The League of Gentlemen wear many influences proudly on their sleeves, particularly those of old British Horror films. There are also little lines and references put in there for the fans to pick up. So many things have so many references. They could be homages to homages, or multiple references or even just general horror/thriller references. This is a compendium of all the little things that you might not have noticed… and perhaps those that you have!
If you spot anything we haven't included, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Structure and Overall Look
From the start, the Christmas Special has the look of an Amicus portmanteau film , complete with framing device for three separate stories of terror. The linking tale concerns Royston Vasey's lady vicar, the acerbic Bernice. Alone in her church on Christmas Eve, she is visited by three men, each with their own tale to tell and wanting advice. British Horror heavily influences the structure. There are specific references to Hammer's Curse Of Frankenstein, The Witches, Dracula and Vampire Circus, Tyburn's The Ghoul, the list goes on and on.
The Amicus portmanteau linked anthology films such as Dr Terrors House Of Horrors (See imdb website for overview - http://us.imdb.com/Title?0059125), Torture Garden, Asylum, From Beyond The Grave, Dead Of Night And Tales From The Crypt were structured in the same way as the Christmas special, often with a Central character (usually Peter Cushing, Patrick Magee or someone equally creepy) and a twist at the end. They all involve a group of people telling different stories within the whole film story. (Gail and Mark Coyle)
• The walk through the Churchyard is reminiscent of the opening shots of the Vic and Bob Christmas Special [exact details?], which uses a camera to represent the point of view of a disgruntled unknown person walking through a snowy garden.
• The spooky graveyard shots were consistent with the MR James BBC ghost stories and especially the brilliant ITV adaptation of Susan Hill's superlative ghost novel “The Woman In Black”. (Mark Coyle)
Summary: Bernice's first visitor is a long-suffering husband (Charlie Hull) who is plagued by a recurring dream where his wife (Stella Hull) uses voodoo magic to ruin his life, before coming to a sticky end herself.
• The story is linked to WW Jacobs The Monkey's Paw and story 3 of From Beyond The Grave, a 1973 Amicus film. This story had a boy whose father (Ian Bannen) was always being hen-pecked by nagging wife Diana Doors. He gets freedom from sinister ex-war veteran Donald Pleasence and his real life daughter only for he and the wife to have it taken away. (Mark Coyle)
• Bernice’s flaming cigarette lighter is a nod to something, not sure what! It was also used in 'Funnybones' (Jerry Lewis had one when he was in the audience, about to watch Tommy do his stand up) There was also one in 'Grease' (Fee)
• In the Ladies toilets, Stella mentions Neil Sedaka. Steve and Reece are huge Sedaka fans (they have seen him live about 4 times ) and used to play his album [exact details?] when fans entered the auditorium to take their seats during the Local Show (Live Show, UK wide, 2000-2001)
• In the Ladies toilets, Stella says that Polly has to "eat and onion as if t’were an apple", a self-reference to Tubbs and the script notes of Series 1, where Tubbs eats and onion during "the madness" sketch. Then, as Lee gives Stella and Donna their cocktails, we clearly see Polly "eating an onion as if t’were an apple" in the background
• The Solutions masks are from 'Eyes wide shut' (Gail) and the women are also very similar to the white and black masked jury at the end of The Prisoner (Mark Coyle)
• References to Dr Who's Autons - the Solutions Masks and the shop dummies in the warehouse.
• All the masked women are Royston Vasey regulars. You can spot Val Denton (the boss), Pauline, Iris and Judee, Vinnie and Reenie, Pam Doove and Donna of course
• The solutions women drink milk – a nod to Clockwork Orange
• “I’ll get Anne Robinson on you” – Anne is also mentioned in the Live Show
• The voodoo doll is the same shape as the Wicker Man
• Jeremy doubles for DJ Mike King, played by Reece in Series 2.
• Lee’s death is an obvious homage to the end of “Don’t look now” and Donna is hooded, although in a yellow mac, not a red one.
• Charlie going to Bernice for marriage counselling is similar to him seeking advice from Jimmy the Blacksmith in On The Town.
• "practice your Dorothy Clicks" is yet another reference to the Wizard of Oz (along with Tubbs clicking her moon boots together 3 times in the local show etc) and refers to Charlie's line dancing.
The Vampire of Duisberg
Summary: The second (and most horrific) tale involves a young man (Matthew Parker) who travels to the German town of Duisberg, where he encounters the predatory Herr Lipp and a load of vampires (references to everything from Salem's Lot to the dream sequences in An American Werewolf In London).
• Hammer stalwart Freddie Jones, who also plays Magnus Purblind in Karrit Poor, plays old Matthew.
"Gods of the Week" - Radio 1 Simon Mayo Show, 2000.
Dr Who, Spearhead from Space, also Big Finish's Auton (starring Reece as Dr Dan)
• Bernice’s “mongs” line was made notorious by being cut (fuzzed) on repeat viewing on Play UK after the BBC upheld a complaint from the public .
• All the boys in the Choir (or Queer) have nylon blond wigs, (apart from one of them!) which I think comes from 'Village Of The Damned' The original not the John Carpenter remake, taken, of course from “The Midwitch Cuckoos” (Maria)
• There is one single token black kid in the choir. Very strange!! That could be a reference to anything! But he must be there for a reason, amongst all the blonde white (Gail)
• One of Dave’s mates is in the Choir! (Dave Isaacs)
• But I have been reading the Tom Baker book and there is a bit in it (I'll find it later if you feel it relevant!) where Tom talks about kids in his child hood being good 'farters' and says the word about 5 times in the space of 1 paragraph! They could have had the idea that this sounds like father and turned it into a gag?? (Gail)
• The sign outside Herr Lipp’s house says Schwanmuehleweg = Swanmill Way in German. A reference to Swanmills Estate where the Dentons live. (Sylv)
• When Herr Lip walks up the stairs we see his shadow cast against the wall. That’s from Nosferatu! (Dan) As is the quote... "The absence of love is the most abject pain!" Fee and I nearly died laffin when we watched that fillum! (Nat)
• Matthew’s room full of scary dolls and toys is very similar to Stephen King, particularly the sheriff’s office in The Tommy Knockers.
• Herr Lipp’s reference to a “blue towel” is self-referencing series 2’s stay with Mr and Mr Norris.
• When Herr Lipp is looking through the hole in the wall, that is like in Psycho, as is maybe the fact that Matthew is in a children's room. (Michele)
• Matthew hears the horses noises then opens up his hand to find the key. This is from 'Woman in black', the guy in that keeps hearing those noises, but it's a toy soldier in his hand, every time he puts it down, he opens it up to find it there again. (Gail)
• The "doll out of the wardrobe" (Matthew, all dead and blue with his eyes and mouth sewn shut) comes from Dan Curtis' Trilogy Of Terror, with a terrifying voodoo doll. (Mark Coyle)
• Herr Lipp’s ceiling shot from Matthews dream is from Salem's Lot (Mark Coyle)
• In fact, there are parallels between Matthew parker’s look and Danny Glick from the TV adaptation of Salem’s Lot
• When Herr Lipp drinks that red stuff (tomato juice?), after he gives a look just like Jason Patrick (Michael) does in 'The Lost Boys' after he has drank David's blood (Gail)
• The little hedgehog cuddly toy in the last scenes in Matt's bedroom is quite famous in Germany. In the 70s, they brought out this hog and his little family, like cabbage patch dolls, even I had one. Used to be in children’s' stories etc. But the best thing: he's called MICKEY...now which researcher knew that?? (Sylv)
• The bit where Matthew is making the cross out of tooth brushes is from Salem’s Lot (Gail)
• I need to know why Matthew Parker took garlic tablets with him to Germany. Did he have a premonition? If he laughed at 'Vater' how would he have coped with 'Knoblauch Tabletten'?! (Amanda)
• OOOh! And how could I possibly forget the Withnail and I reference?? Matthew, naked, in a corner... trying to hide get away from Herr Lipp who, quite clearly adores him... obvious parallel with Marwood and Monty there! (Nat)
• When Matthew is sitting on the bed in the morning and you can hear Wolf and Lotte talking, u can just about hear Herr Lipp quoting "I never drink... wine..." Which is obviously from Dracula (and Leslie Neilson parodied that one too!) (Nat)
Interfering old coffin dodgers… ;-) Oddly, this all came at the time when the Brass Eye scandal broke. We asked the Spaced cast about this at the 2001 convention and they were disgoosted.
Daisy says to Tim "It's the village of the damned" in Spaced, referring to his and Tyres' blond hair.
South Park has a token black kid called "Token"
At the back of the Local Book there is a sticker for “Barlow and Straker” – the evil characters from Salem’s Lot. Mr Barlow was the Vampire and Straker was played by James Mason (who inspired the voice of Hillary Briss). Blimey!
• "Your colour is very hectic" is from Misery (book and the film) (Nat)
• Lotte’s vampire look is very like Mr Barlow from Salem’s Lot or Nosferatu.
• The scene when the alter boys attack Herr Lipp, I can't remember what some people reference it to ('Salem's Lot perhaps?), but it is also just like a scene from Dawn of the Dead (Michele). Or Kiss Of The Vampires and Lost Boys in the massed groups of encroaching vampires. (Mark Coyle)
The curse of Karrit Poor
Summary: Bernice's final visitor is the local vet (Matthew Chinnery), who's life (and career) has been ruined by a curse placed on a distant relative during Victorian times (Edmund Chinnery). For this we are treated to a fantastic flashback sequence involving the Victorian vet as he makes his way to turn-of-the-century Royston Vasey and his destiny. Every Victorian cliché in the book is thrown in (a la Doctor Jekyll And Sister Hyde).
• Jackanory was a 1970s/80s children’s TV program where celebrities read stories/books, broken into short episodes, one a day, over the period of a week.
• The initial shots in the operating theatre are a direct and rather lovely lift from Hammer's version of Frankenstein(1957) and especially Cushing in The Flesh And The Fiends (1959), a fantastic version of the Burke and Hare body snatching scandal (Mark Coyle)
• Jeremy has another cameo, as the observer who breaks his glasses , disturbing Edmund’s concentration.
• Mr Trevinick is Annie Raines from Series 1 and 2.
• Dr Majolica’s look is obviously from Mr Hyde.
• “Fancy dress is it?” Echoes Ben to Val and Harvey’s question in On The Town.
• Railway children ref (children waving on the bank), when the train is on it's way to RV in the Chinnery sketch
• Oriel Workhouse = Oriel House Job Centre
• Pauline, Ross and Mickey = A Christmas Carol and Tiny Tim.
• Isn't the bit when Chinnery is walking towards Barbara the famous Exorcist cover, with the lamp & the street?? (Gail)
• Singleton Boothby’s office bike ride is a “homage” to the Goodies, who did a sketch almost exactly the same. Have a look at this Real Video at http://www.dmb.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/trike.ra (David Balston)
• The picture of Abraham Lincoln is definitely a reference [exact details]
• The bit with Edmund Chinnery and the candle, looking for the crying noise that Purblind is making is a reference to The Secret Garden when Mary Lennox is creeping through the corridors trying to find out where Colin's crying is coming from. (Nat)
• The "monkey's bollocks" story was like Sheridan Le Fenu's “Green Tea” (Mark Coyle)
• The Curse of Karrit Poor can of course be found in a slightly modified form in the Local Book .
• It's Rossini's Circus which gets devastated by Chinnery’s curse. Another Dr. Who link? (sorry...) That was the name of the Circus in "Terror of the Autons". Rossini's circus (after Luigi Rossini) was indeed the circus (or rather both circuses). (Marky D)
Summary: Finally, we return to the church, where there's a twist ending involving Bernice herself...
• Bernice saying “Sicking up eggnog and chipolatas” is self-referencing Charlie saying “sicking up eggnog and baileys” about Stella in On The Town.
• How old *is* Papa Lazarou? If he took Bernice's mum as his "wife" all those years ago?
• The whole Papa Lazarou flashback sequences are the same as those in Hitchcock's Marnie . Cinematically in the way the flashbacks are shot and presented with a little
Or fob watch (Steve) or Zippo lighter (Gail) – We can’t decide!
Magnus Boothby rather than Singleton, and Purblind is the “Reece” character. Majolica’s first name is Timothy. Kinky John is presumably the man who moons at the Railway Children. Topov “did it” with a Elephant shaped pencil sharpener, which makes some sense.
Which is mentioned in On The Town by Judee! (Gail)
more information each time, about what happened when she was little and it can't get any more horrible.. etc etc. (Michele)
• The Papa Santa segment was extremely similar to a story in Tales From The Crypt about a murderous Santa. There is a 1972 version (staring Joan Collins) and a colour, US remake. The story is called “All through the house”.
• It also had touches of the 1974 horror Black Christmas about a Santa serial killer. (Mark Coyle)
• Pap Lazarou appearing in the doorway, was that off The Fog? (Sylv)
Locations and Filming
All locations were submitted by Steve Burton unless otherwise stated.
Bernice’s Christmas Church
• Lets start with Bernice’s church , which is a different one to the church used in S1. This one is in the depths of Macclesfield Forest and is an utter git to find, god knows how they found it originally! I did ask Jude who was the Northern locations manager for the CS but she said that the church was already on the locations list when she took up the job.
• Also the Gravestones used in the opening scene are not in that churchyard. (not yet found, but known to be in London)
• The interior is the real interior of the church, but they did remove some pews in order to Fit in the Christmas tree and the screens with the pictures on.
• All of the Charlie and Stella story is filmed in Hadfield, Padfield or Glossop.
• Charlie and Stella's house is the same one that they use for interiors every time, on Albert Street in Hadfield. I was talking to the owner a few weeks back and he told me that when they used the house for the CS he was doing the upstairs up...so it was an absolute mess...they walked in and said....perfect! The crew were also horrified to find a huge lizard (in a vivarium) in the back bedroom.
• The line-dancing contest was held over in Glossop at the Whitfield Working Men’s Club. This is the same club that was used in S1 for Mike and Cheryl’s wedding reception. A one time regular poster on this list was in attendance that day, and she got to be an extra (Lucy Woods where are you ;)). She's the one wearing the yellow striped dress on the left hand side when Charlie is dancing. Jeremy did another of his stand ins, he played the DJ Mike King. The Line dancers were all real amateur Line Dancers and came from Glossop and surrounding areas. Two of the judges are identity known, the lady is the owner of the craft and knitting shop in Hadfield which is used as the exteriors of the Video Vault. The right hand male judge is Chris Woodward, owner of Goldline Taxis in Glossop (I shall refrain from further public comment!).
• Solutions is all filmed at a mill in Padfield (near Hadfield) Most of the shooting was done in an annex part so was invisible to the *ahem* watchers, but one small piece was filmed in the adjoining cardboard box company's premises. This was the piece where Stella first enters and one of the solutions council points her onward. Also filmed but never used was Val using huge steel pins on a Voodoo doll! It's also worth noting that they used two camera units in order to get the filming finished. The shots of Babs inside the cab are from stock shot...PHM was unavailable due to illness.
• The park where Lee gets his throat cut is the same park as used by Mr Foot in S1 (opposite the Whitfield working men’s club. The snow on the ground is fake snow, it later killed all the grass, prompting the local council to fence it all off until they knew what chemicals had been used! The rest of the snow, on buildings, hills etc is digital....good eh!
The Vampire of Duisberg
The second story was is all filmed in London.
• Duisberg Church - St Bartholomew The Great, West Smithfield. Founded in 1178, and originally part of a convent. Only a third of the building still stands, and it was substantially rebuilt in the 19th century. For a while in the 18th century there was a blacksmith's in the church, and the stones are black where the fire was.... Kirsten recognised the church from recognising an oriel window . They are quite unusual. (Kirsten)
• Herr Lipp’s House (not found)
Ken’s directions to Bernice’s Church can be found in the main yahoo groups Files section under articles.
An Oriel window, is the gothic name for a projecting window-like a modern bay window. They were usually cantilevered out from a wall, but some were built directly off the floor level. There is no link to Oriel House – which was named after the real name of the job centre in Leeds (Ken and Backrub Slut).
The Curse of Karrit Poor
The third story was filmed all over the place.
• Chinnery’s Operating Theatre is the Old Operating Theatre Museum at Guy's Hospital if you're passing. (Mark Coyle). The Old Operating Theatre at London Bridge. Sarah can talk about it for hours, having worked there and all...(Sarah)
• View from Majolica's (the bear walks out with the man..) - this is next to the old operating theatre, and is part of that.... It's also used when Chinnery views the carnage of his first day as a London vet. (Kirsten)
• Majolica's Front Door - part of St Bartholomew's Hospital, West Smithfield. It's just an entrance really.... spotted by Kirsten as she noticed the reflection of the market in Majolica’s name plaque (Kirsten)
• Majolica's interior - it's Leighton House in Chelsea. It's late 18th century I think, and the Gents just used the rooms downstairs (Sarah)
• The railway shots are done at Oakworth on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, which is the location used for the original Railway Children film.
• Victorian Royston Vasey is Heptonstall in Lancashire (except for the initial shot of the War Memorial, which is a special effect). This is the House of fallen woman, Chinnery getting his cab, and the Victorian Oriel House scenes. The three scenes were shot in one night lasting from 9 until 3 in the morning (they'd agreed a curfew with the local council over this) The first scene with the fallen woman was done in one take...well we were impressed! The second scene of Chinnery hailing his cab took hours to film, the horse was not happy with that coach....downhill on wet cobbles. PHM wasn't playing Victorian Babs, and the shots of Chinnery inside the cab were shot later. The final scene of Victorian Pauline, Ross, and Mickey was shot in 20 minutes, because they'd run out of time!
• Boothby's is a real house near brick lane (also used for that Kate Winslet video) (Gail)
Kirsten adds: Yeah, I'm ashamed to say I saw the Winslet video at Christmas and thought F*ck me, it's Boothby's. It was embarrassing because I started looking out for it to make sure... Anyway, the "red brick building" is in Princelet St, Spitalfields. And it's London stock brick with a plaster fronted ground floor.... (Kirsten)
• Interior of Chinnery’s surgery (not found)
It may “lose a little in the translation”, but we’ve endeavoured to bring you most of the German/English translation from the show.
The German Carols
Here are some traditional German Christmas Karens, as sung by the queer boys.
Stille Nacht (Silent Night)
Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht Silent night, holy night
alles schläft, einsam wacht everyone sleeps; alone watches
nur das traute hochheilige Paar only the beloved, most holy couple
holder Knabe im lockigen Haar blessed boy in curly hair
schlaf in himmlischer Ruh' sleep in heavenly peace.
schlaf in himmlischer… sleep in heavenly...
O Tannenbaum (Oh Christmas Tree) Could someone please translate this properly please?
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree
wie grün sind deine Blätter! How lovely are your branches!
Du grünst nich nur zur Sommerzeit, You are not so beautiful in summertime
nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit; But you are in winter, when it snows
o Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree
wie grün sind deine Blätter! How lovely are your branches!
The German Dialogue
Fee, Amanda and Sylv translated the German from the program. This is what they actually say:
• Ja, das stimmt - yes, thats right
• Ja/Nein - yes/no
• Gen au so?
• Kalt - cold
• Nicht wahr? - Isn't that right?
• Die Probe ist fertig -rehearsals are over. Actually wrong grammar, should have been 'Die Probe is vorbei'
• (Ihr) koennt Euch umziehen – (you) can get changed now. Perfect Kraut.
• Aber leise bitte, liese! - but quietly please, quietly!
• Nein, Sie sind weisen - ?? (No, what am I saying?)
• "Mutter" "Vater" - mother/father
• Es macht spat - its late
• Aber nicht ins Bett - But not in bed
• naturlich - of course/naturally
• kinder – children
• Danke schon - thank you
• Tag - Day
• Alles Klar – All Clear?
• Tschus - bye!
• Fruehstueck - Breakfast.
• Du hast zwanzig Minuten. Zwanzig Minuten! - (quite obvious as she's pointing to her watch): 'You have twenty minutes. Twenty minutes!'
Reproduced from http://www.german-way.com/german/stille.html
This is when Lotte plays the bum note
Reproduced from http://www.cazoo.org/music/xmas/ot.html
• There’s a whole bit where he’s playing with the boys that I can’t make out. He says Loss and Schon though
• Es tut mir leid, ich spreche keine Englisch - I'm so sorry, I speak no English
• Weir harbend Englisch im Scheleger, lieber?? - We had English at school but I never...'
• Wolf: 'Was passiert?' Trans: 'What's happening?'
• Guten arbend – Good night (he says some other stuff here too)
Here are the bits Herr Lipp gets wrong, often as not to make double entendres.
Let me hold your sack (bag)
You have goosesteps all over (goosebumps)
Meet your boyfriends (the boys)
Christmas Karens (Carols)
Oh come in my facefull (Oh come all ye faithful)
Quite a mouthful (handful)
Are awfuls like yourself (orphans)
I can be so pathetic to you (sympathetic)
In so fact (in fact/in so far)
Lotte will finger your hymn on the organ (play)
We have gifted you your own room (given)
Take pleasure from the boys as I do
Spend the afternoon creaming off with the other boys
Don’t let the bugger bite you (bed bugs bite)
You are still erect (up)
I was petrified you would be asleep (afraid)
Queer boys (Quoir boys)
Cover the stink with some aftershame (aftershave)
You have splashed all over me