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So Hot Right Now #8

1 Dec

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more.  Click through for the LATEST NEWS, and see what’s so hot right now below.


© 2014 Sony Pictures

© 2014 Sony Pictures

This week sees the UK release of St Vincent – the new Bill Murray film about a young boy whose parents have just divorced who finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic war veteran (Murray) who lives next door. We’re telling you about it because the film also features Chris O’Dowd as a priest/teacher. Have a look at the trailer below to see what it’s all about. The film is released in the UK on Friday (5th December).

Don’t forget, Paul King‘s movie adaptation of Paddington featuring an all-star cast and cameos from Alice LoweSimon FarnabySteve Oram and Tom Meeten is still in UK cinemas, so do go and see it if you haven’t yet!

©  Studio Canal

© Studio Canal

Nicole Kidman, Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Jim Broadbent and former Nathan Barley actor turned Bond movie star Ben Wishaw lead the cast, with Kidman, Bonnerville & Walters turning up on last week’s Graham Norton Show to publicise it. You can catch up on iPlayer here.


The current runs of TVO favourites continue apace this week, with Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Toast of London, Psychobitches, Trollied and Not Going Out all airing new episodes throughout the week – and available via catchup services after transmission. Here’s a pic from tonight’s Never Mind the Buzzcocks to keep you going.

©  BBC/Talkback/Brian Ritchie

© BBC/Talkback/Brian Ritchie

Also this week, the voice of Rich Fulcher can be heard in The Regular Show on Cartoon Network. The episode is called I Like You Hi (season 5, episode 26), and Rich is the voice of the answering machine and smoke signal. The episode will be repeated regularly on the channel so keep a look out for it.

For more on the show, visit the Cartoon Network website now.


© Lauren Taylor / The Velvet Onion

If you missed it last week, the brand new Gary Le Strange single, Norman (I’ve Dropped My Cup Of Tea) is available for download now via iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby, and is also up for streaming on Spotify. You’d be insane to miss it. Grab a copy over yonder.

It marks the first completely new Le Strange material from Waen Shepherd since Beef Scarecrow in 2006, following the character’s revival in 2012 at Club Fantastico and The Velvet Onion Live, and the release of the ‘lost’ EP Glamoronica last year. Judging by the strength of Norman, which we’ve had on repeat at TVO Towers all week, forthcoming material is going to be stonking!


A couple of years ago Julian Barratt made a surprise appearance on stage with Tenacious D at their Hammersmith Apollo gig. At the time all we had by way of evidence were a couple of blurry photos and videos. New footage has been published by Peter Kyriacou, which shows what happened from back stage and front of stage – so we can have a proper look at their freeform performance of ‘Simply Jazz’.

Click on our news post to see the video!


As always, there’s so much going on, that we’re using Twitter to keep you informed quicker these days. Join the other 11,900+ of our regular readers by following us there, and get regular updates such as these:

Chris Morris Radio Retrospective

23 Nov

© cookdandbombd

Next Saturday the BBC will broadcast a three-hour tribute programme devoted to the radio work of new wave comedy pioneer, Chris Morris. ‘Raw Meat Radio’ will look back at Morris’ radio career, and will include rarely-heard archive material

Mary Anne Hobbs (who we’ve been talking about a fair bit this weekend) will present the show, which airs on BBC 4Extra ay 7pm on 29th November.

It will feature contributions from Armando Iannucci, David Quantick, Peter Baynham, Matthew Bannister (who suspended Morris from Radio 1) and Morris’ biographer Lucian Randall, amongst others.

If you read TVO regularly, you’ll be familiar with Morris’s creative output, but for those of you who aren’t (what??), he’s probably best known for his work on spoof news programmes The Day Today and Brass Eye, during which he lured a host of celebrities into backing increasingly bizarre public awareness campaigns. He also worked with Julia Davis and Kevin Eldon on Jam, and appeared on IT Crowd as Denholm Reynholm. Behind the camera, he co-wrote the Channel 4 media satire Nathan Barley alongside Charlie Brooker, and wrote and directed the 2010 film Four Lions.

He has also produced an as-yet unheard audio comedy with Noel Fielding and Richard Ayoade, set in an old people’s home. We live in hope of hearing it one day!

We’re sure that we speak on behalf of many of you when we say how delighted we are that 3 hours of radio airtime have been given in Morris’ honour. Don’t forget to tune in next Saturday!

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.


Bafta Bonanza

8 Apr

© Channel 4

The Bafta nominations are out, and there are many TVO connections to be found.

To begin with; The IT Crowd has 4 nominations, with Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson nominated for Best Male/Female Performance in a Comedy Programme, and Best Situation Comedy, where it shares the nomination with Toast of London and The Count Arthur Strong Television Programme.

Richard III: The King in the Car Park, featuring Simon Farnaby, is nominated for Best Factual Programme.

There are also nominations for Rory Kinnear (Count Arthur Strong), and Doon Mackichan (Toast of London), for other roles.

In the Single Drama category, Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror: Be Right Back, featuring Claire Keelan (Nathan Barley) and Mark Gatiss’s An Adventure in Space and Time, featuring Reece Shearsmith,  are both nominated.

A full list of nominations is here, where you can also vote for the Radio Times Audience Award.

Sherlock Connections

29 Dec


We suspect that a great many of you reading this will be getting a tad excited about the impending 3rd series of Sherlock, which begins on new year’s day.  But did you know how many TVO connections the show has?

The fact that our very own fairy godmother, Alice Lowe, will be appearing in the new series as a nurse has inspired us to collate a list of The Velvet Onion’s who’s who of Sherlock:

First up, the big man himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, appeared on Nathan Barley as Robin. Next up, we have his sidekick, Martin Freeman, who was in Blake’s Junction 7 alongside TVO folk Stephen Evans, Justin Edwards and Simon Farnaby (which was also directed by Ben Gregor).

In terms of the people who we write about who have appeared in Sherlock, you may have spotted Katherine Parkinson and Tony Way in the final episode of the second series, and Jonathan Aris, who played Anderson in Sherlock, was also in Sightseers and The World End. Finally (and marvellously tenuously!), Louise Brealey, who played the part of Julian Barratt‘s daughter in the 2011 production of Government Inspector at The Young Vic, plays Molly Hooper in all three series of the show.

You can catch the first episode of series 3 (‘The Empty Hearse’ – you can watch the trailer here) at 9pm on BBC1. For those who can’t quite wait that long, here’s a 7-minute prequel mini-episode:

Nearly Nathan Barley

3 Mar

© Ch 4

If, like us, you’ve enjoyed having your mind poked by Charlie Brooker’s latest series of Black Mirror,  you may have noticed an interesting postscript in the final episode.

At the end of ‘The Waldo Moment’ viewers were treated to the following intriguing message: “Based on an original idea for Nathan Barley by Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker.” This particular episode followed the story of an anarchic CGI bear who ends up standing as a candidate in the local elections. We’d love to know how the storyline would have been woven into Nathan Barley…and why it wasn’t!

For anyone reading this who isn’t familiar with the ultra TVO-centric Nathan Barley (what??), you can get your hands on the series for only £7.50 via The Velvet Onion amazon store. You won’t regret it!

You can watch the three episodes of Brooker’s Black Mirror on 4oD here.

Wipe Away 2012 With Some Friends of TVO

28 Dec

© The Quietus

Charlie Brooker will be bringing his gloriously acerbic perspective on life to our TV sets on 1st January with Charlie Brooker’s 2012 Wipe.

His satirical look back at the events of the past 12 months includes the Olympic Games, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the jailing of members of Pussy Riot and the US presidential election.

As you know, Brooker himself has a TVO connection thanks to his role as co-creator of Nathan Barley.  Tomorrow’s show deserves a special mention, however, because it includes contributions from Sharon Horgan (and Peter Serafinowicz who, while not a regularly-featured TVO artist, has appeared in a whole host of related shows including IT Crowd, This is Jinsy and Bad Sugar amongst others).

The show airs at 10-11pm on BBC2 on Tuesday 1st January (2nd January for Northern Ireland), and will be on iPlayer for seven days afterwards.

Hunderby Does The Double

13 Dec
© british comedy awards

© british comedy awards

Julia Davis’s dark, costume-drama comedy Hunderby picked up both Best Sitcom and Best New Comedy Programme awards last night at the British Comedy awards.

The show beat off competition from The Thick of It, Rev and Twenty Twelve in the Sitcom category and Alan Partridge, Cardinal Burns and Chris O’Dowd’s Moone Boy in the Best New Comedy Programme category.

Hunderby was not the only TVO related winner on the night, the Best Comedy Entertainment Programme award was won by Harry Hill’s TV Burp directed by Spencer Millman.

Nathan Barley writer Charlie Brooker won Best Comedy Entertainment Personality and Horrible Histories was beaten this year by Cardinal Burns (script edited by Rufus Jones) in the Best Sketch show category.

David Rawle from Moone Boy missed out on Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist to Morgana Robinson, but he has plenty of time to win awards!

Another TVO connection was that Katherine Parkinson was on the Jury this year.

Noel Fielding also popped up on film in a tribute to Vic and Bob, talking about Toasty Surrealism!

The full list of winners can be found below, and the whole ceremony is available on 4OD.

Best Comedy Entertainment Personality – Charlie Brooker

Best Sitcom – Hunderby

Best Male TV Comic – Lee Mack

Best Comedy Entertainment Programme – Harry Hill’s TV Burp

Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist – Morgana Robinson

Best TV Comedy Actress – Rebecca Front

The Writers Guild of Great Britain – Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer

Best TV Comedy Actor – Peter Capaldi

Best Female TV Comic – Jo Brand

Best Sketch Show – Cardinal Burns

Best New Comedy Programme – Hunderby

Outstanding Achievement – Sacha Baron Cohen.

Merrie Hell In Soho

26 Nov

© Soho Theatre

We pride ourselves on being able to draw your attention to some of the more obscure and lateral links to Booshdom – but even by our standards this one’s pretty out there!

Starting this week,  David Hoyle and Richard Thomas will be performing a special kind of cabaret show at the Soho Theatre. It’s been described as, “A trashy, meaty buffet of festive filth and sick songs…stuffed with Crimbo melodies redolent of tangerines, tinsel, telly, tears and terror.”

So if you like your Christmas festivities dark and freaky, this one’s for you!

In case you’re still wondering what the Booshy connection is, David Hoyle played ageing rock star Doug Rocket in Nathan Barley and Richard Thomas (who, incidentally also wrote Jerry Springer the Opera with Stewart Lee) performed at Cluub Zarathustra with Julian Barratt. Tis a spooky small world, isn’t it?

The show runs from 29th November until 5th January 2013 and you can book your tickets here. Prices vary by date so click on your preferred date to check the damage.

The Nerdiest Nerdist

26 Jul


The lovely Richard Ayoade guested on the popular Nerdist Podcast yesterday.

While he was in America to attend the premiere of The Watch, he spent some time with the Nerdist team (who you can see on the left), before he flew back to London.

During the podcast they discuss everything from The Olympics to Darkplace, ADBC, The Mighty Boosh, Submarine, Nathan Barley and The IT Crowd, and many other topics besides. Given how rare Richard’s public appearances are, it’s quite a treat to get the opportunity to listen to what he has to say for nearly  whole hour!

Listen to the podcast here.

You can see Richard in The Watch starting tomorrow (Friday 27th) in the USA or August 24th in UK. Read our review of the preview here.

Finally It’s Kevin!

19 Jun


As has been reported what appears to be everywhere, Kevin Eldon has at last been given his own TV series!

Kevin has appeared in almost every great comedy series of the last few years including Nighty Night, Big Train, Lee and Herring shows, Black Books, Spaced, Jam, Brass Eye, Nathan Barley, Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, This is Jinsy, Bleak Old Shop of Stuff and The IT Crowd to name a few, as well as many films and radio shows throughout the years.

He will also be appearing soon in Hunderby with Julia Davis and in The Function Room, a new comedy on Channel 4.

For more details and a quote from the man himself, there is this article in The Guardian, and if you want to know more about Kevin Eldon’s work, click here.

And for a clip of the new series click here.

Busy Berry

3 Apr

During the past week we’ve heard news about a couple of new projects for Matt Berry.

First up is his participation in a new feature film Kubricks. Matt is listed as the first cast member (“Donald”) which suggests he has a significant part in the film. If a further TVO connection was required, it also features actress Joanna Pickering, who’s appeared in an episode of Nathan Barley. Kubricks is written and directed by Dean Cavanagh and scheduled for release in 2013.

Next is Matt’s vocal involvement in an animated short by the name of The Death of Winston Pickle, for which he’s providing a monologue. For a quick look at what it’s all about, take a look at the (very) short extract below:

Unfortunately the details for both of these projects are currently in short supply, but if we find out any more we’ll be sure to share.

Behind The Sofa

4 Mar

© Behind The Sofa

Our talented friend Hayden Black is one of over 100 celebrity contributors to a new book celebrating Doctor Who.

Behind the Sofa was compiled by author Steve Berry in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK, in memory of his mother, Janet, and is beautifully illustrated by Ben Morris.

There are also contributions from Rhys Thomas and Nathan Barley creator Charlie Brooker.

The book will be published in September, but you can get a limited first edition by pre-ordering one now. The hardback version is £14.99 and the e-book a very reasonable £4.99. There are also special packages available for those with a bit more spare cash.

To find out more about the contributors and to order your copy, head over to the Behind the Sofa website.

Recruiting With Nic

11 Jan


Nathan Barley‘s Nicholas Burns will appear on stage in the Donmar Warehouse production of The Recruiting Officer.

Written by George Farquhar in 1706, it is a tale of love, lustiness and victory in battle and in the bedroom!

Also starring in the comedy are Nancy Carroll, Mackenzie Crook, Mark Gatiss (Nighty Night), Gawn Grainger, Tobias Menzies and Rachael Stirling (Snow White and the Huntsman).

The show runs from Thursday 9th to Tuesday 14th February (not Sunday 12th) at 7.30 except Tuesday 14th (7.00pm). Donmar Warehouse is at 41 Earlham Street, Seven Dials, London, WC2H 9LX, for more information and to book tickets click here.

Thomas & Way Podcast

18 Dec

© Tony Way

Mongrels star Tony Way has made a podcast with his friend  Rhys Thomas (Bellamys People, Nathan Barley).

The lads talk about everything from wine to snoring to Christmas and everything in between, there’s even a mention of The Mighty Boosh! The sound does go a bit funny for a minute in the middle but it’s fine afterwards.

So if you’re curious about the philosophy behind the idea to make a podcast, the hour-long offering from the pair is available from here.

If you’d like to see them in action together Fun at the Funeral Parlour is available at the TVO store among other shows the pair have starred in together.


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