They were right: You’ll never leave!
Later this month The League of Gentlemen (Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith) make a welcome return to our screens, celebrating their 20th anniversary of their first broadcast on Radio 4 back in 1997.
With this, here is some special stuff: a look at some of the returning characters, and some new ones, we can expect to see in the remote northern town of Royston Vasey, which is facing its greatest threat in the three special episodes that are soon to arrive.
The most proud of locals, Tubbs and Edward are back. This may seem odd given that in the last TV series they were run over by a train, but they managed to survive (they also appeared in the movie The League of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse). Where the local shop is now is hard to say, since it burned down.
Okey-dokey-pig-in-a-pokey, the members of Royston Vasey’s Job Centre have also returned. Pen-loving, dolescum-hating Pauline is still in the company of Mickey and Ross, but how their relationships have developed is another matter.
The men from Royston Vasey’s plastics firm are still in business, and will no doubt be up for a laugh or two. It is always best to laugh at Geoff Tipps’ gags. As his colleagues Mike and Brian can tell you, you know Geoff’s got this gun, don’t ya?
For some strange reason, Benjamin Denton has returned to the town and has ended up the worse for it, with his Aunty Val and her two identical twin daughters Chloe and Radclyffe (Francesca and Lily Knight, all grown up) wanting their revenge. However, Uncle Harvey is nowhere to be seen.
They’re not local, but Legz Akimbo Theatre Company, led by the somewhat objectionable Ollie Plimsolls will be visiting Royston Vasey to put on another of Ollie’s dodgy plays.
The seedy newsagent Pop is still in business. His son Al is still in a relationship with nurse Trish (a return performance from Sian Gibson), and the trailer for the show (scroll down) sees him in conversation with his estranged son Richie. Don’t mention Maverick Bars.
Oh dear, oh dear. Pity the poor animals of Royston Vasey. Local vet Mr. Chinnery is still trying to tend to the creatures of the town. Whether he has been able to shake of his ancestral curse meaning that every animal he comes into contact with dies a horrible death remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, the world’s most spiteful vicar, Bernice Woodall, has managed to come up in the world. It looks like she is now the mayor of Royston Vasey, assisted by Murray Mint. Surely she can be any worse than the late Larry Vaughn (Roy “Chubby” Brown, real name Royston Vasey).
The former rhythm guitarist of glam rock group Crème Brulle, Les McQueen, is no doubt still hoping for some kind of musical return. Whether or not it is still a shit business is something to look forward to.
Henry – seen. Ally – seen. The horror film lovers are also still in town, and given that The League of Gentlemen were inspired by horror movies, one of the questions we will no doubt be asking ourselves is: “How many killings?”
The last time we came across Lydia Beasley, she was so desperate to cure her pounding headaches she took up an offer from her doctor to go to his house with a brand name bottle of coal and a large Hawaiian pizza, to play a series of games along with his other patients. Never has Busy Buzzy Bumbles been more sinister.
There are also so new locals we have not yet met who make their debuts in these specials. One of them is Toddy, a local bingo caller.
Another new character is Lindsay, but we don’t know much about her, but in a full scale photo of her she is shown wearing a badge stating she is a project supervisor for the County Planning Department.
The trailer for the series has also shown the return of bickering couple Charlie and Stella Hull, while also paying a visit to Royston Vasey is the Queen of Duisburg himself, camp teacher Herr Lipp.
There are some questions however that are still unanswered. When the original TV series ended, Bernice, Charlie, and Brian had fallen into the clutches of nightmarish circus ring master Papa Lazarou, but have managed to escape. There are no preview images of him, so will he return, and what has happened to his wives now?
The League of Gentlemen Anniversary Specials begins at 22.00 on 18th December on BBC Two.