Fans were left shocked last night by the finale of Inside No 9, which featured one of the biggest twists of the series to date.
The Stakeout played on the cliches of procedural police dramas, introducing us to PC Thompson (Steve Pemberton) and his rookie partner SPC Varney (Reece Shearsmith).
Thompson is shaken, having recently lost his previous partner in a violent attack, the circumstances of which are gradually revealed over the course of a tense half-hour.
The truth comes out that Varney is a vampire and turned Thompson’s former colleague into an undead monster, who makes a frightening return at the end of the episode.
Inside No 9 is a show built on jaw-dropping twists, but fans were particularly taken aback in this case, praising a script laden with hints and clues – including the title itself.
Oh good Lord #InsideNo9. Sweet dreams everybody.
— Richard Osman (@richardosman) March 9, 2020
#InsideNo9 doing in half an hour what Dracula failed to do in about 6 hours, well done boys
— mooresystayingin (@michael94507736) March 9, 2020
I love this show so freaking much. Thinking back how everything now makes sense – the curry, the bridge, the tomato juice, the "can I come ins?" And having the balls to call it The Stakeout. Damn you clever boys.
— Vicky Swain (@VixstarSwain) March 9, 2020
— Sam Castleton (@SamuelCastleton) March 9, 2020
In the episode, the two officers play a word game in which two people improvise a story, but can only start sentences with the words fortunately and unfortunately.
This format was adopted for a number of fan tweets, including one from Detectorists star Rebecca Callard, who had a small voice role in the episode.
Unfortunately it was only my voice. Fortunately it’s one of my favourite programs. #InsideNo9
— rebecca callard (@rebeccacallard) March 9, 2020
Fortunately, The Stakeout was great. Unfortunately, this series is over. Fortunately, there are going to be more series. Unfortunately, it's looking like a way off for now. Fortunately, I can go back and watch them all again. #InsideNo9
— Katie Gribble (@BritishAlien) March 9, 2020
Unfortunately Inside No 9 has come to an end.
— Adam Willis (@adamtwillis) March 9, 2020
On Monday, the BBC announced that Inside No 9 would be returning for another two series, each consisting of six new episodes.
Series creators Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton said: “We are delighted and exhausted in equal measure at the prospect of two more series-worth of tall tales and fearsome fables. However, we will endeavour to showcase the very best of what the BBC can do in every genre with 30 minutes of story-telling and some half-decent wigs.”
No premiere date has been announced for the new episodes, but given the two-year gap between series four and five, it would be wise not to expect them too soon.
Inside No 9 is available to stream on BBC iPlayer