Back on TV this week, there couldn't be anything better to follow the League Of Gentlemen anniversary specials with than the best work that any of them have since produced. Created by Pemberton and Shearsmith in 2014 and now on its fourth season, the enormously imaginative anthology series Inside No. 9 shows no sign of slowing down.
Although broadly pitched as a show in the same darkly comic vein as the creators' previous work, the anthology format of Inside No. 9 allows for infinite variety. While the series is indeed often both very dark and very funny, its individual stories have encompassed a wide variety of genres from awkward social comedy of manners one week to slapstick silent comedy farce the next. The only thing that remains consistent is the frequent use of a dark Twilight Zone-style twist and the setting inside a number 9, although that could be a house, restaurant, railway carriage, or even a story about a size 9 shoe.
Pemberton and Shearsmith's love of disappearing into a vast array of larger than life characters is on show here, with at least one of them appearing in every episode. However, the nature of the anthology format allows for them to surround themselves with an ever-changing supporting cast of talented actors including Gemma Arterton, Tamsin Greig, Helen McCrory, Derek Jacobi and Keeley Hawes.
There are so many dark, funny, creative stories that picking a single favourite is hard to do, but special mention should go to The 12 Days Of Christine in which Sheridan Smith's life flashes before her eyes across a series of holidays and special occasions. It's evidence that Pemberton and Shearsmith don't just do clever, creepy, funny and nasty, they can also do heartbreakingly poignant.
Here's hoping the current series can continue to hit those heights.