Inside No. 9 has been merrily weaving a dark and twisted path for a whopping six seasons now, but Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s critically acclaimed anthology series remains as fresh and provocative as ever.
For those who have yet to dip their toe into the thoroughly entertaining waters of this BBC treasure, all you need to know is this; each 30-minute episode of Inside No. 9 acts as a self-contained story. So it doesn’t matter if you’re only tuning in now for the very first time, because there are always new characters, a new setting (one bearing the number nine, be it a house, a flat, or a dressing room), and a shocking new twist to prepare yourself for, too.
Watch the trailer for Inside No. 9 season six below:
The result? Well, sheer excellence; this writer can hold her hands up and attest that the series has caused her to jump out of her skin, burst into maniacal giggles, wipe away actual tears, and let her mouth fall open in sheer shock. Sometimes all in the same episode.
And, of course, this is all made possible not just by the writing, but by the star-studded actors lending their talents to the mix, too.
Over the years, each episode of the series has attracted some seriously big name guest stars to join Pemberton and Shearsmith on screen; think Keeley Hawes, Fiona Shaw, Jenna Coleman, Sheridan Smith, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Helen McCrory, and Weruche Opia, to name just a few.
So, yes, you better believe that the sixth season of Inside No. 9 has been busily pulling out all the stops to dazzle fans and critics alike with its exhaustive list of cameos.
Wuthering Heist (episode one)
As the BBC’s official synopsis for the Inside No. 9 season six premiere puts it, “Pantalone has an audacious plan to steal a consignment of diamonds worth a tasty £12 million. But he’s hired a complete bunch of double-crossing clowns to do it.”
Available to stream now on BBC iPlayer, the episode sees Game Of Thrones star Gemma Whelan enter the fray with some serious Shakespearean energy, alongside Kevin Bishop, Paterson Joseph, Rosa Robson, and Dino Kelly.
Simon Says (episode two)
Seemingly inspired by the furious responses of die-hard fans to the much-maligned Game Of Thrones finale, this episode centres on TV showrunner Spencer Maguire, who is desperate to move on from a disappointing season seven finale.
However, one of the biggest fans of The Ninth Circle, Simon Smethurst, is determined to visit Spencer Maguire and “help put things right”… no matter the cost.
Simon Says, which is available to stream on BBC iPlayer, stars Sherlock’s Lindsay Duncan and The Martian’s Nick Mohammed.
Lip Service (episode three)
The BBC synopsis reads: “Felix is pretty certain his wife is up to something with her boss Dmitri, so he decides to hire some help to prove things either one way or the other.
“When professional lip-reader Iris arrives with her powerful binoculars, the couple stake out a hotel bedroom and start to gather their evidence.”
Hurry Up And Wait (episode four)
Due to air on 31 May at 9.30pm, Hurry Up And Wait sees young actor James waiting for his big moment on ITV’s new crime drama in a static caravan, owned by a strange family that clearly have something to hide.
Little else is know about the episode, other than the fact it stars Line Of Duty’s Adrian Dunbar, as well as Donna Preston, Pauline McLynn, and Bhavna Limbachia.
How Do You Plead? (episode five)
Famous barrister Webster is not well, but he’s not an easy man to look after – as his carer, Urban, knows all too well.
This episode, due to air on 7 June at 9.30pm, sees Webster’s resolve and legal skills put to the ultimate test. And, yes, it will be something of a history-making instalment, as the episode will see Sir Derek Jacobi become the first actor to return to Inside No. 9 as a guest star, after providing the voice of Dennis Fulcher in the critically acclaimed series 3 episode The Devil Of Christmas.
Last Night At The Proms (episode six)
As usual, Shearsmith and Pemberton have kept the details of the Inside No. 9 season six finale under wraps to ensure plenty of surprises for viewers, but we will be sure to update you as and when they become available.
All we know so far is this; it will air on 14 June at 9.30pm.
What are people saying about Inside No. 9 season six?
Speaking about the season, Shearsmith and Pemberton have said: “We started filming in March last year but had to hit pause due to the pandemic. After a nine-month gestation it’s a relief to finally deliver our sixth series to the world.
“As proud parents we couldn’t possibly choose a favourite, but like any youngest sibling this series is cheeky, funny… and can get away with murder.”
Shane Allen, controller of BBC comedy, added: “Reece and Steve plough yet more fertile genre comedy talent to these modern masterpieces.”
And Josh Cole, head of comedy and BBC Studios Production, has said: “We’re delighted to have concluded filming the sixth season of Inside No. 9. It’s a unique series we could not be prouder of, and we are in awe of Reece and Steve’s extraordinary ability to continually raise the bar.
“Long live Inside No. 9!”
New episodes of Inside No. 9 air on Monday nights at 9.30pm via BBC Two.
All six seasons of Inside No. 9 are available to stream on BBC iPlayer.