Q&A: The League Of Gentlemen featuring Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith and Jeremy Dyson

WHERE: BFI

WHEN: 12/12, show airs 18, 19 and 20/12

We’re sat behind Jack Whitehall for this chance to see two of three new League Of Gentlemen episodes and an opportunity to ask questions of the cast.

  • Read on for reasons including details of a new League Of Gentlemen tour

Most exciting news is let slip by co-author Steve Pemberton who says: ‘There may be a chance to see Pauline again. What would you think if we were to say we would maybe go on tour? Keep an eye out next week for that.’

For the uninitiated The League of Gentlemen is a dark comedy series which focuses on the bizarre lives of dozens of townspeople played by three of the show’s four authors.

It began on radio in 1997 before transferring to TV, where there were three series and a Christmas special, before a film and a stage tour. This new series marks the show’s 20th anniversary.

The 30-minute shows, which air on BBC2 on three consecutive days from Monday 18 December 2017, were produced quickly with work starting in June, filming in September and October, and the final show not ready as we sit down for these previews.

But how to start? Pemberton (who also writes Inside No 9 with Shearsmith) says: ‘For this we decided the best way would be to go off and look at each character and think about where they would be now. For Pauline we wanted to think of a way of getting her back into that Restart room.’

Co-author Reece Shearsmith reveals that characters Pauline, the Restart officer, and Olly Plimsolls, from the Legz Akimbo theatre company, were based on real people.

‘Pauline was my Restart officer,’ he remembers. ‘She was exactly like that. And I was going to do her.’

Pemberton adds: ‘I said: ‘Don’t you want to do this?’ and he said: ‘It’s too traumatic, I think you’ll do the best job.’

Co-author Jeremy Dyson adds that the Denton family, which also feature with Pauline in the new series, were friends of the family who he had to go to stay with. ‘And they made me feel very welcome,’ he adds.

Co-author Mark Gatiss says: ‘We didn’t want people saying: ‘This is not what it used to be.’ There was no point in bringing it back if it was going to be anodyne.’

It’s the first time that Shearsmith’s family has seen the show and he tells us that his daughter has observed that character Geoff ‘is just me turned up a bit’.

The idea of a ‘local shop for local people’ is something which the show originated and they are asked whether the real world has affected this series? Pemberton says: ‘I don’t think we thought too much about the real world although the past two years has been really crazy.’

We’ve seen the first two episodes and the series is very much, quite simply, a where-are-they-now for so many beloved characters 20 years after the first show.

It’s as funny as it ever was and it’s great to have them back in our lives, particularly Pauline (see picture top above) – and her pens.

  • Picture by Ian Phoenix courtesy BFI. Tickets
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