amhain is fast approaching and what better way to celebrate the changing of the season than to sit back and enjoy a piece of television from Steve Pemberton and Reece Sheersmith. As a fan of The League of Gentlemen I have followed their works throughout my teen/adult life. I thoroughly enjoyed Psychoville and was all the more pleased to hear that the two members of the League had penned a new series called Inside No. 9 back in 2014.
So, what is it that we would expect from the Gents when the announcement arouse of a Halloween Special for their anthology series? If like me, you watched Psychoville religiously when it was on you’d know that we’d all be in for a real good treat (hmm!). Pemberton and Sheersmith like to do things traditionally when it comes to All Hallows Eve, so that’s a series of stories on ghosts and ghouls. Enough to chill the blood on a cold autumn night and this time it's LIVE!
So, a Live Halloween special, an opportunity for things to go completely pear-shaped and with it being Halloween things can go a wee bit wrong. Especially on Devil’s Night (Tuesday 30th October 2018), to those who aren’t in the know, Devil’s Night takes place the night before Halloween. And during that evening should one say, it allows children and young women (traditionally) to play pranks on other folks. So, if this episode was to be transmitted on the 30th October instead of the 28th I think we would’ve seen a few spectres or things running amok.
And what bloody happened? What did those two bloody geniuses do to us, the audience? They played the biggest prank on us! A REALLY good prank on us! The episode begins without any issues, we’re introduced to Arthur Flitwick, an OAP who’s recently found a mobile phone which belonged to an elderly deceased lady. The ball for the Halloween traditions has started rolling, however, nine minutes in, that’s NINE minutes in the sound cuts out.
The inside no. 9 live show is going well I see ?? pic.twitter.com/SdYxqSLYzT— coz dog (@coz_dog) October 28, 2018
We have visuals but no sound. There’s a scene between Sheersmith and Pemberton without any sound, both “in character” delivering dialogue, the sound does return briefly but then we’re graced with an apology from BBC Two due to technical difficulties. Now, this isn’t the beginning for the pranks of this special. The tricks began days BEFORE the televised event on The One Show and an article was printed in The Sun on the old Coronation Street set being haunted and that due to the restless souls at Granada Studios (the central point of this episode), both the cast and crew of this Special off from filming at the very place. LIES!
However, after a few technical difficulties, the televised event is “cancelled”. However, we were treated to one of my personal favourites of Inside No. 9: A Quiet Night In. It is a play on words and I was one of the few that nearly turned over, but I decided to stay and re-watch what is one of THE best episodes from the anthology series. Though the irony is beyond clever, we lose a LIVE show due to sound issues and as a substitute we’re treated to an episode that has no dialogue. A witty episode that tells the story without having actors deliver words to each other, a modern silent movie. Not to mention one of its guest stars was Oona Chaplin, granddaughter of the infamous Charlie Chaplin. But it's not long until things start going awry, again. A figure begins to make itself visible over the shoulder of Denis Lawson.
I instantly twigged that this was all part of the Halloween festivities as I didn’t remember seeing a ghostly figure appearing the garden of that very episode back in 2014. We’re again greeted with an apology from BBC Two and that there appears to be “gremlins” playing havoc with their system, no! We’re being taken for a ride and a bloody good one too!
I couldn’t help but be reminded of Ghostwatch (1992) where the BBC put on a mockumentary for the Halloween festivities and it convinced a nation that what they were watching was an actual paranormal investigation/activity. It was like Orson Welles production of The War of the Worlds, which a nation was convinced an alien invasion was imminent. In this case, it was ghosts and I did find myself immersed in the story and the goings on of the episode, and for a moment I actually did think that they were actually filming in a haunted studio and that poor Stephanie Cole was possessed by an angry restless soul.
Looking back at the special it has been done before, but what hasn't?! Not everyone has seen Ghostwatch, so as a first timer you're in for a good scare, this piece of British television is interactive and draws you into its chaos!
Usually, when it comes to Halloween I put on an old Slash Horror and eat sweets, Scream or anything by Wes Craven as I love the 80's culture.
But this year I'll be spending it binge watching Inside No. 9 because not everyone would've noticed the hidden message in this article!
However, it may seem that the good spirits and sweets have protected your phone, so if you're reading this article via for your mobile phone device you're safe, maybe Pemberton, Sheersmith with the help of Cole are all protecting your phones from beyond the grave and that it only seems to be affecting the computers here at Newport City Radio, it's almost as though there is a ghost in the machine. And speaking of which it is said spirits drain energy from electrical devices, that's why you never rarely see them on camera as they feed off the battery power to gain energy. Genius!
But I have managed to deliver the message to you mobile phone users, under strict instruction of the horned figure of our office...
What really got me after the transmission was that someone went onto Wikipedia and updated the information of the three central actors of the special and put it down as they were all dead, however, I believe to avoid widespread panic the information was quickly changed.
Everyone involved did a tremendous job, certainly scared me and I was somewhat close to turning off before the festivities began. I, like many, though waiting for Reece Sheersmith to post a tweet on twitter to ensure us all that he, Steve Pemberton and Stephanie Cole are all very much alive, as Inside No. 9 returns for another series in 2019.
Bravo to all those involved, bravo!