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Feast of Feeds

31 Jul

© Richard Gilligan

The BBC have released a series of brand new comedy pilots in the 2014 wave of Comedy Feeds. Showcasing emerging new talent, TVO regulars are involved many of the shows.

The highlights from the Onion crowd are:

OtherwOrld

Written and directed by Mongrels creator, Adam Miller, OtherwOrld is a surreal sketch show set in a parallel universe populated by puppets. Starring Tom Bell, the show features sketches about alien parasites, mismatched pandas and a blow-up doll.

Vodka Diaries

Four women in their late twenties, played by Aisling Bea, Cariad Lloyd, Gwyneth Keyworth and Rosamund Hanson, share a flat and misbehave. The Vodka Diaries follow the lives of the four women and their very different perceptions on life.

In Deep

An action comedy about two young police constables, bored of life on the bottom rung of the ladder, who get in deep when an unexpected case falls suddenly into their laps. Their boss and nemesis, DCI Lehane is played by Paul Kaye.

Fried

Katy Wix plays Mary, the manager of Specially Fried Chicken, who abandons hapless shop assistant Joe to the knife-point of a hungry nugget-demanding hoodie. The sitcom follows life in the shop as she attempts to regain the respect of the staff.

Other pilots in the scheme feature the talents of Jenny Bede, Josh Widdicombe, Jack Dee, Elis James, Tom Rosenthal, Beattie Edmondson and Kayvan Novak (who has a TVO connection through his appearance in Four Lions, amongst others).

All of this year’s Comedy Feeds are available exclusively on iPlayer will be available for a whole year. To watch them and find out more, head to the Comedy Feeds website.

Luxury Archives

29 Jul

As we excitedly skip towards the official launch of the new series of Luxury Comedy, we’ve come over all nostalgic at TVO and  we thought it might be nice to have a look back at some of the exclusive interviews, reviews and content that we created for your delectation for series 1. Here then is a trawl through our Luxury archives from back in the day:

First off, a biggie! Noel Fielding and Channel 4 were kind enough to invite us along to the filming of  the first series. Here’s what went on when we were there (and there are a few teasers that you can watch while you’re in a viewing mood too – just click on the links in this sentence):

Next up, we got all intellectual as our in-house art expert, Lozzy Taylor, wrote this article about the myriad of artistic inspirations contained within the show. On the subject of art, some of you will remember our call for you to send us your Luxury-inspired artistic output. We were deluged with an incredible range of colour and creativity, which we collated into a gallery of fan-generated awesomeness. Take a look at it here; did you make it into the gallery?

© Lozzy Taylor

We were lucky enough to get the chance to talk to the very lovely Dolly Wells and Mike Fielding (in what is, by his own admission, Mike’s most honest and revealing interview) about their role in Luxury series 1. Plus we managed to persuade the interview-shy co-creater and director of the show, Nigel Coan, to talk to us about working with Noel.

We also ran profiles on Nigel and Tom Meeten, in case they and their work needed a proper introduction to their new army of fans.

Finally, we’ll leave you with this interview with Noel from Spring 2013, which we filmed while he was writing series 2. He talks about the reaction to the first series and his plans for the new one. It’s interesting to see just how much of what he said developed into the new shows:

Stay peeling, as we hope to bring you more exclusives for series 2!…

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.

An Early Look At Luxury 2

24 Jul

© Channel 4

Last week we were lucky enough to get a sneaky peek at the new series of Luxury Comedy. So without giving away any spoilers, what can we expect when it finally hits our screens on 31st July?

In interviews about the new series, Noel Fielding has been pretty open about his decision to move away from the sketch show format of series 1, towards a more narrative programme structure with a beginning, middle and an end to each episode. He says it’s because he’s a story-teller at heart, and it’s what he does best. This change of structure is certainly one of the most noticeable differences between the two series. So does it work?

Luxury Comedy is Noel’s stand up in visual form. That’s not to do it down; the fact that anyone has managed to capture the fantastical mayhem that goes on inside Fielding’s mind is impressive enough. Noel’s stand up material is at its best when allowed to slowly weave its shapes, layer upon layer, over a period of time. Stories unfold, characters evolve and concepts crystallise through repetition. By contrast, on the occasions I’ve seen him perform short slots on crowded comedy bills, his ideas don’t always have time to develop. This is not a man for the rat-tat-tat of machine-gun punchlines.

In the same way, expanding his TV ideas into 30-minute stories gives them proper form, allowing the viewer to step inside, appreciate their complexities and get carried along with the narrative. These are ideas rich enough for full episodes; and to reduce each of them to a sketch of a few minutes would underplay them. For me, then, the new format isn’t just about telling stories – it’s about telling strange stories much better.

© Channel 4

The different characters whom we encounter across the series are now part of each week’s story, which gives them purpose and makes the interaction between them feel genuine. The relationships between the characters are one of the aspects of the new series that gives the show its heart. This is no longer a disjointed collection of strange misfits; they’re friends, neighbours, and occasional enemies – as the story requires.

The friendship between the main four – Noel, Dolly, Andy and Smooth, allows for a solid dynamic at the centre of the action. The series 2 versions of the core team feel more ‘human’ and rounded, and as a result more sympathetic than before. Noel, in particular, presents a very different on-screen persona to anything we’ve seen from him previously: awkward, eager to please and uncool, he’s the Howard to Dolly’s preening Vince. Devoid of Howard Moon’s pomposity, however, this Noel is a character with whom we empathise, not just the one we laugh at.

Noel has said that he and Nigel spent longer writing the second series, and this comes across. I loved the first series, but there are more funnier moments in series 2 (based on the two episodes we saw). The writing’s sharp, the physical comedy is hilarious, and the characters are beautifully honed and gloriously wonky at the same time. Look out for star turns throughout from a whole host of TVO faces, including Richard Ayoade, Steve Oram, Dave Brown, Rich Fulcher, Arnab Chanda, Tania Wade, Barunka O’Shaughnessy, Stuart Silver, Simon Farnaby and others.

© Channel 4

This series is arguably the most self-aware output that we’ve ever seen from Fielding, with a number of knowing references to the public reaction that series 1 generated. He’s said that it’s a natural reaction to criticism – you try to get in there first before anyone else does. And it works well in this context, tethering the strange Luxury world to our own experience from time to time (thereby making it more relateable), and imbuing the series with a large helping of humility which, one hopes, the cynics out there will respond positively to.

Added to all of that, Luxury Comedy is still a fabulous feast for the eyes: the distinctive day-glo sets, wardrobe, make-up and animation all combine to create a uniquely visual world. Huge credit to Nigel Coan and his production team for putting it all together; you can see that it’s a labour of love in every single scene.

So will the rest of the world like it? I hope so. If people enjoyed the Boosh and the naysayers can get over their disproportionately extreme reaction to series 1, they would like this. Genuinely funny, beautifully magical and full of heart – what’s not to love?

Don’t forget to tune in: Luxury Comedy series 2 airs at 10pm on E4 on 31st July. For the less patient amongst you, episode 1 is available to view from TODAY –  a whole week early, on 4oD here.

From Pingu to Paddington

19 Jul

© Heyday Films/Studio Canal

No, not the cute plasticene penguin, but the one from Nathan Barley. Yes, Ben Whishaw has been confirmed to play the voice of Paddington Bear in Boosh director, Paul King’s new film about the bear from darkest Peru.

Wishaw has replaced Colin Firth in the main role, who left the film in June after saying he did not have the right voice for the character. Producer David Heyman said at the time that Paddington needed “a slightly more open, and younger, voice”.

Heyman said Firth had sensed early on in the production his voice did not suit the bear. “He was saying, ‘Are you sure I’m right?’ He was way ahead of us – Colin was brilliant, but his voice was, ultimately, too mature.”

After hearing Whishaw audition for the role, Paul King said he, “Slowly found myself hearing his voice when I was thinking about Paddington…he breathes and he speaks and he sounds like Paddington.”

Wishaw joins an all start cast that includes Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi and Nicole Kidman. The film is set for release on 28th November.

For more information about the film check out the movie’s Facebook page.

 

Time For A Serving Of Luxury

16 Jul

© Channel4

We’ve seen the trailer, we’ve wondered at its vague promise of “coming soon” – and you’ve been asking us in droves: WHEN WILL SERIES 2 OF LUXURY COMEDY BE HITTING OUR SCREENS?? Well wonder no more..

We can confirm that the new series kicks off on E4 on 31st July!

We’ve got all sorts of exclusive goodies up our sleeves to mark the occasion, so stay peeling to make sure you stay on top of everything.

In the meantime, here’s an interview with Noel Fielding that Channel 4 have released ahead of the new series.

Matt Cuts The Mustard

4 Jul

We reported a while ago, that Mustard Comedy Magazine had produced its last ever print copy, but that it would ‘live on’ in other forms, well the good news is that it did!

The magazine is now available as an app on iTunes. The first issue has been revamped and expanded, including an extended interview with Graham Linehan looking back on The IT Crowd, Father Ted and Black Books, plus his thoughts on Twitter, TV vs Movies and the possibility of writing for Dr Who.

So even if you own an original print copy of the magazine, there is plenty of new content to keep you interested. There’s no word on whether there will be an android version coming out yet, but we’ll let you know as soon as we do.

Matt Berry is a guest contributor to the magazine and you can hear him and his music in the trailer below:

 

Peacock Season: Edinburgh From the Comfort Of Your Sofa

3 Jul

© FMW Films

A wee while ago we mentioned that Peacock Season, the movie by and featuring James Wren, alongside a bevy of TVO-related comedians, would soon be available to view via Distrify, a site which allows you to buy films via social media. Well now it’s on there!

The film follows the story of advertising executive Keith Graham (Wren). When he’s fired from his job a chain of events leads to him taking a stand-up comedy show to the Edinburgh Festival.

This comedy about comedy was shot on location at the Festival and features a cast of festival veterans, including:

Dan Antopolski, Scott Capurro, Nina Conti, Rhys Darby, Justin Edwards, Felicity Wren, Pete Firman, Paul Foot, Richard Glover, Joy Gohring, Richard Herring, Adam Hills, Sammy J, Fergus March, Phil Nichol, Lucy Porter, Millie Reeves, Reece Shearsmith, Isy Suttie, Glenn Wool and James Wren himself.

To buy or rent the film and/or view the trailer visit this place.

MPs Say No To Father Ted’s Lovely Horse

28 Jun

The Irish parliament has rejected a petition to make ‘My Lovely Horse’ from Father Ted Ireland’s official entry into next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

The petition entitled “legislate to make ‘My Lovely Horse’ Ireland’s entry for Eurovision 2015” was formally submitted to the government last month by the intriguingly-named Mr Finn McCool. You can see the petition here.

The Oireachtas petitions committee considered the request this week but Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, the chairman, said the committee “didn’t have the musical expertise” it needed to consider the issue. Brilliant stuff!

Lovely Horse was part of the “A Song for Europe” episode of Father Ted – and we reckon it would be a dead cert for Eurovision success, given half a chance. For now, however, you can simply relive the video 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.

Deepest Darkest Paddington Bear

19 Jun

© Studio Canal

The team behind the new Paddington Bear movie, currently in production and directed by Paul King (Mighty Boosh, Bunny & The Bull), have released an image of the cuddly bear from the film – only he’s not so cuddly.

In fact, some people think that he looks rather ominous. So much so that it’s become a meme called #CreepyPaddington, with people creating horror-themed images featuring the bear. Here, below right, is one of them – but to see a whole to more click on this.

© Studio Canal

It sounds like the producers of the Paddington Bear movie have another challenge on their hands too: the voice of Paddington, Colin Firth, has left the project 6 months before its release. So far there appears to be no replacement confirmed. We’ve got a few ideas for who we’d like to hear voicing the bear from deepest darkest Peru…

Here’s the latest trailer from the movie, which was released last week; the film itself should be out before Christmas:

 

Bingo Goes West

18 Jun

© Mr Bingo

Mr Bingo continues with his takeover of the illustrated world with another public talk – this time in Bristol.

You can catch him at the Arnolfini on 16th July. The talk takes place 7-9pm, tickets cost £12 (£10 conc) and can be procured here.

The event is being organised by the West of England Design Forum, a group made up of designers and people working in the creative industry who have created a place for designers and those interested in design to come together, be inspired and promote design.

To find out more about the things they get up to visit their website.

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.

Ask Bingo Anything

11 Jun

© Mr Bingo

Abusive illustrator and drawer of celebrity barnets, Mr Bingo, will be giving at talk for D&AD.

The organisation which honours creativity will be honouring Mr Bingo with an event at the New Blood Festival, a programme that introduces recent graduates and current students to the creative industry.

If you fit the bill, you’re invited to grab a beer and ask him whatever you like: from how he makes his money to where he hides it. Confirming a place at the event costs £10, but this will be returned to your account after the Festival as long as you attend.

The meeting point for the talk is at the New Blood Festival Point in Spitalfields Market; it takes place on Wednesday 2nd July at 19:30pm. For more information and to book a place click here.

Grow Your Own Field In England

30 May

© Rooke Films

Our Screen is offering up A Field In England as one of its film options for us mere mortals to host our own cinema screening.

The service allows you to set up a screening in a choice of cinemas, which you can invite people to attend. For an overview of how it all works click here (although to be honest, the ‘explanation’ on Our Screen’s website is a tad vague!).

So to make it as simple as possible, here are our step-by-step instructions if you fancy hosting your own screening of A Field In England: Click on this to select the film and choose your preferred cinema. There are currently 18 cinemas which offer the screening, and you can search by postcode. You’ll then be asked to choose a date, time and whether you want your screening to be public (in which case anyone can buy tickets) or private. If you choose a private screening, you’ll be asked to select who you’re inviting, then depending on the numbers a ticket price will be calculated.

And there you have it, how to arrange your very own screening of one of Ben Wheatley‘s finest/strangest, featuring the exceptional acting talents of TVO faces Reece Shearmsith, Michael Smiley, Richard Glover and Julian Barratt. What are you waiting for?

Get Your Hands On Peacock Season

25 May

Last week we mentioned in passing a film called Peackock Season, the first part of a low-budget trilogy by James Wren. Now further information has come to light about how you can get hold of it.

© FMW Films

Peacock Season (which features Richard Glover and Paul Foot, along with James) is currently available on DVD for just £12 from Go Faster Stripe, the awesome website that promotes and sells comedy videos from beyond the mainstream.

This comedy about comedy about comedy was shot on location at the Edinburgh Festival for just £58 and features a cast of festival veterans. You can buy the film and see a couple of preview clips here.

Soon, however, you will also be able to view Peacock Season via Distrify, a site which allows you to sell films by leveraging Social media. To find out when it’s going to be available, sign up for FMW Films’ mailing list, and you’ll be one of the first to know.

Don’t forget that the final film in Wren’s trilogy, The Man You’re Not, is currently in production. For more information, take a look at our previous post about it.

 

BAFTA Wins For Ayoade & Parkinson

19 May

This weekend saw Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson pick up BAFTA TV Awards for their roles in The IT Crowd.

The duo were nominated for Best Performance In A Comedy Programme, in the Male/Female categories respectively.  Parkinson faced off stiff competition from Doon Mackichan (Plebs), Kerry Howard (Him & Her) and Frances De La Tour (Vicious) to collect her gong, which you can see below.

Things were even more heated in Ayoade’s category – especially as he was up against his co-star Chris O’Dowd, no less, as well as comedy heavyweights James Corden and Matthew Baynton for their roles in The Wrong Mans. You can see his typically self-dismissive speech filled with gags and praise for his collaborators below.

Sadly, The IT Crowd itself lost out on the title of Best Situation Comedy, as did Graham Linehan‘s more recent Count Arthur Strong and Matt Berry‘s star vehicle Toast of London - with all three being snubbed in favour of Him & Her: The WeddingNo, we didn’t see that coming, either… but well done to the team behind the BBC Three smash, and to all the winners on the night – which you can see in full here.

Movie News: The Man You’re Not

16 May

© FMW Films

Friend of TVO and all-round comedy guru James Wren has co-written and produced a new film featuring none other than Joanna Lumley!

If anything further was needed to recommend the film, it also features Wren as a landscape gardner – plus Reece Shearsmith and Steve Oram. Filming of the low-budget movie, titled The Man You’re Not has just finished in London.

The main cast play play versions of themselves in the movie, and Shearsmith’s self-portrayal, as he attempts to kill a squirrel, is described as “mental” by Wren.

The Man You’re Not follows the story of unlucky-in-love Charlie as he’s encouraged to join various dating websites by his friends, who pretend to be different people in order that he is forced to man up. It’s the final part of a low budget trilogy of films that Wren and his colleagues at FMW Films pledged to make over six years; it will be released on the festival circuit later this year.

© FMW Films

Lumley apparently agreed to be in The Man You’re Not for zero pay after she saw the first film in the trilogy, Peacock Season (about an advertising exec who quits to become a stand-up). “She absolutely threw herself into it. She was charming and I was a little bit starstruck.” Wren said.

Peacock Season, (now out as a DVD on Go Faster Stripe), also featured Shearsmith alongside fellow comedians Adam Hills, Nina Conti, Brendon Burns, Scott Capurro, Rhys Darby, Paul Foot, Richard Herring, Phil Nichol, Lucy Porter, Richard Glover and Isy Suttie.

The second film in the trilogy, The Trap (a horror comedy), featured another of ‘our lot’, the very wonderful Richard Glover. It’s currently screening on the film festival circuit, so catch it if you can.

The Man You’re Not is now in post-production; for updates about its progress and eventual release we recommend Liking the film’s Facebook page.

Freaking Forgery

9 May

© The Forgery Club

Seminal comedy night The Forgery Club is to return next month, in its spiritual home of The Albany, Great Portland Street.

The club night is the brainchild of Bob Pipe, and has seen many a TVO regular grace its bills over the years.  The last event took place back in December, though it’s been a regular haunt since the birth of The Velvet Onion itself.

The latest birthing is that of a fully fledged Freak Show, hosted by up and coming sketch trio The Grandees, and featuring Stephen Evans, Harry Deansway and Spencer Jones, plus more acts still under wraps and a freak show disco til 2am afterwards.

Tickets for the event on June 7th are just £10 on the door, or £8.03 (including booking fee) online now, so get in!

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