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So Hot Right Now #10

15 Dec

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more.  Click through for the LATEST NEWS, and see what’s so hot right now below.

TVO ON TELLY

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

This week sees a drop in the number of TVO related shows on our screens, as both Toast of London finished its latest runs last week.  However, with Psychobitches (Sky Arts, Tuesdays, 9pm) and Trollied (Sky One, Mondays, 8:30pm) still going strong, there’s life in the Onion yet.

Most excitingly, we’ve still got the mighty Brian Pern: A Life in Rock to savour – with Episode Two (airing on Tuesday 16th) featuring the titular prog-rock legend (played by Simon Day) trying to bring his long-mooted adaptation of The Day of the Triffids to life on stage.

© BBC / Neil Barnes

© BBC / Neil Barnes

Once again featuring co-creator Rhys Thomas alongside Michael Kitchen, Paul Whitehouse, Nigel Havers, Lucy MontgomeryTony Way and Steve Burge, this episode also features a truly hilarious cameo from Sir Roger Moore, and is one you’d be mad to miss.

Last week, TVO spoke not only to Brian Pern via an exclusive email catch-up, but also to Simon Day and Rhys Thomas. You can catch up on our interview with those fine gentlemen over yonder.

Those of you who set your DVRs way in advance should take note – Episode Three next week airs on Monday, right after Never Mind the Buzzcocks, rather than the usual Tuesday slot. You have been forewarned.

Speaking of Buzzcocks, this week’s edition features Irish actress Yasmine Akram, American musician and producer Steve Aoki, Canadian stand-up comedian Bobby Mair and singer-songwriter Rumer – and for those uncertain of who any of those people are: this is the one with the lads covered in cake, as seen on all those pictures doing the rounds with the Tumblr crowds. Enjoy.

© Talkback / Brian Ritchie

© Talkback / Brian Ritchie

CATCH UP WITH COL

Last week saw the launch of Colin Hoult‘s new YouTube channel, featuring a brand new in-character vlog five days a week.  Anna Mann, Andy Parker, Eddie Cartezian and Thwor bring us weekly updates Monday through Thursday, with a special treat each Friday.

If you missed any of last week’s editions, you can catch up now over yonder, and we’ve included this week’s first video, in which Anna Mann discusses credit card debt, below.

PADDINGTON STILL TOPS

Paul King‘s delightful Paddington is still sat atop the UK box office, having taken £10.33m in just ten days. Figures for last weekend have yet to be revealed, but we’re sure the film, which features a bevvy of TVO cameos alongside its big name cast, will still be firing on all cylinders – and rightly so!

©  Studio Canal

© Studio Canal

Elsewhere, Chris O’Dowd can be seen in St Vincent and Michael Smiley pops up in Black Sea - both of which opened fairly modestly last week, so do get out to see them if you haven’t already!

TWEETS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

Living in Rock: Simon Day & Rhys Thomas on life with Brian Pern

9 Dec
© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

This week sees the launch of Brian Pern: A Life in Rock on BBC Two.

The mockumentary focuses on prog-rock singer Brian Pern, as he attempts to adapt to life after fronting one of rock’s biggest bands.

Featuring a host of big name guest stars, the show is an absolute treasure, and TVO was lucky enough to talk to its creators, writers and stars, Simon Day and Rhys Thomas about the life of Brian.

Brian Pern is many things. Former frontman for prog-rock legends Thotch. Jukebox musical writer. World music inventor. Campaigner for WiFi-afflicted moths. He’s also the brainchild of Fast Show and Bellamy’s People veterans Rhys Thomas and Simon Day, who first brought the character to life in a series of YouTube videos for BBC Comedy, before Pern was unleashed on a wider audience via his debut tv series earlier this year.

That show, The Life of Rock with Brian Pern, was a critically acclaimed smash, jam-packed with celebrity guest stars as it used the medium of the music documentary (for which Thomas has previously won awards including an Emmy and a Rose D’or), to poke fun at the ridiculous nature of classic rock.

Now Pern is back with a brand new series, Brian Pern: A Life in Rock, which takes the character out of the clip show, and into a living, breathing world of his own. As Rhys explains, this was an easy decision to make.

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

“To do another series like the first,” he tell us, “would be difficult. Harry Hill had twenty people all watching television at the same time to keep up for TV Burp, but for the first series it was basically me and Simon, hunting through the archives looking for all those funny clips. It would take us about a year to do it again, so we got rid of all that. The money we would have spent clearing archive footage we’ve now put into…”

“Rick Wakeman,” interjects Simon.

Wakeman is one of many guest stars in the new run, which expands Brian’s world by focusing on his day to day life, and the challenges he faces trying to get projects off the ground.  In Episode One, Pern and his former Thotch bandmates plan to launch their own jukebox musical, Stowe Boys, with Martin Freeman and Jack Whitehall in its cast and Kathy Burke on directing duties.

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

Elsewhere, the second episode sees Brian attempt to play a charity gig, for the aforementioned moths, at the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, whilst the third and final episode focuses on Brian’s attempts to record a charity Christmas album with a string of fellow rock stars including Roy Wood, Chrissie Hynde, Rick Parfitt and Melanie C. Oh, and his live-in assistant and world music protégé Pepita, played once more by Lucy Montgomery.

“To take him forward,” Simon explains. “We knew we had to have him living his life, meeting up with his manager, Pepita living in his house, and how he relates to the outside world.  Then we throw crisis at him in each episode.”

“His whole raison d’etre,” he continues, “is to stay very calm, so that nothing can go wrong. But he’s put under this intense pressure, and hopefully that’s where the joke is.”

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

The expanded world – which also features Tony Way as Brian’s driver Ned, Michael Kitchen as his Jim Beach inspired, yacht loving manager John Farrow, Paul Whitehouse and Nigel Havers as his former bandmates – takes a character that could have seemed like a one-trick idea, and beds him into a believable world, much like the transformation of Alan Partridge over the years.  Yet Rhys is determined to spell out the differences between the two characters.

“He’s not like an Alan Partridge,” he states, firmly. “None of it is ever played for laughs. What you’re laughing at is that he’s a foil to his own ideas. When he’s trying to put on a concert to save moths in Africa, if it was a concert for ebola, it wouldn’t be funny. It’s the idea that it’s wifi affected moth’s wings that’s the joke. A silly idea dealt with seriously, and played naturalistically.”

© BBC / Neil Barnes

© BBC / Neil Barnes

“It’s like the similarity with Peter Gabriel,” adds Simon. “Brian’s based on Peter Gabriel, but Peter’s actually a much nicer person with a really good heart. I just took him a baseline, and run with it, really. Brian’s just a pompous child at heart.”

Indeed, the new run harks back to the duo’s previous collaboration, Bellamy’s People, and it’s radio forbear Down the Line, which focus on heightened realism to base increasingly silly comedic ideas upon.  The later ran for five series on Radio 4, but the former was shunned by the Beeb after only one series, a decision which still baffles comedy lovers nationwide.

“It should have carried on, really,” notes Simon. “It’s a shame various events conspired to stop it. But it did use up a lot of characters, which I suppose we could go back to. We still have fond memories of it, but it’s a shame it never really took off.”

Rhys is less philosophical about the experience. “The problem with it,” he suggests, “is that it’s part of that time where comedy series started dropping off with audiences for the first time. Episode One got 1.58 million viewers, but then it tailed off each week. That’s what everything does now, but we were one of the first ones to do it. Something like Toast of London gets something like 450,000 viewers on Channel 4, which is so small for something that great. Ten years ago that would have got five million.” He pauses for a moment, then adds the prophetic: “Christ, people just don’t watch telly like they used to.”

It’s certainly true. When Simon and Rhys first started working together, it was on the hugely acclaimed, ratings grabbing sketch show The Fast Show, which shockingly began airing over twenty years ago now, and still returns sporadically, most recently in the form of online videos for Fosters Comedy converted into full episodes for BBC Two. It’s lasting legacy, apart from establishing a huge network of comedy talent, is that it remains as beloved today as it once was.  Simon Day puts this down to canny decisions.

Simon & Rhys in Fast Show spin-off Swiss Toni. © BBC

Simon & Rhys in Fast Show spin-off Swiss Toni. © BBC

“They never sold it to a channel like Dave,” he explains, “where it could get repeated on a loop. It never really has been repeated. They want to but Paul [Whitehouse]’s holding back. People have dvds and videos of it, but that’s it, so it’s held up in people’s memory without them getting sick of it.”

“And also,” he adds, “lots of people watched it. Back in the days of four channels, no internet, no Twitter, it really took off. We didn’t do too many – three series and a couple of Christmas specials – so its preserved itself quite well.”

“The third series was the best…” chips in Rhys. “You’re only saying that,” Simon retorts, “cos you were in it!”

Two decades on, and both Simon and Rhys are still working with the same people.  Fellow Fast Show veteran Paul Whitehouse stars in A Life in Rock as Thotch guitarist Pat Quid, whilst Rhys is married to co-star Lucy Montgomery, and went to school with Tony Way (Ned) and composer Steve Burge. Many of those involved, as with a number of their projects, have genuinely known each other for decades, making the show something of a family affair.

Steve Burge & Tony Way © Burge & Way / United Agent

Steve Burge & Tony Way © Burge & Way / United Agent

“Oh, we really do feel like a family,” enthuses Rhys. “I like the idea we all work together better anyway, cos we’re all friends and it ends up being more fun.  You can do what you want and don’t mind making a fool out of yourself.”

“When I did Star Stories,” he reveals, “I didn’t know anybody. And you turn up, and it’s all a bit competitive. Everyone’s trying to get one up on each other. I like everyone there, and I ended up making friends with them all, but these days I’d rather not do that again, and just work with people I know.”

If this sounds like comedic nepotism, it should be pointed out that these choices are also made because said actors are brilliant at what they do. And besides, TVO itself is based on a continuing trend of recycling the same talent in new ways, as part of one big comedic family.

Tittybangbang © BBC

Tittybangbang © BBC

“There’s this thing with television,” Rhys explains, in reference to this, “where someone will get famous, and then they’re endlessly in everything.  We’re sort of not using the same faces as everyone else.  Commissioners decide they want a funny actress, say, so they just ask the same people over and over. I like using people like Lucy and Tony. Even though Tony’s been in Edge of Tomorrow, in terms of comedy television, people will still think: ‘Oh, let’s get James Corden instead.’”

Indeed, knowing each other for such a long time has further benefits, in that there’s an innate sense of reliability that allows everyone to do the best job possible. Steve Burge, who was part of comedy trio Stay Alive Pepi with Thomas and Way, was put in charge of most of Brian Pern’s musical back catalogue.

“I would say to Steven: I need a song like this,” reveals Rhys, “or a piece a bit like that. He would then go off and write something brilliant, and I knew he’d deliver it in time for us to write the lyrics.  Then there’s songs like Simon’s written, like Black Christmas.”

“Which I sold,” chips in Simon. “I sold it to Westlife.”

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

Rhys laughs, straightens himself up and states: “You know, Simon and Steve remind me of each other, cos they don’t think like anybody else. They won’t come up with what you predict, but they’ll find something funny. Tony too… he came up with the version of Little Donkey we gave to Chrissie Hynde to sing. They’re so good. But they never put me in their fucking things!”

“Who?” asks Simon, perplexed.

“Tony or Steve,” Rhys answers, as Simon erupts with laughter.

Not that Rhys is short on work. Since he persuaded Brian May to write the theme music for his sitcom Fun at the Funeral Parlour, he has been working on dvds, blu-rays and award winning documentaries for Queen. His last piece, The Great Pretender won an International Emmy and a Rose D’or, no less, even though it very nearly didn’t get made.

© Queenonline

“I wasn’t going to direct that,” Rhys reveals. “Just produce it. But the director I had said it wasn’t going to be any good, cos it’s boring and about an opera singer. So I did it myself, and I’m glad I did!”

Part of the joy of Brian Pern is that the show uses Rhys’ background in documentary filmmaking to look authentic. “I’ve got the same editor I worked with on the Queen documentaries, and the same cameraman,” he tells us. “So it has the right look. When people try to make spoof documentaries with cameramen who haven’t come from that field, they make it look shoddy on purpose. Real documentary makers try to make it look as good as they can.”

“We thought about doing something after this about crime,” adds Simon. “Sending up gangsters and the whole middle class obsession with it. But getting real people to talk about it.”

Rhys agrees. “I think it’s better than having people pretending to be real people,” he suggests. “You look at Spinal Tap, and it’s brilliant, but it’s just taking the piss out of idiot heavy metal bands. It’s not taking the piss out of the documentary form itself, and we could have a lot of fun doing that.”

Perhaps this is what the future holds for Brian Pern?

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

 “If there’s a desire for it, he’ll be back,” states Simon. “If the channel want to do it, cos people like it, we’re never going to say: ‘No, we’re killing that off.’ Though, I don’t think it’s something you could do for a hell of a long time.”

Could we even see Brian take to the road? A live tour of his classic hits, perhaps? Simon is most definitely keen. “YES!” he enthuses, when the suggestion is put to him. Rhys is a little more pragmatic: “As long as it does well,” he opines, “it’d be a nice thing to do.”

Brian Pern: On Tour. Here’s hoping.

Brian Pern: A Life in Rock airs from tonight at 10pm, Tuesday 9th December on BBC2. Thank you to Simon Day and Rhys Thomas for talking to us, and to Abigail Johnson at BBC Comedy for arranging our discussion.

Onion Talking: Brian Pern

8 Dec

This week, prog-legend Brian Pern returns to television in A Life in Rock, directed once more by TVO regular Rhys Thomas.

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

The show, a follow up to Pern & Thomas previous documentary saga, The Life of Rock, follows the former Thotch frontman as he undergoes three new challenges in his life: the opening of the Thotch musical starring Sherlock megastar Martin Freeman, the staging of his epic musical saga The Day of the Triffids and the recording of his new Christmas album.

We were lucky enough to be put into contact with Brian through the good folk at the BBC, and he agreed to answer some questions via email.  This is how it went down.

TVO: Hi Brian, thanks for talking to us. Are you well?

BRIAN PERN: You will have to forgave me as I have in fact broken my rists in an acksident that I cannot disguss dew to leegal reezons so Ned, my driver is typing this for me. he is a little slow at typing as he is a simple minded kind folk and his spelling is shiv.

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

TVO: You’ve been appearing on stages around the world for over 40 years. Does the heydey of Thotch still feel like yesterday?

BP: No it doesn’t feel like yesterday, I am much older, fatter and balder now and at times I get very depressed.

TVO: Of course, your first documentary series with Rhys Thomas, The Life of Rock, brought your music to a whole new audience, culminating in the limited rerelease of Spirit Level: The Best Of. Have you seen a change in the fans approaching you in the street?

BP: No. No one reconizeses me in the street anymore I don;t look the same as i did and i don’t reeely want to go around with face paints on an out lanbddish owtfits

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

TVO: Recently, Thotch have turned to making a jukebox musical about their life story. How’s that coming along?

BP: You will have to watch the program but it’s not happening. there is talk of a film with the man who did Interstellars. but i thought it was long and i don;t want my life in space. i like babadooks director, maybe they will do a god job, can you pass me the straw for my drink ned a thicker one the lumps of banana keep clogging it from the smootheee – don’t tupe that but – what are you doing oh you idiot. i might get siri to do it.

TVO: You bagged Martin Freeman to play you. He’s a big, big star now. What’s it been like working with him?

BP: Not easy as actors can by tricksy. i was a big fan of nativity 3 which he wasn’t in. apparently 1 is good. kermode said so.

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

TVO: Rhys knows Martin from his comedy days, of course. Did they enjoy reminiscing about those days?

BP: Dey talked for about 3 hours about the time dey were both on Does Doug Know with Daisy Donovan and how the format has been sold to the USA for 29 million $.

TVO: You’re also no stranger to pushing into new territories. You’ve quite a few firsts under your belt, isn’t that right?

BP: what is under my belt is none of your beeswax. ned don’t write beeswax i wouldn’t say that just say business.

TVO: You’re also a keen supporter of charity work. What draws you to plights few seem to have noticed?

BP: I do it because I have a lot of money and I think it’s not fair to keep it all. redistributiin of welth. ned get the phone. i can;t pick ir up/.

TVO: Has Rhys got involved with the charity work too?

BP: No, he’s not rich enough. he works for bbc and is still on the make, he can’t afford. to give money away.

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

TVO: There’s a few other new projects on the horizon, too. I hear you’re releasing a Christmas album?

BP: yes. It’s out already.

TVO: It’s not the first foray into Xmas music for you, Brian, is it?

BP: no i did 2 of then and episode 3 is all abowt that. its on 22nds of december after never mind the buzzards with Peter Jupitis.

TVO: You’re also working on your long mooted Day of the Triffids album, is that right?

BP: i recorded it in 1977nand now its coming out yes you can see it all on bbc in episode 2. how many more of these i need to have a bath

© BBC

© BBC

TVO: There were bootlegs doing the rounds a few years ago of the Triffids demos. How do you feel about illegal downloading of your work?

BP: i don’t care really. I have made enough money i think if fans want to listen great – is my fawlt for not finishing it

TVO: Presumably your manager has something to say about it.

BP: yes and it would envolve a swear word.

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

TVO: You’re also keen on encouraging new talent in what they call world music. Why is that?

BP: i like the sound of voices from other cuntrees its better than todays bvabds in uk like kasabian,

TVO: Finally, I have to ask: do either of you think a full blown Thotch reunion is ever likely to happen?

BP: I never say never say never so never say never, ever – no.

Brian Pern: A Life in Rock starts on Tuesday 9th December at 10pm on BBC Two. Our thanks to Rhys Thomas for setting up this interview – we’ll be speaking to him and collaborator Simon Day later this week, so stay peeled.

So Hot Right Now #9

8 Dec

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more.  Click through for the LATEST NEWS, and see what’s so hot right now below.

THE RETURN OF BRIAN PERN

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

This week sees the long awaited return of Brian Pern to our screens, in the brand new series Brian Pern: A Life in Rock.  As always, the show is the brainchild of Fast Show veterans Rhys Thomas and Simon Day, the latter of whom plays the titular prog-rock legend turned hapless world music pioneer and obscure charity fundraiser.

Whilst the first series, The Life of Rock with Brian Pern focused more on telling the story of rock across the generations in documentary format, the second shifts its tone to be more of a candid look at the life of Brian, and those around him.  This includes his luxury yacht loving manager John Farrow (brilliantly brought to life by Michael Kitchen), world music goddess Pepita (TVO regular Lucy Montgomery), Brian’s former bandmates in Thotch (including Paul Whitehouse and Nigel Havers as Pat Quid and Tony Pebble) and his driver Ned (Tony Way).

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

Also along for the ride this series are big name guest stars Martin Freeman, Jack Whitehall, Kathy Burke, Roger Allum, Kevin Eldon, Chrissie Hynde, Mel C, Roger Taylor, Roy Wood, Rick Parfitt and more. TVO devoured all three episodes in one sitting, and can confirm this is a joyous continuation of a much loved character, with a wonderful set of supporting characters filling out his world, and once more – some glorious tunes (courtesy of Steve Burge) in the mix.

You’d be mad to miss it. And if you tune in to BBC Two on Tuesday evening at 10pm, you won’t.  Stay peeled this week for an exclusive interview with creators Simon Day & Rhys Thomas, and maybe a word or two from Brian Pern himself…

COMEDY COLLAB

© Colin Hoult

© Colin Hoult

If you haven’t caught up with Colin Hoult‘s unique blend of dark humour and outright silliness yet, you’ve probably not been reading TVO properly. First coming to our attention via his work with Julian Barratt & Dave McNeill on Zimbani, the character comedian has crafted numerous sell out live shows and appeared on our screens in shows as varied as House of RoomsDerekLife’s Too Short and Being Human.

Now he’s back with some of his most beloved live favourites, preparing for an onslaught of sheer characterness on his own YouTube channel.  Five days a week, Colin will be posting a new vlog from one of the strange people in his mindtank, starting today!

Mondays will bring us a new video from the delightful (if failed) actress Anna Mann, whilst Tuesdays are a chance to get some expert tips on survival, scriptwriting and what movies you must all watch on pain of a poke in the eye, from Ninja Turtle fan Andy Parker.

On Wednesdays, everything will be coming up Saint Germain, as we get a little jazzy with our favourite beret wearer, Eddie Cartizian. And on Thursdays, its time for care in the community, as the Mighty God Thwor weilds his powerful hammer in our direction. Bang, bang.

© Colin Hoult

© Colin Hoult

Finally, each Friday will bring us a surprise guest from Colin’s oeuvre, including new characters and old favourites – some of whom you may remember from his excellent radio series Carnival of Monsters, which is due back on Radio 4 soon. You can see the first episode, featuring Anna Mann discussing her old actress friend Miriam Crotch below, and don’t forget to subscribe to see more!

ONIONS AIRING

© Talkback / Brian Ritchie

© Talkback / Brian Ritchie

As we’re keen to keep reminding you, there’s a large bevvy of shows currently airing with TVO connections.  Monday nights see not one, not two, but three new shows to savour beaming into your homes: Trollied on Sky One at 8:30pm featuring Aisling BeaNever Mind the Buzzcocks on BBC Two at 10pm, featuring Noel Fielding alongside Phill Jupitus and Rhod Gilbert; and Toast of London on Channel 4 at 10:35pm, featuring Matt Berry.

©  Sky

© Sky

But wait – there’s more on telly this week! Psychobitches continues on Sky Arts every Tuesday evening, featuring Sharon Horgan, Katy BrandReece Shearsmith and many many more, whilst Not Going Out featuring Katy Wix returns to BBC One on Friday evening. It’s a good time to be an Onioner, eh?

HOOKED TO THE SILVER SCREEN

Don’t forget that Paddington - directed by Paul King and featuring a host of TVO cameos amongst is big-name cast – is currently wowing the crowds in UK cinemas, having taken a whopping £5.1 million in its opening weekend alone!

© Studio Canal

Alongside Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Nicole Kidman et al, are little sneaky guest appearances by Alice LoweSteve OramTom MeetenJames BachmanSimon Farnaby and Justin Edwards – so you’d be mad to miss it.

Also out at the moment are Bill Murray vehicle Saint Vincent, featuring Chris O’Dowd, and a film which almost sneaked past our radar – submarine-based action thriller Black Sea starring Jude Law, Tobias Menzies, David Threlfall and Michael Smiley. US readers can see the film, alongside Paddington in January. Check out the US trailer below.

THE BRAIN SUCKING CONTINUES

Finally this week, the campaign to get a movie version of The Day They Came to Suck Out Our Brains off the ground needs your help to reach its goal, and we’ll leave you with this clip of TVO regular Stephen Evans to explain why.

DONATE HERE!

Keep on peeling, and we’ll see you back here soon!

TWEETS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

So Hot Right Now #4

3 Nov
Greetings and salutations to all who enter The Velvet Onion! For your regular news updates you used to find on our home page, click here. Here’s what’s sooo hot right now in Onion Land.

TELEVISUAL TREATS

Just as Halloween isn’t a good day to be a bad guy (just ask Skank), Monday 3rd November is seemingly a good day to be a fan of the televisual output of TVO regulars.

© Sky

First up at 8:30pm is the first episode of Trollied - returning for a fourth series on Sky 1.  This year’s ensemble cast has been expanded to include Aisling Bea, as well as Doctor Who star Samuel Anderson.  They join former Being Human and Psychoville star Jason Waktins and fellow newcomers Stephen Tomkinson (Ballykissangel) and Miriam Margolyes (Blackadder, Magnolia etc etc), for the usual madcap hijinx in a Valco supermarket.

©Brian Ritchie / Talkback / BBC

©Brian Ritchie / Talkback / BBC

Later on at 10pm, the latest edition of Never Mind The Buzzcocks airs, and Paul Foot returns for another go on Noel‘s team, alongside fellow guests Sara Cox, Fuze ODG and Adam Ant.  Next week’s edition will feature Aisling Bea, so don’t forget that either!

© Matt Berry

© Matt Berry

Switch over to Channel 4 after Buzzcocks, to see Toast of London make a long-awaited return for its second series at 10:35pm.  Written by Arthur Matthews (Father Ted, Big Train) and Matt Berry, the show stars Berry as the hopeless actor Steven Toast, alongside Robert Bathurst, Doon Mackichan, Harry Peacock and a guest appearance by Doctor Who legend Louise Jameson.

This is followed by a repeat of the very first episode of The IT Crowd at 11:05pm, featuring Chris O’Dowd, Katherine ParkinsonRichard Ayoade and Chris Morris: an episode which amazingly first aired eight and a half years ago in February 2006! Where did that time go, eh?

If you miss any of these shows, they’ll be available through demand services such as Sky Go, BBC iPlayer, 4od and Now TV throughout the week, so don’t panic if you’re reading this on Thursday and wondering why we’re still stuck on Monday’s excitement…

MORE FIELDING

© Noel Fielding / Dave Brown

If you’re feeling blue about missing out on tour tickets for An Audience With Noel Fielding the first time around, a whole batch of new dates were announced last week, with tickets on sale now.  With the tour now extending until the end of February, Noel is officially undertaking his longest ever tour, even if the total dates don’t come close to the last big Boosh tour in 2008.  There’s lots of chances to go and see him, so grab your tickets whilst you can!

POMPIDOU GOES INTERNATIONAL!

© BBC / John Stanley Productions

© BBC / John Stanley Productions

The other big news this week was the announcement that Pompidou - the forthcoming silent comedy series from the ever wonderful Matt Lucas – will be coming to Netflix in the US around the same time as its BBC transmission in the UK.  With Tony Way on board, alongside The Thick of It star Alex MacQueenPompidou is promising to be one to watch, and we hope to bring you more details nearer transmission.

ALL THIS AND MORE!

As always, there’s so much happening we’ve been reporting through out Twitter feed, so follow us there if you can to get all the latest news as quickly as possible.  Here’s what you may have missed throughout the week.

So, lots happening as ever. And the best way to stay informed is simple: Keep on peeling!

Tony Way To Appear In New Matt Lucas Comedy

30 Oct

© imdb

Tony Way has been confirmed as one of the cast in the forthcoming new comedy Pompidou. It will be broadcast on BBC One in 2015, and will be launched exclusively in the US via Neflix (in Netflix’s first investment in an original comedy from outside of the US).

The series is co-directed by and stars Matt Lucas as Pompidou, an elderly aristocrat who has fallen on hard times; Alex MacQueen (The Thick Of It) plays his long-suffering butler. The six-part series is largely dialogue-free, along the lines of Mr Bean.

Way plays the part of Merrick. For the full details of cast and crew click on this.

So Hot Right Now #3

27 Oct
Hello, dear Peelers, and welcome to The Velvet Onion! For your regular news updates you used to find on our home page, click here. But below, here’s what Dolly would say is sooo hot right now this week in Onion Land.

HOUSE OF FOOLS SERIES 2 STARTS FILMING!

© Giggle Beats

The beginning of our week coincided with the start of filming of the new series of House of Fools, from Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. Series 2 will see Matt Berry reprise his role of Beef and Dan Skinner is back as Bosh; the first filmed episode also included Reece Shearsmith in the cast! For a short report of the first day of filming at the Manchester studios take a look at this review from Giggle Beats.

SPARRING ON CHANNEL 4

There was a fair degree of a social media hoo-ha last Tuesday when Richard Ayoade was interviewed by Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy. Or perhaps he wasn’t – at least, the universal rules of interviews weren’t strictly adhered to. There can’t be that many of you who haven’t see it yet, but if you haven’t, we urge you to take a look below. It’s worth it for Richard’s final comment alone!

A NEW SITCOM WITH CONNECTIONS

BBC Three announced the commission of a new sitcom called Crims from the pens of two chaps with TVO connections: Dan Swimer, whose past credits include Grandma’s House, How TV Ruined Your Life, Big Fat Quiz of the Year and Never Mind The Buzzcocks; and Adam Kay, writer on Mongrels and Anna and Katy.

Crims is due to air in January 2015.

GETTING POLITICAL

Last week was also the week that friends of TVO, Jonny & The Baptists, encouraged us to show political bigots where they can stick it by getting their anti-UKIP ‘Farage’ EP into the charts. Why not show your support? What’s more, if you visit iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play Music and download the EP now, 25p of every sale goes to Hope Not Hate.

ANOTHER AWESOME TVO COMPETITION!

We’re pretty excited about our latest competition! We’re offering a pair of tickets to see the play ‘Neville’s Island’ at Duke Of York’s Theatre, which features comedy A-listers Adrian Edmondson, Miles Jupp, Neil Morrissey and Robert Webb.

To find out more click here – and donut forget to get your entry in before midnight on Sunday of you want to be in with a chance of winning!

MONKEY MAN IN SWEDEN

This week Dave Brown brought his awesome photos to Stockholm, with an exhibition at Berns Hotel. Featuring images from ‘Behind the Boosh’, ‘Tough Crowd’ and a selection of his stunning pictures from Africa, this is well worth a visit if you find yourself in the far northern hemisphere.

To find out more about the exhibition take a look at this.

© Dave Brown

ALL THIS AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!

There’s so much going on, we’re using Twitter to keep you posted on things even faster that we could before. So here’s a selection of other news from this week you may have missed…

For more news, stay glued to our News Page and Twitter feed throughout the week. Keep on peeling!

- Team TVO

What’s The Crack? 10pm Tonight!

24 Sep

The long awaited second series of Crackanory starts these evening on Dave, and as is often the case, it comes with a bevy of TVO regulars on board.

© Dave

Comedy legends Vic Reeves and Rik Mayall (in one of his final performances) tell the first two stories in the anthology saga’s sophomore run, both of which are written by prestigious comic talents you’ll have seen us mention a fair few times before.

In Space, No One Can Hear You Clean is written by Nico Tatarowicz, whose previous TVO related credits include Tittybangbang, Mr and Mrs Fandango, Otherworld and the sublime The Second Second Coming.  ISNOCHYC is his third Crackanory tale, and is double billed here with The Weatherman by TVO regular Tony Way.

With a top-notch cast featuring Simon FarnabyAlice LoweSteve Oram and Tom Meeten, this opening episode couldn’t become more essential viewing if it tried.  Oh, wait a minute – Waen Shepherd has composed the music for the whole run yet again. Are you convinced yet?

Later episodes in the run will feature Katherine Parkinson and Kevin Eldon, alongside David Mitchell, Simon Callow, Emilia Fox, Meera Syall, Warwick Davies, Ben Miller, Sue Perkins, Johnny Vegas, and Ruby Wax – whilst Eldon joins Alex Kirk, Holly Walsh, Ali Crockett, David Scott, Melissa Bubnic, Katherine Jakeaways and Toby Davies on scriptwriting duties.

So set your DVR’s, or switch your telly to Dave tonight and lose the remote – because the next few Wednesdays are going to be fun fun fun.  You can see a trailer for the series below.

Crackanory 2 – Starting Soon

3 Sep

As we mentioned last month, the second series of Crackanory, the popular storytelling series on Dave, features a story read by the late, great Rik Mayall. The iconic comedian reads The Weatherman by TVO regular Tony Way.

It has now been confirmed that this will be the first story of the new series, alongside a story read by Vic Reeves called In Space No One Can Hear You Clean.

As in the first series, each half-hour episode contains 2 stories, narrated by guests and illustrated with either live action or animated sequences.

Katherine Parkinson will also read a story, and series 1 veteran Kevin Eldon, has written his second story for the series and will also make an appearance in Man’s Best Friend written by Alex Kirk.

Other stories will be read by  David Mitchell, Simon Callow, Emilia Fox, Meera Syall, Warwick Davies, Ben Miller, Sue Perkins, Johnny Vegas, and Ruby Wax; all providing their vocal talents to dark and intriguing stories written by comedian Holly Walsh, Ali Crockett and David Scott, Nico Tatarowicz, Melissa Bubnic and Katherine Jakeaways, and Yonderland scriptwriter Toby Davies .

The new series starts on Dave at 10pm on 24th September and you can see the new trailer below. If you missed the first series of funny, twisted tales then they are all available on demand from Dave.

 

Who’s A-Coming

19 Aug

This weekend sees the launch of the long awaited latest series of Doctor Who, with the first two episodes directed by TVO regular and all-out genius Ben Wheatley.

© BBC

© BBC

Episode One, Deep Breath, is a 75 minute special being simulcast in cinemas across the UK at 7:50pm, when the episode airs on BBC One.  It will also be shown on television and in cinemas around the world on the same day.

It features a recently regenerated Doctor arriving in Victorian London, where he discovers a dinosaur on the loose terrorising the city’s inhabitants, and mysterious robotic men causing a string of murders.

As we reported some time ago, regular Wheatley collaborator Tony Way has a cameo in the first episode, whilst Michael Smiley appears in a meatier role for Episode Two, Into The Dalek.

The Beeb have typically gone into publicity overdrive – with new star Peter Capaldi on the cover of almost every magazine, and BBC idents being interrupted by transmissions from The Doctor, as well as a world tour of Q&A sessions and screenings, footage of which can all be seen on the Doctor Who YouTube channel.

Deep Breath will also be released on a standalone dvd and blu-ray next month, with a full series box-set on dvd and blu-ray later this year.  We’re all big Doctor Who fans here at TVO Towers, so we really can’t wait to see what’s in store!

Until then, enjoy the preview images from Deep Breath below, and we’ll bring you a selection from Into The Dalek  as soon as we have them.  If that’s not enough, flashback to our 2012 interview with Ben Wheatley in support of Sightseers over yonder.

In Between The Inbetweeners

10 Aug

© Bwark Productions

It’s hard to miss the current PR onslaught for the new Inbetweeners movie. But did you know that there are a few TVO connection with the film and its cast? Please allow us to enlighten you…

First up is a connection which we’d probably categorize as ‘Type A': the Second Unit director of the Inbetweeners 2 movie, Spencer Millman, was also the producer of The Mighty Boosh.

(We assume that Spencer’s experience of  keeping the Boosh gang under control may have come in useful on this latest project too!)

Next is a TVO connection with Channel 4 show Friday Night Dinner, which stars actor Simon Bird (Will from The Inbetweeners). We spotted that Laurie Rose is the Director of Photography on the latest series. Rose is director Ben Wheatley‘s ‘go to’ DOP for most of his productions, many of which feature a bevy of TVO folk.  What’s more, series 3 of Friday Night Dinner also included two further TVO faces, in the shape of Paul Kaye and Dan Skinner. If you missed them, you can still watch all of the series 3 episodes on 4oD.

And finally, a connection from a year ago, in the shape of a short film called Straw Donkey. We covered it at the time, but for those of you with a short memory, the film features TVO people  Tony WayLaura Patch and Barunka O’Shaughnessy, alongside Inbetweeners star Joe Thomas (Simon from the show). It also includes a cameo from Justin Edwards too, just for good measure. If you missed it, take a look below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W5ewBP1SOI

Rik’s Crack To Air Next Month

8 Aug

The second series of much loved anthology show Crackanory will air next month, and features an episode narrated by the late Rik Mayall, written by TVO legend Tony Way.

© Dave

© Dave

Freeview channel Dave, which airs the series, was unsure if they would air the episode until they received the blessing of Rik’s family.

The episode entitled The Weatherman was filmed shortly before Mayall’s untimely death in June, and TVO can exclusively reveal that the story he tells through his wraparound segments features long-standing double act Steve Oram and Tom Meeten, also known for their work on Sightseers and Luxury Comedy, respectively.  Also on board is fellow SightseerAlice Lowe.

Tony Way, star of Mongrels, Game of Thrones and Tittybangbang, said simply that writing the episode was “a flipping honour”.

Past episodes of the series, featuring Sharon Horgan, Kevin Eldon, Alex Kirk, John ‘Willie’ Hopkins and Oram & Meeten on screen,with score by Waen Shepherd and two episodes directed by Gareth Tunley, are available to watch now on the UKTV website.

Series Two, featuring The Weatherman alongside episodes by Eldon, Toby Davies and Holly Walsh, will air next month, and feature Katherine Parkinson, Vic Reeves, David Mitchell, Meera Syall, Warwick Davies, Ben Miller, Sue Pergins, Johnny Vegas, Ruby Wax, Emilia Fox and Simon Callow.  We’ll bring you transmission details as soon as we get them.

Coogan’s Run On Gold

28 Jul

© Sky Atlantic

Some of you may have seen Steve Coogan – The Inside Story on UKTV GOLD last Saturday evening – a look back at Steve Coogan‘s comedy career, with contributions from Reeves and Mortimer, Ben Miller, Kevin Eldon, John Thomson, Mark Williams, Matt Horne,  Julia Davis and many others.

Following on from this, UKTV GOLD is hosting Summer Nights of Coogan – every weekend from 9pm during August they will be showing a variety of shows from Steve Coogan, including I’m Alan Partridge, Knowing Me, Knowing You, Dr Terrible’s House of Horrible, The Trip, Paul Calf Video Diary, Coogan’s Run, Saxondale and Live Shows, so it really is a variety pack of Steve Coogan TV.

UKTV GOLD can be found on Sky channel 110 or Virgin 126.

Steve was a guest on Radio 2’s Steve Wright in the Afternoon on Thursday to talk about the UKTV GOLD shows – the same day Noel Fielding was on talking about Luxury Comedy 2. Catch up here, Noel is on at – 01:38:05 and Steve is on at – 02:13:20.

Don’t forget you can stock up on all your favourite Steve Coogan titles at TVO Store.

Global Release For Wheatley’s Who

27 Jul
© BBC

© BBC

As we mentioned here, the much-anticipated first episode of Doctor Who starring Peter Capaldi, will be directed by Ben Wheatley (Sightseers and A Field in England) and features Tony Way.

It’s now been announced that the feature-length episode will be shown in cinemas around the World, so many overseas viewers will be able to experience the first episode alongside BBC watchers on August 23rd.

We don’t have a list of cinemas where the screening will take place, but check here for the latest news.

The episode: Deep Breath also stars Jenna Coleman as  Clara Oswald (of course) and sees the welcome return of The Doctor’s old friends the Paternoster Gang – Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart) and Strax (Dan Starkey) in an adventure through Victorian London.

The latest teaser trailer for the series is shown below.

Deep Breath For Wheatley’s Who

27 Jun

Legendary sci-fi smash hit Doctor Who returns to TV screens on August 23rd, and BBC One have confirmed the first episode – directed by Ben Wheatley will be a feature length special.

© BBC

© BBC

Entitled Deep Breath, the episode marks the full debut of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth (proper) incarnation of The Doctor, alongside returning co-star Jenna Colman as Clara Oswald.

Wheatley – whose TVO credentials include his films A Field in England, Sightseers, Kill List and Down Terrace – has directed two episodes for the new series, including this opening episode, which features a cameo appearance by his regular collaborator Tony Way.

Also along for the ride this year in a later episode is Michael Smiley, who joins other big name guest stars Keeley Hawes, Frank Skinner and Foxes in the twelve-episode run.

We’ll bring you more news as we get it, but in the meantime, here’s a lovely new teaser trailer to keep your appetites whetted.

TVO Favourites In New Roles

22 Jun
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

This week has seen news of new roles for some TVO folk.

July sees the launch of nine new Comedy Feeds pilots exclusively on BBC iPlayer, with a cast including Aisling Bea and Katy Wix. The pilots will be available on iPlayer from 20 July.

Speaking about the Comedy Feeds, Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy Commissioning, says: “This exciting range of shows and new talents cement BBC Three’s place as the key place for emerging comedy talent on and off-screen. With so many spin-off series springing from these, the Comedy Feeds show serious commitment to finding the next best writers, directors and faces of British comedy.”

This year’s Comedy Feeds include:

Fried
A new manager tries to motivate the staff of a fried chicken shop. Starring Katy Wix, Mandeep Dhillon, Simon Greenall and Imran Yusuf. Written by Jack and Harry Williams (Roman’s Empire, Full English, Bamboo). Produced by Sarah Hammond. Directed by Nick Collett. Executive Produced by Harry Williams and Jack Williams. A Two Brothers Pictures production.

Vodka Diaries
Four girls share a flat and get up to no good. Starring Aisling Bea, Cariad Lloyd, Rosamund Hanson and Gwyneth Keyworth. Written by Rachel Hirons (Powder Room). Produced by Iona Sweeney. Directed by James De Frond. Executive Produced by Lawrence Bowen. A Feelgood Fiction production.

Otherworld
Surreal sketch show set in an alternative universe populated by puppets. Written by Mongrels’ Adam Miller and Nico Tatarowicz. Produced by Chris May. Directed by Adam Miller. Executive Produced by Helen Williams. Hat Trick Productions.

The other Comedy Feeds will be Josh –  Sitcom based on the stand up of Josh Widdicombe, In Deep, Parents Evening, Flat TV. Rude Boys and Access all Areas with Jenny Bede.

In other news Aisling Bea is also joining the cast of Sky 1’s hit supermarket based comedy Trollied, as Charlotte, the hopeless daughter of the owner of Valco.

We have also heard that Tony Way will be a guest in the much-anticipated new Matt Lucas visual comedy Pompidou, which started shooting this week and will be aired in early 2015. The show stars Lucas as Pompidou, who has fallen on hard times and lives in a caravan outside his dilapidated estate, with his faithful butler Hove (Alex MacQueen) and Marion, an elegant Afghan Hound.

Mongrels Return – To Dave

14 Jun

© Alexandra Thompson

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

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

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

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

Teasaaaaaaahs From Toyah

7 Jun

© Toyah Willcox

The Crimson Queen herself, Toyah Willcox, has teased further information about Steve Oram‘s début directorial feature, Aaaaaaaah!

Since it was announced in January, news of the production has been thin on the ground.  Filming was due to start in April, but was delayed for some unknown reason – potentially the top-notch cast and their hectic schedules!

The film, in which Oram, Willcox, Tom MeetenJulian BarrattTony WayWaen Shepherd, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Hannah Hoeskra will communicate entirely in ape-like grunts, shrieks and moans, promises to be a typically surreal treat from the unique mind of Steve Oram.

In it, Oram and Meeten will play marauding characters who encroach into the hostile territory of the kitchen, with Barratt the former alpha-male who, now deposed, lives in the garden.

Last month, Willcox posted a photo of her copy of the script, which she was reading in Seattle whilst touring with The Humans – the side project she founded with Chris Wong and former REM drummer Bill Rieflin.  It came alongside the message: “Learning AAHHHH! In Lowell’s Seattle. This script is brilliant…..and naughty xxx”

Now her website’s official blog has provided more details, including the planned start date for filming.  She writes: “…Steve Oram’s film shoot starts on the 30th June, so fingers crossed all will run smoothly and effortlessly once we get into July for the rest of the shoot.

Steve and I are in regular contact as he sends me test films where he and other cast members have got together and improvised how we are going to deal with the lack of language. He has stripped the language down to the bare minimum of guttural grunts and the way he is shooting the scenes……..all I can say….it makes one hell of a comment about life………I find his idea of there being no language as we know it, very sinister as well as funny. He has struck a great idea here.”

We can’t wait. More news on Aaaaaaaah! as we get it.

Wee Paper People

1 Jun

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

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

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

Tomorrow, Today!

30 May

Today sees the release of sci-fi action blockbuster The Edge of Tomorrow - and as we have mentioned previously,  the Tom Cruise vehicle features our very own Tony Way in a major supporting role.

© Getty

© Getty

The comedy legend has been notching up some seriously impressive acting credits in recent years thanks to performances in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Game of Thrones and a forthcoming episode of Doctor Who under his belt.

In The Edge of Tomorrow, he plays futuristic soldier Kimmel, chosen to go into battle alongside Cruise’s character Cage, who ends up reliving the last twenty-four hours leading up to his demise over and over again.

The impressive cast also features Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton, Emily Blunt, Jonas Armstrong and Laura Pulver, and the film is already a huge hit with audiences and critics alike: reviews on Rotten Tomatoes stand at 95%, and the film has an impressive score of 8.3/10 on imdb.

The film is released across cinemas in the UK today, and will be out across most of the world by June 6th, including across the pond.  You can see the official trailer below.

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