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The League of Gentlemen have appeared is many guises. They are probably best known for their surreal, dark comedy television series that hit the BBC in the late 90s. They have also toured with two stage shows (both available on DVD), starred in a feature length film and published several books that explore further the actor's eccentricities and the bizarre world of their fictional characters.
The original radio series is, in my opinion, a wonderful taster of the great things to come. All the best loved characters are their - fully fledged and in top form. As I watched the television series first, I already had vivid pictures of the character's appearance and the locations - the radio series, for me, paints just as good a pictures. Pauline (the tyrannical job-seekers advisor), Barbara (the town cabby, fully ready for his sex-change) and Dr. Chinnary (the horrifyingly accident-prone vet) are just some of the favourites that feature in the radio series.
I could say that some of the TV characters are "missing", however that would suggest that radio series doesn't quite live up to the TV series. To the contrary - the radio series has it's own host of wonderful characters (my personal favourite being Mr. Inglebee (who incidentally appears extremely briefly in episode 1 of series 2 in the TV series)). There's nothing "missing" from the radio series at all. It's a joy to listen to it after seeing (and loving) the television series because it shows how The League were able to development the characters or, more often than not, keep the characters the same and advance the comedy still further through the medium of television.
The humour is dark, intelligent and at times, deeply disturbing. The tour guide in the hillside caves, for example, is both hilarious and creepy. I would highly recommend this to any League fans and suggest that other comedy fans (who may not have enjoyed the TV series) give it a listen too. Six, half-hour episodes of comedy genius - an excellent introduction to the world of Royston Vasey... or should I say, "Spent"?
It's not local, but you'll still break a rib laughing. On The Town is the BBC radio series The League Of Gentlemen recorded before they were snapped up by BBC2. Fans of the TV show will probably be a tad surprised at the absence of Edward and Tubbs and their local shop, but all the other characters are still there. I have to admit that as much as I love the TV show, I do prefer On The Town. The story is much the same as in series one of the TV show and follows poor Ben as he visits his somewhat 'eccentric' relatives. The reason I love On The Town is because I think it has a better overall structure than the TV show. Of course you don't get the visual jokes you'd get on TV, but there are some wonderful jokes that work best on the radio. In one memorable scene between Ben and his toad-loving Uncle Harvey you only realise that they are in fact sharing a bath halfway through the scene! Some of the characters also work better on the radio. Bernice, who is a vicar on the TV show, is a radio presenter in OTT and is definitely one of the stars of the show. The character of Mr Chinnery the vet is, surprisingly, far funnier on the radio (mainly because your imagination goes into overdrive when you hear all the yelping and squishing noises!). Mr Ingleby the vertically-challenged shopkeeper (he uses a Curly Wurly as a ladder) will have you giggling like an idiot. This is a fantastically funny audio tape. If you love the TV series you should buy it. People who have not heard OTT before are probably wondering how it could possibly work without Tubbs and Edward, but you honestly forget about them within ten minutes of listening to OTT. Buy it, just don't listen to it on the tube/bus as people will stare at you when you snigger!