The Mighty Boosh and The League of Gentlemen though both strictly comedy series have nevertheless also been responsible for creating some of the most unique and imaginative monsters in the history of British television.
In this article I am going to run through what I feel were the most memorable monsters from either show. With a little tinkering, some of these guys genuinely wouldn’t look out of place in a horror movie!
10/ Spirit of Jazz
This creepy ghost appears in just two episodes. In his first appearance he is simply referred to as the Spirit of Jazz and makes a deal with Howard Moon to grant him incredible musical talent in exchange for his soul. In his second appearance in series 3 his past and true name are revealed.
He was once a great Jazz musician named Howlin Jimmy Jefferson who lived on a swamp and rode alligators to work, but he succumbed to a disease that made his hands vanish. His final recording which eventually came into the possession of Howard Moon had a piece of his blood on it which allows him to possess Vince Noir when he eats a piece of it.
The Spirit of Jazz is a great villain. He has an amazing look and Noel Fielding plays him superbly making the character both funny and at times quite creepy, such as in his first appearance where he turns to the camera and says calmly “what are you looking at”.
However he only doesn’t score quite as highly as the others on this list as he doesn’t really do anything that bad. In his first episode all he does is make Howard Moon look like a fool when he possesses him (which isn’t that hard a task.) In his second appearance he does almost kill Vince, but again its not in that gruesome a way and he ends up walking away, whimpering! Though he does kill Vince’s punk friends, chances are he wouldn’t last long against the other monstrosities on this list.
9/ David Tattysirup
Tubbs and Edwards son David at first is a nice, mild mannered gentleman who wants to free his mother from his fathers abuse. Unfortunately Edward later corners him and when we next see David he has decided to live “locally”. He also now has the same deformed pig like snout as his parents.
David degenerates into a 7 foot tall bestial, hairy monster that even Tubbs and Edward are afraid of. Tubbs and Edward capture several people an attempt to make them into wives for David. David however kills most of them and even eats a few such as Haig.
However eventually Tubbs and Edward are able to find him a bride in the form of Barbara, the transexual cab driver. Despite being kidnapped Barbara does genuinely fall in love with David. David however is promptly burned to death by the angry villagers of Royston Vasey in a parody of the original 1931 Frankenstein, ironically for a crime neither he nor his parents had committed.
Throughout most of David’s appearances we only get little glimpses of his eyes in the dark, or his claw at the window or maybe we see him from the back for a brief moment or hear him growling, but we never see him properly.
David is arguably the most tragic monster on this list which makes his Frankenstein like death somewhat more fitting. David originally was one of the few decent characters in The League of Gentleman and genuinely wanted to help his mother, but it was his father who turned him into a monster. Its never revealed what it is exactly Edward did to David to make him like them, but its probably best we don’t know.
8/ Old Gregg
One of the most popular Boosh characters. Gregg is a scaly manfish with a mangina who captures Howard Moon because he is infatuated with him. Old Gregg also enjoys painting and killing people and putting their severed heads onto walls. He and Howard also perform a song together called “Love Games” which came long before Lady Gaga’s and is better in my opinion.
Though Howard spurns Old Gregg’s advances at first. In the 2006 stage show after it is revealed that Howard has a Shenis, he and Old Gregg go off to make sweet, sweet love. Greg is a truly horrifying creation. A disgusting fish monster that captures people shows them its genitals and forces them to have sex with it or else it tortures, devours and then keeps their severed heads as trophies on its wall. However Noel Fielding plays him in such a lovable child like way that its hard not like him, so that’s why I wouldn’t rate him quite as highly as some of the other villains on this list.
An ancient and powerful Demon that looks like an old woman. Nanatutu who is summoned from hell by Vince and Howard when they are trying to impress some Goth girls. Not since Kitten Kong from the Goodies has there been such a wonderfully crazy idea for a monster. This story marked one of the few times the Mighty Boosh ventured into horror. Normally the villains and monsters in the Boosh had more of a fairy tale quality to them, but Nanatutu felt more like a parody of old horror movies and tv series too like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which made her quite unusual among Boosh villains.
6/ Hilary Bliss
I am not sure if he technically counts as a monster or not, but either way he is still one of the shows most horrible characters. Bliss is a butcher who sells highly addictive “special stuff”. What exactly this special stuff is is never revealed. The creators have insisted it is not human meat as in their view that wouldn’t be horrible enough.
Bliss is shown to acquire this “special stuff” from a mysterious figure at night who is never properly seen and appears to travel everywhere with a horrible ape man beside him. In the second series Bliss’s “special stuff” ends up creating a lethal plague of nosebleeds which kills many people in Royston Vasey including the towns mayor. Bliss is ultimately able to flee whilst the villagers end up burning Tubbs and Edward alive whom they believe are responsible for the plague.
Bliss meanwhile escapes to Jamaica where he lives the rest of his life in safety and it is implied gets up to his old tricks again. Bliss is about the only badguy on this list who does not get his just deserts in any way. Though he does appear in the movie where he redeems himself before dying, the movie is not considered canon. Within the tv shows continuity he gets away with causing the deaths of half of Royston Vasey.
5/ The Hitcher
Probably the Boosh’s most iconic as well as its most recurring villain The Hitcher is actually based to some extent on a real person, with his voice coming from Noel Fieldings grandfather.
The Hitcher is also referred to as Babu Yagu, the Evil Cockney and the Eel Man and his origin, back story and appearance all change from episode to episode. In his first appearance he is depicted as a demonic wizard who kidnaps evil animals for his evil zoo, which like the TARDIS is bigger on the inside than the outside. He also has an enlarged thumb that he got from a shaman wizard after his family made him feel ashamed of having such a small thumb.
In his second appearance however he is now an evil alien overlord who comes from the same planet as Naboo and hopes to gain control of the fountain of youth to create an army of clones that he can use to rule the universe. His thumbs are also both normal. In this episode the character is clearly based on the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz too and even dies in a similar fashion when he is melted in the fountain.
In his final appearance he is simply a serial killer who wanders the streets of Camden and has a perverse obsession with eels. He also claims to be an orphan and looks much younger, with there also being no explanation as to how he survived being melted in his previous appearance.
The Hitcher is a wonderfully absurd creation and demonstrates one of the great things about the Boosh that literally anything can happen in it.
There are no rules, continuity, or logic to the show. Its completely anarachic which is why the Hitcher can die in one episode then pop up completely fine the next. In terms of his appearance the Hitcher draws on characters like the Wicked Witch with his green skin, long nose and dark clothes which again helps to add to the overall fairy tale theme of the show.
Having said that though I always thought that the Hitcher also looked a bit like Der Kindestod. For those of you who don’t know, Der Kindestod was a Demon from Buffy the Vampire Slayer who devoured small children. He was one of the shows scariest monsters in my opinion and I can’t decide if his similarity to the Hitcher makes Der Kindestod funnier or the Hitcher scarier.
I think it makes the Hitcher scarier. Hell for all we know the Hitcher is Der Kindestod as even though Buffy snapped his neck maybe he came back from that the way he came back from being melted by Naboo? Who knows?
4/ Herr Lipp
Herr Lipp is a truly disturbing character. He is a deformed Vampire who prays on teenage boys. He is responsible for probably the most horrific death in the whole show when he captures the object of his affections, a young boy named Justin whom he buries alive, leaving him with a small breathing tube hidden in the back of his garden. I had nightmares about this scene as a child. What makes Herr Lipp slightly worse is the way he is to some extent aware of what a monster he is, as demonstrated when he says to someone who catches him after he falls. “You saved my life I will never forgive you”.
3/ Papa Lazarou
One of the League’s most memorable characters. Lazarou is an evil circus man who is also immortal and enjoys capturing women whom he turns into his brides and then locks in cages, or inside animals. He also calls all of his “wives” Dave for some reason.
Lazrou is at times a genuinely frightening character. The moment in he christmas special where he captures a young woman whilst dressed as Santa and then returns years later to capture a daughter commenting “nice to see you all grown up” is one of the few moments where you forget you are watching a comedy.
Much like the Hitcher, Papa Lazarou is actually based to some extent on a real person incredibly enough. Apparently Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s old landlord would for some bizarre reason only ever want to speak to Steve and would always ask “Hello Steve, is Steve in” the same way Papa Lazarou always asks to speak to Dave, though the fact that he always says Dave is also no doubt an homage to 2001 a space odyssey.
2/ Tubbs and Edward
The Leagues two most famous creations. Tubbs and Edward are a married couple who are also brother and sister (though Edward is apparently in his 80’s whilst Tubbs is in her 20’s.) They are both based on classic horror movie characters. Edward is based on Lon Chaney’s performance as the Phantom of the Opera whilst Tubbs is based on Chaney’s performance as the Hunchback of Notre Damme.
Though they are outsiders to most of the main action of the series and they make fewer appearances than many other main characters. They are still the shows two most popular characters nonetheless and their catchphrase “this is a local shop for local people” is probably the first thing that springs to mind whenever you mention the show to someone.
The two kill far more people than any other characters in the series, though of the two of them Tubbs is the more sympathetic, suffering greatly at the hands of Edward and is often forced into going along with his more twisted schemes.
Still Tubbs is a mass murderer and sadist too, who often takes a perverse sexual delight in torturing her victims. Tubbs and Edward despise people who are not local (despite the fact that Edward is not local. It makes sense though in a way, as the worst zealot is normally an outsider.)
They will always torture and kill non locals, though there are a few local people who fall victim to their madness too. Below is a list of all of their victims though according to the DVD extra’s Edward has in fact killed over 500 people.
A young traveller whom Tubbs rapes and Edward burns alive. Tubbs also steals his shoes.
A policeman who comes looking for their first victim whom they have to kill after Tubbs accidentally blurts out “we didn’t burn him!”. Its not clear how they kill him, but his skull is later seen near their shop.
Two construction workers who are building a road to link Royston Vasey with the outside world. They are captured, stripped, forced to watch Tubbs breast feed a pig, smeared in burning hot tar, raped by Tubbs and then cut free and shot with cross bow bolts by Edward.
David, their own son technically as David starts out as a nice kind individual who thanks to something his father does to him, ends up as a degenerate cannibalistic monster.
Haig a painter that they capture and lock in David’s room, David promptly rapes and devours Haig.
The two also torture and kill another passer by by tying him to their car and dragging him for several miles.
They also trap a young woman in a bear trap and leave her there when they discover she is not local.
They kill three women whom they capture as brides for David by accident when they lock them in the boot of their car and they suffocate.
Edward kills a passer by through unknown means and smears his corpse in blue paint so that he can be “someone blue” for Davids wedding.
Despite their long list of victims Tubbs and Edward are finally ironically punished for something they didn’t do when the villagers of Royston Vasey believed that they are responsible for Hilary Bliss’s plague. Though David succumbs to the flames Tubbs and Edward survive, but are later killed in a comically anti climactic way when a train hits them.
However the two reappear in the season finale when we see they are reborn as their own grandchildren which suggests that the two are in fact a curse on Royston Vasey who will never go away. They also appear in both the live show where Edward is sent to hell for his sins, whilst Tubbs redeems herself and is sent to heaven
They finally also appear in the film where they along with Papa Lazarou are sent to try and stop Royston Vasey from being destroyed.
Both of these appearances are set outside of the shows cannon however.
1/ The Crack Fox
The most horrible monster in either show.
By and large I think the monsters in the league of Gentleman were scarier and more gruesome. (It was more of a horro show after all, whilst the Mighty Boosh was more surrealist.)
Still The Boosh has one monster that for me stands head and shoulders above the rest. The Crack Fox is just disgusting and ghastly in every way, but what makes him so unnerving is the way he switches from seeming just like a little crazy, but harmless character to a deranged psychopath so quickly. “I’M GONNA HURT YOU REAL BAD WHEN WE GET INSIDE”, “What?” “nothing just a funny, funny sound”
The Crack Fox whose real name is Jerome is a homosexual party animal who has fallen on hard times. Homeless and addicted to drugs he still manages to steal a powerful magical juice with which he hopes to destroy all of humanity. This was the best performance from Julian Barratt in my opinion. Prior to this he had always seemed like the straight man to me out of the two of them, but he proved with this performance that he could play the more over the top characters as well.