Gentleman Dyson to clean up in cinemas

Jewish Telegraph, June 2005

Apocalypse Now: Jeremy Dyson, played by Michael Sheen, is attacked by League of Gentlemen characters Tubbs (Steve Pemberton) and Edward (Reece Shearsmith) in the new film League of Gentlemen Apocalypse
The real Jeremy Dyson

COMEDY writer Jeremy Dyson stars in a major new film . . . but even his parents, Elaine and Melvyn Dyson of Leeds will have trouble recognising him.
League of Gentlemen Apocalypse is the big screen debut of the smash hit BBC television comedy.
Jeremy has been a member of the League with Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith since their award-winning radio days.
The new film sees fact and fiction collide as the quartet are kidnapped by their characters. But Jeremy, who prefers to stay in the background, does not play himself in the movie, which opens today.
Instead, he is portrayed by actor Michael Sheen.
In League of Gentlemen Apocalypse, the fictional town of Royston Vasey is facing obliteration because the comedians have decided not to write about the inhabitants anymore.
The only way to avert disaster is for the bizarre characters to find a way into the real world and confront their creators. The film also features cameo performances from stars like Peter Kay and Simon Pegg.
“We wanted to do something that had a big idea at the heart of it,” Dyson said, “because that’s what would make it a film. We’d seen too many British comedies that didn’t have any scale.
“They were more like television things that were just longer. So, we wanted to have some kind of high concept that was cinematic.”
Jeremy has already planned the League’s second film — but he refuses to speak about it.
The foursome met at college. Shearsmith of Hull, Blackburn-born Pemberton and Gatiss of Sedgefield met each other at Wakefield.
Dyson, then at Leeds University, was introduced to Gatiss. After college, they moved to London and began writing together.
The League of Gentlemen was a hit at the Edinburgh Festival and became massive on BBC Radio. It then gained a huge cult following with three series and a special on BBC Television. All the TV shows have just been re-released in a special DVD box-set this week.
In addition, Universal Pictures has just issued a special edition of the Live at Drury Lane DVD which was first released in 2001.
The new version includes film footage, behind the scenes documentary, new commentary, photo gallery, screensaver, bonus scenes and phone calls, selected multi camera angles and a link to the website.
If that wasn’t enough, October sees the start of The League of Gentlemen ‘Are Behind You’ 2005 tour which includes dates at Manchester Apollo on October 17, Glasgow Clyde Auditorium (November 13), Blackburn King George’s Hall (November 16), Bradford St George’s Hall (November 22).
Jeremy will publish his first novel, Still (Abacus) in January. He told the Jewish Telegraph about the book five years ago.
He said at the time: “It starts in 1979 with a 14-year-old Jewish boy who wants to be an actor. He lands a part in an Anne Frank style story and terrible things happen. It then moves forward to the present day.”
He seems to have kept most of the story the same with the main protaganist now named as 15-year-old Alistair Black, who lands a part in the BBC series Then and Now.
Jeremy published his first book, Never Trust a Rabbit in 2000 — a series of short stories, many of which had a Jewish theme.
At the time, he revealed: “I gave up practising my Judaism after my barmitzvah; it’s not for me as a religion.”

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Mike Cohen

Jewish Telegraph deputy editor and arts editor. Email Mcohen@jewishtelegraph.com with your Jewish arts stories