By the time this goes up there may have been a third series. For the sake of this write up I have seen the first two series. Going forward should a show from this list be still running only episodes up to the point of the book’s publication will be considered.
I’m a huge fan of The League of Gentlemen; both the writers and the program itself. I think I’ve said before that I watched this at a ridiculously young age of 11-12 so my sense of humour has adjusted accordingly. I completely spaced on Inside No. 9 first appeared on TV because the name was so unassuming that I did not know that Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton were behind it.
Inside No. 9 is an anthology style series where the uniting factor is the location: any place that is number nine e.g. house number, flat number, cubicle number, train coach number etc. Each episode tells an individual story, each of which has the darker sensibilities of Shearsmith and Pemberton.
It is impossible to generalise the sorts of topics covered in these episodes as each of them are incredibly unique. If you told me that it was more than just those two writing them I could believe you (despite the fact that I’d been following their career for so long that I know how flexible they are). In the twelve episodes that I’ve seen there has only been one lesser episode, it is called “Last Gasp” and I think everyone agrees it is the worst of the bunch.
The amazing thing is that series two of the show was even better than the first. As I do this “talk up” the concept of a third series just fills me with excited expectation. I have a hard time believing that they’ll be able to top some of the episodes we’ve seen so far, but I have the utmost faith in them.
I was going to do a top three and just talk about those, but it is ridiculously hard. I have a favourite and that is the second episode of series two: “The 12 Days of Christine”. It is my favourite because of the clever mixture of genres and the outstanding performance by Sheridan Smith. If that woman ever decided to turn her interest to film there is a high chance she would become an Oscar winner. Truly, that the search was one of the best things I have seen on television and it only becomes apparent in the last 5 minutes.
Other cracking episodes include a game of sardines gone wrong, a silent episode about an art robbery, a Secrets & Lies style birthday party and an episode called “The Harrowing”. Thanks to these being one episode wonders amazing guest cast members such as Alison Steadman, Denis Lawson, Claire Skinner, Helen McCrory, David Warner and many many others are able to attend and shine. The lack of awards for this program is actually shocking.