League of Gentleman reunion: 20th anniversary special

Mark Gatiss releases first behind-the-scenes images as filming gets underway

League of Gentlemen
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mark Gatiss has announced the start of filming on a 20th anniversary special of surreal comedy show The League of Gentlemen with a photo from the set.

Gatiss tweeted a pictured of himself and co-stars Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith and Jeremy Dyson looking confused with the caption “baffled old men”.

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Gatiss added “you’ll never leave”, a reference to one of the show’s recurring plotlines about hapless visitors to a remote northern town who disappear.

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Earlier this month, Reece Shearsmith tweeted a picture of the team, announcing a successful read-through of the script.

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The League first teased plans of a possible reunion to mark 20 years since their cult sitcom first aired earlier this year. The BBC confirmed that a League special would air on BBC2 later this year.

The League of Gentlemen was an award-winning cult comedy series about the disturbing residents of the fictional Royston Vasey. They included the secretive couple who ran “a local shop for local people”, a sinister clown called Papa Lazarou who kidnapped wives and a butcher selling “special meat which might just be human.

Shearsmith told the Radio Times that updating the show would be challenging: “It will be a very difficult thing to do, to go back and try and imagine what Royston Vasey will be like now, or whether it’s changed at all.”

Gatiss, however, said the show’s return was timely. “I think increasingly… we have become a local country for local people and I wonder if there is something Brexity in us that we can do.”

The League of Gentlemen started as an Edinburgh Fringe stage show, says The Daily Telegraph. It found a wider audience when it was adapted for BBC Radio 4 in 1997 and the TV version ran for three series from 1999 to 2002.

The League of Gentlemen was also turned into a big-screen movie and a touring pantomime in 2005.

Shearsmith and Pemberton went on to collaborate on the black comedies Psychoville and Inside No. 9. Dyson created and co-wrote the popular West End show Ghost Stories, while Gatiss has worked on numerous TV series, including Sherlock.

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