THE stars of twisted TV show the League of Gentlemen have finally gained academic recognition for their work.
The creators of the macabre comedy were among the graduates receiving degrees from Huddersfield University.
They joined Barnsley-born author Joanne Harris to receive honorary Doctorates of Letters at an awards ceremony in Huddersfield Town Hall yesterday.
Joanne, 36, has lived in Almondbury for two years and is best known for her book Chocolat, which was turned into a film starring Johnny Depp and Juliet Binoche.
The former teacher encouraged students to make use of their qualifications to help the world around them.
When she is not writing, she travels doing charity work and recently returned from Zaire.
She said: "It's been a terrific day, great fun. I have never received any honorary degrees. It is a lovely thing to happen.
"It was a complete surprise, I thought it was the kind of thing that only happens to people like Judi Dench. It means a lot."
The League Of Gentleman, aka Reece Shearsmith, Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss and Steve Pemberton, were also delighted with their degrees.
Steve could not attend the ceremony, but the other three were accompanied by their proud families.
They took time to sign autographs for their fans, chat to students and quipped their way through the ceremony.
Their cult show is a darkly funny parody of `local' characters in the fictional village of Royston Vasey.
The `local shop for local people' featured in the programme on BBC2 was built in Marsden.
The `gentlemen' were introduced to the audience by history graduate David Barnett, who catalogued their achievements.
The comic trio said his speech brought home what they had accomplished.
Mark said: "The oration was wonderful.
"When someone tots up your awards you get a sense of what you have done."
Reece added: "It is nice to hear. We have never looked at the grand scale of things, just the dirty work."
Jeremy said: "It was nice to have our families there. We've had degrees before but this time you are singled out so you can bask in it more. Which seems a bit unfair when it is the other students who have worked hard for their degrees."
Reece added: "We haven't forgotten that today isn't really about us, it's about them."
Despite their modesty, the foursome have come a long way since meeting at university.
Mark and Steve met at Bretton Hall, between Huddersfield and Wakefield, and Reece joined a year later.
Jeremy was introduced to the group by a fellow student.
After graduation they drifted apart, but used their individual experiences as inspiration for The League of Gentlemen when they were reunited in 1994.
It was originally a stage show which won them the 1997 Perrier Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Fringe.
The comedy was then snapped up by BBC2 and Radio 4.
Now a feature-length film is being made, due for release next year.