The new series of Inside No 9 is gorier than before | Reece Shearsmith talks about the anthology's return © BBC/James Stack

The new series of Inside No 9 is gorier than before

Reece Shearsmith talks about the anthology's return

Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith return with an eighth anthology of Inside No. 9 next Thursday. Here . Shearsmith gives an introduction to the series and below Anita Dobson – who stars with Phil Daniels in the first episode – Mother’s Ruin – about an East End gangster family. 

Reece Shearsmith interview

What can people expect from series eight of Inside No. 9?

Once again, series eight is six very different stories. Some silly, some frightening, and some this time around quite gory, which is something that we haven’t done before. As always, lots of surprises, twists and turns.

Now you’re on series eight, does it continue to get harder coming up with brand new ideas, locations and themes?

Locations are the easy bit to come up with. The nine on something is the easiest part but the story and what happens, that’s everything. To come up with something now that we feel like we haven’t done before – that's getting harder.

We’ve now got to be mindful that we’re not repeating ourselves or doing the same story but not as good as past one we’ve done. It gets harder but that’s the challenge.

What’s it been like working with the guests starts for this series?

It was really nice to get very quick and very enthusiastic yeses from Anita Dobson and Phil Daniels when they said yes to Mother’s Ruin, because they’re perfect for the parts. We never write the parts with anyone in mind but when we finally came to casting it, and to get back ‘yes, we’d love to do it’ it was great.

We’ve got some great people again this year. It was great to work with Amanda Abbington again, playing my wife now on film and on the stage because we were doing a play together at the same time [Steven Moffat’s The Unfriend].

Asim Chaudhry was brilliant in his episode; everyone was really brilliant and they all brought something to it. No one has ever come in and we’ve thought ‘oh that’s not how we imagined’ or if they have done that, they’ve made more of what we’ve given them, and that's always great – better than what we imagined.

Do you have a favourite character you’ve played in series eight and why?

I quite liked the episode that's called Paraskevidekatriaphobia. It’s about a man that’s terrified of Friday the 13th, which is a real phobia, and he spends the day of Friday 13th just trying to not have anything happen to him and as you can imagine, some things do.

The escalation of that and the man's terrible day as things get worse and worse was a fun part to play. So, the part of Gareth in that episode I enjoyed doing, it was quite slapstick and I like doing physical comedy.

Do you think people will be surprised with what you’ve put together in these new episodes?

I think people will be, rightfully, excited. The idea of doing the bus episode was almost like a fan joke that we should do. People always give us ideas for number nines and the most obvious one you can probably think of is doing a number nine bus, we’d had it a lot and thought we’d go ahead with it – that'll be a fun one for people to get their head around when they finally see it.

The gore of Mother’s Ruin too, and there are some that are more thoughtful and a bit more reflective and people like those ones. People loved Bernie Clifton's Dressing Room and The 12 Days of Christine, they are very moving ones. I think we’ve got some in this mix that have got that sort of feel as well – there might be sleeper hits that we can’t quite work out yet.

Anita Dobson and Phil Daniels

Interview with Anita Dobson

What appealed to you about Inside No. 9?

Absolutely to work with Reece and Steve, that was number one. The show is so successful, everyone is clambering to be in it. When the offer came in, I literally jumped.

What drew you to this particular role?

When I first read it, I was a little bit taken a back as it was a little bit gory. I rang my agent and asked if she’d read it and she said ‘Yes. They’re top of their game, read it again, it’s definitely one to do.’ So I read it again all the way through, and when they said Phil Daniels was going to play the husband I said ‘That’s it. That clinches it. I'm in.’

What was it like working with Reece and Steve on set?

I don’t know what goes on in their heads to spawn all of the scary stuff because they are just poppets. They’re the sweetest pair of guys you could ever wish to work with, just adorable. We really had a good time – they are extra special.

How was it working with Phil Daniels?

Working with Phil was kind of on my bucket list, he’s super talented and it was real No Brainer to jump at working with the boys and Phil as well. Just watching him as we were filming it, I think he’s terrific. He’s lovely, he’s funny, he’s a bit off the wall, he’s edgy. He’s got all those things that you love about actors.

Steve and Reece in Mothers Ruin

Inside No. 9 returns to BBC Two and BBC iPlayer on Thursday April  27 at 10pm.

Mother’s Ruin revolves around East End villains Harry and Annie Blackwood  were rotten to the core and did some truly horrible things when they were alive. What secrets have they taken to their grave? Their sons have a plan to find out. 

Here's a trailer for the new series.

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Published: 18 Apr 2023

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