Back in 1995, The League of Gentlemen was formed. The world, as we know it, has not been the same since….and, in this particular case, this is a good thing. The quartet of British dark comedy writers/performers, Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith set up shop in the fictional village of Royston Vasey for their three-series bit of brilliance, The League of Gentlemen, in 1999.
While they probably cringe at the thought that some think of them as a 21st century Monty Python troupe (probably because Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith play a number of different characters, both men and women), they are credited with the revival of the sketch comedy show format. With the first series of League of Gentlemen, there’s a new road being built through the town of Royston Vasey. Unfortunately, with new roads come the possibility of great numbers of strangers visiting the town. The road development ends when local shop owners, Tubbs and Edward, discover that the construction manager is their long lost son, David, and convince him to end construction and live “locally”. Here, the police question Tubbs about the disappearance of a boy…
Following League of Gentlemen, Pemberton and Shearsmith teamed up for an even darker comedy, Psychoville. It’s a mysterious blackmailer that brings together of a serial killer-obsessed man-child who lives with his mother, an embittered one-handed children’s entertainer, a blind millionaire who collects stuffed toy animals, a midwife who treats a practice doll as if it is her real child and a little person who believes he has the power of telekinesis with a simple note saying, “…I know what you did.” The blackmailer sends another message with three simple words that leads everyone to believe the “did” was to murder Ravenhill Hospital nurse Edwina Kenchington (Dame Eileen Aitkens), the blackmailers mother. Here, David and Maureen have something bulky to hide when an inspector (Mark Gatiss) calls.
Next up, it’s Happy Endings, described by both Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith as both funny and terrifying. The self-contained six stories, commissioned by the BBC will air in 2013. I already cannot wait. While Gatiss has passed the time since the end of Psychoville by writing and appearing in Doctor Who and Sherlock, Pemberton was creepily brilliant in the Whitechapel series as a present-day authority on Jack the Ripper. While all have been busy, it’s time to get the band back together again….soon.