Saturday 23 December 2017

This is a local blog for local people...

In this house we always liked The League of Gentlemen, and it was very kind of the BBC to bring it back after 15 years for three final episodes on consecutive nights just before Christmas.

It was horrifyingly funny.

It was magnificent.

I loved almost every second of it.

(I got very squeamish about one thing  - no, not the exploding hedgehog scene - but I'll only share that with a psychiatrist and/or Sue).

Times change. The old The League of Gentlemen had us laughing at Barbara, the gruff-voiced, hairy-armed transsexual taxi driver. The new The League of Gentlemen also featured Barbara, the gruff-voiced, hairy-armed transsexual taxi driver, and gave her a speech on how times have changed (oh whoops, did I say 'she'?) whilst once more making us laugh at her (oh whoops, did I say 'her'?) - a delicious example of what Boris might have called 'having your cake and eating it':
Barbara: So, is it good to be back, Benjamin, after all this time?
Benjamin: It is, though under sad circumstances, obviously.
Val: Do you two know each other?
Benjamin: Yes - Barbara was the first person I met in Royston Vasey. She was very friendly, as I remember it.
Barbara: Hey, hey, hey, hey! We'll have none of that in here! No hate speech.
Benjamin: Hate speech? I...
Barbara: Gender neutral pronouns only. People used to make fun of the likes of us. Well, that's all gone now - the world's moved on. We are no longer a source of cheap humour and laughs. No. And this cab is a safe, friendly, mutually respectful, and above all, tolerant space!
Benjamin: What pronoun do you use?
Barbara: Well, if you don't know, you can piss off out of it - I'm not fucking telling you! 
Barbara: Oh, no, I don't like to use LGBT - it's too limiting. The acronym I prefer is ACRONYM. Actively Considering Reassignment Or Not Yet Made Your Mind Up. 
Now, the original The League of Gentlemen had something even more 'controversial' (in today's Twitter Age terms) than a gruff-voiced, hairy-armed transsexual taxi driver, and I surely can't have been the only fan to wonder if the BBC would dare, in 2017, to bring back the very wicked Papa Lazarou.

Indeed (not very good spoiler alert!), it's very obvious that the makers of The League of Gentlemen knew we'd be thinking that too, hence the blackface-sporting circus ringmaster being kept till almost the closing minute of the final-ever episode.

But, yes, they did indeed dare. Papa Lazarou was back, and still sporting blackface.
Yes folks...

Sporting blackface. On the BBC. In 2017! 

Where's the Twitter storm? Why aren't the writer, actors and BBC commissioners fleeing for their lives from the (Twitter) mob? Why hasn't Lord Tony Hall been put through a mincing machine? 

Funny old world, eh?

(Ed - Princess Michael of Kent, a regular reader, has just emailed us to say, 'Yes'.)

Anyhow, where the BBC bias in all of this? Well, it was there. Oh yes.

The programme's other most notorious (and popular) characters, the inbred, psychopathic Edward and Tubbs, were back and slicing people's faces off. Lots of local, stupid, ordinary people in Royston Vasey rallied to their inadvertent cause - a cause with slogans based on the couple's famous catchphrase 'This is a local shop for local people'. And the local, stupid, ordinary people won. 

Yes, The League of Gentlemen was satirising Brexit and Brexiteers. (Even Matthew Parris appeared, playing a pro-Edward and Tubbs commentator.)

Do I really care? No - especially as this angle played such a small part in the programme. Blink and you might have missed it (if you're a complete idiot).  

That said, the chances that a revival of The League of Gentlemen or of anything on the BBC would ever result in anti-Remain satire remain very, very, very low - vanishingly low even.

And, thus, I've managed to turn a 'fan post' about the brief revival of The League of Gentlemen into a piece about BBC bias.

I think even Pauline might have been impressed enough by that to have given me one of her pens. (Alas, poor Pauline!)


  1. While the 'local shop for local people' line might be seen as a dig at Brexiteers the satire(?) was spread around, (ACRONYM was brilliant and 'Legs Akimbo' has surely got to be a dig at BBC luvy-dom). It's a pity that BBC 'comedy' nowadays is such a mono-culture and the 15 year gap between now and the original series shows how far the BBC has fallen.
    Classic comedy was about the (unchanging) human condition that we could all laugh about, (even mothers-in-law have mothers-in-laws). In these days of 'gentler politics' (Jeremy Corbyn), so much 'humour' is directed at named individuals or at the silenced majority.

  2. I'm annoyed at missing it...I did comment somewhere a little while ago that the BBC would ever put LoG on again...well I suppose I was half-right...they couldn't put the old LoG on (Papa Lazarou had to go)but the new one sounds hilarious still.

    But maybe it was sold to the BBC as an opportunity to lampoon Brexit-style localism. Matthew Parris's involvement is deeply troubling. He is of the Rabid Remainiac contingent...his smug anti-democratic
    writings in the Spectator always put me in a bad mood before the weekend. I think back to that time he did the Kerguelen documentary (very interesting in itself) and fell out with the locals who thought he was a bad omen...there was a murder (not involving the Sainted Matthew I hasten to add) while he was there, so perhaps they were right.

    I read a review of LoG referring to a camera shot of a dog with one of those cone things around its head, then there was a zoom out to show the owner wearing a similar cone.

    For fans of Reece Shearsmith I recommend the Car Share outtakes. Hilarious! :)


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