The League of Gentlemen: Becoming a State of Mind

July 15, 2014 9:50 am

The League of Gentlemen, a comedy show so exquisitely entwined with horror, it seems to ingratiate itself into the very fibres of the subconscious. ‘What on Earth did I just watch?’ seems to be a fairly corporate reaction, and the truth is that there is no real way of describing it. Like most dark comedies, it is subjective, surreal, controversial and at some points down right disturbing.

I was first introduced to the League of Gentlemen earlier this year, despite the fact it has been off air for more than ten years. A character-heavy sketch show born from the imaginations of Mark Gatiss, Jeremy Dyson, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, it homes in on the grotesque inhabitants of the remote town of Royston Vasey, where non-locals mysteriously disappear when inquiring at the Local Shop and questions are raised regarding the ‘special’ produce of the resident butcher. Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith play most, if not all of the characters, ferociously inhabiting each with striking versatility.You'll_never_leave_series_3

As a person privy to bouts of extreme preoccupation the League became my new vice. I was extremely uncomfortable watching it to say the least, albeit deliciously so. I could not stop dwelling on it, purging my obsession by replaying each individual sketch over and over again on Netflix. I simply could not disentangle myself from the sheer quality of the programme nor comprehend the overwhelming flexibility of the three performers involved. Each perverse detail is flawlessly executed and the Gent’s collective adoration for horror films is subtly integrated into almost every sketch. Every line is perfectly delivered, gradually assimilating themselves into the mind ready to be quoted to an unsuspecting friend or relative .

The League of Gentlemen is a show so imaginative, so utterly startling and incongruous in essence, I simply cannot shake it off. Yes, it is entirely odd and often very unnerving but also indisputably brilliant. I feel as though I have stumbled on a rare jewel, an incredible piece of television that I only wish I had discovered sooner.

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