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DVD Review – The League of Gentlemen (Season 1)
The League of Gentlemen is a British horror-comedy series that’s something like The Wicker Man crossed with The Young Ones (Amazon says ‘Monty Python meets Twin Peaks‘).
The show is set in the depressed northern-England town of Royston Vasey, which is full of wonderful, memorable characters who are by turns sinister, grotesque and pathetic.
Each is played by one of the comedy team the series is named for – the League of Gentlemen (Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith and Jeremy Dyson).
- Notes: The League Of Gentlemen took their name from the 1960 crime comedy movie starring Jack Hawkins, based on John Boland’s crime thriller novel [
The show is one of the blackest comedies out there. The Gentlemen are experts in taking you out of your comfort zone with bad taste and pathos, then quickly having you rolling around laughing at their cruel and dramatic humour.
The show is shot in an atmospheric and cinematic style, and the actors, to me, bring a theatrical feel – they have a stage background as a comedy troupe.
The show consists of a number of storylines about several major characters. Overarching is the approach of the ‘new road’ to town, with some of the locals feeling threatened about the strangers it will bring.
The first person we meet is Benjamin, a normal young man who has arranged to come to Royston Vasey on a hiking holiday. He plans to stay with his aunt and uncle, and is expecting a friend to join him.
Unfortunately, his friend doesn’t show, and he’s forced to stay with the … eccentric … Denton family longer than expected. The Dentons have an enormous number of rules, and two scary twin daughters. Harvey Denton breeds toads … and somewhat resembles one.
The most popular character characters are Tubbs and Edward, the proprietors of the Local Shop. Any non-local who visits their dingy and isolated convenience store is in trouble (this explains the fate of Benjamin’s friend).
Other favourite characters include:
• Barbara, the pre-operative transsexual taxi driver, who regales her passengers with graphic surgical descriptions;
• Hilary Briss, the town butcher who secretly supplies an unnamed and addictive meat product to a select clientele;
• Mister Chinnery the town vet who is cursed to bring spectacular death to any animal he treats; and
• Pauline, the pen-obsessed unemployment officer who mocks and patronises the unwilling unemployed that attend her job skills classes.
As you watch the series, you’ll pick up a series of references to some classic horror stories and movies (such as The Wicker Man).
The League of Gentlemen is a brilliant, cult comedy. For me, it was a must-buy, and I recommend, no, insist that you check it out.