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Get It Seen

1 Apr

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

© Hen & Chickens

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

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

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

© Bob Pipe

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

TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part Two

2 Jan

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

APRIL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading

TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part One

1 Jan

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

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

JANUARY

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading

Have A Grandee Monday At Hen & Chickens

9 Oct
© Steve Ullathorne / The Grandees

© Steve Ullathorne / The Grandees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Last Reel

8 Sep

The final part of Masters Of Celluloid is available for your perusal now.

The spin-off series from The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains features Warwick Davis as director Stanley Chester, and Colin Hoult as actor Eric Shepherd.  As per usual, Bob Pipe writes and directs, and Waen Shepherd is on scoring duties.

This final episode looks at Chester’s legacy…

If you missed previous episodes, they should all be viewable via the playlist above, and every edition of TDTCTSOOB can be seen again over yonder…

Sucking McGuff, It’s More Masters Of Celluloid

10 Aug

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

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

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

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

Masters Of Celluloid

30 Jul

© Bob Pipe / Channel Flip

If, like us, you’re missing your regular dose of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains, you’ll be pleased to know that a very special spin-off series is now available.

Masters Of Celluloid purports to be a long-lost making of series from the 1950s b-movie serial, but much like the main show, is actually the work of Bob Pipe.  As well as producing and directing the spin-off, Bob has co-written it with legendary film actor Warwick Davis and another regular from these pages, Colin Hoult.

With Davis in character as director Stanley Chester, Colin Hoult as angry hardman actor Eric Shepherd, Ruth Bratt as Chester’s wife and collaborator, and Louie Bayliss as Eric’s special friend “PIckles”, the cast also includes Jamie Glassman, Chris Kendall and Katie Farquhar.

It’s a real treat, extending the universe of …Brains in a fresh and interesting way.  You can see the first two Warwick-centric episodes below.

If you missed the parent show, you can see every episode of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains, featuring a whole host of TVO regulars, over yonder, and read our interview with writers Bob Pipe, James Wren and Phil Whelans right here.

Onion Radio

7 Jul
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

As we mentioned last week, Colin Hoult‘s new 4-part radio series, Carnival of Monsters, starts tomorrow at 10.30pm on BBC Radio 4 extra. The show is based on his live show, so expect the unexpected!

Colin’s is not the only TVO related radio show being broadcast at the moment. Phil Whelans has written and stars in My First Planet, which is repeated on BBC Radio 4 at 6.30pm on Thursdays.

The show, about a colony on a distant planet, also stars Nicholas Lyndhurst, Vicki Pepperdine, Tom Goodman-Hill, Cariad Lloyd and John Dorney. You can catch the first two episodes on BBC iPlayer.

The Brig Society starring Marcus Brigstocke is on Wednesdays on BBC Radio 4 at 6.30pm. This features Marcus being put in charge of something every week with variable success.

The show also stars Rufus Jones, William Andrews (Anna and Katy) and Margaret Cabourn-Smith. You can also catch up on the first two shows on BBC iPlayer.

Brains Redux

1 Jul

Just as we had started to miss The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains - there’s a brand new version of it to savour!

The sitcom-sketch-hybrid from the minds of Bob PipeJames Wren and Phil Whelans arrived on YouTube channel The Multiverse earlier this year, and featured a whole bevvy of TVO regulars in the cast.

Now some of the best bits from the short episodes have been put together into a 30-minute version, which demonstrates how wonderfully the concept would work on television.  Revisit the magic below…

If you missed it earlier this year, you can read our interview with Bob, James & Phil about all things Brains right here

Mankind Sucks Back!

7 Jun

The final installment of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains is now online, as humanity makes one last effort to fight back!

You can see our attempts, once more featuring Richard Glover and co-writers Phil Whelans and James Wren below.  This week also features Warwick Davis, Chris Kendall, Phil Nichol, Terry Alderton, Carey Marx, James Redmond, Rob Rouse, Nick Helm, Ricky Grover & Andre Vincent, and is yet again directed by Bob Pipe.

If you missed previous episodes, you can catch them all again here via this handy playlistand don’t forget to catch our interview with Bob, Phil and James concerning all things …Brains from earlier this week.

Onion Talking: The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains!

5 Jun
© Bob Pipe / Channel Flip

© Bob Pipe / Channel Flip

You’d have to have been living under a rock these last few months not to notice us banging on about a brilliant new web series called The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains.

Jam-packed with TVO regulars, the show is the brainchild of Bob Pipe, and as the show comes to the end of its first run, TVO spoke to Bob and co-writers James Wren and Phil Whelans for the scoop on …Brains.

They came from outer space. Ok, not really. They live in London, but outer space sounds more exciting. Their mission: to suck out our brains. Again, this may be a lie. They’re more interested in stimulating our limbic systems within said organs to make us laugh.

When Forgery Club head honcho Bob Pipe got the call to create his own web-series, he turned to two regular collaborators – Hen & Chickens guru James Wren and improv legend Phil Whelans – to help develop it. The trio are jacks of all comedic trades and masters of several, and the resulting series became The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains, which premiered exclusively on YouTube earlier this year.

The cast list for …Brains reads like a who’s who of alternative comedy, with Richard Glover, Colin Hoult, Waen Shepherd, Alex Kirk, Stephen Evans, Gareth Tunley, Richard Sandling, Neil ColeAntony Elvin and Will Summers all furthering the TVO connections. Phil Whelans is also on hand as recurring scientist Professor Langhorne, who pops up to offer invaluable advice on avoiding brain sucking with his esteemed colleague Dr Von Busey (Glover). Alex Kirk plays the hapless Prime Minister with no clue how to handle the crisis, which sees everyone from Army heroes to spaced out teenagers to simple Northern Folk facing the wrath of the alien invaders. It’s all gloriously silly, and insanely addictive.

“To be fair,” Phil Whelans explains, when asked where it all began, “it was all Bob Pipe’s idea. But if it’s successful, then I’ve always wanted to do it. If not, then I thought it was a terrible idea. This concept is called ‘Schrodinger’s Answer’ – the theoretical concept that, in a lead-lined box with a decaying radioactive particle, my answer to this question exists in two distinct states at the same time.”

Bob Pipe directs Will Summers & Antony Elvin [© Bob Pipe]

“Bob is a go-to guy for filmed comedy,” he adds on a more serious note. “For people who are used to turning up at a venue with a bag of props and just walking on stage, filming stuff can be a bit daunting, but Bob knows how to make it happen.”

…Brains has been gestating in Bob Pipe’s mind for many years, with an early version of it forming Bob’s end of year project in his Media Studies HND back in 1999. “We only had a shitty S-Video camera, video deck editing and no proper actors at our disposal,” Bob remembers. “I knew I was limited at what I could make, so I decided to make a B-Movie! I tried to remake it when I was the In-House Director for [now defunct website] ComedyBox, but I never got round to it. Me and a friend tried to pitch it to Channel 4’s Comedy Blap initiative a few years ago but it never got picked up.  But I’ve never given up on the idea, so I pitched it again to Channel Flip when I heard about The Multiverse, who loved it. The rest is history. Or perhaps, the future?” Continue reading

Prime Sucker

31 May

The latest installment of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains is now online.

This week, Professor Langhorne and Dr. Von Busey (Phil Whelans and Richard Glover), have a meeting with the Prime Minister (Alex Kirk), about the global epidemic of brain sucking. Can it be too late for mankind?

Stay peeled to TVO this weekend for an exclusive interview with writers Bob PipeJames Wren and Phil Whelans about all things …Brains – and check out previous episodes featuring the likes of Gareth TunleyWaen ShepherdColin HoultAntony ElvinWill SummersRichard Sandling and many more with this handy playlist over yonder.

First Contact

16 May

The latest edition of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains is now online for your peepers to cast their gaze upon.

This week, the leading faiths of our land join forces to try and fend off the alien invaders, and there’s a surprise waiting in Professor Langhorne’s laboratory…

Joining Richard Glover and Phil Whelans this week are none other than TVO regulars Colin HoultAntony ElvinWill Summers alongside the likes of Louie Bayliss, Nathaniel Tapley, Jamie Glassman and Toby Williams.

For those who don’t know, TDTCTSOOB is the brainchild of one Bob Pipe, and is co-written with Phil Whelans and James Wren.  New episodes air each week exclusively on The Multiverse,   and many of the team behind it – including composer Waen Shepherd – can be seen at this Friday’s Forgery Club on London’s South Bank.  For more info, visit this earlier peeling.

Pipe recently spoke to friend of TVO, John Dredge, on behalf of comedy website Comedy Chords, and you can read the results here.  TVO has also been having words with Bobo, and his co-writers Whelans & Wren, and we’ll be bringing you our report on all things …Brains soon, so stay peeled!

Forged Hope

10 May

The latest installment in the gloriously silly web series The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains has emerged online.

This week’s episode from the minds of Bob PipeJames Wren and Phil Whelans features the return of the latter and Richard Glover, with more brain sucking victims including a Blackpool cabaret singer, played by Waen Shepherd and Wren’s chain smoking live wire surgeon.  Meanwhile, Mason Philips minister is not so lucky…

If you’re enjoying …Brains, don’t forget that the team behind it are staging two cult comedy nights in the coming weeks.

Bob Pipe is bringing back his wonderful on-off club night The Forgery Club on Friday, May 17th at The Udderbelly, Southbank.  The 80s special will see the return of swash-buckling time travelers Umbrage Swain & Burton Latimer (played by Wren & Glover), on a mission to solve the Mystery of the Missing Giant Purple Upside Down Cow.

They’ll be accompanied by the mighty Gary Le Strange, along with Dave McNeill, Modern Dreams, Terry Alderton and some surprises, so grab your tickets whilst you can over yonder!

James Wren is also reviving his own popular club-night, Spank in June and July at the same venue, with the show on June 7th featuring Isy Suttie, Vicki Stone, David Armand, Rhys Mathewson and No Son Of Mine – aka Rufus Jones and Alex Kirk.  The following show on July 5th features Tony LawHot Brew, Phil Nichol and Anil Desai, and more info and ticket links can be found over there.

How To Survive Without Your Brain

3 May

In this next installment of the Brain Sucking Saga, Earth people are standing up to the Alien Invasion.

Tips on how to avoid having your brain sucked out include wearing the latest in tin foil headgear, and staying indoors.

Richard Sandling and Neil Cole join in the fun this week, as you can see below.

The Wrath Of Ken

28 Apr

More Brain Sucking action from the Multiverse gang. This week Roger and Brenda meet Ken, leader and only member of The Resistance, except for his broom.

With a message from the Prime Minister (Alex Kirk) and cameos from husband and wife duo Waen Shepherd and Katy Derby as hapless tourists, this is another great installment from Bob PipeJames WrenPhil Whelans and the team.

There’ll be more next week, and you can check out previous episodes here.

The Road To Death!

19 Apr

Not a nasty case of Motorway Madness, but the latest episode of The Day They Came to Suck out Our Brains from The Multiverse – the new online portal for sci-fi related silliness from Warwick Davies.

The ten part web-show is from the genius minds of Bob Pipe, James Wren and Phil Whelans, and features music from Waen Shepherd.

The new episode tells us what happens when a woman has her brain sucked out! All is revealed below.

The Multiverse Keeps Going

11 Apr

The Multiverse – that glorious new online portal for sci-fi related silliness from Warwick Davies – has unleashed two new TVO flavoured slices of nonsense to savour.

The latest edition of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains was released today, and features Alex Kirk as the Prime Minister, with Stephen Evans as his advisor Brain Brian.  You can see the results below.

The ten part web-show is from the genius minds of Bob PipeJames Wren and Phil Whelans, and features music from Waen Shepherd and a large ensemble cast including Colin Hoult, Richard Glover, Gareth Tunley Pros From Dover star Sean Garratt, Chris Kendall, Lizzie Roper, Kerry Gilbert and Multiverse mastermind Warwick Davies.  TVO can also exclusively reveal that two more TVO regulars will be making an appearance in the coming weeks: none other than Antony Elvin and Will Summers, so stay tuned for that!

Gareth Tunley has also uploaded a fun Multiverse sketch of his own: The Day The Earth Kept Going.  It stars Mike Wozniak as a blathering UFO spotter with a dislike of YouTube commentators, and can be seen below.

For more fun, subscribe to The Multiverse right here.

Wade McGuff And The Brain Suckers!

4 Apr

Episode two of The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains is now live, and it’s another corker from the team.

Written once again by Bob PipePhil Whelans and James Wren, and directed by Bob as well, Episode Two features none other than Colin Hoult as rough, tough Wade McGuff, and he doesn’t give a chuff.

Don’t get in a huff, if he can’t save us from this stuff, just watch til you’ve had enough. Next week – a puff!

Sorry. Got caught in rhyme there. This episode also features Jason Attar, Louie Bayliss and James Wren. With a corking mini-theme for McGuff from Waen Shepherd, and Colin being typically charasmatic, it’s another great installment of a frightfully silly new webshow.

If you missed episode one, which featured Gareth TunleyStephen Evans and Richard Glover, you can catch up below – and no doubt we’ll see all three of them again, plus co-stars Alex Kirk, Warwick Davis and the show’s writers in the weeks to come.

The Sucking Draws Nearer

22 Mar

© Multiverse

The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains grows ever nearer, and the mastermind behind it all, Mr Bob Pipe (of Forgery Club & TVO Live fame!) has unleashed a new trailer for this stonking great web series.

Featuring the likes of Colin HoultStephen EvansRichard GloverGareth Tunley, Waen Shepherd and Phil Whelans – who features prominently in this second trailer as a studious scientist – the series also features Life’s Too Short star Warwick Davis, Dead Boss star Lizzie Roper and many more, including Hen & Chickens head honcho James Wren!  You can see the results below.

The first episode will be unleashed very soon, so subscribe to Warwick Davis’ new comedy portal MultiverseOfficial in order to get first dibs, and we’ll bring you a link as soon as we can.

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