Rachel & Lou Get Aroused

3 Apr

The magnificent Rachel Stubbings and her regular collaborator Lou Sanders are launching a brand new comedy night next week: An Arousing Night of Comedy.

© Lou Sanders / Rachel Stubbings

The delightful duo are kicking off the Edinburgh warm-up season with preview sets at quirky arts venue Drink, Shop & Do on London’s Caledonian Road, Kings Cross.

For the first night on Wednesday 9th April, the hosts will be joined by alternative comedy legend Richard Herring, as well as Mae Martin and Patrick Turpin.

Tickets are just £3, and can be bought over yonder. For more info, keep an eye on the Facebook event page.

Making Doll & Em

2 Apr

© Pop Matters

Director and co-writer of Doll & Em, Azazel Jacobs, was interviewed this week by Pop Matters about his work on the series, which completed its run on Sky Living last week.

In the article Jacobs talks about how he first got to know Dolly Wells and Emily Mortimer, how the writing and directing process worked on Doll & Em, and why he chose to make the show and TV series rather than a film.

As he explains: “First off, I was watching TV being handled the same way as movies, with the same director, but also with the same intentions, same ability to go from dark to light…But I also wanted to take advantage of doing slices, instead of like on a film where you have to have transitions from one scene to another.”

Jacobs also talks about the dynamic between the two co-stars, echoing what Dolly said to us in our interview with her a few weeks ago, by saying: “I really wanted it to be called Doll & Em, because I wanted to credit their friendship, the friendship that allowed them to do things like this. I think in order to do things like these, the relationship has to be very healthy.”

To read the interview in full visit Pop Matters here.

Psychobitches Returns

1 Apr

© Sky Arts HD

Filming has started on a second series of Sky’s Psychobitches, the sketch show which has starred a few TVO artists from the fairer sex, including Katy Brand, Julia Davis and Sharon Horgan.

The show puts history’s most iconic women into the psychiatrist’s chair to have their psychoses and obsessions analysed. It will return for six new episodes later this year. Sky have said of the show’s return: “Following the success of the first series, the therapy sessions in front of discerning therapist Rebecca Front are set to continue as the appointment diary looks as booked up as ever.”

Executive Producer Ben Cavey added: “It’s fantastic to bring the team back together for Series 2 of Psychobitches. We have a whole new line up of women from history getting a dose of modern day therapy and the results promise to be just as clever, insightful and downright silly.” The final line up for series 2 hasn’t been confirmed, but we hope to see a few familiar faces.

The new series is being directed by Jeremy Dyson from The League Of Gentleman, and it will air later this year on Sky Arts 1.

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!

A Gentle Man: Interview With Richard Ayoade

31 Mar

As you’ve probably noticed if you’re a regular reader of The Velvet Onion, we’ve been making quite a fuss about The Double, the new feature film from Richard Ayoade. A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to be invited to meet the man himself, to talk to him about his latest film and to find out why he’s glad that it hasn’t yet been compared to ‘Nutty Profressor 2′. Velveteer Mog reports:

© Michael Leckie

The real Richard Ayoade is something of a surprise. Prettier, younger and slimmer than he looks on TV, the initial impression is more hipster than geek. He’s also quite possibly the best-dressed person I’ve ever been in the same room as; a peeping sliver of lemon sock perfectly matches the colour of a butterfly’s wings in the pattern on his shirt.

His answers to questions are similarly considered. Polite, softly-spoken and humble, the word that probably best describes Richard Ayoade is “careful”. Not the bad sort of careful that implies control freakery, but the decent sort that means “full of care”. The sort of careful that matches socks to butterfly wings.

He’s here to talk about his new film The Double, his wonderfully idiosyncratic adaptation of Dostoevsky’s novella, which stars Jesse Eisenberg in dual roles: as the downtrodden Simon James and the charismatic James Simon. Co-written with Avi Korine, Ayoade was first sent the script in 2007; the film was shot in 2012 and is released in the UK this week, so it’s been a long time in development. What attracted him to the project in the first place? “I thought the premise was really unique and interesting; the idea of a double that no one else notices.” He says.

However, translating a complex story like The Double into celluloid comes with its own challenges; Ayoade notes that films of books can often end up as a diminished version of the original printed form. So how did he compensate for that? “In the book you have a great deal of psychological insight into the characters, so [in the film] you have to create visual moments to bring that to life,” He explains. “You have to think of things that will illustrate their personality, even though those things aren’t in the book, and even though they take the story in a different direction.”

© Studio Canal

This is one of the reasons why he weaved a love story into the spine of the film, feeling that it presented a more believable catalyst for the emotional unraveling of the central character, Simon, than the loss of his status at work (which he experiences in the book) would. “While I relate to him as a character and to his disintegration, I don’t know that anyone feels that way about work.” He pauses, then adds apologetically, “I could be wrong, because I don’t have a proper job, but it doesn’t feel as important as not being recognised by someone who you love.”

Continue reading

Dead Rappers Society Latest

31 Mar

Film maker Ben Gregor has created an awesome new video for DRS (Dead Rappers Society).

DRS is an organisation that helps at-risk young people express themselves through song-writing and music videos. It was founded by Ben and Geoffrey Okol, and currently operates in the UK, South Africa, Canada and the US. The video below is for DRS South Africa:

Ben has said of the scheme: “DRS is my way of giving back to hip-hop, and it’s becoming the love of my life.” To find out more about DRS pay a visit to their website.

And to follow what else Ben’s up to, why not follow him on twitter?

 

Monumentally Smiley

30 Mar

© BBC

Last year we announced that free audience tickets were available to see Michael Smiley as a panelist on Series 2 of Monumental, the feel-good BBC One Northern Ireland comedy panel series that celebrates all that’s weird and wonderful about Northern Ireland.

However, because none of us actually live in Northern Ireland, the airing of the second series somehow managed to pass us by! Please accept our sincerest apologies.

All is not lost, however, because clips from the show and the most recent episode of the series (which is a highlights show) are still available to watch via the BBC – and luckily, not just to those of you who live in Northern Ireland.

Monumental is hosted by antipodean comedian Jarred Christmas, and each show features regular teams – Jimeoin/Andrew Maxwell and Michael Smiley/Micky Bartlett, plus two personalities from the world of comedy and entertainment.

To find out more about the show visit the BBC’s website here.

Harry & Paul (& Kevin)

30 Mar
© bbc.co.uk

© bbc.co.uk

Kevin Eldon is helping Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse take a twisted look at the story of BBC Two in Harry And Paul’s Story Of The Twos. The show, commissioned to commemorate 50 years of BBC 2, is an hour-long tribute to the channel’s most iconic programmes and personalities.

Harry Enfield says: “BBC Two gave me my big solo break with Harry Enfield’s Television Programme almost 25 years ago. They have been loyal to us over decades. We therefore felt it was only right that now we should stab BBC Two in the back.”

As well as Kevin Eldon,  guest stars include Simon Day (The Life of Rock with Brian Pern, Moone Boy), Rosie Cavaliero (Inside No. 9, It’s Kevin), Catherine Shepherd (The IT Crowd) and many more.

Harry adds: “They kindly asked us to do an homage to 50 years of BBC Two. It’s turned out to be less of an homage and more of a homicide. Whoops.”

BBC Two launched on the 20 April 1964, but with only a few minutes to go before the channel went to air, a power cut affected the whole of west London, so the first show to be broadcast on the channel in its entirety was Playschool, which went out the following day.

Did you know that BBC Two was the first channel in Europe to broadcast in colour in 1967?

To find out more about the show and BBC 2′s 50th anniversary celebrations click here.

 

Westeros International

28 Mar

© BBC

There’s just over a week to go until Game of Thrones returns, and as its fandom goes into meltdown, there’s some great news for those who just can’t wait a second longer than necessary.

And with Tony Way returning as Dontas Hollard this season and Paul Kaye still out there somewhere as Thoros of Myr, we’re pretty excited for its return, too.

The show returns to HBO in the States at 9:00pm ET on Sunday 6th April, and was pencilled in to air in the UK the following night, at 9:00pm GMT.

However, in a surprise move, the show will now also air in the UK at the same time as the US, meaning it’s UK première will be at 2:00am on Monday 7th April.

The evening showing is still happening, so those who don’t fancy losing sleep can catch up at a more hospitable hour.  In the meantime, study every inch of the lengthy foreshadowing docu-trailer, below.

Ultimate Sandling

28 Mar
© Edward Moore

© Edward Moore

We all know how much Richard Sandling loves his movies. The Perfect Movie host and avid VHS collector is synonymous with epic home-made recreations of the favourite film scenes of his comedic pals, including a number of fellow TVO regulars, and now he’s got a chance to tell the telly people all about it.

This weekend sees Channel Five broadcast Top 40 Ultimate Action Movies, as voted for by its viewers.

Presented by Vinnie Jones, the countdown promises the greatest stars, car chases, catchphrases, stunts, pyrotechnics and villains ever to blast their way onto the silver screen.

Sandling is one of many Talking Head contributors to the show, though he’s stressed he has no idea “how much of [his] blathering will end up in the show”.  Still, we’ll be watching! 

You can see the show yourselves on Sunday, 30th March at 9pm, and it should be available on Demand5 after transmission.

Em Interview

28 Mar
© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD / HBO

© King Bee Productions / Sky Living HD / HBO

Emily Mortimer was interviewed for In Conversation and it is due to be shown very soon (6.30pm) today on Sky Arts. She talks to Jason Solomons about her varied film and TV career, including Doll & Em.

For those without Sky Arts you can see a snippet of the interview here, and those with Sky Arts need to tune in now! It will be on sky on demand later on too.

Own Part Of A Movie

27 Mar

We enjoy being the bearer of news for you lovely lot via this here website, but we feel a special kind of joy when we discover something random and just a bit ridiculous that we can share with you!

© Prop Store

May we introduce you to Prop Store, a website that offers a whole array of weird and wonderful prop from films and TV shows, some of them TVO-related! The only downside is that some of them are on the (very) expensive side, but for a piece of one-off authentic film memorabilia, perhaps they’re worth saving up for.

First off, take a look at the item above. It’s the rocket launcher from Four Lions which was used by Omar in Pakistan at a terrorist training camp. He misfires this particular rocket and kills his follow terrorists in the process. Somewhat bizarrely, due to the Violent Crime Reduction Bill, the item is only for sale to people who reside outside the UK. If that’s you, the rocket launcher can be yours for the princely sum of £595/$809. For more information click here.

There are also some lovely newspaper props from Bunny & The Bull (plus a script for just £20!), Chris O’Dowd‘s name tag from Bridesmaids,  and a whole range of props from The Boat That Rocked. If you spend a bit more time snooping around, you’ll probably find more.

Enjoy – and start saving!

No. 9 Prints

24 Mar
© Graham Humphreys

© Graham Humphreys

Calling all Inside No. 9 fans! Yesterday’s announcement on Facebook that there would be prints available of the poster of The Harrowing, if anyone was interested, has generated enough interest that the prints are now available.

You can get A3 size prints of The Harrowing poster (as seen above) for £15.99, plus £3.50 post and packaging. Other sizes may be available email Graham Humphreys to order now – info@grahamhumphreys.com.

To keep informed of further developments on this and other Reece Shearsmith stories, follow his fan page on Facebook.

 

TVO Film Review: The Double

24 Mar

Richard Ayaode‘s second feature film, The Double, based on Dostoevsky’s 1846 novella of the same name, will be released in the UK at the end of this month. So what’s it like, and how does it compare to his directorial debut, Submarine? See what our reviewer, Mog, had to say: 

© Studio Canal

From its appearances at various Film Festivals during the past few months, reviews of Richard Ayoade‘s latest feature, The Double, aren’t hard to find. Across the board, they’re consistent in their high praise of Ayoade’s fastidious attention to detail, the richly claustrophobic set design, and the sharp filmic intellect that underpins it.

One point that all the reviewers seem to agree on is the extensive list of high-end cinematic influences discernible in the finished film. It’s this final point that would irk me if I was in Ayoade’s shoes. The Double has been variously described in terms of its stylistic closeness to Gilliam, Gondry, the Coen brothers, Welles, Godard, Lynch, Andersson and Kaurismaki. All fine directors, but it’s a shame to define a film as interesting as The Double by the other films it reminds the critic of.

In case the early murmurings about Ayoade’s latest project have passed you by, here’s what you need to know about the story:

The action revolves around a meek and downtrodden  office clerk whose life is turned upside down by the surprise appearance of his confident, aggressive doppelgänger (both parts are played, brilliantly, by Jesse Eisenberg in the film). It’s an odd premise which plays out peculiarly across its 93 minutes – particularly for audiences who are more used to neat narrative conclusions.

Ayoade’s film leaves as many questions unanswered as the book on which it’s based does: we’re never too sure what’s real and what’s not, a sensation underscored by the fantasy netherworld in which it’s set: part sci-fi/part retro, it establishes a version of (un)reality in which one doesn’t question the bizarre goings-on as much as you would if it inhabited a world you recognised.

© Studio Canal

Furthermore, the beautifully nuanced performances of the main cast, in the form of Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska, help to lend authenticity and humanity to a story at risk of caricature in less capable acting hands. In fact it’s the dynamic between these two (three?) characters that gives The Double its heart, something which seems to have been overlooked by many of the reviewers out there. This is a love story first and foremost; Simon’s actions towards his neighbour and co-worker, Hannah, are achingly and heart-breakingly romantic.

© Studio Canal

The Double is a very different beast to Ayoade’s debut feature Submarine, which was airily joyful from start to finish. If I’m honest, I probably didn’t enjoy The Double as much as I did Submarine, which is not to say that it’s a less good or less interesting film. It certainly tumbles around the brain for longer.

I’m not sure that The Double is a film to enjoy – it’s too uncomfortable. There are moments of genuine humour – this is Ayoade afterall (scenes with Chris Morris and Sally Hawkins are particularly funny), but for the most part we perceive what’s going on through Simon’s experiences, and we feel his pain acutely.

The Double is a fascinating and clever film. It’s also beautifully-shot and well-acted. But it’s not an easy film to watch; it’s awkward, dark and ultimately inconclusive. Well worth subjecting yourself to.

The Double is on general release in UK cinemas from 31st March, with selected preview screenings on 27th March. Here, for your perusal, is the latest trailer and a short clip from the film (below). And look out for our interview with director, Richard Ayoade, next week!

Unnatural Comedy Online

24 Mar

© Unnatural Acts

All decent proper fans of Boosh will be aware of Unnatural Acts, the late 90′s sketch show featuring a few Boosh members that was something of a precursor to the Mighty one.

What you may not be aware of, however, is the existence of a new Unnatural Acts youtube channel, which claims to be the “Home of some of the most subversive and innovative comedy acts in Britain…showcasing exclusive never-before-seen footage of comics and material considered too edgy for television.”

They premier a new sketch every Monday at 3pm that shows established acts (like members of The Mighty Boosh) as you’ve never seen them before.

Every Wednesday at 3pm they bring you extreme hidden camera stunts and experimental formats that push the limits of what television can show.

Although the content isn’t exclusively TVO-connected, a lot of it is. For instance, this afternoon’s sketch featured a youthful Noel Fielding snogging a deer (not a goat), and last week he could be found looking at Julian Barratt‘s balls:

There are also videos on there from Rich Fulcher (as Eleanor) and Kim Noble (doing fabulous things to Ikea furniture). To see more, visit Unnatural Acts’ youtube channel or follow them on twitter.

More No. 9 Chat

22 Mar

As we reminded you recently, Rhys Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton were at HMV in Oxford Street on Thursday, to sign copies of the Inside No. 9 DVD, which you can acquire via our Amazon store here.

HMV have released an exclusive interview from the day which you can see below.

Then this morning they were on the Matt Edmondson show on Radio 1, playing the Leave It Yeh interview game. You can catch up with the show on BBC iPlayer.  You can hear Reece and Steve at 1:16, if you’re in a hurry.

Raising Bees In November

21 Mar

James Cook has released the first song from his upcoming second album.

Bees In November is the first track from Cook’s new solo album which will be titled Adventures in Ausland. The album will be out later in the year but you can already satisfy your musical cravings with this little preview.

You can listen to Bees In November over at SoundCloud or here below.

If you want even more James Cook music, head on over to his Bandcamp page and remember to keep your eyes peeled for further news.

 

House of Fools to Return!

20 Mar
© BBC

© BBC

It has been announced that Vic and Bob’s madcap sitcom House of Fools will be returning to BBC Two for a second series.

The first series starred Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer who were joined by Matt Berry, Dan Skinner, Daniel Simonsen and Morgana Robinson. Set in Bob’s house, the series produced new and ridiculous stories each week and captured the hearts of many of its viewers.

The full core cast are expected to return for the second series, the BBC announced on Tuesday.

Vic and Bob said “We are overjoyed and thankful to our great corporation for their diligence in this matter.” Bob also revealed the news via Twitter:

Here at TVO, we can’t wait to see what the next series will bring!

Foot On The Box This Weekend (& More)

20 Mar

© Mog

Paul Foot will be part of the TV line up this Saturday evening on Comedy Central UK.

Paul will be appearing on ‘Comedy Central At Just for Laughs’, which will be broadcast at 10pm. The brand new show, filmed at the Montreal Comedy Festival and exclusive to Comedy Central, also features Russell Howard, Eddie Izzard, Bo Burnham and Katherine Ryan.

Comedy Central is available on Sky Channel 112 and Virgin Channel 132. For more information check out their website.

Paul has also recently announced that tickets for this year’s Secret Edinburgh Previews are now on sale. They will take place in May in a Secret London location and will be the first chance to see his brand new show. You can purchase tickets in the the Guild Lodge. (Password is “hobbyhorse”).

The new show will be called Paul Foot’s Symphony in Gammon Sharp Major, and Paul will be taking it around the UK and Australia during the next 12 months.

Kim Noble, Euro Rover

20 Mar

© Kim Noble

Back in the dawn of 2014 we were excited to report that Kim Noble would be performing his one man show You Are Not Alone in a handful of European cities in January and February. Now he has extended his mini-tour to a few more locations!

You can now catch Kim in Geneva on 26/27th April at Theatre de L’Usine, in Bern on 11/12th May at Theatertreffen and his Manheim date at Theatre De Welt has now been confirmed for 29/30th May. For more information and/or to purchase tickets (if available) click on the relevant link in the previous sentence. Easy!

If you’re not able to gad about anywhere as exotic as that, you can still see Mr Noble’s short film Pigeon at the FlatPack Film Festival in Birmingham on 30th March.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,314 other followers