TV: Inside No. 9 – Thinking Out Loud, BBC Two

TV: Inside No. 9 – Thinking Out Loud, BBC Two

It's another stylistic curveball for the fifth episode in the fifth series of Inside No. 9. I wondered if creators/stars Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton could sustain their high standard in this run, but if anything they have surpassed it. 

Thinking Out Loud, directed by Steve Pemberton, takes the form of a succession of to-camera video diary interview-style pieces. The series has excelled at being able to tell a huge story in thirty minutes. Here they go even further. Each interview appears to tell an entire story in a few minutes.

Take Bill for example, played by Phil Davis. In the space of a few sentences we feel sorry for him because he is getting back on the dating scene in his sixties but also discover that he is a bit on the racist side ("No loonies, no lefties, no Liverpudlians") and maybe not as nice as he seems. 

And then there is Nadia, played by Maxine Peake, an ordinary suburban housewife who has an understandable grudge against her perfect friends "The Smugs", whose house is more like a show home. Maybe there's a whiff of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads about Nadia, but only a whiff. This is very much original stuff here.

Alongside these two creations are others, including a monstrous, convicted serial killer played by Pemberton and a monstrous-in-a-different way social media influencer played by Ioanna Kimbook, whose conversation consists of little more than hashtags and over-excited gestures and yet still conveys so much more. Reece Shearsmith plays one of the characters too and soprano Sandra Gayer lends a musical note to proceedings.

Thinking Out Loud is another masterpiece in miniature. Don't bother trying to second guess what is going on. Although maybe keep one eye out for the trademark hare that has a cameo in every episode. I think this might be the first time I've spotted it, but it was the only thing I spotted.  

Inside No. 9, Thinking Out Loud, BBC Two, Monday, March 2, 10pm.

Picture: BBC/Andy Bottomley

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