Lance Longthorne
Lance Longthorne.jpg
Actor Mark Gatiss
Programme The League of Gentlemen
Series 1, 3
First appearance "Nightmare in Royston Vasey"
Last appearance "How the Elephant Got Its Trunk"
Marital status Deceased
Cause of death Killed in the road accident.
Occupation Manager at Joke Shop
Related characters Geoff Tipps (customer, accidental murderer)
Mike King (friend)
Bernadette McClusky (arm donor, possessor of)
Pauline Campbell-Jones (saved life of)
"You ain't leaving this bleedin' shop until you put your hand in that bleedin' tube."
Lance Longthorne ("Nightmare in Royston Vasey"[1])

Lance Longthorne, portrayed by Mark Gatiss, appears once in both the first[1] and recurs throughout the third series[2][3][4] of The League of Gentlemen, as well as The League of Gentlemen Are Behind You![5]

Lance is the sadistic owner of the Joke Shop who only has one arm and, although making one appearance over the course of the first two series,[1] is given a central role in a third series episode involving him gaining a donor arm in which he gains redemption,[2] and becomes integral to the road accident story arc.[6][2][3][7][8][4] The events of the third series play no part in his on-stage appearance.[5]

Conception[edit | edit source]

On the Commentary for Series 1. Mark said that Lance was based on a Barman who was a rude old fart who would silent the room but he said to Mark that he had connections with Hollywood which they didn't what to say. Lance's lost arm has been a mystery but in the Profile said that he had it ripped off from the Frankenstein Monster.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Television series[edit | edit source]

Lance first appeared in Series 1 in "Nightmare in Royston Vasey" he is arranging the Joke Shop window at the beginning as the Road men come through. Later on one of the workmen comes in and Lance chats him through some things for a Stag Night. The first was Crab Eggs for the Groom's underwear, for the Best Man's speech there are Hot Sweets which contain Potassium that will leave him with no mouth and for the Bride there is a power that will make her wet herself (literally: it is a bladder relaxant), when the workman decides to leave Lance forces him to put his hand in a tube he has on display and once turning it on gives the man a electric shock burning him. As Lance laughs at the man's pain the man leaves and Lance says his punchline

"Jesus some people have no sense of humour"

However Geoff comes in and buys the tube.

During the 2nd Series Lance didn't appear, however in the book A Local Book for Local People a advert for Lance's jokes is seen, these include the jokes seen in the Series 1 sketch plus new ones like Impotence Powder,Coma Drops and The Sailor's Friend (A Female's Privates in a box) also in the Script book shows how attempts to include Lance failed.

In Series 3 Lance is given his own episode, it begins with him doing work in his shop but when he is trying to get Maggots into a bag with only one hand, he in anger, gives up and after that comes in a old lady and her grandson for some jokes for his birthday party. After presenting the little boy with A Finger in a Matchbox, which contains real fingers from the hospital, after that is refused he suggests a foot in a Shoebox and a infection in a bottle for loo roll, he offers the Grandmother a Sex Toy for a reduced price and with that she leaves the shop. As Lance returns the Shoebox, it falls he gets a idea and the grandmother returns to buy the dildo. Lance goes to Mike King to ask for a Arm Transplant but since he has wasted time get one and now wants it as soon as possible, he is remained of the fact it will take time to get the right match, but when he bribes Mike, he sets a date and Blackmails a doctor into doing the surgery.

When Lance awakes he discovers that he has a female Arm in place, Mike reminds him that they used what they had, but then he tries to remain Lance of the facts he can do now with his new hand but it's clear Mike is more awkward than helpful. That day Lance returns home but when he tries to use the arm on with his keys he drops them and the Mechanic seeing him helps but discovers the new arm. Once inside Lance explains why it's a female arm and the Mechanic is sympathetic but while he talks about what he will do now the arm comes to life and decorates the drink Lance has made. That night it made up Lance while he was asleep, when he awakes he is horrified by his arms trick, after removing the polish, also clipping it's nails he builds it up with weights, adds a tattoo and adds hair to it. While celebrating at Flaps in Your Laps, his new arm pushes the stripper Queenie and after doing it several times he is kicked out.

Lance confronts Mike saying about the arm's problems, he in anger asks Mike who the arm belonged to, after trying to say that it was donated privately, but when then he confesses that it came from near the incinerator, so there is no record of who the person is but Mike tries to say it's his arm now and Lance punches him. Later that day the arm shows Lance the truth in the graveyard she was Sister Bernadette McClusky and the good deeds now make sense. That night Lance dreams that the arm speaks to him that she will use him to continue her work, Lance decides to stop this by cutting the arm off, but as it tries to prevent it from happening but when he goes down to the basement it holds to the door frame and the stitches came loose freeing Lance. The next day Lance has the wound closed and Mike is forgiven. As he gets to his home the stump starts trembling part of the arm is still there and it convinces Lance to save Pauline who is about to be hit by Geoff, he agrees and just as Pauline screams, Lance pushes her to safety, taking the full impact, as he is dying Pauline thanks him with tears and he lifts him arm and in his mind he has two arms suggesting in the Afterlife he will be rewarded.

After this Lance becomes part of the connected ending, in the last episode when Dean Tavalouris captures the aftermath with his camera, he records Lance being covered with a blanket, then the ambulance man tells Dean to show respect for the dead and with the montage Mike King has framed the Newspaper with Lance on the front page the headline reads "He Died A Hero".

On stage[edit | edit source]

Lance appears in the Pantomime's first act, he is arguing on his mobile with a unknown woman about her son who has burns on his face due to the Nitrate Acid in the Black Face Soap which he can't be sued for. After this Dave Parks comes looking for Theatrical Tricks but clearly Lance's effects are too dangerous but Dave is forced to pull his hand in a box, it turns out it's a Wormhole but just then Lance's Cobweb Generation (a big white spider) escapes and bites Dave with Lance remarking with his catchphrase.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Series 1, episode 3: "Nightmare in Royston Vasey" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 25 January 1999)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Series 3, episode 2: "The One-Armed Man is King" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 3 October 2002)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Series 3, episode 3: "Turn Again Geoff Tipps" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 10 October 2002)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Series 3, episode 6: "How the Elephant Got Its Trunk" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 31 October 2002)
  5. 5.0 5.1 The League of Gentlemen Are Behind You! (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (performed 2005)
  6. Series 3, episode 1: "The Lesbian and the Monkey" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 26 September 2002)
  7. Series 3, episode 4: "The Medusa Touch" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 17 October 2002)
  8. Series 3, episode 5: "Beauty and the Beast (Or, Come into My Parlour)" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 24 October 2002)

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