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Big News For The Monster

8 Mar

© Film London

A new short film, starring Richard Glover, directed by Bob Pipe and produced by James Wren, has been awarded funding by Film London.

The film, The Monster, is a comedy horror about an iconic monster who falls in love with his leading lady on the set of a dubious film, as he tries to resurrect his once-successful career. From that synopsis alone, it sounds brilliantly unmissable!

Now that funding has been granted for the project, it’s full steam ahead! Casting begins next week and filming starts towards the end of April. Some scenes will be shot at the famous Elstree Studios (home of legendary movies like Star Wars, Indiana Jones and The Shining – and more recently of Paul King‘s Paddington), and the current plan is to release the film in August 2015.

Monster-sized congratulations and best wishes to James, Bob and Rich for making this exciting project happen!

We’ll be keeping you up to date with how it develops during production. But if you fancy keeping tabs on it yourself, follow the The Monster on twitter here.

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!

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 #9

8 Dec

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

THE RETURN OF BRIAN PERN

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

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

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

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

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

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

COMEDY COLLAB

© Colin Hoult

© Colin Hoult

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

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

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

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

© Colin Hoult

© Colin Hoult

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

ONIONS AIRING

© Talkback / Brian Ritchie

© Talkback / Brian Ritchie

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

©  Sky

© Sky

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

HOOKED TO THE SILVER SCREEN

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

© Studio Canal

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

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

THE BRAIN SUCKING CONTINUES

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

DONATE HERE!

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

TWEETS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

So Hot Right Now #6

17 Nov

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.

TELLY VELVETS CONTINUE

We’re knee deep into the current series of several TVO related shows at present, with Monday nights continuing to bring a triple whammy via Trollied (8:30pm on Sky One, featuring Aisling Bea), Never Mind The Buzzcocks (10:00pm on BBC Two, featuring Noel Fielding) and Toast of London (10:50pm on Channel 4, featuring Matt Berry).

© Avalon Television

© Avalon Television

Friday sees the return of Not Going Out after a week off for Children in Need, with Lee and Daisy (former Boosh radio series star Lee Mack and TVO regular Katy Wix) appearing on cult gameshow Pointless, as seen above. You can catch it at 9:30pm, and it will be available on iPlayer shortly after transmission.

Next week, they’ll be joined by Psychobitches (starting Nov 25th), and with current repeats for The IT Crowd and Graham Linehan‘s latest project, The Walshes, it’s a great time to have your telly primed to catch a TVO favourite on air.

THE DAY THEY CAME TO SUCK OUT YOUR WALLETS

Campaigning for the movie version of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains continues apace – with Bob Pipe and James Wren‘s magnificent web-series the catalyst for much of the fundraising.  With a star-studded cast including Warwick Davis, Chris Kendall, Gemma Whelan, Nick Helm, Thomas Nelstrop, Ricky Grover and TVO regulars Richard GloverColin HoultWaen Shepherd and Neil Cole, this is a project we at TVO would love you to get behind – and they really need your cash to make it a reality!

PLEDGE HERE

If you’ve never seen the web series, you can catch up below, and see more fun videos from Bob over yonder.

TOUR TIMES

UK tours are well underway now for three of our most popular regulars.  An Audience With Noel Fielding (featuring Noel alongside Mike Fielding and Tom Meeten), reaches Hammersmith, Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff this week, whilst Paul Foot visits Brighton, Southend and Milton Keynes, and Tony Law can be seen in Colchester, Liverpool, Cranleigh and Newcastle.

Manchester also plays host to Richard Sandling MCing a fundraising night of comedy, which also features Buzzcocks legend Phill Jupitus this coming Sunday. For further live show details, visit our listings page… which we’ll be updating very soon!

AND THE REST!

As always, there’s so much going on, that we’re using Twitter to keep you informed quicker these days. Join the other 11,900+ of our regular readers by following us there, and get regular updates such as these:

Brains Movie is a (indy) Go-Go!

24 Oct

© Bob Pipe / Channel Flip

It’s the news we’ve been waiting for… The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains is becoming a movie – and YOU can get involved with the production!

Written and created by Bob Pipe (the man behind The Forgery Club) and James Wren (the man behind The Hen & Chickens), the film will be an adaptation of the cult web series, which featured a whos-who of TVO and beyond.

Phil WhelansRichard GloverColin HoultStephen EvansAlex KirkNeil ColeGareth Tunley, Waen ShepherdAntony ElvinWill Summers and Richard Sandling were joined by Warwick Davis (Life’s Too Short), Chris Kendall (Crabstickz), Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones), Ricky Grover (Red Dwarf), Phil Nichol (Holy Flying Circus), Marny Godden, Thomas Nelstrop, Lizzie Roper, Nick Helm, Katy Derby and many, many more for the 50s B-movie homage.

If you haven’t seen it, and really, with all the love we gave it at the time, you really should have, you can see the each individual episode – including several off-shoots featuring Colin Hoult as egotistical actor Eric Shepherd and Warwick Davis as preposterous movie mogul Stanley Chester, over yonder – or right below this sentence.

Now the team are gearing up for a full length version of the tale, and are asking for pledges from fans and supporters through Indiegogo.

PLEDGE FOR THE MOVIE HERE!

For £5, you get a simple thank you, and £10 gets you a social media based thank you.  Where it gets interesting, is if you want to stump up a little more…

If you fancy a Brain Drain goody bag, you can have one for just £25.  If you’d prefer a unique, personalised picture of James and Bob holding hands in bathing shorts thanking you – and frankly, who doesn’t need one of those in life – it can be yours for just £40.

Pop your bid up to £50, and get all of the above, plus a movie poster – which you can have signed if your bid reaches £75.

© Bob Pipe

Those budding filmmakers out there may want to bump their bids up to £100, you get online access to the whole production and making of process – including scripts, storyboards and edits.  And if you have even more cash, £500 will give you a daily skype chat update with the film makers during film festivals, whilst £750 will get you pints and chats with the film makers AND the stars about the production at Shoreditch House.

For really flashy types, £5000 will get you the pints, and also the opportunity to be an extra in the film… and £10,000 will make you an associate producer with an invite tot he film festival of your choice.

All in all – this is a great opportunity to support independent film makers and see a brilliant project reborn as a whole new adventure.  So get involved now!

So Hot Right Now #2

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

AN EVENING WITH NOEL FIELDING BEGINS!

© Noel Fielding / Dave Brown

The big news this week is that An Evening with Noel Fielding – the UK tour featuring the titular Mr Noel Fielding, alongside Mike Fielding and Tom Meeten – is officially underway.  Hopefully, you’ll have all bought your tickets via our exclusive pre-sale earlier this year, and we’d love to see you out enjoying the show.

The tour runs through the rest of the month, across November and most of December, and takes in various dates across the UK – so if you’re going along, send us a photo of yourself at the gig via our Facebook or Twitter pages (particularly if you’re in costume), with the hashtag #TVOSHOW and we’ll put our favourites on site at the end of the year.

TOURING ONIONS

Of course, Noel isn’t the only TVO regular on tour right now.  Tony Law and Paul Foot are traipsing across the land each week, with various dates on offer from other regulars, such as Aisling Bea, Richard Sandling and Colin Hoult.  There’s all sorts to see, as always, so keep your eye on our new Listings page which we’ll have up and running this week!

Again, if you’re off to a gig with TVO connections, why not send us a photo of yourself with the hashtag #TVOSHOW on Facebook or Twitter, and we’ll share them here for everyone else to enjoy!  And don’t be afraid to go say hello to people after the shows – they’re all lovely, and welcome your support.

THE DAY THEY CAME TO SUCK OUT OUR BRAINS… AGAIN!

The big news this week has been the announcement of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains being adapted into a movie!  The B-movie pastiche started off as a web series from the minds of Bob Pipe, James Wren and Phil Whelans, and featured a cavalcade of TVO regulars in its huge ensemble cast.

© Bob Pipe

There’ll be more info available at TDTCTSOOB’s official website soon, but first up the team are launching the movie at this weekend’s London Comic Con – so get on down there to find out the news first, and pick up some funky badges along the way.

And if you can’t wait until then, you can catch up with the web series – and read our exclusive archive interview with the team over yonder.

NEW TELLY COMING SOON

The news that Doll & Em – the amazing comic drama starring Dolly Wells and Emily Mortimer – has been recommissioned for a second series is just the tip of the ice berg!

November 3rd is the date to etch into your diary, as you get not one – but TWO new series to savour.

First up is series four of Sky One’s hit sitcom Trollied – now with added Aisling Bea and Doctor Who star Samuel Anderson in its ensemble cast.

© Sky

© Sky

After that, hop over to Channel 4 to see Series 2 of the ever brilliant Toast of London written by and starring Matt Berry.  If you haven’t seen the show before, pick up Series One on dvd, pronto!

© Kuba Wieczorek

Matt will also be joining Dan Skinner once more in Vic Reeves & Bob Mortimer led sitcom House of Fools – which is recording its second series at MediaCityUK from this week.  We can expect that on our screens in early 2015.

Equally exciting is the impending release of Moone Boy series three, which is due on Sky any time now – alongside the news that it is to get a US remake… as is The IT Crowd!

Plus, there’s the continuing adventures of Katy Wix & Lee Mack in Not Going Out on BBC One, the delightful tales of Crackanory on Dave, and more Never Mind the Buzzcocks on BBC2 each week, so even if you can’t make it to a show there’ll be something to watch in the comfort of your own home for a while yet.  As for BuzzcocksAisling Bea will be making an appearance on there soon – that gal gets everywhere, eh – so stay tuned!

BOOK TIME WITH ONION LAYERS

As we mentioned last week, there’s a whole batch of new books from TVO regulars out now, so if you’re after the perfect Christmas gifts, pop on over to our Amazon Store by clicking on the pictures below.

Buy this book by clicking on the image above!

http://astore.amazon.co.uk/thevelvetonion-21/detail/1783520345

Buy this book by clicking on the image above!

Buy this book by clicking on the image above!

Buy this book by clicking on the image above!

Buy this book by clicking on the image above!

Buy this book by clicking on the image above!

 

ALL THIS & MORE

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

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

– Team TVO

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.

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.

 

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.

Get It Seen

1 Apr

No, that title isn’t just an instruction from us… it’s also the name of a new underground film festival taking place at legendary venue The Hen & Chickens Theatre in Islington this month.

© Hen & Chickens

The venue, which has been a spiritual home for TVO regulars for almost two decades – from The Mighty Boosh and Garth Marenghi to recent shows like the magnificent Kill Phil, has gathered together some of the finest low-budget features and shorts of recent years to come out of the London comedy scene, to show from today through to April 26th,

This includes Peacock Season on April 1st, 4th & 11th.  This legendary film about the Edinburgh Fringe shot at the festival features a top-notch cast including Justin EdwardsPaul FootRichard Glover, Nina Conti, Rhys Darby, Richard Herring, Reece Shearsmith, Isy Suttie, Glenn Wool and co-writer James Wren.

Other TVO connected films on offer include Phil Whelan‘s slapstick farce Clowntime Is OverStephen Evans‘ nostalgic short The Notorious Bruiser Brothers Revisitedand a chance to see the star-studded Bob Pipe masterpiece The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains on a big screen!

© Bob Pipe

There’s loads more on offer too: we particularly recommend Adriel Leff’s brilliant mockumentary Bloody Lip! To see the full list of shows, and to pick up tickets, visit the festival’s Facebook page now!

Kill Phil

5 Jan
© Phil Whelans

© Phil Whelans

A brand new TVO-packed stage show will be unveiled later this month at legendary London venue The Hen & Chickens.

Entitled Kill Phil, the show is the brainchild of Pros From Dover veteran (and writer/star of My First Planet), Phil Whelans.  It also features a what’s who of the sketch comedy scene: including Marny Godden of The Grandees and TVO’s very own Stephen Evans and James Wren.

The plot is simple: Hector and Laramie Van Heusen’s mysterious death and the bequeathing of their only begotten son – who is a man – to a complete stranger – who is another man – sets in motion a murderous train of destruction, slapstick, betrayal, puns, communion with the dead and betrayal by pun that can only end badly.  Except, apparently, the show has a good ending.

What we know is it will include a murder, a funeral, a will-reading and a séance!

We can’t wait, and thankfully, we won’t have to for very long. The show runs at The Hen & Chickens from Wednesday 15th to Saturday 18th January, and tickets are available now!

The last time Whelans & Wren collaborated was for Bob Pipe‘s sensational, star-packed The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains, which you can see again below.

TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part Three

3 Jan

If you’ve previously taken a mosey through Part One and Part Two of our Review of 2013, you’ll already be aware that it’s been a busy old year in Onion Land. July to September was no exception, with news, reviews, new shows and live performances from both our regulars and the new names on our roster.

So here are the best bits from the third quarter of the year – hand-picked from over 700 news stories across 2013, and jam-packed with forgotten treasures and instant classics alike. Enjoy.

JULY

The month began with the release of Dan Clark‘s debut album, Dan Clark & The Difficult Three, which had been funded via a successful Pledge Music campaign. Combining genuinely funny lyrics with proper tunes played by a bona fide band, the record offered fans of Clark’s musical comedy an opportunity to re-live some of his live show classics and enjoy some newer compositions. For a wee taster, here below is a live recording of ‘Don’t Kiss Me’ (and if you fancy buying a copy of the album, head on over here):

We also featured a series of introductions to the TVO-recommended artists you could see at 2013’s Edinburgh Fringe. We intentionally mixed up the folk who we already write about with the people who we define as “beyond the Onion”; those featured included Colin Hoult, Tony Law,  Paul FootSpank, Joey PageAisling Bea, Late Night Gimp Fight, Tim Fitzhigham, Jonny & The Baptists (+ Jonny Donahoe), Pete Heat and Glen Wool.

On 19th July the world of comedy sadly lost one of its pioneers, in the shape of Mel Smith. Whilst Smith’s contribution to modern comedy is undeniable, we can also claim a link between him and the TVO family, with Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthew’s first TV sketches being written for Alas, Smith And Jones. You can watch one of them below:

In terms of new TV and film projects, this month saw the release of Ben Wheatley‘s hotly-anticipated follow-up to Sightseers, the psychedelically historical A Field In England, which launched simultaneously in cinemas, on TV and on DVD on 5th July.

Filming also began on the second series of Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy, and the Marmite-like TV adaptation of Graham Linehan’s Count Arthur Strong also hit our screens. Chris O’Dowd continued with his world domination of the airwaves with a role in the part-improvised US sitcom Family Tree:

Finally, fans of The Mighty Boosh got all hot and bothered over Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt‘s first live performance together since 2010 when the pair performed at The Barbican at a concert to honour the musician, Beck. Expect a bit more of the Boosh boys down below (honestly not as rude as it sounds)…

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TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part Two

2 Jan

Yesterday we brought you a round-up of the first quarter of 2013, as we’d probably forgotten half of it ourselves, let alone you lovely lot out there.  The second quarter provided loads more great things to celebrate, so we’ve been ploughing through TVO’s archives to pluck out the best bits from over 700 news stories across 2013. This second instalment of our round-up covers April-June, and is jam packed with forgotten treasures and instant classics alike.  Enjoy.

APRIL

April, or Ape-ril as it was renamed by the Sumatran Orangutan Society, began with a plea from TVO regulars Dave Brown and Tony Law to grow your beard as large as possible.  This was, of course, in aid of ape conservation: we are all 96.4% Orangutan after all…

The facial hair theme continued apace, with some of Onion Land’s most mighty beard-wearers being active this month.  First up, Paul Kaye hosted a short exhibition of his art, with TVO attended the star-studded press night to admire his work and have a quick chat to the man himself, though sadly his hectic schedule postponed our latest catch-up… we’re gonna get ya in the new year, mate! Kaye also became the latest big name to join the cast of hugely acclaimed fantasy show Game Of Thrones, as warrior Thoros of Myr.

He wasn’t the only one, either. Whilst the world got increasingly excited about his (then) forthcoming film A Field In EnglandBen Wheatley did the last thing critics expected, and made a string of commercials for Go Compare, further proving he works on his own terms ahead of one of the oddest films of 2013…

Another beardy Onion layer up to good things this month was Matt Berry, who was quietly preparing to unleash his new album, Kill The Wolf. May and June would see an awful lot of Berry activity, but April was no push-over, either.  First off, his radio series I, Regress… returned to the airwaves, and he went on to release the first snippet of his new album with a track called The Devil Inside Me

He wasn’t the only one returning, either. Rhys Thomas brought back his incredibly popular Radio 4 show Down The Line for a fifth run – the sixth if you include short-lived tv spin-off Bellamy’s People. Once again it featured Thomas’ fellow Fast Show veterans Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Simon Day and the late, great Felix Dexter. Also along for the ride were Look Around You star Robert Popper, Big Train(and It’s Kevin) actress Amelia Bullmore, Citizen Khanwriter Adil Ray, and another TVO regular (and Rhys’ wife), Lucy Montgomery.

Also back this month were Boosh veterans and indie-folk legends The Ralfe Band, who released the single Come On Go Wild from their new album, Son Be Wise, and toured as support to Manchester’s finest ever band, I Am Kloot.  A video for the single followed on 1st May, which can be seen below.

This month also saw us bid farewell to Life’s Too Short, which returned for a one-off special at Easter. Sadly lacking in Matt Holness magic (Matt was a regular in the show’s first and only series), it nevertheless found the time to bring back Colin Hoult as Warwick Davis‘ useless psychic, Brian. Also along for the ride were telly veterans, Les Dennis, Keith Chegwin and Shaun Williamson, as well as former Batman star Val Kilmer. A fine send-off, then, for a show that ended way too soon.

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TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part One

1 Jan

2013 has been a funny old year in Onion Land. We’ve seen our regulars scoop bucketloads of awards, from Best British Film at the Empire Awards to International Emmy Awards and everything in-between. Some names on our roster have reached new heights of success, becoming household names to people who have no idea of their cult origins. Others have just continued being quietly amazing, but all of them have been worthy of your attention.

As a result, we’ve been ploughing through the 12 months of TVO, to pluck out the best bits from over 700 news stories across 2013. This first instalment of our round-up covers January-March, and is jam packed with forgotten treasures and instant classics alike.  Enjoy.

JANUARY

The year began quietly, with the only key new show on the box being, on the surface, designed for kids. FIT was a sports-based sketch show on CBBC from the team behind Sorry, I’ve Got No Head, and featured TVO regulars Tony WayRufus Jones and Aisling Bea in its ensemble cast. For the most part, however, it was the involvement of Peter Serafinowicz – reprising his beloved cult character Brian Butterfield – which got everyone’s attention…

On the other end of the spectrum, Michael SmileyDan Tetsell and Simon Farnaby turned up in the very-much-for-grown-ups cyber-thiller Utopia on Channel 4. The show concerned itself with attempts to trace the only known copy of a graphic novel which left a trail of bloody carnage in its wake. With Four Lions star Adeel Akhtar part of its ensemble cast, as well as Kill List actor Neil Maskell as a creepy hitman, and The Thick Of It‘s Paul Higgins as a blackmailed civil servant, the show became an instant cult hit, and will be returning for a second series in 2014.

Closer to home, and the good folk of Onion Land seemed keen to dish out advice. Comedic agony aunt Rachel Stubbings was offering specially crafted miniature versions of herself for sale to anyone in need of a friendly ear. Or, to be more exact, a bit of unemotional plastic which happened to look a bit like her, in a variety of costumes. The Stubby Buddy was a quick sell out, though something tells me we won’t be seeing them in the shops next year…

Elsewhere, conceptual artist and Luxury Comedy star Kim Noble was offering handy tips on how to buy an oven

And as Bowie-fever gripped the world, James Cook released his own, haunting interpretation of Mr Jones’ classic track, Ashes To Ashes

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Have A Grandee Monday At Hen & Chickens

9 Oct
© Steve Ullathorne / The Grandees

© Steve Ullathorne / The Grandees

And now… a break from our usual programming to give you a special ticket-bargain offer, as TVO is proud to be able to offer you half-price tickets to see rising sketch trio The Grandees next week.

One of the joys of The Velvet Onion is that we get the opportunity to big up a number of talented funny people who don’t usually get the credit they deserve.  Every now and then, a new name arrives on the scene, and we watch as they grow and grow into something magnificent.

Seminal comedy venue The Hen & Chickens, partially run by James Wren no less, will forever be legendary in the bowels of TVO, for being the home of the very first residency by The Mighty Boosh, and it has proved to be a training ground for many an alternative comedian ever since.

It’s latest protégés are sketch-comedy troupe The Grandees, who have been garnering rave reviews from various members of the press since their Edinburgh debut five years ago.

Comprising of Marny Godden, Tom Turner and Andrew Mudie, the trio are delightfully silly comedy rock stars in waiting.

But don’t take our word for it – ask the man who first booked the Boosh, and is treated like a father figure by most of our regulars, the wonderful Mr James Wren, who tells us: “I really think they are the most inventive, creative, bonkers group I seen since we had The Boosh.”

Or, for that matter, Bob Pipe, who adds: “I second that! Grandees are my favourite comedy act around at the mo. Their show is massively inventive, and to connect them to the TVO world, they appeared in an episode of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains.”

So there you have it… one to watch, we think.  And watch them, you most certainly can do, as they’ll be at Hen & Chickens from next Monday (October 14th), with the first of their twice monthly nights at the venue.

Monday eve will see them perform typically bonkers antics, alongside guests Beth Vyse and Joz Norris, and thanks to TVO, you can get in for half price – a measly £3.50 each!

To buy half price tickets on the door for Monday October 14th, just quote the phrase: “The Velvet Onion sent us.” to the lovely H&C staff.

You can then use that extra £3.50 saved for a nice drinky, as you savour what’s promising to be an almighty night of whacked out comedy.

If you’re still unsure, you can see a (very old) preview of what The Grandees can do below, thanks to a clip from Chortle back in 2009…

Sucking McGuff, It’s More Masters Of Celluloid

10 Aug

Still craving your regular fix of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains?

If so, just like us, you’ll have recently enjoyed the first editions of Masters Of Celluloid – the spoof making of series starring Warwick Davies, from the mind of the increasingly active Bob Pipe.  The latest edition of the show features Colin Hoult as 50s action hero Eric Shepherd, rehearsing his appearance as rough, tough Wade McGuff.

As an added bonus, The Multiverse have also uploaded a nice little subscribe video featuring Alex Kirk as the Prime Minister.  Leave the Annotations on, or this could look a little suspect…

Now, there’s always a chance these videos are lost on you.  If so, that may be because you missed the parent show.  So, if that’s your current situation, you can see every episode of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains, featuring a whole host of TVO regulars, over yonder, and read our interview with writers Bob Pipe, James Wren and Phil Whelans right here.

The Trap Almost Set

24 Jul

Forthcoming independent comedy horror film The Trap is nearing the end of Post Production, and as such, we thought it was high time we introduced you to it.

© FMW Films

The movie is made by FMW Films – a company set up by Alan Freestone, Fergus March & our very own James Wren.  Their first feature film, Peacock Season, was filmed in 2009, and released two years later via GoFasterStripe.

With a top notch cast of friends and comic genius, the lo-fi release of Peacock Season sneaked under our radar, and that of many others too, which is all the more shocking when you see that cast list, which includes the likes of Justin EdwardsPaul Foot and Richard Glover as well as the likes of Nina Conti, Rhys Darby, Richard Herring, Reece Shearsmith and Isy Suttie to name but a few.  If you’re curious, you can pick it up here!

© FMW Films

Second film The Trap was filmed in late 2010 and early 2011, and is pitched as “The Goonies meets Saw”!  It concerns two groups of people searching for ancient treasure buried deep within a massive, abandoned Victorian Bath House.

One group is made up of professional cat burglars on their last mission… the other are misfit unemployed youngsters on a team building exercise.  Yet neither group is ready for the horrors they encounter…

In amongst the cast are James Wren, Richard Glover, Alex Kirk and Bob Pipe, as well as Pros From Dover star Sean Garratt. We can’t wait to see the results, but in the meantime, there’s a teaser trailer below, and we’ll be bringing you more news on the film’s release as soon as we can… so stay peeled!  Until then, pop by the FMW website and the film’s official Facebook page.

Onion Fringes: Part 4 – Spank!

5 Jul

The Edinburgh Fringe is almost upon us, with a host of TVO favourites set to descend upon the city between 2nd and 26th August.  In the build up, we’re bringing you a great show to go and see every weekday – from our regulars to shows beyond the usual confines of Onion Land.

Today’s showcase is something a little bit different, in the form of James Wren & Leon Fleury’s seminal comedy night SPANK! – which returns to London this evening before heading off to the Burgh.

© Objective Talent

THE SHOW:

Spank!

THE VENUE

Underbelly Cowgate

THE DATES

2-25 August

THE TIME

00:00

TICKET LINK

Spank!

You all know the score by now with The Velvet Onion.  Our goal has always been to highlight the small (but expanding) family of comics, actors, musicians and other creatives who have regularly worked together since the days of Ealing Live and those initial Boosh shows.  We’ve long since dubbed Alice Lowe – who helped inspire TVO into existence – our fairy godmother, but if this unnamed family were to actually have parentage, then it’s arguably James Wren who is the father figure to the main core.

Wren was, of course, the first person to book The Mighty Boosh for a residency at his now legendary club The Hen & Chickens.  Over the years, he’s had a hand in so many projects with TVO regulars, that you only have to mention his name to most of them and watch their eyes gloss over with affection.  Quite simply, Wren is a legend in alternative comedy.

TVO got to experience his magic in action for ourselves when he hosted our inagural live event last year at his short lived club The Vandella.  James was keen to inspire us to do great things, and was on hand throughout the whole process without ever telling us how to do it.  We instantly fell in love, and hope to work with him again to bring more shows to fruition.

© James Wren

Making things happen is pretty much Wren’s by-line, be it comedy of his own (he’s made feature films on miniscule budgets, and occasionally becomes infamously brilliant 80s pomp character Uxbridge Swain alongside Richard Glover), or hosting great live events.  This year, he teamed up with Forgery Club head honcho Bob Pipe, and their regular booking, Phil Whelans, to make the sensational The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains, with predictably inventive results.

Edinburgh 2013, however, is all about Spank! – and the legendary comedy night is celebrating its tenth birthday.  The evening has played host to almost everyone on TVO’s roster (plus comics as varied as Rhys Derby and Michael Wilmslow) since it started in 2003, with the annual Edinburgh run continuing for the rest of the year sporadically at venues across London.  Most recently, it has been housed in the Udderbelly on Southbank, with the likes of Rufus Jones, Alex Kirk and Tony Law on the latest bills.

Up in Scotland, the celebratory event will start each evening at midnight, promising three hours or so of top notch comedy at a time when most of London is getting ready to chuck punters out.  It’s stupendously funny stuff for 18s+, and the beauty of it is, you never know who you’ll get… so if you’re heading to Edinburgh, you’ll just have to pop in every night to find out!

Words runs from 2nd to 25th August at Udderbelly Cowgate. We’ll have another Edinburgh recommendation on Monday, and every weekday throughout July, so stay peeled!
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