - the iconic glam-tinged New Romantic pop god wot looks an awful lot like Waen Shepherd in silly clothes and makeup.

©  Andy Hollingworth

© Andy Hollingworth

Le Strange was a huge cult smash with his debut Edinburgh show Polaroid Suitcase in 2003, and followed that success with further shows Face Academy in 2004 and Beef Scarecrow in 2006, before disappearing without a trace.

He resurfaced on the live scene six years later, including a rare appearance at The Velvet Onion Live, and last year, following digital reissues of his audio masterpieces, a ‘Lost EP’ featuring works from Waen’s abandoned second album surfaced online, by the name of Glamoronica.

© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

Now Le Strange is back with his first brand new material proper – and it’s a suitably stonking slice of Numan-esque, Bowie-scented pop rock.

Norman (I’ve Dropped My Cup of Tea) is available on Amazon, CD Baby, iTunes and Spotify this week, with the former going live on Tuesday, 25th November. Click on the links below to buy the song from Amazon – we’ll add iTunes links when we have them!

Download the original, explicit mix here.

Download the original, explicit mix here.

Download the radio edit here.

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TVO ON AIR

The current runs of TVO favourites continue apace this week, with Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Toast of London, Trollied and Not Going Out all airing new episodes throughout the week – and available via catchup services after transmission.

This weekend also sees the debut of a new CBBC pilot, The Muckers - which is directed and edited by Ealing Live veteran (and IT Crowd postman) John ‘Willie’ Hopkins.  It airs at 10am on CBBC this Saturday, 29th November, so get your young ‘uns watching!  There’s a preview clip to be had below.

Also this weekend marks a celebration of Chris Morris on Radio 4 Extra, presented by Mary Ann Hobbs, as detailed in our news post over yonder, which you’d be mad to miss!

© cookdandbombd

But the big broadcast news this week comes with the long awaited return of Pyschobitches to Sky Arts HD.

The show features former Chris Morris illumni Rebecca Front as a psychiatrist to the stars: or more specifically, dead, female personalities.  Each episode sees the likes of Sharon HorganKaty Brand, Frances Barber, Samatha Spiro and Selina Griffiths bring famous faces back to life, and this series they are joined by House of Fools star Morgana Robinson, as well as Seb Cardinal and Dustin Demri-Burns of Cardinal Burns fame.

©  Sky

© Sky

Also game for a laugh this year are Andy Nyman, Liza Tarbuck, Mark Benton, Miranda Richardson, Kathy Burke, Sheridan Smith, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Jack Whitehall and Reece Shearsmith.

With direction from League of Gentlemen star Jeremy Dyson, and a top notch writing team that includes Lucy Montgomery, we’re overjoyed to see the show return, and you can see the results from Tuesday 25th November at 9pm, with the episodes staying on demand afterwards for any SkyGo and NowTV customers. There’s two fantastic preview clips featuring Sharon Horgan shaking her booty, and Reece Shearsmith feeling unloved below.

For more on the show, visit the Sky Arts website now.

AND THE REST!

As always, there’s so much going on, that we’re using Twitter to keep you informed quicker these days. Join the other 11,900+ of our regular readers by following us there, and get regular updates such as these:

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!

The Double – Rave Reviews

10 Apr

© Studio Canal

Since The Double was released last week there have been plenty of rave reviews and interviews with Richard Ayoade. Here are a few for you to enjoy:

Digital Spy say “If Richard Ayoade continues in this vein, we could be looking at a director to rival David Cronenberg and David Lynch during their prime”!

The Metro describe the film as “downbeat and tricksy”.

The Radio Times call it “visually arresting and utterly compelling”.

The Independent says “Richard Ayoade’s surreal film makes for twice the fun”.

And of course, not forgetting Mog’s interview with Richard from last week.

The Double is out in the UK now and will be released in the USA on 9th May.

You can now get a copy of the screenplay by Richard Ayoade and Avi Korine from TVO Store, where you can also pick up a film tie-in version of the original story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Own Part Of A Movie

27 Mar

We enjoy being the bearer of news for you lovely lot via this here website, but we feel a special kind of joy when we discover something random and just a bit ridiculous that we can share with you!

© Prop Store

May we introduce you to Prop Store, a website that offers a whole array of weird and wonderful prop from films and TV shows, some of them TVO-related! The only downside is that some of them are on the (very) expensive side, but for a piece of one-off authentic film memorabilia, perhaps they’re worth saving up for.

First off, take a look at the item above. It’s the rocket launcher from Four Lions which was used by Omar in Pakistan at a terrorist training camp. He misfires this particular rocket and kills his follow terrorists in the process. Somewhat bizarrely, due to the Violent Crime Reduction Bill, the item is only for sale to people who reside outside the UK. If that’s you, the rocket launcher can be yours for the princely sum of £595/$809. For more information click here.

There are also some lovely newspaper props from Bunny & The Bull (plus a script for just £20!), Chris O’Dowd‘s name tag from Bridesmaids,  and a whole range of props from The Boat That Rocked. If you spend a bit more time snooping around, you’ll probably find more.

Enjoy – and start saving!

Double Time

19 Mar

© Studio Canal

As the cinematic release of the hotly anticipated Richard Ayoade directorial venture The Double fast approaches, we share news of where you can see it first.

With Ayoade at the helm and Chris Morris, Stuart Silver, Kim Noble  and Chris O’Dowd among the extended cast, we can’t wait for the release. The film tells the story of office worker, Simon James (played brilliantly by Jesse Eisenberg) as his exact doppelgänger, James Simon (also played by Eisenberg, of course), joins the company and starts to take over his life.

The film will be released in cinemas across the UK and Ireland on 4th April and limited releases are planned  for the USA, France, Denmark and The Netherlands later in the year.

However, before the official release, preview screenings will be held at Picturehouse cinemas across the UK on March 27th.

What’s more, the Hackney Picturehouse screening will host a Q&A with Richard Ayoade in conversation with Jonathan Ross. Although this screening is sadly sold out, you don’t have to miss out as the Q&A will be broadcast live, via satellite, to all of the other Picturehouse cinemas.

To find a showing near you, and to book, head on over to the Picturehouse website.

And this won’t be the last you here from us about The Double – look out for our review and interview with Richard Ayoade as the release approaches!

Onion Land Catch Up

11 Mar

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

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

© BBC

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

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

© BBC

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

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

© BBC / Des Willie

© BBC / Des Willie

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

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

© BBC / Colin Hutton

© BBC / Colin Hutton

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

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

© Baby Cow

© Baby Cow

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

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

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD / HBO

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD / HBO

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

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

Blue Jam Again With 4 Extra

1 Mar

Those of us of a certain age hold will always have a special place in our hearts for Chris Morris‘s game-changing radio series Blue Jam, which first aired on BBC Radio 1 between 1997 and 1999. And the first five episodes of the series are now being repeated on Radio 4 Extra!

© Warp

The series consisted of a unique mix of surreal monologue, music, synthesised voices, heavily edited broadcasts and recurring sketches. It was described this week in The Guardian as: “Lo-fi anti-comedy featuring jokes about dead children and sexually exploitative doctors to an ambient soundtrack of Portishead and Brian Eno.”

The show’s TVO pedigree is second-to-none, with a cast that includes Julia Davis and Kevin Eldon, and writing honours shared with Graham Linehan (amongst others).

When interviewed in 1998, Morris said that the show was a response to the work he had put in on the controversial Channel 4 satire Brass Eye“It was so singular, and it came from a mood, quite a desolate mood. I had this misty, autumnal, boggy mood anyway, so I just went with that,” he said.

Blue Jam was a double Sony award winner, and later evolved into the equally as noteworthy Channel 4 TV show, Jam (which the Ofcom of the day said “pushed at the boundaries of acceptability”).

Caroline Raphael, commissioning editor of Radio 4 Extra, said: “Radio 4 Extra is all about bringing the best of BBC’s radio archive to our listeners and Blue Jam as a cult comedy series from the 90s most certainly is one of the programmes that we’re glad we can give a second outing for. It will be broadcast as part our evening comedy offer and we hope that in addition to many of the old fans of the show, it will also find some new listeners when it’s broadcast on Radio 4 Extra.”

Blue Jam will be broadcast on Fridays on Radio 4 Extra at 11pm. Episode 1 aired yesterday, but is available for a further 6 days on iPlayer; episode 2 will air next week, Friday 7th March.

Chris Morris & Kevin Eldon Join Stewart Lee

19 Feb

The third series of the award-winning Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle starts on Saturday March 1st, and it will feature two of our designated ‘comedy pioneers’ in its line up: Chris Morris and Kevin Eldon! 

© The Guardian

In addition to acting as script editor for the series, Morris will be questioning Lee on his ideas in between the stand-up sections of the show, taking over the role of ‘hostile interrogator’ from Armando Iannucci. Eldon will appear in filmed sketches, along with Paul Putner.

Though Series Three been in development for some time – with Lee’s magnificent recent stand-up tour working as a series of new-material try-outs for the series, the sudden announcement of the its transmission has come as something of a last-minute (very welcome) surprise.

Lee has said of the last-minute scheduling: “Obviously it’s too late do any press, promotion or publicity for the series now…that said, I am very grateful for the opportunity from BBC2 to have made the series, which I’m really pleased with.” To read Lee’s announcement in full, visit his official website.

Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle will run for 6 weeks from 1st March (and will air at 10.15pm on BBC2 for the first week).

Morris fans might be interested to know that the comedian made a rare, unannounced stage appearance on Saturday night – as the opening act for Stewart Lee. He performed a brief set at the closing night of Lee’s Much A-Stew About Nothing tour at the Royal Festival Hall on London’s South Bank.

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)…

Continue reading

IT Crowd Night Preview!

22 Dec

As we’ve previously mentioned, Channel 4 will be dedicating an evening of airtime to The IT Crowd on Christmas Eve. And we’re pretty darned excited to be able to share a couple of preview clips with you from a new documentary about the series, which will be shown on the night!

The IT Crowd Manual is an hour-long celebration of the sitcom, narrated by Stephen Mangan, which includes classic clips from the show and up-close and personal interviews with the basement-dwelling trio; Richard Ayoade, Chris O’Dowd and Katherine Parkinson. Matt Berry also reveals how he felt taking the mantle of the boss of Reynholm Industries from Chris Morris, while Noel Fielding details the forbidden chemistry that mild-mannered Richmond secretly shared with Jen. Meanwhile the show’s biggest fans and guest stars (Paul Whitehouse , Danny Wallace, Kevin Eldon, Frances Barber, Matthew Crosby, Boyd Hilton and Lucy Montgomery) share their top moments.

The clip below features IT Crowd creator, Graham Linehan, giving a guided tour of the iconic basement set which he likens to “the inside of my head and my office… a cheerful mess”:

And the second preview clip Kevin Eldon talks about what a taskmaster Linehan can be when it comes to getting an accent right:

Don’t forget you’ll also be able to watch the final IT Crowd episode again, vote for your favourite episode and watch the one that gets Linehan’s vote too. Wowzers!

Tune into Channel 4 from 9pm on 24th December to get your fill of geekery.

Double Tease

19 Dec

© Studio Canal

A new teaser trailer for The Double has been sent TVO’s way, and we just had to share it with you all.

The second film from Richard AyoadeThe Double is an idiosyncratic adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s celebrated novella, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn and James Fox.

Past collaborators of Ayoade also make appearances, with Submarine‘s Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Paddy Considine, Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins joining IT Crowd veterans Chris O’Dowd and Chris Morris in the larger ensemble.

Telling the tale of a timid man, Simon, whose forlorn existence is shaken by the arrival of his exact physical double whose confidence and charisma see him slowly taking over Simon’s life, the film has wowed critics at festivals and is set to stun audiences upon release on April 4th.

You can view the stunning new trailer below.

Vote For Your Favourite IT Crowd (& See It On The Telly)

7 Dec

© Channel 4

On 24th  December Channel 4 are hosting a special IT Crowd night. And they need you to vote for your favourite episode so that they can include it.

The evening will include a repeat of the last ever episode, Graham Linehan‘s favourite episodes, and a premier of The IT Crowd Manual, a behind-the-scenes documentary about the show. At 11pm, they will also air the fan’s favourite episode, as voted by you!

To cast your vote you need to head on over to Channel 4’s website. There, you’ll find a short clip from each episode (to refresh the memory box), and you simply click onto your favourite one and hit ‘Vote Now’ to vote. Before you’re allowed to do so, you’ll need to sign in to channel4.com. All of the details can be found on the website via the link above.

So which one is it going to be then?…

Double Take

7 Sep

The trailer has been released for Richard Ayoade‘s film adaptation of The Double!

The bar was set pretty high by Ayoade’s directorial debut Submarine, but on the basis of this 1 minute 27 seconds of footage, the follow-up won’t disappoint. What’s more, if you look very carefully you can spot none other than Chris Morris 25 seconds into the trailer. He’s not listed as a cast member on imdb, but on the basis of this fleeting glimpse, he appears to be playing the part of a general. Either way, it’s just one more reason to make this a must-see movie.

Take a look at the trailer below:

Fans of Ayoade can watch him episode 1 of the new series of Gadget Man, which is available to view on 4oD (f you can cope with the volley of ads that punctuate it). You can also see some clips of the first show here, which includes footage of him in actual wellies. Episode 2 airs this Monday at 8.30pm on Channel 4, and don’t forget that Noel Fielding will be guesting later in the series.

WarpFilms10

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.

RIP Mel Smith: 3 December 1952 – 19 July 2013

21 Jul
© BBC

© BBC

The Velvet Onion would like to extend its sympathies to the family and friends of Mel Smith, who died this weekend aged 60.

First bursting onto television screens in anarchic, topical sketch show Not The Nine O’Clock News, alongside Rowan Atkinson, Pamela Stephenson and his later double-act partner Griff Rhys Jones, Smith was a considerable comic mastermind, a gifted performer, and hugely influential writer and director.

In 2003, he directed his final feature film – the cult comedy Blackball - starring Paul Kaye as a young, rebellious bowls player, alongside Johnny Vegas and Vince Vaughn.  This was not his only direct brush with the TVO family, as Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthew’s first tv sketches were written for Alas, Smith And Jones.  You can see one of them below.

Together with Griff Rhys Jones, Smith’s influence on comedy grew beyond his writing, performing and directing, when they founded Talkback Productions in 1981.  The company went on to produce some of the most seminal works of the last three decades, including The Day TodayBig TrainI’m Alan Partridge and Never Mind The Buzzcocks to name but a few.  When Smith & Jones sold the company, it was merged with Thames Television to become Talkback Thames in 2003 (until early last year), and the company went on to make The IT Crowd, Green Wing and Celebrity Juice amongst others.

IT Crowd creator Graham Linehan led tributes from our regulars on Twitter, stating: “Very sad to hear news of Mel Smith’s death has been confirmed. He and Griff gave Arthur and I our break. Was always so kind & generous to us.”  Matthews replied to this, adding: “Well said. Mel and Griff couldn’t have been kinder to us. And Mel was a brilliant, brilliant comic actor.”

The pair were joined by Rhys Thomas, who added: “Terrible news about Mel Smith. A funny man. Growing up Smith and Jones’ BBC One sketch show was one of my favourites.  He was an underrated director too. The Tall Guy sex scene is one of the funniest things ever.”.  Thomas’ former collaborator Steve Burge (later of Burge & Way and Tittybangbang), responded: “R.I.P. “Colin’s Sandwich” star, Mel Smith.”

Rufus Jones – who followed in Smith’s footsteps at Cambridge – also offered his thoughts on Mel: “RIP Mel Smith. Revered his jowly brilliance. An old boy at my school – he encouraged me to goon about onstage. He was terrific.”  Jones’ regular collaborator Katy Brand was also moved to comment: “Very sad to see the news about Mel Smith. He was a family friend as well as a brilliant comedian/writer/director/actor/bon viveur.”

Yet more names paid tribute, with US based, Salford-born comic Hayden Black adding: “RIP to a comic that was hugely influential to me – Mel Smith.”, and the head of Sky Comedy, Lucy Lumsden stating: “Just heard the sad and shocking news about the multi-talented Mel Smith. Wonderful comic who I grew up watching. A great loss.”

One of those in the outer layers of The Velvet Onion, Peter Serafinowicz, also supported the views of Linehan & Matthews, stating: “Very sad to hear about Mel Smith. He did something very kind for me early in my career even though he hardly knew me. Such a funny man.”  His brother, producer James Serafinowicz, added: “Oh no just heard about Mel Smith. Was so lucky to work for him. Such a lovely man.”

Finally, quite prophetically considering the comedic legacy the great man leaves behind, Neil Cole‘s tweet was simple, but effective, drawing on one of Mel Smith’s finest moments: “I like trucking, I like trucking, I like trucking and I like to truck; I like trucking, I like trucking, if you don’t like trucking…”

RIP Mel Smith. Your work will live on… Kinda Lingers.

Warp Shorts With Matthew Holness

4 Apr
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© Warp Films / Film 4

Exciting news… there’s a very rare chance to grill Matthew Holness about his work at the BFI later this week.

The man formerly best known as Garth Marenghi will be attending a Q&A session alongside fellow film-maker Ally Gipps as part of Warp Films birthday celebrations.

Holness’ short film A Gun For George will be shown at the event alongside other notable shorts made by the company.

These include Julian Barratt‘s CurtainsChris Morris‘ My Wrongs 8245-8249, Paddy Considine’s Dog Altogether (featuring Olivia Colman), Paul Fraser’s Arctic Monkeys inspired Scummy Man and Lynn Ramsey’s recent short Swimmer.

Tickets for the event on Friday, April 5th are priced between £8.50 and £11, and are available now via the BFI Website.

If you can’t make it, and haven’t yet seen A Gun For George, you can now view it on the Film4 website over yonder. Meanwhile, both Curtains and My Wrongs 8245-8249 are available on dvd via The Velvet Onion Amazon UK Store.

One Of The Quiet Ones

26 Aug

© Rick, The Independent

Julia Davis was interviewed by The Independent this weekend, to mark the broadcast of her two new series: Hunderby (Sky Atlantic) and Bad Sugar (Channel 4)

In the interview Julia talks about her background and why it might have influenced and some of the roles she’s best known for, such as Jill Tyrell in Nighty Night. Of that character she says, “It’s probably a reaction to being, in life, quite censored, so it’s a chance to not be.” In fact, Julia’s shyness, or at least her reluctance to participate in the media publicity machine, underpins the interview. It’s something she says she shares with partner Julian Barratt.

Julia also talks about working with Chris Morris and Rob Brydon, her dislike of auditioning, and being a Mum to 5 year old twins, Walter and Arthur. To read the interview in full click here.

Don’t forget to tune into Bad Sugar on Channel 4 tonight at 1opm; Hunderby starts on Sky Atlantic tomorrow at 10pm.

Funny Fortnight Favourites: The IT Crowd

24 Aug

© Talkback Thames

This weekend sees Channel 4 approach the conclusion of its Funny Fortnight with a countdown of its greatest ever comedy shows.  One show sure to feature is Graham Linehan’s hugely popular sitcom The IT Crowd.

Our American correspondent, and self confessed Anglophile, Trixie, takes a look back at this comedy classic below…

“Have you tried turning it off then on again?”

If you’re familiar with this phrase, you’ve probably watched The It Crowd. This classic British comedy series aired on Channel 4 and ran from February 2006 to July 2010, producing a comfortable four season’s worth of witty, charming and unique entertainment.

Created and written by Graham Linehan, The It Crowd centres on the goings-on at sexy, glamorous Reynholm Industries. However, the three main characters, oddballs Roy, Moss and Jen, don’t get to experience the attractive benefits of the company – as these social misfits are relegated to the dark, dirty basement of the building. Pariahs in the workplace, they are ignored and unappreciated by their boss and co-workers.

© Talkback Thames

Roy Trenneman, played by Chris O’Dowd, is a movie and junk food loving geek, who is looking for love… in all the wrong places, of course.  Jen Barber, played by Katherine Parkinson, has lied on her CV and has no technical experience with computers whatsoever.  A lover of shoes and the beautiful things in life, she longs to escape her basement prison and will lie, lie, and lie in order to accomplish her goal.  Finally, Maurice Moss, played by Richard Ayoade, is a tech genius that lives at home with his mother, and has different sized glasses for different sized plans.  Yeah, they’re that sort of people.

Continue reading

Funny Fortnight Favourites: Brass Eye Remembered

17 Aug

As part of Funny Fortnight celebrations, we thought it’d be a good idea to look back at some of TVO’s favourite moments in the history of Channel 4.  Here’s Velveteer Paulyne’s take on the controversial classic, Brass Eye.

If anyone amongst our extensive list of acts would be considered a pioneer, it would be Chris Morris. And when Morris is mentioned, there are a few words that come to mind, controversy, outrage and utter genius (okay that is 2 words).

© Talkback Productions

Brass Eye began this distinct reputation for Chris, after creating The Day Today in 1994; a spoof news show with some out of this world headlines such as “Fist Headed Man Distroys Church”, and some very recognisable baby-faced faces for us (Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge), Morris then moved on to Brass Eye from 1997; a spin-off show which took spoof current affairs to the next level, up a few notches and then dusted off with some extra offences.

With more of our favourite stars making some stellar appearances, not even with co-writer Graham Linehan included (Julia Davis, Kevin Eldon, and even Jam‘s Mark Heap, and Bill Bailey amongst others!), the show gained a cult fanbase.
Each episode covering a different topic – Animals, covering an Elephant whose trunk got trapped in her anus. Drugs, which discusses the drug Cake that can make you cry all the water out of your body. Science, where you can find out about the woman who gave birth to a 2 Foot testicle. Sex, which can answer the question is sex “A sumptuous glam babe in a hall of donkeys”. Crime, with talks about “Pistol Apostles”. And Decline, covering Noel Edmunds’ killing rampage! Continue reading

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