'The League Of Gentlemen' First Appeared On Screens 20 Years Ago

It's been 20 years since the residents of Royston Vasey opened up their doors and shared their interesting lives with us on The League of Gentlemen.

Yup, believe it or not, two decades have passed since Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss and Jeremy Dyson introduced us to Tubbs, Edward, Papa Lazarou and Pauline Campbell-Jones and gave us all a masterclass in dark comedy.


However, as iconic is the show is, it's quite unlikely that it would have been given its big break if it was written today - in a similar way to how fans have pointed out that Only Fools and Horses and Friends have jokes that are somewhat 'of their time' - there are certain elements of The League of Gentlemen that audiences today might not get on-board with.

I mean, can you see Babs from Babs' Cabs getting past the heads at the BBC now? Probably not. It's not just Babs that would probably end up on the cutting room floor, either - there's several of Royston Vasey's residents which would have to change or, at the very least, tone down.

In fact, Shearsmith pretty much admitted as much himself. In an interview with the i last year, he said: "There's a question mark over all of it, if you get into the grey areas of everyone's particular taste.

"It's a balancing act - we thought there's no point in doing it if we feel like we can't do it again, and it would return toothless."


Opening up on the possibility of the show being commissioned today, he added: "I don't think it would. It's hard now to have a singular voice, it's harder to write a drama without having it go through a process which tries to cater to everyone and ultimately caters for no-one."

The show, which began on stage in 1994, before debuting on BBC Radio 4 in 1997, finally made its way on to TV where it ran from 1999 to 2002 and was briefly brought back - for three episodes - in 2017.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 show Front Row, ahead of the revival episodes, Gatiss said: "We had a lot of discussions about how the world has changed.

"There are things where you think It was a long time ago and an awful lot has changed, but there are also things that you still feel you should be, you can lampoon.

"Some of the wilder extremities of gender politics create a kind of madness where almost nothing is capable of being said any more. I think that is still an area where there is room to have a laugh."

Due to its dark, edgy humour the show became a cult-classic instantly, not to mention the fact that 20 years later people are still saying 'you're my wife now, Dave' to each other.


It wasn't just popular with fans, either, it also picked up a BAFTA and a Royal Television Society Award. Alongside that, back in 2003, the creators were placed in the top 50 funniest acts in British comedy by the Observer and, in 2004, the Papa Lazarou sketch hit number eight in the Radio Times' funniest comedy sketches of all time.

Whether we'll ever see Tubbs and co back on our screens in the future remains to be seen, but one thing's for sure - The League of Gentlemen definitely changed the landscape of British comedy.

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist at LADbible. Claire graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA in journalism. She’s previously worked at Trinity Mirror. Since joining LADbible, Claire has worked on pieces for the UOKM8? mental health campaign, the Yemen crisis, life in the Calais Jungle as well as a profile of a man who is turning himself into a cyborg.

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