Inside No. 9 creators finally confirm significance of number nine

Have you ever second-guessed an Inside No. 9 plot twist? Like the heartwrenching turn in the Sheridan Smith-starring episode The 12 Days of Christine?

Surely the answer is a no, as, frankly, it’s impossible to outsmart The League of Gentleman’s Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith’s brilliant BBC drama, but have you ever wondered about why it’s called Inside No. 9?

For the uninitiated, each episode of the critically-acclaimed series is a self-contained story and often features a blend of different reference points, from the likes of slapstick comedy to gothic horror, within the same 28 minutes.

One of the few threads linking Inside No. 9 together – other than the hare which appears in every instalment – is that the events unfold inside a building marked number nine.

But is that another easter egg or does the number nine bear any significance? Well, lucky for you, Reece, 53, and Steve, 55, finally cleared up the meaning behind the blockbuster show’s name to ahead of season 8’s launch.

Reece initially explained there was ‘no reason at all’ behind the number nine, explaining they had landed on it after counting up from one, but then remarked he had been drawn to the alliteration.

Steve continued: ‘It was the alliteration of the number nine: the two “ns” together.

‘But as someone tweeted the other day in Japan it’s a very unlucky number there, although in other cultures it is a very lucky number, so it is mystical.

‘The nine times table is very clever in that it goes 18 which is the one and the eight, two of the seven and three of the six.

‘So it does have that little bit of magic about it- but it was totally arbitrary.’

The pair, who met as students in Yorkshire, also teased what viewers can expect from season 8, which will feature episodes based on a top deck of a London bus and a remote lakeside cabin.

It will be the penultimate series before Inside No. 9 goes on ‘pause’ next year – after series nine, naturally.

‘It felt right to get to nine series because of number nine being the magic number of the title,’ Steve said. ‘We’ve never believed we will get to nine but now we’re here we are starting to write the next series.’

Asked if the creative duo were feeling the ‘pressure’ to go out with a bang, the Happy Valley actor replied: ‘We don’t feel the pressure to do anything big unnecessarily.

‘The pressure that we have is just to keep surprising our audience and sometimes that’s going smaller; sometimes it’s going the opposite direction.

He added: ‘We never like to tell people what they’re about to see: you’ve just got to tune in and see what you get each week. But over a series we like to have different flavors, different styles, different genres.

‘We don’t know what we’re going to do yet, but the pressures there, we’ll just see if we can match up to it.’

Inside No. 9 series 8 launches tonight at 10pm on BBC Two and iPlayer.

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