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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh God, it's getting like bloody Jackanory in here!, 5 Aug. 2005
This review is from: The League of Gentlemen -- Christmas Special [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
The League of Gentlemen depart from their two previous series for the first time. Gone is the sketch show crossed with soap opera, bringing us instead this wonderful seasonal special. Despite both these series providing viewers with enough comedy to merit Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith as brilliant writers who have created a cult classic, this Christmas Special shown in 2000 did enough to propel them to even greater heights. Here, they use an increased budget and several horror influences to deliver a genuinely unsettling, though strangely gripping experience.
Set on Christmas Eve in the dark and strange northern town of Royston Vasey, the unsympathetic Reverend Bernice (Shearsmith) is about to settle down to a quiet night in, until three unexpected visitors arrive and treat us to an hour of scary stories in a similar, though far more macabre way, to "A Christmas Carol".
Firstly, a depressed Charlie Hull (Pemberton) tells of a "cheese-dream" where his jealous wife Stella (Shearsmith) ruins his chances at a line-dancing competition through a strange group known as "Solutions"...
Next, an elderly man named Matthew tells of his terrifying experiences in the German town of Duisberg during Christmas 1975, at the hands of German exchange teacher Herr Lipp (Pemberton) and his wife Lotte (Gatiss), who may or may not be vampires...
Then, as the night closes in, hopeless veterinary Mr Chinnery (Gatiss) explains the reason behind his own misfortunes, dating back to Victorian London, a practice called Purblind, Boothby and Canker, and the mysterious curse of Karrit Poor...
All through this, Bernice has her own Christmas woes to worry about, as she relives a Christmas past where her mother was taken by an evil stranger at her front door posing as Santa Claus, and it is only at the very end that all is revealed...
Also, many familiar faces from the first two series are present in some form or another, such as the Dentons, Pauline, Ross and Mickey, Pam Doove, Barbara, Judee and Iris, Vinnie and Reenie, Mike King and Papa Lazarou.
Shown in 16:9 widescreen with stereo sound, there are also DVD extras, including, among other things, a cast commentary, an hour-long radio interview and, best of all, a Jackanory-style story by Mr Chinnery, about "The Curse of Karrit Poor".
Christmas will never be the same again - yule never leave!
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Location: Essex, UK

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