Psychoville is a British psychological horror-thriller black comedy mystery television series created and written by and starring The League of Gentlemen members Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton for the BBC. It debuted on BBC Two on 18 June 2009. Pemberton and Shearsmith each play numerous characters, with Dawn French and Jason Tompkins in additional starring roles. The first series was followed by a Halloween special, broadcast on 31 October 2010, which saw Imelda Staunton added to the main cast along with previously supporting actors Eileen Atkins and Daniel Kaluuya. The second series started broadcasting on 5 May 2011 and ended on 6 June. Reece Shearsmith has officially announced that there will not be a third series.
Title card from the second series
|Created by||Reece Shearsmith|
|Written by||Reece Shearsmith|
|Directed by||Matt Lipsey|
|Theme music composer||Joby Talbot|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||14 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jon Plowman|
|Original network||BBC Two|
|Original release||18 June 2009 –|
6 June 2011
|Related shows||The League of Gentlemen |
Inside No. 9
The series revolves around five different characters from different parts of England: David Sowerbutts (played by Pemberton), a serial killer-obsessed man-child who still lives with his mother Maureen (Shearsmith); Mr. Jelly (Shearsmith), an embittered one-handed children's entertainer; Oscar Lomax (Pemberton), a blind millionaire who collects stuffed toy animals; Joy Aston (French), a midwife who treats a practice doll as if it is her real child; and Robert Greenspan (Tompkins), a panto dwarf in love with his Snow White who believes he has the power of telekinesis. All five are connected by a mysterious blackmailer who has sent them a letter each with the message: "I know what you did". The series is named after the title given to The League of Gentlemen when the series was sold to Japan and Korea.
The series features a diverse set of five characters who live in different parts of England, all of whom have been blackmailed by the same individual (referred to in the credits for episode seven as "Black Gloved Man"), who has given them each a letter with the message "I know what you did…" In the second episode, the blackmailer leaves them a second message that reads, "You killed her". In the third episode they receive a videotape showing them in an asylum together (several having previously revealed that they had been institutionalised) performing "Close Every Door" from the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It is later disclosed that the institution was called Ravenhill Hospital. In Episodes Five and Six, the characters discover the final message: a key depicting a raven. At least David's letter also contains the message "I'm waiting...".
Ultimately it is revealed that Joy, Robert, David and Oscar were involved in the death of Nurse Edwina Kenchington (Eileen Atkins), who is the blackmailer's mother, and Dr Stuart Strachen, aka Mr Jolly. Jolly blackmailed Jelly whom he blamed most, as he was operating on Jelly's hand (which was later amputated after the operation went wrong) while Kenchington was dying. David knocked her over and Joy pronounced her dead. The group started a fire to cover their tracks, but Kenchington woke up and attempted to escape. Oscar, Joy and Robert prevented her from leaving the room she was trapped in, but she somehow survived and returns to Ravenhill in the final episode looking for her locket. At the end of the series, Mr Jolly blows up part of the asylum with most of the main characters and Kenchington inside and it is revealed that Robert has the locket.
Series two begins with Mr Jelly, Oscar, and Oscar's assistant Michael, aka "Tealeaf", attending the funeral of Mr Jolly. Afterwards, Jelly is given a box of Jolly's props, which also turns out to contain Strachen's mobile phone and his ID card at Andrews Nanotech. Posing as Mr Jolly, Mr Jelly discovers that Strachen was using his surgical skills to deal in the black market organ trade, and that Kenchington had an account with a cryogenic storage facility where her late father Ehrlichmann's head was kept frozen. Meanwhile, Andrews Nanotech has hired a police detective to retrieve Kenchington's locket by any means necessary. Robert gives the locket to Debbie for safekeeping, but after Robert's death, Debbie gives it away to make-up lady Hattie. Detective Finney tracks down the former Ravenhill patients, questioning, then killing, Joy, Robert, and Oscar, and attempting to kill Mrs Wren. Oscar's friend, toyshop owner Peter Bishop, deduces that Oscar was killed for his connection to Ravenhill. He enlists Tealeaf's help with his investigation and they successfully retrieve the locket from Hattie before Finney can get to it, and contact Mr Jelly, whose own investigations have resulted in him taking possession of Ehrlichmann's frozen head. Bishop kills Tealeaf and travels to London with Mr Jelly to attempt to sell the locket and head to Grace Andrews. It is revealed that the method for restoring a frozen head to life, worked out by Edwina Kenchington, was microscopically engraved on the links of the locket chain, and using this information, Andrews' team is able to bring Erlichmann's head back to life. The head is subsequently destroyed, but the technique has been proven to work. The series ends with the revelation that David Sowerbutts is storing the corpse of his mother Maureen (who has died of cancer) in a bathtub filled with ice, suggesting that she could be resurrected by the same technique.
Main article:List of Psychoville characters
Shearsmith and Pemberton collaborated with Rob and Neil Gibbons to produce fictional web content to accompany the show including an interactive treasure hunt. Fake websites and promotional websites were created for many of the characters to allow viewers of the programme to get "an overall Psychoville experience."
A new Psychoville Experience was created for series two, with a new interface and a selection of new fictional websites released after each episode. Viewers were asked to find a number each week and input them into a keypad to unlock a 'secret chamber' at the end of the series. The chamber once opened reveals the revived head of the Nazi Doctor Ehrlichmann (Kenchington's father). Five questions are asked and a certain amount correct gets you a free 'freeze and reanimation ticket' from CG Medistore and andrewsnanotech to print out. The websites were again written by Shearsmith and Pemberton.
|Reece Shearsmith||Mr Jelly||12||Children's Entertainer|
|Maureen Sowerbutts||12||David's mother|
|Brian MacMillan||3||"Evil Queen" in Snow White|
|Jeremy Goode||6||Obsessive Librarian|
|The Silent Singer||6||Appears to Jeremy when something bad is happening|
|Phil Walker||1||TV location scout|
|John Christie||1||Appears to David in a vision|
|Steve Pemberton||David Sowerbutts||14||Ex-Ravenhill resident|
|Oscar Lomax||8||Ex-Ravenhill resident|
|George Aston||9||Joy's husband|
|Hattie||5||Shahrouz's blackmailing wife|
|Judge Pennywise||1||Clown in Mr Jelly's nightmare|
|Daniel Kaluuya||Michael "Tealeaf" Fry||13||Oscar's home help|
|Dawn French||Joy Aston||9||Ex-Ravenhill resident|
|Jason Tompkins||Robert Greenspan||9||"Blusher" in Snow White, ex-Ravenhill resident|
|Eileen Atkins||Edwina Kenchington||9||Nurse at Ravenhill Hospital|
|Imelda Staunton||Grace Andrews||7||Wants Kenchington's locket|
|Vilma Hollingbery||Claudia Wren||6||Care home resident and Jelly's assistant|
|Lisa Hammond||Kerry||9||"Sniffy" in Snow White|
|Daisy Haggard||Debbie Hart||7||"Snow White" in Snow White|
|Daniel Ings||Kelvin||7||Grace's assistant|
|Adrian Scarborough||Mr Jolly||6[nb 1]||Dr Stuart Strachen|
|Elizabeth Berrington||Nicola||5[nb 1]||A nurse, colleague of Joy|
|Alison Lintott||Chelsea Crabtree||4||Kelly-Su's siamese twin|
|Debbie Chazen||Kelly-Su Crabtree||4||Chelsea's siamese twin|
|Stacy Liu||Jennifer||4[nb 1]||Oscar's replacement home help|
|Christopher Biggins||Himself||4||Director and "Prince Charming" in Snow White|
|Nick Holder||Bob Dalton||3||Owner of Snappy the Crocodile|
|Alex Kelly||Karen Dalton||3||Bob's wife|
|Aaron Smith||Ian Dalton||3||Son of Bob and Karen|
|Sarah Solemani||Emily||3||Robin's dinner guest, later David's companion|
|Nicholas Le Prevost||Graham||2||"Murder and Chips" leader|
|Janet McTeer||Cheryl||2||"Murder and Chips" actress|
|David Smallbone||Martin Pike||2||"Murder and Chips" actor|
|David Bamber||Robin||4||"Murder and Chips" actor|
|Natalie Cassidy||Lorraine||2||"Murder and Chips" actress|
|Alex Waldmann||Drew Aspinall||1||Broke into Ravenhill as a child|
|Daniel Millar||AA Man||1||Tries in vain to fix Mr. Jelly's car|
|Sam Kisgart[nb 2]||Jason Griffin||1||"Murder and Chips" auditionee|
|George Asprey||John George Haigh||1||Appears to David in a vision|
|Eric Loren||Albert DeSalvo||1||Appears to David in a vision|
|Glenn Carter||Jack the Ripper||1||Appears to David in a vision|
|Huw Edwards||Himself||1||Appears reading news on Joy's TV|
|Julian Bleach||Doctor/Eddie||1||Appears in the Halloween special|
|Mark Bonnar||Detective Finney||6|
|Jason Watkins||Peter Bishop||5||Owner of "Hoyty-Toyties"|
- Also appears in the Halloween special in stock footage.
- Alias for Mark Gatiss
Filming for the series began at locations around London in October 2008, with plans for the show to be broadcast in 2009. In May 2009 it was confirmed that the series would begin on 11 June, although it was later rescheduled to 18 June. In order to promote Psychoville's launch, digital agency Ralph & Co created a customisable viral video, which enabled users to seemingly broadcast their friends' darkest secrets on a digital billboard at London's Piccadilly Circus.
Ratings and awardsEdit
|Series||Timeslot||Episode||Date of Episode||UK viewers (BBC Two)|
|1||Thursday 22:00 BBC Two
(30 mins. each)
|1 - Black Mail||18 June 2009||1.73 million|
|2 - Lomax||25 June 2009||1.29 million|
|3 - Jelly||2 July 2009||1.30 million|
|4 - David and Maureen||9 July 2009||1.41 million|
|5 - Joy||16 July 2009||1.31 million|
|6 - Robert||23 July 2009||1.08 million|
|7 - Ravenhill||30 July 2009||1.45 million|
|—||Sunday 22:00 BBC Two (1 hour)||8 - Halloween Special||31 October 2010||1.50 million|
|2||Thursday 22:00 BBC Two
(30 mins. each)
|9 - Survivors||5 May 2011||1.15 million|
|10 - Dinner Party||12 May 2011||0.99 million|
|11 - Hancock||19 May 2011||0.74 million|
|12 - Sunnyvale||26 May 2011||0.66 million|
|13 - The Hunt||2 June 2011||0.80 million|
|Monday 22:00 BBC Two (30 mins.)||14 - Andrews Nanotech||6 June 2011||0.63 million|
- "Psychoville - Character Guides". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
- "Psychoville - Episode Guide". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
- "Psychoville - Characters". BBC. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
- "Psychoville - Episodes". BBC. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
- Fletcher, Alex (3 December 2012). "'League of Gentlemen' Duo Create New Dark BBC Comedy Anthology". Digital Spy. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
- "Radio Times on Twitter".
- Solutions, Powder Blue Internet Business. "Psychoville killed off : News 2011 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide".
- Armstrong, Stephen (31 May 2009). "The League of Gentlemen launch Psychoville". London: Times Online. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
- Dowell, Ben (9 October 2008). "League Of Gentlemen duo back with BBC2 comedy Psychoville". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
- "TV Preview: Psychoville + panel discussion". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 11 May 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2009.
- "Psychoville". BBC. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
- "New show for League of Gentlemen". BBC Online. 9 October 2008. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
- Psychoville - disclaimer. BBC. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- Psychoville - Experience. BBC. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- "Psychoville – Characters: Drew Aspinall, played by Alex Waldmann". BBC.
- Moore, Matthew (10 October 2008). "League of Gentlemen creators write new comedy Psychoville for BBC2". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
- Armstrong, Stephen (31 May 2009). "The League of Gentlemen launch Psychoville". London: Times Online. Retrieved 8 June 2009.