THE SUN - MARCH 12, 2001

By Giovanna Iozzia


A pair of inbred shopkeepers murder any customer who isn't 'local'. Kindly vet Mr Chinnery accidentally kills every animal he is asked to examine. Sadistic job restart officer Pauline makes sure her class never get work, and a butcher who sells  'special' sausages, which are probably made of human flesh. It may sound sick but the five million fans who watch the League of Gentlemen obviously don't think so. They cant get enough of it and are now packing out theatre's across Britain for the live version of the programme.

The men behind the show: writer/performers Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss and writer Jeremy Dyson; who doesn't appear with the trio - are telly's most talked about comedy team.

Mark from Sedgefield, Steve form Blackburn and Reece from Hull met at drama school in Wakefield. At the same time Mark met writer Jeremy Dyson who was at Leeds university. They soon found that they shared the same interests in horror films and comedians such as Victoria Wood, Dick Emery and writer Alan Bennett.

In 1996 the group-named after an old black and white British film - took their show to the Edinburgh festival. It went down so well they were signed by the BBC for a radio series which won a Sony Silver award in 1997. They won the Edinburgh Perrier award the same year and their first TV series in 1999 was awarded the prestigious Golden Rose of Montreux. To cap it all they won a BAFTA for their second series in January 2000.

But sometimes life is too weird even for the league. Mark recalls, "I met a real transsexual couple when we were filming in Hadfield. A very small man and a tall hairy woman." Reece adds, "And people think we're strange."

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2002-2006 Virtual Royston Vasey, except for bits belonging to The League of Gentlemen.