Today marks the release of Sightseers into UK cinemas. At long last, this brilliant film starring Alice Lowe, Steve Oram and Richard Glover can be shared by you all. Directed by Ben Wheatley, we’ve gone bananas for it because it truly is brilliant and deserves your attention. It opens in 92 cinemas nationwide, and it’s success this weekend will decide if it expands to further cinemas next week, so it’s crucial if you have a passing interest in the film, you go and see it now!
Of course, most of you will be more than aware of the work of Alice Lowe and Steve Oram before this film was released, but for those of you who are new to their genius, we thought we’d compile a handy list of easy-to-access clips from the Tube of You. It’s been tough selecting only five each, but we think we’ve found you some absolute corkers.
All of these clips are either web-shorts, live clips or tv taster pilots which didn’t go to broadcast, which helped narrow the list down somewhat. Obviously, they only scratch the surface of the great work the pair have been crafting for the past decade. To truly experience their mastery, you simply must see them live at the earliest opportunity, and to find out when that next is, you’ll have to keep coming back here! We’ll be keeping you posted on any appearances they make, so pop back every now and then to find out more.
If that’s too long a wait, you can browse their ‘videographies’, as it were, via our TVO webstores. Both run by Amazon on our behalf, we have dedicated sections for every artist we feature in a UK and US store – and both will ship internationally too. For Alice’s stuff, visit here for UK, and here for US – and if Steve’s your bag, visit here for UK, and here for US.
Now to the top ten!
10. CLUB FANTASTICO: DRUGGIE VEGGIE DISCO
Earlier this year, TVO hosted its very first live night at The Vandella in Shepherd’s Bush. Alice & Steve were there amongst a whole host of great TVO faces, and the whole thing was filmed too. We’ll be bringing you our footage soon, but in the meantime, you can check out the glorious madness of Oram & Meeten‘s semi-regular Club Fantastico at the same venue back in July. In this particular clip, Oram, Meeten and Lowe take part in a competition between carrots and cocaine at a 70s disco party. Yeah, it’s that kind of night.
See the rest of that evening’s fun, also featuring Waen Shepherd and Alex Kirk on YouTube now.
09. STICKS & BALLS
One thing we’ve learnt about Alice over the years, is that she loves any excuse to pretend to be a popstar. Junglophilia had her become the Toyah-inspired Val Hallah, whilst Earth Birth and its related live work gave us the Kate Bush flavoured Maggie Moss. For us, the funniest has to be the clearly bonkers German electro-pop slut Kitty Litta. This particular short was part of the Straight8 competition – shot on 8mm with no editing allowed. Directed by Jacqueline Wright and co-starring Tom Meeten, we promise you’ll never look at golf the same way again.
Kitty later returned in the equally filthy Kitty Porn. We hope she stages a comeback soon.
08. SUICIDE BAKERS
A few years ago, long term collaborators Steve Burge and Tony Way – the latter of whom cameos in Sightseers – recorded a series of sketches for a tv taster pilot. Sadly, like many alternative comedy projects during the recession, it never came to fruition, but some of its spoils are available online – including this slice of silliness, which co-stars Steve Oram.
We hope more bakers make the right choice thanks to this video. For more of Burge & Way, click here.
07. THE WINGNUT TAPES
Wingnut are a Madchester band who never got the break they deserved. Which might be because they needed a better cameraman. Filmed several years ago, this short features Oram & Meeten attempting to make a rock opera.
The duo later reunited on stage alongside Tony Way and Holly Jane Shears for a series of Wingnut gigs, and have often spoke about their wish to bring the characters back one day. Here’s hoping…
06. MY OLD BABY
The Jackal Films Calendar Project in 2010 saw Alice and Jacqueline Wright create a twelve short films in the space of as many months – all of which brought their unusual charms into the world. There was Roots, which gave birth to Hot Brew, for example – and we’re eternally grateful for that one. Love Song introduced us to the wonderful Rachel Stubbings, and Brethren cast Alice, Sharon Horgan and Stephen Evans in a wasp-flavoured nightmare. But our absolute favourite has to be this: a re-visit to the realm of Lifespam, the brilliant BBC3 pilot which was denied a series back in 2009. Also starring Sarah Kendall, this one features Rich Fulcher being… well Rich Fulcher, but he’s a very special creature indeed.
05. IN THE WOODS
A lot of our peelers will have discovered Steve Oram via The Mighty Boosh, when he appeared as the loveable Donny the Tramp and valiantly saved Howard and Vince from The Crack Fox. However, what a lot of people don’t realise is that Donny was already an existing character of Steve’s, making a cameo into the Boosh realm. His other recorded appearance is in this clip, featuring Oram’s regular partner in crime Tom Meeten. We guarantee you won’t get this song out of your head once you’ve heard it…
Interesting fact for you trivia fans: Oram & Meeten also have a less murderous version of this song, which they once performed on children’s show Dick And Dom’s Funny Business. True story.
04. THE MAINSTAGE
Another hilarious project which was passed over during the recession, The Mainstage was the brainchild of Gareth Tunley and was a true TVO collaboration – with Waen Shepherd providing the music, and the likes of Shelley Longworth and Rich Fulcher joining Alice Lowe’s pitch perfect parody of vapid youth tv presenters. It’s divided across three parts, but we think you’ll agree it’s a worthy investment of twelve minutes of your life.
Anyone else find it impossible to hear the theme tune to The Bill now without singing along?
We couldn’t get away with this list by only including one Jackal Film, and whilst it was a close call, as they’re all brilliant – we had to plump for Pebbles. In a bit of an excursion for the team, this one was entirely animated, and featured Alice alongside her Sightseers co-star Richard Glover as two pebbles in the desert, trying to make conversation. It’s so good, it’s still being quoted randomly here at TVO Towers by just about everyone who’s seen it, and fell in love with those little rocks.
As this one features a flying creature, can we also sneak in a cheeky recommendation for the equally bonkers Birdhandler, whilst we’re at it?
02. THE DITCH
Released late last year, The Ditch was a collaboration between Oram, Simon Farnaby and Forgery Club head honcho Bob Pipe. Part of Oram’s Lincoln Studios banner, which has prided itself on surrealistic material (not that Steve’s ever been afraid of that, as anyone who’s seen Mary will attest!) – this was a surprisingly traditional piece which relies on the natural banter between it’s stars, and a truly fun concept.
We hope they finally make that appointment this year!
01. THE FORGOTTEN PICTURE SHOW
This one seems to be stuck in development hell – quite possibly because Sightseers and countless other projects have made its stars so damn busy! The last we heard, there was a strong chance this would become a full series, spoofing different genres of cinema every week – and given that the cast is possibly the biggest TVO get-together on camera in ages, we are crossing everything to ensure we see more from The Forgotten Picture Show. Featuring Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Tom Meeten, Tony Way, Waen Shepherd, Barunka O’Shaughnessy, Shelley Longworth, Richard Sandling and Julia Davis, this is an absolute cracker.
And that’s your lot! For more of your favourite TVO stars, check out our official YouTube channel, which combines our own interviews and silliness with playlists collecting some of the best bits of the interweb. We’ll also be bringing you our TVO Live film in the coming weeks, so stay peeled!