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RICHARD & JUDY - SEPTEMBER 26, 2002
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KEY: JU = Judy, R = Richard, M = Mark, S = Steve, J = Jeremy

JU: Well with us here, are three of the four members of The League Of Gentlemen: Mark Gat-iss – or is it Gay-tiss?
M: [Pronounces it correctly] Gatiss, thank you.
JU: Gatiss. Terribly sorry.

JU: Mark Gatiss, Jeremy Dyson, and Steve Pemberton – hello.
M, S & J: Hello.

R: Hello.
M: Great to meet at last!
JU: Oh thank you.
J: We’ve waited years for this, we’ve fantasised about this.
R: Well do you know? I fantasise about this too!

[They all laugh]

S: And here we all are…
JU: Just to say to you first, Jeremy, you do appear but that’s not your main role.
R: No, no he’s the writer.
J: In fact you’d have to have sharp eyes to catch me.
JU: Oh really?
J: Tiny cameos, yeah.
R: How much of it do you actually write? Because you are the main writer…
[Gents jeer at Richard disapprovingly]
J: Well no, I’m not the main writer.
J: It’d be alright to say that if I was here on my own. [Laughs]
J: But no it’s a genuine collaboration, pretty even-handed between the four of us.
R: Ok. It’s actually filmed in the village called Hadfield, in North Derbyshire.
M: That’s right, yeah.
R: Um, and they’ve taken you to their hearts now, but at first it was a bit sticky because they thought that it was gonna be like ‘Last of The Summer Wine’ didn’t they?
JU: Or Ballykissangel or something.
M: Well, at first I think they didn’t know what it was going to be… and they just sort of, shrugged. Second series they definitely knew –
R: And threw stones…
M: Yeah, there was a bit of trouble. There was a heading in the Glossip Chronicle that said ‘Plague of Gentlemen’. And then they had a big town meeting and decided it was probably not bad. And now it’s fine; they welcome us with open arms.
JU: But, do you think they thought, initially, that you were sort of taking the mickey?
S: I think they thought we were making a documentary about Hadfield.
JU: Ah right. And exposing its deepest, darkest secrets.
S: Yeah… but I always think that any sort of town like that is going to have great characters, and it is sort of Universal really, and there are great characters that live there, and we have had some of the local people in the show.

R: There will be a section of the audience watching this now, who will have heard of the show but they won’t have watched it. And we found this morning when we were having our editorial meeting about this interview – it was like it used to be at school when you watched Monty Python.; you do the sketches. You do the bits, you know; you do Lazarous and all that.
S: What did you do?
R: Oh no, it's embarassing…
S: Well you’ve done Ali G…
[Richard does an appalling impression of Papa Laz “you’re my wife now”]
[They all laugh, Judy laughs somewhat bewilderedly]
R: But erm, could you summarise – who’s best at summarising what the League of Gentlemen is about?
S: Jeremy.
R: Jeremy. Thirty seconds to get the uninitiated initiated into what they will watch tonight when it comes out for the first time.
J: Ah well its different now, so that’s a trick question.
R: Ok, what was it like before?
J: It’s a collection of characters – it was somewhere between soap opera and a sketch show before; and you had a set of characters who all lived in this town/village of Royston Vasey, and you would drop in and out of their lives. And there would be kind of ongoing storylines, so a bit like –
R: Twin Peaks…
J: Yeah…
JU: But, with the difference being that three of you; Reece isn’t here today is he?
M: Yes, he’s had a little girl
JU: Awww.
S: He wanted you to wave to Holly actually, if you could.

[Judy waves at the camera saying “Holly”]

JU: Hello Holly… Is Holly his girl?
S: His daughter.
JU: How old is she?
M: [incredulously] His girl??
JU: Well no, I mean it could have been his wife; oh it’s his little girl.
S: She’s ten days.
JU: Aww.
R: You’ll be calling to the folks as well. [Steve laughs]
JU: Yeah, Ok, so he can’t be here because he’s had this little girl, but the three of you between you perform all the characters and there’s something like ninety characters?
M: It’s ninety now, I think it’s about ninety, yes.
JU: It must take you forever!
M: Well the most difficult thing is just trying to make them look different now. You know we’ve had noses up, we’ve tried noses down. Ears in. Wigs. Glasses, that sort of thing.
RL: Could we just get a shot of you holding your nostrils up as if you’ve got the prosthetics in?
S: Ok (demonstrates and does a Tubbs look)
R: Oh yes, there we are! That is very frightening.
J: It’s magic.
M: You can do that at home…

[Everyone laughs]

S: A roll of sellotape is how we started
JU: And Royston Vasey is in fact the real name of that very naughty comedian; Chubby Brown?
M: Yeah, well he took it very well. We cast him as the Major in the second series. And he was lovely wasn’t he?
J: He was yeah; he’s a very nice man.
M: Softly spoken, doesn’t like swearing.
JU: Oh yeah I know, I know. We’ve interviewed him actually and he was very nice, and very well spoken on our show.
J: He’s very quiet isn’t he? He’s sort of softly spoken.
R: A lot of the fouler-mouthed ones are aren’t they.
JU: You’re not.
R: Well I’m not foul-mouthed on tele. Erm you guys…
J: Me and Mark?
R: Yeah, you were introduced by a mutual friend weren’t you, because that person thought that you were totally alike?
M: Yes, It was that deadly thing, where you kind of roll your eyes and think ‘I’m not gonna like them’…
J: Yeah, we held out literally for about half an hour –
M: And then we started trying to remember the name of that lost John Inman sitcom, and it was happiness from then on!

[Richard gasps]

M: Do you remember the one?
R: Ah… I wondered… are you serious??
M: Yeah, yeah yeah.
J: About the rock factory.
R: The rock factory, what happened to it?
J: There was one series…

[Richard kneels in front of them and waves hands]

R: Oh I’m like you! [Laughter]
S: You can be part of the group, come and join us.
M: It’s called ‘Odd Man Out’ set in a rock factory.
R: How many series?
J: One series on Sunday nights, 77.
M: Dreadful.

[Laughter]

JU: You lot are seriously weird. You really are, aren’t you?
R: Is it directed that way? Is that feminine beam going…
JU: Well I haven’t heard that one from you before, about so-and-so.
J: Well he likes it too.
M: [In menacing voice] Richard is one of us now.

[Lots of loud laughter]

S: Richard has joined the darkside. [Laughing continues]
JU: Um, right. Just tell us though, before we ask you to do something that we think will be quite entertaining. How do you actually go about creating the characters because they are all quite specific?
S: Um, well in terms of the writing, often we start with people we’ve met, or we’ve overheard or we’ve seen or we know, or in Jeremy’s case who are in our family. [Laughs]
J: Oh. My. God.
S: And then that’s the starting point. So then of course you develop it further and you use your imagination, just give it a little twist and see where it ends up.

R: Well the whole show could now go completely down the pan. [Brings out a box full of random objects such as hats and gloves]
R: Because we were told that what you like doing is taking inanimate objects, considering them, and then using them as starting points for new characters.
M: Like a police psychic.
R: Exactly that! So would you like to pick one each, just pass it round [Passes the box to Mark, who takes out a sparkly pink glove]
J: I know what these are [Jeremy has a blue sequinned slipper]
S: Oh they’re the magnetic slippers.
J: These are weight-gate slippers.
JU: There are loads of jewellery type things.
M: Are these from charity shops? That’s always where we used to get our stuff from.
R: I don’t know where we got them from.
R: [Points to Mark] Ok, so you’ve got some glittered up mittens.
M: Now I would say that these probably belong to [holds glove to his nose and rolls eyes] I’m getting a message…. [laughter]
M: I would say these belong to a new character called Tish, who is a kind of Camden Town faghag and this is the sort of thing she would definitely wear.
R: That’s pretty good actually.
M: Steve plays her and he shaved his belly for it. It’s a sight for sore eyes, I can tell you.
R: Why did you shave your belly?
S: Well you know the fashion of sort of having really tight jeans and crop tops and…
JU: Hipsters…
S: Yeah hipsters, exactly. Judy knows. And they hang out in Camden Town
M: What the bellies do? [Laughs]
JU: Have you had your tummy button pierced?
S: No I had a tattoo, little dolphins around it and I forgot to take it off. So I went home that night and I was taking my son swimming. [Judy laughs] So I had a strip of bare belly with the tattoo…
JU: Aright, so that’s Tish.
J: But that’s not fair, you haven’t made one up.
R: Well actually, I wasn’t going to mention it.
M: Ah, that’s because I chickened out.

[Steve is playing with a black lace hairnet thing]

S: I don’t know what this is!
JU: Oh you put it on your head, if you’re a woman.
S: Oh right [puts it on his head like a hair band].
JU: And you put your hair into it.
S: The fat cooks have one of these, the fat ladies.
R: Have you seen ‘White Christmas’?
M: It’s a kind of 40’s thing isn’t it.
S: [Picks up old mans flat cap] I would take this cap and say that it would belong to… you know the kind of old man who lives on an estate and he wouldn’t give you your ball back? [Laughter] And all the kids are completely frightened of him.
JU: You’re absolutely right.
R: Nice one, and in fact another dark character.
S: Oh yeah.

[Jeremy is looking at the blue slipper he’s holding]

JU: What did you decide about that?
J: Well no, I was going to do a joke about them being weight-gate slippers, but the moments passed now. It’s more like the lady who works in our Launderette who is kind of half Cherokee and half cockney. She sits there scowling in the corner and you wouldn't dare ask her for a service wash. [Laughter]
M: You go to the launderette?
J: Well we haven’t got a dryer; we’ve got a lot of drying to do.
S: [Puts on some square, purple sunglasses] Well these are good.
R: They are good.
S: Pauline of holiday! [Does the chunter, everyone laughs]
JU: Very briefly, you said earlier that it’s changed now, it’s different now. So the new series that starts tonight is even darker?
M: Well it’s more to do with the format. It’s concentrating on a couple of characters or one character per story and they sort of dovetail into a big six part thing at the end. So we’re very pleased with it.
JU: And what I read was that it all takes place more or less at the same moment throughout the village, but seen through different characters eyes.
M: The end is of the same type in each episode.

R: Got a news flash here. You know Jeffrey Archer was reported as having gone to a Tory party?
M: Tory-Party, ha ha!
R: Well he’s been moved from the open prison to a high security Lincoln prison.
[Mark does a ‘yes!’ sign with his fist]
R: He apparently didn’t realise that he was breaking the rules. Now, do we think that’s fair?
M: Rubbish, he should be hanged. [Laughs]
R: You think he’s never knowingly broken the rules?
J: Well it’s not prison is it? Going to a Sunday afternoon party.
M: He goes to the theatre five times a week; he has a day off with his family. I wish I was in prison… [Jumps back in panic] No I don’t!

[Laughter]

R: Ok, anyway thank you all very much for coming. What time is it on tonight on BBC2?
M: 10 o’clock.
R: Well I shall be watching it.
JU: Our family loves it; all the kids love it as well.

[All shake hands and say thank you]

Transcribed by Katie



 

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