TV Review: Inside No 9: Merrily, Merrily, BBC Two

TV: Inside No 9: Merrily, Merrily, BBC Two

It's series seven and six more challenges to write about Inside No 9 without giving anything away. I was lucky enough to see two episodes including this opener with special guest Diane Morgan at the BFI earlier this year and the audience was sworn to secrecy. As far as I know nobody has blabbed about this run from the witty and warped minds of writers/stars Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton.

Merrily, Merrily is all about reunions. Laurence (Shearsmith) has arranged a reunion with his old university chums sophisticated Callum (Mark Gatiss) and scruffy "Homeless Shakin' Stevens" Darren (Pemberton) at a remote lake. So it's not just a plot about getting old mates back together, there's the delicious subtext of seeing the League of Gentlemen back together again. 

And, of course, nothing is quite as it seems. Darren has brought along his girlfriend Donna (Morgan) who was expecting something a bit more glamorous and sexy than a pedalo ride on a glorified boating pond. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since their college days, and as they head out and stories pour out the past has a habit of returning with a vengeance and a sting in the tale.

And there we should leave it as far as the plot is concerned for fear of spoilers (poor old BBC Northern Ireland doesn't air it until 11.15pm). Let's just say that Diane Morgan is a great bit of casting. You may already have heard her anecdote about buying adult nappies for the filming when she heard she was going to be stuck on a boat all day. At least licence-payers money didn't go on them as far as I know.

Oh, and there is another reunion here too. Merrily, Merrily reunites Diane "Philomena Cunk" Morgan with her fellow thick as a plank Screenwipe pundit Barry Shitpeas. The episode is directed by Al Campbell, who played Shitpeas. Needless to say he is much smarter here. Lovely haunting music too, with shades of Morricone's Once Upon A Time In America soundtrack. 

And it is good to see Mark Gatiss teaming up with his old muckers again. As this is Inside No 9 you can probably guess that it is not all plain sailing, but it is still life-enriching to see them together. It certainly floats my boat.

Inside No 9, Wednesdays from April 20, 10pm, BBC Two. Watch on catch-up here.


Pictured – Diane Morgan, Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss. Pictured:BBC/Adam Lawrence

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