Archives for January 2012

Late 'n' Live Guide to Comedy

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Jon Aird | 15:18 UK time, Thursday, 26 January 2012

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For over 25 years, Edinburgh Fringe audiences have gathered, like Romans to the Coliseum, to watch comedians fight against hecklers at the Gilded Balloon venue and it’s Late 'n' Live event.

These people are renowned as the comedy world’s most unpredictable audience; never sedated by a famous name: they expect laughs or they give better than they get.

Now for the first time, with narration by Late 'n' Live veteran performer Lynn Ferguson, and interviews with other comedians who performed there, exclusive archive footage of Late 'n' Live can be revealed to those who never made it to the post-midnight show. Or indeed weren’t sober enough to remember it. 

Amongst those taking part in the programme are Russell Brand, Johnny Vegas, Jason Byrne, Zoe Lyons, Shappi Khorsandi, Caroline Rhea, Ross Noble and Rich Hall.

And now we welcome on to the blog, the woman behind both Late 'n' Live and the Gilded Balloon venue, Karen Koren, to tell us more.

Karen Koren remembers...

Many a wild night was had. Johnny Vegas would have me running around getting him concoctions from the bar. He would inevitably throw up on stage and induce many an audience member to do the same. All I can say is it was no fun for my staff who had to try and clean up after him, as it made them sick as well. Luckily the tv viewing public will not be exposed to that sort of thing in the next few shows, however, there is plenty that is funny or bizarre and a bit scary.

Next Monday’s show is about the first timers: Jason Byrne with his sticks, he always had loads of props his first time. Rich Fulcher was brilliant as Eleanor – the Tour Whore! Then there is Shappi Khorsandi’s first and only time. Tim Minchin too, who says Late’n’Live was not for him but there were plenty who it did work for. Why are there so many comics afraid of performing at Late’n’Live – is it because it really will make them a better comic? Or is it too much of a ritual for some comics to get through? It would seem so!

Late 'n' Live Guide to Comedy, BBC One (Scotland) Monday 11.05 pm

Or watch on iPlayer


Vexed is Back in Production

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Suzy Grant | 12:00 UK time, Wednesday, 18 January 2012

How about a bit of good news for the middle of the week? Yes? OK then - detective comedy Vexed has begun shooting the next series with stars Toby Stephens (Jane Eyre, Robin Hood, Cambridge Spies) playing D.I. Jack Armstrong, and Miranda Raison (Spooks, Merlin, Married Single Other) playing new character D.I. Georgina Dixon.

The show is being filmed in Dublin and will air six episodes later this year on BBC Two. This series is definitely one to watch with creator Howard Overman (Misfits) at the helm & episodes written by Chris Bucknall, James Wood, Steve Coombes and Harry & Jack Williams.

Toby Stephens

So, what's going on in series two I hear you ask? Well, D.I. Jack Armstrong has a new partner in the shape of D.I. Georgina Dixon. Armstrong is charming, disorganised and prone to laziness so it comes as no surprise that sparks fly when he's partnered with the ambitious and highly efficient Dixon. Jack's best friend, café-owner and ex-cop Tony (Roger Griffiths) and colleague Naz (Ronny Jhutti) complete the crime solving team. Episode one sees the duo tackle the murder of a cocky car salesman, but things are not quite as they seem.

Chris Sussman, Executive Producer for the BBC, said: 'We're very much looking forward to the return of Vexed. The second series promises to be just as much fun as the first, and with Miranda Raison joining Toby Stephens as new partner D.I. Dixon, we're hoping it's going to be all guns blazing.'

Jill Green, Executive Producer, Eleventh Hour Films added "In a recession we need shows that make us laugh, and that's where Vexed fits in - a perfectly distinctive 'yin yang' take on modern day life."

If you just can't wait for the next series to air, here's a clip from the last episode of series one:

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Jesting About 2 - The Results

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Jon Aird | 15:00 UK time, Monday, 9 January 2012

Jesting About 2 succesful applicants

We've just heard from the folks at Jesting About 2, the North East-focused initiative which gives people the opportunity to pitch to BBC commissioners, and they were very excited because they're ready to reveal the results of their search for up-and-coming comedy talent.

This is what they told us:

Over 600 comedy scripts and sketches were submitted, from which 31 talented individuals have been selected to take part.

Candidates were selected by a panel of BBC commissioners and include Game of Thrones and Ideal actor Ben Crompton, Teesside brothers James and Jack Boughen, and Lesley Gair, who recently left a career in retail to concentrate on writing and whose partner John Scott has also been selected. The full list can be seen below.

The successful applicants will attend workshops and receive support from BBC commissioners, executive producers and on-screen talent to develop their ideas into pilots over the next three months.

Last year’s Jesting About resulted in successes such as an animation commissioned for BBC Comedy Online, and a sitcom script optioned by Pett Productions, the indie run by Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer and Lisa Clark.

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Ross Noble reveals one of his favourite heckles - from Jesting About 1.

BBC Creative Head of Comedy, Simon London, said "we've been overwhelmed by the response we've had to our ideas and briefs" and Peter Salmon, Director of BBC North, added "we've discovered some new and authentic comedy voices, and can’t wait to see their ideas turned into reality".

Agnes Wilkie, Creative Director at Northern Film & Media is confident that the combined investment and commitment "will produce a fantastic return of new, North East focused commissions across the three strands”.

And so, without further ado, here are the names of the successful candidates!

TV Comedy - creating a pilot sitcom for BBC One

Jamie Diffley (Whitley Bay)
Lee Henman (Cleveland)
Alex Reid Milligan (Northumberland)
Robert Rodriquez (Chesterfield, Derbyshire)
Jessica Silcock (Barnsley)
Naomi Smith (Macclesfield, Cheshire)
Ian Skelton (County Durham)

Radio - creating a half hour sketch show for BBC Newcastle and BBC Tees

Jack Boughen (Teesside)
James Boughen (Teesside)
Alex Collier (Sunderland)
Victoria Cook (Whitley Bay)
John Cooper (County Durham)
Ben Crompton (Newcastle)
Lesley Gair (Newcastle)
Janet Plater (Newcastle)
Andy Fury (Northumberland)
David Williams (Northumberland)
Steve Bugeja (Manchester)
Mike Whalley (Stockport)

TV Entertainment - creating a pilot for a weekly live comedy and entertainment series for BBC Three

Will Cooper (Newcastle)
Owen Cooper (Newcastle)
Hal Branson (Newcastle)
Charlie Richmond (Newcastle)
John Scott (Newcastle)
Alex Collier (Sunderland)
Rob Gilroy (Gateshead)
Alex Oates (Whitley Bay)
Guy Emery (Whitley Bay)
Gavin Webster (Tyne and Wear)
Mark Meiklejohn (Edinburgh)
Robert Girvan (Edinburgh)
Peter Donachie (Edinburgh)

Congratulations to everyone involved, now the hard work begins!

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