Philosophising about the 'S'-word: Watch… and learn
Inside No. 9 is a British dark comedy anthology series written by Reece Shearsmith (Psychoville) and Steve Pemberton (Psychoville, Doctor Who, Shameless). The first series was broadcast between 5 February and 12 March 2014 on BBC Two. Each half-hour episode is a self-contained story with new characters and a new setting, and all star at least one (usually both) of Pemberton and Shearsmith. Other than the writers, each episode has a new cast, meaning that Inside No. 9 attracted a number of well-known actors. The stories are linked only by the fact that each takes place at a number 9, whether this is a suburban house, a gothic mansion or a dressing room. Pemberton and Shearsmith took inspiration for Inside No. 9 from an episode of Psychoville, another programme of theirs, which was filmed in a single room. This episode was, in turn, inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope. Inside No. 9 was also a reaction to Psychoville, which featured a single overarching story over multiple series.
Themes and tone varied from episode-to-episode, but all had elements of comedy and horror. Inside No. 9 as a whole was very well received by critics, who praised the humour and creativity of the scripts, as well as the acting talent of the featured actors. The programme was variously described as “never less-than-captivating” and “consistently compelling”.Some journalists and viewers were unimpressed by the series, and critics sympathetic to the show suggested that Inside No. 9 may be an acquired taste. Despite the positive reception, viewing figures were comparatively low.