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Be Alternative This Tuesday

11 Jul

© Comedy Central

The second series of The Alternative Comedy Experience, curated by Stewart Lee, will be hitting our screens this Tuesday – and it will be featuring a few TVO faces.

The new 13-part series will reflect the format of series one, having also been filmed at The Stand in Edinburgh. Once again, Lee has selected some of his favourite stand-ups on the circuit, including our very own Kevin Eldon, Tony Law and Paul Foot, alongside the likes of Bridget Christie, David O’Doherty, Nish Kumar, Michael Legge, Susan Calman, David Kay, Ginger & Black and Josie Long. These are people whom Lee feels represent “the stand-ups other comedians slouch at the back of the room and cry with laughter at”.

Episode 1 of the new series airs at 11pm on 15th July on Comedy Central and features Tony Law and Kevin Eldon; Paul Foot appears in episode 2. To see the full list of episodes and line ups until the fourth show in the series visit The British Comedy Guide.

For more information about the show and to view clips take a look at The Alternative Comedy’s page on Comedy Central.

And if you fancy procuring series 1 on DVD (you definitely should – it’s been rated as a 5-star extravaganza!) visit our amazon store now.

Parkinson & Eldon Join Crackanory Series 2

5 Jul

© Dave

Earlier this year we reported that anthology comedy Crackanory would be returning for a second series.

Series 1 included TVO regulars Sharon Horgan, Kevin Eldon, Tom Meeten, Steve Oram, Alex Kirk and John ‘Willie’ Hopkins on screen, whilst the score for the show was composed by Waen Shepherd and two episodes were directed by Gareth Tunley.

Like its predecessor, series 2 will be made and broadcast by UK freeview channel Dave, and will feature top drawer British comedians telling Jackanory style stories for grown ups.

So far, those confirmed for the new series include Vic Reeves, David Mitchell, Meera Syall, Warwick Davies, Ben Miller, Sue Perkins, Johnny Vegas, Ruby Wax – and Katherine Parkinson. Emilia Fox and Simon Callow will lend their voices to the series too, and it’s hoped that a performance by the legend that is Rik Mayall will also be shown.

Writers for the new series include Yonderland and Mitchell and Webb scriptwriter Toby Davies, Holly Walsh and Kevin Eldon, who will be authoring his second story for the show and will also make an appearance in another tale.

The new series will air on Dave in the Autumn.

Mongrels Return – To Dave

14 Jun

© Alexandra Thompson

Although it’s not quite the return we had hoped for, series one of Mongrels is set to air on Dave from Monday 30th June at 3.15am!

As regular readers know Adam Miller‘s foul-mouthed puppet show featured Tony Way as Gary, the owner of a South London pub that just so happens to be surrounded by vermin – from meek metrosexual fox Nelson (Rufus Jones), and his best friend, simpleton feline Marion (Dan Tetsell), to psychopathic champion vulpine swearer Vince (Paul Kaye), and deranged, scheming pigeon Kali (Katy Brand). With Gary’s pedigree chav dog Destiny (Lucy Montgomery) completing the line up, the show was an instant cult smash, until it was axed by BBC3 a couple of years ago.

Dave is a digital channel and part of the UKTV network, who are now making original content for their channels, including the recent revival of BBC 2′s cult favourite Red Dwarf. UKTV Gold has also recently announced that they have the rights to show the final Monty Python live show, so they are obviously serious about investing in content for their channels.

If you can’t wait to see Mongrels again, you can get both series from TVO Store.

Noel & Kevin Join Alan: As Yet Untitled

6 Jun

© Dave

NoelFielding and Kevin Eldon will be two of the guests on Alan Davies’ new show for Dave, which starts this Monday, June 16th.

Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled sees Davies shooting the breeze with four other comedians round a table. The show attempts to recreate the relaxed atmosphere found amongst comics chatting backstage; there are no rules, themes or preparation. Then at the end of each episode, the group must try and think of a title that sums up their episode. The show airs every day for 5 days at 10pm.

The first episode (on Monday) includes Noel Fielding, alongside Jon Ronson, Andrew Maxwell and Kerry Godliman; Kevin Eldon will feature in Episode 4 (on Thursday), along with Bill Bailey, Kevin Eldon, Isy Suttie and Craig Campbell. To se the full line up for all 5 days click here.

You can spot a few glimpses of Noel in the clip below from Monday’s show; to see more clips, including Davies talking about the series, take a look at this from The British Comedy Guide.

Don’t forget to tune into Dave at 10pm every night next week!

 

 

Wee Paper People

1 Jun

Regular readers of TVO might remember Paper People – cut out and keep paper models of your favourite TVO folk. We’ve just revisited the site and there are many, many more characters for you to cut out and keep. How many do you recognise from the pictures below?

If you can’t wait to get your hands on your own Wee Paper People, all you have to do is click on the website, download your favourites then print and assemble. Assembly instructions are on the site.

If you want something more personal, the creator of all these fantastic models, Sally Grosart, can make personalised little people of your friends and family, or personalised cards or banners. To contact Sally and see the rest of her creations click here.

Fifty 2

20 May

This coming weekend sees the culmination of BBC 2′s anniversary celebrations from a TVO perspective, as the fifty year old channel revives some of it’s biggest comedy smashes for a series of one-off specials.

© Balloon (50 Year Special) Limited / Mark Johnson

© Balloon (50 Year Special) Limited / Mark Johnson

Top of the hitlist is Harry & Paul’s Story of the 2sa one-off special from comedy legends Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, poking fun at everything BBC2 is famous for.  Revisiting and parodying around fifty different shows from the channel’s illustrious history, there are over 150 different presenters, actors, comedians and politicians being lampooned in just under an hour.

It all looks like fantastic fun, and Onion fans will be pleased to note Enfield & Whitehouse have recruited Justin EdwardsKevin EldonRhys ThomasLucy Montgomery, Simon Greenall (Alan Partridge, Alice’s Wunderland), Catherine Shepherd (The IT Crowd, The Peter Serafinowicz Show), Rowland Rivron (French and Saunders) and music superstars Jeff Beck, Damon Albarn and The Klaxons for good measure.

You can catch the show on Sunday evening at 9pm, and it will be available on iPlayer after transmission. A selection of stills – including one of Justin Edwards as a later-in-life, portly Orson Wells, can be seen below.

Story of the 2s is not the only show airing either – with a two-part compilation of The Fast Show sketches made for Fosters Comedy airing on Friday and Monday.  Made in 2011, these reunited Paul Whitehouse with co-stars Charlie Higson, Arabella Weir, Simon Day, John Thomson, Caroline Aherne and Rhys Thomas, as well as bringing Lucy Montgomery along for the ride as well.

© Tyson Benton

© Tyson Benton

The first batch of six mini episodes aired in late 2011, with six more following in Spring 2012. TVO even ran a competition to win a signed script, though by now all of the videos have been removed from YouTube, so these broadcasts will be the first chance to catch the episodes in some time.

Part one airs on Friday at 10pm, with Part Two on Monday following a one-off special of seminal comedy classic Goodness Gracious Me - starring the original lead cast of the 90s hit: Sanjeev Bhaskar, Meera Syal, Nina Wadia, Kulvinda Ghir and Dave Lamb.

© BBC / Gary Moyes

© BBC / Gary Moyes

For those unaware of the show, it ran for thee series and a special between 1998 and 2001 following two series on BBC Radio Four, and explored the conflict and integration between traditional Indian culture and modern British life to great acclaim… the dvds are still regularly watched here at TVO HQ, so if you’ve never seen it we can’t recommend it highly enough even without any links to ‘our lot’!

And that’s not all – with Saturday night featuring a two-hour celebration, 50 Years Of BBC Two Comedy, airing from 9pm.  Looking back at the channel’s greatest moments from The Likely Lads to W1A, the talking heads clip show will no doubt feature a TVO face or two, amongst countless other comedic legends.

© BBC

© BBC

Contributors include Ricky Gervais, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Alan Alda, Vic and Bob, Rebecca Front, Alexei Sayle, Mitchell and Webb, The Goodies, Catherine Tate, Bill Bailey, Ian Hislop, Sarah Millican, Dara O Briain, James Corden, Rob Brydon, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Armando Iannucci, Prunella Scales, Charlie Brooker, Paul Whitehouse, The League of Gentlemen and many more… so you’d be mad to miss it.

From all at TVO then, Happy Birthday BBC Two, and thanks for all the funnies…

 

Be Entertained By Mr Sloane

18 May

© Sky

If you’ve watched any UK TV in the past couple of weeks, you can’t fail to have seen the trailer for Mr Sloane, a new series made for Sky Atlantic. But did you notice a couple of familiar TVO-connected faces?

Kevin Eldon makes a fleeting appearance in what appears to be a job interview for Mr Sloane (who is played by Nick Frost), and Peter Serafinowicz also features as one of the main cast members, Sloane’s friend, Ross.

The new six-part series follows the story of Mr Sloane, a non-swinging 1960′s man in crisis. Between his failed attempts at marriage, career success and suicide, 1969 isn’t shaping up to be the Watford-dweller’s year. Part drama, part comedy, Mr Sloane starts on Sky Atlantic on Friday 23rd May at 9pm.

As you’d expect of a brand new series from Sky, there are plenty of behind-the-scenes facts, figures and videos to enjoy. Head on over to our friends at the British Comedy Guide to experience it all.

A Norwegian Shambles For Kevin & Tony

16 May

Next week sees a double whammy of TVO legends take to the stage with a pair of Nowegian comedy giants, all via legendary club night Shambles.

© Kevin Eldon / Tony Law

© Kevin Eldon / Tony Law

As we first mentioned back in AprilKevin Eldon and Tony Law will be appearing alongside Paul Currie and secret special guests as support for cult duo The Norwegians of Comedy.

As the UK goes mad for Nordic dramas, their comedy is kept relatively out of sight, with the exception of the magnificent Daniel Simonsen (recently seen in House of Fools).  The Norwegians of Comedy, though new to the UK scene, have just filmed their own series for Norwegian Television and played San Francisco Sketchfest, as well as having set up the prestigious Crap Comedy festival in their homeland which has featured many a big name comic.

For two nights, they’ll be bringing their anarchic blend of surrealism to Aces and Eights in Tuffnell Park, on May 22nd and 23rd.  With stellar support from Eldon, Law & Currie, it looks like Shambles head honcho Harry Deansway knows a good thing when he sees it, so you can pick up tickets for both nights now for just £9.

For 22nd May, click here, and for 23rd May, click there.  You can see a promo video below.

Hidden Comedy Gems

12 May

© BBC2

BBC2′s 50th anniversary celebrations have been bringing us moments of unexpected delight for the past couple of weeks.

It’s been an opportunity to look back on classic BBC2 comedy shows, some of which provided a launch pad for the artists that we write about – and last night was no exception, with BBC2′s Hidden Treasures.

The hour-long show featured early turns from Steve Coogan, Julia Davis, Matthew Holness, Richard Ayoade, Paul Kaye and Kevin Eldon. Just as excitingly, however, it gave us 60 glorious minutes of (mostly) the best surreal/bonkers/off-kilter comedy from the past 50 years. Milligan, Pete & Dud and early Fry & Laurie – wonderful stuff!

The programne is available to watch for 6 more days on iPlayer. If you like the type of comedy we write about (and if you’re reading this, let’s assume you do), it’s well worth a watch.

Get Your Wig On With Matt and Kevin

6 May
© big wig gig

© big wig gig

Wednesday 21st May is Wig Wednesday, when everyone is encouraged to wear a wig and raise money for CLIC Sargent, the charity that helps young people and children with cancer.

To celebrate the day – and raise funds – 93 Feet East, is hosting The Big Wig Gig at The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane London E1 6OL, from 06:30 PM – 10:30 PM.

Among the star-studded guests for the evening are Matt Berry and Kevin Eldon, alongside Mark Morriss, Cardinal Burns, Liane Carroll and many more, with some still to be announced.

There is no ticket price for this gig, entry is free and you pay what you think it is worth on the night.

To apply for free entry contact bigwiggig@clicsargent.org.uk.

Eldon in Hancock Remake

18 Apr

Kevin Eldon is one of the artists set to feature in a remake of Hancock’s Half Hour, the iconic radio show from the 1950s.

© BBC

BBC Radio 4 will be recreating lost episodes of the show, with a new cast which includes Pirates of the Caribbean actor Kevin McNally in the title role originally played by Tony Hancock. ‘The Missing Hancocks’ will also include actors Simon Greenall and Robin Sebastian, alongside Eldon.

The new recordings will consist of five of the 20 episodes missing from the BBC archives. They will be broadcast in November to mark the 60th anniversary of the show’s first transmission.

Hancock’s Half Hour was based on a fictionalised version of Tony Hancock’s life as a struggling comic and actor, and was originally broadcast on the BBC Home Service between 1954 and 1959. It was followed up by a TV version which ran for five years.

Series co-producer Neil Pearson has said of the series: “We will be re-creating as closely as possible the experience you would have had listening to your radio all those years ago. The scripts are perfect and timeless.”

In an accurate reflection of the original series, the new shows will be recorded in front of a live audience at BBC Radio Theatre and the BBC Concert Orchestra will be re-recording the theme tune.

However, Kevin Eldon fans don’t need to wait until November’s radio broadcast to see him in action! You should be able to catch him gigging from time to time between now and then. He’s next on stage on Saturday 26th April as part of the line up at the Duchess Theatre, alongside Josie Long and Bridget Christie. Tickets are £18/20 and further information about the night is available here.

Three Cornettos To Go, Please…

9 Apr
© Big Talk

© Big Talk

This week marks the tenth anniversary of Shaun of the Dead being released in UK cinemas, and to celebrate, director Edgar Wright has made the scripts to all three parts of his Three Cornettos Trilogy available to download for free.

Each film in the series - Shaun…, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End - has links back to TVO, as Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are frequent collaborators with our regulars, and are always in our peripheral vision being amazing.

Shaun of the Dead was the world’s first rom-zom-com, and starred Pegg & Frost alongside Kate Ashfield, Dylan Moran, Lucy Davies, Penelope Wilton, Dylan Moran and Peter Serafinowicz.  It also featured cameos from Spaced veterans Jessica Hynes, Michael Smiley and Paul Kaye: the latter pair playing zombies, with Smiley in his Spaced attire.

Hot Fuzz followed in 2007, and alongside Pegg & Frost were Timothy Dalton, Edward Woodward, Jim Broadbent, Olivia Coleman, Rafe Spall, Paddy Considine, Adam Buxton and two TVO regulars: Kevin Eldon and Alice Lowe.

Lowe – whose film Sightseers had Wright on board as executive producer – also cameoed in last year’s The World’s End, which again featured Michael Smiley, alongside Reece Shearsmith, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsdan, Rosamund Pike, Pierce Brosnan and our very own Steve Oram.

All three have rightly taken their place in the pantheon of legendary British cinema, and now you can download the scripts for each film as interactive PDFs containing stills, storyboards and video clips… completely free!

© Big Talk

© Big Talk

© Big Talk

© Big Talk

© Big Talk

© Big Talk

But hurry, these may not be around forever.  Pick them up via Edgar’s official website over yonder now!

All three films are also available on dvd and blu-ray from The Velvet Onion Amazon UK and US stores.

Kevin’s Busy Schedule

6 Apr

© London is Funny

We all know that Kevin Eldon is a busy man, with appearances on many TV and radio shows, but you can also see him live in a number of shows in the next couple of months.

On 17th April you can see him at Mostly Comedy at the Market Theatre in Hitchin, where he will be joined by Bec Hill and Doggett & Ephgrave. The show starts at 9.15pm, tickets are £10.45 and can be bought in advance here, where you can also get more information about the venue etc.

Stand up for Shelter is on 7th May at the Wyndham Theatre. It’s a special comedy night to raise money for the charity. As well as Mr Eldon the participants include Stewart Lee, Richard Herring, Zoe Lyons, Sean Hughes and Miles Jupp. For tickets (from £15.00) and further information about the show and Shelter, click here.

We told you last week about Experiments at The Invisible Dot, a new night that “brings together a gaggle of established performers come together to joyously experiment”. Hot Brew are there on 13th April and Kevin Eldon on 18th May.

Tickets for each show cost £8 and the gigs start at 7pm. For more information and to book tickets visit The Invisible Dot’s website.

And if that isn’t enough opportunity to see Kevin Eldon live, he will be joining Shambles Presents: The Norwegians of Comedy at Aces & Eights Saloon Bar on 22/23 May, for two nights only. Lars and Martin will also be joined by  Tony Law, Paul Currie and a Special Guest Comedian.

Tickets are £8.00 (a bargain!) and the show starts at 7.30pm. More information can be found here.

Experiment At The Invisisble Dot

5 Apr

© The Invisible Dot

Strap in, because there’s going to be a wave of TVO-connected artists appearing at The Invisible Dot over he next few months!

 ‘Experiments’ is a new series of monthly  shows that sees a collection of established performers come together to comedically experiment.

Here’s the confirmed line-up for reach show so far, with ‘our lot’ helpfully highlighted in bold type:

13 April: LUCY BEAUMONT, DAVID MILLS, BENJAMIN PARTRIDGE, HOT BREW & more
18 May: WHELAN, DAVID REED, LYNDSAY SHARMAN, KEVIN ELDON, MATTHEW CROSBY & more
15 June: BRIDGET CHRISTIE, PAT CAHILL, HARRY DEANSWAY, ELLIE WHITE, LOLLY ADEFOPE, & more.

Although, strictly speaking, Harry Deansway isn’t one of ours, he’s a top bloke and has hosted a myriad of comedy nights for TVO folk over the years – so do check him out!

Tickets for each show cost £8 and the gigs start at 7pm. For more information and to book tickets visit The Invisible Dot’s website.

Check out Hot Brew’s appearance at TVO Live (they are awesome. Fact):

Harry & Paul (& Kevin)

30 Mar
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

Kevin Eldon is helping Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse take a twisted look at the story of BBC Two in Harry And Paul’s Story Of The Twos. The show, commissioned to commemorate 50 years of BBC 2, is an hour-long tribute to the channel’s most iconic programmes and personalities.

Harry Enfield says: “BBC Two gave me my big solo break with Harry Enfield’s Television Programme almost 25 years ago. They have been loyal to us over decades. We therefore felt it was only right that now we should stab BBC Two in the back.”

As well as Kevin Eldon,  guest stars include Simon Day (The Life of Rock with Brian Pern, Moone Boy), Rosie Cavaliero (Inside No. 9, It’s Kevin), Catherine Shepherd (The IT Crowd) and many more.

Harry adds: “They kindly asked us to do an homage to 50 years of BBC Two. It’s turned out to be less of an homage and more of a homicide. Whoops.”

BBC Two launched on the 20 April 1964, but with only a few minutes to go before the channel went to air, a power cut affected the whole of west London, so the first show to be broadcast on the channel in its entirety was Playschool, which went out the following day.

Did you know that BBC Two was the first channel in Europe to broadcast in colour in 1967?

To find out more about the show and BBC 2′s 50th anniversary celebrations click here.

 

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!

Sky Arts Presents Kevin Eldon

5 Mar
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

Playhouse Presents..., the series of one-off comedies and dramas on Sky Arts is returning for 2014.

The channel has announced the series line-up, which includes Damned, a comedy written by Jo Brand and Morwenna Banks, set in a social services department and starring Ms Brand and Kevin Eldon, to be broadcast on 1st May.

The series will also feature the UK TV debut of Friends star Matthew Perry alongside Tim Key in The Dog Thrower, to be shown on 12th June.

Previous series of Playhouse Presents have featured many TVO favourites, including the debut short film from Matt Holness: A Gun for George, and Paul Kaye starring with Kylie Minogue in Hey Diddly Dee.

The last series also led to a full series of Psychobitches, featuring Katy Brand, Sharon Horgan and Julia Davis.

To read more about all the drama’s in the series pop over to the British Comedy Guide.

Crackanother!

3 Mar

Anthology comedy Crackanory has been recommissioned for a second series, it has been revealed.

© Dave / UKTV

© Dave / UKTV

The show, which was made for and broadcast by UK freeview channel Dave, featured the cream of British comedy both involved with the short stories told across live action sequences or animation, and sat in a big ol’ Jackanory-esque chair telling the tales in the first place!

The likes of Harry Enfield, Charlie Higson, Sally Phillips, Rebecca Front, Jack Dee, Jessica Hynes, Hugh Dennis and Stephen Mangan were joined by TVO regulars Sharon HorganKevin EldonTom MeetenSteve OramAlex Kirk and John ‘Willie’ Hopkins on screen, whilst the score for the show was composed by Waen Shepherd and two episodes were directed by Gareth Tunley.

© John Willie Hopkins

Proving to be a huge ratings hit for the channel, with British Comedy Guide reporting that over half a million homes became regular views (up 82% on the channel’s average for the timeslot), it’s no surprise that the show is set to return in the Autumn.

The stars of series two have yet to be announced, but we’re holding out hope there’s still links back to Onion Land’s family of collaborators to make it a must-see.  In the meantime, Series One is being repeated from March 29th on Dave, so be ready!

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.

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