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The Trip To Hackney

23 Apr

© BBC

There’s a rare chance to grill Steve Coogan and his frequent collaborator Rob Brydon next month, when The Trip To Italy reaches Hackney Picture House.

Like it’s predecessor, the six-part series (currently airing every Friday on BBC Two, with catch-up episodes available on iPlayer now) has been edited into a feature film presentation for international audiences.

Cult venue Hackney Picture House will be screening the 108-minute theatrical cut on Wednesday 21st May, where they’ll be joined by Coogan & Brydon for a live Q&A afterwards.

Limited tickets are on sale now, having been granted to Picture House members first, but if you miss the event, you can always console yourself by buying the Trip boxsets in two variations, available from May 12th.

The set featuring both full-length series is £17.50 in The Velvet Onion Amazon Store, whilst the feature film versions can be yours for £16.25. If you already own Series One, you can pick up Series Two on its own for £13.50, too.

Partridge Sequel & More!

5 Apr

© Baby Cow

A second Alan Partridge feature film has been announced, in the wake of last year’s successful debut, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.

Furthermore, Steve Coogan will also be playing the fictional radio DJ for a second series of Mid Morning Matters on Sky Atlantic. And there are also rumours of a new Partridge special, a spoof of the BBC documentary series Coast, in which Alan will be taking a look at Norfolk’s coastline (where else?).

Henry Normal, who co-owns Baby Cow Productions with Coogan, has said that they are writing new Partridge content now with a view to releasing it at the end of the summer. The movie looks like it could be released next year.

If you haven’t seen the debut Partridge feature yet, don’t forget that you can still buy Alpha Papa at The Velvet Onion amazon store on Blu-ray(£10.99) and DVD (£7).

Tripping Tomorrow With Coogan & Brydon

3 Apr

© BBC

The Trip 2, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as version of themselves, starts tomorrow at 10pm on BBC2. The second series of the dining-themed travelogue comedy series places the duo in Italy, as they trace the footsteps of Byron and Shelley.

Brydon was interviewed about the show in today’s Shortlist, in which he discussed how the friendship between the characters on screen differs from Coogan and his real life relationship (and how it doesn’t!), his thoughts on a possible third series, and – of course – the competitive impressions which became such a hit in Series 1.

Brydon explains that he’s even been asked to perform the impressions in front of the people who he and Coogan have mimicked, saying: “If Anthony Hopkins asks you to do Michael Caine, you do Michael Caine. I actually got an email from Michael Caine after the first series, telling me he enjoyed my impressions of him.”

By way of illustration, here’s a clip of the pair going full throttle on their Michael Caine impressions in the new series:

To read the interview in full click here. And don’t forget to tune in tomorrow night!

Philomena’s Oscar Hopes Dashed

4 Mar

© Pathe

The multi-Oscar nominated Philomena failed to pick up any awards at last night’s Oscars ceremony.

The film, starring Steve Coogan and Dame Judi Dench has been winning multiple awards since the Autumn, including Best Screenplay at both the Venice Film Festival and BAFTA.

Telling the real life story of a pregnant teen in 50s Ireland, who is placed in a convent whilst her child is sent to America for adoption, Philomena sees the titular character spend the next fifty years searching in vain for her lost son.

The screenplay, co-written by Coogan and Jeff Pope was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, whilst Dench was up for Best Actress, and the film itself was nominated for Best Original Score and, crucially, Best Picture.

Sadly, it was pipped to the post in every category, but at least the ceremony gave us this epic Coogan vine to savour, and the film can be pre-ordered to savour again and again on dvd and blu-ray now via The Velvet Onion Amazon Store, with release locked down for March 24th.

Toast Of The Awards

26 Feb

© Kuba Wieczorek

There are more award nominations for TVO related shows, starting with Matt Berry‘s Toast of London being nominated in the TV Award category of the Chortle Awards 2014.

Meanwhile in the Empire Awards, A Field in England is nominated for Best Horror, with Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa and The World’s End both being nominated in the Best Comedy and Best British Film categories, with Edgar Wright nominated for Best Director, making three nominations for The World’s End.

Click on the links to vote for your favourites. The Chortle Awards are open until midnight on 4th March, and while there’s no closing date mentioned for the Empire Awards, it’s best to get your votes in soon!

If you’ve missed any of the nominated shows, don’t forget you can get everything you need at the Velvet Onion Store, just click to buy.

Toast of London

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa DVD or Blu-ray.

A Field in England.

Cornetto Trilogy.

BAFTA For Coogan

16 Feb

© BAFTA

Steve Coogan was one of the winners at this evening’s 2014 EE British Academy Film Awards.

Coogan, and his co-writer Jeff Pope, won their BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay for Philomena, beating off stiff competition from the likes of Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, Captain Phillips and The Wolf of Wall Street (a select group of films which dominated the awards ceremony).

Coogan said he was inspired to adapt the book ‘The Lost Child of Philomena Lee’ by Martin Sixsmith, after he read an article in the Guardian 4 years ago.

During his speech he noted there were still 60,000 women who had not traced their children, taken from them by nuns and put up for adoption, and “Their story isn’t yet over”.

Philomena picked up a further three nominations, including Best Film.  To see the list of nominations and winners in full, visit BAFTA’s website.

Brian Pern’s Greatest Hits I

11 Feb
© BBC

© BBC

This week saw the launch of The Life Of Rock With Brian Pern - the magnificent new spoof documentary series from Rhys Thomas and Simon Day featuring a whole host of big name guest stars.

Episode One aired on Monday, and in amongst the big name artists discussed (Bowie was a fag-stealer; Mercury made his piano out of a really, REALLY big fireplace etc), were a series of vintage clips of prog-rock king Brian Pern in action.

These included Thotch at the peak of their excess, with the epic Land Of The Crab, industrial jungle influence Naughty Man from 1979, and the infamously divisive solo single and pop smash, Spirit Level.

Now the full performances have been dug out of the archives and uploaded to the BBC Comedy YouTube Channel, and you can see all five via this handy playlist below.

In reality, of course, they are the work of the show’s composer, Steve Burge, and also feature Tony WayLucy Montgomery and Al Murray.

Episode Two of the show, which also features Michael Smiley, Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer, Paul Whitehouse, Nigel Havers, Michael Kitchen, Matt Lucas, Danny John Jules, Roger Taylor, Jools Holland and Peter Gabriel amongst others, will air next Monday on BBC Four.  You can catch Episode One on iPlayer now.

R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman 1967-2014

3 Feb

© Universal Pictures

The Velvet Onion would like to extend its sympathies to the family and friends of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who passed away this weekend aged 46.

An acting powerhouse whose glittering career has led to so many different ‘Top Ten Performances’ lists, Hoffman’s sole connection to TVO came with his central role as The Count in Richard Cutis’ 2009 comedy The Boat That Rocked alongside our very own Chris O’DowdKatherine Parkinson, and in a deleted sequence, Rich Fulcher.

Yet his legacy left a resounding impact on our regulars, and the team here, with masterful performances in productions as diverse as The SavagesSynecdoche New York, Boogie Nights, Mary And Max, A Late Quartet, The Hunger Games and The Big Lebowski.

In 2010, he also directed the feature film Jack Goes Boating, in which he also starred, and frequently directed theatre productions even in the later years of his life.  He had almost completed shooting on the final Hunger Games movie at the time of his death, has two other movies in the can for release this year and was about to start work on a new television comedy Happyish following a pilot episode filmed last year with Hedwig & The Angry Inch director John Cameron Mitchell.

Naturally, his work has inspired generations of performers and will continue to do so for decades to come.  This includes a number of TVO regulars who publicly expressed their shock and grief at his untimely passing.

Steve Coogan led public tributes at the London Critics’ Circle Awards last night, stating: “There are actors and there are movie stars and sometimes they’re both but he was an actor first and a movie star second. He did some tremendous work. People have different opinions about actors but you wouldn’t find anybody who would have a bad word to say about any of his performances – they were all incredibly nuanced.”

In the Twittersphere, more TVO regulars shared their views, which we have collated below.

Rest in peace, Mr Hoffman. You will be missed.

Tripping In Italy With Coogan

19 Jan

© The Guardian

As we’ve previously mentioned, the second series of The Trip, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, will be hitting our TV screens later this year, following its premier this month at Sundance. This weekend Coogan and Brydon talked to The Guardian about the show.

The new series sees the pair on a gastronomic tour of Italy (it’s called The Trip to Italy) – so we can expect the familiar banter and exaggerated versions of self that were so darned enjoyable in the first series, but with more pasta and less rain than before.

In the genuinely fascinating Guardian interview the duo talk about their relationship both on and off screen, with Coogan in unusually relaxed form, perhaps encouraged by his partner’s candidness in the interview situation. The article also provides insight into how the the original series came about and how they approach the filming of the show. A worthwhile read about a unique TV show. To see the full interview click here.

Philomena meets Oscar

17 Jan
© The Weinstein Company

© The Weinstein Company

It’s happened! And TVO couldn’t be happier.  Steve Coogan’s Philomena has been nominated for not one but FOUR Oscars!

The film, based on a newspaper article he wondered if he “might be able to turn into a film” is up for the categories of Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Original Score.

I was absolutely dumbfounded,” he told The BBC today.

Ever the gracefully humble one, Coogan says he thought it might be a “small interesting film”that some people might like and that he “failed [his] English O level twice . . . so if I can do it, anyone can.”

Well we think your talent is enormous, and apparently the Academy does too. So best of luck with the votes and we’ll see you at the Oscars.

And if you haven’t seen it yet (what are you waiting for?!?!), here is the official trailer.

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.

Stateside Coogan

7 Jan

Steven Coogan is busy Stateside promoting his new film Philomena.

On CBS This Morning he discusses the topic of the film, which has already won a screenplay award and has chatter around it for an Oscar nod.

The hosts also bring up Coogan’s UK comedy fame, which he humbly acknowledges along with his interest in branching out to dramatic roles and projects. Peelers can see the interview here:

 

 

And for an added treat, he’ll also be appearing tonight on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which can be viewed tomorrow on either the Comedy Central website, or by Hulu+ subscribers.

Could Coogan Upset The Oscars?

6 Jan

© Baby Cow Productions

The Awards Editor for Variety magazine has indicated that Philomena, co-written by and starring Steve Coogan, could be in the running for an Oscar this year.

Up until December, Gravity and 12 Years A Slave were considered to be shoe-ins, but since then the race has opened up, with a significant level of support for Philomena.

The author of the article, Tim Gray, says of the film when it was shown at the recent Palm Springs Festival: “He [Coogan] got two standing ovations, upon his entrance and his exit, and one vet festgoer said that was unprecedented. More significant, there were a healthy number of Acad voters in the audience, which was rapturous.”

We’ll certainly be keeping our fingers crossed for a Coogan Oscar come the Awards ceremony on March 2nd!

To read the article in full, and to see which other movies could be shaking things up a bit this year, click on this.

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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Onion On The Red Carpet At The Comedy Awards

20 Dec

We were lucky enough to bag some camera space alongside the red carpet at last week’s British Comedy Awards, so we sent two of our intrepid team down there to extract some chat from the award winners.

Sadly for TVO, the artists and shows that we celebrate on this site didn’t scoop as many gongs as we were hoping for (we was robbed!), but we did manage to find a few familiar faces, one of whom is definitely on our list and most of whom can claim some sort of connection to the folk who we write about*.

In the short video below you can see what Jack Whitehall wants to say to Lee Mack  about his suit, who Steve Coogan would give his award to, and how Johnny Vegas nearly killed someone with plastic flowers:

 

Many thanks to everyone who stopped by for a natter!

* In case you were wondering, here are a few of the TVO connections: Jack Whitehall has appeared on a fair few panel shows with Noel Fielding; Lee Mack shared a flat in Edinburgh with Noel; Reece Shearsmith of League of Gentleman featured in Ben Wheatley’s A Field In England, plus he and Steve Pemberton are responsible for Inside No. 9, a new sitcom starring Katherine Parkinson (more about that soon!); Nina Conti appeared in Family Tree with Chris O’Dowd; Johnny Vegas and that kiss on last week’s Buzzcocks…

Critics Circle Award Nominations

19 Dec

© Rook Films / Film 4

A couple of TVO-linked movies have received a mention in the just-announced 2014 Critics Circle Film Awards nominations.

Steve Coogan‘s Philomena, co-written by and starring Steve has picked up a handful of nominations, and Ben Wheatley‘s psychedelic history trip A Field In England is also shortlisted for an award.

Philomena has been shortlisted for ‘British Film of the Year’, and Steve himself nominated for ‘Screenwriter of the Year’ (with Jeff Pope)  and for ‘British Actor of the Year’ (for his roles in Philomena, Alpha Papa, What Maisie Knew and The Look of Love). His co-star in Philomena, Judi Dench, has picked up nominations in the ‘Actress of the Year’ and  ‘British Actress of the Year’ categories.

A Field In England has been shortlisted for ‘British Film of The Year’.

The London Critics’ Circle Film Awards are voted for by a long standing and prestigious critical organisation in the UK, which boasts 140 members (who between them see every one of the hundreds of films released in the UK each year).

To view the fill list of nominations click here. Congratulations to the nominees and good luck to ‘our lot’ for the Awards ceremony on 2nd February 2014!

Clock this: Promote Alpha Papa US Release & Win!

19 Dec

Baby Cow Productions are offering Alan Partridge fans an exclusive prize to mark the occasion of the Partridge movie, Alpha Papa‘s US release

© Baby Cow

You could win the the Clock Radio you can see to you left, which  is a very rare item indeed. It was made exclusively for the cast & crew of the film – and it could be yours. What you have to do to win is to create a tag line for the film posters that will appear in the US.

It’s a pretty tough brief – remember that the line will need to appeal to  folk across the pond who haven’t yet met the man.

To enter, visit Baby Cow’s Facebook page, then add your tag line into the comments box and share their post (the sharing bit is important so don’t forget). As yet no information has been given as to the closing date of the competition, but we reckon you should get those copywriting creative juices flowing and get in there!

According to sources the US release has been scheduled for 27th February 2014, with a further limited theatre release on 4th April. But if you can’t wait that long why not pick up a copy of the movie in our amazon store – for a bargainful £9.99 on DVD or £12.99 on Blu-ray.

British Comedy Awards Round Up

15 Dec

As our regular readers will know, there were a few TVO-connected acts nominated in this year’s British Comedy Awards. Sadly, they were pipped to the winning post on Thursday night (boo hiss!), but we spotted a fair few of familiar faces in the audience.

© Mog/The Velvet Onion

You can view the full televised awards show on 4oD (for a further 27 days from today). Besides the many TVO-connected folk in you can spot in the crowd, you can watch Chris O’Dowd (with James Corden) present Will Ferrell with his International Lifetime Achievement Award (at 0:33:58), and Noel Fielding (with Rebecca Front) present Adam Hills with his award for Best Breakthrough artist – and arguably outshine half of the people in the room with his outfit alone (at 00:53:10).

We also got to see Steve Coogan being presented with his well-deserved Outstanding Achievement award at the end of the night.

We were lucky enough to be able to grab Coogan for a (very!) quick chat afterwards – we’re in the process of editing a short video montage together, so  look out for our footage from the darkest recesses of the frontline of the press pack, coming soon!

In the meantime, to keep you going here’s O’Dowd making a brief appearance in this rendition of the ’12 Days of (Comedy) Christmas’ below, which was filmed on the night:

The full list of nominees and winners can be viewed by clicking here.

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