The preceding radio series On the Town with the League of Gentlemen was set in the equally fictional and almost identical town of Spent.
Origin and creation
Royston Vasey draws on the upbringing of all the League's members - Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith and Jeremy Dyson - all of whom were raised in the north of England. Royston Vasey is often said to be the real name of British stand-up comedian Roy 'Chubby' Brown. Brown played the part of the town's mayor in a cameo appearance.
The League considered a number of filming locations before settling on Hadfield. Another town to feature prominently in the series was Bacup in Rossendale, and the West Yorkshire town of Todmorden was used for some later scenes.
The town as it appears in the TV show has a sign which ominously declares "Welcome to Royston Vasey. You'll never leave!" The first building many visitors come across is the "Local Shop". Ironically, the Local Shop is located some distance from the town itself on a lonely hilltop moor.
Events from the town's fictional history
In the first television series of The League of Gentlemen a construction company called PQ Construction threatens the isolation of Royston Vasey by building a "New Road" near the Local Shop. The project is first delayed when a monster (later revealed to be parts of a goat, a pig and a chimp crudely stitched together by Edward Tattsyrup) is unearthed on the construction site and comes to an end in the final episode when the owner of PQ Construction, David Tattsyrup, is revealed to be the son of Edward and Tubbs who convince him to "live locally."
In the second series Royston Vasey receives visits from both a travelling circus and a group of German exchange students. The town becomes gradually overrun by a deadly nosebleed epidemic which causes a high percentage of the town's residents to experience incessant bleeding and death, usually within 24 hours. Eventually the epidemic devastates the town, with the Ministry of Health running riot in a desperate attempt to staunch the plague. The cause of the nosebleeds can be traced to a substance known only as the "Special Stuff", a highly addictive and mysterious foodstuff served by demonic butcher Hilary Briss, which becomes deadly when cut with sandwich paste. However, the surviving local residents mistakenly accuse Edward and Tubbs of spreading the disease and burn the Local Shop to the ground.
In the third and final series, several of the residents of Royston Vasey are involved in a traffic collision which leaves Lance Longthorne and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen dead while Geoff Tipps is facially disfigured. The travelling circus also returns.
In the film The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse, the town is on the verge of destruction when the League of Gentlemen - Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, and Reece Shearsmith - agree to stop writing for Royston Vasey. This causes meteorites to rain from the sky until the entire town is razed to the ground. The destruction of Royston Vasey can only be prevented when all four of the writers are killed, but it transpires that the entire ordeal was conceived by Dyson while unconscious in a hospital.
The League of Gentlemen book, A Local Book for Local People, released between the second and third series, describes Royston Vasey's history in a brochure, from its beginnings, as mentioned in an appendix to the Domesday Book as "an hutte with a pigge outside" (presumably the Local Shop) to the construction of the town hall in the late 1930s, as designed by Albert Speer. The endpapers of the book show real maps of northern England turned upside down and with fictional place names, Royston Vasey corresponding to the real town of Settle, North Yorkshire (close by to Panties / Giggleswick).
- "The League Of Gentlemen". BBC. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- The "League of Gentlemen" Scripts and That. BBC. 2003.
- Viner, Brian (17 February 2000). "Welcome to the real Royston Vasey - You'll never leave". The Independent (UK). Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- "The League of Gentlemen: Series 1-2. The Road To Royston Vasey". Radio Times website. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 Through 2010. McFarland.
- What is Royston Vasey from the League of Gentlemen's website.