- "I can’t even have a shit without someone peeping through the keyhole to check that I’m not – "
- Benjamin Denton ("Escape from Royston Vasey")
Benjamin Denton is the first character in The League of Gentlemen, what began as one night turns into a nightmare.
The Dentons are based on relatives Jeremy Dyson had to stay with, they clearly weren't comfortable with him staying there. They had a weird set of rules and the door had a strange set of lock, that Jeremy had trouble with resulting in him locking one of them out.
Benjamin came to Spent (Royston Vasey) where he had an interview at the Plant, however, Harvey's tour of the Amphibarium results in Ben losing the interview and to find a way out of his relatives home.
Benjamin is on the train to Royston Vasey reading a letter his Aunty Val has written to him, after he has planned to go hiking with his friend Martin. The note is read aloud by a nosy old woman (Frances Cox, who later plays Annie Raines). He gets a ride to the Swanmills Estate by Barbara who gives him a biography of her oncoming changes. Ben gets to The Denton home, dubbed ‘Toad Hall’ where he is given a list of all the rules he must follow during his stay, and Harvey requests for him not to masturbate. His plan to meet Martin is failed by Uncle Harvey giving him a detailed tour of the toads. He ends up in the location they were to meet only to find Mickey. The next few days he fails to find Martin, Ben witnesses the Dentons bizarre behaviour including Harvey’s bizarre obsession with wanking, the use of the telephone, the sharp locking of the doors and the drinking of piss. Just as he plans to leave he is forced to babysit his cousins, eight-year-olds Chloe and Radclyffe. That night both girls force Benjamin to play Piggy in the Middle after threatening to tell their father they caught him in the act. During the game, they blindfold him, when he removes it after something starts burning the girls have gone, Val and Harvey are there instead and in seconds he murders his aunt and uncle’s prize toads, Sonny and Cher.
Benjamin witnesses the Denton's grief as they give the dead toads a funeral. Later on, he tries to escape with the help of Barbara, however she mistakes his call for a hook-up. There has been a misunderstanding, Benjamin was asking her to take him to the station, and he’s already got a girlfriend back home. Embarassed, poor Barbara leaves Benjamin on the moors in a state of shame, and he’s forced to return to Uncle Harvey and Aunty Val. Back with the Dentond, Ben is forced to do tasks which include cleaning the cleaning brushes, sick and tired of this, he shouts at them at how ridiculous this is when he can't even use the upstairs toilet without Harvey watching him. Harvey understands how bad it looks and he has suffered this feeling for years but he finds comfort in these rules. Ben, feeling guilty apologies and they let him leave only after he pays his bill.
During the time Benjamin was tortured by Tubbs and Edward, they made him a friend (possibly even a bride, given how he is dressed) for their son David who was now a monster in the attic. One stormy night he escaped from the Shop and ran back to the town. The timing he came back, however, was rather strange, as Val, who desperately wanted Benjamin back, wished on Harvey's toad. Both Val and Harvey were shocked at his appearance, and when asked where he was, falls to the ground, and mutters the word 'local'. As the camera zooms out, the audience can see a snow-globe, most definitely from the Shop.
The next day it's clear that Ben doesn't remember the rules or his own name, so they teach Benjamin the rules again in song. Later on, he discovers Val and Harvey naked turns out it's Nude Day, also Ben has strip as well, he then greets the doctor naked only to find the couple fully dressed they treat him with shock and the doctor unsurprisingly gives him drugs. Later that week Benjamin fakes taking the drug, then he finds a Postcard written by his Aunt and Uncle to say that he was going to stay for the next five years, so in an attempt to escape, to escape he manages to knock the key onto a magazine only to find out that Val and Havery were on the other side.
Later on, Benjamin managed to escape and made a trap that leads to the Amphibarium where Benjamin traps them in a large tank. Threatening them with a Toad in a liquidiser, he reveals Havery wants to keep him as a pet, with the proof shocking Val. However, before he can do anymore, Chloe and Radclyffe appear with a gun, he gives in and leaves.
Outside he finds out about the nosebleed problem but in his pocket, he finds a precious thing (snow globe) of the Local Shop, he then has his memories of Tubbs and Edward return. With an angry mob, they storm the shop, however, while Benjamin is there to expose the people, the group are convinced that the shop caused the nosebleeds, Barbara gets out before the group see David's shadow on the window burns the place down, Benjamin comforts a grieving Barbara.
(The Dentons did not appear in Series Three as Benjamin managed to escape, and Harvey and Val were trapped in the toad amphibarium)
Benjamin comes back to Royston Vasey, due to Harvey's death. He comes to the house to find that it's in a mess, Val explains that since Harvey's death there wasn't a reason to clean, then he is greeted by Chloe and Radcliffe who despite being older are still childlike and weird. However, after Ben is drugged he finds out their true plans, Harvey's corpse is in the Amphibarium and using one of his special toad which they make Ben swallow Harvey's soul is given a body. However, after the reunion is less than happy with Harvey ordering them to tidy the house, Val convinces Ben to expel the toad and Harvey from his body. Val escorts Ben to the train offering him to come again.
Benjamin appears in the Aqua Vita sketch.
Are Behind You
The Denton couple, as well as Benjamin, open the show with their Household Rules song.
- After Sonny and Cher's funeral there was a Wake scene where Benjamin offers to do anything to make amends, Harvey and Val then laugh madly at something they could do.
- Benjamin was going to be turned into a half man/frog as part of Harvey's plans.
- After the Household Rules Song, Val and Harvey plan what they should do, while Harvey suggested a hospital Val suggests they let him stay, after which they share the bed.
- There was a whole sketch cut where they convince Benjamin that he is a French girl called Marianne, once the Doctor came they saw Ben in a dress speaking French, however, the ‘Nude Day’ sketch was used instead.
- Ben was going to punish Harvey by forcing him to clean everything and make him masturbate.
Behind the Scenes
- The Train Scene was shot twice, once for the Pilot and once for the series.
- When Benjamin was in Bab's Cab due to the Child Lock Reece had to hold onto the door.
- The scene when Barbara forces herself on Ben, Steve Pemberton does the scene instead as they recorded the dialogue live.
- The scene when Ben sees the postbox open to reveal a kid was meant for Episode One but instead they used it in the final episode instead.
- In Series Two Ben's look was Balou the Bear from The Jungle Book and Jeremy Dyson played Ben in all the long shots due them being the same height.
- The Household Rules song Reece was really sick when shooting the scene.
- The trapping of Benjamin in Series Two is based on Misery.