Creators of ‘The League Of Gentlemen’ have defended their controversial approach to transgender issues in last night’s comeback episode of the cult comedy.
The show, set in the fictional village of Royston Vasey, ran for three series between 1999 and 2002 before its return last night. With many characters played by actors in drag, many wondered how the show would translate when returning in a more politically correct climate.
In one of the earlier scenes, transgender taxi driver Babs returns to the screen – before taking issue with what specific gender pronoun is used when being addressed, before arguing that the cab is “a safe, friendly, mutually-respectful, and above-all tolerant space.”
This scene in particular seemed to divide opinion among viewers:
When asked about returning the character of Babs in a more modern context, Mark Gatiss told BBC Radio Four’s Front Row that it was still important to ‘lampoon’ such issues, rather than grow too sensitive.
“We had a a lot of discussions around how the world has changed, and there are a lot of real things where you think ‘well, it was a long time ago’ – but there are also things that you feel you can still lampoon,” he said. “To me, some of the wilder extremities of gender politics create a kind of madness where almost nothing is capable of being said any more. I think that’s still an area where there is room to have a laugh.”
Co-creator Jeremy Dyson continued: “Gender politics isn’t really about gender politics. It’s about something else. There’s something else lurking underneath it.”
“We always loved that we were the first show to our knowledge that did naked drag.”
Meanwhile, Matt Lucas recently explained how ‘Little Britain’ would not be able to return as many of the characters would be considered ‘offensive‘ in today’s climate.
“Little Britain is about 15 to 16 years old now, we all got old,” he said. “And I think you would do things differently now.
“There was a character who was a rubbish transvestite who said ‘I’m a lady’. She was fun at the time but I think we look differently at the transgender community now and it would be very hard to do that now. It would be very hard to play characters of other races now and even Marjorie. People talk about that now in terms of fat shaming. We would definitely approach it very differently.”
He added: “I think if we brought it back the way we did it then you would upset a lot of people, but if you did it differently it wouldn’t be Little Britain, so that show has to exist there.”
The remaining episodes in the comeback series of ‘The League Of Gentlemen’ will be televised on BBC Two tonight and tomorrow.
The League Of Gentlemen tour and tickets
Full tour dates are below. Tickets will be on sale from 9am on Friday December 20 and will be available here.
25 August Sunderland, Empire
29 August Glasgow, SEC Armadillo
30 August Edinburgh, Playhouse
2 September Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena
5 September Oxford, New Theatre
7 September Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
8 September Plymouth, Pavilions
12 September Brighton, Centre
14 September Birmingham, Arena
15 September Leeds, First Direct Arena
16 September Liverpool, Echo Arena
18 September Blackpool, Opera House
21 September Sheffield, City Hall
22 September Manchester, Apollo
25 September Bournemouth, BIC
27 September London, Eventim Apollo
28 September London, Eventim Apollo
29 September London, Eventim Apollo