BBC Two's Inside No. 9 is returning for a festive special, with Simon Callow and Shobna Gulati guest-starring as campers visiting a haunted church on Christmas Eve.

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The upcoming special, which is the dark comedy's second Christmas special, will see creators and stars Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith play the roles of Dr Jasper Parkway, who has booked an overnight stay in a haunted church, and unwanted guest Pierce respectively, with the BBC releasing a first-look image of the episode, titled The Bones of St Nicholas.

Coronation Street and Doctor Who's Gulati will play Posy, another camper who joins Pierce and the eccentric warden Dick (Four Weddings and a Funeral's Callow) to spend the night in the church, but, as the official BBC synopsis teases, "why is Jasper so keen to be left to his own devices?"

On the latest festive episode, Shearsmith said that he was "delighted" to be asked to do it, adding: "It's come together in a lovely way and is a real treat for Christmas. I think it will be great to settle down and watch on a late December night and have your spine tingled."

Pemberton added: "We discussed many, many different ways of presenting a Christmas special and the one we were really excited by was Christmas ghost stories."

Callow said that he wanted to be a part of the "very sparky, original series" as it "always provokes gargles of admiration", while Gulati described the show as having "its own unique genre of TV, something you can't put in a box", adding: "To be a part of this is very special to me."

The series, which first aired in 2014, will be bringing back its companion podcast Inside... Inside No. 9 for the Christmas special from 24th December, with Shearsmith and Pemberton discussing the inspiration behind the festive story.

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Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton in Inside No. 9 season 7. BBC

The BBC renewed Inside No. 9 for two more seasons back in June following the release of season 7, which featured the likes of Jason Isaacs, Diane Morgan, Sophie Okonedo, Daisy Haggard, Daniel Mays and Jessica Hynes.

Inside No. 9 will return to BBC Two and BBC iPlayer with its eighth season in 2023. Check out more of our Comedy coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.

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