Inside No. 9: Once Removed. Television Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Cast: Monica Dolan, Nick Moran, Reece Shearsmith, David Calder, Steve Pemberton, Emilia Fox, Rufus Jones.

The story never starts where you think it does; you could walk in to a narrative that is in its infancy and still find that there is a whole back story that you missed, that if you had got there ten minutes earlier then the whole complexion of the story would have been completely different, a scene missing might have seen you take another side in the argument, a stance taken. It all boils down to where you think the story actually starts and if you can live with being perhaps Once Removed from the beginning then that is something you have to live with.

Never believe where a story starts, especially when it comes to the superb writing of Reece Shearsmith’s and Steve Pemberton’s collaboration television masterpiece, Inside No.9. For in that pair of devious minds is arguably genius that takes the audience to the very edge of the effect that they are in search of and one that has all the scale of ambition in its plot to really play with the mind. The highest compliment that can be given to the series as a whole is that it resides in the same school of television as Tales of the Unexpected, strange goings on in suburbia, one that dares to go to an edge and peek over the side, point out something out of balance and just when you have the courage to look for yourself, they push you into the abyss and you love them for it.

This particular series has already been of a high standard, so much so that you might expect a small dip in performance, it is only natural after all; nobody can keep up that kind of demand all the time. Once Removed again puts such doubts in a far off cabin and surrounded by a moat filled with positivity, with a chanting mantra that suggests you should not find yourself distrusting.

You are never truly aware where a story starts, and in this particular episode the truth is that the writing pair have mimicked life more than might be first realised. That the pair understand the poignancy in that the end resolution is not always the most significant reveal.

With Monica Dolan and David Calder giving perfect responses to the ensuing situation and Reece Shearsmith in cunning form, Once Removed is a hit in the making.

Ian D. Hall