|"Tom & Gerri"|
|Inside No. 9 episode|
|Episode no.||Series 1|
|Directed by||David Kerr|
|Written by|| Steve Pemberton |
|Produced by||Adam Tandy|
|Featured music||Christian Henson|
|Original air date||19 February 2014|
|Running time||30 minutes|
"Tom & Gerri" is the third episode of British dark comedy anthology series Inside No. 9 . It premiered on BBC2 on 19 February 2014. The episode was based on a play that Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith had written while living together prior to the development of their series The League of Gentlemen . While the play had originally been around two hours in length, the episode was only half an hour. "Tom & Gerri" follows a difficult period in the life of Tom (Shearsmith), a primary school teacher and aspiring writer, and his girlfriend Gerri (Gemma Arterton), a struggling actress, after Tom invites the homeless Migg (Pemberton) into his home. Conleth Hill stars as Stevie, a man worried about the mental health of his friend Tom. The entire episode takes place inside Tom's flat.
Reviewers generally agreed that "Tom & Gerri" was significantly darker but less funny than previous episodes of Inside No. 9. Nonetheless, the response to the episode as a whole was very positive. Critics disagreed about the presentation of Tom's mental illness in the episode, with one journalist suggesting that the episode's ending "set back public awareness of mental health at least half an hour",but another saying that the story presented "a fine – if cartoonish – take on mental illness".
Writers Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, who had previously worked together on The League of Gentlemen and Psychoville , took inspiration for Inside No. 9 from "David and Maureen", episode 4 of the first series of Psychoville. This episode, in turn, was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Rope . "David and Maureen" took place entirely in a single room, and was filmed in only two shots.At the same time, the concept of Inside No. 9 was a "reaction" to Psychoville, with Shearsmith saying that "We'd been so involved with labyrinthine over-arcing, we thought it would be nice to do six different stories with a complete new house of people each week. That's appealing, because as a viewer you might not like this story, but you've got a different one next week." As an anthology series with horror themes, Inside No. 9 also pays homage to Tales of the Unexpected , The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents .
The "loose story" of "Tom and Gerri" was written originally as a two-hour play while Shearsmith and Pemberton were on the dole and sharing a flat, prior to the production of League of Gentlemen.The story was inspired by their experiences in this environment. The character of Tom has his "life energy" drained in the same way that, the writers suggest, is experienced by jobhunters. The "sinister" atmosphere of the episode is meant to evoke the feeling that a person has when they "can't quite manage to leave the flat" and they "can't be bothered to tidy up". "Tom & Gerri" ended up "quite different" from the play, which featured a character much like Pauline from The League of Gentlemen. Pemberton described the feel of the episode as Pinteresque, comparing it to Harold Pinter's A Slight Ache . This sentiment was echoed by critic Gareth Lightfoot, writing in Teesside's Evening Gazette .
As the format of Inside No. 9 requires new characters each week, the writers were able to attract actors who may have been unwilling to commit to an entire series.In addition to the writers, "Tom & Gerri" starred Gemma Arterton and Conleth Hill. The flat in which the episode was filmed, with its boardgames and "misery", was, for Shearsmith, similar to the flat once shared by the writers. The episode was filmed in winter, and Pemberton described a "grim" atmosphere during filming. He also said that he hated the wig and beard he wore to play Migg, which irritated his skin. David Chater, writing in The Times , said that the hair meant Migg "has an eerie resemblance to the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz - only not nearly as benign".
Considering the title of "Tom & Gerri", critic Bruce Dessau suggested that it was likely not a reference to the Tom and Jerry of 1970s sitcom The Good Life , as the life of Tom and Gerri is "anything but good". Instead, he suggested, the reference was more likely to cartoon characters Tom and Jerry, saying that there "is definitely a hint of cat and mouse" in the plot.Metro critics Larushka Ivan-Zadeh and Carol Carter concurred, saying that the plot consisted of "a game of cat and mouse".
| "D-Day Doris"|
Tom and Gerri talk about Gerri's acting
| "Migg's reward"|
Migg returns Tom's wallet
The episode begins with Tom (Shearsmith), a primary school teacher, apathetically marking work while chatting to his girlfriend Gerri (Arterton), who is going to audition for a part in a play. Tom complains about a tramp begging outside their house. Later in the evening, Tom is home alone and the tramp, Migg (Pemberton), knocks at his door to return Tom's wallet. He introduces himself, and Tom rewards him with £40 from his wallet. Migg comes back later with a bottle of whiskey for Tom. Reluctantly, Tom invites Migg inside for a drink. Migg says he knew Charles Bukowski, whose literary work Tom idolises, and Tom warms to Migg as they drink.
Tom awakes the next morning on his sofa. Gerri is alarmed to see him there, as he should be at work, and then gets angry that Migg was invited in. Migg emerges from the bathroom as Gerri leaves the house, and encourages Tom to phone in sick. It is revealed that Tom had promised Migg some of his clothes, and Migg makes breakfast. Later, Migg and Tom play Risk and drink wine. Tom is concerned that Gerri has not called. When Tom heads out to buy cigarettes and wine, Migg hides Tom's mobile phone and deletes an answerphone message left by Tom's colleague Stevie (Hill).
A week later, Tom lies in bed, smoking and writing. Gerri enters the room, and it is revealed that Tom has quit his job as a teacher. She has been rehearsing in Portsmouth and says she left him dozens of messages, but Tom thinks he's lost his phone. The pair fight over Migg, who is still living with Tom. Later still, the flat is a mess, and Tom is unkempt and drinking heavily. He has no messages on his phone and no post. He sits down to play Scrabble with Migg, and it is revealed that it is Tom's birthday. The two argue about washing up, and Migg says that Tom has "no right" to judge him. Tom storms out of the room, and Migg flicks through birthday cards he has hidden from Tom, saying "Thank you, Grandma!" and taking the £10 that Tom's grandmother sent him. The house and Tom have deteriorated further when Stevie comes to visit. He has brought Tom vouchers for The Body Shop. Stevie invites Tom out for dinner, but he declines. Stevie leaves, and Tom settles down with Migg on the sofa.
Tom's electricity supply is cut off due to the bills not being paid, and he weeps. A shaven Migg, wearing clean clothes, enters the house. He has started a job, working with children, and gives Tom £40 because Tom has "done so much" for Migg. Migg wants to take over the tenancy on the flat until Tom's benefits come in. He walks into the bathroom to get into the bath as Gerri walks in and comforts Tom, who asks her not to leave. Gerri tells Tom that he has invented Migg to cope with what has been happening. She says Tom is depressed and has had a nervous breakdown. The pair head into the bathroom, but there is no Migg. Gerri tells Tom to "get this Migg out of [his] head once and for all". She leaves, and Migg emerges from a hiding place; he asks if everything is alright.
Things apparently get better: the flat is tidy, Tom is smartly dressed and clean-shaven. Gerri is happily chatting to him. Tom answers the door to Stevie, who asks Tom to come back to work. He is alarmed to see Tom call Gerri; Stevie says that Gerri was killed in a car accident, and that Tom went back to work too soon. Stevie heads to the bathroom to get Tom's medication, but freezes when he sees the corpse of Migg in the bath. Tom tells him not to worry, and that Migg is not real. He invites Stevie to stay for coffee, saying Gerri is just boiling the kettle.
You're not Charles Bukowski, you're just a primary school teacher who had a nervous breakdown.
Reviewers generally agreed that the episode was darker than previous episodes, but not as funny.However, Will Dean, writing in The Independent , said that his observation that the episode "wasn't really in the slightest bit funny" was "no complaint". The critical response to "Tom & Gerri" was overwhelmingly positive; Dean was "moved by its sad brilliance", while Gerald Gilbert, also writing in The Independent, called it "another finely worked playlet". Bruce Dessau said viewers would be "totally immersed from start to finish".
Critics disagreed on how "Tom & Gerri" compared to previous episodes of Inside No. 9. Writing in The Guardian , Mark Jones said that "Tom & Gerri" was the "highlight of the series so far, with Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton on top form".Pat Stacey, of the Evening Herald , agreed, though considered the previous episodes weak. By contrast, an anonymous reviewer in the Liverpool Echo thought "Sardines" was stronger, but said "Tom & Gerri" was "definitely the creepiest" of the first three, and Chater also disagreed with Jones and Stacey; while he praised the episode as "a sinister tale about the fragile nature of sanity performed by actors who are frighteningly good", he felt that it was not as strong as earlier installments. Like Chater, Dessau stressed the quality of the acting, praising the performances of both Shearsmith and Pemberton, especially the latter.
There was further disagreement on the episode's approach to mental illness. Andrew Billen, writing in The Times , said he initially thought Mind may be able to use "Tom & Gerri" as a teaching aid, but he said that the ending "set back public awareness of mental health at least half an hour". 's third series with "Diddle Diddle Dumpling".By contrast, Dean considered the character of Tom to be "a fine – if cartoonish – take on mental illness". Several themes present in "Tom & Gerri", including mental illness, were revisited in Inside No. 9
Billen called the episode "distressing comedy to watch", but said that "the acting, the scripting, the satisfactions of one-act resolution and the laughter it generated" were redeeming qualities, and gave the episode four out of a possible five stars.Dessau felt that parts of the script were predictable, but some twists "catch you completely unaware", while the ending "may haunt [viewers] for days". Jack Seale, of the Radio Times , suggested that viewers will believe that they have guessed the plot by the half-way point in the episode. However, he said that the writers "give their story of how we're all one slip away from the gutter a chilling sense of rising dread" which counteracts this. "Nobody", he said, "plays wicked games with the audience more skilfully." Larushka Ivan-Zadeh and Carol Carter, writing in Metro , suggested that viewers would want to rewatch the episode in an attempt to pick up clues to the plot twists that they originally missed.
Reeson Wayne "Reece" Shearsmith is an English actor, writer and comedian. He is best known for being a member of The League of Gentlemen, alongside Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss, and Jeremy Dyson. With Pemberton, he later created, wrote and starred in the sitcom Psychoville, as well as the dark comedy anthology series, Inside No. 9.
Steven James Pemberton is a British actor, comedian, director and writer. He is best known as a member of The League of Gentlemen with Reece Shearsmith, Mark Gatiss, and Jeremy Dyson. Pemberton and Shearsmith also co-wrote and starred in the black comedy Psychoville and the anthology series Inside No. 9. His other notable television credits include Doctor Who, Benidorm, Blackpool, Shameless, Whitechapel, Happy Valley and Mapp and Lucia.
Psychoville is a British psychological horror-thriller black comedy mystery television series created and written by and starring The League of Gentlemen members Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton for the BBC. It debuted on BBC Two on 18 June 2009. Pemberton and Shearsmith each play numerous characters, with Dawn French, Jason Tompkins, Daniel Kaluuya and Eileen Atkins in additional starring roles. The first series was followed by a Halloween special, broadcast on 31 October 2010, which saw Imelda Staunton and Jason Watkins added to the main cast. The second series was first broadcast on 5 May 2011 and ended on 6 June. Reece Shearsmith has officially announced that there will not be a third series. In February 2020, Shearsmith and Pemberton's follow-up series, Inside No. 9, crossed over with Psychoville and brought back five of the characters for the episode "Death Be Not Proud".
Inside No. 9 is a British black comedy anthology television programme that first aired in 2014. It is written by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton and produced by the BBC. Each 30-minute episode is a self-contained story with new characters and a new setting, almost all starring Pemberton or Shearsmith. Aside from the writers, each episode has a new cast, allowing Inside No. 9 to attract a number of well-known actors. The stories are linked only by the number 9 in some way, typically taking the form of a door marked with the number 9, and a brass hare statue that is in the background of all episodes. Themes and tone vary from episode to episode, but all have elements of comedy and horror or perverse humour, in addition to a plot twist. Pemberton and Shearsmith took inspiration for Inside No. 9 from an episode of Psychoville, a previous project, which was filmed in a single room – this in turn was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Rope.
"Sardines" is the first episode of the first series of the British black comedy anthology series Inside No. 9. Written by Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, it premiered on BBC Two and BBC Two HD on 5 February 2014. In the episode, a group of adults play sardines at an engagement party. Rebecca, the bride-to-be, finds a boring man named Ian in a wardrobe; he introduces himself as a colleague of Jeremy, Rebecca's fiancé. The pair are subsequently joined by family, friends and colleagues of Rebecca and Jeremy. As more people enter the room and step into the wardrobe, secrets shared by some of the characters are revealed, with various allusions to incestuous relationships, child sexual abuse, and adultery. The humour is both dark and British, with references to past unhappiness and polite but awkward interactions.
"A Quiet Night In" is the second episode of the British dark comedy television anthology series Inside No. 9. It first aired on 12 February 2014 on BBC Two. Written by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, it stars the writers as a pair of hapless burglars attempting to break into the large, modernist house of a couple—played by Denis Lawson and Oona Chaplin—to steal a painting. Once the burglars make it into the house, they encounter obstacle after obstacle, while the lovers, unaware of the burglars' presence, argue. The episode progresses almost entirely without dialogue, relying instead on physical comedy and slapstick, though more sinister elements are present in the plot. In addition to Pemberton, Shearsmith, Lawson and Chaplin, "A Quiet Night In" also starred Joyce Veheary and Kayvan Novak.
"Last Gasp" is the fourth episode of the first series of British dark comedy anthology television programme Inside No. 9. It first aired on 26 February 2014 on BBC Two. The story revolves around the ninth birthday of the severely ill Tamsin. Tamsin's parents Jan and Graham have arranged with charity WishmakerUK for singer Frankie J Parsons to visit as a treat for their daughter. Frankie dies after blowing up a balloon, leading to arguments between Graham, WishmakerUK representative Sally and Frankie's assistant Si over the now-valuable balloon containing Frankie's last breath. The story, written by Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, was inspired by someone Pemberton had seen on television who collected air from different places. The episode is more comedic than others in the series, and critiques celebrity culture and human greed.
"The Understudy" is the fifth episode of British dark comedy anthology series Inside No. 9. It was first broadcast on 5 March 2014 on BBC Two. The episode was written by and starred Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, and guest-starred Lyndsey Marshal, Julia Davis, Rosie Cavaliero, Roger Sloman, Di Botcher, Richard Cordery, Bruce Mackinnon and Jo Stone-Fewings. Pemberton plays actor Tony, who is starring as Macbeth in a West End production of Shakespeare's Macbeth, and Shearsmith plays Jim, Tony's understudy. The plot of "The Understudy" partially mirrors the story of Macbeth, exploring the theme of power and the lives of actors.
"The Harrowing" is the sixth and final episode of the first series of British dark comedy anthology series Inside No. 9. It aired on 12 March 2014 on BBC Two. The episode was written by Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, and stars Shearsmith, Aimee-Ffion Edwards, Helen McCrory, Poppy Rush and Sean Buckley. While comedic in places, "The Harrowing" makes extensive use of gothic horror elements transmuted into a modern context. The plot follows Katy (Edwards), who has been hired to housesit for eccentric siblings Hector (Shearsmith) and Tabitha (McCrory). They rarely leave the house, but have an event to attend. They tell Katy about their bedridden, disabled brother Andras (Buckley), who cannot speak but will ring a bell if he needs assistance. Katy is joined by her friend Shell (Rush) once Hector and Tabitha leave, and, upon hearing Andras's bell, the pair reluctantly head upstairs. The episode takes place in Hector and Tabitha's mansion, which is kept deliberately cold and filled with paintings depicting Hell. The writers experimented with a variety of possible endings, hoping to make the episode's close both interesting and scary.
"La Couchette" is the first episode of the second series of British dark comedy anthology Inside No. 9. Written by Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith and directed by Guillem Morales, the episode is set in a sleeper carriage on a French train. English doctor Maxwell, who is traveling to an important job interview, climbs into bed. He is disturbed first by drunk, flatulent German Jorg, and then by English couple Kath and Les. Later, while the others sleep, Australian backpacker Shona brings posh English backpacker Hugo back to the cabin, but the pair make a surprising discovery. The episode stars Pemberton, Shearsmith, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Mark Benton, Jessica Gunning, Jack Whitehall and George Glaves.
"The 12 Days of Christine" is the second episode of the second series of British black comedy anthology series Inside No. 9. It first aired on 2 April 2015 on BBC Two. It was written by Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, and directed by Guillem Morales. The episode tells the story of Christine, a young woman living in a small flat, over 12 years in her life, focussing on key days and life events in that time. Christine is played by Sheridan Smith, while those who play an important part in her life are played variously by Tom Riley, Stacy Liu, Michele Dotrice, Paul Copley, Pemberton, Jessica Ellerby, Joel Little and Dexter Little. Shearsmith plays the Stranger, an unknown figure apparently haunting Christine.
"The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge" is the third episode of the second series of the British dark comedy anthology television programme Inside No. 9. It was written by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, and directed by Dan Zeff. It first aired on 9 April 2015 on BBC Two. The story follows a 17th-century witch trial. Elizabeth Gadge, played by Ruth Sheen, stands accused of witchcraft by inhabitants of the village of Little Happens, including characters played by Sinead Matthews, Jim Howick, Paul Kaye and Trevor Cooper. The magistrate Sir Andrew Pike, played by David Warner, has summoned the famed witch-finders Mr Warren and Mr Clarke, played by Shearsmith and Pemberton, to try Elizabeth, but is more concerned with bringing visitors to the village than finding the truth.
"Cold Comfort" is the fourth episode of the second series of the British dark comedy anthology television programme Inside No. 9. The episode, which was written and directed by Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, was first broadcast on 16 April 2015 on BBC Two. Most of "Cold Comfort" is composed of a stream from a fixed camera on the desk of Andy, the protagonist, with smaller pictures on the side of the screen, in the style of a CCTV feed. "Cold Comfort" was filmed over two and a half days in Twickenham, and was, like "A Quiet Night In" from Inside No. 9's first series, highly experimental. It was Pemberton and Shearsmith's directorial debut.
"Nana's Party" is the fifth episode of the second series of the British dark comedy anthology television programme Inside No. 9. It was first broadcast on 23 April 2015 on BBC Two. Written and directed by Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, the episode starred Claire Skinner as the obsessive-compulsive and aspirational Angela, who is hosting a party for the 79th birthday of her mother Maggie, played by Elsie Kelly. Angela's husband Jim, played by Pemberton, is keen to play a prank on Pat, Angela's brother-in-law, who is a practical joker. Pat is played by Shearsmith, while Carol, a recovering alcoholic who is Pat's wife and Angela's sister, is played by Lorraine Ashbourne. The episode also features Eve Gordon as Katie, Angela and Jim's teenage daughter, and Christopher Whitlow as a paramedic seen at the beginning and end of the episode.
"Séance Time" is the sixth and final episode of the second series of the British dark comedy anthology television programme Inside No. 9. It was first broadcast on 29 April 2015 on BBC Two. The episode was written by Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, and directed by Dan Zeff. It stars Pemberton, Shearsmith, Alison Steadman, Alice Lowe, Sophie McShera, Dan Starkey, Cariad Lloyd and Caden-Ellis Wall. The episode begins with Tina (McShera) arriving at a Victorian villa for a séance. Hives (Shearsmith) sits her at a table and then escorts the ominous, shrouded Madam Talbot (Steadman) into the room.
"The Devil of Christmas" is a Christmas special of the British dark comedy anthology television programme Inside No. 9, and the first episode of the third series. It was first aired on 27 December 2016 on BBC Two. The episode was directed by Graeme Harper and written by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton. Stylistically, it took heavy inspiration from classic 1970s anthology programmes, such as Beasts, Thriller, Tales of the Unexpected and Armchair Thriller, and was filmed using authentic equipment. Pemberton intended the episode to be a recreation of this kind of classic programming, with critics characterising it as a homage, pastiche or loving parody.
"The Bill" is the second episode of the third series of the British dark comedy anthology television programme Inside No. 9. It first aired on 21 February 2017, on BBC Two. The episode was written by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, and was directed by Guillem Morales. "The Bill" focuses on four men—Archie, Malcolm, Kevin, and Craig—arguing over who should pay the bill in a restaurant at closing time, much to the dismay of the waitress Anya. It addresses themes of masculinity and competition, and the English north–south divide is a recurring issue; Craig, the visiting southerner, is wealthier than the other three, and unfamiliar with some of their terminology.
"The Riddle of the Sphinx" is the third episode of the third series of the British dark comedy anthology television programme Inside No. 9. It first aired, on BBC Two, on 28 February 2017. The episode was written by the programme's creators, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, and directed by Guillem Morales. "The Riddle of the Sphinx", which is set in Cambridge, stars Alexandra Roach as Nina, a young woman seeking answers to the Varsity cryptic crossword, Pemberton as Professor Nigel Squires, who pseudonymously sets the crossword using the name Sphinx, and Shearsmith as Dr Jacob Tyler, another Cambridge academic. The story begins with Nina surreptitiously entering Squires's rooms on a stormy night and being discovered; this leads to Squires teaching her how to decipher clues in cryptic crosswords.
"Empty Orchestra" is the fourth episode of the third series of the British dark comedy anthology television programme Inside No. 9. Written by Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith and directed by Guillem Morales, the episode was first shown on 7 March 2017, on BBC Two. "Empty Orchestra" is set in a karaoke booth, and follows a group of work colleagues—Greg (Shearsmith), Fran, Connie, Janet and Duane —celebrating the promotion of Roger (Pemberton). Rebekah Hinds also stars.
"Diddle Diddle Dumpling" is the fifth episode of the third series of the British black comedy anthology television series Inside No. 9. It was written by Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, and first aired on 14 March 2017, on BBC Two. The episode, which was directed by Guillem Morales, follows the story of David, played by Shearsmith, a middle class stay-at-home dad, who happens across a lone black shoe. Much to the concern of his wife Louise, played by Keeley Hawes, he becomes obsessed with finding the shoe's owner. The episode follows the development of his obsession. Rosa Strudwick plays Sally, David and Louise's daughter, and Pemberton plays Chris, a family friend. Danny Baker voices a radio presenter, and Mathew Baynton also appears.