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4.8 out of 5 stars18
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on 29 October 2000
It is bleak, it is dark, it is surreal, it is vile, it is unmissably BRILLIANT! How do you describe a black comedy series which has some of the best characterisation ever seen on British television, and how do you prepare the uninitiated for the 'terrors' that await them as they enter the bizarre world of Edward and Tubbs, Pauline, Babs, Auntie Val and Uncle Harvey, et al? Well, you simply tell them to take the 'phone off the hook, put aside around three hours to watch this uninterrupted, and grab hold of the biggest box of tissues they can find - they will need them to mop up the tears of unashamed laughter that will be rolling down their cheeks!
Never again will you want to borrow a pen; forever will you hold your butcher in the deepest suspicion; those seaside novelty snowstorms will acquire a "precious" status; you will view your minicab driver in a different light. In short, Royston Vasey will become a place you really wish you COULD visit for a holiday... even if it does mean you will never leave again!
"The League of Gentlemen" succeeds where so many comedy series have failed- it is brilliantly written, fantastically acted, the attention to detail is unrivalled, there are ongoing themes which are developed each episode (by virtue of the opening credits), and there is actually a plot and consistent storyline. What is most terrifying of all is that most of us will be able to identify a grain of people we already know in the bizarre characters who inhabit Royston Vasey.
Buy it - it is a must. Once you've watched it (plus the final episode of the second series), then order the "Local Book for Local People". If you like your comedy pitch black, surreal and intelligent, you will not be disappointed. Most importantly, somehow I cannot see this one dating over the years; it truly deserves the much over-used label of 'classic'.
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The league of gentlemen is pure genius. Reece Shearsmith, Mark Gatiss and Steve Pemberton act all of the parts in the series which is near sixty different characters men and women. They also write the series with Jeremy Dyson who does not act but appears in a couple of cameo roles popping up now and again (collecting lighters for a pound on the street)
The characters are full of well, character I suppose with the local people loving Tubbs and Edward offering ‘seventy, eighty alright a pound’ for strangers to leave and never come back to their shop and home, but that’s just where there problem lies as once you’ve arrived in Royston Vasey ‘you’ll never leave’. Other characters include a transgender taxi driver who goes by the name of Barbara and has a voice deeper than Barry White, Harvey and Val Denton who are obsessively clean and equally obsessed with toads, charity shop ladies that only take things with a ‘special mark’ on them and many, many more.
Inspiration has been drawn cleverly from a variety of sources including cult films such as ‘The Shining’, ‘The Wicker Man’, ‘Don’t Look Now’ and even Disney’s jungle book, that is just how well the League work with their ideas, drawing up whole lives for characters right down to their favourite canned fruit of peaches in syrup. The League have been likened to Monty Python and other British comedies and has now become a somewhat iconic cult programme in its own right.
The show is beautifully tainted by wickedly funny dark humour, everyone knows that they shouldn’t laugh at a man in a wheelchair having his wheels removed (whilst he’s still in it) but because it is executed in great comic timing you can’t help but laugh out loud at the ridiculous situation. Even the start of the episodes have you laughing as a new ‘lost’ poster is put up each episode ranging from ‘Lost – grandma’ to ‘have you seen my finger’ and even a whole primary school class. It is these touches that put the League in a league of their own, you’re sure to find something new going on in the background each time you watch it and another funny line to make you laugh.
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on 4 September 2001
Not for the faint-hearted, in my opinion this is the most innovative and intelligent multi-dimensional comedy series to hit the Beeb for years (and years). You will either love it or hate it, there's no in-between possible here, as you will see if you read all the reviews. It is cutting edge black humour (no canned laughter, Dave) with an all-pervading atmosphere of brooding maleavolence and danger mixed with the absurd. Watchable again and again, I have been delighted and proud to create a few more seriously committed fans by showing the video to friends and family who have been unlucky enough (or just plain ignorant) to have missed the series on telly. They have learned their lesson! Oh yes..
The League of Gentlemen were the logical recipients of the BAFTA award for best comedy last year; with genius writing, perfect directing and inspired acting not to mention the highly skilled and creative make-up artists involved (even the background music is spot on). May the League Be With Us for at least another series yet... please?!
...throw a 'sickie' from work, shut the curtains (sometime soon after breakfast) and take a step off this planet to visit Royston Vasey and its inbred inhabitants - some barely human. I promise, you will never want to leave (neither will you ever view your local butcher/job center/corner shop in quite the same light..)...
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on 4 January 2001
Royston Vasey - You'll never leave!
And it's exactly the same with this video. No matter how many times you watch it, from Babs the cab driver, to the rich woman (whose name I cannot remember for the life of me), to Pauline, there is something funny to hear! It is neccessary to understand, and appreciate dark humor, but this is the first comedy series, since things such as Red Dwarf, the Brittas Empire, and other such things, which had me cracking up so much that, at some points, I thought I might wet myself.
It's the kind of comedy, that I knew I would like from the very beginning (having missed it on TV), and the very first scene of the letter being read by the old woman, I was hooked. I received it a few days before Christmas, and only stopped watching it to eat, and I think I'll watch it again, after writing this review!
There is a disclaimer to this, however: You'll see earlier in the reviews, the one-starrer; if you cannot understand dark humor, at all, I strongly advise you against this show. But, I do not think it is such a major thing, as some people may have said -- I have friends, who are usually bored by dark comedy, that loved this, and were laughing almost as much as me. Applause to League of Gentlemen, and I can't wait for the second series on video, and the third on TV!
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on 20 June 2001
The dark sinister town of Royston Vasey beckons you all to come and meet it's bizzare residents. If you like comedy that pushes back the boundaries of good taste then this is a must for you. Meet such people as Edward and Tubbs, the owners of the the local shop. Their homicidal antics and fear of all that is not local provide an excellent, disturbing platform for comedy. See Pauline, the ascerbic restart officer at the local job centre as she abuses the recently redundant and workshy dole-scum. The myriad of characters(over 60 in total) played by Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss and Reece Shearsmith are totaly funny and the writing talents of the league of gentlemen team is a breath of fresh comedy air that has been much needed in recent years. It would be scandalous to pidgeon hole this work of comic genius as it is truly original. This will appeal to anyone who is prepared to fart in public for comic effect.
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on 24 November 2001
The League Of Gentlemen is an absolute scream! It's a load of total nuthingness and maddness thrown together to create the best compilation of humor ever produced!! No matter how oftern I watch it,or how quiet I'm listening to it, all of my family are sure to all come running into the livingroom to enjoy the mayhem and dark humor that is The League Of Gents!
Follow the numorously diferent charecters,all magnificently played by Reece Shearsmith,Mark Gatiss and Steve Pemberton, as they carry on with their usual, not so normal lives. Get totally transfixed to Paulines Pens, little Mickey,Ross(ssssss),the complicated and darkness of Jeff,Tubbs,Edward("Edward,Edward!") THE JOKE SHOP keeper,Barabra the not quite anything cab driver,Hilary Briss the hummle but dark butcher and many many more!!
An absolute must have on your shoping list!
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on 3 March 2001
The League of Gentlemen - what can I say? I own quite a few comedy series on video, but this is the only one that really does stand up to repeated viewing, as there's always something you'll have missed before! Perhaps not to everyone's taste, but on the whole this video of the entire first series is a real treat to watch. If you haven't yet discovered this show, The Local Shop, Hilary Briss' Butchers and Babs Cabs - then order it now; if you have any sense of humoiur you'll be crying with laughter! The best cult comedy of recent years; a weird, hilarious concoction of comedy and horror and packed with a number film references including 'The Wicker Man' and 'The Shining'. Fantastic characterisation, Brilliantly written and suberbly acted by Reece Shearsmith, Mark Gatiss and Steve Pemverton - three cheers for tLoG!!
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on 1 May 2001
Truely original comedy programmes come along once in a blue moon. The League of Gentlemen is happily one of these. What makes it so watchable is the fact that it is performed by three wonderfully talented actors, who manage to convincingly play over 60 characters. They pull this off so well with the use of make up, costumes and most importantly a hell of a lot of skill. Each character is so lovingly portrayed you even find yourself feeling sympathy for the monstrous Pauline and childlike Tubbs. Unlike many comedy series, TLoG has many gripping storylines running throughout which will leave you gagging to see the second series...and the third (come on guys, hurry up!).
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on 22 November 2000
I've watched this video over and over again and each time, I find some hilareous character mannerism or hidden meaning that I missed the time before. Each episode has numerous sub plots that lesser writers would stretch to the limit, but these guys simply wet your appetite for more and then sledgehammer your senses by crashing into the next batch of madness. Apart from the brilliant writing, the actual performances are out of this world and I continuously change my mind up as to who is the best actor and who are the best characters. Mindblowing comedy!!! (D'ya wanna see something really funny, Dave?) WATCH ON....
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on 25 July 2001
For anyone who has stood in a rural village corner shop or pub and felt totally alone, or indeed scared by the locals, this show is the truth behind their wanting stares! A brilliant send up of the darkness lurking just under the surface of all our lives. You'll hate to admit it, but you'll recognise youself in more than one of these characters. Flawless timing, brilliant lines all brought together by a wonderful team of actors who genuinely bring the black humour and moments of sensitivity to the viewer, making you feel, well, LOCAL!
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