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Reece’s Chain Reaction

20 Feb
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

Reece Shearsmith is interviewed by Adam Buxton in the first of the new series of BBC Radio 4’s tag team interview show Chain Reaction. Each week the interviewee from the week before becomes the interviewer.

The 10th series of the chat show carries on from the end of the last series, when Adam Buxton was interviewed by Graham Linehan.

During the show the pair discuss the League of Gentlemen, Psychoville and Inside No 9 and Reece’s strange job making models.

Next week Reece interviews House of Fools legend Bob Mortimer, the following week Bob interviews his comedy partner Vic Reeves, and Vic then interviews three-time Bafta award winner Olivia Colman.

Chain Reaction is broadcast on Wednesdays on Radio 4 at 6.30pm, followed by repeats on Radio 4 extra at 7.30am and 10pm the following Wednesday. It is also available after broadcast on BBC iPlayer.

So Hot Right Now #18

16 Feb

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 take a look below.

COME ON IN…

Monday evening puts out the Welcome mat for the long awaited second series of House of Fools, which airs at 10pm on BBC2.

© Pett TV / Christopher Baines

© Pett TV / Christopher Baines

Vic and Bob’s artily homemade and brilliantly daft take on a sitcom has gone down a storm with both their hardcore audience and casual viewers alike, and it was only natural it would return for a second run. In the first episode of the new series, Bob’s reclusive son, Erik (Daniel Simonsen) emerges from his bedroom long enough to stop dry-retching and go on a blind date, meeting the equally calculated Rachel (Ellie White). Vic and Bob form a band with Beef (Matt Berry) and fall out over the name of their act before their debut gig, while Julie (Morgana Robinson) attempts to teach Bosh (Dan Skinner) the art of waiting tables. Clever, silly, and just as surreal as the first series, this episode also includes the best use of an Owen Wilson photo that you’ll ever come across!

If you missed them last week, TVO was graciously invited to be one of the few publications to speak to the cast of House of Fools at one of the Salford filming dates late last year. You can read our trilogy of interviews over on our news pages now, but if clicky links are more your thing, you’ll like the highlights over the names ‘Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer‘, ‘Dan Skinner, Daniel Simonsen and Ellie White‘, and ‘Matt Berry and Morgana Robinson‘.

CLOSE THE DOOR…

As one show arrives, another must sadly depart, and this week it’s the turn of both Cockroaches and Count Arthur Strong to say a (we hope short-lived) farewell.

© Colin Hutton / Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

© Colin Hutton / Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

At 10pm on Tuesday over on ITV2, the final episode of Cockroaches brings the post-apocalyptic comedy to a close, with dramatic results. This week Tom (Daniel Lawrence Taylor) and Laura (Jessica Emily Rose) are imprisoned by a gang of cannibals led by the villanous Ash (Jaime Winston), and it’s up to Suze and Felix (Esther Smith and Tom Davis) to save them from becoming supper.

With its top notch cast including Dan Skinner, Jack Whitehall, Robert Bathurst, Rich Hall, Nigel Planer and Alexander Armstrong, it does feel strange even in this digital age for Cockroaches to be tucked away on ITV2, but we’re hopeful we haven’t seen the last of Tom and the gang just yet. The full first series is available on dvd from next week.

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

We must also say goodbye to Count Arthur Strong, whose second series goes out with a bang at 10:45pm on Tuesday evening over on BBC One. Unless you’re in Northern Ireland or Wales, in which case it does so at 11:10pm. Or if you’re in Scotland, in which case there’ll be a slightly smaller bang (it’ll be more of a bump, really), at 10:40pm on Wednesday evening instead.

Anyway, after years of plugging away, Arthur (Steve Delaney) finally hits the big time this week when he gets a job as a TV psychic – only to let the fame go to his head. Meanwhile, Michael (Rory Kinnear) has a rather unique reaction to a tempting job offer, one that causes his health to suffer. Given Kinnear’s fate in The Casual Vacancy, we’re rooting for him here!

Of course, whilst the Graham Linehan co-penned series is coming to an end (for now), Delaney is current out on tour with the Count, and you can catch a full list of dates over on his website. He’s also recently released a book, which you can get here.

TAKE A SEAT…

Whilst we have new shows to savour and others to say goodbye to, there’s a few others that continue their successful runs this week.

© Tim Bret Day

© Tim Bret Day

Catastrophe - the smash hit show from Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney continues apace on Monday evening at 10:05pm, though House of Fools fans may want to catch up via 4+1 at 11:05pm instead!

In this fifth episode, Rob and Sharon plan their wedding, but Rob’s plans to throw a surprise birthday party are scuppered when his Boston bosses fire him during a video call, and his mother (special guest star Carrie Fisher) reveals a big secret of his to Sharon.

© Steffan Hill / BBC / Bronte Film and Television Ltd

© Steffan Hill / BBC / Bronte Film and Television Ltd

On Sunday evening, part two of The Casual Vacancy airs at 9pm on BBC One. The star-studded adaptation of JK Rowling’s novel of the same name features Richard Glover and Rufus Jones in its ensemble cast, with the former particularly playing against reality as a real nasty piece of work!

Sadly as we went to press on this week’s SHRN, images from this second episode remain under embargo, so stay tuned for those later this week. What we can tell you, however, is that it picks up straight from where the last one left off: with the townsfolk of Pagford left shocked by posts online that are seemingly coming from a dead man.

With the various factions of the town on tenterhooks at one another, a dinner party is scheduled, but things quickly spiral out of control. Elsewhere in the Fields, an addiction appears to be weakening, giving Krystal fresh hope for the future of her family.

© Baby Cow / Chris Brock

© Baby Cow / Chris Brock

The new series of Uncle also continues on Tuesday evening at 10pm (again, clashing with Cockroaches – thank gawd for catchup services, eh?) on BBC Three.  Starring Nick Helm and Elliot Spencer Gillot, alongside Nicholas BurnsDaniel Lawrence Taylor and the criminally underrated Daisy Haggard, the show is as puerile yet oddly touching as ever.

This week, Andy (Helm) tries to prove how mature he is to his latest love interest, while Errol (Spencer Gillot) wants to show a girl how cool he is, and Sam (Haggard) is desperate to impress Ben’s girlfriend, Veronica (Burns and special guest star Gemma Whelan of Game of Thrones and The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains fame). Unfortunately their efforts do not go well, forcing the trio to resort to deception in order to make a good impression.

ENJOY THE SHOW…

Londoners have it good at the moment! Not only do they have a Kim Noble residency at the Soho Theatre to savour at the moment, but this week sees them get a Rachel Stubbings fronted film night too. And next week brings the return of Richard Sandling‘s live nights, and a mini-residency for Sarah Kendall. For more news on live events, check out news page!

TVO IS FIVE

We’ve been celebrating our fifth anniversary this month, with a couple of reflective articles on our news pages, and a number of our regulars sending us video messages wishing us a very happy birthday. Kind of. The video below features, in order of appearance: Rachel StubbingsColin HoultDave BrownJames CookBob PipeDave McNeillKaty BrandNeil ColePhil WhelansJames WrenSpencer MillmanWaen ShepherdJacqueline WrightHolly Jane ShearsRufus JonesStephen Evans and Tony Way.

Our huge thanks to all involved – and we’ve got a few more messages coming through to give you Part Two very soon, so stay peeled!

AND THE REST…

As always, here’s some of the news you may have missed during the last week, via our Twitter feed. We’ll see you again next Monday, and throughout the week for more news, reviews and interviews. Keep on peeling!

The Cloud for Linehan, Buxton & Bea

9 Feb

© BBC

Graham Linehan and Adam Buxton have teamed up to write a new space-set tv pilot, according to Radio Times.

The Cloud will feature a hapless crew on board a data hub floating above the earth, protecting the vast amounts of information humanity now hoards of its endless devices. Information such as selfies, kitten pictures and porn. Lots of porn.

No word yet on whether the show will include any aliens or sutin, but signed up for the non-broadcast pilot is none other than Aisling Bea. She’ll be joined by Jamie Demetriou (Cockroaches, Bill), and as soon as we hear more info, if any, we’ll let you know.

Buxton, of course, is perhaps best known for his work as one half of seminal comedy duo Adam & Joe, though international readers may remember his guest appearance in The IT Crowd, written by Linehan. You can here the two writers chat to one another in this BBC Radio 4 show, Chain Reaction, via iPlayer now.

So Hot Right Now #17

9 Feb

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.

YOU SAY GOODBYE…

This week sees the Comedic Guard of 2015 begin to change for the first time, as January’s new shows begin to wrap up, and February’s new shows start to arrive. Sadly, this means we must say our goodbyes to two firm favourites already: Love in Recovery and Crims, both of which end this week.

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

The sublime Love in Recovery wraps up on Wednesday 11th February, with the sixth and final instalment of Radio 4’s touching comic drama. Written by Pete Jackson, the series follows the lives of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting group, made up of characters portrayed by Sue Johnston, John Hannah, Eddie Marsan, Rebecca Front and Paul Kaye, whilst Julia Deakin plays village hall cleaner Marion.

This week we turn our focus away from the individual tales of each recovering alcoholic, as the group are forced to leave their meeting room to try and rescue one of their members from a nearby pub. As it all comes full circle for the gang, we can’t help but hope we haven’t heard the last of them yet.

 If you missed previous installements, you can catch all previous episodes except Episode One on iPlayer now, but be quick – as Episode Two will vanish in four days time…

© Hal Shinnie / BBC

On Thursday 12th February, we also say a fond farewell to Crims - as the BBC Three sitcom from the pens of Mongrels writer Adam Kay and Grandma’s House writer Dan Swimer airs its sixth and final episode at 10pm, with Tracy Ann Oberman once again making a guest appearance.

It’s another firm favourite, as Dawn (Cariad Lloyd) is to receive a commendation for her crackdown on drug use in the institution, and Creg (Ricky Champ) is forced into a difficult position when he accidentally lets the collected substances go missing on his watch. Let’s just say, this episode features the best comedic sandwich consumption since Arnold Rimmer ate a triple fried egg sarnie with chilli sauce and chutney.

When the show began, it was easy to believe the focus would remain entirely on Luke and Jasan, brilliantly played by Elis James and Kadiff Kirwan, but as the series has developed, Dawn, Creg, Marcel (the sublime Theo Barklem Biggs) and the rest of the gang have become just as important to the success of the show. We’re certainly hoping we haven’t seen the last of Crims yet.

If you have missed previous episodes, you can catch up on iPlayer now. There’s currently no sign of a dvd or blu-ray release, but the episodes are now becoming available to own via Amazon Digital, so keep an eye on your preferred digital store for the whole run soon.

…AND I SAY HELLO!

Sunday evening brings us a brand new show, in the form of JK Rowling’s comic drama The Casual Vacancy, which features Rufus Jones and Richard Glover in its top notch cast.

© Steffan Hill / BBC / Bronte Film and Television Ltd

© Steffan Hill / BBC / Bronte Film and Television Ltd

Michael Gambon (Harry Potter), Julia McKenzie (Miss Marple), Keeley Hawes (Ashes to Ashes), Rory Kinnear (Count Arthur Strong), Monica Dolan (Sightseers), Silas Carson (The IT Crowd) and Emilia Fox (Silent Witness) join Glover & Jones in the three part mini-series, which centres on the seemingly idyllic English village of Pagford.

With it’s cobbled market square and ancient abbey, Pagford looks quaint and charming to all who enter. Behind the pretty façade however, is a town at war: rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.

When a local councillor dies suddenly, the town is left in shock, and the empty seat becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the village has yet seen. Three candidates are soon lined up: Miles Mollison, Colin Wall and Simon Price – played by Rufus Jones, Simon McBurney and Richard Glover respectively.

Episode One airs on BBC One this Sunday evening at 9pm, and you can see our preview gallery alongside clips and trailers, over yonder.

© BBC/Baby Cow/Chris Brock

© BBC/Baby Cow/Chris Brock

Tuesday 10th February also sees Series Two of Uncle begin on BBC Three at 10pm, once again starring Nick Helm and Elliot Spencer-Gillot alongside Sophie Haggard (Psychoville), Nicholas Burns and Daniel Lawrence Taylor.

A year after Andy (Helm) was banned from seeing his nephew Errol (Spencer-Gillot) for being a destructive influence, the unlikely duo are hanging out in secret, with the latter having a broken voice and the former being as broken in general as ever.

It’s a welcome return for a very popular show, and you can see what TVOer Mog thought of its return very soon.

CONTINUING ADVENTURES IN ONION LAND

It would, of course, be foolish to focus only on the newly arriving and the soon departing, as lots of other great shows vie for your attention in the middle of their current runs this week.

© Ed Miller / Channel 4

© Ed Miller / Channel 4

Monday 9th February at 10:05pm sees Episode Four of Catastrophe air on Channel 4. Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney’s charming yet brutally honest sitcom focuses on an American man and an Irish woman in London, forced to make a whirlwind romance develop into something more when they find themselves expecting a child.

This week, Sharon’s parents head over from Ireland, only to have a difficult first encounter with Rob, as the subject of pregnancy is broached.  More health complications for Sharon and the baby also arise, and Rob’s secret friendship with Chris backfires in a way he could never have imagined.

As the story unfolds and becomes ever more complex and rewarding, it’s increasingly a delight to spend half an hour with realistic, flawed characters you can’t help but like, even if you’re not sure why.  The show thunders on with rave reviews, and a second series commissioned, so if you’ve not caught the bug yet, you can catch up with the series now via 4oD.

© Colin Hutton / Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

© Colin Hutton / Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

Episode Five of Cockroaches airs on Tuesday 10th February at 10pm over on ITV2. The post-apocalyptic comedy stars Daniel Lawrence Taylor (How Not to Life Your Life), Esher Smith, Jack Whitehall and Tom Davis (House of Fools, Murder in Successville), alongside a string of big name guest stars such as Dan Skinner, Alexander Armstrong, Caroline Quentin, Robert Bathurst and Nigel Planer.

This week, Tom’s mother-in-law Cathy (Caroline Quentin) arrives at the camp with her new boyfriend Pete, who happens to be his former PE teacher – and an overbearing alpha-male American, played by the initimitable Rich Hall. Meanwhile, Suze is sceptical when a stranger called Ash (Jamie Winstone, Dead Set) arrives from the woods claiming not to have seen a single person for the past three years.

It’s another suitably bonkers episode, and if you like what you see, you can catch up with past episodes via ITV Player, or pre-order series on dvd for release February 23rd.

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

Also on Tuesday 10th February, the sixth and penultimate episode of the second series of Count Arthur Strong airs on BBC One at different times, depending on your location.

Viewers in England can see the show at (shock horror), the same time as last week: 10:45pm, whilst those watching in Northern Ireland and Wales don’t have to wait as long as usual, with the episode moved up to 11:10pm. Viewings in Scotland, annoyingly, have to wait almost 24 hours, with the episode airing at 10:40pm on Wednesday instead.

Despite the crazy scheduling, this episode – once more from the pens of star Steve Delaney and Graham Linehan (best known for The IT Crowd and Father Ted), is perhaps the series highlight: as a trouser fire causes Arthur to move in with Michael. His claims of being low maintenance clash with Michael’s Game of Thrones obsession, so Arthur turns to John the Watch for companionship.

Brilliantly structured, and surprisingly heart-warming, this episode works better still when you know the characters well enough to enjoy spending time in their company, but if you only watched one episode this year, this could be the one for you. Either way, catch up on the series now via iPlayer over yonder.

© Comedy Central UK

© Comedy Central UK

Meanwhile, the fifth episode of Drunk History UK airs at 9:30pm on Monday 9th over on Comedy Central UK, once more featuring famous British comedians getting absolutely plastered in the name of reciting tales from the past – which are then re-enacted by a top notch cast.

Tony Way, Cardinal Burns, Rebecca Front, Marek Larwood and Mat Horne have appeared across the series so far, and tonight’s edition keeps the talent levels up high: as Marc Wooten (La La Land, Shirley Ghostman) returns to the show, along Simon Bird (The Inbetweeners, Friday Night Dinner).

With Russell Kane and Alex Horne on story telling duties, and Tony Way again making an appearance, it’s another great excuse to watch comedy talents being very silly indeed. Enjoy!

LIVE HAPPENINGS

There’s lots brewing at the moment, with Kim Noble in the middle of his run at the Soho Theatre, a special Forgery Club for Greenpeace this week, Rachel Stubbings hosting a film night next Monday, Tony Law wrapping up his Tone Zone tour, and tickets for Sarah Kendall at Soho Theatre later this month, and Angelos & Barry later this year on sale now.  Keep an eye on our news pages for the latest live news as and when we can throw it your way!

TVO IS FIVE

We’ve been celebrating our fifth anniversary this month, with a couple of reflective articles on our news pages, and a number of our regulars sending us video messages wishing us a very happy birthday. Kind of. The video below features, in order of appearance: Rachel StubbingsColin HoultDave BrownJames CookBob PipeDave McNeillKaty BrandNeil ColePhil WhelansJames WrenSpencer MillmanWaen ShepherdJacqueline WrightHolly Jane ShearsRufus JonesStephen Evans and Tony Way.

Our huge thanks to all involved – and we’ve got a few more messages coming through to give you Part Two very soon, so stay peeled!

AND THE REST…

As always, here’s some of the news you may have missed during the last week, via our Twitter feed. We’ll see you again next Monday, and throughout the week for more news, reviews and interviews. Keep on peeling!

RIP Charlie Philips

6 Feb
© Charlie Philips

© Charlie Philips

The Velvet Onion would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family of Charlie Philips, who died earlier this week.

A BAFTA winning editor for his work on Sherlock, Charlie’s editing career began in 1996, with the Ben Elton penned sitcom The Thin Blue Line starring Rowan Atkinson, Mark Addy and Mina Anwar.

Philips was, however, perhaps defined by his work with director Matt Lipsey on a string of the most widely acclaimed comedies of the last fifteen years, which amongst them manage to include a huge number of the names we feature on these pages.

First working together on The Armstrong and Miller Show, the duo then worked on Lenny Henry in Pieces before being charged with bringing the twisted world of Julia Davis and Rob Brydon’s superlative Human Remains to life in 2000.

The following year, the pair began their first collaboration in the form of Dr. Terrible’s House of Horrible - a comedy horror anthology in the style of Hammer and Amicus movies of yesteryear, which featured an appearance by Julia Davis alongside Mark Gatiss, Honor Blackman, Warwick Davis and Armstrong & Miller.

This was followed by Catterick - the seminal comedy drama from Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, which co-starred Matt Lucas and Reece Shearsmith amongst others. They then joined this creative team, alongside Steve Coogan once more for sketch show Monkey Trousers, followed by a sitcom for Coogan’s new character, Saxondale, co-starring James Bachman.

© BBC

© BBC

After short-lived sitcoms The Cup and Lunch Monkeys, came Psychoville - the sublime comedy mystery saga from Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, which ran for two series featuring Lipsey & Philips at the helm.

The duo then worked on Chris Brann & Justin Chubb’s bonkers treat, This is Jinsey - co-starring Alice Lowe, no less, across two series either side of Psychoville‘s second run, as well as helming the first series of Greg Davis & Rik Mayall vehicle Man Down - produced by another TVO regular, Spencer Millman.  Sadly, these would mark their final collaborations.

Away from Lipsey, Philips also worked on Tittybangbang and the sixth series of Shooting Stars , as well as editions of Rev and Russell Tovey vehicle Him & Her, as well as the pilot episode of Psychobitches.

© BAFTA

© BAFTA

He moved into drama with mini-series Vexed, and followed that with work on Monroe and five episodes of Sherlock: the latter of which won him a BAFTA Craft Award in 2011.

Details of Charlie Philips outside of his work are limited, and it’s currently unknown exactly how he died. However, he has left behind an extraordinary body of work that has shaped the British Comedy scene for almost two decades, and will no doubt continue to do so in the years to come. He will be missed.

ALT CAB or Where Did It Go Wrong?

4 Feb
© CANAL

© CANAL

A new and extremely limited run exhibition on the transformation of alternative comedy across the 1980s and early 90s will take place at London gallery CANAL later this month.

ALT CAB or Where Did It Go Wrong? utilises archive material from the period as well as a programme of performances and discussions to track the journey of the movement from its initial reactionary beginnings against Thatcherism and the comedy mainstream, through to stadium gigs, star status and its placement as ‘the new rock’n’roll’, slap bang in the heart of a new mainstream.

With film footage, artefacts and ephemera relating to the aesthetic, innovativeness and political concerns of the live movement, the exhibition is the brainchild of former comedy promoter turned gallery curator Monika Bobinska and comedy director/producer/performer Dec Munro.

The linked live program includes an evening with Simon Munnery revisiting some of his classic works, a live installation by Ivor Dembina and a full length show by the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society.

Munnery will also be giving a talk after his show, in which he’ll discuss alternative comedy and the infamous Cluub Zarathustra – which was a regular haunt for Kevin EldonWaen Shepherd, Graham Linehan and Julian Barratt, amongst many others.

The exhibition runs from February 13th to March 7th, with a couple of additional live events on March 10th & 14th. For more information, visit the CANAL website.

As no doubt many of you will be unable to attend, as a treat below, we’ve included a tv pilot made by members of the Cluub Zarathustra gang in 1996 for Channel 4. Entitled The League Against Tedium, it features Simon Munnery, Stewart Lee, Kevin Eldon, Roger Mann, Sally Phillips, Jason Freeman and Richard Thomas, and is a fascinating look at the movement which paved the way for Ealing Live, Darkplace and The Mighty Boosh. There’s also a chance to see a then 27 year old Julian Barratt performing the kind of material he used to explore at those events. Enjoy…

Breaking the Ice with The Forgery Club

4 Feb
© Greenpeace

© Greenpeace

Next week sees Bob Pipe‘s legendary The Forgery Club return as part of a specially curated night in aid of Greenpeace.

Selected by Bob himself, the night of Friday 13th February will feature Pippa Evans (The Now Show, Newsjack), duo Trodd Et Bratt (Well Done You), Holly Burn (Bad Bridesmaid), and Lou Sanders (Good News) on the bill.  Give Out Girls writer Hatty Ashdown will be the host for two hours of great comedy.

After that, there’s live music from Ned Dylan, The King’s Parade and Jenny Said Yes, folowed by DJ sets from King Toby, Tropical Beats, The Bastard Brothers, DJ Dave and The Spigel Has Landed until 3:30am.

It all takes place at Passing Clouds on Richmond Road, London – just down the road from Dalston Junction Station, with tickets a mere £5 in advance or on the door.

Anyone turning up after the comedy will pay double that, so that’s even more of an incentive to see some great comic talent and support a great cause into the bargain.  For more info on the fantastic work of Greenpeace, and the Arctic Sunrise Campaign this night will directly be funding, visit their website.

So Hot Right Now #16

2 Feb

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 VELVET ONION IS FIVE

This week marks our fifth anniversary, and to celebrate, a number of our regulars sent us video messages wishing us a very happy birthday. Kind of. The video below features, in order of appearance: Rachel StubbingsColin HoultDave BrownJames CookBob PipeDave McNeillKaty BrandNeil ColePhil WhelansJames WrenSpencer MillmanWaen ShepherdJacqueline WrightHolly Jane ShearsRufus JonesStephen Evans and Tony Way.

Our huge thanks to all involved – and we’ve got a few more messages coming through to give you Part Two very soon, so stay peeled!

THE WEEK IN TV & RADIO

A couple of regular shows wrapped up last week, but we’ve still got a number of great things on telly to savour across the week. Each one is as important as the other to us, as has always been The Velvet Onion way, so for ease of understanding, we’ll tackle them in chronological order.

MONDAY: DRUNK HISTORY

© Comedy Central UK

© Comedy Central UK

Airing at 9:30pm on Monday 26th over on Comedy Central UK, the fourth episode of Drunk History UK once more sees famous British comedians get absolutely plastered in the name of reciting tales from the past – which are then re-enacted by a top notch cast.

With the likes of Tony Way, Seb CardinalDustin Demri-Burns, Tom Rosenthal, Mat Horne, Marek Larwood, Tom Stourton, Alex Owen, Ben Bailey Smith and Rebecca Front on re-enactment duties across the series, tonight’s edition also features Ben Ashenden, Russell Kane and Joy Lycett getting hammered. Enjoy.

MONDAY: CATASTROPHE

© Ed Miller / Channel 4

© Ed Miller / Channel 4

Monday 2nd February at 10pm brings us Episode Three of Catastrophe - the brand new comedy from Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, in which an American man and an Irish woman fall in love in London whilst navigating the choppy waters of their increasingly complicated lives.

In this week’s edition, Sharon’s hormones plague her with waves of different emotions, and she has a chance meeting with an old flame (Phil Nichol), which leads to dinner. Meanwhile, Rob struggles to generate advertising business, since he has very few contacts in London, and begins a clandestine friendship with Chris, who is married to a woman Sharon can’t stand.

After wowing critics and audiences alike, Catastrophe will be returning for a second series, so it’s naturally a treat to watch the story unfold a little more this week.  If you missed the first two episodes, you can catch up with the series now via 4oD, whilst iPlayer houses Sharon and Rob’s last minute guest appearance on The Graham Norton Show last Friday.

TUESDAY: COCKROACHES

© Colin Hutton / Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

© Colin Hutton / Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

Tuesday 3rd February at 10pm sees Episode Four of Cockroaches air on ITV2. The post-apocalyptic comedy stars Daniel Lawrence Taylor (How Not to Life Your Life), Esher Smith, Jack Whitehall and Tom Davis, alongside a string of big name guest stars such as Dan Skinner, Alexander Armstrong, Caroline Quentin, Robert Bathurst and Nigel Planer.

In this week’s episode the survivors race to find an antidote after the camp’s children turn green – believing they may have nuclear radiation sickness or have become vampires – and the Doctor has gone power mad. If they do not find a cure, Tom may be forced to go through with a grisly deed.

As to be expected, you can catch up with past episodes via ITV Player, and the series will also be released on dvd on February 23rd.

TUESDAY (and Wednesday): COUNT ARTHUR STRONG

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

Also on Tuesday 3rd February comes Episode Five of the second series of Count Arthur Strong airing on BBC One at FOUR different times, depending on your location.

Viewers in England can see it at the slightly later than usual time of 10:45pm, whilst those watching in Northern Ireland have to wait until 11:40pm. However, if you’re in Wales, there’s an even sillier timeslot, as it airs at 12:15am – and viewers in Scotland can see the episode on Wednesday at 10:40pm!

Episode Five, once more from the pens of star Steve Delaney and Graham Linehan (best known for The IT Crowd and Father Ted), sees a documentary team arrive to film a profile of Michael, but Arthur threatens to steal the show with his new career. Fun stuff, as ever.

WEDNESDAY: LOVE IN RECOVERY

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

Wednesday 4th February brings us Episode Five of Love in Recovery on Radio 4. Written by Pete Jackson, the series follows the lives of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting group, made up of characters portrayed by Sue Johnston, John Hannah, Eddie Marsan, Rebecca Front and Paul Kaye, whilst Julia Deakin plays village hall cleaner Marion.

This week’s episode focuses on Kaye’s character, Danno, as he deals with the death of his father after returning from his memorial service – in the pub down the road.  If you missed previous installements, you can catch all previous episodes on iPlayer now, but be quick – as Episode One will vanish in four days time…

THURSDAY: CRIMS

©  Hal Shinnie / BBC

© Hal Shinnie / BBC

Thursday 5th February brings Episode Five of Crims - the new BBC Three sitcom from the pens of Mongrels writer Adam Kay and Grandma’s House writer Dan Swimer – at 10pm. And gawd, have we been waiting to rave about this one.

As ever, starring Elis James and Kadiff Kirwan, alongside Cariad Lloyd, Ricky Champ and Theo Barklem Biggs, with a guest appearance once again by Toast of London‘s Tracy Ann Oberman, this week’s episode draws on Adam Kay’s musical comedy background in the best possible way, as plans for the Young Offenders Institute to put on its own theatre production, are hijacked by Marcel, and turned into a musical interpretation of Twilight, which poor ol’ Luke has to write in 24 hours.

Typically bonkers, with charming tunes and possibly the best Elton John joke ever, this is possibly our favourite episode of the run, and the cast and crew seem to agree. If you only see one episode, make sure it’s this one, but if you have missed previous episodes, you can catch up on iPlayer now.

SATURDAY: HORRIBLE HISTORY’S SPECIAL

©  Phil Miller / Laura Rawlinson / LionTV / BBC

© Phil Miller / Laura Rawlinson / LionTV / BBC

On Saturday 6th February, Horrible Histories returns for a one-off special focusing on the story of King John and the Magna Carta.  As you can see from the image above, comic actor Ben Miller leads the cast as King John, by sheer coincidence, just a few months after he appeared as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Doctor Who!

Whilst the original HH team moved on to create Yonderland for Sky One, and the forthcoming movie Bill, regulars Jim Howick and Simon Farnaby return for this special, with Farnaby’s famous character Death now hosting his own chat show.

As fun as ever, this transitional episode prior to the next series (with a mostly new leading cast), airs on Saturday evening at 5:15pm on BBC Two.  The team have also made a series of new videos promoting internet safety for children – you can see Farnaby’s contribution (alongside Matt Baynton) below.

AND THE REST…

As always, here’s some of the news you may have missed during the last week, via our Twitter feed. We’ll see you again next Monday, and throughout the week for more news, reviews and interviews. Keep on peeling!

Happy Birthday to us, Happy Birthday to us!

30 Jan

This weekend marks TVO’s fifth anniversary, so what better way to celebrate than to grab as many video messages from the good folk we feature on these pages as physically possible, and put them all together for your enjoyment?

Huge thanks to everyone who contributed a message, as well as to all of those who really wanted to but have various deadlines and personal matters to take care of that have kept them out of this compilation. If you’re one of our regulars, and you haven’t been featured in this video – we’re still up for hearing from you, so do get in touch asap!

So Hot Right Now #15

26 Jan

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.

SEVEN IN ONE

This week sees not one, not two, but SEVEN great shows with direct TVO connections airing across UK television and radio. The result is over three hours of brand new great comedy for you to enjoy. Each one is as important as the other to us, as has always been The Velvet Onion way, so we’ll tackle them in chronological order.

MONDAY: DRUNK HISTORY

© Drunk History

© Drunk History

Now at the new time of 9:30pm on Monday 26th, the third episode of Drunk History UK once more sees famous British comedians get absolutely plastered in the name of reciting tales from the past – which are then re-enacted by a top notch cast.

With the likes of Tony Way, Tom Rosenthal, Dustin Demri-Burns (one half of Cardinal Burns), Mat Horne, Marek Larwood and Rebecca Front on re-enactment duties across the series, and tonight’s edition featuring Joel Lycett, Romesh Ranganathan and Brian Pern himself, Simon Day, it’s no doubt another edition worthy of your attention.

You can see a preview clip, telling the story of Dick Turpin, below.

MONDAY: CATASTROPHE

© Ed Miller / Channel 4

© Ed Miller / Channel 4

Monday 26th at 10pm brings us Episode Two of Catastrophe - the brand new comedy from Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, in which an American man and an Irish woman fall in love in London whilst navigating the choppy waters of their increasingly complicated lives.

In this week’s edition, Sharon faces the reality of having a giant new room-mate in the form of Rob, the man whose child she happens to be carrying, and her brother Fergal (Jonathan Forbes) doesn’t make life any easier. Rob also meets up with an old school friend and comes up with a proper proposal to help Sharon feel better about their situation.

It’s another first rate episode, following up the huge promise of last week’s debut with a refreshingly honest, remarkably brutal and deeply satisfying take on modern life and relationships. If you missed Episode One, you can catch up with the series now via 4oD. Sharon and Rob were also on BBC Breakfast last week, which you can see for yourself below.

TUESDAY: COCKROACHES

© Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

© Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

Tuesday evening (27th January) at 10pm sees Episode Three of Cockroaches air on ITV2. The post-apocalyptic comedy stars Daniel Lawrence Taylor (How Not to Life Your Life), Esher Smith, Jack Whitehall and Tom Davis, alongside a string of big name guest stars such as Dan Skinner, Alexander Armstrong, Caroline Quentin, Robert Bathurst and Nigel Planer.

In this week’s episode, Tom (Daniel Lawrence Taylor) assembles a team to go to the supermarket as the camp is running out of food, where the group discover Steve Giggle: a terrified old children’s entertainer, as well as Spectrum: a gang of cannibal women roaming the countryside and preying on unfortunate victims.

Last week’s edition featured Dan Skinner a little earlier than we realised, and is available to view on ITV Player, alongside the Laurie Rose shot first episode, right now.

TUESDAY (and Wednesday): COUNT ARTHUR STRONG

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

Also on Tuesday 27th January comes Episode Four of the second series of Count Arthur Strong airing on BBC One at three different times, depending on your location.

Viewers in England can see it at the slightly later than usual time of 10:45pm, whilst those watching in Northern Ireland have to wait until 11:10pm. However, if you’re in Wales, you’ve got to wait even longer, as it airs at 11:15pm – and poor ol’ Scotland has to wait until Wednesday for an airing at 10:30pm!

Despite the schedule shuffling, the series from the pens of star Steve Delaney and Graham Linehan (best known for The IT Crowd and Father Ted), is still going strong.  In Episode Four, a conman posing as a plumber has swindled the locals out of hundreds of pounds, but he soon regrets the day he tangled with Arthur.

WEDNESDAY: LOVE IN RECOVERY

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

Wednesday evening sees the return of Love in Recovery to Radio 4 for it’s fourth episode. If you haven’t checked in yet, the series – written by Pete Jackson – follows the lives of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting group, made up of characters portrayed by Sue Johnston, John Hannah, Eddie Marsan, Rebecca Front and Paul Kaye, whilst Julia Deakin plays village hall cleaner Marion.

In this fourth episode, Andy has a date for the first time in….well….longer than he’d like to admit. It’s up to the rest of the group to rally round and get him match fit. It’s another charming episode of a show based upon the real life experiences of Pete Jackson, and with one of the greatest casts ever assembled for a radio comedy, it’s a must listen. If you missed them, you can catch all previous episodes on iPlayer now.

THURSDAY: CRIMS

©  Robert Viglasky / BBC

© Robert Viglasky / BBC

Thursday evening brings us Episode Four of Crims - the new BBC Three sitcom from the pens of Mongrels writer Adam Kay and Grandma’s House writer Dan Swimer – at 10pm. Starring Elis James and Kadiff Kirwan, alongside Cariad Lloyd, Ricky Champ and Theo Barklem Biggs, the show has been attracting rave reviews and is a firm favourite in the iPlayer charts, which is good news – as it continues to build on its starting blocks for the rest of its run.

In this week’s episode, a prisoner manages to escape the Young Offenders Institution, and Prison Governor Riley – played by guest star Tracy Ann Oberman of Toast of London, Big Train and Doctor Who fame – goes on the warpath to discover how he did it.  With Creg in the firing line, Marcel forces Luke to work out how he did it.

It’s another suitably bonkers episode, with the cast on great form and some one-liners to die for. If you’ve missed previous episodes, you can catch up on iPlayer now.

THURSDAY: COLIN HOULT’S CARNIVAL OF MONSTERS

© Colin Hoult

© Colin Hoult

At 11pm on Thursday 29th, it’s time to visit the Carnival of Monsters once more, as Colin Hoult and the gang bring the show back to Radio 4 for the fourth and final time this series.

With regular collaborators Stephen Evans, Dan Snelgrove and Zoe Gardner in tow, Colin brings some of his most memorable characters from his successful stage shows to life once more, such as wannabe Hollywood screenwriter Andy Parker, outrageous forgotten movie star Anna Mann, acid jazz obsessive Eddie Cartezian and troubled god Thwor.

If this isn’t enough Colin for you, don’t forget his regular updates to his YouTube channel, with new videos appearance every weekday until, he collapses from comedic exhaustion (never gonna happen). You can enjoy them all below.

WHEN I’M FIVE

It’s hard to believe it, but The Velvet Onion marks an important landmark of its own this week. We officially launched on January 30th 2010, making us five years old on Friday!

In that time, we’ve had numerous contributors and written thousands of articles on New Wave Comedy, as well as offering countless exclusives, dozens of competitions and a direct connection to many of the biggest and best names on the alternative comedy scene.

And we’ve got so much more to do. Thank you for the last five years, here’s to five more, and watch out on Friday when we’ll be bringing you a little treat to celebrate. As always – stay peeled.

AND THE REST…

As always, here’s some of the news you may have missed during the last week, via our Twitter feed. We’ll see you again next Monday, and throughout the week for more news, reviews and interviews, plus that Friday treat!

So Hot Right Now #14

19 Jan

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.

CATASTROPHE FOR SHARON HORGAN

Monday 19th sees the launch of Catastrophe - the brand new comedy from Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, in which an American man and an Irish woman fall in love in London whilst navigating the choppy waters of their increasingly complicated lives.

© Tim Bret Day

© Tim Bret Day

With the pair embarking on a wild affair, Rob is forced to abandon plans to return to the US when Sharon falls pregnant and he vows to stick around and provide the support she so desperately needs.

First developed after a hugely popular web short, Kinky Sex, the show is hilarious and very, very rude, and sees Horgan’s welcome return to writing tv comedy of her own, following Dead Boss and Pulling.

With Ashley Jensen (Extras) and Mark Bonnar (Psychoville) in supporting roles, Catastrophe is full of promise and well worth your attention.  You can see a trailer for the show below, and catch the first episode on Monday 19th January at 10pm on Channel 4.  It will, of course, be available on 4oD after transmission, and we hope to bring you some catastrophic exclusive very soon, so stay peeled.

TELLY CONTINUATIONS

Catastrophe isn’t the only TVO related show on telly this week, as Drunk HistoryCockroaches, Count Arthur Strong and Crims all continue their runs on Comedy Central, ITV2, BBC One and BBC Three, respectively.

© Comedy Central / Tiger Aspect

© Comedy Central / Tiger Aspect

Drunk History - airing Monday evening at 10pm, with repeats throughout the week – features top UK comedians getting bladdered, then talking their way through key moments in history… which are then re-enacted by a team of top notch comedy talent.

Based on the hit US show, Episode One featured Tony Way, Rebecca Front, Dustin Demi-Burns, Matt Horne, Marek Larewood and many more – most of whom should be appearing in later episodes, too.  Sadly, as we went to press, information on Episode Two is thin on the ground, but we’ll update this page with more info after transmission.

If you’re worried about the clash with Catastrophe, the show gets repeated on Tuesday evening at 11pm, and it will be available on demand via SkyGo and Now TV after transmission. For more info, and some preview clips to savour, visit the Comedy Central UK website.

© Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

© Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

Cockroaches - ITV2’s new post-apocalyptic comedy starring Daniel Lawrence Taylor (How Not to Live Your Life, Hunderby, The IT Crowd), Esher Smith, Jack Whitehall and Tom Davis continues on Tuesday evening at 10pm.

The show is set following a nuclear holocaust, as the remnants of the British population do their best to get on with life.  The first episode was shot by acclaimed cinematographer Laurie Rose (Sightseers, High Rise, Kill List), and guest stars across the rest of the run include Alexander Armstrong (Armstrong & Miller), Nigel Planer (The Young Ones) and Dan Skinner.

In Episode Two, newly appointed leader Tom struggles with people fighting, a broken water supply system, and the ever-present threat from cannibals. Elsewhere, Suze attempts to set up a school, and daughter Laura is forced to answer questions about her mum and Oscar. Caroline Quentin guests in this episode, and you can catch up via ITV Player now.

© Freemantle Productions / BBC

© Freemantle Productions / BBC

Directly after Cockroaches, hop on over to BBC One to catch the third episode of Count Arthur Strong‘s second series at 10:35pm.  Unless you’re in Wales, in which case, it’s on at 11:05pm.  And if you’re in Scotland, it’s on at 11:35pm!

In case you’re new to the show, it’s the brainchild of Steve Delaney, who plays the titular character, and is written by Delaney with Graham Linehan of The IT Crowd, Big Train and Father Ted fame.  Bond star Rory Kinnear co-stars as the son of Arthur’s former variety partner, turned biographer and generally put-upon collaborator.

This week, Arthur plans to tackle noise pollution by running for the local election.  He gathers together a crack team which cannot be ignored… or can they?

©  Robert Viglasky / BBC

© Robert Viglasky / BBC

Lastly, but by no means least, Crims returns on Thursday evening at 10pm on BBC Three.  The sitcom starring Ellis George, Kadiff Kirwan, Theo Barklem-Biggs, Ricky Champ and Cariad Lloyd is written by former Mongrels writer Adam Kay alongside Grandma’s House writer Dan Swimer, and is set in a young offenders institute.

This week, put upon accidental criminal Luke decides to propose to his girlfriend Gemma, in an attempt to send a clear message to her new flatmate Roger.  However, first he must try and get her parent’s permission, and her brother Jason isn’t helping.  Meanwhile, Isaac struggles to give up snitching, and Dawn continues to fend off the advances of hapless Creg.

It’s another great episode from a sitcom that just gets better and better, and we sure hope you’ll be tuning in.  You can catch up on previous episodes, including Sylvester McCoy’s star guest turn in Episode Two, via iPlayer now.

RADIO LAYERS

Radio shows featuring TVO regulars also continue apace this week, starting with Love in Recovery, on Radio 4 starring Paul Kaye.

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

The show following the lives of five very different recovering alcoholics, played by Sue Johnson, John Hannah, Eddie Marsan, Rebecca Front and Paul Kaye, as well as cleaner Marion (Julia Deakin), continues on Wednesday evening at 11:15pm on BBC Radio 4, with previous episodes available now on iPlayer.

Elsewhere, Colin Hoult brings us another edition of his Carnival of Monsters on Thursday evening.

© BBC

The show features a combination of new material and vintage pieces from Colin’s seminal Edinburgh shows, and reunites the team behind those via supporting artists Stephen Evans, Dan Snelgrove and Zoe Gardner, produced by Sam Bryant (Alice’s Wunderland, I Regress).

You can hear the latest episode at 11:00pm on Thursday night – again on Radio 4, with previous episodes available now on iPlayer.

Elsewhere, Colin continues his five-weekly vlog posts from a range of characters trapped in his mind.  You can see all the latest videos below.

AND THE REST…

As always, here’s some of the news you may have missed during the last week, via our Twitter feed. We’ll see you again next Monday, and throughout the week for more news, reviews and interviews. Keep on peeling!

Cockroaches For Laurie & Dan

14 Jan

This week saw the launch of new ITV2 apocalyptic comedy Cockroaches - and there was a familiar name or two for regular TVO readers involved.

© Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

© Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

The show stars Daniel Lawrence Taylor, known on the live circuit as one half of excellent musical storytelling duo Ginger & Black, but perhaps better known elsewhere for his roles in How Not to Live Your Life and Hunderby

He’s also appeared in MongrelsAngelo’sThe InbetweenersA Touch of ClothThe IT Crowd and Uncle, so definitely a man with an enviable resume.

Here he plays Tom – survivor of a nuclear holocaust alongside his on-off girlfriend Suze (Esher Smith) and their daughter Laura, as they struggle to survive in post-apocalyptic Britain.

Tom Davis (soon to be seen guesting in House of Fools), Jack Whitehall and Robert Bathurst are also along for the ride, with later episodes promising guest appearances by Alexander Armstrong, Nigel Planer, Rich Hall and our very own Dan Skinner, marking it as a rarity – a show on an ITV channel worth watching!

Episode One, as we discovered last night, also had the good fortune of being shot by famed cinematographer Laurie Rose - best known for his work with Ben Wheatley on all of his films, including Sightseers, A Field in England and the forthcoming High Rise.

Rose told TVO, however, he was only involved in Episode One, as his work on the latter film called him away from the show, but nevertheless, with the top talent involved, we reckon it may be worth TVO readers checking out the rest of the run.

If you missed it, you can catch Episode One via ITV Player now, and for another 28 days. Episode Two will air next Tuesday at 10pm.

So Hot Right Now #13

12 Jan

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.

DRUNK HISTORY

Over on Comedy Central UK, a brand new British version of Drunk History is about to begin – in which popular faces from the UK comedy scene get hammered, then try and share their knowledge of the past.

© Comedy Central / Tiger Aspect

© Comedy Central / Tiger Aspect

Based on the hit US show (which has sporadically featured Rich Fulcher), this first edition week features stand-up Rob Beckett tell the story of Henry VIII, which is then re-enacted by Mathew Horne, Tony Way and Tom Davies. Also on board for Episode One are Rebecca Front (Psychobitches), Dustin Demri-Burns (Cardinal Burns), Marek Larewood, Joel Fry, Mark Davison and Kerry Howard.

You can catch Episode One on Monday evening at 10pm. It gets repeated Tuesday evening at 11pm, and it will be available on demand via SkyGo and Now TV after transmission. For more info, and some preview clips to savour, visit the Comedy Central UK website.

CRIMS & COUNT CONTINUE

The latest episodes of BBC Three sitcom Crims and BBC One sitcom Count Arthur Strong air this week.

 © BBC / Robert Viglasky

© BBC / Robert Viglasky

Crims - written by former Mongrels writer Adam Kay alonside Dan Swimer - stars Elis George & Kadiff Karwan as two hapless friends in a Young Offenders Institute, surrounded by guards and inmates even more stupid than they are.

In this second episode, Luke (George) tries to impress his girlfriend on the outside by getting himself an A-Level… enter the delightful Sylvester McCoy as a bonkers Latin teacher.

If you missed Episode One, it’s available on iPlayer now, and our interview with Adam Kay can be read over yonder. Episode Two airs on Thursday at 10pm over on BBC Three.

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

As for Count Arthur Strong, the Graham Linehan co-written series returns to BBC One on Tuesday evening, as the former variety star recalls his teddy-boy days in an unreliable flashback that takes in West Side Story, Oliver! and The Great Escape.

With a guest appearance from Kevin McNally (Pirates of the Caribbean), you can catch up with Arthur and friends on Tuesday evening at 10:35pm over on BBC One.

SECOND TIME AIRWAVES

Radio shows featuring TVO regulars also continue apace this week, starting with Love in Recovery, on Radio 4 starring Paul Kaye.

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

The show following the lives of five very different recovering alcoholics, played by Sue Johnson, John Hannah, Eddie Marsan, Rebecca Front and Paul Kaye, as well as cleaner Marion (Julia Deakin), continues on Wednesday evening at 11:15pm on BBC Radio 4.

Elsewhere, Colin Hoult brings us another edition of his Carnival of Monsters on Thursday evening.

© BBC

© BBC

The show features a combination of new material and vintage pieces from Colin’s seminal Edinburgh shows, and reunites the team behind those via supporting artists Stephen Evans, Dan Snelgrove and Zoe Gardner, produced by Sam Bryant (Alice’s Wunderland, I Regress).

You can catchup at 11:00pm on Thursday night – again on Radio 4.

BEAR IN THE USA

This weekend sees the US theatrical release of Paddington - the feelgood family movie from the makers of Harry Potter and director Paul King.

© Studio Canal

Starring Hugh Bonneville, Nicole Kidman, Peter Capaldi, Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters, as well as former Nathan Barley star Ben Wishaw as the voice of Paddington, the film (as we’ve previously reported) features a bevy of TVO related cameo appearances.

Steve OramTom MeetenAlice LoweSimon FarnabyJames BachmanJustin Edwards and Matt Lucas all feature, as do former Star Stories actor Matt King, The Thick of It actor Will Smith and Toast of London‘s Danny Boy himself – Tim Downie.

AND THE REST…

As always, here’s some of the news you may have missed during the last week, via our Twitter feed. We’ll see you again next Monday, and throughout the week for more news, reviews and interviews. Keep on peeling!

BAFTA Nominations For Boosh (& Paddington) Director

11 Jan

© HeyUGuys

Paul King has received two BAFTA nominations for Paddington, the movie.

The film has been shortlisted in the ‘Outstanding British Film’ category, and Paul himself has picked up a nomination for ‘Best adapted Screenplay’, also for Paddington. The data junkies amongst you may recall that Paul was previously awarded a BAFTA nomination in 2005 for Best New Director (Fiction) for Series 2 of the Mighty Boosh.

The winners of the 2015 Film Awards will be announced at a ceremony hosted by Stephen Fry in London on 8 February.

To see the full list of nominations click here. We wish Paul and the rest of the Paddington team the best of luck!

Onion Talking: Adam Kay on Crims

7 Jan
© Adam Kay

© Adam Kay

This week sees the launch of Crims - BBC Three’s new sitcom starring Elis James & Kadiff Kirwan.

We sat down with one of its co-writers: cult stand-up and former Mongrels writer Adam Kayto discuss the gestation of the series, and his plans for its future.

Imagine the scene. You go to pick up your girlfriend’s brother, only to find he’s committed a bank robbery, and you’re now his getaway driver.  More accurately, considering your stationary and surrounded by armed police, his getting-caught driver.

Such is the plight of Luke (Elis James), whose situation is made all the worse when he is confined to a Young Offenders Institution for 600 days, sharing a cell with said girlfriend’s brother – the hapless Jason (Kadiff Kirwan).  The result is Crims, BBC Three’s brand new sitcom from the pens of Adam Kay and Dan Swimer.

“It’s a huge privilege to be trusted to write a few hours of comedy on telly,” Adam tells TVO following a sneaky peak at the first two episodes, “and everyone worked very hard to make the best product we could.  Though, the progression of a comedy writer is to write on sketch shows, write episodes of other people’s shows, script edit other people’s shows, then work towards someone trusting you to write your own rulebook. So if it’s not funny, I can’t say it’s because I was told a character couldn’t say that. It’s because I fucked up. I can blame every other show I’ve worked on for not being funny on other people.” He pauses for a moment and ruminates. “I guess I could still blame the actors on this one.”

Kay needn’t worry. Crims is hysterically funny. Set in a world slightly detached from reality, it features prison guards who are obsessed with urinal cakes, gang leaders with an allegiance to Team Edward, and regular discussions about wanking rotas.  One character goes by the name of ‘Black Elton John’, for no apparent reason than his need of spectacles. It’s that kind of show, and TVO loves every second of it.

© BBC / Adam Lawrence

© BBC / Adam Lawrence

“The show found its feet as we were writing it,” explains Adam. “It didn’t feel out of place in the world to chuck that sort of weird stuff in. You never want to break the world with something outlandish. When people suddenly take stock and realise they’re just watching telly, it’s never good. But we peppered these crazy moments in without making it seem mad.  The temperament of the show allowed us to throw in those moments.”

Every character has something inherently likeable about them – even those who would typically be portrayed as purely negative stereotypes. For Kay, this was a natural decision to make. “You’re inviting people into your living room,” he states, “and the characters are not the most hyper-real on television. We’ve tried to give everyone enough fallibility and relatability to be enjoyable. There’s no real villains. It has to be more complex than setting up a goodie and a baddie, because no-one is really like that in real life.”

It also helps to set the series apart from the shows it will inevitably be compared to. Whilst no-one bats an eyelid at sitcoms set in shops or offices, you only have to look at the way Hyperdrive was dismissed before it even aired as a Red Dwarf knock-off to suspect that Crims will be unfavourably compared to Porridge by some, much as Dead Boss was before it.  Thankfully, Adam isn’t worried.

“I’m happy for anything I do to be compared to anything else,” he asserts. “Porridge casts a very long shadow, and rightly so. But in general, it’s less helpful thinking of a show in terms of the precinct it’s based in. A show is essentially the characters that are part of the world. We’d come up with the characters of Luke and Jason, and their relationship, before we came up with the situation they would be in.  I don’t feel constrained by it. I would happily write a sitcom set in a hotel. We could have set this in a retail bank, and it could have had the same vibe. But as soon as we plonked them in a prison, everything slotted into place.”

© BBC / Robert Viglasky

© BBC / Robert Viglasky

Part of what makes Crims stand apart from most recent comedy shows, is that it all seems to be coming from relatively new blood. Kay has spent years as a musical comedian, regularly selling out at the Edinburgh Fringe, and you may have heard his viral favourite London Underground. His first major television writing gig was crafting songs for the second series of Mongrels back in 2011. Co-writer Dan Swimer cut his teeth co-writing Grandma’s House with Simon Amstell, and has also written for shows as diverse as How TV Ruined Your Life and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Despite their talents, neither man could really be defined as a household name just yet.

This vibe extends to the cast, too. Elis James is an up-and-coming stand-up with occasional sitcom acting credits to his name, with much of the rest of the cast made up of relative unknowns. Comedian and actress Cariad Lloyd (Cardinal Burns, Fit) plays Prisoner Officer Dawn, the only sane voice in the whole place. Former Dead Boss and Him & Her star Ricky Champ plays fellow warden and hapless idiot Creg. By far the more diverse CV on the cast-list is that of Theo Barklem-Biggs, who plays Twilight-loving thug Marcel – and who you may recognise from his appearances in productions as varied as The Inbetweeners Movie, Silk, Moses Jones, A Touch of Cloth or The Fades.

“We were certainly never put under any pressure to fill it with names,” Adam states. “Everyone just set about making the best possible show.  Cariad is brilliant. Ricky Champ’s been in a huge amount before and he’s always brilliant, likewise Theo. And there are some who’ve done smaller roles or we’re bringing them to the screen for the very first time. It’s exciting.”

This certainly isn’t your typical BBC Three starring-vehicle, though it could have ended up very different indeed.

 © BBC / Robert Viglasky

© BBC / Robert Viglasky

“Lots of people were seen for the show,” reveals Adam, “Some with large amounts of profile, some with even less profile than these guys. The casting director put huge numbers of people up for it. But not only are Elis and Kadiff individually really great actors, but we knew their chemistry would show on screen from the moment we tried them together.  Ellis has been gaining profile of late, but I think this is the start of a long comedy journey for Kadiff in particular.”

One familiar face does turn up in Episode Two, however – in the form of Doctor Who legend Sylvester McCoy. As Luke tries to impress his girlfriend by getting an A-Level on the inside, he meets a daffy old Latin teacher, and the two bond over the true meaning of life, the universe and everything, with delightfully charming results.  Which, given Sylvester’s track record for delightfully charming everyone around him, is no surprise.

 © BBC / Robert Viglasky

© BBC / Robert Viglasky

“I can tell you now,” Adam beams, “he was an absolute joy. Sylvester was a huge presence and source of energy and enthusiasm. We had a puppy on set that day, and normally the puppy gets all the attention on a set, but Sylvester stole its limelight very much, which is pretty unheard of.  He does it really well, too. It’s a very unusual part, and he gets away with it with just the right amount of mad.”

So what does the future hold for Crims? “At the start of every episode,” Adam tells us, “is the number of days they’ve spent in the prison. By the end of Episode Six we’re a couple of months in. If time continues at the same rate, we’re not going to be limited by their sentence. We’d rather keep doing it while we’re all enthusiastic about it enough to want to write more. You know how comedy works. If we were commissioned for Series Eleven, and we wanted to do it, we’d find a way.”

But is there a moment in this first series Adam is most proud of? He has two.  “Episode Six,” he grins, “where Creg is eating a sandwich. That’s a plot construction I was extremely pleased with.  And there’s one thing that Luke says, as a very sarcastic character. In a moment of annoyance to Jason, he asks: “Isn’t there a yourself you can go fuck?” I’m waiting for a chance to say that in real life.”

TVO suggests the slogan could end up on t-shirts. “You’re in,” Adam retorts. “You get 10%.” Deal.

Crims airs from 10pm on Thursday 8th January on BBC Three.

So Hot Right Now #12

5 Jan

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.

LOVE IN RECOVERY

This week sees the launch of a brilliant new radio 4 comedy drama, Love in Recovery, featuring a top-notch cast of astronomical star status, including our very own Paul Kaye.

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

The show is written by Pete Jackson and inspired by his own road to recovery, following the lives of five very different recovering alcoholics: plain-speaking and fun-loving Julie (Sue Johnson, The Royal Family), sarcastic and beleaguered journalist Simon (John Hannah, A Touch of Cloth), kind and naive group leader Andy (Eddie Marsan, The World’s End), snobby and spikey ex-banker Fiona (Rebecca Front, Psychobitches) and dodgy geezer with a heart of gold Danno (Paul Kaye).

They are joined by Marion (Julia Deakin, Spaced), the cleaner of the church hall where the show is set, as the group get to know each other, learn to hate each outer, argue, moan, laugh, fall apart, fall in love and tell their stories.

You can hear Episode One at 11:15pm this Wednesday evening on BBC Radio 4, with the episode available on iPlayer shortly after transmission.

THE CARNIVAL RETURNS

Not content with bouncing five instalments of fried comedic gold at us each week via his YouTube channel, the eternally hard-working Colin Hoult returns to BBC Radio 4 this week with the long-awaited second series of Carnival of Monsters.

© BBC

© BBC

The show features a combination of new material and vintage pieces from Colin’s seminal Edinburgh shows, and reunites the team behind those via supporting artists Stephen Evans, Dan Snelgrove and Zoe Gardner.

Once more produced by Sam Bryant (Alice’s Wunderland, I Regress), Carnival of Monsters features several of our favourites: Andy Parker, Anna Mann, Eddie Cortinez… you name it, they’re here, all as monstrous yet oddly delightful as ever.

The show will be available on iPlayer after transmission on Wednesday at 11pm, and you can also catch up with the latest videos from Colin’s YouTube channel over yonder.

THE COUNT AND THE CRIMS

Two new series appear on our tellyboxes this week, with the return of Count Arthur Strong and new BBC Three sitcom Crims.

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

The former, Count Arthur Strong, has been given a big boost of support from the BBC – with the show being promoted to BBC One in the perennial Mrs Browns Boys slot of 10:35pm.  Written once again by star Steve Delaney and IT Crowd head honcho Graham Linehanthe show polarised audiences in its first season two years ago, but a more mainstream timeslot may just see it find its audience at last.

In the first episode, the former variety star and his former showbiz partner’s son stage a heist to retrieve a salacious manuscript of Arthur’s semi autobiographical novel. Rory Kinnear and Chris Rhyman co-star, and you can see Episode One on Tuesday evening.

© BBC / Adam Lawrence

© BBC / Adam Lawrence

Over on BBC Three, brand new prison based comedy Crims launches this Thursday, in which cult standup Elis George and newcomer Kadiff Karwan star as two hapless friends who find themselves in a robbery situation and get sent to prison for 600 days.

Surrounded by guards and inmates even more stupid than them, the duo must use all their wits to stay out of trouble… except they don’t really have any.

Written by former Mongrels writer – and amazing musical standup – Adam Kay, alongside former Grandma’s House writer Dan Swimer, the show also features Cariad Lloyd (Cardinal Burns), Ricky Champ (Dead Boss) and a brilliant guest appearance in Episode Two by former Doctor Who star Sylvester McCoy.

Former Big Train star Tracey Ann Oberman also features in Episode Four, and from what we’ve seen of the show, it’s a gloriously ridiculous sitcom that we think will be right up your street.

We’ll have an exclusive interview with Adam Kay for you later this week, and you can catch Episode One on Thursday night at 10pm over on BBC Three.

GLOVER IN THE WOOD

This Friday sees the UK release of Disney’s blockbuster musical Into the Woods, and if you’ve been watching the trailers, you may have spotted a TVO face in the midsts of it all.

© Disney

© Disney

The film stars Meryl Street, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Tracy Ullman and Johnny Depp – as well as our very own Richard Glover as The Steward.

Based on the hit musical by Stephen Sondheim, Into the Woods will give us another chance to hear the delightful Mr Glover’s singing voice on the big screen, which we’re sure he’s loving! Already out in US cinemas, the film can be seen in the UK from the end of this week.

AND THE REST…

As always, here’s some of the news you may have missed during the last week, via our Twitter feed. We’ll see you again next Monday, and throughout the week for more news, reviews and interviews. Keep on peeling!

Acts of Redemption

4 Jan

© Unrestricted View

James Wren is directing a series of short comedy plays at The Hen & Chickens theatre in North London later this month.

This latest venture from the co-writer and star of The Day They Came To Suck Our Brains!, the (fantastically funny) web series, comes in the form of “bittersweet” dramatic comedies entitled the Acts Of Redemption, originally written by Ken Jaworowski.

These plays are set to be truly unique, as James Wren presents to us funny performances with a sobering undertone.

Starring TVO regulars, Neil Cole (Man Vs. RideStag Huntand Phil Whelans (The Day They Came To Suck Our Brains!, My First Planet), the productions kick off with the first instalment next Tuesday, on January 13th, and run up to January 24th (with nine dates in total over that period).

Tickets are just £8 and are available here.

So Hot Right Now #11

22 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.

CHRISTMAS COMES EARLY FOR TVO TELLY FANS!

As Noddy Holder once sang: IT’S CHRIIIIIIISSSTTTTMAAAAAAASSSSS!!!!!! Which means there’s a sudden glut of top notch telly to be savoured, and that naturally includes a bevy of TVO regulars on our screens once again.  We’ve got more news to share with you below this epic round-up, but first off, we’ve got to celebrate just how much we can enjoy this week!

Monday 22nd December

© Sky

© Sky

The crux of that comes on Monday 22nd December, with six new shows and a vintage repeat to savour across the evening. First up at 5:30pm on Sky 1 is Katy Brand‘s Little Cracker getting a welcome re-airing.

First shown in 2012, the episode – like the rest of the Little Cracker series which inspired Moone Boy – focuses on a key event from it’s writer’s childhood Christmasses dramatised and exaggerated for comedic value.  Katy Brand’s edition centres on the moment ten-year-old Katy made an earth-shattering discovery on Christmas Eve, and in one fell swoop the magic and sparkle of the festive season vanished. All is not lost when an unlikely opportunity to save Christmas presents itself.

Stick with Sky1 at 8:30pm for the last in the current series of Trollied featuring Aisling Bea. In tonight’s episode, it’s Charity Day at Valco supermarket, with a big prize draw called into question, a sponsored bike ride, shaved legs and a giant pain-relief tablet costume. Mad as ever.

© Channel 4

© Channel 4

Over on Channel 4 at 8pm is the Gadget Man’s Guide To Christmas in which Richard Ayoade presents a gadget-packed guide to the festive season, joined by techno-loving celebrity friends including Jonathan Ross, Stephen Merchant, Robert Webb, Jessica Hynes and Reece Shearsmith.

In this hour long special, Richard and his guests reveal new ways of doing the Christmas shopping, surviving the winter weather, cooking Christmas dinner, wrapping gifts, dealing with snow, handling fog and getting through long nights. They also look at a smartphone breathalyser, a pitch-shifting karaoke machine and Richard makes a festive feast. Bring it on!

© BBC / Hulu / Coco Van Oppens

© BBC / Hulu / Coco Van Oppens

After Gadget Man, we heartily recommend you switch over to BBC Two, where the new series of The Wrong Mans begins at 9pm. The show featuring writers James Corden and Matthew Baynton as two idiots accidentally caught up in a huge espionage plot, was a smash hit last year, and featured a huge array of incredible guest stars, including our very own Rufus Jones and Dan Skinner amongst them.

This year, Baynton and Corden are again joined by a top notch cast including Dawn French and Rebecca Front, and the show is directed by once more by Jim Field-Smith - formerly a member of criminally underrated sketch troup Dutch Elm Conservatoire alongside Rufus Jones, Dan Skinner, Stephen Evans and Jordan Long, who you may recognise from Junglophilia, World of Wrestling, Mongrels and the first series of The Wrong Mans!

© BBC / Hulu / Coco Van Oppens

© BBC / Hulu / Coco Van Oppens

The first two episodes are being shown in a double bill on Monday 22nd from 9pm, with Episodes Three and Four – featuring a guest appearance from Fergus Craig as a pilot – airing tomorrow evening at the same time. American fans shouldn’t fret either – The Wrong Mans is a co-production with Hulu, so should be on your screens over there in the New Year.

© Talkback / Brian Ritchie

© Talkback / Brian Ritchie

Stick with BBC Two at 10pm for a double bill of musical mayhem. First up is Never Mind The Buzzcocks Christmas special to round off the series in style.  As you can see, the festive edition got everyone in the spirit of Christmas, and you’ll probably never look at turkey the same way again.

Joining host Rhod Gilbert and team captains Noel Fielding and Phill Jupitus for the madness are legendary Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock, his polar opposite Louis ‘X-Factor’ Walsh, singer Melissa Steel and comedian Lloyd Langford. There’s even a guest appearance by the actual Snowman. A must see!

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

Straight after Buzzcocks is the final episode of Brian Pern: A Life in Rock - the madcap mockumentary from Rhys Thomas and Simon Day which features a massive ensemble cast of real life celebrities and great comic talents.  Michael Kitchen, Paul Whitehouse, Nigel Havers Lucy Montgomery and Tony Way are joined this week by Mel C, Chrissie Hynde, Roy Wood, Roger Allum and loads more as Brian tries to record a Christmas album.

There’s a glorious set of pastiches of past pop favourites on offer in this week’s episode, including Simon and Lucy’s homage to Barcelona, the Thotch lads getting all Chas N Dave on us, and the glorious Black Christmas.  Mel C and Pepita get to fight it out over the microphone, Roy Wood’s producer wants to put a till on everything, and the best is saved till last as Peter Gabriel makes another appearance.

As we bid Brian a fond farewell, don’t forget to catch up on our interview with him, as well as series creators Rhys Thomas and Simon Day, and we hope he’s back for more soon!

Both Buzzcocks and Brian Pern happen to clash with another TVO favourite, but thanks to the wonders of 4+1, that’s not necessarily a problem. At 10pm on Channel 4 (or 11pm on 4+1), is the special final episode of Derek starring Ricky Gervais.

© Channel 4 / Ray Burmiston

© Channel 4 / Ray Burmiston

The second series introduced characters played by Tony Way and Colin Hoult, and Colin features in this grande finale, in which Broadhill regulars are busy planning the wedding of the year.  However, Kev’s behaviour proves too much for Hannah, while Vicky prepares to fill her boss’s shoes, and Derek is just trying to hold everything together.

Previous finales from Gervais have tended to tackle surprisingly weighty issues in brilliant dramatic form – whatever anyone thought of Extras or Life’s Too Short, for example, there’s no denying they went out with a bang, so we’d definitely recommend you give this one a chance.

Tuesday 23rd December

If you’ve caught everything from Monday 22nd live, or you’re fully up to date from catchup services, then stick near your remote, cos there’s more to savour throughout the week. On Tuesday 23rd, at 9:30pm, we have the final episode of Psychobitches Series Two to savour over on Sky Arts HD, and it’s set to be as magnificent as the rest.

© Sky Arts

© Sky Arts

The highlight of the show looks set to be Richard E Grant’s guest appearance as Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins, as he interrupts a psychiatric session for grotesque witches played by Matthew Baynton, Kevin Eldon and Cardinal Burns star Dustrin Demri-Burns.  Also visiting Rebecca Front’s psychoanalyst this week are Gracie Fields (The IT Crowd guest star Frances Barber), Fanny Cradock (the other half of Cardinal Burns, Seb Cardinal), Hildegard of Bingen (Doctor Who’s Michelle Gomez), the Statue of Liberty (Toast of London‘s Doon Mackichan), Shirley Temple (Benidorm’s Sheila Reid), Daphne du Maurier (House of Fools star Morgana Robinson), Zeus’s wife Hera (Goodness Gracious Me legend Mera Syal) and Hindu goddess Kali (La La Land‘s Marc Wootton). Phew!

© Avalon Television / Pete Dadds

© Avalon Television / Pete Dadds

That’s not all, either, as 10pm brings us the festive special of Man Down on Channel 4.  The show, starring Greg Davies as idiotic teacher Dan, is produced by Spencer Millman (of The Mighty BooshMan to Man and The Inbetweeners fame), and the first series was hugely popular on its initial airing late in 2013.

However, the show suffered a near-fatal blow earlier this year, with the tragic death of co-star Rik Mayall - who injected so much life into proceedings (as always) taunting Dan as his vindictive father in a pitch-perfect casting choice.  Nevertheless, the show must go on, and this special – ahead of a second series – is the first chance we have to see the show without him.

Stephanie Cole guest stars as Aunt Nesta, and there are a few familiar faces for TVO fans on board too: with Justin Edwards making an appearance as a solicitor, and the excellent Ramon Tikaram (star of This Life, brother of singer Tanita Tikaram, and Mighty Boosh guest star as Banoo) also involved.  Al Campbell – aka Barry Shitpeas – is directing once again, and it looks set to be another fine addition to the festive canon.

Also on telly that evening are the aforementioned third and fourth episodes of The Wrong Mans, plus Sky 1 are repeating Treasure Island across Tuesday and Wednesday at 5pm each day. This adaptation starring Eddie Izzard, Elijah Wood and Donald Sutherland from 2012 also featured a cavalcade of British telly talent, including Philip Glennister, Daniel Mays, Shaun Parkes, Nathan Barley star Nina Sosyana and our very own Julian Barratt as Thomas Redruth.

Christmas Eve

© Avalon Television / Pete Dadds

© Avalon Television / Pete Dadds

Speaking of Wednesday, Christmas Eve brings us the Not Going Out Christmas Special, in which the will-they-won’t-they tension between Lee (Boosh radio series star Lee Mack) and Lucy (Sally Bretton) reaches unseen new highs, and Lee’s pint-sized dad Frank (Bobby Ball) takes him for a night on the tiles.

As ever Katy Wix co-stars, and there’s a guest appearance from Phil Cornwell as a police officer (only a week and a bit after his role as a police officer in Brian Pern, actually!). Lee Mack has indicated this may be the final ever episode, so expect it to go out on a happy note, just in case.

One last treat for Wednesday – if you happen to be watching Film Four’s repeat of Saint Trinians - see if you can spot Richard Glover as a put upon telly bod. Nice little cameo, there…

Christmas Day

©  BBC / David Venni

© BBC / David Venni

Christmas Day itself is a little short on treats, but like the rest of the country (we hope), we’ll be settling down to watch Nick Frost as Father Christmas in the Doctor Who special, Last Christmas.  Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman return as The Doctor and Clara, alongside guest stars Michael Troughton (of The New Statesmen fame), Faye Marsey and Natalie Gumede (who appeared in sitcom flop The Persuasionists with Simon Farnaby).

There’s currently no word on whether Ben Wheatley will be returning to direct further episodes of Doctor Who in the new year, but with filming set to begin in January, we’re sure to know soon enough. Last Christmas, which has been getting rave reviews so far, will air at 6:15pm on BBC One.

Over on Channel 4 in the early hours – midnight to be exact – is the Father Ted Christmas Special, A Christmassy Ted. This festive classic, written by Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews sees Ted and his fellow priests trapped in the lingerie section of a major department store, and Ted’s quick thinking resulting in him staging an award-winning rescue.  The episode is also shown on More4 across the festive season, so keep your eyes peeled if you miss it, or catch it on 4od. And really, you should own the dvd by now!

Boxing Day

© Talkback / Brian Ritchie

© Talkback / Brian Ritchie

Boxing Day brings with it another Big Fat Quiz of the Year - and whilst Noel Fielding is absent this year, his old cohort Richard Ayoade is on hand to add a bit of Onion into the mix.  He joins David Mitchell, Mel B, Sarah Millican, Kevin Bridges and Micky Flanagan as well as regular host Jimmy Carr.

There’s also guest appearances from Michael Palin, Rio Ferdinand, Lily Allen and the stars of The Inbetweeners, plus some surprises in store, so check in to Channel 4 from 9pm.

Sunday 28th December

© Pett Productions / Chris Baines

© Pett Productions / Chris Baines

Lastly, but by no means leastly, Sunday 28th December brings us the Christmas Special of House of Fools on BBC Two at 10:05pm.  This special episode of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer’s sublime sitcom is set on Christmas Eve, but when Bob’s present for Erik is unexpectedly engulfed in flames, the housemates go on an underground boat journey to Phil Collins’ mansion.

It’s typically glorious madness from the team, which features Matt BerryDan Skinner, Morgana Robinson and Daniel Simonsen, as well as a guest appearance once more by Reece Shearsmith – as Santa no, less. We’ll have a full preview of the episode later this week, and interviews with the cast (and new regular Ellie White) ahead of Series Two launching early next year.

SECRET SANTA SHOCKER FOR NEIL COLE

Of course, we’re celebrating all this telly, but it’s too late for Christmas. Neil Cole has exposed him, as we revealed over yonder.  Kris Kringle himself is launches his revealing autobigoraphy Secret Santa, but Neil wouldn’t take no for an answer…

Absolutely scandalous.

COLIN KEEPS ON COLLAB-ING

Another week goes by, and Colin Hoult continues his five-times-a-week quest to vlog in character.  Last week saw Anna Mann discuss credit card debt, Andy Parker tackle the Twilight saga, Eddie Cartizean dance his way into some beetroot, Thwor suffer from Season Affective Disorder, and Dom Fez tell us all about the girls that make him go CWOR!

With more videos uploaded every weekday, there’s a treat in store every day. Visit Colin’s YouTube channel now to subscribe.

AND THE REST…

There’s so much going on, a lot of which is featured on our News Page, but here’s some of what you may have missed in the last seven days.

We’ll see you throughout this week – and hope you have a very, very, Merry Christmas. Peace and love and all that jazz. Keep on peelin’.

The Count On Tour

18 Dec

© Count Arthur Strong

We’ve been getting so giddy about everyone’s tours and tour announcements lately, it’s been difficult to keep up with it all.  And now there’s another one to tell you about!

Count Arthur Strong will be touring his stage show ‘Somebody Up There Likes Me’ around the UK from February to May 2015, and tickets are already on sale. The man himself has said of the show: “Miss this wonderful event at your peril. If you only buy one ticket for something this year buy a ticket for this one twice and bring a friend. I promise you you won’t regret it. And if you do there must be something wrong with you. No refunds!”

The run of shows is vast; to find out where he’s performing and when click here. And to purchase tickets head on over there.

To stay on top of Count Arthur Strong news, why not check out his Facebook page or follow him on twitter? As pensioners go, he’s pretty active on social media!

The British Comedy Awards – Tonight!

16 Dec

Tonight sees the 2014 British Comedy Awards take place in Wembley, with broadcast taking place on Channel 4 tomorrow evening – and as ever, there’s a huge chunk of TVO nominees.

© Kuba Wieczorek

© Kuba Wieczorek

As we’ve mentioned previously, Matt Berry is up for a bevvy of awards – with a whopping six direct nominations for him, Toast of London and his one-off BBC sketch Lone Wolf. His Toast co-star, Harry Peacock, is also nominated for his role in the show, as is House of Fools in which he co-stars alongside Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer and Dan Skinner. We’re expecting big wins for Matt tonight!

Also up for nominations are Aisling BeaSpencer Millman (via The Inbetweeners 2 and Man Down), Katherine ParkinsonHarry and Paul’s Story of the Two’s (which featured Justin Edwards), Inside No. 9 (from Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton), Cardinal Burns (featuring Rufus Jones and Fergus Craig), Moone BoyThe Trip to ItalyHorrible Histories - we could go on!

© BBC

© BBC

In fact, every nomination for Best Sitcom, and three out of four nominations for Best Sketch Show have direct links back to our regulars, so we’re almost certainly in for a celebratory night!

TVO will be cramming ourselves into the press pit to talk to the talent on camera, for a video report we hope to bring you very soon. Good luck to all the nominees, especially those we feature and that we – and you, dear readers – love.

For the full list of nominees, see below. Anyone with a direct TVO connection is highlighted, so you know who to cheer for most!

Moone Boy S2

Best Sitcom

House of FoolsMoone Boy The Trip to Italy | Toast of London

Best Comedy Panel Programme

8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown Have I Got News For You QI | Would I Lie To You

© Channel 4 / Jules Heath

 Best Sketch Show

Cardinal Burns | Harry & Paul Story of the Two’s | Horrible Histories Monty Python Live (mostly) – One Down Five to Go
 

Best Comedy Entertainment Programme

Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe | Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle The Graham Norton Show | The Last Leg
© BBC

© BBC

Best Comedy Drama

Inside No. 9 Rev | The Wrong MansUncle

Best New Comedy Programme

Inside No. 9 | Man Down The Wrong Mans | Toast of London

Best International Comedy Programme

Girls Last Week Tonight with John Oliver | Modern Family | Veep

© BBC

Best Internet Comedy Short

Brand New Morph | Carpark | How To Make A Hit Pop Song | Matt Berry: Lone Wolf

Best Comedy Film

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues | Pride | The Inbetweeners 2 | The Lego Movie

Best Comedy Entertainment Personality

Adam Hills Alan Carr Ant & Dec  Graham Norton
© Balloon (50 Year Special) Limited / Mark Johnson

© Balloon (50 Year Special) Limited / Mark Johnson

Best TV Comedy Actor

Harry Enfield Matt Berry Matthew Baynton Paul Whitehouse

Best TV Comedy Actress

Doon Mackichan Jessica Hynes Katherine Parkinson Zawe Ashton
©  Aisling Bea / Kernan Andrews

© Aisling Bea / Kernan Andrews

Best Male Television Comic

David Mitchell Lee Mack Sean Lock Stewart Lee

Best Female Television Comic

Aisling Bea Bridget Christie Isy Suttie Nina Conti
©  Objective / Channel 4

© Objective / Channel 4

 Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist

Harry Peacock | Joe Wilkinson Matt Berry Nick Helm

Best Comedy Moment of 2014

8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown | Harry & Paul’s Story Of The Two’s | Monty Python Live | Toast of London | Would I Lie To You

The British Comedy Awards 2014 take place tonight in Wembley, and will be broadcast on Channel 4 on Wednesday, 17th December from 9pm.

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