TV Preview: Inside No 9 – La Couchette, BBC2

la couchette

After being harshly overlooked in numerous end-of-year awards thingies, it’s been nice to see the first series of Inside No 9 finally picking up some accolades this week. The series of six self-contained playlets by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton picked up prizes at the Chortle Awards and the Royal Television Society Awards and now returns for six new comic chillers with a twist. No pressure then.

And no pressure on previewers who have to talk about the programmes and the plots without giving away any spoilers. But here goes. The first episode, La Couchette, finds a group of mismatched travellers lobbed together on an overnight sleeper crossing Europe. 

There’s an uptight job interviewee (Shearsmith) a flatulent German slob (Pemberton), a cheery northern couple (Julie Hesmondhalgh, Mark Benton) and two hedonistic backpackers (Jessica Gunning, Jack Whitehall). As the carriage wobbles and speeds through the countryside something is clearly afoot,

The scenario did make me think of one of those old Peter Cushing portmanteau horror yarns where it turns out everyone is already dead and the train is heading to hell. I'm not saying if that is the case here. Though I wll say that there is a hellish moment involving a shoebox that has put me off communal travelling for life.

Last year's very first episode, Sardines, also threw a group of people together in a confined space, but this time things are very different. This is maybe more comic, less sinister, but the denouement is no less nightmare-inducing. I will add no more. Just get on board one of the most eagerly anticipated series of 2015.

Inside No 9, Thursdays, 10pm, BBC2 from March 26.

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