The League of Gentlemen: one of the most difficult to classify programs you will ever watch in your life. Is it a sitcom? Not really. With so many characters, and some making the screen only a handful of times throughout the three series, it’s difficult to call it a sitcom. What would the situation exactly be? Is it a sketch comedy? But what exactly are the sketches, and can each ‘sketch’ be understood without those that come before or afterward? Is it a comedy? Yes, you will laugh, but there are many distinct moments where you find you’re not laughing, yet still fully intrigued. So, if one were forced to pigeon-hole the show into a definition, it would probably be considered a sketch-comedy that has broken most of the boundaries of that genre.
First and foremost, it’s odd and dark. It’s centred around a small village called Royston Vasey: a place, as the sign says, ‘you’ll never leave’. The link of a place between the characters gives a particular depth to each and every one of them. Unlike many sketch comedy shows that have come before (Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Little Britain, Big Train, SNL, etc.), there is a common thread that links each and every character, each and every sketch: Royston Vasey. The oddities of the characters, no matter how extreme they may be, are validated by the interaction between them all, and their presence throughout the series, either in the foreground or background.
Also differing from the other aforementioned shows, TLoG presents a series of storylines that have a beginning, middle, and end. So often other shows of this genre exploit a character, or more specifically a characteristic of a character, and either use it once – never to be seen again – or will, alternatively, use it again and again until the viewer is bored with the sketches. In this show, however, the characters are the vehicle for a progressive storyline. Not to abandon their roots, there are several characters that appear throughout the series without any impact on the story, and their characteristics are exploited in the traditional way; yet these appearances are so sparse as not to become mundane.
When one of the Charity Shop ladies, Vinnie, meets with misfortune, the Charity Shop has to look for a replacement. They find someone new, but something is just not quite right. The Kenny Harris Dog Cinema
has a problem: Dougal Siepp a competitor has come back into town to open the 'Cat Theatre'. Pam Doove makes a slight re-appearance, only this time she has already got the role, in a stage play by the Royston Vasey Players. Dean Tavalouris
is an aspiring magician and he's taking his camera out onto the streets of Royston Vasey to 'wow' the locals.
Finally, it's the end of the series and the show. At the end of the episode it looks back at the various characters and shows how their lives are a little time down the line.