League of Gentlemen Wiki
"Welcome to Royston Vasey"
Programme The League of Gentlemen
Series 1
Episode 1
Next episode "The Road to Royston Vasey"
Broadcast and release
First aired 11 January 1999
First released 13 November 2000 (The League of Gentlemen - Series 1)
Writers Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearmsith
Producer Sarah Smith
Director Steve Bendelack
Executive producers Jon Plowman
Guest stars Frances Cox, Mike Flanagan, Paul Hays-Marshall, Edward McCraken

"Welcome to Royston Vasey" is the first episode of the first series of The League of Gentlemen, airing 11 January 1999 on BBC Two.[1] Written by Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, it introduced several key characters to the series: Benjamin Denton, Barbara Dixon, Matthew Chinnery, Hilary Briss, Tubbs Tattsyrup, Edward Tattsyrup, Pauline Campbell-Jones, Mickey Michaels, Ross Gaines, Harvey Denton, Val Denton, Geoff Tipps, Mike Harris and Brian Morgan. With On the Town with the League of Gentlemen[2] having been set in fellow fictional town Spent, this episode marked the first appearance of Royston Vasey as a setting. The end of the episode reveals the construction of New Road, beginning the series-long arc.


The episode begins with both Benjamin and Martin Lee arriving in Royston Vasey separately for a hiking holiday. While Benjamin arrives safely and takes Babs' Cabs to his uncle and aunt's (Harvey and Val) house, Martin happens upon the Local Shop. By not being local, he is ultimately forbidden to leave by Edward, and both he and Tubbs ultimately murder him. Benjamin is introduced to the strict house rules by his relatives, and is unable to meet with Martin to his confusion.

At the Job Centre, Pauline discusses job options while mutually irritating Ross. Mickey reveals he has a job interview to be a fireman, to Pauline's shock, and when he later tries to leave, she threatens to stop his benefits if he leaves and mocks him. Despite Ross prompting him that she can't do that, Mickey returns to his seat.

The episode also marks the first appearance of Chinnery, in which he accidentally euthanaises a young healthy dog, not realising Farmer Jed Tinsel is going to get the actual dog.

Geoff holds a gun to Mike's head until Brian finishes the mau mau joke in a scene that would later be re-enacted in The League of Gentlemen: Live at Drury Lane.[3]

Geoff, Mike and Brian book a table at the pub, and while enjoying a drink, Geoff prompts Brian to tell Mike a joke about "mau mau". Brian struggles to remember the joke, and after increasing frustration, Geoff points his gun at Mike and threatens to shoot unless Brian gets it right. While unable to remember, Brian is prompted by Mike as to how the joke ends, having already heard it. When Geoff realises Mike already knows the joke, they all return to their seats and forget the matter.

A policeman comes to question Tubbs and Edward about the disappearance of Martin, and following protests that they know nothing and wish to be left alone the policeman goes to leave. Tubbs however blurts out: "We didn't burn him!" raising the policeman's suspicions. In the closing moments, Tubbs and Edward stand by a fire as the policeman's hat is thrown on to it. While Edward reassures Tubbs no more strangers will come, a burning newspaper headline reveals a New Road is to be built, and that strangers are expected.


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In what Pemberton called "a really exciting shot",[4] the plans for New Road are revealed for the first time, albeit unseen to Tubbs and Edward Tattsyrup.

The final scenes by the fireside with Tubbs and Edward was described by Pemberton as "a really exciting shot", and that it made the series achieve a film-like quality.[4]

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Broadcast and release[]


"Welcome to Royston Vasey" was first broadcast on 11 January 1999 on BBC Two,[1] and was repeated most recently 9 January 2007 on BBC Four.[5]


The episode was released on DVD as part of The League of Gentlemen - Series 1, a release of all six first series episodes, on 13 November 2000. Additionally, the episode was available on VHS, and has since become downloadable through iTunes and available to stream through LOVEFiLM.[5]


Sandy Smithies of The Guardian commented the episode had "some pleasing visual gags."[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Series 1 episode guide (BBC) (retrieved 9 July 2013)
  2. On the Town with the League of Gentlemen (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton, Shearsmith) (broadcast 1997)
  3. The League of Gentlemen: Live at Drury Lane (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (performed 2001)
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Welcome to Royston Vasey" audio commentary (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearmsith) (released 13 November 2000 on The League of Gentlemen - Series 1)
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Welcome to Royston Vasey" episode guide (BBC) (retrieved 13 July 2013)
  6. Watching Brief (The Guardian) (Sandy Smithies) (published 11 January 1999) (retrieved 9 July 2013)