Inside No. 9 Guest Stars On Series 3

Inside No. 9 returns to BBC Two from Tuesday 21st February. Here are some thoughts from four of series 3’s guest stars on their roles and their experiences of working with dark-comedy masters Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton…

Jason Watkins


© BBC/Sophie Mutevelian

What appealed to you about Inside No.9?
First and foremost working with Reece and Steve. I’d taken part in Psychoville in a previous incarnation – I’ve always loved their work and love working with them. The particular Inside No.9 that I did, The Bill, it’s like a beautifully constructed little play for television. It’s got a great mix of characters and surprising plots – all those things that they do so brilliantly. So that was what was attractive.

What drew you to this particular role?
I love the character because he’s so put-upon and pathetic and petty. When you have people who are rather anal and petty, and you have to settle the bill up, it can be quite tricky. You can get a whole group of actors going out on a company meal and everyone is well intended, no one is trying to get away from anything, but it can get rather complicated. My character is always last to put his hand in his pocket, to get out his little purse and count out his money, which is a lot of fun to play.

What was is like working with Reece and Steve?
In television you’re always looking for good scripts, whether that’s W1A, The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies or Trollied. There are a lot of shows which aren’t dialogue-led, they’re thrillers or they have a different dynamic and they touch audiences in different ways and are often plot-led. With Steve and Reece’s work you get great plots, but also in terms of acting it’s always great dialogue and they’re great characters constructed on the page. It’s a real treat for actors to flex their muscles in that way. It’s the strength of the writing that draws you into the work. Over the course of the series to have that sheer inventiveness is an absolute joy. Despite their hysterical and often insane creations they’re both very down to earth and just brilliant creative people.

Have you enjoyed working with the rest of the cast?
I knew Philip Glenister from when we did a reading of a play together many years ago, so it was great to hang out with him and act with him again. Phil is a great actor, so to get Steve and Reece and then Phil was like a dream come true. I hadn’t met Ellie White before but she was hysterical and I know she’s done some really great work recently. She was great so it was a really, really good mix of people.

Jason Watkins plays Kevin in ‘The Bill’ which airs Tuesday 21st February.

Tamzin Outhwaite


© BBC/Gary Moyes

What appealed to you about Inside No.9?
I’ve always loved inside No.9, the concept is amazing. I always remember the silent episode that my friend Dennis Lawson was in – there was no dialogue at all, it was absolute genius. I’m a big fan of Steve and Reece, and when I read the script I thought, this is brilliant – there wasn’t any doubt in my mind. And when I found out that Sarah Hadland was in it too, playing my character’s love rival, that was brilliant too because she’s an old friend of mine. It was the icing on the cake, or the cherry on the top of the icing.

What drew you to this particular role?
Connie is not a particularly nice human being, which I liked. She’s flawed and messed up and she treats people like objects; it’s all about what she wants – she’s a selfish person. She’s got some great lines and she turns up in fancy dress as Amy Winehouse, which was another reason! To be able to dress up like that – none of us look like ourselves. I just love the character because she’s one of those people who’s popular, who everyone likes, but actually she’s got a streak in her that’s quite nasty.

What was is like working with Reece and Steve?
When you’re a massive fan of people you want to ask them questions all the time, so in-between takes we were talking loads. I’d worked with Steve before – we were in an episode of Hotel Babylon together and shared a lot of scenes – so that was lovely. Because of how Inside No.9 is set, we were all on set at the same time, all in one room together. It was quite difficult to control the noise with me, Sarah Hadland, Javone Prince, Reece and Steve all talking loudly, it must have been a director’s nightmare. It was like we were all really at the party in fancy dress outfits having a chat. So we had to keep reminding ourselves that we were working. I think it’s a good sign, that we were all quite excitable.

Have you enjoyed working with the rest of the cast?
Everyone was brilliant and it was cast really well. Everybody wants to do an Inside No.9. It’s like one of those boxes that you have to tick. It’s an award-winning show that you just think, oh I’d love to be in one of those – because they’re so interesting, dark and funny at the same time.

Tamzin Outhwaite plays Connie in ‘Empty Orchestra’.

Felicity Kendal


© BBC/Des Willie

What appealed to you about Inside No.9?
Well it’s a very good job and it’s a very good script. As an actor, when you are offered a script that is good with very good, clever people that’s what appeals to you.

What drew you to this particular role?
It was very well written and it was very funny, I could not resist it! That’s the reason that I always choose a role, because of the dialogue and because of the people who are directing it. In this case it was a combination of the two, it was the package. I also admire and wanted to work with Steve and Reece, who are both clever, inventive and super talented.

How would you describe your character?
The role I play is a crazy blind woman! Patricia is a very successful woman, who is also blind – she could have been perfectly normally sighted, it was just how it was written. And I had to wear prosthetic eyes, which gave me the creeps!

What was is like working with Reece and Steve?
Well of course it was a good experience – they’re very talented, it was very, very funny and it was great fun to work with them. I would work with them again like a shot. They made the whole experience one of the most fun jobs I’ve had recently. They adjusted it as you went along and you felt totally confident that they knew what they wanted. It’s not always easy trying to please the writers, but in this case we had a ball.

Have you enjoyed working with the rest of the cast?
It was great fun and we got on as if we had been working together for a very long time. It was just a very well-cast combination of people who worked in very much the same way. It really was delightful. I also loved working with Fiona Shaw, it was a hoot!

Felicity Kendal plays Patricia in ‘Private View’.

Keeley Hawes


© BBC/Sophie Mutevelian

What appealed to you about Inside No.9?
I had seen a couple of the episodes previously and I thought it was absolutely brilliant. It reminds me of Roald Dahl’s Tales Of The Unexpected – which I watched religiously growing up and I loved. When I was asked to do it I was actually filming The Durrells, but it only takes a week to film an episode of Inside No.9. So I finished The Durrells on the Friday and then started Inside No.9 on the Monday, which was very odd, going from Louisa to Louise over the weekend, but I loved it.

What drew you to this particular role?
The fact that it was so different from what I had just been doing – I’d just been playing Louisa Durrell and it was pretty far removed from that. I’d also worked with Steve Pemberton before years ago and I just think they’re so clever and the whole concept is so unusual. I loved the script, which made me laugh out loud – it’s quite a dark episode. There are four of us in it but the majority of the time it was just the three of us, which was quite intense. The whole thing is just a really lovely package and a it was a very flattering thing to be asked to do.

How would you describe your character?
I would describe her as long suffering. When we meet David and Louise we think they are fairly unassuming and normal – which they are, they’re getting along with things. Louise’s husband is a stay-at-home husband looking after their little girl and she goes out to work, she’s a career woman trying to balance everything. So I could relate to that – trying to juggle lots in her life.

What was is like working with Reece and Steve?
I loved working with both of them. It’s great because they write them all, you have the writers with you on set and there is no question that they can’t answer. It’s their baby and they’ve created this amazing thing, so the atmosphere is great – we laughed a lot. We have a very long dinner scene with just the three of us – I got the giggles at one point during that because they’re both incredibly funny, the writing is so funny – really dark and dry – so it was inevitable really. They obviously take it very seriously and it’s brilliant that they are very capable of having a laugh themselves.

Keeley Hawes plays Louise in ‘Diddle Diddle Dumpling’.

Head over here to watch the trailer for series 3, buy Inside No. 9 on Blu-ray and see a list of our favourite episodes so far.




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