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The fictional world of Royston Vasey is facing apocalypse and the only way to avert disaster is for our nightmarish cast of characters to find a way into the real world and confront their creators. From present day Soho to the fictional film world of 17th Century Britain, the residents must overcome countless bizarre obstacles in their bid to return Royston Vasey to safety. Written by
After three outstanding BBC television series' and a Christmas special, the bizarre and grotesque (yet perversely lovable) characters of bleak fictional town Royston Vasey make the jump to celluloid, along with their creators - The League of Gentlemen.
Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith are the more familiar three-quarters of the foursome, with the central roles shared between the trio. In an added twist, the final member of the team - Jeremy Dyson - is portrayed by actor Michael Sheen.
Where to start? Dyson (Sheen) is in conversation with his writing cohorts, when - horror of horrors - he is paid a visit by two of his grisliest characters. Both Tubbs (Pemberton) and Edward Tattsyrup (Shearsmith) are unhappy at The League's decision to kill off the Vasey inhabitants. "You're not real!" screams Dyson in vain, as the local shopkeepers from hell exact their revenge. Mayhem ensues, as reality and Vasey converge with the vast array of characters entering our world to save theirs.
Confused? You will be, as the camp, innuendo-ridden Teutonic, Herr Lipp (Pemberton) is forced to take on the daily guise of Pemberton (Pemberton), while Pemberton (Pemberton) is kidnapped by cannibalistic butcher Hillary Briss (Gatiss) and Geoff Tipps (Shearsmith).
With shades of an even more demented Misery, Briss attempts to force Pemberton to rewrite the film - thus continuing his life - but leaving Geoff in charge is never a good idea. The erstwhile comedian becomes embroiled in The League's latest, post-Vasey adventure - The King's Evil - entering a typically twisted 17th century England, complete with cameos from Victoria Wood, Peter Kay and David Warner. Known as George of Asda (due to his select line of clothing), Geoff saves the day and is treated as a hero, but for the denouement of the film, he joins characters old and new at the Church of Royston Vasey to meet with their makers.
For fans of the series, the film is a must-see. And yes, it does feature Papa Lazarou (albeit a little too fleetingly). Pen-loving Pauline, Mickey, Barbara and cursed vet Matthew Chinnery are some of the other favourites on show, and The League's portrayal of themselves (plus Sheen's as Dyson) is also a fascinating insight.
The League of Gentlemen are the Radiohead of British comedy - they are ambitious, groundbreaking (witness the excellent Series Three) and not happy to rest on their laurels. They also divide opinion accordingly.
Certainly, their macabre sense of humour is not for every palate, and while not written exclusively for 'fans', a grasp of the storyline would benefit those who have previously viewed the series. Nevertheless, Apocalypse is a film in its own right and The League will no doubt manage to attract a new breed of fan, as well as appeasing and pleasing existing ones.
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