Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop Black Friday Deals Week in Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Amazon Fire TV Shop now DIYED Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Paperwhite Listen in Prime Shop Now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars232
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: DVDChange
Price:£12.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2007
Though now they undoubtedly suffer comparison to weaker shows that have followed in their wake (and in a couple of instances have become infinitely more successful), the League of Gentlemen were a breath of indecent fresh air when they arrived onto BBC2 back in 1999 with their eponymous sketch series. A television series that paid as much attention and homage to classic English moments in cinema, TV and literature as it did to cult horror classics and serial killer trivia, the world of Royston Vasey and its bizarre inhabitants was one as chock full of witty irreverance as much as it was of disgusting toilet humour, with the odd un-PC characterisation thrown in for good measure. Like any uniformally terrific piece of TV heaven, the League would inspire a cult following that still laments/praises their efforts in provoking laughter and disturbance to this day, and remains especially unique in their daring to take their characters towards avenues darker and more surreal than most English comedies fear to tread.

The progenitors of this vividly weird world deserve every amount of praise bestowed upon them for bringing it to life so indelibly, as co-writer Jeremy Dyson and co-writers/lead cast members Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith imbue their characters with an honesty and commitment that most sketch shows rarely afford to do. Even when dragged up to the nines, fat-suited-and-booted or adopting all manner of over-the-top mannerisms, not only is their comedy rooted convincingly within the innumerable social neuroses of all isolated English communities, but the performances also serve to eak out some semblance of truth in the farce played onscreen, no matter how overblown, fanciful or downright disturbing it may be. The Tubbs and Edward storyline from series one is one concerned with the restrictions of home and the need to find something beyond the smalltown life whilst Hilary Briss's indiscretions in series two can be seen as an essay on corruption and blackmail amongst a smalltown's political figures. That both storylines happen to feature hair sandwiches, culinary excrements and bestiality makes their core themes more appealling. Aided substantially by exemplary costumes and makeup (particularly the former courtesy of Yves Barre), as well as an overtly naturalistic filming style that belies the staginess of past sketch shows, the League strike chords that unnerve as much as they induce laughter precisely because there is no wink at the audience to let them know when to laugh, which is as big a feat as you're unlikely to find in English comedy.

As with any cult success, the League's fanbase is one that can often be found arguing over the merits or detriments of each series, though rather unfortunately a lot have isolated series three as the nadir of their work with the BBC. Granted, with its ambitious storytelling technique and marrying disparate characters from other sketches to tell even weirder and out-of-leftfield stories, series three had the power to alienate even hardcore fans that had grown accustomed to the more traditional sketch show structures and catchphrase-reliant punchlines of the first two seasons. Series one and two were still held together by a thinly-etched storyline to help provide continuity between the six episodes as well as provide a soap-opera style level of intrigue and investment to the proceedings, and each group of characters was given either moments to shine or at the best of times character arcs and plot twists that provided further shading and depth. Series three was limited in its scope by focusing on a single set of characters in each episode for so long, but it still can't deter from the sheer subversive delights found within or some joyously silly stand-alone sketches. However, most are unanimous in their praise of the Christmas Special, which no doubt helped to inspire the multi-layered structure of series three, and it remains their highlight even outside of their work with the BBC.

The more horrific aspects of their characters and actions can be attributed to the League's fascination with the horror genre, specifically the Gothic qualities of the Hammer horrors and the Amicus horror compilations. Plot points, shots and episode titles pay homage to the likes of Nosferatu, Don't Look Now, The Wicker Man, The Shining, The Exorcist... the list goes on. Though thankfully, the level of technique from the behind-the-scenes crew helps to ensure that each reference is made tastefully and with the utmost care, of particular note being The Divine Comedy's Joby Talbot supplying a rousing underscore to the events onscreen, especially the Christmas special which includes a beautiful pastiche of Jocelyn Pook and her score for Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. It's not all doom and horror though, even if the lighter moments are tainted quite indelibly with some incredibly dark humour, notably the Chinnery sketches (the Kes pisstake is priceless), a couple of ceaselessly creepy monologues (one set in a cave system, the other in a morgue) and a wonderful Jehovah's Witness pitch that goes from bad to worse in less than two lines. In short, its the most fun you're likely to have laughing at the sort of stuff you really ought to not be laughing at.

However, the best part of this DVD collection is the fact that the League, being the geeks that they are, have taken great pride in providing bountiful extra material for each disc in this package. Those who have bought each TV outing individually will feel shortchanged by its slashed price and the lack of any new material specifically for this release stops it from being an essential purchase for the die-hard fan (unlike, say, Channel 4's seminal Spaced DVD collection), it would be the perfect gift for someone who enjoys intelligent, raucous comedy who hasn't discovered them yet. The most amusing features on each disc containing the episodes have to be the "Local Gossip" audio commentary tracks made by the League, which sees them become more and more embittered as they detail sketches that don't work, discrepencies in the plots, various on-set travails and, most tellingly, orders from on high that limit what they can say and do (Shearsmith in particular gets incredibly rancourous). Other features include deleted sequences, behind-the-scenes documentaries, isolated score cues, music videos, trailers and character biographies. Not including series one (which probably had to suffer having all of its material posited on one disc), each menus is also beautifully designed with all kinds of animations, quirks and easter eggs, standout amongst equals being the Christmas Special (again!)

So, with its smackingly delicious blend of comedy, horror, referentialism and drama, the League of Gentlemen gave us a genuinely refreshing hit TV show that ducked easy categorisation at every turn to become of the BBC's finest comedy programs in recent years. That they proceeded to march to their own beat and treat hard-won fans with further flights of fancy as opposed to relying on cliches and catchphrases to keep the merchandise boards happy also makes them one of the more legitimate comedy troupes working today (excluding the panto tour, obviously!) Let's not forget, this is the outfit that turned a character with a raspy voice and a minstrel face into a national phenomenon, despite his having black urine and stealing women away from their homes to stuff them inside animals. Give credit where it's due, guys; Vicky Pollard would be ripped apart in seconds if she ventured into Royston Vasey, and it would probably be at least half as good as anything on these six discs of dark pleasure.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2009
The "shouting" reference is from myself,...but does'nt relate to "any trouble here".Quite the contrary,in fact. This is yet another comedy gem
boxed set I've purchased off Amazon.I'd missed out on quite a few episodes
from the original transmissions,so it's great to have 'em all in the original running order.I can't recommend this collection highly enough.
It's British comedy at it's best,( with just the right mix of the darker
side for good measure ).The Christmas Special,too is excellent.Possibly,the interviews with the cast may be a bit long winded in parts,but gives an interesting insight to the "behind the scenes"
crafting of the characters / story lines.They appear to be a really nice bunch of blokes with a genuine love for the genre the're working in.
Britain's got TALENT all right,..and these guys have it in spades !!!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2014
Royston Vasey is not the idyllic English village you want to encounter on your travels, nor would you wander around the village shop which is stsrictly for local people - unless you want Tubbs and Edward top devise a particularly gruesome demise for you. If you must visit, take Babs' cab and meet the residents - the OCD Dentons who live with their toad collection and two sinister twins, Chloe and Radclyffe; the demon butcher Hilary Briss; or the factory workers Mike and Brian with their unstable colleague Geoff ('you always knew I had this gun'). Do not take your pet to Veterinary Mr Chinnery or it will come to a ghastly end; neither should you enrol in sadistic Pauline's restart group along with the backward Micky. Beware of the circus too, or you might bump into Papa Lazarou, the weird black-faced ringmaster who 'can do things'. There are just a few of the charcters in Gatiss-Shearsmith-Pemberton-Dyson's 'The League Of Gentlemen which hit TV screens like a blast of fresh air, blowing away the comedy cobwebs to give us a brand new subgenre. Taking cues from old horror movies (the Christmas special is a nod to the portmanteau films) and giving more than a passing nod to Stephen King, laughter blurs into tragedy and pathos until at times they are indistinguishable and leave a feeling of unease. It is well that the series folded after three series as there was always the danger that it might lose its impact and fade into just another sitcom (although it is hard to imagine that the writers would allow it). Full marks to an intriguing show which delights with a maze of twists and subplots making this one of the most innovative and strange programmes in recent times. The final episode is probably the most bizarre TV ever screened. Simply brilliant.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2014
This is really a no-brainer purchase for any fan of intelligent dark comedy.

The League of Gentlemen are a quartet of comedy writers, three of which also act in the series: Jeremy Dyson (the non-actor), Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton and Mark Gatiss. After doing a great radio series (On The Town With The League of Gentlemen), they brought the fictional Northern village of Royston Vasey and its grotesque inhabitants to our screens for three glorious series plus the darkest Christmas special you're likely to see.

I've reviewed all of these individually so I'll just do a quick summary of what you're getting:

Welcome to Royston Vasey! This is where we first meet inbred shopkeepers Edward and Tubbs, who have definitively appropriated the word 'local'; Jobcentre officer Pauline who patronises and belittles her 'dole scum' charges; and the toad/bodily-function obsessed Val and Harvey Denton. The show may be remembered mostly for its dark grotesque surreality (including a homage to The Wicker Man) but we also see glimpses of tragicomedy. Anyway, you'll be laughing so much you won't even notice the soundtrack.

Extras-wise you get commentary on ALL the episodes, twenty minutes of deleted scenes and a character guide. Bearing in mind that the BBC are notoriously stingy with extras, it's a pleasant surprise.

Back again! This is where we first meet wife-snatching Papa Lazarou, who brings his travelling circus and dwarf henchman to Royston Vasey. As it's a character-driven show, the second series does not stumble in the way that other shows do. If anything, we get an even deeper insight into the characters.

This is where the laughter-track starts to feel a bit out-of-place. The show's always been dark but the introduction of Papa Lazarou, malapropic pervert Herr Lipp and development of the Pop character cements the show's reputation as a ground-breaking comedy. Like Brass Eye before it, we laugh uncomfortably.

Extras-wise, you get commentary on ALL episodes, twenty minutes of 'extra footage' (a mix of SFX, longer takes and deleted scenes) and another character guide so you can keep on top of the new arrivals. Plus an Easter egg!

AKA Yule Never Leave, this doubles nicely as a Halloween special. It's three stories in one as The League take the frame of vicar Bernice being a Christmas-hating misanthrope, trick you into thinking it's just A Christmas Carol spoof and leave you with a genuinely troubling ending.

The three stories are unhappily married Charlie's attempts at line dancing and his unhappy wife Stella's dabbling with a mysterious voodoo group that promise to rid her of her husband; elderly Matthew's tale of his exchange trip spent with Herr Lipp, who may be a vampire; and accidentally lethal vet Dr Chinnery's tale of the curse placed upon his ancestors and their descendents.

Fans of the horror elements of the show will be delighted at the many allusions and parodies on display here. If you watched Psychoville, this special is a great segue into The League of Gentlemen. But be warned, this special is lot darker. Probably the cleverest thing the League have done.
Extras include a featurette about horror films, COMMENTARY, and TWO easter eggs!

This one really splits opinions. It's not so much a comedy as a surreal soap opera, with six interlinking stories. If you don't love the characters, skip this one; it's not for the casual viewer.
Taking a more dramatic approach to their characters by treating them as 'real' gave both great emotional and comic pay-off. For example, Ross blackmails Pauline into working as a mole investigating Mickey; Alvin (the least successful Series 2 character) comes into his own after an auto-erotic asphyxiation accident (yes, really!) paves the way for his affair with dowdy garden worker Judith; Geoff goes to London to seek fame as a stand-up, as Legz Akimbo go method for their disability play; and Charlie gives Judee a helping hand in running her new massage parlour, where he unexpectedly falls for Tony- his wife's lover.

The whole thing could have been awfully pretentious but it's actually a great love letter to some fantastic characters. There's a feel of classic anthology series Play for Today, as each episode has a self-contained story. It does mean that the overt sketches tend to slow the pace down or fall flat as they're predominantly one-off characters.

This is the point at which the League `matured' (until they regressed to the dross of their film, The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse) . Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton's latest project, Inside No. 9, has similarities in style with Series Three but it's not as cutting edge- though a darn sight more cutting edge than anything else on TV.

Extras include a making-of featurette, a costume featurette, every episode with COMMENTARY and some extra footage.

The mix of characters, styles and tones in the show are testament to The League's writing and acting ability. Where The League triumph above any other comedy show is their ability to bring pathos and `realism' to the most surreal characters. Each actor has a particular skill they bring; Steve Pemberton has a knack for finding the tragic empathetic qualities in the most grotesque characters; Mark Gatiss exudes quiet menace and Reece Shearsmith plays impotent rage/passive aggression that can be comic or tragic.

Even if you're not a fan of `comedy', there's enough dramatic content to get you hooked. Trust me, you'll never leave!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2011
The box and even the navigation menu possess the same macabre humour as the series. Lovely pictures on the box; funny navigation menu. The League of Gentleman portrays a very English/Welsh(?), very freaky style of comedy that leaves you with a deeply unsettled feeling, but provides plenty of laughs.

This series is quite a bit deeper than the film of the same name, or the more recent Psychoville by the same actors. This series explores, explodes and satirises a number of the UK's foibles in a deeply caricatured style. From drug addiction (a frisson of cannibalism surrounding Hillary's butchers that certain other residents cannot resist after their first taste, but are full of shame to admit) to a Willy Loman-style "failed man" (Jeff), who struggles for attention in his dim life (and frequently uses a gun to re-gain the attentions of his mates) are just a few examples.

(Spoiler in this paragraph). The highlight of the series for me is the local shop and the interplay of Edward and Tubbs with their numerous out-of-town visitors. Imagine if Jaycee Dugard or Joseph Fritzl's victims had never been found, but grew up to run a souvenir shop in a near-deserted village...? That's my vague impression of what Tubbs is. Both she and Edward fear strangers, but at the same time fetishise them, trapping those who enter their shop and subjecting them to all manner of odd games. Tubbs, cavorting in a cape around two tortured men tied to a chair, streaked with mud, while Edward plays the tombola is a memory that is burnt upon my brain...

You will come away from this series a changed person, and fresh party to all manner of meme-like jokes which have possessed generation Y since the series first sallied forth.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 2010
Welcome to the weird dark comedy world of Royston Vasey, where local people can buy the special stuff from the local butcher and men look like men and women do too. Beware the local travelling circus, do not touch the precious things in the shop on the edge of town and if you have relatives who live there, do not go and stay with them.
Keep out of the joke shop if you want to keep your limbs and be prepared for a few surprises if you flag down a taxi. The job club at the Royston Job Centre is awful too!
But apart from all that - Royston Vasey is a place you will NEVER leave!

PS: Do not take your pet to the local vet.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2014
Having been an admirer of "The League of Gentlemen" in past years I have never watched the series for at least the past 7 years when I gave my DVD collection of the series to a family friend. This was a revelation again of the unique and really 'off the wall' humour which is the dark and extreme world of the League. Nothing really prepares you for the series, it transcends 'normality' (whatever that is) and invites you to participate in the dark, black and perverted world of the resident's of Royston Vasey's existence, ever aware that this portrayal of a village mentality might not be that too far removed from some small community environments. I love it! I regard it by far as the best 'extreme' end of the absurd and bordering on a psychological nightmare that 'spooks' the consciousness and disallows sleep to come peacefully! For those readers whom have never watched the 'Leagues' exploits before, of even those of you whom have watched the series a long time ago, then refresh the data banks and feed yourself on this quality production which goes from strength to strength as the series progresses. I go into my 'local' butcher's now with a new awareness, thinking as I do "what is really in that freezer"?
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Someone turned round to me at work and said that there was a programme on telly that was right up my street. I said I'd check it out, it was an epiphany!

Some comedies have a unique style - but NOTHING had ever been like this! It was grotesque, dark, sinister, some were scared by aspects of it - but it was hillarious and bloody brilliant!

This box set has all 3 series, and the Christmas special.

The first series introduces the core characters and the more you watch it, the more you get drawn in. You get introduced to Royston Vasey along with Benjamin, who has come to stay with his Uncle Benjamin and Aunty Val. Things start to get a little wierd.

With the introduction of each character, things get a little wierder.

By series two the stories resemble the plot of a horror film (with Hilary Bliss' 'Special Stuff' and the subsequent nosebleeds').

The League would have been interesting but poor if it weren't for the fantastic performances and brilliant comedy. Series three had a very different feel as each episode ends at the same point in time - collectively building up a story by continuously explaining several points. This makes it vey 'arty' - but keeps the darkness of the humour ("call me Daddy!").

I won't go into all the characters here, there are too many of them. The make-up and production values are phenominal. This is a blend of Sitcom and Sketch show, where the comedy is character based and the story is dark drama.

'The League' shows that unleashed imagination and writing talent can combine to produce something new and exciting.

*** " And in the cupboard beneath the stair, you'll find the red for pubic hair " ***
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2009
Some gems do come back, and so it is true for the "League of Gentlemen" (not to be confused with a movie of a similar name). This fine complete collection features wonderfully special characters in the tradition of Monty Python and was most certainly influencing the later "Little Britain", but much darker and moody. Interwoven stories of a remote, very rural village full of dangerously loveable persons (and vice versa) whose fates are interdependent. If you're in for some dark British humour and story twists, go for this splendid package!
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2011
I'd just like to comment on how brilliant both the contents and the product of this box-set is. BE WARNED: This comedy is an acquired taste; yet great fun. It's also a bit creepy, but it's all done with a comic edge so don't take it too seriously.

The acting is first class and not tinged with any awkwardness, a trait that tends to happen with longer comedy sketches when stage comedians think they can act...take note Peter Kay, Ricky Gervais and Johnny Vegas. STEVE PEMBERTON stands out for me as the lead actor. The other three lads play a tremendous supporting role, but Pemberton nails all his characters with real zeal and tremendous pathos, his fellow cast members would no-doubt agree he completely stole the show.

How Steve Pemberton got overlooked for an individual award is beyond me!

Finally, and I think it's important to highlight the quality of the packaging of this Box-set, it's second to none; opens in book form and each DVD is easy to hand, unlike some other ridiculous box-set designs of late....take note THE FAST explanation please!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Customers who viewed this item also viewed


Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.