Pauline Campbell-Jones, portrayed by Steve Pemberton, is one of the most heavily featured and long-running characters in The League of Gentlemen. Initially featuring in On the Town with League of Gentlemen across several episodes, she was carried over into the television series, appearing in the majority of episodes across the first, second series, the Christmas special and third series. She also features in The League of Gentlemen: Live at Drury Lane, The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse and The League of Gentlemen Are Behind You!
Pauline is recognised for her use of catchphrases such as "Okey cokey, pig in a pokey!" when greeting people as well as referring to the unemployed as "dole scum". Her affinity for pens, often cruel nature and her scrunching of her chin when annoyed are also prominent attributes of her character. She also undergoes much character development across the three television series, beginning with the lead-up to her downfall at the hands of Ross Gaines, her attempts at getting back at him, culminating in kidnapping him and her imprisonment in the second series, and her redeeming herself follow her release from prison as she forms a relationship and later marriage with Mickey Michaels.
She is an integral part of the road accident story arc. She made an appearance in Series 4, Episode 1: "Return to Royston Vasey" where she was reliving her role as a Job Center restart officer, which turned out to be a recreation to help her remember her life since she was diagnosed with Dementia - eventually she return promptly to her normal self when a doctor and Mickey were able to convince Ross to write something offensive on her board, in which when he approached the board, Pauline flipped in and broke Ross' jaw. In Episode 2 of Series 4: "Save Royston Vasey, Geoff Tipps was fulfilling his promise to Mike Harris, to kill his wife Sheryl Template:Fact, in which he goes to what he remembers as Mike's House and kills who he thought was Sheryl - after calling Mike afterwards, it turned out that Mike had moved house 4 years ago and sold it to Mickey and Pauline, and Geoff had mistakenly killed Pauline instead - to which Mickey came home and was distraught to find Pauline dead with a cushion rammed in her mouth. Her character developments across the series are not carried over into her appearances outside the television series.
The inspiration for Pauline came from Reece Shearsmith's own experience of a restart officer in 1992, in regards to which he stated "obviously not everything about them is the same, but yes, there is a real-life Pauline out there somewhere." He described the woman as "Cockney," "having a chunky cardigan," and "longer [ginger] hair."
Pauline was initially performed on stage, appearing in the writers' very first show, even before they took on the name of The League of Gentlemen as a sketch based around job ideas - later adapted into the television series. When it came to writing the television series, despite there being ample material for Pauline, Pemberton stated they did not know how to begin her scenes. While filming the first series, Pemberton developed the "chunter", which is what he named Pauline's twitching of her lips.
Pemberton portrayed her on stage without any wig, but one was introduced for the television series and was described as having a "hair horn." The writers envisioned her having a short crop, however. This shorter hair design would be used in the third series, in which it was restyled for her prison stint.
Pauline's make-up was applied by Martine Randall who aimed to "[get] a bit of Pat Butcher [in there]", a character from BBC soap opera EastEnders which Martine previously did make-up for. Initially thinner, from the second episode onwards, Pauline was given much thicker lipstick to emphasise Pemberton's "chunter."
Ultimately designed by Yves Barre, multiple attempts were made at determining what her costume should be. Pemberton stated "the simpler, the better" was the approach they took in the end. Shearsmith described it as a "Mark's and Spencer's look," while Barre, noted she appeared as if she worked in a building society.
"Psychotic 50-year-old lesbian"
- "How DARE you?? I'm 48." ~ Pauline Campbell Jones
Pauline was meant to be a Lesbian, she admits during her roleplay interview that there was somebody once that somebody was Terri, clearly the more Butch in the relationship, she is seen in a photograph in Pauline's flat on top of the TV in Season Two, the photograph shows her and Pauline at a resort topless. There is a letter written by Pauline to Terri which shows that photo and that Pauline still desires to see her.
However in Series Three, Pauline in jail has become the head of a group of Lesbians her room-mate is Fat Laura. However once released Pauline falls in love with Mickey and also sleeps with Ross in a moment of sudden passion, however she marries Mickey. This would most likely make her bi or pansexual.
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Pauline is one of the first characters to appear in the series and, in her début. A vicious bully, she despises her job as well as the people on it, sneeringly describing them as "dole scum". She particularly hates Ross, a somewhat pompous jobsworth type who wants to learn real techniques to get work. The only person she likes in the group is Mickey, a man with learning difficulties who wants to be a fireman. She never hesitates to hurl insults at the group and in particular Ross. She also has an unusual obsession with pens.
. In her next appearance she encouraged the job seekers to attempt to sell the Big Issue, and made Ross take part in an enactment of how it should be sold. After refusing to beg her to buy it Pauline assaulted him with the magazine, before making Mickey take part in a far easier enactment. Pauline had Ross take part in another role play in which they enacted a job interview situation, but Ross used it as an opportunity to humiliate her, and deemed her unfit for the job. Initially appearing calm, she assaulted Ross again afterwards and is only convinced to stop her attack by Mickey. At the end of the series, Ross reveals himself to have been an investigator of the Job Centre, and based on her behaviour tells Pauline she will be removed from her job, to her devastation.
Pauline is invited back to the restart course to study, but assumes she has been re-employed. This leads her to clash with Cathy Carter-Smith following being humiliated by her, her successor, and after a physical confrontation eventually walks out. Mickey shows his support of her. Pauline finds herself in a rut following her dismissal, but is employed by Burger Me where she becomes Mickey's co-worker. When Ross walks in, she decides to get revenge by spitting in his burger. Unseen to her however, a CCTV camera is recording her. Pauline is fired from Burger Me, and Ross tells her in the Job Centre that her benefits are to be suspended for nine weeks due to her being dismissed. He offers to put in an appeal, but only if she begs him. Pauline refuses and initially walks away, but promptly returns and attacks Ross. As he retalliates, Pauline convinces Mickey to get him off and tie him to the chair. Pauline decides to hold Ross hostage in exchange for her job back, and for Mickey to get a fire engine. Several days pass as the town is too occupied with the nosebleed epidemic which she sees when Ross convinces her to collect them food. While out, however, Ross convinces Mickey to let him go before rendering him unconscious. Pauline returns in time to be greeted by Ross and the police.
As part of Charlie Hull's recurring nightmare which he recounts to Reverend Bernice Woodall, Pauline is seen as part of the all-female Solutions group contacted by Stella Hull, which use voodoo-esque methods to ruin Charlie's linedancing performance. A Victorian ancestor of Pauline can also be seen in Matthew Chinnery's recounting of Edmund Chinnery's arrival in Royston Vasey, in which she manages a workhouse. She evicts a Victorian ancestor of Mickey for using his crutches on the treadmill.
The third series begins with Pauline in prison, operating an undercover trade of exchanging pens for a vibrator. Ross revokes the charges he pressed against her however and she is released, but as part of an undercover job to befriend Mickey and find out how he and his family are gaining benefits. While visiting Mickey, he offers Pauline a place to stay following her release, and despite her best attempts fails to uncover any illegitimate claims made by Mickey other than his family still claiming his deceased mother's benefits. Ross deems this not enough for his whole family, and warns Pauline she'll be returned to prison if she doesn't find more. While at Barbara Dixon's fortieth birthday party, Mickey is deeply upset when he realises Pauline is working undercover to learn about his claims after she questions him. Remorseful however, she kisses Mickey and goes on to sleep with him. Soon after, Pauline reports to Ross she'll no longer investigate Mickey as she loves him, and are now engaged. Ross warns her of the consequences but Pauline does not care, however she gives into Ross' temptations and has sex with him as well. Before she can leave, Ross tells her he will now have to tell Mickey what just happened, and goes to ring him. Pauline, horrified, rushes to Mickey's to explain what has happened first. Here she becomes integral to the road accident arc: in the middle of the road, she is caught in the face by a red bag (having blown away from the Charity Shop) which she removes it just in time to see Geoff Tipps speeding towards her (in the stolen Legz Akimbo van.) Pauline is saved by Lance Longthorne (driven to do good as he is possessed by Sister Bernadette McClusky's spirit.) She is comforted by Mickey who promptly arrives at the scene. The scenes are captured on film by Dean Tavalouris. In the final scenes of the series, Pauline and Mickey wed, and Ross even attends, seen briefly smiling and applauding the happy couple.
The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse
Pauline plays a minor role in the movie which takes place in a separate narrative in which she appears as she did in the first two series. She is seen briefly in town with Mickey, and later goes to the church with Chinnery to discuss with Bernice the strange phenomena occurring in town, and is pointed to the prophecy. It is during this discussion that Bernice is distracted while Hilary Briss forces Geoff and Herr Lipp into the real world's dimension with him. Pauline appears again at the end of the film during the climax, witnessing the death of her actor's fictional counterpart, Steve Pemberton, and Hilary and Geoff defeating Dr. Pea and the Homunculus.
Pauline first appears in The League of Gentlemen: Live at Drury Lane, introducing herself to the audience as if they are her Job Centre restart course students. A gunshot then rings out, and as the curtains are abruptly closed, we learn from the voiceover a detective that Pauline has been shot dead. Three suspects are presented: Ross, Mickey and Cathy Carter-Smith. The first piece of evidence involves a re-enactment of the job interview roleplay between Pauline and Ross, ending in her assaulting him. Next, we learn of Mickey developing a romantic interest in Pauline, and upon viewing Cathy's initial confrontation with Pauline turning to sexual arousal, it is concluded that Mickey ultimately shot Pauline as a crime passionnel.
Pauline appears in the latest stage show: The League of Gentlemen Are Behind You! The narrative of the second act of the play involves the Royston Vasey Players collaborating to put on a pantomime. Pauline takes part as a pantomime dame. Pauline comes on stage to the song "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls, which is performed by Pauline as "It's Raining Pens". Within the play, her pen shop Her Nibs is struggling to keep in business due to Cathy Carter-Smith, her unseen sister (however they can both be seen doing a sketch in the extras on the DVD) in the narrative, opening a computer store opposite. Pauline sends Mickey, presented as her son, on his journey to sell their cow and the Landlord Ross exchanges sex for the rent. In the cut scene Pauline appears in Papa Lazrou's cave with Cathy Carter-Smith who exchanges insults about the fact both shops have flaws, while Pauline is in debt, Cathy's shop is filled with Porn addicts. When Pauline reveals that she didn't fit the moon boot which she wanted to as to save the shop and Cathy tells her that she didn't either and so they decide to combine forces and open a Computer/Stationary Shop.
- When they did on Ergerious, on stage, Steve cut Reece's lip with the paper.
- Egregious was based on Reece going on an interview to shift trolleys around ASDA, he was refused the job as he was smart and his personality was too much for the others.
- In Series One a deleted scene was done of Pauline clearing away sadly but when she goes up the stairs Mickey is waiting for her showing they were being to fall in love.
- The fight between Pauline and Ross in Series Two is based on the one in The Omen by Gregory Peck and Billie Whitelaw.
Pauline was described by Ed Howker and Shiv Malik in Jilted Generation: How Britain Has Bankrupted Its Youth as the most "aggressive" satire of the Labour policy, citing her outburst at Ross that he's worth "less than the shit on [her] shoe" and that she will send him on many "meaningless courses" as "neatly [summing] up the circular bureaucracy around joblessness in modern Britain."
- Series 1, episode 1: "Welcome to Royston Vasey" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 11 January 1999)
- Series 1, episode 2: "The Road to Royston Vasey" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 18 January 1999)
- Series 1, episode 3: "Nightmare in Royston Vasey" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 25 January 1999)
- Series 1, episode 6: "Escape from Royston Vasey" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 15 February 1999)
- Series 2, episode 1: "Destination: Royston Vasey" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 14 January 2000)
- The League of Gentlemen: Live at Drury Lane (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (performed 2001)
- The League of Gentlemen Are Behind You! (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (performed 2005)
- Series 2, episode 2: "Lust for Royston Vasey" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 21 January 2000)
- "Series 2, episode 3: A Plague on Royston Vasey" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 4 February 2000)
- Series 2, episode 5: "Anarchy in Royston Vasey" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 11 February 2000)
- Christmas special: "Yule Never Leave!" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 27 December 2000)
- Series 3, episode 1: "The Lesbian and the Monkey" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 26 September 2002)
- Series 3, episode 2: "The One-Armed Man is King" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 3 October 2002)
- Series 3, episode 3: "Turn Again Geoff Tipps" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 10 October 2002)
- Series 3, episode 6: "How the Elephant Got Its Trunk" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 31 October 2002)
- The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse (Universal Pictures) (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (released 3 June 2005)
- Series 3, episode 4: "The Medusa Touch" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 17 October 2002)
- Series 3, episode 5: "Beauty and the Beast (Or, Come into My Parlour)" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 24 October 2002)
- Untitled article (article reproduced from Irish Times, Brian Boyd, published 5 May 2001) (archived on virtualvasey.lofg.com, retrieved 26 July 2013)
- "Welcome to Royston Vasey" audio commentary (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearmsith) (released 13 November 2000 on The League of Gentlemen - Series 1)
- Jilted Generation: How Britain Has Bankrupted Its Youth (Ed Howker, Shiv Malik, Icon Books, published 4 September 2010, p. unknown)