Preview: Inside No. 9 ‘The Bill’

Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s dark comedy anthology series Inside No. 9 returns to BBC Two on Tuesday 21st February at 10pm. Sophie Davies has taken a sneak peek at ‘The Bill’…

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© BBC/Sophie Mutevelian

The long awaited third series of Inside No. 9 (series two aired all the way back in spring 2015!) began with the Christmas special in December, meaning that The Bill is now episode two of six. In comparison to The Devil of Christmas, a multilayered pastiche of 1970s low-budget horror, The Bill has a simpler premise being essentially a 30 minute conversation in a restaurant. Although this is Inside No. 9, so of course there are plenty of twists and turns along the way, making for a gripping and unpredictable half hour of television.

Following a game of badminton, friends Malcolm (Pemberton), Archie (Shearsmith) and Kevin (Jason Watkins) have enjoyed a tapas meal with out-of-towner Craig (Philip Glenister). However, the atmosphere quickly turns sour when it’s time to settle the bill and arguments break out over who will pay.

We get a good amount of North vs. South humour in this episode, since Philip Glenister’s character is a wealthy Londoner, as well as linguistic misunderstandings with an Eastern European waitress played by Ellie White, who will be familiar to TVO readers from House of Fools and Murder in Successville. Jason Watkins puts in a great performance as penny-pinching Kevin, whose line delivery and facial expressions generate a lot of the episodes’s laughs. When casting Inside No. 9, Reece and Steve make an effort to avoid working with the same person twice, but broke this ‘rule’ for Watkins (who was in series two of the fantastic Psychoville) and it’s perfectly understandable.

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© BBC/Sophie Mutevelian

When it comes to Inside No. 9 the joy is in the unknown, so we’d best leave it there and avoid saying anything even remotely spoilery! Here’s what to expect from the rest of series three after The Bill…

Tuesday 28th February: The Riddle of the Sphinx. Nina thinks Professor Squires has all the answers when, actually, neither has a clue what the future holds. They commence a battle of wits to solve a crossword puzzle and reveal the guardian of their fate. Will they solve the riddle of the Sphinx?

Tuesday 7th March: Empty Orchestra. What better way to celebrate Roger’s promotion than a full-on, old-school karaoke session? An evening of hopes, dreams, intrigue, romance, betrayal and an awful lot of singing.

Tuesday 14th March: Diddle Diddle Dumpling. Found – one black, man’s shoe. David and Louise’s world is changed forever by a seemingly random discovery in a local street.

Tuesday 21st March: Private View. A very special invitation to a private view of Elliot Quinn’s final exhibition of pieces at The Nine Gallery in East London.

And what’s more, the BBC has already ordered a fourth series of Inside No. 9 which has just begun filming. Reece and Steve have suggested that series four will be slightly lighter in tone than series three and that one story will be told in reverse chronology and another will be entirely in iambic pentameter!

Buy Inside No. 9 on Blu-ray here and take a look at our list of favourite episodes while you’re at it.

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