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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • Deleted scenes
  • Audio commentary
  • Cast/crew biographies - Character bio's
  • 7 Featurette
  • Photo gallery
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • Storyboards
  • Outtakes
  • Music-only track

The League of Gentlemen - The Entire Third Series

BBC/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 173 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Are you local? I hope so, for it seems the sign informing you that the town of Royston Vasey lies ahead, is right – You’ll Never Leave. The third series of this unique and dark comedy aired recently on Friday nights on the ABC and the six half-hour episodes continue to provide delicious black humour that you just know you shouldn’t be loving.

Picking up some time after the second series ended, these six episodes run a little like Pulp Fiction or Go in that they all end with essentially the same cliffhanger, albeit viewed from a different perspective, with each episode centred on one or two familiar characters with a little help from their friends. Each offers a new perspective of the series of events that leads to the final few seconds of mayhem and tragedy. This sets the series apart from the two previous ones which were more like a collection of loosely related sketches featuring the same characters in their fictitious town. There are still some one-off characters that flit in and out again with no connection to the major chain of events, to offer some extra wickedly dark laughs along the way.

Pauline Campbell-Jones is in HM Prison Clitclink and has turned into a poor man’s Bea Smith complete with buzz cut. Mickey is still unemployed (big surprise), but Pauline is thrown a lifeline to the freedom from a most unlikely source.

Joke shop proprietor Lance opts for a limb transplant, but thanks to hospital DJ. Mike King things do not go as planned, as the new arm turns out to have a mind of its own.

Territorial Army stalwart Geoff Tipps gets the sack from the plastics factory and heads down to London to start the career in stand-up comedy that he has dreamt of for so long. He should have stayed at home.

Over at the Windermere Bed & Breakfast, Sunny and Alvin Steele are hosting another round of nude party frolics and decide to take their guests on the sexual thrill ride of their lives with Daddy and the Medusa, with hilariously dark consequences. Could Alvin have a new love interest in the local garden centre?

Charlie and Stella are going through another (the same) rough patch, but when Charlie finds work as a masseur at Judee Levinson’s beauty parlour, ‘Spit and Polish’, the customers get more than they or Charlie bargained for. Still, no one seems to be complaining.

Vinnie and Reenie at the second-hand shop are in their element with loads of new stuff to be processed, but when a red plastic bag flies out the window all hell breaks loose. Reenie disappears and when her clothes turn up at the second-hand shop, Vinnie realises what has happened. She hires Keith, an effeminate theatre director, to help run the shop and he seems nice enough, but why is he so familiar?

What can you say about a comedy show that is so unique and so refreshing that it makes just about anything else on television seem tame by comparison? The three actors who play the majority of the roles (yes, even the women), Reece Sheersmith, Mark Gattis and Steve Pemberton, all co-write the show with Jeremy Dyson, and collectively they have come up with a series of ideas that could go anywhere and push almost every boundary known to television, and then some, but always in the best possible taste – not!

Those who have followed the series may lament the omission of the toad-loving Dentons and their Children of the Corn twins Chloe and Radcliffe, the kiss-of-death vet Mr Chinnery, suspicious butcher Hilary Briss, the camp tour guide Herr Lipp and the Reverend Bernice, but will delight at the return of the scary Papa Lazarou, the two old girls at the second hand shop Vinnie and Rennie, transsexual cabbie and now Mrs Babs Tubbs, Legz Akimbo, Pauline and her ‘financee’.

This award-winning show is not for the faint hearted, the politically correct or the easily offended. No minority group is spared and no subject is out of bounds. The slings and arrows continually find their mark, and while some of the gags are obvious and very funny, the six episodes are riddled with subtle gags and endless B-grade movie references. It is no secret that the League are fans of Hammer Horror and while some will immediately try to draw parallels with Monty Python, the League are not as abstract as Python and not as ‘hit-and-miss’. Repeated viewings will pay handsome dividends as the numerous subtle gags find space between the more obvious ones. If you haven’t discovered The League of Gentlemen as yet, then it is recommended to watch the first two series in their entirety as the characters will become more familiar, and the in-jokes and character quirkiness more amusing. Then sit back and enjoy 18 half four episodes of comic genius, quality gags and dark, dark, humour.

  Video
Contract

As with several recent BBC television series releases, this comes to us in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with 16:9 enhancement. Recorded on videotape, there is a very clean and crisp look to the whole thing with mostly decent levels of sharpness and clarity. Colouring and skin tones are good, with only some minor noise showing itself at times that is almost irrelevant. Black levels and shadow detail are good. There is some minor shimmer and aliasing in most episodes, but it's not severe. There are no other problems of note and no marks or specks or dirt. Meanwhile, the layer change is placed between episodes.

  Audio
Contract

The standard Dolby Digital stereo is offered here, but it is more than sufficient and reasonably good. The basics are all good with no problems relating to synchronisation, volume or clarity. There is no hiss, nor any pops or clicks.

There is some obvious separation of sound, but there is no signal from anything other than the left and right front speakers. The whole thing sounds natural and balanced. The newly revamped theme tune may have been poo-pooed by many fans, but when placed in the episodes, it gives a harder funkier edge to the comedy.

  Extras
Contract

Being spread over two discs means there is plenty of space for special stuff, and that’s what we get.

Local Gossip is the aptly named audio commentary with all four writers battling to get it all off their collective chests. They namedrop, cite endless movie references, discuss scenes in detail and allude to deleted scenes that had to be cut, and give some clues about some of the more obscure characters, jokes and movie references. With four creative geniuses (or is that genii?) behind the microphones, there are few pauses and plenty of laughs.

Also on Disc One there is an Easter egg that is a 15-minute home video as shot by cast member Steve Pemberton, a rough and ready look ‘behind-the-scenes’ at a few location shots. The quality is varied, but never matches that of the feature.

Kicking off Disc Two is The Making of Series 3 that shares the same specifications as the six episodes and is a tad under 28 minutes in length. There is a chronological approach beginning with the team reassembling for the writing, through to reading the newspaper reviews after the first episode has aired. Fans of the Gents will love this as it gives a little insight into the amount of work required to make this all happen. This is a specially shot featurette and is hosted by Adam Buxton.

End Sequence Storyboards is a split-screen comparison of the end sequence as it was imagined and storyboarded and how it looked when filming was complete.

Those that feel they could have better edited the climactic end sequence get their chance with Edit Your Own End.

Perhaps the most amusing extra is The Dean Tavalouris Lecture, featuring Royston Vasey’s geekiest and most inept illusionist who will astound you with feats of crap magic. At six and a half minutes, the lecture is deliberately poorly edited as any home video should be, and punctuated by a couple of amusing interruptions.

Another reference to classic films comes in All About Yves, but that’s about as close as this gets to real homage, for in reality it is a tribute to costume designer Yves Barre, who had the vital job of dressing the characters and, in a series where the same three actors play almost all parts, this is a major task. Mark Gattis is the host and it's shot on Handycam so is of average appearance.

Get to know the Local People in this text-only feature that introduces you to most of the new characters and includes some very amusing moments.

A personal favourite on any DVD is Outtakes and at almost seven minutes this is way too short. Better than nothing I guess.

Music Score isolates some of the music used in the show, including the funky new theme tune. It lasts a total of roughly eight minutes, and is a static screen presented in Linear PCM 2.0.

The Video Diary give a lengthy half-hour glimpse of the Gents in writing mode and suffering from writer's block. There are numerous laughs to be had.

A very short extra is SFX Footage, which shows a couple of examples of CGI and green screen effects that great use is made of in a series such as this.

Deleted scenes can be interesting and those included here in Missing are no exception. There are some excellent site gags in this 12-minute montage, and one or two scenes that were cut that might have better explained some of the more obscure jokes.

Lastly, there is an extensive gallery that is a very encompassing set of stills from the series - from both sides of the camera.

  Overall  
Contract

Those who have not caught The League of Gentlemen yet and are fans of dark, obscure and original comedy should track down the first two series' before diving into Series Three, if only to become familiar with the characters, the town and the style of comedy that these guys do so well. All three series' are very funny, but it is in the third series that the show begins to develop beyond sketch comedy and into a genuine series. The impending movie and Series Four will be very interesting.


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      And I quote...
    "The League are back, with more deliciously black humour..."
    - Terry Kemp
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Akai
    • TV:
          TEAC CT-F803 80cm Super Flat Screen
    • Receiver:
          Pioneer VSX-D409
    • Speakers:
          Wellings
    • Centre Speaker:
          Wellings
    • Surrounds:
          Wellings
    • Subwoofer:
          Sherwood SP 210W
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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