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Crims From Kay & Swimer

24 Oct

BBC Three has announced a forthcoming sitcom written and created by two writers with previous TVO connections.

© BBC Comedy

© BBC Comedy

Crims follows straight-laced Luke, (stand-up comic Elis James), who is unwittingly led into trouble by his girlfriend’s brother Jasaon (Kadiff Kirwan).  Sentenced to two years in a Young Offenders Institution, Luke will have to rely on Jason’s street smarts to get him through. Unfortunately, Jason is a massive idiot.

It comes from the pens of Dan Swimer, whose past credits include Grandma’s HouseHow TV Ruined Your Life, Big Fat Quiz of the Year and Never Mind The Buzzcocks; and Adam Kay, writer on Mongrels and Anna and Katy, as well as a comedian in his own right and frontman of the band Amateur Transplants.

With a supporting cast including Doctor Who legend Sylvester McCoy, what TVO has seen from a sneak preview is a witty, oddly charming show packed with great gags, and we’ll aim to bring you more news on the show as soon as possible.  Crims is set to air in January.

Mongrels Return – To Dave

14 Jun

© Alexandra Thompson

Although it’s not quite the return we had hoped for, series one of Mongrels is set to air on Dave from Monday 30th June at 3.15am!

As regular readers know Adam Miller‘s foul-mouthed puppet show featured Tony Way as Gary, the owner of a South London pub that just so happens to be surrounded by vermin – from meek metrosexual fox Nelson (Rufus Jones), and his best friend, simpleton feline Marion (Dan Tetsell), to psychopathic champion vulpine swearer Vince (Paul Kaye), and deranged, scheming pigeon Kali (Katy Brand). With Gary’s pedigree chav dog Destiny (Lucy Montgomery) completing the line up, the show was an instant cult smash, until it was axed by BBC3 a couple of years ago.

Dave is a digital channel and part of the UKTV network, who are now making original content for their channels, including the recent revival of BBC 2’s cult favourite Red Dwarf. UKTV Gold has also recently announced that they have the rights to show the final Monty Python live show, so they are obviously serious about investing in content for their channels.

If you can’t wait to see Mongrels again, you can get both series from TVO Store.

Wee Paper People

1 Jun

Regular readers of TVO might remember Paper People – cut out and keep paper models of your favourite TVO folk. We’ve just revisited the site and there are many, many more characters for you to cut out and keep. How many do you recognise from the pictures below?

If you can’t wait to get your hands on your own Wee Paper People, all you have to do is click on the website, download your favourites then print and assemble. Assembly instructions are on the site.

If you want something more personal, the creator of all these fantastic models, Sally Grosart, can make personalised little people of your friends and family, or personalised cards or banners. To contact Sally and see the rest of her creations click here.

“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 Four

4 Jan

Hello and a warm welcome to the final part of our Review of 2013. Although October to December may feel like it only just happened, prepare to be amazed by how much you’ve forgotten. We were, but then we’re getting on a  bit.

So here are the best bits from the fourth quarter of the year – cherry-picked from news stories about both our regulars and a few new faces too. Enjoy.


October was the month that Booshmania returned.  Just as the fantastic Behind the Boosh exhibition started its run at Proud Camden, showcasing the history of that most Mighty of comedic troops via the majesty of Dave Brown‘s photography, the boys were back in town.  Or rather, on the pier, as The Mighty Boosh went from the Soho Theatre to Tenacious D’s Festival Supreme in LA. A final (chaotic) UK warm-up show and a further run through at The Comedy Store, almost halted by a Visa saga, paved the way for a live performance that turned out to be one of the Festival’s highlights. Fan forums and social media platforms were buzzing with photos, footage and reviews of the show.

Another announcement that got us more than a bit over-excited in October was the news that Ben Wheatley is to direct the first 2 episodes of the next series of Doctor Who, starring the new Time Lord, Peter Capaldi. How good is that!?  We’re itching to see what happens when you combine one of the UK’s finest directors with its biggest export, now in the capable hands of an Oscar-winning acting legend to boot.  You can see the moment Capaldi became the Doctor in the 2013 Xmas special below…

More telly stuff, with the launch of Matt Berry’s new series, Toast Of London.  We’d been itching to see it since the pilot back in 2012, and it did not disappoint…

Elsewhere, Richard Ayoade established himself as a permanent fixture on prime time panel shows with a stint as team captain on Was It Something I Said? on Channel 4. Ayoade’s intellectual sparring with host David Mitchell certainly made our Sunday evenings feel a bit more highbrow!

What else?  Well, in movie news, there was an update on the cast for Paul King‘s long-awaited Paddington Bear feature film, which included mention of Rufus Jones and James Bachman. To end the month, TVO artists offered us a veritable smorgasbord of comedy options for Halloween night’s out, with special spooky performances from Colin Hoult and Richard Sandling.  And we were sad to lose the talented comedy actor Felix Dexter, who died at the too-young age of 52. He left behind an incredible legacy of great TV performances on shows like Bellamy’s PeopleAbsolutely Fabulous, The Fast ShowKnowing Me Knowing You… With Alan Partridge, Mongrels and Alexei Sayle’s Merry Go Round to name but a few. He will be much misse, and would typically hate all this fuss about him, so let’s remember him with one of his silliest moments – dancing for Sport Relief alongside Rhys Thomas and Lucy Montgomery.  What a dude.

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88 Keys for Big Talk Talent!

29 Nov
© Tim Minchin

© Tim Minchin

In series-universe, The Velvet Onion was a happening nightclub frequented by Vince Noir and his cohorts.  In reality, the name is all the more fitting, as the many layers of our sphere of interest spread outwards like a great big comedic group-hug.

So we’re particularly excited that a fellow we at TVO have a lot of time for, Tim Minchin, will be appearing in a new BBC sitcom pilot, 88 Keys, which has a number of ties back to what we call Onion Land.

First off, it co-stars the sublime Kayvan Novak (Four Lions, Bad SugarPhonejacker), and is written by the immense talent that is Jon Brown – who wrote a substantial chunk of Mongrels and forthcoming flick Cuban Fury.

The show is also coming from the splendid folk at Big Talk – who were responsible for Sightseers, The World’s End, Spaced and lots more, with the producer of those classics, Nira Park, on board.  Set to direct is Martin Dennis, who has the likes of How Not To Live Your LifeBlack BooksMen Behaving Badly and even Allo Allo on his impressive cv.

Set to feature Minchin as Charlie the cocktail pianist stuck in the Carlton Arms Hotel with grand ambitions, and Novak will be the hotel’s regular barman.  It all sounds rather intriguing, and we’re sure it’s going to be a show most of you will be itching to see.  A non-broadcast pilot will hopefully be followed by a full series commission, so stay peeled for more info as and when we get it.

For more details, visit The Guardian’s article over yonder.

Felix Dexter : Respect

11 Nov


A few weeks ago we were all saddened by the death of Felix Dexter, a legend of alternative comedy and a much-loved and respected actor.

The BBC promised a programme to celebrate his life and it will be broadcast on Sunday 17th November on BBC2 at 10pm (except Scotland where it will be shown at 10.30pm).

The programme called Respect: A Felix Dexter Special, charts his life in comedy from a pioneer of black comedy, his early days in stand-up, to the landmark Real McCoy, The Fast Show, Down the Line, Absolutely Fabulous, Bellamy’s People and Citizen Khan.

During this special tribute friends and colleagues gather to remember Felix, including Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson and Adil Ray.

Felix Dexter, RIP – 1961-2013

19 Oct
© Rolling Sky Productions

© Rolling Sky Productions

The Velvet Onion would like to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Felix Dexter, who died on Friday aged 52.

First appearing Junior Simpson, Kulvinder Ghir. Robbie Gee and Meera Syal in sketch show The Real McCoy, Dexter went on to appear in a number of landmark comedies and smash hit shows over the last two decades.

These included a recurring role as John Johnston in Absolutely Fabulous, spots in The Fast ShowKnowing Me Knowing You… With Alan Partridge and Alexei Sayle’s Merry Go Round to name but a few.

In recent years, Felix played various characters in Rhys Thomas led radio series Down The Line and it’s television spin-off Bellamy’s People.  He also provided voices for various characters in Mongrels - including, of course, Lamb That Sounds Like Morgan Freeman – and worked as a dramatic actor in CasualtyThe Bill, Empire and Jonathan Creek.

His work obviously touched a lot of comic talent over the years, who either worked with – or greatly admired – him as an actor, comic and friend.  Below are a series of tweets summing up the legacy he left behind.

Dexter is currently starring in BBC One sitcom Citizen Khan as Omar, with recent episodes available on iPlayer.  Sadly, his much reduced role was made whilst suffering from myeloma – a type of bone marrow cancer which claimed his life late last week.

Our thoughts are with his loved ones, and his performances shall live on.

Further Your Comedy Career Here

15 Oct

© British Comedy Guide

The Big Comedy Conference is your chance to hear some of comedy’s finest talking about their careers in comedy – including a few folk with TVO connections!

The day of comedy-related talks and workshops is been organised and curated by The British Comedy Guide. It presents a unique opportunity for anyone interested in pursuing a career in comedy to meet and listen to from some of the industry’s most successful writers, performers and producers. The event will include talks, networking and pitching sessions, and will be rounded off by a bar and live comedy gig in the evening.

© BBC Comedy

The full list of speakers is mightily impressive, but for the purposes of this here website, here are the ones with a link to TVO:  Dan Tetsell (Mongrels), Andrew Ellard (IT Crowd, Count Arthur Strong), David Schneider (I’m Alan Partridge), Caroline Norris (Horrible Histories) and Pete Sinclair (Never Mind the Buzzcocks).

You can see who else is attending by clicking here - and more speakers are still to be announced!

The Big Comedy Conference will take place on Saturday 30th November at The Old Sessions House, 22 Clerkenwell Green, London, EC1R 0NA. The venue will open at 9:30am, with the talks and workshops running in different rooms at the venue from 10am until 7:30pm. A comedy gig will follow in the evening and the bar will be open until 11pm.

Tickets are usually £149, but can be purchased for the early bird price of £99 before 21st October. Lunch is included in the price. To purchase tickets and for more information about the event, visit the British Comedy Guide here (scroll down for booking info). If you go, we’d love to hear all about it!

Catch Up With Onion Land

4 Apr


The last remnants of your Easter Eggs are starting to look like wicked reminders of pure liquid gluttony.  Spring is officially here, though some parts of the country seem to have swapped sunshine for snow.  As you stop to take a breath, you realise this seemingly barren period in Onion Land is actually filled with glorious programming you might have missed!

There’s a number of TVO regulars cropping up in various shows at the moment, and as some of them won’t be on catch-up for very long, we thought it was as good a time as any to give you a brief round-up.

For starters, Colin Hoult and Steve Oram appeared in the Easter Special of Life’s Too Short - the mockumentary series about Multiverse head-honcho Warwick Davis.  Oram’s also been regularly appearing in Heading Out with Sue Perkins, and all six episodes can be caught on catch-up at present.

Then there’s our full blooded TVO shows to savour – with It’s Kevin halfway though it’s initial run, and all episodes available on iPlayer, you can savour Kevin EldonJulia DavisJustin EdwardsMatt Berry, Alex Kirk and many more joining The Actor, Kevin Eldon for some full blooded titting about.  The show continues on Sunday evening.

© Dave King / Roughcut Television

Over on 4oD is every episode of Anna & Katy - the silly channel-hopping style sketch show from Anna Crilly and Katy Wix, which also features appearances from Fergus Craig, Colin Hoult and David McNeill.  The show wraps up next Wednesday.

There’s also the brand new series of Game Of Thrones featuring Paul Kaye airing on Sunday evenings, which is available on catch-up exclusively to Sky customers, alongside Dan Clark and Katherine Parkinson in Love Matters.

If radio is more your thing, don’t forget that Matt Berry returned for Series 2 of I, Regress last night on Radio 4, who are also in the middle of a rerun of Knowing Me Knowing You… With Alan Partridge.

And if repeats are all you crave, you’ll be pleased to know that Mongrels will be heading to freeview channel Dave from April 12th. All this, plus the release of Sightseers on dvd and blu-ray, and a wealth of archive materials available from our TVO Amazon Stores now!  Get stuck in!

Kaye’s Collective Works

31 Mar
© Paul Kaye

© Paul Kaye

The ever in-demand Paul Kaye will be bringing a selection of his paintings to London’s West Bank Gallery later this month, and the highly versatile star has a number of other intriguing projects in development.

TVO readers may know of Paul from his appearances in Mongrels, Pulling and seminal cult classic Strutter – or his dramatic roles in everything from Two Thousand Acres Of Sky to Being Human and Stella. He will soon be wowing audiences as Thoros of Myr in smash hit fantasy series Game Of Thrones (which returns this weekend), but there’s a lot more to Kaye than you may realise.

With a background in graphic design in the days before he shocked showbiz as crass reporter Dennis Pennis, it’s only natural that Kaye is a gifted artist, and he’ll be exhibiting a selection of his paintings at London’s West Bank Gallery at the end of the month as part of The Collective.

His work, which is as colourful and anarchic as one would expect from such a charismatic talent, will be joining that of artists Kimberley Thomas, Hjordis Folgelberg, Dan Johnson, Tracey Taylor and Lance Tilbury – with private viewing on Tuesday 23rd April, and the show open to the public until Tuesday 30th April.

© Paul Kaye

Paul has also been in touch about his various up & coming projects, and whilst it’s early days, we can’t help but tease you with titbits about them.  He’s currently filming a BBC drama about a 19th century whaling voyage in Malta called The Whale – allowing that impressive beard he’s grown a little more time in the spotlight!

This follows his appearance in forthcoming thriller Blackwood - starring Sophia Myles, Ed Stoppard and Russell Tovey, which is currently in post-production for release later this year.

Most intriguingly, the former rock star (he achieved cult fame in We Are Pleb and TV Eye in the late 80s/early 90s), has formed a new musical project called Zang along with fellow actor Marc Warren and long-standing collaborator Adie Hardy, who he last worked with soundtracking Kathy Burke series Walking And Talking last year.

Zang are currently demoing material, and TVO can confirm it’s exciting stuff – sort of PiL meets Massive Attack with a side order of Bowie’s “1.Outside” period, but still very much its own powerful beast.  We’ll hopefully be bringing you their debut music video in the coming weeks, so stay peeled.

In the meantime, we’ll leave you with this little gem which we uncovered this week having missed it back when it aired as part of a BBC4 documentary on Klezma music last year, which has got us itching for a rocked up version of Oliver! featuring Paul as Fagin.  Enjoy…

Qurios & The Ice Warriors

2 Mar

© Qurios / Pup Ltd / BBC Worldwide

An interesting news story with a TVO flavour emerged this week, when it was announced that Qurios Entertainment – who created the special effects for several shows we have featured in the past – will be bringing missing episodes of Doctor Who back to life!

In a round of Six Degrees of The Velvet Onion, the company, whose previous credits include Mongrels, Hyperdrive and The Omid Djalili Show (the latter featuring Rich Fulcher) have been tasked with recreating episodes two and three of The Ice Warriors: a 1967 story starring Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling as The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria.

The episodes were deleted from the BBC archives in the 1970s alongside countless classic slices of television history, but as with all 106 episodes of Doctor Who which have yet to be recovered, they exist as fan made recordings of the original audio which have previously been issued on cd.

The two animations form part of wider efforts to recreate as many missing episodes as possible for dvd release. You can see a work in progress preview clip below, and for more information visit now.

The Ice Warriors will be released on dvd in August.  Now here’s hoping at least one of those diehard Who fans amongst our regulars – Colin Hoult, Stephen Evans, Waen Shepherd etc – end up cropping up in new episodes sooner rather than later. We’d love to see Alice Lowe play an uber-villain!

NME Awards 2013 – Get Nominating!

16 Dec


The nominations are now open for the 2013 NME Awards, and it’s up to you who gets shortlisted!

Of course, there are several categories that deserve, nay demand, a TVO-related nominee! And 2012 has kindly provided us with a few options. For Best TV Show the psychedelic colour explosion that is Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy surely warrants a nomination? Or there’s award-winning Hunderby, Moone Boy, new Alan Partridge or the much-missed Mongrels.

Best Film?  How about Sightseers, written by and starring Alice Lowe and Steve Oram? For Best video you could nominate Tanlines ‘All of Me’, directed by none other than Julian Barratt, and for the various musical category nominations take a long look at the ‘Musicians‘ panel on the right hand side of this page and get typing! Wouldn’t it be nice if someone a bit less predictable won Best Album this year (Sue & The Unicorn or Loose Tapestries anyone?).

Finally, would it be too cheeky to suggest that The Velvet Onion Live would be a worthy nominee for Best Small Festival? And then there’s Best Fan Community? Ahem ;-)

You can make your nominations here. Go on, let’s make the 2013 awards our own! We’ll be letting you know when the subsequent voting commences, but in the meantime it’s over to you…

The Legend Of Farnaby

7 Dec

© GJP Publishing

An interview with Simon Farnaby features in a new book available for charity.

Legends Of Kids TV 2 does exactly what it says on the tin – and interviews a number of stars from the world of children’s television past and present.  The first volume had some impressive names involved, and this particular effort is no slacker on that front, either – with the likes of Geoffrey Bayldon (Catweazle), Tim Whitnall (Mike & Angelo), Tony Robinson (Maid Marian & Her Merry Men) and Sophie Aldred (Doctor Who) contained in its pages.

Farnaby’s interview with author Garry Vaux concerns his work on multi-award winning smash Horrible Histories.  Another TVO-related face involved is former Mongrels star Warrick Browlow-Pike, who spends his days as one of CBBC’s resident pupeteers.

With loads more insightful contributors, you can find out more about the project via publishers GJB Publishing over yonder, and you’ll be pleased to know the £7.99 that your book will cost will be directly channelled back towards Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Children’s Charity.

Dan Goes To Hollyoaks

2 Dec
© channel 4

© channel 4

Dan Tetsell popped up in Friday’s episode of Hollyoaks as a dodgy looking solicitor by the name of Jim McGinn.

It looks like he might be in a few episodes as the synopsis for tomorrows episode is “It’s the first day of  Mercedes’ trial. Whilst Myra acknowledges Mercedes’ solicitor Jim’s brilliance, will Mercedes jeopardise her release?”

Hollyoaks is a drama following the lives and loves of a group of teenagers and young adults in Chester. If you missed it on Friday, you can catch it on 4od.

Dan is probably best known to TVO readers as Marion in Mongrels. The second series is now available on DVD from The Velvet Onion store.

Craft Winners!

28 Nov

© Channel 4/Secret Peter

There were some well-deserved victories for TVO-related TV shows at last night’s Royal Television Society Craft & Design Awards 2011/12.

The awards recognise the achievements of the people who work behind the cameras – the designers, technicians and and visual artists who help to produce the programmes we watch.

We’re delighted to reveal that Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy picked up two awards: Ameena Kara Callender & Noel Fielding won the award for Best Costume Design Entertainment & Non Drama Productions, beating Strictly Come Dancing and another TVO-related show, Horrible Histories. Their win was described by RTS as, “A true collaboration, a seamless piece of highly creative work that is a live cartoon – true visual madness!”

Christine Cant was honoured for her wonderful make-up design on the series scooping up Best Make Up Design Entertainment & Non Drama Productions. Christine’s contribution was described as, Sheer creativity and madness.” RTS then went on to say, “Our winner’s interpretation of Noel’s work was seamlessly integrated with the costume design. Great skill was demonstrated in the various make up techniques employed here, including bold and fantastic colouration.”


Mongrels also picked up an award, well-deserved in our opinion. Andy Heath & Iestyn Evans of Talk to the Hand won ‘Best Special Effects’ for Series 2, beating the much-lauded Downtown Abbey in the process.

RTS said of the win, “It’s not easy to add humour and comedic timing to a puppet show, but our winners succeeded and on a very tight schedule.”

For a full run down of the winners and nominees across all categories click here. Congratulations to everyone who picked up a gong!

Mongrels 2 Out On DVD At Last!

7 Oct

© BBC Worldwide

Monday 8th October sees the long-awaited, almost-cancelled release of Mongrels second (and sadly final) series on dvd.

Series Two of Adam Miller‘s foul-mouthed puppet show again featured Tony Way as Gary, the owner of a South London pub that just so happens to be surrounded by vermin – from meek metrosexual fox Nelson (Rufus Jones), and his best friend, simpleton feline Marion (Dan Tetsell), to psychopathic champion vulpine swearer Vince (Paul Kaye), and deranged, scheming pigeon Kali (Katy Brand).  With Gary’s pedigree chav dog Destiny (Lucy Montgomery) completing the line up, the show was an instant cult smash, and is sorely missed following its baffling cancellation in January.

The second series saw the gang fend off an invasion of horny zombie dogs, rehabilitate a showbiz chimp and go to a really shit house party, whilst Marion became a parent and Destiny dabbled in the world of showbiz doggery. Amongst the celebrity cameos this year were Richard O’Brien, Russell Tovey, Ainsley Harriot, Zoe Ball and Nina Wadia, whilst the TVO Links were extended with appearances from Rich Fulcher, Steven Burge and Waen Shepherd.

With a defiant looking Vince Fox on the front cover, this dvd is sure to leap off the shelves and ask you if you called it a **** in no time… and The Velvet Onion cannot recommend it highly enough.  Pick up a copy right now from The Velvet Onion Amazon Store for just £13.99 or check your high street or supermarket at the nearest opportunity.

If digital downloads are more your thing, the series is also available from iTunes in the UK, whilst US readers shouldn’t feel left out of the party… both series can be downloaded from our TVO Amazon US Store!

Sadly, unlike the first series, there’s currently no sign of a blu-ray release, but as the show was almost destined never to be released at all (we like to think our little stinking paddy about that decision helped change their mind earlier this year!), we’ll take what we can get!

That’s not to say a blu-ray release is still impossible.  We asked BBC Worldwide, who are handling the release, about the lack of a hi-def edition, who replied: “We have no immediate plans to clear and release this title on Blu-ray. However your correspondence will be kept on file as each quarter we review public enquiries and often revisit titles which are frequently requested.” 

So there you have it – if you want to see a blu-ray edition of Mongrels Series 2, email BBC Worldwide’s DVD Enquiry team at and let them know your desires. It might just happen!

Dr Foggerty Spills The Beans

11 Sep

© Baby Cow Productions / Sky Atlantic

Rufus Jones, currently gracing our screens in Julia Davis‘s Hunderby, has been interviewed by The Bristish Comdy Guide this week.

In the interview Jones talks about how much he enjoyed performing as Dr Foggerty in the critically-aclaimed series. He explains. “Julia likes us to play the comedy serious, really serious, and the more serious we are, the funnier it becomes. Julia’s just the most inspirational person I’ve worked with. She’s built this entire world and language in Hunderby which I absolutely loved inhabiting.”  He also mentions that it, “Contains the single best and disgusting scene I will ever be involved in.”  The mind boggles!

As well as his role in Hunderby, Jones also talks about playing Terry Jones in Monty Python’s Flying Circus (“It was huge fun to do – writer Tony Roche’s script was incredibly funny and ballsy.”), and his time as Nelson on two series of  Mongrels. Of the BBC’s controversial decision not to commission a third series of Mongrels, Jones is surprisingly pragmatic, saying, “Yes, it was a real shame it didn’t happen, but you can’t get too angry about that. It’s just how TV works – it happens. Commissioners change, and it depends on what type of show they want to air at that particular moment.”

For more on this, and to find out what’s next for Rufus Jones, read the interview in full by visiting the British Comedy Guide.

Big Face Strikes Again: An Introduction to John ‘Willie’ Hopkins

9 Sep

The world of comedy is an ever-changing, shape-shifting beastie. New talent pops up, develops, and is clasped to our Velvet Onion bosom – if it’s any good. But we get just as excited about discovering existing hidden talent in the nooks and crannies of the wider Booshniverse. Velveteers Paulyne and Mog bring one such hidden gem to today’s show and tell:

© Big Face Productions

John ‘Willie’ Hopkins (recently of For The Win fame) was first introduced to us as “The only man to have survived Old Gregg”. Once we’d finished our range of over-enthusiastic impersonations, we discovered that not only is Mr Hopkins one of those rare, genuinely lovely and naturally funny men, but his contribution to comedy and his linkage with other TVO artists is far, far greater than we ever imagined. What’s more, he was also the assistant director of Spiceworld…but that’s a whole different story!

John was part of the Ealing Live Alumni, a group of cutting-edge comedians who helped to light the performance touch paper for many of the artists who grace our pages, and who, still to this day, work closely together. To see for yourself the extensive reach of the Ealing Alumni, just take a look at the sub-category in our tags column!

During the Ealing Live days John partnered with (and indeed lived with) Richard Glover, and together they performed some brilliantly fun, quirky sketches: “We thought we knew what we were doing – we didn’t – and suddenly we found ourselves on stage with all these people like [Simon] Farnaby.” Laughs John. “They assumed we must be good, so we had to come up with something. It was all an accident, no actual decisions were made.”

We’re very excited to be able to show you an original Hopkins & Glover sketch from back in the day, featuring a fresh-faced duo!

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Terry Nutkins: 1946-2012

7 Sep

The Velvet Onion is saddened to report the death of Terry Nutkins.


A veteran of British television, Nutkins presented wildlife shows Animal Magic, The Really Wild ShowBrilliant Creatures and Growing Up Wild to name but a few.   There’s not a person alive in Britain over the age of fifteen who hasn’t at some point enjoyed the work of Terry Nutkins.

In 2010, he spoofed his animal-loving image in the first series of TVO’s very own Mongrels – firstly performing Semi-Automatic Surgery on Nelson the Fox, and later attempting to take Marion’s one remaining life before he could have his way with his kitten girlfriend.

Prior to this, he also became a subject for a joke in The Mighty Boosh in a similarly vulpine themed episode – The Strange Tale Of The Crack Fox.  When an imprisoned Naboo took control of a trendy friend of Vince Noir, he accidentally revealed that Vince was once caught tonguing a photo of Terry in his Really Wild Show annual!

A true tv great and a cultural reference point to generations, Nutkins sadly died from leukaemia yesterday, aged 66.  Our thoughts are with his family and friends.  For more news on this story, visit BBC News.


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