This interview was first published in Radio Times magazine.


After 10 years, countless stories and plenty of memorable guest stars, Inside No. 9 is coming to a close with its ninth season.

Creators and stars Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton have admitted that there "will be a sadness" to bringing the show to a close, but also believe that "to have not repeated ourselves or started to wane feels like an achievement".

In a recent interview with Radio Times magazine, they chatted more about bringing their BAFTA-winning comedy to a close.

You obviously don’t live together, but if you did, what would the view from the sofa be?

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Steve: We did live together once, in our late 20s, in a small Highgate flat with a dodgy paint job and a rickety old armchair – back when you had a VHS attached to your television. There was an Action Man figure on the top of the TV that would be posed in different ways. We would just laugh all the time.

Were there piles of dirty plates and socks everywhere?

Reece: It wasn’t squalor: we used to have a rota for the washing-up. We would all stay up to watch the late-night horror double bill on BBC Two.

Steve: I don’t think we ever went full Young Ones. We’d also consume a lot of daytime television. The likes of This Morning and The Time, the Place were big favourites – John Stapleton or Robert Kilroy-Silk interviewing members of the public. That was before reality television.

If you two were watching together now, who’d have the remote control?

Reece: I’d give it to Steve because I don’t really watch much television. He would probably know what was on and turn it on to the right channel. I don’t tend to get involved in watching reality shows where you’re following fly-on-the-wall type of people. I can’t keep up with it.

Steve: And I’d turn off any constructed reality show. The notion that you’re half performing, half living your real life is not my cup of tea. When you spend half your life trying to come up with creative ideas, the notion of just wandering into the bar and having a conversation… or maybe we’re missing out, Reece?

What are the funniest shows you’ve watched?

Steve: The first time I saw Big Night Out with Vic and Bob, I thought, "Oh my God, they’re doing nothing, but everything." I couldn’t believe how funny they were in what appeared to be utter chaos. They were absolute heroes.

Reece: I remember watching The Larry Sanders Show on a double bill with Seinfeld. The character work, the darkness, being able to see both sides of the entertainment industry and, in the character of Hank, one of the all-time great losers.

You’re both northerners in your 50s, how did those formative years inspire The League of Gentleman, Psychoville and Inside No. 9?

Reece: We were big fans of what was on telly when we were little, which was not much, actually – The Two Ronnies and Victoria Wood, not the swathes of choice you get now. So you’d latch on to things that appeal to you and the northern voices on an Alan Bennett TV play would leap out. You’d think, this really chimes, this is how my mam speaks.

Eventually, we broke through into some sort of success with the world we’d created, Royston Vasey, and it was born from a northern sensibility.

Steve: Ours is a very northern, gothic, horror-tinged, grotesque comedy. As Reece says, we loved watching our northern heroes, and if we can be that to somebody else, it means the world to us.

This is the final season of Inside No. 9 — is it hard to say goodbye?

Steve: I don’t think we regret deciding to finish. Numerically, it’s our little in-joke – nine series of Inside No. 9. It could easily have stopped after five series, but we were determined to get to that landmark.

Reece: When the last episode is only available on iPlayer, then it really will feel like it’s concluded. There will be a sadness to it but also massive relief that we’ve got to the end without compromising on the high bar we set ourselves. We’ve done 55 different stories now, and to have not repeated ourselves or started to wane feels like an achievement. We’re very proud.

Inside No. 9 returns to BBC Two and iPlayer on Wednesday 8th May 2024.


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