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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.

Westeros International

28 Mar

© BBC

There’s just over a week to go until Game of Thrones returns, and as its fandom goes into meltdown, there’s some great news for those who just can’t wait a second longer than necessary.

And with Tony Way returning as Dontas Hollard this season and Paul Kaye still out there somewhere as Thoros of Myr, we’re pretty excited for its return, too.

The show returns to HBO in the States at 9:00pm ET on Sunday 6th April, and was pencilled in to air in the UK the following night, at 9:00pm GMT.

However, in a surprise move, the show will now also air in the UK at the same time as the US, meaning it’s UK première will be at 2:00am on Monday 7th April.

The evening showing is still happening, so those who don’t fancy losing sleep can catch up at a more hospitable hour.  In the meantime, study every inch of the lengthy foreshadowing docu-trailer, below.

Chop Socky Chooks: Voices From TVO

18 Mar

If voicing animated characters is the new cool, then Paul Kaye and Shelley Longworth are some distance beyond the hipster zone.

Their voices are a regular fixture in all round weird TV show Chop Socky Chooks, a British/Canadian animated series co-produced by Aardman Animations. It currently airs on The Cartoon Network in the UK, and was a firm favourite of this writer’s kids between the ages of 6 and 8 years old. Although it’s been on our TV screens for a few years, it’s only now that we’ve spotted the involvement of two TVO folk. So worth flagging, we reckon!

Kaye plays the part of the villain, Dr. Wasabi, ruler of Wasabi World and  the main antagonist of the show. Longworth plays the part of Chick P, the leader of the good guys. Dr. Wasabi destroyed her home to build Wasabi World, so she’s not his biggest fan.

Take a look at the episodes below to see the characters in action – and rediscover your inner (pretty tripped out) child:


The Ghoul’s Cast Begins To Form

11 Mar

As filming continues apace on Gareth Tunley‘s directorial film debut, The Ghoul, a few more exciting cast details have emerged.

© Gareth Tunley

© Gareth Tunley

The film, which is written and directed by Ealing Live veteran Tunley, features Tom Meeten alongside Alice Lowe, who was revealed to be part of the cast last month.

© Gareth Tunley

© Gareth Tunley

Since filming began, it’s been revealed that they will be joined by a cavalcade of talented TVO regulars, with Rufus Jones, Rachel Stubbings, Waen Shepherd and Paul Kaye all shooting scenes for the picture in the last few days.

Also on board is comedy legend Geoffrey McGivern, who is perhaps best known as the original Ford Prefect in the radio version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, but has also appeared in shows as prestigious as Blackadder The Third, 15 Stories High, Peep Show and A Bit Of Fry And Laurie.

© Andy Hollingworth

© Andy Hollingworth

His TVO connections are sound, too.  McGivern appeared alongside Waen Shepherd and Stephen Evans in Hypderdrive, as well as a regular role in Lab Rats alongside Dan Tetsell and Chris Addison.  Geoffrey was also involved in the first series of Big Train alongside Kevin Eldon, and more recently turned up as a useless lawyer in Sharon Horgan’s Dead Boss (alongside Aisling Bea), and cameoed in Holy Flying Circus alongside Rufus Jones. Wowsa.

So if you’re not excited about The Ghoul yet, you really, REALLY should be. We can’t wait to see the results, and of course, we’ll keep you updated as and when we can. Stay peeled…

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.

(Not-So) Idle Kaye

10 Feb

The ever-in demand Paul Kaye appears in a new film to be released theatrically and via download this Friday.

© ArthurCox

© ArthurCox

8 Minutes Idle is the debut feature from director Mark Simon Hewis,  based upon the novel of the same name by Matt Thorne.  Set and shot entirely in Bristol, it features Tom Hughes (Cemetery Junction), Ophelia Lovibod (Nowhere Boyi), Antonia Thomas (Misfits), Pippa Heywood (Green Wing) and the inimitable Paul Kaye.

It’s the story of Dan – a man looking for an easy life, deliberately choosing the easiest job he can: a call centre.  However, a misunderstanding leads to his eviction, and he is forced to secretly move into his office, complete with his most prized possessions and his cat.

© ArthurCox

© ArthurCox

Partially funded by Kickstarter when the film’s original distributor fell into financial worries, the film has gained the support of the likes of Peter Hook, Stephen Merchant and Dom Joly, and will be appearing in selected cinemas across the UK from February 14th.

It will also be released for digital download, and is set to appear on the BBC later in the year.

In other news, Paul Kaye – who is currently filming period drama Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell in Yorkshire, recently contributed an article to Nottingham based arts magazine Left Lion, about one of his lifelong heroes – Sid Vicious.

The fascinating insight into the lives of two men, a few generations apart, can be found on the Left Lion website over yonder.

You can see the trailer for 8 Minutes Idle below.

Four Days Left For In Holoserica Cepa 2013!

4 Jan

In Holoserica Cepa 2013It can’t have escaped your attention that, with all this review of the year gubbins, TVO has been relatively silent on the news front. Given the relative silence of a new year, we decided to temporarily suspend normal service at TVO Towers until tomorrow, when we’ll return to our usual ways of bringing you all the news, reviews, interviews and fun stuffs that we can muster from the realm of Onion Land.

You can see our four part review of the year below if you’ve hopped straight to our home page, or individually by clicking on the words one, two, three and four in this sentence.

To round off this period of reflection, we felt it prudent to remind you on this one final evening of indulgence that there’s just four days left to download our 100% FREE Six-Track musical EP, featuring some of the finest musical names in Onion Land.

In Holoserica Cepa 2013 includes the official release of ZaNg‘s epic Yogiebogiebox - the alt-rock brainchild of Paul Kaye & Adie Hardy, which features actor Marc Warren on harmonica.  It also packs the first release of Waen Shepherd‘s festive ditty, Little Old Nick in character as Beach Boys esque alter-ego Colin Watson, and the debut of James Cook‘s sensational cover of XTC’s Making Plans For Nigel.

And, like all gifts that keep on giving, there’s a preview of Stephen Evans‘ forthcoming one-man comedy show via his track Walking, made in collaboration with Rob Halcrow – and a rare chance to hear a new track from Dead Dog In Black Bag which pays homage to one of the biggest influences, Prince.  Lastly, but by no means least, the EP is the only place you can pick up a digital copy of Baloo My Boy sung by Richard Glover on the soundtrack to A Field In England, which was previously only available on limited edition vinyl.

You can hear the full thing above, or alternatively DOWNLOAD IT OVER YONDER.  But hurry, because just like our first EP this time last year, come January 9th, they’ll be gone for good.

As always, TVO would like to thank everyone involved with the making of these tracks, and the compiling of this collection.  You all know who you are, and to you, and everyone out there reading this – a very happy new year to you all. We love ya.

For full details on the tracklisting, click to read more…  Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

FREE DOWNLOAD: In Holoserica Cepa 2013!

25 Dec

In Holoserica Cepa 2013It’s that time of the year again. The big fat bloke has been, and given you all lots of lovely jubbly presents, with hopefully a few TVO related goodies amongst them!

As our friends, naturally, we had to provide you with a gift or some variety, and given the runaway success of last year’s festive EP, we’ve managed to bring together another collection of great tracks from our musical members absolutely free for a limited time only.

In Holoserica Cepa 2013 features six tracks to download completely free between now and January 8th, including some rather special exclusives, which you can also hear below.

Just visit our Soundcloud page to get the EP, featuring the likes of James Cook, DeadDogInBlackBagStephen EvansRichard Glover Paul Kaye and Waen Shepherd.  But hurry, because just like last year’s effort, come January 9th, they’ll be gone for good.

As always, TVO would like to thank everyone involved with the making of these tracks, and the compiling of this collection.  You all know who you are, and to you, and everyone out there reading this – a most merry of holiday seasons to you all. We love ya.

TRACKLISTING

© Paul Kaye

© Paul Kaye

Yogiebogiebox – ZaNg

Comedy legend Paul Kaye has provided us with the world exclusive download of Yogiebogiebox, the first effort from ZaNg: his musical project with Adie Hardy, featuring actor Marc Warren on harmonica.  It’s a hard-hitting slice of alt-rock madness, and we’ve been grooving to the demo all year, so it’s great to finally be able to share a finished version with you all.

© James Cook

© James Cook

Making Plans For Nigel – JAMES COOK

You may know him from his time fronting electropop wonders Nemo, or from his numerous appearances in The Mighty Boosh, but in recent years, James Cook has branched out into an increasingly healthy solo career.  Ahead of his second studio album proper, he’ll be releasing a selection of covers across two EP releases early next year, and this gorgeous reworking of an XTC classic is amongst them.

© Stephen Evans

© Stephen Evans

Walking – STEPHEN EVANS feat. ROB HALCROW

Former Hyperdrive star Stephen Evans is no stranger to the live circuit, having performed as part of Dutch Elm Conservatoire (alongside Rufus Jones & Dan Skinner), and more recently alongside regular collaborator Colin Hoult.  As he prepares a solo live show of his own, he’s very kindly offered us this rough mix of a track he’s written for inclusion in the show.  Recorded with the aid of musician Rob Halcrow, the singalong chorus features “quite a few anonymous comedy performers singing their hearts out” towards the end.

© Dead Dog In Black Bag

© Dead Dog In Black Bag

Prince Lives In My Garden – DEAD DOG IN BLACK BAG

We love Dead Dog. And Dead Dog really love Prince.  Things have been awfully quiet on the Black Bag front of late, as the electropop filthsters take a well earned break whilst Suzy Evelyn-Hall celebrates motherhood for the first time, but her partner in crime Holly Jane Shears (of Circulus fame) has very kindly sent us this recording of a live fan favourite.

© Rook Films

© Rook Films

Baloo My Boy [Excerpt from 'A Field In England'] – RICHARD GLOVER

Anyone who has seen Ben Wheatley‘s glorious A Field In England will have fallen in love with Richard Glover‘s kind-hearted simpleton peasant, known only as Friend.  This track from the soundtrack in which Friend sings a jaunty ditty receives its digital première here, having previously only been available on a limited edition vinyl release earlier this year, thanks to the good folk at Rook Films.

© Waen Shepherd

© Waen Shepherd

Little Old Nick – COLIN WATSON & THE EARLY BIRDS

Another comedy veteran offering us a world exclusive is Waen Shepherd, who has sent us a track by his Beach Boys inspired alter-ego Colin Watson, entitled Little Old Nick.  This festive ditty offers a rather twisted view on the traditional festive number, and we’re sure will become a staple of alternative Xmas playlists for years to come.

Kaye And The Whale

17 Dec

© BBC

Paul Kaye is set to star in major new BBC One drama, The Whale.

The Whale is a one-off feature-length drama that tells the story of the fateful last voyage of the Nantucket whaleship Essex. It follows the story of the crew, left alone in the Pacific Ocean in fragile whalers, when the Essex is sunk by a sperm whale.

It is a story of human endurance and what men in extremis will do to survive. Legend of the TVO world, Paul Kaye, will play the second mate, Matthew Joy.

The Whale will be broadcast on Sunday 22nd December at 9pm on BBC One.

Kaye’s Appearance On Ripper Street

23 Nov

© BBC

The episode of Ripper Street that features Paul Kaye has been confirmed for broadcast on 2nd December.

He will appear in Episode 6 of 8 in the second series of the period drama set in 1890′s Whitechapel.

Kaye will play the role of the mysterious and charismatic scholar, Gabriel Cain, in an episode called ‘A Stronger Loving World’. It will air a week on Monday (2nd December) on BBC1 at 9pm.  For more information about the episode click here.

If a further (if slightly tenuous) TVO connection to the show were needed, Being Human’s Damien Moloney plays the role of Detective Sergeant Albert Flight in the series. You’ll recall that Colin Hoult and Julian Barratt both featured in the last series of Being Human with Moloney.

And finally, in honour of today’s Dr Who 50th anniversary celebration, we thought it only right and proper to point out that this week’s Ripper Street paid homage to Dr Who by including streets named after the first and second Doctors. For the full story, take a look at this.  Awesome.

For more information about Ripper Street visit the BBC’s website.

Leeds & Pieces

31 Oct

Pieces - the latest short film from brilliant up and coming director Jack Weatherley - will be a feature of the Leeds International Film Festival next month.

© Jack Weatherley

As we mentioned a few months ago, the short reunites Weatherley with recent collaborator Paul Kaye, as well as seeing him hook up with fellow TVO regulars Alice Lowe and Michael Smiley.

Also starring George MacKay and Tanya Franks, Pieces follows an unspoken incident which unravels the lives of two families into nightmare, fracturing time and memory.

It’s beautiful stuff, shot by another name with big TVO connections, cinematographer Laurie Rose (The Baron, Sightseers, A Field In England).  Film buffs can see for themselves at a special screening on Thursday, November 21st at Hyde Park Picture House.

Tickets are a mere £6, and the short is on the same bill as others featuring the likes of Stephen Mangan and Ben Wishaw, so pick some up now!  You can see the trailer below.

Game Of Thrones – Special Edition

21 Sep
© amazon

© amazon

The third series of Game of Thrones, will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on 24th February 2014.

This series features Paul Kaye as Thoros Of Myr, and Tony Way also appeared in the second series as Dontos Hollard.

The series is available as DVD or region free Blu-ray. There is also a special limited edition Dragon Packaging Blu-ray (pictured).

You’ll be pleased to know that all formats are available to pre-order from the TVO store, DVD, Blu-ray and Special Edition Blu-ray.

Onion Selling

16 Sep

Whilst TVO appears to be in a ‘proper telly’ lull as we await a few big name shows coming soon, there’s no shortage of Onion faces cropping up on our screens thanks to the world of ad-breaks.

© Reed.co.uk

© Reed.co.uk

Such is the fickle nature of the acting profession – and stand-up comedy for that matter – every once in a while, TVO regulars crop up in commercials.

Whilst some may baulk at the notion of talented people turning up in adverts, let us remind you that, much like voiceover work, it pays well, doesn’t take long, and adds to the portfolio.  And hey, if it’s good enough for John Cleese, Dawn French, Kylie Minogue and Kevin Bacon, to name but a few big names who succumb to acting in ads, then who are we to complain.   Plus… it gets our good friends on the tellybox when we least expect it!

In the past, we’ve rounded up a number of commercials featuring so many faces of Onion Land, and the last month or so has seen the debut of three more such ads.

First up in this latest collection is the return of Rufus Jones as the face of job website reed.co.uk, in an advert which debuted during this weekend’s top-rated edition of X-Factor, no less.  Once again Richard Sandling is one of his potential targets for new work after a rude awakening…

Elsewhere, Channel 5 is keen to push it’s own catch-up service, Demand 5, which is now available on smart televisions, as well as NOWTV boxes, their website and YouTube.  Catching up on Neighbours with a rather heavy hangover in this commercial is none other than Rachel Stubbings

And then there’s Virgin Media, who are using athlete Usain Bolt and company founder Richard Branson in a series of adverts, all of which are voiced by Richard Ayoade

Lastly for now, is the return of Paul Kaye in typically maniacal form as the star of BetVictor’s long running campaign.  Here, Victor Chandler is enjoying a nice, gentle, first-class train ride, but typically, Maurice can’t quite leave him in peace…

As long as there is an Onion Land, it seems, there will be commercials featuring its inhabitants.  There are far too many for us to possibly collate, but we’ve done our best to dig into the archives and find you some of the better moments via the handy playlist below.

Included here are such classic moments as Julian Barratt advertising Metz way back in 1997, and his co-hort Noel Fielding being creative with handcuffs for Carling Live five years later.  There are big name ads you’d never realise had TVO links, from Simon Farnaby voicing a horse with a penchant for NutriGrain through to Ben Wheatley helming recent Go Compare ads.

Of course, there’s a huge chunk of voiceover king Matt Berry, but his IT Crowd co-stars Chris O’Dowd and Katherine Parkinson get a look in too.  Regular collaborators Tom Meeten and Barunka O’Shaughnessy pop up in a few ads, and we’ve got loads more to savour featuring the likes of Richard GloverLaura PatchAlex KirkRhys ThomasJustin EdwardsDan TetsellAnna CrillyKaty Wix and the well trained eye of Paul King.  We’ve also got a ridiculously early tv appearance by Steve Coogan, and a couple of later ads in character as Paul and Pauline Calf. Enjoy…

Reach For Sky 1

27 Aug

© Baby Cow / Sky

Sky 1 have announced their new Autumn Schedule and there are a couple of TVO related shows to look forward to.

Yonderland, written by and starring a lot of the cast of Horrible Histories, is set to be shown in the Autumn. It is a mixture of live action and puppets, and is a fantasy adventure story. Click here for our earlier Peeling and to see the preview.

The next new show that has TVO excited is the second series of Moone Boy, written by and starring Chris O’Dowd and telling the story of a boy growing up in Ireland.

David Rawle as 12-year-old Martin Moone gives a brilliant performance alongside O’Dowd as his imaginary friend.

Sky has also announced that a third series of Moone Boy is just about to start filming, and Chris O’Dowd will make his directorial debut during this.

Another show with TVO connections, is Common Ground, which we told you about earlier this year when it was shown on Sky Atlantic. Now it is showing on Sky 1 at 10pm on Thursday evenings.

The series consists of pairs of 15 minute shows, and this Thursday is William and Sinclair, written by and starring Rufus Jones and Dan Skinner.

Next week (5th September) is Rupert, written by and starring Jonny Vegas and starring Paul Kaye.

There is also an episode called Eleanor, written by and starring Katy Brand, but there is no date for that yet.

Pieces

30 Jul

A teaser for a new short film featuring Alice Lowe, Paul Kaye and Michael Smiley has emerged online.

© Wingbeat Pictures

We’ve been keeping an eye on Pieces for some time now, as it’s writer/director Jack Weatherley was previously responsible for stunning 2011 short film Straight Way Lost, also starring Paul Kaye.

For his second short, Weatherley has attracted a top-notch list of collaborators.  Alongside Kaye, Lowe and Smiley are Tanya Franks from Pulling and Defiance star George McKay.  To further the TVO connections, cinematography comes courtesy of Laurie Rose (Sightseers, A Field In England, Kill List, Down Terrace).  And the soundtrack comes via the impressive collaboration of Pablo Clements and James Griffith – both of UNKLE fame, under their Toydrum moniker.  You can see the teaser below.

Shot in just three days but in the making for two years, the trailer looks utterly amazing and we can’t wait to see the finished film.  To keep an eye on the release, visit Jack’s official website, and follow him on Twitter.  We’ll bring you more news as soon as we can.

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.

Yogibogeybox

28 Jun
© Zang

© Zang

The legendary Paul Kaye has teamed up with Marc Warren and long-standing collaborator Adie Hardy to launch a new alt-rock band, Zang.

We first told you about Zang back in March, when Paul graciously gave us a sneaky peak at their first track, Yogibogeybox.

Now that track has been unleashed online, via a lo-fi music video on Warren’s YouTube channel.  You can see the results below.

Zang marks Kaye’s return to the world of rock music, following his work soundtracking Kathy Burke’s Walking And Talking series last year.  In the late 80s and early 90s, before the days of Dennis Pennis, Paul achieved cult fame in bands We Are Pleb and TVEye, and regularly performed in (or as) The Mike Strutter Band in recent years.

We can’t wait to hear more.

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