Steve Pemberton’s League of Gentlemen co-star argued show was ‘like premonition’ of Brexit

Inside No.9: Steve Pemberton stars in creepy series five teaser

Pemberton is back on screens with long-time collaborator Reece Shearsmith, as Inside No. 9’s sixth season continues on BBC Two. The show involves self-contained stories that centre around different characters and settings each episode, and has been known for attracting some of the country’s most heralded actors and actresses. Among those who have taken a turn in the programme are the likes of Gemma Arterton, Sheridan Smith and Keeley Hawes.

But Pemberton and Shearsmith are perhaps best known for their array of characters constructed within the League of Gentlemen.

The League of Gentlemen was created by the duo, as well as Gatiss – who is fondly known for his role in the BBC’s Sherlock – and Jeremy Dyson.

The surreal comedy is set in the fictional northern town of Royston Vasey, and follows the lives of bizarre characters, mainly played by Pemberton, Shearsmith and Gatiss.

Originally running for three series between 1999 and 2002, it was revived in 2017 for three anniversary specials that saw the likes of iconic creations Edward and Tubbs brought back to life.

Steve Pemberton's League of Gentlemen co-star claimed show was 'like premonition' of Brexit

Steve Pemberton’s League of Gentlemen co-star claimed show was ‘like premonition’ of Brexit (Image: GETTY)

Steve Pemberton alongside long-term collaborator Reece Shearsmith

Steve Pemberton alongside long-term collaborator Reece Shearsmith (Image: GETTY)

Edward and Tubbs were renowned for having their own store on the outskirts of the town, and for their catchphrase: “This is a local shop, for local people; there’s nothing for you here.”

And while discussing the show’s revival with The Guardian in a piece titled Mark Gatiss: ‘The League of Gentlemen was a premonition of Brexit’, the star was quizzed on whether the world of Royston Vasey now better reflected Britain that it did when it was first created.

He said in 2018: “Yes, I look at it and think: ‘It’s a bit like a premonition.’”

“The idea that: ‘There’s nothing for you here, go away.’ That’s why we pushed it a bit in the specials last year.

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Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith as Edward and Tubbs

Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith as Edward and Tubbs (Image: GETTY)

“We were never satirical, but we found it irresistible and deliberately got [the character] Edward to say: ‘It’s time we took back control.’”

Since Brexit, Gatiss – an ardent Remainer – has toured around the country and was again questioned as to whether he had felt the landscape of the nation had been altered as a result of the 2016 referendum.

He added: “Yes. Some places are rust-belt Britain. They’ve been abandoned.

“I thought constantly of Disraeli and ‘two nations’. It made me think that some people must look at the events in Westminster as if they’re taking place on the moon.

“That’s why, when they were finally given the chance, they kicked back.”

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Mark Gatiss has been outspoken on Brexit in the past

Mark Gatiss has been outspoken on Brexit in the past (Image: GETTY)

More recently, the second episode of Inside No. 9’s sixth instalment is due to air tomorrow night, and is titled Simon Says.

It follows the TV fantasy drama The Ninth Circle, which has recently ended with a disappointing finale, which sees super-fan Simon Smethurst visit Spencer Maguire – a showrunner – to try and ensure things are “put right”.

Last week, episode one, called Wuthering Heist, aired, and its storyline involved a gang attempting to make a diamond robbery.

Speaking about the episode to Empire, Pemberton said: “We’ve both done acting training and we did a lot of mask work at our college, so we thought, ‘Let’s use our mask work – but mixed with a heist movie.

Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith have won a host of awards

Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith have won a host of awards (Image: GETTY)

“‘What is it like to mash up commedia dell’arte with Quentin Tarantino?'”

Guest stars in the cast list for the 2021 season include Line of Duty’s Adrian Dunbar, Sian Clifford from Fleabag and Peep Show’s Paterson Joseph.

Speaking after they finished filming, Shearsmith and Pemberton said: “We started filming in March last year but had to hit pause due to the pandemic. After a nine-month gestation it’s a relief to finally deliver our sixth series to the world.

“As proud parents we couldn’t possibly choose a favourite, but like any youngest sibling this series is cheeky, funny – and can get away with murder.”


Daily Express

The Daily Express is a daily national middle-market tabloid newspaper in the United Kingdom. Published in London, it is the flagship of Express Newspapers, owned by publisher Reach plc. It was first published as a broadsheet in 1900 by Sir Arthur Pearson. Its sister paper, the Sunday Express, was launched in 1918.

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