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INSIDE NO. 9, SERIES 9, EPISODE 1: “BOO TO A GOOSE”

Written By:

Jack Bottomley
inside-no-9-s9-e1

It’s back! The best show on television is back on the BBC, but where this fact would normally fill this writer with joy, this time, it is a reality laced with sadness, as this is apparently to be the final time we head Inside No. 9. After ten glorious years, the greatest anthology creation ever made is coming to an end, and in this final series, writers/stars Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton have arguably even more pressure than ever before to deliver.

Yet, somehow, even taking into consideration past lofty standards, and this expectation to end on a high, this first episode in this new series, entitled “Boo To A Goose”, manages to surpass any hype. Telling the story of an eclectic gathering of passengers on a late night underground train service that breaks down, tensions flare as they wait for a replacement service, with anarchy breaking loose when a purse goes missing.

Once again, this is an impeccably written thrill, and another example of a story in this show, that maximises its confined setting and the wildly diverse characters within. Leaving you for a long stretch at a place where you really (or should that be rail-y) don’t know what the next stop on this story will bring, but when you arrive at your destination my word…minding the gap is the least of anyone’s worries.

What starts as a whodunnit-style game of escalating and differing views becomes a timely and damning assessment of contemporary societal fractures. This episode, using its characters explores the faultiness of our society, and by the end scarily leaves you reeling with an almost ‘70s sci-fi level of Orwellian dystopic dread, that uncomfortably feels very at home in our current world. Where individual thought and rationality is under threat from authoritarians that just want people to shut up and stay in their lane.

Despite such gravitas though, “Boo To A Goose” is constantly hilarious, with Pemberton’s naughtily named drag queen being a constant highlight, and standout performances from Mark Bonnar as Raymond, Siobhan Finneran as Edith and Susan Wokoma as Cleo. Among many others, in another wonderful cast of talented actors and distinctive memorable characters, some of whom to mention would be to borderline spoil some gags or developments.

Funny, thought-provoking and tremendous, “Boo To A Goose” is a sublime start for series nine. Inside No. 9 is somehow every bit as darkly ingenious, hilarious and refreshingly unpredictable now, as it was a decade ago. There is nothing else like it. We will truly miss this when it’s over, so let’s enjoy this final ride.

stars

Inside No. 9 Series Nine is showing now on BBC Two, every Wednesday at 10pm. Episode One available on iPlayer Now.

Jack Bottomley

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