Following on from the earlier Twitter announcement by Reese Shearsmith and Mark Gatiss, the BBC has finally officially announced the return of the show with three The League Of Gentlemen 20th Anniversary Special Episodes schedule to air later in 2017. The upcoming visitations to the freakish local town of Royston Vasey will once again be appearing on BBC2, it’s ancestral home following the success of the initial radio show on BBC Radio 4.
It continues the Beeb’s salute to great comedy that it has commissioned over the years following the recent announcement of the Alan Partridge 25th Anniversary Special Episode and new series. Both The League Of Gentlemen and Partridge have gone on to become iconic comedy greats and there’s bound to be a lot of fans looking forward to the new material from the team behind them.
The 20th Anniversary Special Episodes for the cult comedy show will reunite the original team that worked on the series right from its very beginnings at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1995. Written and performed once again by Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton and Mark Gatiss, along with the off-camera support of co-creator Jeremy Dyson, the upcoming new episodes for The League Of Gentlemen will be the first in 15 years.
The team have all been pretty busy over the years with Psychoville and Inside No. 9 from Shearsmith and Pemberton, Funland and Ghost Stories from Dyson and Doctor Who and Sherlock from Gatiss, so they’ve all been keeping their writing pens well-used. We’ve also seen Gatiss starring in Sherlock as Holmes’ brother Mycroft, along with appearances from Shearsmith in Car Share and Mid Morning Matters, and Pemberton in Doctor Who, Whitechapel and Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal, so they’ve all been keeping their acting skills well practiced too.
The initial announcement Tweets from Reece Shearsmith and Mark Gatiss had only confirmed that it was going to be an anniversary return, but with no details on what anniversary it was or whether it was for the TV show, radio premiere or first stand-up shows. However, the confirmation from the BBC that the three special episodes are to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1997 BBC Radio 4 debut that preceded the 1999 TV series means that we’ll definitely be seeing them this year.
Filming is scheduled to begin in September in locations in Manchester and the Peak District, which doesn’t leave too much time to finish everything before the end of the year. We’ll be surprised if the air date is before December, but On The Town With The League Of Gentlemen first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in November 1997, so it would make sense for the 20th Anniversary Special Episodes to air in November too.