Archive | Zimbani RSS feed for this section

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

Dream World Of Death

13 Nov

© Colin Hoult

The next of Colin Hoult‘s monthly comedy nights in the New Adventures series is happening on Thursday (17th November) with Episode 6 – Dream World of Death.

We are promised “Dream and Reality and Nightmare and Pissing About will collide in this bold new episode of madness and malarkery” so what are you waiting for?

This month the  guests include Issy Suttie, Nick Mohammed and Colin’s Zimbani co-star David McNeill.

The show starts at 8.30pm at the Leicester Square Theatre and more information can be found at the event’s facebook page, or from the Leicester Square Theatre site.

The Enchanted Forest of Hoult

4 May

© Colin Hoult

The third of Colin Hoult‘s monthly comedy nights The New Adventures takes place on Thursday 12th May at the Leicester Square Theatre in London.

This show, entitled Episode 3: Enchanted Forest of Death, features special guests Dave McNeill (Zimbani) and Isy Suttie (Peep Show), with more to be confirmed.  The New Adventure’s facebook page describes the evening as: “a brand new adventure for character comedian Colin Hoult and his merry band of rogues and outlaws” and promises “the usual unique, bizarre, immersive, highly jovial yet profoundly moving experience but with elves.”

If that sounds like your cup of tea (and let’s be honest, if you’re reading this it probably does), you can purchase tickets here.

Colin Hoult And The Death Cult Of Death!

21 Apr

© Colin Hoult / Dawn Sedgwick Management

With the second of Colin Hoult‘s New Adventures on the horizon, we at TVO thought it was time to remind you of your chance to see Colin’s new material before the rest of the wolyd.

As we previously reported last month, this entirely unique character comedy night features regular guests Thom Tuck [Penny Dreadfuls], Isy Suttie [Peep Show], Zoe Gardner & David Reid.  This month’s installment will also feature Dan Snelgrove, Martin White and Colin’s Zimbani co-creator and co-star, the wonderful David McNeill.

With a promise of live music, wildly experimental material, superheroes, nutters, dogs and sing a longs, it’s guaranteed to be unlike anything else Good Friday has to offer – so if you are in the area pop on down to the Leicester Square Theatre tomorrow.

Tickets can still be pre-ordered at their box office over yonder, so you’ve no excuse not to join in a most unholy summoning of his obsceneness the Great Octopus God. And get drunk.  Colin’s orders.  Tell him TVO sent ya!

If you can’t make it, drown your sorrows by reading our interview with Colin from earlier this year, our previous interview with Colin & David McNeill around the Julian Barratt featuring Zimbani pilot, or just sit back and watch the pilot below!

Onion Talking: Colin Hoult

1 Feb

© Colin Hoult / Dawn Sedgwick Management

Twelve months ago, many of our readers outside regular Edinburgh Festival goers and devotees of the London live comedy scene had never heard of Colin Hoult.  The star had critical acclaim aplenty – TimeOut had claimed his comedy was a blend of Lewis Caroll & The League Of Gentlemen, and he had won the highly prestigious Writers Guild Award for Comedy.  Those who had seen his live performances would attest to his immense talents, in double act Colin & Fergus, and his own live shows including Zimbani, Carnival Of Monsters and Enemy Of The World.

A stint on Russell Howard’s Good News had greatly enhanced his profile, but it was Zimbani – the pilot he made with David McNeill and Julian Barratt – which really thrust him onto The Velvet Onion’s radar.  After catching his Edinburgh run last Summer, TVO had a bit of a dilemma: here was an immensely talented comic actor whom we wanted to shout from the rooftops about, but whose connection to Booshdom appeared somewhat tenuous.  Was he, for all his talents, outside our ‘remit’, like so many other comics we could mention but not really embrace?

Then came a memorable appearance at November’s Fulchfest, and as we dug deeper, we realised his connections to TVO’s other subjects were far deeper than we had first noticed.  Above all else, he was, and is, ridiculously entertaining, charming in person and hilarious on stage – more than worthy of an honorary place in Booshdom.  Now involved with an upcoming television sketch-show which will include a familiar face or two from these parts, and on the eve of launching a new regular London club night which may include still further familiars, its clear that Colin has established himself as an active part of The Wider World Of Booshdom, as we dubbed it… and his increasing profile in his own right makes him a guaranteed star to watch.

As his audiences grow, and critics continue to take note of his talents, we were lucky enough to talk to Colin in advance of his forthcoming shows, including the final run of Enemy Of The World later this month.

Hi, Colin. Welcome back to TVO.  For the benefit of those who haven’t seen Enemy Of The World, what can newcomers expect to see?
Well, it’s a character show, as you can probably tell.  It’s very funny, it’s very dark, very strange and different.  Aesthetically, it’s a sort of Weimar Republic Cabaret Show: a Kurt Weil/Burtolt Brech type show.  It’s basically about villains, so we enter a spooky cabaret world, and within that world are all sorts of different characters.

My trademark, if you like, is mixing the fantastical with the real.  What we’ve tried to create is very designed and cool, and a quite fantastical world, and then the characters within it are very real, believable and recognisable.  Also, on top of that we’ve got lots of songs, with fun audience interaction and games.

You do seem to love playing with the audience.  Do you prefer it when the crowd’s up for it?
Oh, definitely.  It’s funny, really, but when you start out I think you’re scared and a bit nervous of what you imagine comedy audiences are going to be like… rabid dogs with fangs and claws, throwing things at you and screaming at you.  I must say I’ve never had an audience of rabid dogs, I’m not sure how that’d work…

But when you get an audience that’s up for it, it’s a lot better!  I try to encourage that sense of rabidity within my crowds.  Sometimes the room is very gentile and nice and the audience just nods, and you feel like you’re doing it for your aunties. Continue reading

The Velvet Onion 2011 Calendar

30 Dec

© Paul Holmes / The Velvet Onion

The Velvet Onion is proud to bring you its own 2011 calendar!

In lieu of an official Boosh calendar on sale this year, we decided it’d be a great idea to offer up an alternative to that rubbish one your nan got you, and make a fully fledged 12-month calendar for you to download, print off and stick on your wall.

As such, we’ve recruited some of the greatest names in Booshdom, alongside some truly wonderful photographers, and their kind contributions and a lot of hard work have culminated in what we’re hoping is one of our proudest achievements.  We’ve even left you a little space to write down your own notes & birthdays… no stone has been left unturned!

We would like to thank ALL of the artists we feature in front of and behind the camera, and anyone else who has helped make this happen.  These people had to put up with our editor in chief hounding them for photographs until they relented and blessed us with some beautiful imagery to present to you.  So, in alphabetical order rather than order of preference, please love and worship the following:

Paulyne Antoniou, Julian Barratt, Matt Berry, Dave Brown, Zöé Caldwell, Angel Ceballos, Dan Clark, James Cook, Chris Corner, Jimmy Crippen, Sue Denim, Antony Elvin, Suzy Evelyn-Hall, Andrea Fröhner, Rich Fulcher, Andy Hollingworth, Colin Hoult, Kerie Leisch, Alice Lowe, David McNeill, Ben Meadows, Kim Noble, Steve Oram, Dee Plume, Holly-Jane Shears, Gareth Tunley, Sam Ward and Tiger Aspect Television.

Please please let us know what you think of the calendar.  If you print it out and stick it up – why not take a photo of it and send it our way via the forum, a comment below, facebook, twitter, you name it.  If there’s enough interest, we’ll try again next year!

Happy new year to all of our peelers – we’ll see you in 2012. Stay peeled.

To download the entire calendar as png image files in one zip folder, CLICK HERE.

Alternatively, to download each page as individual jpeg files – read on… Continue reading

Back To Back Booshniverse

21 Oct


It’s a double dose of Booshdom on the BBC tonight, as three stars of the Booshniverse appear across the channels from 10pm.

There may be another two weeks before The Boosh Band take on the music of Frank Zappa at Camden Roundhouse, but this evening, you can see Noel Fielding in another musical role as the returning team captain in the new series of Nevermind The Buzzcocks.

Noel, who replaced Bill Bailey as a team captain for series 23 of the show, has taken up the role once more much to the delight of his fans and of ourselves here at TVO.

The new series airs tonight on BBC2 at 10pm and guests include friend of the Boosh Paul Foot, who we reported about earlier, taking a seat on Noel’s team and with guest host Mark Ronson filling the void left by Simon Amstell’s departure, and a string of fantastic guest presenters lined up for the rest of the run.  For details on the rest of the guests, click here.

© Colin Hoult

Not only that, but straight afterwards at 10:30 on BBC3 sees the return of Russell Howard’s Good News – the topical stand-up show which frequently features Zimbani star Colin Hoult in its sketch material.  Hoult is also set to appear at FULCHFEST next month alongside a number of Booshy stars – so he’s fast becoming one to watch.

As usual, both of these shows will be available on iPlayer after broadcast for 7 days – and if we’d love to hear what you think of them both!

For more info on Fulchfest and the Boosh Band gigs, which both occur on Saturday 6th November, see this earlier peeling.

Enemy Of The World Returns!

11 Oct

© Colin Hoult

Although not strictly speaking a fully fledged member of the Booshniverse, we at The Velvet Onion have a big ol’ soft spot for Colin Hoult – star and cowriter of Zimbani [feat. Julian Barratt], and recent announcement for Fulchfest next month.

As such, he’s sort of an honorary Onion subject who we feel is more than worthy of your attention.

And so it comes as a great pleasure to inform you lucky Londoners that Hoult will be bringing his critically acclaimed Edinburgh Festival show, Enemy Of The World to London’s Leciester Square Theatre between 17th & 20th November.  One of the highlights of the festival, the show sees Colin and his cohorts take on a variety of warped guises, chill your bones and tickle your funny bones, and just about every other bone at the same time. Whilst cradling Baby Hitler. No, seriously.

You can find out more info and buy tickets via the show’s Facebook page and the Leicester Square Theatre site.  You’d be mad to miss it!

Earlier this year, Colin and his Zimbani co-creator David McNeill gave us an exclusive interview.  If you missed it, you can read it here.

Fulchfest Crams In The Booshniverse!

11 Oct
© Mog

If you haven’t managed to procure tickets to see the Boosh Band at the Camden Roundhouse on 6th November, don’t despair – you could be giggling into your beer in the company of Rich Fulcher in Kentish Town instead!

The second ever Fulchfest has been confirmed for 6th November at The Bull & Gate.  The line-up for next month’s show sounds awesome, including Booshniverse regular, Tom Meeten, and TVO favourites Hot Brew – the delicious vegetable obsessed creations of Alice Lowe and Antony Elvin.  And TVO connections don’t stop there, as Zimbani star Colin Hoult is on the bill too, alongside Abandoman, Arnab Chanda and Lizzie Daykin, plus there’ll be music from Rich’s backing band, Lukewarm Jazz.

So, if an evening of brilliantly random sketches, stand up and oddball musical interludes sounds like your cup of tea (read our review of October’s Fulchfest if you’re not sure), get your tickets here.

For more Fulcher funnies, you can also see Rich’s stand-up on 3rd and 7th November.  Click here for tickets and further information.

More TV Comedy On The Horizon?

30 Sep

Will we see more of our favourites soon?

The British Comedy Guide has reported back from the Broadcast Comedy Forum 2010 with news that all of the major broadcasters are looking to develop new ideas for television after a long period of comedic drought on our tv screens which has seen many an artist we cover on these pages turn to the internet as a means of self-commission.

You can read the full report on the British Comedy Guide website – but a few notable points may have a bearing on what we here at The Velvet Onion may be reporting to you over the next few years.  First off, is the BBC’s renewed interest in making something different, with their executive Simon Wilson stating quite clearly BBC3 wanted to make ‘more unusual and different’ comedies after the success of adult puppet show Mongrels (featuring Tony Paul Way), and referenced CGI-laden sketch show The Wrong Door (which featured Matt Berry) as an example of where they may be headed.

After several years of poor scheduling choices and no real support given to the likes of Snuffbox, Lifespam, meeBox and many more shows we could mention – perhaps we’ll be seeing a lot more of our favourite faces on the BBC once again soon?  After all, recent repeats of The Mighty Boosh at a more convenient time of 9pm (instead of the previous 10:30pm) caused it to reach the top Trending Topics on social networking site Twitter – proof if any was needed that the way forward may actually be the way back.

Channel 4 has also commissioned another two series of its Comedy Lab pilots in 2011 and 2012, and several of our key artists have previously been involved in such productions, most recently in the case of Julian Barratt appearing in Penelope: Princess Of Pets earlier this year.  On a similar note, freeview channel Dave is pleased with the success of its original productions and, as well as almost certainly making more Red Dwarf, they will also be looking towards broadcasting more short pilots in the hope of finding a new hit.  We at The Velvet Onion can only hope they decide to make more episodes of the mighty Zimbani!

This year has seen a number of pilots made involving members of the Booshniverse, and some of them have yet to find an audience – Oram & Meeten’s The Last Summer On Earth for example, or David Bussell’s Missing Scene for example.  With even Sky One reporting an interest in developing fresh comedic output, one can only hope we get to see something worth our while again very, very soon…

Zimbani On You Tube

27 Sep

The pilot of Zimbani – the brainchild of Colin Hoult and David McNeill, featuring Julian Barratt, is now on You Tube. The show aired on freeview channel Dave on June 4th in the UK, but fans from abroad were unable to see it. Now’s your chance.

We’ve just heard that Colin Hoult will be performing Colin Hoult – Enemy of the World at the Brighton Dome on October 10th. This show got rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year, and members of the TVO crew were lucky enough to see it.  Whilst its not strictly Booshy, its definitely one of the best shows you’ll see all year. For more details see the facebook event page.

Edinburgh Nights

4 Aug

It’s that time of year again: The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is here, so for anyone lucky enough to be going, we’ve got a round-up of the shows you won’t want to miss.  And for those who are less lucky, look away now or avoid being taken over by the big green monster.


© mogemms

As our regular readers are aware, the one and only Rich Fulcher is appearing as Eleanor in An Evening with Eleanor the Tour Whore. The show is on from 21st – 30th August at Udderbelly’s Pasture, start time 23.30. Tickets are available here,  grab them while you can as they are going fast!  If you’re wavering, read our review of one of her (his?) brilliant London shows…and waver no more!






© Paul Foot



While you’re waiting for Eleanor to arrive in Edinburgh there are plenty of other fantastic shows to keep you amused. The Noel Fielding directed show Paul Foot – Ash in the Attic,  is on from 5th to 30th except 16th, at Underbelly Cowgate, time – 19.40. Tickets for this can be purchased here. And if you’re interesting in reading more about Noel’s exciting collaboration with Paul Foot, click here.





Star and Writer of  ‘Zimbani(which, you may recall, featured Julian Barratt), Colin Hoult has his own show from 4th – 30th August at Pleasance Courtyard, time – 16.45, with tickets available here. Colin is also appearing in Gutted the musical,  a dark and brilliantly funny musical that runs from 6th to 29th (not Tuesdays)





Kevin Eldon is Titting About (the name of his show) from 5th – 30th except 7th, 16th and 23nd at the Stand Comedy Club – times vary for this one so check the dates. And you can grab your tickets here.






© Idiots of Ants

The Idiots of Ants, who shared the screen with friends of the Onion Alice Lowe and Rich Fulcher in the hilarious Mainstage, return for their fourth stint in Edinburgh with their new show The Big Red Button.  The boys will be in the Pleasance 2 from  4th – 30th except 16th and 23rd at 20.25. Tickets are available here and are already selling fast.




Various members of the TVO crew will be up in Edinburgh during the Festival, so we’ll be reporting back on any of the Booshniverse-related shows that we manage to see.  If you’re up there and fancy reviewing a show for us, please visit our forum and message one of the moderators – we’d love to hear from you.

Onion Talking: Zimbani

27 May

© Tiger Aspect - L-R Dave McNeill, Julian Barratt, Colin Hoult

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’ll be aware that Julian Barratt appears in the the new comedy pilot Zimbani – set to air on freeview channel Dave on June 4th at 10:50pm.

With the broadcast of the pilot little over a week away, we’ve been lucky enough to speak with its creators and stars Dave McNeill and Colin Hoult {pictured with Barratt}, to find out more about a show which may well become the jewel in Dave’s fresh programming crown.

Hi Colin and Dave – welcome to The Velvet Onion! Now, we’ve read the press release about Zimbani, but how would you describe the show, in your own words?

Dave: Zimbani, played by Julian Barratt, is the most evil man in the world. He’s trying to take out civilisation. Basically Zimbani’s a right bastard.
Colin: He’d probably be the creepy kid at school who pulled the legs off spiders.
Dave: We play the force that’s tasked with stopping Zimbani. Accurately named : Taskforce ZIMBANI.
Colin: I play Harry Lenarkos. He’s the very stupid field operative.
Dave: I play his boss. Chester Van Der Chester. Confined to the office but I do get to wear a lovely hat.
Colin: It is a lovely hat.

Zimbani started off as an Edinburgh Festival show. How much of that initial concept has survived the transition to screen?

Dave: Very little really. I think we always sort of saw it as a tv show because it’s in essence inspired by old tv shows and films from our childhoods. In Edinburgh a lot of the show became jokes on the fact that we couldn’t actually do the things they had on TV (lions, guns etc) as were in a 50 seater porta-cabin.

The show came to our attention because of the casting of Julian Barratt. How did you decide who to cast in the show, and was Julian in your mind early on?

Dave: Zimbani as a character wasn’t in the Edinburgh show – he was a shadowy figure in the background. But while we were writing the pilot we realised it would be better if he was seen.
Colin: We’ve always been fans of Julian through his work in ‘The Mighty Boosh’ but also his performance in ‘Nathan Barley’. As well as being really funny he could appear quite menacing.
Dave: And he looks great in uniform.

Postcards From Zimbani

21 May

© Tiger Aspect

The Velvet Onion have been sent several wonderous images from the forthcoming comedy pilot Zimbani.

The brainchild of Colin Hoult and David McNeill, the show is scheduled for transmission on freeview channel Dave next month, and as you can see features an appearance from none other than Julian Barratt.

We’re expecting something quite brilliant from the show, which we’re told has a touch of Booshery about it – a feeling which Julian’s fantastically menacing cameo will no doubt amplify.

Dave will air the show on Friday June 4th at 10:50pm and we aim to peel you more news about Zimbani as soon as we can.

© Tiger Aspect

© Tiger Aspect

Zimbani Scheduled

16 May

© Dave

Comedy pilot Zimbani has been scheduled for transmission in June.

The currently one-off sketch show from the minds of Colin Hoult (Russell Howard’s Good News) and David McNeill features an appearance from none other than Julian Barratt.  We told you about its production back in March, and have been eagerly awaiting a transmission date ever since.

Now digital freeview broadcaster Dave have announced the pilot has its airdate set for Friday June 4th, at 10:50pm.

We will remind our peelers closer to the time, but for an extra reminder, visit Dave’s website to allow them to send you a cheeky email reminder too.


18 Mar

© Dave

Julian Barratt has filmed a part for new comedy pilot, Zimbani.

Comedian Colin Hoult (Russell Howard’s Good News, Comedy Shuffle etc) posted an image on his Facebook page from the pilot, which is being filmed for digital channel Dave.  The sketch show also stars David McNeill (seen in the photo with Barratt & Hoult), and may be broadcast as early as next month.

As soon as we hear a transmission date, we’ll let you know.  For the time being, you can join the Zimbani Facebook group for more info.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,080 other followers