It seems as though 20th anniversary celebrations are all the rage these days. First The Full Monty, now The League of Gentlemen. Not sure what was in the water 20 years ago but it certainly generated some quality content.
There is no description that would do justice to The League of Gentlemen, which was made up from the combined twisted mind palaces of Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Jeremy Dyson and Reece Shearsmith. It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 20 years since we have visited the home of Edward and Tubbs Tattsyrup in the sleepy little town of Royston Vasey, the setting for the brilliant but darkest of dark comedies, The League of Gentlemen. That said, it’s probably a good thing that Papa Lazarou has not crossed our paths for that length of time.
While portions of the group have found ways to collaborate over the years beginning with Shearsmith and Pemberton’s brilliant Psychoville series (who needs Krusty the Klown when you have Mr. Jelly) and their more recent collaborations on the anthology series Inside No.9, which returns on Tuesday for it’s third series, and then Shearsmith, Pemberton and Mark Gatiss have appeared together in the children’s sketch comedy show Horrible Histories, this would be the first attempt to ‘get the band back together’ given the extremely busy schedules of the three above plus off-screen writing partner Jeremy Dyson. Both individually and collectively, all four have hinted that they would love to return to the town of Royston Vasey.
Pemberton said: “This year we will get together and see what flies… We always talk about it.  is 20 years since it was on the telly. But 2017 is actually when we did the radio series. We kept trying to make it up, all four of us together. Jeremy’s been doing his Ghost Stories film, [Reece Shearsmith and I] have both been in theatre, Mark’s been in theatre, and we just genuinely have had no chance to get together. But we have made a decision to make that happen. It will be a very difficult thing to do, to go back and try and imagine what Royston Vasey will be like now, or whether it’s changed at all.”
Shearsmith added: “We’d love to do it if we could all fit the time in and do it. In 2019 it will be 20 years. So maybe we should mark it with something.”
Gatiss, who played the local Royston Vasey butcher Hilary Briss, who served a particularly special meat that appeared to make people bleed out of their noses, has been weighing in on the possibility since last June around the U.K. Brexit vote time period. According to Gatiss, Britain’s decision to leave the EU made a League of Gentlemen return more likely. “I think increasingly, talking about prescience, we have become a local country for local people and I wonder if there is something Brexity in us that we can do. We’re hoping to [do it again],” he said. “We’ve talked seriously about doing something, we’re not quite sure what it is yet but we’d love to do something, it is 10 years…”
The four are scheduled to meet up later this year to ‘discuss’ the possibility of a return to Royston Vasey. 2017 marks 20 years since they first appeared as the League on BBC Radio – although a show in 2019, marking 20 years since they debuted on TV, is more likely, they have said. Whether it’s 2017 or 2019, the exciting thing at this point is that the BBC is interested. “The door is open to a League of Gentlemen special and it’s up to them,” said a senior BBC source.