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Friends Star Joins Julia Davis Show

5 Oct
© Guardian /Alan Yorick

© Guardian /Alan Yorick

Friends actor David Schwimmer will co-star in Julia Davis‘ new sitcom Morning Has Broken.

As we’ve mentioned previously, the series follows the story of Gail Sinclair (Davis), the star of daily television programme Good Morning… with Gail Sinclair. After eight years of high ratings and awards ‘The Queen of Daytime’ starts to lose viewers and tensions build within the production team, leading to Gail’s breakdown.

Schwimmer has been cast as an American producer who is brought in by channel executives to refresh and boost viewing figures for the ailing show.

© Dan Clark

© Dan Clark

We’re particularly excited about the project, because it’s directed by another friend of TVO, Dan Clark. The series is also co-written (and co-stars) Nick Mohammed (Murder in Successville, How Not to Live your Life, amongst others). Julia has said that she is, “looking forward to experimenting with friends whose work I love”.

David Schwimmer has said of his involvement in the show: “I’ve been a massive fan of Julia’s for years, and I’m thrilled to be able to finally work with her and Nick on this fantastic comedy.”

Rachel Springett, Commissioning Editor for Comedy at Channel 4 added: “Julia is undoubtedly one of our most talented comedic writers and actresses and it’s a testament to the quality of her writing that she can attract such a big star. We are thrilled to have David Schwimmer star alongside Julia in this exciting new series for the channel.”

Given how willing Matt Le Blanc has been to poke fun at his Friends’ character Joey in Episodes, we’re looking forwards to see what Julia has in store for good old Ross.


Peterford Golf Club Swings Again

5 Oct


Peterford Golf Club is being revived in brand new take on the cult classic for Radio Two.

Promising to do for golf clubs what Green Wing did for hospitals, this new sitcom incarnation of the long gestating project is written by its co-creator Simon Farnaby and stars Simon alongside Barunka O’ShaughnessyTom Meeten and Nathan Barley star Claire Keelan.

In it, Farnaby plays golf club regular Stuart, who has a chance of being appointed to the all-powerful committee, if only he can get his rival Bob out of the way. Meanwhile, players Chris and Jane are trying to rekindle their relationship, which has gone into the rough.

© Waen Shepherd / Moira O'Hara

© Waen Shepherd / Moira O’Hara

Longstanding TVO readers will recognise the name of the show, thanks to its historical significance within the annals of Onion Land. For the uninitiated, Peterford Golf Club started out as a sketch in Simon Farnaby and Waen Shepherd‘s 2001’s comedy night Animal Pie, before becoming the name of their two man stage sketch show the following year.

As well as birthing Gary Le Strange, the sketch night featured Farnaby and Shepherd as the titular golf club members, and while the concept fell onto the back burner for quite some time, it led to a one-off 18 minute pilot episode for E4 back in 2007.

© Channel X

© Channel X

Entitled Golf War, Shepherd took a back seat in this incarnation, as Farnaby joined forces with Rich Fulcher and Scott Murray to write the pilot, which also featured Matt BerryJohn Hopkins, Nina Conti, Gareth Hale and a theme tune arranged by Julian Barratt, no less.

In the televised version, Farnaby’s Stuart Oglivy was the foolish chair of a golf club, while Fuclher was his idotic subordinate Len. Matt Berry played the owner of a rival, swankier golf club adjacent to theirs, whilst Shepherd – who also scored the show – was gardener Bob.

Meanwhile, Hopkins cropped up as one of a trio of businessmen that Stuart was looking to impress with the help of a kidnapped Hale from Hale and Pace, and it was all very silly in the best possible sense.

Sadly, the broadcast was cut to just 13 minutes, and promptly forgotten about, though an extended version has been available on YouTube since the channel abandoned plans to make the show in early 2008.

It’s currently unknown if Waen Shepherd is involved in the new radio pilot, but whilst the show has a long linage, we’re considering this incarnation to be a new beast of its own design.

And the good news is, you can judge this for yourselves too – as the pilot will be recorded in front of a live studio audience later this month.

Recording takes place on Wednesday 28th October at 7:15pm at BBC Radio Theatre, and you can apply for tickets over yonder now. More news on Peterford Golf Club as we get it… stay peeled.

Toast Book Release

4 Oct

© Channel 4

A new book by Steven Toast will be released later this month, and is now available to per-order.

Toast on Toast is part memoir, part ‘how to act’ manual, with the author drawing on his self-proclaimed vast and varied acting experiences, taking the reader on his journey from school plays to RADA, and from ‘It’s a Right Royal Knockout’ to the Colony Club.

Along the way, the Toast of London thesp reveals the secrets of his success. He discloses how to brush up on and expand your technical and vocal skills, how to nail a professional voiceover, and how to deal with difficult work experience staff in a recording studio. He also reveals the dangers of typecasting, describes the often ruthless struggle for ‘top billing’, and shares many awesome nuggets of advice.

The not-entirely-serious book is written by TV series writers Matt Berry and Arthur Mathews (in character as Toast). It’s available to pre-order here in hardcover (£10.49) and kindle (£8.54) editions, and will be released on 22nd October.

Here’s Toast himself, to explain more about it:

Blessed To Play Berry’s Dad

29 Sep
© Channel 4 / The Samaritans

© Channel 4 / The Samaritans

Matt Berry is well known for his resonant vocal prowess (amongst his many other talents, of course), so who better to play his father than Brain Blessed, famous for owning the most booming voice in the business!

In an inspired piece of casting, 79 year old Blessed will appear in an episode in the forthcoming new series of Toast – as Steven Toast’s dad. It will be the same episode as Mad Men star Jon Hamm is appearing in (playing himself).

A source on the show told the Radio Times: “We find out where Steven comes from – it’s not a humble background, let’s say, but then there isn’t much about Steven that’s humble.”

Matt has previously said of the new series: “Every actor’s got some horror stories – it’s quite a big world of anguish and upset. There’s a lot more stories of horrible things that happen in this profession than nice things, so running out of material hasn’t been a worry so far.”

Series three of Toast is scheduled to air later this year on Channel 4.



29 Sep

© Rook Films

The good folk at Rook Films have released a limited screen print run of the Aaaaaaaah! movie poster.

There are only 100 copies of the five-layer print made to celebrate Steve Oram‘s directorial debut. In case you’ve missed it, the film stars Oram alongside a cavalcade of TVO regulars: Noel FieldingJulian BarrattTom MeetenWaen ShepherdTony WayAlice LoweShelley LongworthWaen ShepherdSean Reynard and John Hopkins.

Also along for the ride are the brilliant Julian Rhind-Tutt, Holli Dempsey and the legendary Toyah Willcox.

We’ve sung the film’s praises, and a lot of you have fallen in love with it already. Now thwack a bit of it on your wall for good measure, while you still can!

Wunderful Alice: An Interview With Alice Lowe

20 Sep


A wee while ago Velveteer Mog was lucky enough to spend time with the lady we refer to as TVO’s fairy godmother, Alice Lowe. They met to talk about Alice’s various creative projects – past, present and future, and the wider world of comedy in general. Here we bring you Part 1 of the interview, which looks at Alice’s fantasy comedy radio series, Alice’s Wunderland, currently airing on Radio 4:

Alice Lowe is marvellously multifaceted, both in terms of her professional creative output and her general persona. When you first meet Alice, her friendly girl-next-door-ness immediately lulls you into thinking she’s the type of person you’d take home to meet your Mum; someone you might have gone to school with. As the conversation progresses, however, little bubbles of naughty rebelliousness start to emerge from her butter-wouldn’t-melt smile, occasionally punctured by moments of genuinely sinister oddball-ness. If you spend more than a few minutes with her, you begin to see the shadowy shapes of the darkly comic off-kilter characters and story lines that she dreams up. Alice’s Wunderland is one such project, an audio-based fantasy world, “a place in the Nether Regions, the manky Poundland of magical realms”.

© Mog/The Velvet Onion

© Mog/The Velvet Onion

I ask Alice how she approached the leap from stage, TV and film to radio. “I was worried when I did the pilot, because I thought I was a totally visual comedian. It was always about my facial expressions and my physicality. But this made me think in a different way. I love music, so I took that as my start point.” she explains. “A lot of people who do something for radio think it needs to be about words. While words are important, I wanted this to have a poetic quality to it; I wanted it to be about rhythm and music and soundscapes and atmosphere.”

Alice taps into her live performance experience in order to help her imagine the worlds that her characters inhabit: “I can see the environment that I’m in. If I’m acting on stage I’m imagining a setting, and this is the same thing. It’s what I love about radio shows; you can transport people to strange places. You can say ‘we’re on the moon now’ and we’re on the moon. Aural comedy is visual comedy.”

For the new series, Alice considered whether she should make any major changes to the Wunderland concept. In the end she chose to evolve it slightly, rather than fundamentally shift gear. “I know this show and I knew what I wanted to do with it next.” she says. “We’ve made it a bit more narrative this time: each episode is a story in its own right, with one main character – and each episode has a different main character. It was really good fun, because each one is like a silly little adventure.”

Now in its third series, how does Alice feel about its success? “A third series! I never thoughts I’d be saying that, ” she laughs. “People find it hard to believe I have a radio series on Radio 4!”

© Jules Heath

Behind the scenes on Sightseers © Jules Heath

Although said entirely un-selfconsciously, it’s a comment that carries meaning. Alice is one of many artists that we write about at TVO who continually innovate, entertain and inspire with their talent and creativity. Like the others, she has enjoyed periodic mainstream success, but deserves much more.

I ask her why this is and what she thinks binds the group together: “I think it’s because we’re this weird inter-generation.” She explains. “There was a point when BBC3 stopped being about alternative comedy and became more about youth comedy. But none of us were quite young enough to fit into that category! We weren’t the hot young things, but we weren’t comedy establishment either.”

With BBC3 focusing on the younger end of Gen Y and Channel 4 no longer the proud home of alternative comedy, many of the group were left without a TV springboard for their output, still the primary channel for mainstream comedy success.

“We all had to find our own way instead,” Alice explains, “And the way we did that was working with each other and helping each other out [indeed, Alice’s Wunderland features fellow TVO folk Richard Glover and Rachel Stubbings]. All of those people are so creative, but you can get put in a little box on TV. It can hamper the creativity of what you do.”

TV’s loss is radio’s gain, as Alice’s Wunderland continues to weave its wonderful web of the bizarre and bonkers on our airwaves. The first episode of four, featuring the gloriously silly Lady Bowie, is available on iPlayer here (for a further 25 days). Episode 2, which features “the ghost of a child who died in the 1970s” will air on Radio 4 at 11pm on Tuesday 22nd September. So tune in (and drop out).

© Jimmy Crippen

© Jimmy Crippen

Many thanks to Alice for taking the time to chat to us about he new radio series. Look out for Part 2 of our interview, coming soon, in which she talks about Sightseers, the joy of playing baddies, and her other new projects.

First Look at The Kennedys

16 Sep
© BBC / Adam Lawrence

© BBC / Adam Lawrence

Forthcoming BBC One sitcom The Kennedys is almost upon us, and while we wait for a confirmed transmission date, we’ve got this bevvy of promotional images to share with you.

As we reported back in March, the six-part series is set in the 1970s, and is based on the memoirs of actress, writer and TV presenter Emma Kennedy.

Her parents Brenda and Tony are played by Katherine Parkinson and Dan Skinner respectively, while family friend Tim (a typical 70s alpha male) is played by Harry Peacock.

Emma herself, aged 10, will be played by Lucy Hutchinson (Inside No. 9), and the cast is rounded out by Emma Pierson (Suntrap), Clive Rowe (Doctor Who) and Shola Adewusi (Catastrophe) as neighbours David and Dee.

In the first episode, Brenda is determined to be the first person on Jessop Square to throw a dinner party. Giddy with possibilities, she invites best friends Tim and Jenny and new neighbours the Palmers for an evening no-one will ever forget. Having never cooked anything other than an egg, Brenda quickly shifts all responsibility for the dinner party and cooking the lasagne on to Tony.

Meanwhile, Emma is put out when arch-rival Julie gains control of the play fort – which nobody is allowed in to unless they know her secret whisper. Emma realizes that in order to wrestle control from her nemesis, she needs to create a secret whisper to end all secret whispers.

It’s all sounding very delightful, and we can’t wait to see the results. We’ll aim to bring you a more in-depth preview in the coming week, so stay peeled. In the meantime, there’s a gallery of images to savour below.

Wunderland Returns

16 Sep

We’re late. We’re late. For a very important date. No time to say Jasaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan, we’re late, we’re late, we’re late!

© Lewes Herriot

Yes, it’s not often we’re behind the times, but somehow, a bubble in the Onionverse caused a rift in the comedy continuum yesterday, and everyone involved with the long awaited Series Three of Alice’s Wunderland forgot to tell you it was back on the air at 11pm last night!

In fairness, both Alice and TVO managed to sneak in a ten minute warning on Twitter, so well done to any late night Tweeters who caught it and tuned in.

For the uninitiated, the radio series, which began life as a 2011 pilot before full series runs in 2012 and 2013, features Alice Lowe as a variety of characters who comprise the main inhabitants of Wunderland: the ‘Poundland of magical realms’.

Also along for the ride are series regulars Richard GloverRachel StubbingsClare Thomson, Simon Greenhall (I’m Alan Partridge) and Marcia Warren. The results are as magical as ever, as Lady Bowie goes on an adventure to a ‘tights spot’ and the narrator meets some other weirdos.

Please adjust your pants accordingly, and listen without orifice via iPlayer now. Three further episodes will air over the next few Wednesdays at 11pm only on Radio 4.

A Round Up Of Doll & Em

13 Sep


The second series of the awesome Doll & Em, co-written by and featuring Dolly Wells, will be premiering in the US tonight at 10.30pm on HBO. In its honour, we thought we’d gee you a round-up of recent interview and coverage about the show. We’re nice like that.

Just click on the links to read the articles in full:

First up, Emily Mortimer spoke to The Dinner Party Download and HuffPost Live in a filmed interview. She was also on Watch What Happens Live (various clips are available to view, but sadly not for those of us outside the US) and on NBC New York and  AOL Build (which we can all watch, wherever we are. Hurrah!).

Then, both Dolly and Emily spoke to Indiewire about how their friendship led to the creation of the show. We also chanced upon an article about Doll & Em from Indiewire too.

If that little lot doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about Doll & Em, don’t despair! There’s still time to ask Emily a question about the show, via this HBO Q&A; and if dual-screening is more your thing, Dolly will be live-tweeting during the first episode, so don’t forget to follow her if you’re not already.

Remember to tune in tonight, US folks. For the rest of us, here are a couple of trailers and a few clips from the second series – so no one feels left-out:

If you’d prefer to have the opportunity to meet one of the ladies face to face, tickets are still available to be part of the audience at A Conversation With Emily Mortimer with Wie in New York, on Wednesday September 30th at 6:30pm (EDT). Tickets are available here.




Marley’s Ghosts

7 Sep

Nicholas Burns joins John Hannah, Jo Joyner and Sarah Alexander in a new comedy commission for UKTV’s Gold channel.

Marley’s Ghosts features Sarah Alexander (Undercover) as Marley: a woman with a rare gift that comes with mixed blessings: she can talk to the dead.

The titular ghosts she sees are her husband Adam (A Touch of Cloth‘s John Hannah), her vicar (Jo Joyner, Ordinary Lives) and her lover, Michael, played by Nicholas Burns. The Sarah Jane Adventures star Mina Anwar is amongst those still in the land of the living, for good measure. It all sounds delightfully bonkers, and you can see a sneaky trailer right now.

The comedy lineage continues behind the camera too, as Marley’s Ghosts is written by Comic Strip Presents veteran Danny Peacock (who international audiences may remember from his guest slot in Sylvester McCoy era Doctor Who), and the three part series is produced by John Stanley Productions: the company set up by Matt Lucas, no less.

On directing duties is Ben Gosling Fuller (The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff, The IT Crowd, That Mitchell and Webb Look), while producer Katie Mavroleon previously worked on Pompidou and Life’s Too Short.

The series begins on Wednesday, 30th September. In the meantime, you can see a gallery of images from the show below.


Exclusive: The Ghoul Teaser Trailer

4 Sep

The Velvet Onion is proud to bring you the first official glimpse of The Ghoul in this tantalising teaser.

The Ghoul is written and directed by Gareth Tunley and stars a whole bevvy of his regular collaborators. Tom Meeten, Alice Lowe, Rufus Jones, Paul Kaye, Dan Skinner, Waen Shepherd and Sean Reynard join Naimh Cusack (Heartbeat, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time), James Eyres and veteran comedy legend Geoffrey McGivern in the film. Shepherd has also provided the movie’s score.

The film marks the directorial feature debut of Tunley, who has previously directed shorts (such as TVO favourite The Baron) and the groundbreaking making of web-portal for A Field in England.

And whilst the cast is primarily made up of Tunley’s comedy friends and collaborators, The Ghoul is a psychological thriller that follows Tom Meeten’s detective as he goes undercover as a psychotherapy patient in an attempt to solve a murder case. As he delves further, he begins to lose his grip on reality, eventually questioning whether the entire investigation may just be a fabrication of his mind.

Described as a dreamlike narrative by the director, the film fuses the visual trappings of suburban film noir with the narrative rug pulls of science fiction, and was shot in sixteen days earlier this year. With finishing touches to the film almost complete, we’ll be bringing you more news on The Ghoul very soon.

Coogan In New Comedy Documentary

31 Aug

346MLC_CooganA new feature-length comedy documentary, which includes a bevy of top drawer comedy faces – including our very own Steve Coogan, will be hitting UK cinemas on Friday 4th September.

The UK release of Misery Loves Comedy follows the film’s US release earlier this year and its premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June.

Directed by Kevin Pollak (The Usual Suspects, Casino), it features more than 50 (primarily American) comedy legends – including Tom Hanks, Matthew Perry, Judd Apatow, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Favreau, Lisa Kudrow, Whoopi Goldberg, Stephen Merchant, Martin Short and Larry David, who candidly explore the motivations and inspirations behind their comedy careers. From a TVO perspective, in addition to an appearance from Coogan, the film also features Catastrophe’s Rob Delaney.

Misery Loves Comedy provides an opportunity to hear comedy icons dissect the art of stand-up and explore how a joke can operate as a blunt tool, a social weapon, or even as a personal elixir.

Reviews of the film on its US-release were a tad mixed, but if you have an interest in comedy it’s sure to contain at least a few gems. Check out the trailer below for a flavour of what to expect. And if you don’t get to see it on the big screen, Misery Loves Comedy will be available to purchase on DVD from Amazon in October.

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

Julian Flowers

26 Aug

Julian Barratt joins Olivia Colman in a new six-part dark comedy from Channel 4, entitled Flowers.

© Kudos / Channel 4

© Kudos / Channel 4

Written and directed by BAFTA nominated writer and director Will Sharpe (who last crossed our paths as a young Pat Quid in The Life of Rock with Brian Pern), the series is described as an imaginative, cinematic comedy about an eccentric family, The Flowers, who are struggling to hold themselves together.

Barratt plays Maurice, author of twisted children’s book series The Grubbs, whilst Colman (Bad Sugar, Broadchurch) plays his wife Deborah, a music teacher. They are barely on speaking terms, yet can’t quite seem to divorce. As Maurice fights inner demons and dark secrets, Deborah tries to keep the family together at all costs and becomes increasingly suspicious that Maurice is in a secret homosexual relationship with his Japanese illustrator Shun (played by Sharpe).

Also on board are the creaky old house’s fellow inhabitants: Maurice’s fruitcake mother Hattie (Leila Hoffman – aka Mrs Treacher from Hot Not to Live Your Life), and the couple’s maladjusted twenty-five year old twins Amy and Donald played by Sophia di Martino (Mount Pleasant, Friday Night Dinner) and Daniel Rigby (Undercover, Cardinal Burns). Both twins are competing for the same girl and continually fail to burst through the confines of their absurdly arrested development.

The series is being produced by acclaimed production house Kudos, who recently brought Humans and Utopia to the channel, and is made in association with NBCU’s new comedy focused subscription VOD platform. Will Sharpe has explained: “This is a comedy about people who are struggling and the situations that can arise when you refuse to admit that there are problems. Our aim is not to make light of the darkness, but to find the light within it.”

Naturally, we’re excited, and can’t wait for tx in 2016. As soon as we hear more, so will you.

Take a punt on Blunt

18 Aug

The US premiere of Blunt Talk – Starz new newsroom based sitcom starring Sir Patrick Stewart and featuring Dolly Wells – is fast approaching, and the network has unleashed the first two episodes online ahead of transmission.

© Starz

© Starz

Stewart stars as Walter Blunt: a British news anchor intent on conquering the world of American cable news, only to find his well-intentioned but mostly misguided decision-making has a catastrophic fallout on both on and off the air.

Wells plays Celia Havemeyer: a senior production keen on impressing Walter, whom she has admired for many years. However, to the detriment of her career, her impulsive spirit encourages a chaotic personal life. You can catch her in the trailer below.

Also along for the ride – and heavily featured in the above trailer – is another British actor our readers will no doubt be familiar with: Adrian Scarborough. Perhaps best known for his recurring role in Gavin & Stacey, Scarborough was also two generations of Councillor Crabbe in Coogan’s Run and Mr Jolly in Psychoville, while his wider credits include Up The WomenDoctor Who and The King’s Speech.

Co-starring Harry Chandler, Timm Sharp, Jacki Weaver, Rosalie Winter, Karen Soni and Mary Holland, the show will also feature recurring appearances by Stewart’s former Star Trek co-star Brent Spiner, and with two seasons of ten episodes produced, Starz are naturally keen for the show to hit big.

As a result, the first two episodes can be watched online right now completely free over yonder, though this naturally appears to be limited to US viewers only at present.

Sadly, there still appears to be no sign of a UK broadcaster adding the show to their roster, but given this is a star-studded project from Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, Ted), we’re sure it’s only a matter of time before it reaches the other side of the pond. As always, stay peeled, and take a look at this cast video featuring Dolly discussing her role, below, while we here in gloomy England pine for more…

In and Out of the Kitchen returns

3 Aug

Following a brief sojourn on television earlier this year, In And Out Of The Kitchen returns for a fourth audio series on Radio 4 this week.

© Gary Moyes / BBC

© Gary Moyes / BBC

Written by and starring Miles Jupp (The Last Sparks of Sundown, Spy, The Thick of It) as celebrity chef Damien Trench, the show co-stars Justin Edwards as his partner Anthony.

The last time we heard from the duo was via a three-part television adaptation for BBC Four, which aired throughout March of this year.

Now back on Radio 4, Jupp has prepared another round of Damien’s diaries brought to life though narrative, dialogue and recipes, every angle of the character’s day-to-day life is unflinchingly on offer, and regular co-stars Philip Fox and Brendan Dempsey are along for the ride, alongisde Alex Tregear, Jessica Turner and Stephen Critchlow.

You can hear Episode One of the new six-part run on BBC Radio 4 at 11:30am on Wednesday, 5th August. The first three radio series are available now in a box-set for just £21.01 via The Velvet Onion Amazon Store.

Doll & Em-erica

3 Aug
© Sky Atlantic / HBO

© Sky Atlantic / HBO

The US première date for Doll & Em‘s second series has been confirmed for mid September.

The show, written by and starring Dolly Wells alongside Emily Mortimer, will air on HBO from September 13th. Episode One will air at 10:30pm.

A co-production between HBO and Sky Atlantic, the series recently aired on the latter, UK based channel, and is currently available on catch-up to UK viewers via Sky Go and Now TV.

Series Two featured Wells and Mortimer once again playing fictionalised versions of themselves, as they attempted to stage their own off-Broadway play. It featured Hollywood actresses Olivia Wilde and Evan Rachel Wood, alongside returning co-star Jonathan Cake, plus guest appearances by Ewan McGregor and Harvey Weinstein.

Sadly, there’s currently no sign of a home media release for either run, though the first series was released on DVD in Australia last year, and is available now via The Velvet Onion Amazon Store.

If you’re in the States and want to catch up on the first series, which featured guest appearances by TVO regulars Tom MeetenLaura Patch and Noel Fielding, you can now do so via subscription service HBO Go.


30 Jul

unnamedThe excitement is mounting…. As we’ve mentioned previously, AAAAAAAAH!, the new film by Steve Oram, which features a bevy of TVO faces, will be getting its world premiere next month at Film 4 FrightFest at Leicester Square! But for those of you who can’t make it there, don’t despair – because the film may be coming to a screen near you!

Additional screenings of AAAAAAAAH! include:

Picture House Central in London’s West End on 4th September (+ cast Q&A)
End of the Road Festival (Dorset), 4th-6th September
Mayhem in Nottingham, 15-18 October

Plus more dates to be announced soon. Sign up or check here for screening updates and general AAAAAAAAH! news.

Rook Films

Rook Films

For anyone out there who isn’t familiar with AAAAAAAAH! (how??), Steve’s debut features the entire cast behaving as apes – speaking in grunts and gibberish, in an anarchic, disturbing and touching look at the human condition. It stars Julian Barratt, Toyah Willcox, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Steve Oram, Lucy Honigman, Tom Meeten and Sean Reynard. The supporting cast includes Noel Fielding, Holli Dempsey, Shelley Longworth, Alice Lowe, Tony Way and Waen ShepherdBen Wheatley is also executive producer.

What’s more, AAAAAAAAH! is already receiving rave reviews; here are a few choice comments from the critics:

“Terrifyingly funny, hilariously sick and unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Easily the cult movie of the decade” – Alan Jones Film4 FrightFest

“Steve Oram’s AAAAAAAAH! made me question humanity.” – Adam Woodward, LWL’s

“Deeply offensive in all the right ways. Marks its strange, humorous territory with originality and style.” – Phelim O’Neill

Excited yet?

CrackaMOREy! Dave’s anthology series to return for Series Three

27 Jul

Crackanory – the anthology show for adults featuring a host of famous faces reading short tales, which are re-enacted by top notch comedy talent – is to return for a third series in the Autumn.

© UK TV / Tiger Aspect

© UK TV / Tiger Aspect

Back to the Future legend Christopher Lloyd joins the likes of Simon Bird, Sarah Millican, Greg Davies and Tamsin Grieg as some of the guest narrators for the new run, which will once again feature two stories per episode brought to life via a mix of narration, live action and animation.

Confirmed writers for the series include Kevin EldonNico Tatarowicz, Holly Walsh and Toby Davies, and given the show’s current standing as one of the most TVO-connected shows of the last few years, we wouldn’t be surprised if they’re joined by a few more names along the way.

Series One narrators: © UK TV / Tiger Aspect

Series One narrators: © UK TV / Tiger Aspect

Across the first two series, the stories were brought to life with an impeccable cast of comedy talent, including our very own James Bachman, John Willie Hopkins, Alex Kirk, Alice Lowe, Cariad Lloyd, Tom Meeten, Lucy Montgomery, Steve Oram, Tony Way and Katy Wix.

And all of this was enhanced by big name guest narrators, with the full run so far featuring Stephen Mangan, Sally Philips, Sharon Horgan, Hugh Dennis, Jessica Hynes, Harry Enfield, Jack Dee, Sarah Solemni, Charlie Higson, Kevin EldonRebecca Front, Richard Hammond, Vic Reeves, Simon Carllow, Ruby Wax, Sue Perkins, David Mitchell, Ben Miller, Katherine Parkinson, Meera Syall, Warwick Davis, Emilia Fox, Johnny Vegas and the late, great, Rik Mayall in his last on-screen role.

Series Two narrators: © UK TV / Tiger Aspect

Series Two narrators: © UK TV / Tiger Aspect

The connections extended behind the scenes too, with Eldon, Way and Nico Tartarowicz writing instalments, Gareth Tunley directing several and the entire run featuring the music of Waen Shepherd, whose haunting melodies will be heard again in the third season.

Also returning on production duties for Series Three is Arnold Widdowson (Grandma’s House), who previously wrote for Sorry I’ve Got No Head, School of Comedy and Horrible Histories and was script editor on Beehive and Roman’s Empire way back when.

Naturally, we’ll bring you more news on Crackanory‘s return as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can catch up on the previous 12 episodes via UKTV Play right now.

Return To Yonderland

12 Jul

This week sees the long awaited return of Yonderland to television, as the family-friendly comic fantasy series starts its second run on Sky1.

© BSkyB / Lee Binding

© BSkyB / Lee Binding

For the uninitiated, Yonderland focuses on thirty-something stay-at-home suburban mum, Debbie Maddox (Martha Howe-Douglas), who is whisked off to the magical realm of Yonderland by an elf through a portal in her cupboard. Yonderland is under attack from the evil Negatus (Simon Farnaby), and Debbie is apparently ‘The Chosen One’ who can save them all… if anyone can remember what exactly it is she’s meant to do.

Designed as a vehicle for the original team behind Horrible Histories, the show also features the rest of the team: Jim Howick, Mathew Baynton, Ben Willbond and Laurence Rickard. Also on board are fantastical puppets bringing to life some of the stranger inhabitants of Yonderland, helping to make the show a visual treat as well as a downright funny one. The series also features Dan Skinner as Debbie’s husband, Peter, and if you haven’t seen it yet, the whole run is available via Sky Boxsets, Now TV and on DVD via The Velvet Onion Amazon Store. And the good news is, if you’re curious – you can watch the first episode of Series 1 now via the handy link below!

But back to the present: Series Two begins with a double bill on Monday 13th July starting at 8pm, exclusively on Sky 1.  In the first episode, Panic in the Streets of Yonderland, Debbie has to quell the chaos when Imperatrix’s presence brings rioting to the streets and sends the elders into lockdown. Back in her own world, a strange old man sends her a bizarre package from his deathbed that promises to change everything.

With a guest appearance from Mackenzie Crook, and the return of one of TVO’s most elusive regulars, Clare Thomson as Gossiping Glenda, this would certainly be enough to satiate our Yonderland needs, but the good folk at Sky have a second episode at 8:30pm for our enjoyment. in The Winging Detective, there’s a murder at the Meadowlands Festival, which calls for the skills of Yonderland’s finest – and only – detective. Meanwhile, Negatus endures the imperial equivalent of an Ofsted inspection from Imperatrix’s second in command, and Peter starts to suspect that something very strange is going on in his house.

To celebrate the return of Yonderland, we’ve got a gallery of images from the first two episodes for you to savour below.

B-B-Cee-Again as the Beeb announces BBC Store

8 Jul


The long awaited BBC Store will launch this Autumn, according to a report by The Independent.

Launched through BBC Worldwide, the Store will sell permanent downloads of hit programmes – often within hours of their television broadcast.

The proposed catalogue of releases will build to around 10,000 hours of content, including material from the BBC archives and independent production companies, some of which have never received a commercial release, which will hopefully include a number of TVO related productions such as Gas, Is It Bill Bailey?, Dead BossCrimsBrian Pern and Lifespam to name but a few, as well as long out of print titles like AD/BC: A Rock Opera and Perfect World.

It will also mark the first time that BBC Worldwide will directly sell HD copies of most of their recent comedy output. Despite being early adopters to blu-ray, the company has all but abandoned the format except for big budget releases (such as Sherlock and Doctor Who), with shows such as Inside No. 9House of Fools and SunTrap all being released on dvd only this year. HD downloads are currently only available through iTunes and Google Play.

We’ll aim to bring you a round-up of what’s available of interest when the store launches. In the meantime, here’s a vintage clip of a very young Noel Fielding alongside an equally young Mark Gatiss in Alexei Sayle’s Merry Go Round – a 1998 sketch series from the legendary Comic Strip veteran, directed by a pre-Spaced Edgar Wright and featuring pre-fame appearances by Jessica Hynes, Paul Putner, Reece Shearsmith, David Walliams and Peter Serafinowicz. We’re hoping this finally gets a release in the Autumn!

Editors Note
An earlier version of this story suggested – via the original source, The Independent – that the initial launch catalogue would include 10,000 hours of content, and indicated that the store will “hope to recoup the loss” of licence fee money from recent changes to the infrastructure. BBC Worldwide have since clarified to The Velvet Onion that neither of these things are strictly the case. The catalogue will build to c.10K hours of content, and the licence fee shortfall is far greater than the money BBC Store can hope to recoup, but will contribute towards it, and TVO would like to apologise to any readers who were potentially misled by our report.

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