A Homage To The League Of Gentleman: The Unbeatable Pioneer Of British Black Comedy

league of gentleman

Welcome to Royston Vasey.

‘The League Of Gentleman’ is one of the shows that remains in the top rung of timeless classics for comedy enthusiasts across the UK. Its combination of situation comedy and bizarre sketches played out by the freaky fictional (local) people of Royston Vasey made it a unique example of British black comedy.

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I still remember back to my childhood when the show first aired in 1999. My brother and I used to stay up to watch it and between the laughter, there were moments of genuine terror. Now over 18 years later and the show still seems fresh and original as it did back then, with the various stories remaining as macabre as they are funny.

In celebration of the four writers Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith and Jeremy Dyson and their return to our television screens this year with three new episodes, let’s look over some of the weirdest characters they brought to life.

Papa Lazarou

Why not start at the top? Papa Lazarou – the raspy and demonic circus master who had a penchant for stealing wives – was the perfect example of the League’s ability to walk the line between humour and fear. The last thing a woman ever wants to hear is that voice screaming “You’re my wife now!”

Edward and Tubbs 

I said we were starting at the top didn’t I? The most iconic pair from the show, they were the originators of the famous (but not tacky) catch phrase that I will forever shout out whenever I’m the shop of a rural area. “This is a local shop, for local people, there’s nothing for you here.”

Hilary Briss 

Of course the butcher of Royston Vasey was not going to serve just any old meat. Known only as “special stuff” in the series, the local butcher served it up to all of his regulars, causing a nosebleed epidemic.

Barbara Dixon

Barbara is the town’s local taxi driver, cursed to live as a woman trapped inside a very hairy and deep-voiced man’s body. Her op didn’t quite go to plan, leaving her in gender limbo and giving her a lot to complain about.

Harvey and Val Denton

Another iconic duo for the show, Harvey and Val are a bizarre couple whose OCD-inducing home was run in an insanely ordered fashion (Harvey even had specific tweezers for using the toilet).

And then there’s Harvey’s toad collection. You’re not allowed to say the ‘F’ word in their house… it’s a toad.

Pauline Campbell-Jones and Mickey 

Pauline was the dysfunctional and inept Job Centre Restart officer whose arguments with loveable dimwit Mickey were comedy gold. Her and Mickey’s love-hate relationship was nearly as strong as Pauline’s love for pens. Pens = friends.

Judee and Iris

Judee, the rich housewife and Iris, her grotesque cleaner, both have troubled private lives leading them into a constant game of one-upmanship. Their bragging sessions usually involve their husbands but as is always the case with the characters of Royston Vasey, all is not what it seems.

Did you enjoy that trip down the somewhat sinister memory lane? Although there are so many other characters, big and small, all of whom are worth a mention from the three seasons, I hope that this was enough to reignite your ‘League of Gentleman’ passion and get you hyped for the upcoming new episodes.


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