Inside No.9 - The best way to spend 30 minutes

The cast of this week's episode of Inside No.9. From left, Reece Shearsmith, Miranda Hennessy, Nicola Walker and Steve Pemberton
The cast of this week's episode of Inside No.9. From left, Reece Shearsmith, Miranda Hennessy, Nicola Walker and Steve Pemberton

Thirty minutes isn’t a very long time, when you think about it. It’s less than a half of football. Barely a third of most modern films. You could probably just about manage to walk a mile in half an hour.

On the other hand, 30 minutes is exactly the right amount of time for another brilliant episode of Inside No.9 (BBC2, Wednesdays, 10pm).

We’re on to the fourth series of this continuously inventive show, and while each individual programme shares similarities with the others, the incredible thing Pemberton and Shearsmith manage is to keep each one fresh and different.

This week’s offering, To Have and To Hold, was one of their dark, domestic offerings. Once Removed worked backwards from the bloody end, while Bernie Clifton’s Dressing Room was a near-perfect two-hander which would touch the heart of the hardest viewer. The first episode of this series, Zanzibar, meanwhile, was a farce set in a hotel corridor, featuring long lost twins, mistaken identity, iambic pentameter and a birthmark in the shape of the Mastermind chair.

Each series blends Hammer horror, farce, and black comedy, with heart, to make something which is unique on our TV at the moment.

This week’s episode, for example, was a pitch perfect portrayal of a marriage in which one person wants to save the relationship in the face of the other partner’s indifference, right down to Steve Pemberton’s Adrian keeping his slippers on while his wife (Nicola Walker) tries to rekindle the romance.

The twist at the end, of course, revealing everything about Adrian’s attitude.

So really, if you only have half an hour to spend on watching a TV show, forget Corrie, or Eastenders. Watch Inside No.9, and marvel.

I am obsessed with Hard Sun (BBC1, Saturdays, 9.35pm) and it’s ever-increasing ludicrousness. It’s basically a rejected episode of Luther, so it’s a good job Idris Elba is returning later this year.

There is a new show on one of the remoter cable channels called Six (5Spike, Fridays, 9pm) which is about US special forces and is one long cliche with added God. I watched it, so you don’t have to.