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A Mass Murderer, a Sadistic Gay German and Me...

Herr Lipp lounging around before filming

It is one of those cold wet Thursday mornings in Hadfield that makes you wish you were still wrapped in a duvet waiting for tots TV to come on, yet the scenery as I head into Hadfield, so beautiful and somehow quite deadly with the mist on the hills never fails to impress.

So why am I driving through the beautiful Derbyshire peaks on my way to the lovely town of Hadfield? The answer is of course to Interview Steve Pemberton and Mark Gatiss.

Filming the Mettrick sceneFilming for the forthcoming film "The League of Gentlemen - Royston Vasey" started 6 weeks ago, filming mainly in Ireland but with key shoots in Hadfield, today being one of them. I was due on the set base at twelve noon to meet Neil from Premier PR and as I arrived an hour early I thought I would nip into Hadfield to see what was going on. I have been to Hadfield a few times before but never during filming and it was interesting to see how boring the reality is! When I came back on set with Neil an hour later Steve, Mark and Reece were just finishing the same scene I had watched earlier.

The Herr Lipp fan club wait for filmingI spent the next two hours watching the League film various shots around the town, the most interesting being Herr Lipp and Hilary Briss walking down the main street of Hadfield and bumping into the Herr Lipp fan club all shouting 'Allas Klar' as they pass. As I put it to Steve later, Royston Vasey bleeding into Hadfield...

Two of The Creators!It was shortly after that shot that Steve and Mark retired to the Palatine pub to have a meet and greet session with the loyal band of fans that gather wherever the League go! After many photos (Steve was still dressed as Herr Lipp and Mark as Hillary Briss) and autographs Steve joined me in the corner of the pub and that is how I found myself in a pub with a sadistic Gay German and a mass murdering butcher!

The films premise, for those of you not yet in the know is that 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.

Hilary Briss - The demon butcher of Vasey

Jason - So how's filming going?

Steve - It’s going good yeah, we're just at the end now so, we're a bit tired, and it’s been a very tough shoot, more than usual.

Jason - Would you say the film is more like the first two series than the third?

Steve - It’s unlike anything else! It’s a completely different story and we've kept a lot of the major characters, we wanted to make it more of a self contained story so that anyone could get it, old fans or new fans. So in the same way that the third series had an ongoing story this is a self contained story.

Jason - So the film is in its own 'bubble' as regards to the series?

Steve - Yeah its not sketches, it’s not a sketch show definitely!

Jason - Is it going to be dark?

Steve - No, it’s probably the least dark thing we've done actually...all the horror stuff we did in the Christmas special, there are elements of that but the story dictates that its more of a funny film...

Mark - With touches of horror...

Jason - There was speculation that you would do something more like the Christmas special than the series so that answers that one!

Steve - That was its own special thing really...

Mark - That was a specific task, a horror spoof...this has horror elements but its lighter, its not something we worked to lighten, its just what the story dictates, in a film where you're telling a story you can't do a sketched about ...necrophilia, its not like that its much more straight forward.

Steve - It’s not like anything we've done before, it’s something new.

Jason - I must say after watching the filming today I am very excited about the film, now I know a little bit more about it!

Steve - What have you gathered?

Jason - Royston Vasey bleeding into Hadfield...Reality coming through...

Mark - Literally bleeding...under the door...

Jason - You are famous for wearing your influences on your sleeves...

Mark - I thought you were going to say wearing dresses...

Jason - That as well! Are there any influences in the film because it seems to me that with this you are almost influenced by yourselves?

Mark - Yes we're eating ourselves (Steve laughs...)

Steve - That’s a very good point, there's lots of specific film moments in there that we always do and we've done a few of those, we've done...a scene in a hotel corridor...and we thought we may as well put something in from the Shining...

Mark - Mostly because the hotel was identical...the historical section is very much a love letter to things like The Draughtsman’s contract and Blood on Satan’s claw which are films we love, we chose that period specifically for that reason because we wanted to wallow in the wigs...and the frocks...

Jason - Well it is a kind of game with the fans...spotting the influences...

Mark - I've seen how wrong they can get it, I saw one that said the glasses of milk we were drinking in the Solutions sketch were a reference to A Clockwork Orange...its really not, really not, its just milk.

Steve - Well that’s the nice thing, people can often make what they want out of it, but there’s lots of different genres in this film all mixed together...Carry on meets Hammer house of horror.

Mark - It’s really carry on screaming (Laughing)...

Jason - Is this the end for Royston Vasey?

Steve - No, not at all...the next thing we want to do is a tour, we can't confirm we are doing it but we want to it just depends on time and peoples commitments.

Mark - The BBC have asked us for a fourth series but the film is a massive commitment, not just the writing and the producing of it but now the finishing of it, the promotion of it and by the times that done your looking at a year in advance anyway, everything takes so long.

Jason - Could the live tour be connected with the Film?

Mark - Yeah just do it on stage (Laughing)

Steve - No we don't really know what were gonna do but it’s the idea of getting on the road again...

Mark - Getting back on the Road...that’s what we wanna do...

Jason - Are you all happy with your individual projects? Is there anything coming up that you can tell me about?

Mark - Yeah we are...we're all beavering away...

Steve - Blackpool starts tonight...Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy...we're both in the new Woody Alan film...

Mark - Lets see if we survive the cut...I've just done Miss Marple which will be on at Christmas and I'm writing another book...

Jason - You are all talented serious actors as well as the comedy; do you ever see The League of Gentlemen doing something serious?

Mark - As a trio? Well we did ART...

Steve - We can be serious in what we do, in the film and in the series there are moments that have that quality so we don't really feel the need to...and you'd perhaps get people sneering a bit...

Mark - Like the comedians going straight...and that’s never going to happen (laughs)...

And so as Herr Lipp and Hilary Briss are shepherded out by an assistant Director I am left with the strangest feeling...my first ever interview was with two of the most strangest characters...Herr Lipp, a Murderer and a sadist who may even be a vampire and Hilary Briss, the special stuff himself, yet the guys who play them are such great blokes...it was an amazing experience and I want to thank Janette at PBJ Management, Neil at Premier PR and of course, The League of Gentlemen.

PS Watch out for the Giraffe...

Jason Kenny

Set Dressing

Blue screen filming with TubbsMrs Tiggywinkle

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Copyright Jason Kenny 2004 No part of this Interview may be reproduced in any way without permission from me@jasonkenny.co.uk All photographs used with permission from Janette at PBJ Management.

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