Main article Papa Lazarou
Papa Lazarou (Shearsmith), blackfaced proprietor of a travelling circus and freak show, The Pandemonium Carnival, with a frighteningly acquisitive nature. In the first episode of series 2, Lazarou is introduced when he brings his circus to Royston Vasey. The episode also introduces his bizarre pastimes such as selling pegs and collecting wives. In one particularly memorable scene, he breaks into a woman's house, unrelentingly asking for "Dave" ("Hello Dave" and "Is Dave there?" have since become his catchphrases). He frightens her into giving him her wedding ring, before declaring "you're my wife now". This scene in particular was cited as one of the most macabre and genuinely frightening scenes from the series. However, he ran off when he realised that everyone in Royston Vasey was stranger than he was.
In series 3 he became even more sinister when he took on the disguise of Keith Drop at the Charity Shop, and demonstrated his more elaborate techniques of keeping his wives (and anyone who dared to rescue them) in his circus animals.
Papa Lazarou quickly became a fan favourite, despite only appearing in two episodes. He also featured in the Christmas special and the League of Gentleman's Apocalypse.
Papa Lazarou seems to display some unusual physiology. When disguised as Keith in the third series, part of his flesh-coloured make-up was scratched off, revealing his familiar colouration beneath. This suggests that this is in fact his natural skin, rather than Blackface. In his film appearance, he coughs up a hairball, composed of his own black curly hair.
Papa Lazarou doesn't seem to age. In the Christmas Special when he kidnaps Bernice's mother, he looks the same age as he does in the series.
According to interviews with Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton broadcast on the BBC, Papa Lazarou is based on Peter Papalazarou, one of their past landlords. Many of Papa Lazarou's catchphrases are based on the telephone conversations that Reece used to have with Papalazarou, including an insistence on speaking to Steve which generated the "Hello, Dave?" and "Is Dave there?" catchphrases.
Read more about this topic: List Of The League Of Gentlemen Characters
... blacked-up refugee from some ramshackle, time-warped carnival Papa Lazarou." "...no matter who you are Papa Lazarou will freak you the hell out." "Marilyn Manson.. ... a little more if it wasn't so reminiscent of the League Of Gentlemen's Papa Lazarou!" ...
... However, Keith reveals his true identity to be Papa Lazarou ... Papa Lazarou has also been taking the possessions of his "wives" to sell at the charity shop, and this is why Brian begins to suspect that "Keith" (aka Papa Lazarou) knows something about his wife's ...
... The most evil of all the visitors is Papa Lazarou, a circus ringmaster with a blackface, who calls everybody "Dave" and steals wives ... the second series, Pemberton and Shearsmith state that Papa Lazarou's speech patterns are based on their former landlord, who would phone their flat and insist on speaking only to Steve ... Exceptions include Papa Lazarou facing the Reverend Bernice in the Christmas Special (both Reece Shearsmith), Les McQueen buying a magazine from Pop's son (both Mark Gatiss), and Alvin Steele buying ...
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—Christina Stead (19021983)