Actor Mark Gatiss
Programme The League of Gentlemen
Series 1, 2
First appearance "The Road to Royston Vasey"
Last appearance "Lust for Royston Vasey"
Marital status Married
Age unknown
Occupation Newsagent
Related characters Pop (father), Rich ('disowned' brother), Patricia (wife)
"DPI = SIN! Determination, plus perspiration, plus inspiration equals success in news agency."
Al ("The Road to Royston Vasey"[1])

Al, portrayed by Mark Gatiss, appears in the first and second series of The League of Gentlemen. Al is one of Pop's sons, and the brother of Rich. He regularly serves as a comic foil in his scenes due to his serious nature compared to Pop - who he has been seen to both admire and fear[1] and be oppressed by[2] - as well as Reenie Calver and Vinnie Wythenshaw who he attempts to purchase from on one occasion.[3] He goes on to appear alongside his father and brother in The League of Gentlemen: Live at Drury Lane.[4]

Conception Edit

Al, along with Pop and Rich, were made foreign because Jeremy Dyson remembers seeing Pemberton for the first time on stage. Pemberton played Bamboola in Pantaglieze, and the accent he used stuck in Dyson's mind. The League have noted however that Al alongside his relatives have never been assigned a specific nationality.[5] Dyson describes Gatiss' performance as "Nicky Henson in Fawlty Towers due to his chewing.[6] Al is unique in being one of the few characters to interact with a character played by the same actor outside of The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse,[7] when he sells a magazine to Les McQueen - both of whom are played by Gatiss.[1]

The scenes that were shot at the dinner date between Al and Patricia were the last scenes shot of the entire second series. It was shot in one take as only ten minutes were left of studio time with no rehearsal time, although Gatiss and Pemberton had played the scene on stage. Gatiss had to try not to break character during these scenes by laughing due to the food spilt on Pemberton's costume for Pop to set the scene.[8]

Appearances Edit

Television series Edit

Al first appears briefly several times discussing an unknown incident with Rich which he has caused, unknown to both the viewer and Pop. His first full scene is in the family's warehouse, where Pop enters, and Al insists that Rich reveal what has happened to a deeply concerned Pop. With his father in a rage discovering that Rich has allowed shoplifting to take place, only calms down when Al intervenes. Pop then agrees to walk with Al, but states that he is his "only son."[1]

Pop comforts Al

Pop comforts Al, having driven away his date Patricia.[2]

In the second series, Al returns as a customer in the Charity Shop attempting to buy a cassette of Creme Brulée from Reenie and Vinnie in their first sketch. It is a slow sale due to their limited hearing and regular confusion.[3] Al makes a final appearance in the following episode, in which he brings his date Patricia to his home for dinner. Pop ultimately drives her away by flirting with her and speaking with vulgarity. Al breaks down into tears and is comforted by his father.[2]

On stage Edit

Al, his father and brother reappear in The League of Gentlemen: Live at Drury Lane[4] in a re-enactment of the sketch from their first appearance in which Pop ultimately disowns Rich. This however is the full-length original version of the scene which culminates in Rich being revealed as having stolen the Maverick bars himself.[5]

Reception Edit

Reece Shearsmith described him as "a strange character."[6] Dyson praised the performance of Gatiss as well as the other actors in the dinner date scene[2] describing the loss of certain shots due to time constraints being "made up for" by heightened peformances.[8]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Series 1, episode 2: "The Road to Royston Vasey" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 18 January 1999)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Series 2, episode 2: "Lust for Royston Vasey" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 21 January 2000)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Series 2, episode 1: "Destination: Royston Vasey" (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (aired 14 January 2000)
  4. 4.0 4.1 The League of Gentlemen: Live at Drury Lane (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (performed 2001)
  5. 5.0 5.1 "The Road to Royston Vasey" audio commentary (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearmsith) (released 13 November 2000 on The League of Gentlemen - Series 1)
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Destination: Royston Vasey" audio commentary (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearmsith) (released 15 October 2001 on The League of Gentlemen - Series 2)
  7. The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse (Universal Pictures) (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith) (released 3 June 2005)
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Lust for Royston Vasey" audio commentary (Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearmsith) (released 15 October 2001 on The League of Gentlemen - Series 2)