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Tales From Photographed Hawaii

28 Aug

Tonight sees the grand finale of Luxury Comedy 2: Tales From Painted Hawaii on E4 – and to celebrate, we’re bringing you exclusive behind the scenes photos taken during TVO’s on-set visit last summer.

© The Velvet Onion / Lauren Taylor

© The Velvet Onion / Lauren Taylor

TVO were on hand for four days of filming madness, right at the peak of a very packed out schedule, grabbing the cast for chinwags whenever we could.  The results will be seen in our behind the scenes featurette, which will be available very soon.

Something else that’s available soon is the dvd of Series Two – which you can ORDER NOW for just £14 via The Velvet Onion Amazon Store: it’s released next Monday, September 1st, so there’s no time to waste!

The final episode will air at 10pm tonight, and you can see it on 4OD now. Until then, savour our images below. Enjoy.

Inspector Richard (Do-Be-Do-Be-Do-Bee-Boo!)

27 Aug
© North One Television / Channel 4

© North One Television / Channel 4

The third series of Gadget Man - Channel 4’s tech-fuelled funfest hosted by Richard Ayoade is now underway, and the next two episodes bring two familiar faces in to play with all the toys.

Following the appearance of Tim Vine and Marcus Brigstocke in the first episode (now viewable on 4oD if you missed it), the next two episodes will feature Good News star Russell Howard and Never Mind The Buzzcocks regular Phill Jupitus.

You can catch the next episode on Monday, 1st September at 8:30pm, and it, like all previous editions, including the first series hosted by Stephen Fry, will be available on 4oD shortly after transmission.

If that’s still not enough Ayoade for you, don’t forget you can pick up his forthcoming book, Ayoade on Ayoadeand his latest film The Double on dvd and blu-ray now via The Velvet Onion Amazon Store.

She’s A Rainbow: TVO Interviews Ameena Kara Callender

14 Aug

© Greg Sick

At The Velvet Onion we try to bring you a different, deeper view of the comedy you love. It was with this mission in mind that we hunted down the Stylist and Costume Designer responsible for the fantastical costumes in Luxury Comedy, to find out how the improbable from Noel Fielding‘s imagination is brought to life with a sewing machine. Mog reports. 

One of the things that strikes you about the cast and crew of Luxury Comedy is their dedication to the cause. When you listen to them talk about their involvement in the two series, it’s clear that this was no mere job. The loyalty and commitment that Noel has inspired amongst the team has created a tightly-knit family of can-do’s, happy to go to the ends of the earth to make everything perfect. And Ameena Kara Callender is no exception.

© Ameena

I meet Ameena at her Hoxton studio, surrounded by the colourful chaos of what she does. She looks exactly as you’d hope a stylist would: an unselfconscious  mish-mash of clashing colours and patterns, sparkly sandals and powder pink socks; an unexpected balance point between the fabulously exotic and the genuine girl next door.

She tells me that she has always enjoyed dressing up; when she was younger she used to make outfits for nights out with her Mum and Gran from the fabrics they kept in their sewing cupboard. However, she didn’t train as a stylist – the origins of her creative education were fine art, sculpture and painting.

One of her specialisms at college was 3D craft and design, which gave her a useful grounding in working with plastic-based materials. “It’s why I’m able to make these more bizarre sculptural costumes for Noel. All of the random things I’ve learned over the years came together in this one job, which harnessed all of it all at once.”

© Ameena

© Ameena

Originally connected via a mutual friend, Ameena has known Noel for years, but it was at his art exhibition at Maison Bertaux in 2010 that he asked her if she wanted to work on the show. Ameena was particularly drawn to an installation at the exhibition which turned out to be a precursor to the Jellyfox sketch from series 1.

“I really vibed off the animations that he’d done with Nige,” she says. “Noel asked ‘Do you want to make some Leigh Bowery type costumes for me?’ and I was like ‘Hell yeah – that’s right up my street!” she laughs.

Given that Noel has such clear ideas of his own about the look of the characters in the show, I ask her how the creative development process plays out between them. “Working with Noel is amazing. He’s a visual artist, and that goes across the spectrum of everything he does.”

“He draws constantly, and a big part of him coming up with a character is drawing it and figuring out what it looks like. Sometimes they pretty much have the outfit on that they’ll have on when the character comes into the real world, but sometimes he’ll leave it open for me,” she explains.

Taking on that level of responsibility can sometimes be a little daunting; trying to second-guess what Noel wants for a character or working out what would surprise him (in a good way!) can be a challenge, particularly when most of the characters are unlike anything that’s gone before. “You don’t know what really works until you go through the magical process; you can’t get out a reference from Dazed & Confused and say ‘I want him to be like that’, because it’s a whole weird, insane new concept.” she explains. “I’ve spent nights with matchsticks to keep my eyes open doing designs to show Nige and Noel the next day!”

© Ameena. Illustration on jumpsuit by David Shillinglaw

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Luxury Cafe Competition: A Massive Thank you

13 Aug

© Channel 4

A week and a half ago we announced a competition which would give 5 readers the chance to win a Luxury Comedy mug and pack of coffee. To enter, we asked you to create something from the Luxury Comedy cafe menu.

We didn’t think it was fair to award the prizes on the basis of cooking ability, so to give everyone an equal chance we decided to select the winners randomly from all of the entries. We secretly hoped that some of you would make a bit of effort, but we had no idea how inventive, hilarious and downright incredible so many of your entries were going to be!

Here are a small selection of those which knocked us sideways with their creativity and put a smile on our faces – and we had many, many more besides! Just click on the thumbnails to view a larger image.

It just goes to prove how much you’re loving the new series of Luxury Comedy and how much the show inspires you; we hope Noel Fielding is justifiably chuffed! It also suggests that you’re pretty desperate for a mug of coffee, but perhaps that’s not really the point ;-)

The 5 winners have been selected at random from all of the entries received and have now been notified. They are: Cali Rivlin, Chaas, Imaginary Nadya, Spaceboy and The Dream Tiger (twitter names).  A rather splendid Luxury mug and pack of coffee will be winging its way to you.

Huge congratulations to the winners and a massive thank you to everyone who took part!

Luxury cookery shown above thanks to Afrika D, Alleshia Cook, Anita, Arthur M, Azzy, Becca Moody, Becky Price, Bluey, Cali, Cali Rivlin, Catie, Chaas, Faye Loretta Lee, Gothic Bob, Imaginary Nadya, Jadie Rae, Jodie Kozo Konatsubara, Mol, Nikki Burns, Sean Feehan, Terry, The Dream Tiger, The Plasticine Punk, Spaceboy and  . (yes, that’s their name). You’re all awesome!

Sights and Sounds from Painted Hawaii

9 Aug

We’re now two episodes into Series 2 of Luxury Comedy on E4, and as part of our ongoing celebration around the show’s return, we’re digging into the magical land created by Noel Fielding and Nigel Coan for the series.

© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

Whilst we’re all quite understandably excited about the huge number of TVO regulars who are involved in the show in front of the camera, it’s rewarding to know there are a number of familiar faces behind it too.

One such face is the legendary James Dillon, who Boosh fans will know as the designer for all three series of The Mighty Boosh, and the subsequent national tours. He was also responsible for the set design of shows as eclectic as Not Going Out, Live at the Electric, Gimme Gimme Gimme, Bill Hicks Live and The Crystal Maze, to name but a few: check out his website to see more from this truly incredible man.

During TVO’s exclusive visit to the film studios which housed Luxury Comedy last summer, James very kindly allowed us to photograph the main standing set: the interior of Noel’s Luxury Cafe.  A selection of these images can be seen below, and show the sheer level of detail that James put into the set in collaboration with Noel & Nigel.

This set, used as a focal point for the whole series, was a labour of love for Dillon, and it shows in the impressive range of vintage props, paintings by Noel, the authentic cafe menu (as featured in our competition over yonder), and our favourite part of the set: the jukebox!

What makes this lovely model so special is the attention to detail on the choice of records chosen. This beauty houses 100 discs, which are all carefully chosen to represent either the Hawaiian feel of the cafe, or a general Summery 60’s/70’s vibe, in line with the rest of the set design.

Wherever possible, given rights issues prevent some of those records being added, we’ve rounded up the selection into a Luxury Jukebox playlist on Spotify, which you can listen to at your leisure. Full details of the tracks listed (and not listed) can be found after the ‘Read More’ button below, so if you fancy recreating the 100% accurate jukebox vibe for your next Luxury themed party, get scouring ebay for these classics now!

© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

There are two records which, for some reason, appear twice on the jukebox, but even with those duplicates and the rights-restricted tracks absent from the playlist, that still leaves 157 tracks for you to savour.  Enjoy.

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Rik’s Crack To Air Next Month

8 Aug

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

© Dave

© Dave

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

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

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

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

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

Onion Talking: Dolly Wells on Luxury Comedy 2

2 Aug

A few months ago, TVO reporter, Gina R Snape, met up with Dolly Wells to talk all things Doll and Em. They also spent a little time discussing Luxury Comedy series 2. Here are the excerpts from that interview:

© Channel 4

How was it working on Luxury Comedy this time round?

It was really really fun. It was boiling hot. We’d have competitions over who was hotter! Because I was wearing a nylon wig with a stocking, that was definitely quite hot.

But then Noel would be wearing (not going to give things away!) a rubber outfit and a wig – and was running sweat like a tap, while talking to you! So I couldn’t really complain about being hot. And also that feeling that the crew are thinking that you’re wimps. But when you put on the lights, the heat is just so hot. It was ludicrous.

How was it shooting series 2 of Luxury Comedy compared to the last series?

Shooting was similar in that it was really fun, really easy. Me and Mike getting giggles a lot of the time; Tom being very sensible; Noel being really silly.

I mean there will be things in his series, and I can’t really give the story away, but…there was one particular thing Noel did, and I can’t remember which episode it was, where it was sooooo hard not to laugh. Like a school play or something. And no one is really in the mood for you laughing because you haven’t got that long.

And also, what’s really nice is that feeling which you don’t get on everything you do: it’s like when you do a dance together, you’re sort of willing everybody to get it right, so you really want it to be good. There’s a lot of trust that you feel, and you sort of owe it to each other slightly. Especially Noel, who is carrying 99.9% of the show, and it’s hot and you’re doing it again and again. Everyone feels like they’re part of it, which is really very lovely. And you also feel real admiration for him. He’s got a serious amount of energy and he’s constantly saying and trying new things. There’s so much improvising, which is really fun.

© Channel 4

How much input did you get to have yourself through improvisation?

Well, because Noel and Tom are really good…I can do it in my own show, but I’d get shy sometimes to be doing it myself. You’re definitely free to do whatever you wanted. And we had really long rehearsals, so you could try things out – which was really fun. We rehearsed in Camden and ran around like the Ramones. We all had on black jackets, and tried to look like the Ramones. So yeah, it was brilliant. It was very, very hot. And it was the last thing I did before I came to NY and then I flew to NY the next day. So it was a real culture shock. I really missed them all for ages. But yeah, it was brilliant.

The last time TVO interviewed you about Luxury Comedyith you said that the energy was very frenetic w Noel was doing a million things at once, and then he would then stop and fall asleep in the corner for 20 minutes. Was the same true this time?

Yes! Yes! He did. But no, you know what? He was always absolutely firing on all cylinders because he would either be getting painted blue, or making up a painting or something. But this time most of the things he was making or drawing (like the sets) were done before. But there were lots of conversations with the art department or with costumes or with make-up, because every aspect of it is him and Nigel’s vision, so they were always working. So of course he was always very, very busy. But actually, it felt a bit less like that this time, I think. I don’t know why that is, but it definitely felt less like that.

Maybe it’s because the second series? 

Yeah, everyone knows what they’re doing. Although the main difference for the second series is that there’s a serious narrative. So once it’s been written and you know the exact story, then you’re just left to try and get it right.

You’ve said previously that Tom Meeten is the straight man? But in Doll and Em he’s insane!

He’s not the straight man – on camera he’s absolutely hilarious. But behind the scenes, especially when me and Mike are getting the giggles, and he was hot under his wig or something, yes, he’d be serious. He’d be like a school teacher. We’d all have our roles, if you know what I mean.

© Channel 4

In Doll & Em you’re called Doll and in Luxury you’re Dolly. Why do you think you can’t get away from your name?

I know! I was thinking that. I was thinking, “My god this is a bit confusing and massively egotistical.” Well, BOTH TIMES it’s men being annoying! (laughs). Noel did it to sort of piss me off almost. I was going “Couldn’t I be called Jana or, just any name would be just fine” and Noel was like “Yeah, not really, I was just thinking Dolly.” “Yeah, but what about like Ivanna or… “No, that’s Nigel’s wife.” So there was just never gonna be anything but Dolly. He definitely knew I was going to be Dolly.

Many thanks to Dolly Wells for taking the time to chat to us. And don’t forget to tune into the second episode of Luxury Comedy on 4th August at 10pm on E4 (or catch it now on 4oD) to see Dolly & co in action!

COMPETITION: Show Us Your Cafe Skills & Win A Mug Of Luxury

1 Aug

© Channel 4

So now we all know that the new series of Luxury Comedy is set in a cafe, and Noel, Dolly, Andy and Smooth work there. But have you got any idea what food is served in the Luxury cafe? Well, wonder no more – because not only are we going to reveal the actual Luxury Cafe menu to you, we’re also going to use the menu to create a rather fabulous reader competition!

Printed below are the two pages of the Luxury Cafe menu, captured by our eagle-eyed photographer during the filming of series 2. Listed beneath the pictures are a series of links; these link to recipes for each of the items on the Luxury Cafe menu. We’ve included absolutely everything that they serve there (except for teas, coffees, or anything that doesn’t warrant a full on recipe).

And here’s what we’re asking you to do:

We’d like you to cook one of the items on the menu. You can use the recipe links provided below or your own preferred recipe, as long as your creation is reasonably close to what’s on offer in the Luxury Cafe. Then, we’d like you to take a photo of your cookery creation (with you in the photo if you like) and tweet it to us using the hashtag #luxurycoffee. If it’s not obvious from the picture, you might need to tell us what it is that you’ve made!

Five winners will then be randomly selected from the entries, and each winner will be sent a Luxury mug and a pack of Luxury coffee. The only people who have received these are a small handful of fancy journalist types, so they’re seriously exclusive!

The closing date is 12th August and only entries received via our twitter feed with the hashtag #luxurycoffee will be accepted. You can submit more than one entry, although each entry must be a different menu item, and there’s a maximum of one prize per person. For the full Terms & Conditions of the competition, please see the small print at the bottom of this post. Happy cooking!

Luxury Sandwiches
Luxury Roast Chicken, Tuna Special, BLT Bomb, Eggy MayoFelafel and Houmous

Additions
Chips, Onion rings

Drinks
Hot Chocolate

Luxury Baked Potatoes
Baked Potato. Toppings: Coleslaw, Chicken Tikka, 3 Bean Salad, Veggie Chilli

Luxury Salads
Luxury Greek Salad, Salad Nicoise

Luxury Ice Creams
Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Caramel, Mint choc, banana, butterscotch, peanut, coffee, rum ‘n’ raisin, praline, pistacho, white choc, ginger, bubble gum

Luxury Coke Float

Special Sundaes
Banana Split, S’mores, Hot Cookie/Brownie

This competition offers 1 Luxury mug and 1 pack of Luxury coffee to 5 winners. The winning entry will be selected at random, from all who provide a photograph of an item that they have created themselves from the Luxury Cafe menu printed in this article. The winners will be contacted via the twitter account that they use to enter. Details will not be shared with any additional third parties beyond The Velvet Onion and E4.
Only entries made to https://twitter.com/thevelvetonion will be accepted. The Velvet Onion will not accept entries as comments to this post, replies to our Facebook page, comments to any other posts in error or emails to any other email address in our domain, nor any entries received after 11.59pm on Tuesday 12th August 2014. This competition is being run entirely by The Velvet Onion, with prizes provided by E4. E4 isn’t involved in the administration of this competition. More than one entry per person is permitted, but each entry must be a different menu item. No more than one prize may be awarded to each person. The judge’s decision is final. There is no monetary value to this competition and no cash alternative will be offered. Prizes will be sent via second class post and will be carefully packaged, but The Velvet Onion cannot be held responsible for any breakages that occur in transit. The Velvet Onion reserves the right to withdraw this competition if any overriding issues arise.

Luxury Gallery, Ooh-Yeah!

1 Aug

Suck my beans! Luxury Comedy officially launched last night, and with Episode Two now on 4oD, there’s still lots we have to share with you as the series progresses.

© Dave Brown / Channel 4

© Dave Brown / Channel 4

For starters, there’s our making of featurette: a rough-n-ready rumble-tumble through the madness of filming Luxury Comedy.  TVO hung around for four very different days on set and highlights from the organised chaos will be seen very soon.

There’s also a competition coming later today, and a few more surprises to come – including our own behind the scenes photo galleries.  But it’s only right and proper that we begin such proceedings with the official photography, lovingly crafted by the incredible Dave Brown and the genius that is Nigel Coan. Enjoy, and keep coming back for more!

Obviously, we’re aware that, given TVO is read in 161 different countries at last count, that a large number of you have no access to Channel 4.  In that case, we heartily recommend you order Series 1 and Series 2 on dvd from The Velvet Onion Amazon Store now!

Listen In To Luxury Q&A

31 Jul

A couple of weeks ago a gaggle of assorted friends, family, cast, crew and press gathered to watch the glorious culmination of Noel Fielding‘s inspiration and hard graft – in the shape of two preview episodes of the news series of Luxury Comedy.

Afterwards there was a Q&A session with Noel, who was in relaxed and candid form thanks to the presence of an audience largely made up of people he knew. And the reason that we’re telling you this? It’s because we’ve managed to get our hands on an audio recording of the Q&A!

So if you want to know who Noel thinks Julian Barratt should play in a biopic…or you fancy finding out why he thinks Twitter is like a shouty shopping centre…or why watching Luxury Comedy can be a bit like drinking a pint of toothpaste – then this is for you.

So strap on your headphones, sit back with a brew, and click on our photo from the Q&A below…

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!…

Coogan’s Run On Gold

28 Jul

© Sky Atlantic

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

My First Planet Makes Second Contact

16 Jul

Sci-fi radio sitcom My First Planet returns to Radio 4 Extra next week.

© Pozzitive / BBC

Written by and starring Phil Whelans (Kill Phil, The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains, It’s Kevin) and Doctor Who audio range author/actor John Dorney, the show features Only Fools and Horses legend Nicholas Lyndhurst as the ineffectual head of a new space colony, and asks the powerful question: if humankind were to colonize space, is it destined to succumb to self-interest, prejudice and infighting? (By the way, the answer’s yes. Sorry).

Also featuring Vicki Pepperdine (Getting On, Mid Morning Matters), Tom Goodman-Hill (Dead Boss, Free Agents) and Cariad Lloyd (Cardinal Burns, Fit), Series 2 was recorded back in October and November last year, and will be first broadcast from Monday via BBC Radio 4 Extra at 9:30am.

Following this, it will be available on iPlayer for seven days after transmission, and repeated on Radio 4 in September.

You can hear a preview of the first series, which is available to buy digitally, below…

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.

Rhod Gilbert Joins Buzzcocks

9 Jul

Stand-up comic and tv presenter Rhod Gilbert is to join Never Mind The Buzzcocks as permanent host.

© BBC

© BBC

The show – originally presented by Mark Lamarr and later Simon Amstell – has had a series of revolving guest presenters since 2009, with Rhod himself being only the second guest host, back in October of that year.

Gilbert, who first appeared on the show as a guest in 2006, returned in December 2011, and now joins regular team captains Phill Jupitus and Noel Fielding for the 28th series this Autumn.

When the news broke this afternoon, Rhod commented on his official Facebook page:

So the secret is out! I’ll be the new permanent host of Never Mind The Buzzcocks when it returns for its 28th series this autumn. When I first guest hosted, back in 2009, I was told I was in with a shout to take over as regular host, and now, just 5 years later, I got the call. It’s all happened so fast. Never Mind the Buzzcocks is one of those rare shows that feels like it belongs on our screens, it’s an institution, in a good way. It’s a great honour to be asked to take the reins full time and to hang out with Noel and Phill, and I’m equally excited and nervous about adding my name to those who have hosted it in the past.

It is currently unknown if Noel’s forthcoming tour will affect any of his commitments to the full Buzzcocks run, but we’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear more about the series. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for ticket applications opening over yonder.

COMPETITION! Win Tickets to see Mathew Baynton, Elizabeth Berrington & Daniel Rigby in Holes!

7 Jul

The Velvet Onion is proud to be able to offer one lucky winner a pair of tickets to see Tom Basdens razor-sharp comedy play Holes at The Arcola Theatre this summer.

© Arcola Theatre 2014

© Arcola Theatre 2014

Starring Mathew Baynton (Horrible Histories, Yonderland, Gavin and Stacey), Elizabeth Berrington (Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Psychoville, Doctor Who), and Daniel Rigby (Eric and Ernie, Black Mirror, Cardinal Burns), Holes is written by Tom Basden, who may be familiar to TVO veterans from his acting appearances in Star Stories, Hyperdrive and most recently, W1A.

Basden is also an award winning writer, with a Royal Television Society award under his belt, alongside three BAFTA nominations (including one for The Wrong Mans), a Fringe First Award and an Edinburgh Comedy Award.  Holes tells the story of four survivors of a plane crash, who don’t know where they are… or if anyone is coming to help them.

© Arcola Theatre 2014

© Arcola Theatre 2014

It’s an absurd, hilarious and fast-paced comedy, which saw rave reviews when it made its Edinburgh Fringe debut last year.  Now it reaches the Arcola Tent for a strictly limited run between 16th July and 9th August, directed by Phillip Breen (The Merry Wives of Windsor), who last worked with Basden on Party – a play which later became a much loved radio series featuring Anna Crilly and Katy Wix.

Thanks to our friends at The Arcola Theatre and AKA, The Velvet Onion is able to offer a pair of tickets to one lucky winner for a performance of their choosing.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply tell us the answer to the following question:

What is the name of the 2013 BAFTA-nominated sitcom which was co-written by and starred Mathew Baynton and Tom Basden?

Email your replies to competitions@thevelvetonion.com by 11:59pm on Sunday 13th July.

One winner will be picked at random, and contacted by AKA to arrange tickets for a Monday-Thursday performance of their choosing, subject to availability.  For more details, full terms and conditions are below.  Good luck!

If you don’t win, or just want to be sure you’ll see the show, tickets are available now, and you can find out more information about the production via their official website, Facebook and Twitter profiles.

This competition offers 1 pair of tickets for one performance of ‘Holes’ at The Arcola Theatre on a selected date between July 16th 2014 and August 9th 2014. Monday-Thursday performances only. The winning entry will be selected at random, from all who correctly answer the question: “What is the name of the 2013 BAFTA-nominated sitcom which was co-written by and starred Mathew Baynton and Tom Basden?”  The winner will be contacted via the email address they use to enter. Details will not be shared with any additional third parties beyond The Velvet Onion, The Arcola Theatre, AKA and the guest-list for the venue.
Only entries made to competitions@thevelvetonion.com will be accepted.  The Velvet Onion will not accept entries as comments to this post, replies to our Facebook/Twitter pages, comments to any other posts in error or emails to any other email address in our domain, nor any entries received after 11:59pm on Sunday, 13th July. This competition is being run entirely by The Velvet Onion, with prizes organised by The Arcola Theatre and AKA.  One entry per person. Any entrants found making multiple entries from the same IP address will be disqualified, and banned from entering further competitions run by The Velvet Onion. The judge’s decision is final. There is no monetary value to this competition and no cash alternative will be offered. The winner must choose their preferred performance to attend prior to confirmation of their seats following discussion with AKA, and dates/performances cannot be changed.  The winner will be responsible for their own travel and/or related expenses. The Velvet Onion reserves the right to withdraw this competition if any overriding issues arise.

Parkinson & Eldon Join Crackanory Series 2

5 Jul

© Dave

Earlier this year we reported that anthology comedy Crackanory would be returning for a second series.

Series 1 included TVO regulars Sharon Horgan, Kevin Eldon, Tom Meeten, Steve Oram, Alex Kirk and John ‘Willie’ Hopkins on screen, whilst the score for the show was composed by Waen Shepherd and two episodes were directed by Gareth Tunley.

Like its predecessor, series 2 will be made and broadcast by UK freeview channel Dave, and will feature top drawer British comedians telling Jackanory style stories for grown ups.

So far, those confirmed for the new series include Vic Reeves, David Mitchell, Meera Syall, Warwick Davies, Ben Miller, Sue Perkins, Johnny Vegas, Ruby Wax – and Katherine Parkinson. Emilia Fox and Simon Callow will lend their voices to the series too, and it’s hoped that a performance by the legend that is Rik Mayall will also be shown.

Writers for the new series include Yonderland and Mitchell and Webb scriptwriter Toby Davies, Holly Walsh and Kevin Eldon, who will be authoring his second story for the show and will also make an appearance in another tale.

The new series will air on Dave in the Autumn.

Rose D’Or Awards Nominations

22 Jun

© Kuba Wieczorek

The nominees for the television, online and radio 2014 Rose d’Or were announced this week, and there are two TVO shows in the shortlist for Best Sitcom!

Toast of London (featuring Matt Berry) and Yonderland (from the Horrible Histories Team) are two of just three nominees in the Best Sitcom category.

Nearly 400 programmes from more than 100 broadcasters and production companies from all over the world were submitted for this year’s Rose d’Or awards, so to be shortlisted for an award is an achievement in itself!

The winners will be decided at the 53rd Rose d’Or Awards ceremony which will be held in Berlin on 17 September. For the full list of nominees, take a look at the Rose D’Or website.

Congratulations to all the nominees, and best of luck to ‘our lot’!

 

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