I've long been a fan of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton. I got invested in the first series of The League of Gentlemen (TV series) when it was first broadcast, back in 1999, and bought the radio series - on which the TV show was based - on cassette. I bought the book, and even wrote to the troupe, getting a signed postcard of the fellas in their tuxedos, in return.
I was there for the first broadcast of Shearsmith and Pemberton's (and I'm going to refer to them as Reece and Steve from hereon in) show Psychoville which brought together the dark, twisted type of characters from The League of Gentlemen days, for a continuing dark mystery, which gave birth to memorable characters such as Mr Jelly, a one-handed child's entertainer, and serial killer-enthusiast David and his mother Maureen. The series also starred a young actor by the name of Daniel Kaluuya, who seems to have done quite well for himself...
After Psychoville wasn't renewed for a third series (boo!), Reece and Steve put their brilliant minds together and came up with Inside No. 9, with the sixth series (or, if you like, season) starting on Monday 10th May, BBC2, at 9.30pm.
The beauty of anthology shows is the sheer variety of types of stories that can be told, and this is certainly what we get with Inside No. 9. In the first series alone we get a parlour game gone wrong, an inspired episode of the theft of a painting, a psychological thriller, a look at the value of a dead celebrity, a dark Shakespearean tragedy, and a flat-out Horror (the last one ,has the best use of the words "Fuck Off" ever uttered on television).
And with every subsequent series, the show just gets better and better (and it starts off pretty bloody good, to begin with!). The 12 Days of Christine, from Series 2, is often hailed by fans as the show's best episode. Go and find out why.
Whenever I'm talking to people about TV shows, I always bring up Inside No. 9, remarking that I think overall, it's better than Black Mirror, another anthology show that focuses more on the technology of the future and how it could all go wrong. I really like Black Mirror, and will readily watch it, but there's just something about Inside No. 9 that clicks with me more.
Right. Stop. Go and watch The 12 Days of Christine, then go back to Series 1 and watch every episode up to, and including The Stakeout, the last episode of Series 5.
Now you're prepared for Series 6.
And now you're a huge fan of the show (you'll have noted the hare statue that appears in
every episode), you'll be looking for some related podcasts to listen to between episode broadcasts. Luckily for you, there's two podcasts that I can highly recommend (there may be more out there in the podcast wilderness).
Inside Inside No. 9 - A behind the scenes look at each episode, hosted by.... Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton! Learn about the filming process, where they got ideas for each episode, and more! This podcast can be found on the BBC Sounds app/website. The podcast only began with the start of Series 5, but the duo have recorded some episodes for their most popular stories from previous series.
A Quiet Night Inside No. 9 - Hosted by fans of the show, Andy and Steve, this podcast is a laidback look at each episode of the series, from the fan viewpoint. The guys have recorded a podcast for every single episode of the show so far, and have recently been taking a look at the Inside No. 9 script book. This podcast can be found on iTunes, Spotify and other places where you get your podcasts from.
You've watched all the episodes (including the Christmas special, and Live episode), are now armed with enough podcast content to last you a good while, so I'll end this post with my favourite episode from each series. See if you agree with me (it was very difficult to choose just one!).
Series One - A Quiet Night In
Series Two - The 12 Days of Christine
Series Three - The Riddle of The Sphinx
Series Four - Bernie Clifton's Dressing Room
Series Five - The Stakeout
So, get ready for Monday, where we'll find Pantalone, who has hired a total bunch of clowns in a plan to steal some diamonds, in episode one, Wuthering Heist...