Inside No.9 Review: Deliciously Creepy With An All Star Cast

After an excellent comeback, The League Of Gentlemen’s second special dialled up the scares and heartbreak with an episode more fulfilling than the last.

With concerns over Royston Vasey’s welcome return cast aside, the show plunged into seeded stories with some delightful twists – literally reviving old characters, giving the spotlight to newbies while retiring others in heartfelt fashion.

The most rapturous return was Legz Akimbo fronted by Ollie, whose reunion with partners Dave and Phil, the latter now a beloved actor, expertly flipped laughs with heartbreak as it dipped between dreams and reality. It was on par with Pauline’s dementia previous, toeing between outrageous comedy and cruel life which pushed these characters into new territory.

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League Of Gentlemen’s comeback continues its winning streak (Picture: Ben Blackall)

Legz Akimbo’s biggest laughs were matched by Geoff’s ongoing mission to kill Brian’s wife, who after some wannabe-ninja combat rolls, accidentally broke into the wrong house and killed someone else. It was expertly pitched, making the reveal of what exactly had happened even more hilarious thanks to Reece Shearsmith’s standout biting performance.

This unintentional murder however came with deadly curveball. Just as we were getting over Mickey achieving his fireman dreams, Pauline was discovered to be the victim of Geoff’s murder. Considering characters have been revived from the dead before (in this very episode), questions over whether it’s permanent remain flimsy, but we hold out hope everybody’s favourite pen queen has one last hurrah.

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The creators experience working on Inside No. 9 and Psychoville also shines throughout this episode. Creepy stumbling in Geoff’s home invasion and the Hammer horror feel of Harvey Denton’s resurrection both feel crafted with their spirit in mind. The latter particularly is wonderfully bonkers, as Benjamin wakes up facing Harvey’s corpse in the basement where he’s, aptly, forced to neck a toad to start the body-swapping process.

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Toddy the bingo caller was a bleak, if slightly too long, standout (Picture: Ben Blackall)

This cranked-up creepiness feels like it’s elevated Pops into someone more unsettling all these years later. The dark comedy flashes still shine, mainly through Steve Pemberton’s physicality, but there’s a renewed darkness bubbling as he extravagantly splashes milk across his beard and gives worrying eyes to his granddaughters.

Perhaps the most divisive inclusion will be new character Toddy, a bingo caller whose seemingly meandering mumblings between numbers escalate into a bleak, weirdly affecting monologue. It’s an excellent piece of writing and performance from Mark Gatiss, but the length of the scene, while necessary in many respects, stripped some of the punch from the show’s rhythm.

It’s a bold move though, in specials which seem adamant on delivering deliciously dark surprises. While we could have watched Tubbs swiping around an iPhone like everyone’s nan for half hour, The League Of Gentlemen is proving it has more to say and offer than greatest hits parades. Bring on the final round.

The League Of Gentlemen continues on Wednesday BBC Two at 10pm.

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