After the success of their collaborative work with Jeremy Dyson and Mark Gatiss on The League Of Gentlemen and their own show Psychoville which followed in 2009, Steve Pemberton & Reese Shearsmith came back in 2014 with a slightly different proposition.
Inside No 9 is an anthology series comprising stand alone episodes. Unlike their previous work that shared an overarching story, this harks back to ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’, wonderfully dark and humorous 30 minute pieces all sharing one similarity, the locale in which the episode is set, be that a house, a dressing room or some other facet of the story identified by the number 9. Designed to tickle the funny bone and chill the spine in equal measure, the fairly conventional setups in episode structure can all of a sudden veer sharply in very different directions and down some very dark roads all the while, somehow, still making us raise a gut laugh at the most inappropriate of things. In many ways Inside No9 shares much the same spirit as their previous work but still deliciously, darkly different.
Inside No9 gave Pemberton & Shearsmith license to try things that they necessarily couldn’t do with their previous work, the most notable episodes being ‘A Quiet Night In’, a wonderful tribute to silent movies, where hardly a word is spoken for the 30 minute duration and instead the story is delivered through Shearsmith & Pemberton who both give wonderful physically comedic performances alongside acting stalwart Denis Lawson. ‘The 12 Days Of Christine’ is another stand out divergence of style for the pair, delivering a heartbreakingly moving dramatic story with an outstanding lead performance from Sheridan Smith.
Inside No9 continues to go from strength to strength. They have just delivered their first Christmas special in the shape of ‘The Devil Of Christmas’ and have a 3rd series coming in 2017. With rumours consistently abound of A League Of Gentlemen reunion in the cards, In my opinion it’s not required, Pemberton & Shearsmith are going from strength to strength in their own right.