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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.

Invisible Dot Round-Up!

14 Feb

© Invisible Dot

As more and more shows are getting announced  for King’s Cross venue, the Invisible Dot, more and more TVO names are being added to the bills. Here’s a round-up.

First off, this Sunday sees a band of established comedians coming together for an ‘anything goes’ new material night called Experiments. It’s hosted by Mike Wozniak (recently seen in Man Down), with guests Tony Law, Rachel Parris, James Acaster and a mystery special guest.  Tickets are a mere £8 and can be found here.

Next up is Pancake Day on March 4th – a comedy night where pancakes will be served! The line-up so far is Katy Wix, James Acaster and Henry Pertidis, with more to be announced. Tickets are £12 (including the all-important pancakes) and can be found here.

The Dot’s Saturday Night Show, ever increasing in popularity, has some stonking line-ups for the coming season, with the wonderful Kevin Eldon in two shows on March 8th. He’ll be appearing alongside Cardinal Burns, Alistair Green and Nathon Caton and guests for other dates include Bridget Christie, Will Adamsdale (who some of you may have seen as one of Jon Breeze’s Wellness Companions at Julian Barratt‘s latest Soho show), Simon Munnery and Josie Long. Tickets are £10, thisaway.

Finally, on 25th March, 22nd April and 27th May, Triceratops will return to the Invisible Dot. This is a night showcasing three masterful character comedians (and no dinosaurs) performing both collaboratively and solo. The three are our own fantastic Colin Hoult, the marvelous (and slightly terrifying) Adam Riches and a special guest. Tickets are £8, you know what to do.

Sneak Peek At Cuban Fury

26 Jan

A new trailer for Cuban Fury, the new Salsa Dance film starring Nick Frost and Chris O’Dowd, has been released and shows the first dance lesson for Nick Frost’s character, Bruce Garrett.

The film, which has its UK release on Valentines Day (14th February), also stars Rashida Jones, Kayvan Novak, Olivia Colman and Ian McShane, and some TVO favourites – Steve Oram, Kevin Eldon and Rory Kinnear (Count Arthur Strong).

Cult Comedy Marathon

12 Jan

© BBC

If you’re into funny telly shows and you enjoy sitting in the dark, then this will be right up your street! Totally Serialized is running an afternoon of cult comedy viewing at Ciné Lumière in London on Saturday, 18th January.

Starting at 2pm, the Cult Comedy Marathon includes TVO-connected shows Saxondale (S1 Ep1), Nighty Night (S1 Ep1) and Spaced (S1 Ep1) – plus The Office (S1 Ep4).

There will also be a couple of short-coms from France (apparently a very popular format across the Channel): Un Gars, use Fille, starring Jean Dujardin before he achieved international fame, and Bref.

Tickets for the event cost just £5 (£3 conc) and can be purchased here.

While you’re at it, why not stick around for the Totally Serialized 6pm Special Screening of the entire series of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, plus Q&A with Matthew Holness? What a way to celebrate the show’s 10th Anniversary!? For more details, take a look at our earlier post.

Festive TV Catch-Up

5 Jan
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

There were some great TV programmes on over the Festive period, many featuring TVO favourites. We’ve posted about most of them, but there’s still the opportunity to catch up on many of the delights:

Most recently, Kevin Eldon took part in Celebrity Mastermind, if you didn’t see it on Thursday, you can catch up here.

Kevin popped up again during the festivities as Doctor McFee in Death Comes to Pemberley, which is still available on BBC iPlayer.

The Christmas edition of Lee Mack’s Not Going Out featured Katy Wix and can be viewed here.

Charlie Brooker reviewed 2013 in 2013 Wipe, although not featuring any TVO related people, Mr Brooker has written many great shows featuring TVO artists.

There was also a re-run of Ambassadors, starring Robert Webb and David Mitchell, with a scene stealing guest appearance by Mr Michael Smiley. You can catch this episode – and the others – on BBC iPlayer.

Matt Berry fans had plenty of opportunities to see and hear the man himself on New Year’s Eve, first Matt was in the final episode of The IT Crowd – also available on 4OD along with every other episode of The IT Crowd and the special documentary, The IT Crowd Manual, which was broadcast on Christmas Eve.

This was followed by Matt narrating The 50 Funniest Moments of 2013, which is now available on 4OD. Then to round off the New Year celebrations, Channel 4 showed every episode of Toast of London, also available on 4OD.

Rich Fulcher popped up as a commentator on The 50 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians on Channel 5. This featured clips from a wide variety of comedians spanning the years up to the present. You can catch up with this on Demand5.

Rich also presented 2013 Mashed on Channel 4, which also featured a sketch by Hayden Black. Again you can still see this on 4OD.

And of course there was the Big Fat Quiz of The Year featuring Noel Fielding and Richard Ayoade – on the same team! If by any chance you missed it, there’s still time to catch up on 4OD

TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part Four

4 Jan

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

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

OCTOBER

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

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

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

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

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

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TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part Three

3 Jan

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

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

JULY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part Two

2 Jan

Yesterday we brought you a round-up of the first quarter of 2013, as we’d probably forgotten half of it ourselves, let alone you lovely lot out there.  The second quarter provided loads more great things to celebrate, so we’ve been ploughing through TVO’s archives to pluck out the best bits from over 700 news stories across 2013. This second instalment of our round-up covers April-June, and is jam packed with forgotten treasures and instant classics alike.  Enjoy.

APRIL

April, or Ape-ril as it was renamed by the Sumatran Orangutan Society, began with a plea from TVO regulars Dave Brown and Tony Law to grow your beard as large as possible.  This was, of course, in aid of ape conservation: we are all 96.4% Orangutan after all…

The facial hair theme continued apace, with some of Onion Land’s most mighty beard-wearers being active this month.  First up, Paul Kaye hosted a short exhibition of his art, with TVO attended the star-studded press night to admire his work and have a quick chat to the man himself, though sadly his hectic schedule postponed our latest catch-up… we’re gonna get ya in the new year, mate! Kaye also became the latest big name to join the cast of hugely acclaimed fantasy show Game Of Thrones, as warrior Thoros of Myr.

He wasn’t the only one, either. Whilst the world got increasingly excited about his (then) forthcoming film A Field In EnglandBen Wheatley did the last thing critics expected, and made a string of commercials for Go Compare, further proving he works on his own terms ahead of one of the oddest films of 2013…

Another beardy Onion layer up to good things this month was Matt Berry, who was quietly preparing to unleash his new album, Kill The Wolf. May and June would see an awful lot of Berry activity, but April was no push-over, either.  First off, his radio series I, Regress… returned to the airwaves, and he went on to release the first snippet of his new album with a track called The Devil Inside Me

He wasn’t the only one returning, either. Rhys Thomas brought back his incredibly popular Radio 4 show Down The Line for a fifth run – the sixth if you include short-lived tv spin-off Bellamy’s People. Once again it featured Thomas’ fellow Fast Show veterans Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Simon Day and the late, great Felix Dexter. Also along for the ride were Look Around You star Robert Popper, Big Train(and It’s Kevin) actress Amelia Bullmore, Citizen Khanwriter Adil Ray, and another TVO regular (and Rhys’ wife), Lucy Montgomery.

Also back this month were Boosh veterans and indie-folk legends The Ralfe Band, who released the single Come On Go Wild from their new album, Son Be Wise, and toured as support to Manchester’s finest ever band, I Am Kloot.  A video for the single followed on 1st May, which can be seen below.

This month also saw us bid farewell to Life’s Too Short, which returned for a one-off special at Easter. Sadly lacking in Matt Holness magic (Matt was a regular in the show’s first and only series), it nevertheless found the time to bring back Colin Hoult as Warwick Davis‘ useless psychic, Brian. Also along for the ride were telly veterans, Les Dennis, Keith Chegwin and Shaun Williamson, as well as former Batman star Val Kilmer. A fine send-off, then, for a show that ended way too soon.

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TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part One

1 Jan

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

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

JANUARY

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

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

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

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

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

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Toast The New Year!

31 Dec
© Kuba Wieczorek

© Kuba Wieczorek

If you are staying in for New Year and like Matt Berry then you are in for a treat tonight!

Channel 4 are hosting The 50 Funniest Moments of 2013, where celebrities and others choose their funniest moments of the year. The whole show is narrated by Matt and runs from 11.05pm until 1.05am, so will see you into the New Year.

Following this is the complete series of Toast of London, Mr Berry’s surreal, fantastic sitcom about an eccentric actor and those around him.

For even more Berry goodness, tune into 4seven from 9pm, when you can watch the last ever episode of The IT Crowd – The Internet is Coming, followed by the people’s choice episode – The Work Outing and Graham Linehan‘s favourite episode – The Final Countdown.

This takes you nicely to 11.05pm and The 50 Funniest Moments ….

Warm Your Cockles At The Winter Weekender

29 Dec

© Roomyverse

We’re big fans of the Phoenix pub in Cavendish Square, London. They host stinkingly good comedy nights and their bar staff are rather splendid too ;-). Well now they’re putting on a whole weekend of comedy for your delectation, in the form of The Phoenix Fringe Winter Weekender!

Running from Friday 31st January to Sunday 2nd February, the weekend promises a series of top drawer daytime and evening comedy gigs, with Tony Law performing at 7pm on Friday 31st, and Kevin Eldon at the 7pm show on Saturday 1st February.

To see the full list of performers and show times – and to book tickets click here. Ticket prices start from £8.80.

 

Eldon Comes To Pemberley

27 Dec

© BBC

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted a surprising face amongst the cast of the BBC1 Christmas mini-series, Death Comes to Pemberley. Kevin Eldon plays the part of Dr McPhee in the three-part period drama.

Death Comes to Pemberley is PD James’s sequel to Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice. The new drama is set on the Darcys’ estate six years after the end of Austen’s tale, and this time actor Matthew Rhys is charged with taking on the character made famous by Colin Firth in that wet shirt.

The long cast list also includes TVO-connected Rebecca Front (Mrs Bennett) and Dr Who’s Jenna Coleman (Lydia Wickham).

The first episode aired yesterday, on Boxing Day (and can be viewed on iPlayer), with the remaining two episodes being shown on BBC1 tonight (27th December) at 9pm, and  tomorrow at 9pm on BBC1.

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