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Bad Sugar Decayed

22 Jul

The proposed six-part series Bad Sugar has become a victim of success, having been cancelled by Channel 4.

© Phil Fisk

The show was to follow the original pilot episode last year – a twisted spoof of telenovellas written by Sam Bain & Jesse Armstrong (Peep ShowFour Lions and Fresh Meat), and starring Julia DavisSharon Horgan, Olivia Colman, Reece Shearsmith, Kayvan Novak, Peter Serafinowicz, David Bradley and Julia Deakin.

That pilot, which aired almost a year ago, was filmed before most of its incredibly talented cast went off to do hugely successful “other things”.  The wonderful Olivia Colman won two BAFTA gongs earlier this year, and leads the cast of smash hit ITV drama Broadchurch alongside David Tennant.  Julia Davis, of course, has also been winning awards aplenty for Hunderby, which is set to return for a second series, and Sharon Horgan is currently working Stateside on the US version of her cult show Pulling.

Shearsmith has since starred in A Field In England and has a number of exciting projects on the go, and Serafinowicz is about to direct his first feature.  David Bradley and Julia Deakin are as in demand as they have always been, with the former starring as legendary Doctor Who actor William Hartnell in forthcoming biopic An Adventure In Time And Space.  And the wonderful duo of Bain & Armstrong are working on more Peep Show and Fresh Meat, which go from strength to strength for the channel.

Channel 4’s head of comedy Phil Clarke broke the news to trade publication Broadcast, stating: ‘In the end, it proved impossible to bring all the talent – writing and performing – together at the same time for a series.’

Sad times, but perhaps to be expected. We can, at least, revisit the delightful pilot episode via 4oD below.

The Velvet Onion Calendar 2013

31 Dec

The Velvet Onion is pleased to continue its tradition of a yearly Calendar, available for free download!

calendarpics

Once again we’ve been working with a number of our friends both in front of the camera and behind it, to bring you twelve great months to print out and stick up on your wall between January 1st and December 31st.

With yet another new design from Velveteer Lauren “Lozzy” Taylor, based on our fresh looking website layout, we really hope you like the results – which are available for a free download now.

GET YOUR FREE 2013 CALENDAR BY CLICKING HERE NOW!

Thank you to everyone involved, and to all of you – our dearest Peelers – for a truly fantastic 2012… Happy New Year everyone, and here’s to a glorious 2013 for all!

Talk About Bad Sugar

3 Oct

What is the secret to writing a hit show? Bad Sugar and Four Lions writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong might be able to tell you a thing or two about just that as they will be having a BAFTA masterclass.

Bain and Armstrong are no strangers to writing sitcoms and comedy programmes. The fact that Peep Show, Bad Sugar and The Thick Of It are just a few of the highly acclaimed projects the pair have behind them speaks volumes.

The writers will be holding their own BAFTA masterclass on Wednesday, 10th October, to speak about what they do best – screenwriting. Author and journalist Tom Sutcliffe will be there to make Bain and Armstrong spill on everything from their creative process to how they manage to keep themselves in the game. Whether you’re an aspiring screenwriter, Peep show fan or just a mere mortal, you will enjoy this session.

The event will take place at Princess Anne Theatre, BAFTA, at 7pm on 10th October. Tickets are available now. For further details visit the BAFTA website.

Bad Sugar Sweetens Channel 4

13 Sep

© Phil Fisk

Bad Sugar – the one-off grandiose soap-spoof featuring Julia DavisSharon Horgan and Olivia Coleman, is set to return.

The spoof of Dallas and Dynasty, given a thoroughly British twist, was one of the highlights of the recent Funny Fortnight for the broadcaster.

Written by Peep Show and Four Lions writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, it featured Horgan as Lucy Caldwell, the newly wed wife of closet-homosexual Rolph – brilliantly played with pompous stupidity by Peter Serafinowicz – alongside Rolph’s sisters: the wicked, devious Daphne (Davis) and kindhearted simpleton Joan (Coleman).

With a cast rounded out by Reece Shearsmith, Kayvan Novak, David Bradley and Julia Deakin – this top notch cast and hugely talented writing team was a surefire hit, and with its director Ben Palmer also being responsible for Star Stories, Penelope Princess Of Pets and Milton Jones House Of Rooms (as well as The Inbetweeners and its movie spin-off) – we at TVO were all really hoping it would return.

Now Channel 4 have announced new episodes will air next year, with their acting head of comedy Nerys Evans, telling Chortle: ‘We’re delighted to announce a series of Bad Sugar, not only with the brilliant writing talents of Sam and Jesse but also starring the country’s most ridiculously talented comedy cast.’

We hope to bring you more news on the show’s return when it happens, so stay peeled. In the meantime, you can see the pilot via 4oD below.

A Taste of Bad Sugar

19 Aug

© Channel 4

If you’re anything like us, you’ll be anticipating the screening of Bad Sugar, the new series featuring Julia Davis, Sharon Horgan and Olivia Coleman, with giddy excitement. Channel 4 have now released 2 clips from the first episode, and it looks to be a real corker!

Click here to view the ‘meeting the family’ clip and here to view the ‘oh dear’ clip (apologies – we think it’s UK viewers only, but with any luck some of our overseas peelers may be able to view them). With Davis oozing unhinged darkness as only she can, and hilarious performances from Horgan, Coleman, Kayvan Novak and Reece Shearsmith too, they’re well worth a look.

Don’t forget Bad Sugar airs on Channel 4 at 10pm on Sunday 26th August. We can’t wait!

Funny Fortnight Favourites!

13 Aug

© Channel 4

Details have emerged of the exact transmission times for much of the programming in Channel 4’s Funny Fortnight – which features a number of TVO faces in new productions and old favourites.

These include Julia Davis and Sharon Horgan in Bad SugarMatt Berry in Toast Of London  Kevin Eldon and Colin Hoult appearing in The Function Room and repeats of The IT CrowdGarth Marenghi’s DarkplaceBrass EyeJam and more.

The season will also include new material from Vic & Bob and Harry Hill, archive programming long forgotten, stand-up from the likes of Steve Coogan, Lee Evans and Peter Kay, plus a count-down of the Top 30 Comedy Shows in the history of Channel 4.

© Talkback Productions

The special season starts this Thursday night (Aug 16th) with the broadcast of Peter Kay’s latest live show, followed by Phonejacker spin-off Verry Terry from Kayvan Novak.  The first TVO flavoured show crops up after these – with a repeat showing of the infamous Brass Eye at 11:30pm.

Not too long afterwards, the early hours of Friday 17th bring us a repeat of Russell Brand And Friends at 1:10am, which featured a memorable appearance from Paul Kaye as Mike Strutter.  Another Onion flavoured repeat comes along on Saturday night (Aug 18th) with another chance to see a firm favourite from The IT Crowd.  Series two opener The Work Outing is the chosen episode, which of course, was the one with the gay musical, the disabled toilet, and Richmond’s missing copy of Heat.

© Phil Fisk

Sunday evening (Aug 19th), sees the first new show to feature TVO faces, in the form of star-packed trad-sitcom The Function Room.  In this pilot episode, police officers hold a public meeting to discuss crime in the local area.  However, their plans for the event get derailed when it emerges local residents only want to talk about one thing – a notorious criminal with a highly offensive alias.

The Fucntion Room stars the legendary Kevin Eldon, League Of Gentlemen/Psyschoville star Reece Shearsmith, Fast Show favourite Simon Day, and The Vicar Of Dibley‘s James Fleet, alongside Paul Ritter, Daniel Rigby, Blake Harrison and our very own Colin Hoult!  Eldon portrays unflappable Inspector Marks, who wants to present a human face to the force, but is just a little bit weird.  Meanwhile Hoult and Josephine Bulter play local well-to-do couple Stuart & Marina, who effortlessly rub all the other locals up the wrong way.

A few hours later, early into Monday, Aug 20th, is a very rare chance to see a compilation episode of The 11 O’Clock Show from 1999.  The satirical news-based show was a breeding ground for comedic talent – launching the careers of Iain Lee, Daisy Donovan, Sacha Baron Cohen, Mackenzie Crook and Ricky Gervais.  It also brought to prominence Rich Hall’s blossoming UK career, and boasted a fine writing staff which included James Bachman, Rhys ThomasTony WayPhil Whelans, Charlie Brooker and Stephen Merchant, and one of it’s associate producers was none other than Spencer Millman!

© Kuba Wierczorek

Monday 20th is, perhaps, the biggest night for Onion fans – starting with the première of Toast Of London at 10pm- written by Matt Berry and Arthur Matthews, and starring Matt alongside Robert Bathurst, Geoff McGivern,  Tracy-Ann Oberman and Lee Cornes.  With that fantastic cast behind it, the lineage of both it’s writers, and the hilarious preview clip which appeared online recently, we’ve marked this one down as a must-see.

© Dan Goldsmith

Not long afterwards, the repeats kick in, with a re-run of Steve Coogan‘s 1994 live show Live & Lewd at 11:40pm, preceded by a new introduction from the comic.  This is followed by a repeat episode of Chris Morris‘ dark and devious project Jam featuring Kevin Eldon and Julia Davies, followed by a very rare chance to see Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace back on our screens with the classic episode, Skipper The Eye-Child.

For those who don’t know, Darkplace aired not long before the first series of The Mighty Boosh, and this sci-fi horror spoof featuring Matthew HolnessRichard AyoadeAlice LoweMatty BerryKim NobleStuart Silver and occasionally, Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding too {though not in this episode, sadly} was a golden nugget of genius which sorely deserves en-mass reappraisal.

Things go a little quiet on the Onion front for a while after that, beyond Friday night’s short editions of Baby Cow’s Comedy Blaps which will feature the voice of Steve Coogan, but with the promise of Julia Davies & Sharon Horgan‘s Bad Sugar, repeats of Anna & Katy, Star Stories  and Black Books, plus the countdown of Channel 4’s greatest comedy shows ever still to come at some point between the 25th and the 31st, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the schedules for any news worth shouting about.

In the meantime, enjoy the gallery of images from Bad Sugar below.  With the likes of Olivia Colman, Reece Shearsmith, Peter Serafinowicz, Greg Davis & Kayvan Novak joining Davis & Horgan, this is looking likely to be an absolute cracker!

Funny Fortnight Forthcoming!

20 Jul

© Channel 4

Channel 4 have released more details of their Funny Fortnight next month, which features more than a smattering of TVO regulars and influences.

Over 30 hours of programming across two weeks of television, the season promises brand new shows, excellent stand up and familiar faces staging their returns to the channel.

A new video preview over on the Channel 4 press website showcases highlights from some of the channel’s flagship shows, and offers an exclusive look at a number of exciting specials.

© Tiger Aspect Productions

Amongst these new shows is Bad Sugar – written by Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong of Peep Show and Four Lions fame.  It combines three of comedy’s biggest names of the moment – Julia DavisSharon Horgan and Olivia Colman, and centres on a dysfunctional, wealthy mining dynasty, with an ailing patriarch and some greedy siblings.

The show also stars David Bradley, Peter Serafinowicz, Kayvan Novak and Reece Shearsmith, and it’s producer is Derren Schlesinger – who was previously responsible for both Four Lions and Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy.  Undoubtedly one of the most exciting shows on telly in some time, this Tiger Aspect Productions show has real potential to be a smash hit.

© Objective Productions

Also set to première is Toast Of London, the new sitcom pilot by Matt Berry and Father Ted/Big Train creator Arthur Matthews.  Matt stars as successful actor Steven Toast, who has recently made a career faux pass by electing to star in a controversial west end stage play.

Recently divorced, and attacked in the street by members of appalled public, the previously much loved actor auditions for a role in the long running television series, Inspector Somerset.  However, it’s producer has been imprisoned for racial chanting on set, so Toast auditions for the part of a gay corrupt detective during prisoner’s visiting time.  Made by Objective Productions, we’re keen to see if this show lives up to its potential.

Other new shows include: Them From That Thing  – a two part sketch show featuring Kayvan Novak, Sally Phillips and many more, co-written by one Charlie BrookerThe Function Room - a traditional looking sitcom featuring the likes of Reece Shearsmith, Kevin Eldon, Simon Day and James Fleet; Lucky Sexy Winners - a new panel show from Vic Reeves & Bob Mortimer; Very Terry - a Phonejacker spin off from Kayvan Novak focusing on car salesman Terry Tibbs; Harry Hill: The Reunion - in which the madcap comic seeks out the cast of his old Channel 4 show to find out “where are they now?”; The Boyle Variety Performance  – a spoof of the annual royal-attended show from Frankie Boyle; Just Around The Corner  – from the creators of Drop The Dead Donkey; and I’m Spazticus  – a prank show featuring disabled performers which has been seven years in development since its pilot aired in 2005.

© Avalon Productions

And that’s not all!  As we previously reported, Channel 4 are counting down their 30 Greatest Comedy Shows, which will feature the Onion flavoured vehicles Garth Marenghi’s DarkplaceThe IT CrowdBrass EyeFather TedStar StoriesSpacedBlack Books, and Friday Night Dinner. 

These classics will be up against the likes of The Comic Strip Presents, Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out, The Adam & Joe Show,  Da Ali G Show, Trigger Happy TV, Pheonix Nights, Bo’ Selecta!, Peep Show, Green Wing and The Inbetweeners and more.

© Talkback Thames

The channel have also turned to the writers of classic shows to name their favourite episodes, which will air across the fortnight.  These include Graham Linehan‘s favourite ever The IT Crowd  and Father TedChris Morris‘s legendary Brass Eye; mockumentary series Star Stories which featured Fergus CraigAlice Lowe, Tom MeetenLaura PatchRhys Thomas and Dolly Wells in it’s expansive cast; plus episodes of Spaced, The Inbetweeners, Peep Show and Vic Reeves Big Night Out.

There’s also a chance to catch tv premieres of live shows from Alan Carr, Peter Kay, Lee Evans and Micky Flanagan, plus the early and rare Vic & Bob special The Weekenders, Harry Endfield one-off Norbert Smith: A Life and Peter Cook’s interview with Clive Andersonplus editions of Comedy Labs featuring Dynamo, Peter Kay, Karl Pilkington and TVO’s very own Anna And Katy!  Plus we’ll still have The Midnight Beast featuring Simon Farnaby every Thursday too!

Phew – we think we’ll need a lie-down after all that!  Exciting times indeed.  We’ll aim to bring you a complete run-down of exactly when each show will air as soon as possible, so stay peeled.  In the mean time, check out the video preview over on the Channel 4 press website – and you can pick up a string of Channel 4 classics in The Velvet Onion Amazon Store.

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