Reviews | Written by Jack Bottomley 27/04/2022

INSIDE NO. 9, Series 7, Episode 1, MERRILY, MERRILY

The return of the greatest show on television is upon us and as always you never quite know where Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton are taking you, as we go Inside No. 9 once again for the first episode of series 7 on BBC Two entitled Merrily, Merrily.

Shearsmith and Pemberton are joined by their League of Gentleman brother Mark Gatiss, alongside Philomena Cunk star Diane Morgan for an increasingly dark and compelling episode that is filled with the pain and beauty of life, and the power of looking back.

The episode sees three old university pals reunite, as lecturer Lawrence (Shearsmith) is setting up a pedalo ride with his mates, Callum (Gatiss) and Darren (Steve Pemberton). As the group takes a ride down the river with Darren’s girlfriend, Donna (Morgan), heading to a party, all starts becoming clear as to why they are all really there.

The writing is as sharp, twisty and superb as ever, and the acting is reliably tip top, in a great series opener that is chock full of superbly human dialogue, which connects really quite deeply at times. Especially with those of us, who are starting to get to that age where we reflect on our past, our accomplishments and how they measure up to what we expected for ourselves years ago. It’s really quite the journey, yet the laughs shoot out from beneath the drama constantly.

True the twist and especially the there you have it ending may leave some a little wanting, and is not as faultlessly delivered as some other Inside No.9 narrative rug pulls, but it is still surprising in some ways, in a constantly atmospheric and, as a whole, thought-provoking start to this new series of the dark comedy gem in BBC’s schedule. 

You are also left with a lot to laugh about in this big ‘ol complicated joined experience that we call life. Which is rarely perfect, sometimes hard and not what we anticipated…especially if you went to f**king uni!