The League of Gentlemen is a bizarre BBC television comedy series set in the fictional village of Royston Vasey.

It began as a stage show in 1995 and took the Perrier award for comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1997. The same year, the radio series, On the Town with The League of Gentlemen debuted on Radio 4. In 1998, this was transferred to television and quickly acquired a cult following. Filming takes place mainly on location in the north Derbyshire town of Hadfield and consequently has no live audience. A laugh track was added to the first two series, but this was (thankfully, perhaps) dropped from the Christmas special and the third series, when shown in the UK. The programme is made in 16:9 widescreen, which means that some of the visual gags might be hard to spot in letterbox format.

Table of contents
1 Overview
2 Main characters
3 Reference
4 External links


The League of Gentlemen is a sketch show, but over the run of a series the sketches involving a certain set of characters form an overall story. In addition to this there is often overlap, with the events and characters of one story playing a part in another. There was also a Christmas special after the second series, which took a slightly different format of three self-contained stories, with three of the characters seeking the help of the vicar, Bernice, on Christmas Eve.

The majority of the inhabitants of the village are played by three actors: Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton, and Mark Gatiss with additional writing contributions by Jeremy Dyson. The series has also garnered considerable critical acclaim, acquiring a BAFTA award, a Royal Television Society award and the Golden Rose of Montreux.

The show has a lot of dark humour. Even the village sign is somewhat ominous, reading, in a similar style to many hundreds of such signs throughout the UK, "Welcome to Royston Vassey. You'll never leave." (Royston Vassey is the given name of comedian Roy Chubby Brown.)

Main characters

Edward and Tubbs Tattysyrup

Edward and Tubbs, played by Shearsmith and Pemberton respectively, are the proprietors of Royston Vassey's local shop, conveniently located on the top of a hill some distance away from the town. Both have distinctly piggy noses (the actors have their noses held up with tape).

Edward has a phobia about outsiders and is likely to challenge people with the question, "Are you local?" and dismiss those who reply "no" with, "This is a local shop, for local people; there's nothing for you here" - one of the show's best-known catchphrases.

Tubbs, though also scared of newcomers, dreams of visiting the "bright lights" of towns and cities, whose existence Edward has tried to keep from her. She tends to ask "Are you local?" with both hope and fear mixed in her voice, but is afraid that visitors may take her "precious things" from the shelves of the shop.

The couple are responsible for a large number of murders in the area.


The transsexual Barbara is proprietor of the local taxi firm, Bab's cabs and likes to regale passengers with graphic descriptions of her upcoming operation. She has a deep voice and a necklace with her name on it which nestles in amongst her chest hair. We never see her face. At the end of series 1 the operation is botched by substitute surgeon Mr. Chinnery (see below), with the result that in series 2 Barbara can't tell what sex she is any more.

Mr. Chinnery

A cheerful and disarming man, Mr. Chinnery is the accident-prone local vetinarian (not "Dr. Chinnery", as he is a vetinary surgeon). Most of the animals he treats end up dying, including a pregnant cow whose insides were mangled when he attempted to help the calf, but put his hand up the wrong passage, whilst a group of schoolchildren looked on, a sheepdog whom he mistakenly put to sleep whilst the owner was out of the room fetching the actual patient, and a tortoise he blasted out of its shell while attempting to give it oxygen.

In the Christmas special, Mr. Chinnery told Bernice the story of how his great-grandfather, the foremost vet of his time, was cursed to have any animal he touched "meet a dreadful end" and that his descendants would carry the curse after him. Bernice reassured him that there was no such thing as curses.

Many of Chinnery's disasters, including the cow and dog incidents, are parodies of scenes from the BBC's All Creatures Great and Small.

Pauline, Mickey and Ross

Pauline is a "restart officer" (encouraging unemployed people to take work) at the job centre, Mickey and Ross are two of the people taking the restart course. Pauline has an obsession with pens.

Geoff, Mike and Brian

Geoff, Mike, and Brian all work at the local plastics injection- moulding company. The three getting together always results in Geoff in a fit of rage.

Additional Characters


  • A Local Book For Local People published by 4th Estate, ISBN 1-84115-346-X

External links