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“That’s Our Slot!” – BBC Three Axed To Drive Cost Cutting With Aunty

5 Mar

Digital channel BBC Three is to be dropped from Freeview, satellite and cable, as part of the BBC’s drive to save £100 million, it has been announced.


The station, which focuses mostly on comedy and reality television aimed at ‘young adults’, is to move entirely online, with its shows living on exclusively on iPlayer.

The decision follows director general Tony Hall’s speech last week, in which he stated that “tough choices” were needed, and that the BBC was “in the final stages of a budget process to find an extra £100m of savings.”

Launched in 2003, BBC Three was responsible for a number of big name projects featuring TVO regulars – amongst them The Mighty Boosh, Mongrels, Snuffbox, Nighty Night, Dead Boss, Pulling, Tittybangbang, Being Human, How Not To Live Your Life and AD/BC: A Rock Opera.


However, in recent years, alternative comedy on the channel faced tough times, as it focused more on reality programming – though the last few months had seen something of a resurgence with popular shows like Cuckoo and Uncle pulling in viewers.

News of the closure has come under significant public backlash, which may reserve the decision as was previously the case for both 6 Music and Asian Network.  Yet with the continuation of the service as an online alternative, and the recent resurrection of BBC Two as a hub for alternative comedy via hit shows like It’s Kevin, House Of Fools and Inside No. 9, perhaps this won’t be such a bad thing after all…

To commemorate the channel’s past successes, we’ve set up a special section in The Velvet Onion Amazon Store, celebrating some of their finest achievements which feature a cavalcade of TVO regulars. You can peruse the collection over yonder now.

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.


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

Hoult Meets The Irish

12 Oct

© Channel 4

Every once in a while, the enormous scope of Onion Land means we miss a moment of TVO goodness, and whenever that happens, and we find out afterwards, we put our tails between our legs and tell you anyway, because we know you care.

Such is the case with a surprise appearance in this week’s edition of new Channel 4 sitcom London Irish, which aired on Tuesday.

The show starring former Being Human star Sinnead Keenan, alongside Kerr Logan, Peter Campion and Kat Reagan covers the misadventures of four foul-mouthed, drink-loving Irish twenty-somethings living in London.  It’s oddly charming in spite of the venomous language, with savage wit and great performances, so we’re keen to keep an eye on it, even if it’s not something we’d feature normally.

Until that is, a certain Colin Hoult rocked up in this week’s episode, as a lonely man in a dressing gown, with a rather interesting way of spending a night in.

You can catch up with the episode in question over on 4oD now, as well as the show’s YouTube page.

US Gets Being Human Series 5

1 Jun


US fans of the UK version of Being Human can look forward to a summer of blood lust and a few TVO regulars on their TV screens.

Series 5 will be shown on BBC America from Saturday, July 13 at 10:00pm ET/PT as part of the channel’s Supernatural Saturday. As regular Peelers will already be aware, we’re particularly excited about this series because it includes appearances by Julian Barratt and Colin Hoult, who joins the permanent cast for several episodes (in brilliant scene-stealing form!).

Furthermore, this series marks the final instalment of the show – and without giving anything away for those of you who are still waiting to see it, it doesn’t disappoint!

Kevin’s Latest Cameo is Something to Bragg About

12 May

© Billy Bragg/Ricky Grover

The video for (self-proclaimed Mighty Boosh fan) Billy Bragg’s next single, Highwayman Blues, looks set to be a good ‘un – it boasts a list of cameos as long as your arm (assuming you have pretty long arms), including Kevin Eldon.

Directed by Johnny Vegas, who popped up in It’s Kevin, and who also has a tendency to advertise tea bags with a talking monkey, the clip is going to have quite a few other famous faces dotted around it too.

Anyone who watches it might also spot Ricky Grover – who played werewolf Bobby alongside Colin Hoult in Being Human; The Alternative Comedy Experience mastermind, Stewart Lee; and Noel Fielding’s Never Mind The Buzzcocks adversary Phill Jupitus.

For what it’s worth, the video also stars Neil Morrisey, Andy Nyman and Ross Noble (and if that’s not enough for you, here’s a pretty funky photo on the left that we made earlier…*)

*Not really. Grover put it up on Twitter.

Being Human Extra

5 Apr


The 5th and final series of BBC Three’s Being Human comes out on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday (8th April).

As all regular readers know, this series featured a guest role for Julian Barratt as Werewolf Larry Chrysler – a former TV Weather Man, and a recurring role for Colin Hoult as Crumb – the new Vampire who gets revenge on his old work colleagues.

The show is about a Werewolf, Ghost and Vampire who share a house and try to live a normal life, but stuff just keeps happening to them. The final series leads up to what could be the end of the World, or at least the end of the World as we know it.

The DVD and Blu-ray contain an exclusive extra scene set after the final episode!

You can also get all five series together as a box set, previous series have had guest appearances by Laura Patch and Submarine‘s Craig Roberts.

As always, the DVD and Blu-ray are available from  TVO Store.

If you want to see more Being Human, the US series is starting on Watch at 9pm on Thursday 11th April. The series was written by Toby Whithouse, so fingers crossed!

Something For The Weekend?

14 Feb

© BBC Three

We’ve mentioned a few times in passing that Julian Barratt will be appearing in the third episode of the current series of Being Human. But then this rather spendid new photo was released by the BBC and we figured it was the perfect excuse for another reminder!

Tune in this Sunday at 10pm on BBC Three to see Julian as deluded werewolf Larry. You can watch a short clip of his performance on the show via our earlier post here.

Colin Hoult will be reprising his role as vampire Crumb, and if you play your cards right we may have a new photo of Crumb to share with you next week…

Being Colin

9 Feb

New pictures from this weeks episode of Being Human have been released including some good ones of Colin Hoult.

© BBC/Touchpaper

© BBC/Touchpaper

As we mentioned last week Colin is new vampire Crumb in Being Human and it looks like he will have a significant part to play after being recruited by the mysterious Mr Rook.

© BBC/Touchpaper

© BBC/Touchpaper

More information about the show can be found here including last week’s episode.

Hoult On Sunday

3 Feb

© Idil Sukan / Draw HQ

There’s a chance to catch Colin Hoult performing brand new material in London this weekend.

The comic genius is making his debut on BBC Three hit Being Human at 10pm this Sunday evening, but he can be found in person at the Hope & Anchor on Upper Street in Islington.

Watching Hoult work out new stuff is always a fascinating experience, so if you’re in the area, and fancy seeing Colin alongside comic Johnny Donahoe get on down there for 8pm!

Picture Preview: Barratt & Hoult In Being Human 5

29 Jan

The launch of Being Human Series 5 is fast approaching, and with it comes a handful of images of the cast in character – including our very own Julian Barratt and Colin Hoult as werewolf Larry and vampire Crumb, respectively.

© BBC / Touchpaper

© BBC / Touchpaper

Both actors feature in the main series image featured above, which we brought you last week – but now the embargo has been lifted on showing you another little glimpse of the two in action.  With each character looking as if they’re up to no good, it seems they will put the new trinity of vampire Hal, werewolf Tom and ghost Alex to the test as the threesome try to stay under the radar at Honolulu Heights.

© BBC/Touchpaper

© BBC/Touchpaper

The six part series begins on Sunday 3rd February at 10pm on BBC Three.  Colin appears throughout the run, with Julian set to guest star in Episode Three.  With hints about characters from Series Four making a reappearance, there’s also a possibility that Laura Patch may return during the run – though we must stress this is completely down to speculation on the part of TVO – we know no more than every other viewer!

© BBC/Touchpaper

© BBC/Touchpaper

You can see the series trailer below, and catch the last two episodes on Series Four on iPlayer to whet your appetite. For more news on all things Being Human, check out the official BBC website now.

Crumbs! It’s Colin!

24 Jan

As the fifth series of Being Human looms ever closer, we’ve finally got our first glimpse of Colin Hoult as vampire villain Crumb.



The show returns to BBC3 at 10pm on Sunday, February 3rd – with Julian Barrat also set to appear as deluded werewolf Larry, whose cardboard cut-out you can just about make-out upturned bottom left.   With a return appearance of Laura Patch as goth poet turned vampire Michaela not beyond the realms of possibility, as the show’s creative team have teased for the return of some characters from last year, we really can’t wait to see more!

A handful of press images featuring Colin & Julian in more detail have been released, but these are embargoed until Tuesday, January 29th – so come back here then to see them!  For more info on the return of the show, visit this earlier peeling.

Bark At The (Howard) Moon: A Real Horror Show For Colin & Julian!

14 Jan


News of Julian Barrat and Colin Hoult‘s roles in Series Five of Being Human has emerged via sci-fi magazine SFX.

The action packed show starring Michael Socha, Damien Molony and Kate Bracken as werewolf Tom, vampire Hal and ghost Alex will be returning to our screens very soon – possibly by the end of the month, but likely to be February 3rd – and the six part run will see the trio now running the Barry Grant Hotel.

However, life is never going to be cozy for our supernatural friends, and those wicked vampires are typically up to no good.  This time around, their number includes the villanous Crumb, played by our very own Colin Hoult.  A recurring character, who crops up in the first episode, he’ll be around for at least two thirds of the run – with Episode 4 pegged as his “big episode” by SFX.

Indeed, the show’s official Series 5 synopsis, revealed back in December, gives more of a peek into how important Colin’s character will be to the run – stating: “When Hal recruits Crumb as a vampire and welcomes him to the supernatural world, the meek becomes mighty and we see what happens when a bullied man finds his bite.”  Exciting times ahead, then!

Meanwhile, Julian Barratt will be appearing in (at least) Episode Three, as what’s been described as “a deluded werewolf named Larry”.  Whether he returns in more episodes is currently uncertain, but we can’t wait to see the results.  The magazine also teased that the finale will see a number of returning cameos – including some last seen in Series 4, so we’re hoping Laura Patch‘s Michaela, last seen accompanying Mark Williams’ comic foil Regus, will be amongst them.


In the meantime, you can catch up with repeats of Series 4 via iPlayer now – with Patch’s guest role from last year available for the next seven days.  See it again right here!

For more details, check out the latest edition of SFX, on newstands all month.

Being Barratt

7 Dec

© The Times

Earlier this year, we broke the news that Colin Hoult would be joining the cast of Being Human in the new year, for the fifth season of the sci-fi smash.  Today, we learnt that he won’t be alone from the realm of TVO!

Appearing in the guest role of Larry in one episode will be none other than Julian Barratt!  The jazz maverick can be seen briefly in a trailer for the new season on BBC3, over on their official website brandishing some kind of weapon at the camera.

For the uninitiated, Being Human tells the story of a house-share between a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost.  It’s original stars, Aiden Turner and Sinead Keenan departed at the end of its third series, whilst Lenora Crichlow and Mongrels guest star Russell Tovey left during series four earlier this year – with an explosive finale featuring the likes of Mark Gatiss, no less.


The show is surrounded in secrecy, so it may be some time yet before we find out more about Colin & Julian’s roles, but they’re joining stars Michael Socha, Damien Molony and Kate Bracken as werewolf Tom, vampire Hal and ghost Alex for at least one episode each, and we’ll be bringing you more news as soon as we can.


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