What we're watching on TV

Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith in Inside No.9

Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith in Inside No.9 - Credit: BBC/Adam Lawrence

Inside No. 9, series 7 airing on BBC2, Wednesdays at 10pm, series 1-6 streaming on BBC iPlayer 

It wasn’t just a university reunion, but a League of Gentleman reunion as Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s anthology series, Inside No. 9, returned to our screens. 

The show, now in its seventh series, is known for serving up tricks and treats. 

Endlessly inventive, each episode is a self-contained story, linked to the others by the number nine in some way - and often comes with a sting in the tale. 

Shearsmith and Pemberton are the only permanent cast members – and they’ve been joined by some very starry guests since the show made its debut back in 2014: Helen McCrory, Jack Whitehall, Sheridan Smith, Jane Horrocks, Alison Steadman, Derek Jacobi, Keeley Hawes, Maxine Peake and Timothy West to name just a few. 

Sophie Okonedo, Jessica Hynes and Line of Duty’s Daniel Mays are among the guests to look forward to during its new run. 

The first episode of Merrily, Merrily, sees Shearsmith and Pemberton reunited with Mark Gatiss as three university friends who are meeting up for the first time in years. 

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The three are, of course, old university friends in real life. 

Shearsmith plays lecturer Lawrence, organiser of the day out, with Pemberton as Darren and Gatiss as Callum. 

However, to Lawrence’s obvious frustration, there’s an unexpected guest joining them - Darren’s new girlfriend, Donna, played by the fantastic Diane Morgan (Philomena Cunk, Motherland). 

She’s most put out when she discovers that she’s not actually going to a party where she might get to meet Judge Rinder, but on a trip on a pedalo (number 9, of course) on a freezing, remote lake in the middle of winter. 

As they get further away from the shore, the mist descends, old resentments from the past bubble to the surface and it starts to feel like a Saturday night Scandi drama with a surreal twist. 

When the pedalo gets stuck in a reed bed you start to wonder what Lawrence’s true motive towards his friends is. 

Luckily Donna is there to cut through the tension with some great one-liners. 

I’ll keep this spoiler free, but alongside the laughs, this episode showed real emotional depth – and the ambiguous ending will keep you pondering long afterwards. 

Emma Lee 

Chivlary S1, ep4 Cameron (Steve Coogan) and Bobby (Sarah Solemani)

Steve Coogan and Sarah Solemani in Chivalry - Credit: Nicole Wilder Shattuck

Chivalry, streaming now on All4 

I couldn’t think of anyone better to play chauvinistic, slightly slimy film producer Cameron than Alan Partridge himself, Steve Coogan. 

The non-chemistry between Coogan and co-star Sarah Solemani (Bobby) bounces along brilliantly in Channel 4’s new satirical dramedy - a commentary on sex in ‘Hollywood’, both on and off-screen. 

Opening with shots showing LA’s less-than-glamorous side, Bobby (a semi-successful director with feminist credentials) seeks out Cameron, who’s approached her with a little project in mind. 

The satire comes in waves from the beginning. Cameron being dragged away from swooning over two girls half his age at a hotel pool. 

And Bobby’s first meeting with director Pierre being in his hotel room, where he reclines, semi-clad in a robe. 

 “So, who do you want to f@*k?” He asks her, adding: “It’s OK, we are Europeans, there are no Americans here.” Certainly pointing a sticky finger at Weinstein. 

Bobby’s challenge is this. To put her feminine touches on a sex scene in Pierre’s latest flick to make it more...palatable. 

While she sets to work like a pro, juggling motherhood over the phone –the joke here being women really DO have to do it all – Cameron walks a fine line. His life’s mission appearing to be not getting cancelled. 

Is he succeeding though? When his most recent ‘life partner’ was his 25-year-old former assistant, whom he knows nothing about beyond, likely, her cup size. When he can’t get the ‘foreign’ names of female staff right? And when he ignores complaints of inappropriate behaviour from his lead actress – played with delight by Sienna Miller? 

Genius writing here. I can’t wait to watch the rest. 

Charlotte Smith-Jarvis 

The cast of The Sex Lives of College Girls

The cast of The Sex Lives of College Girls - Credit: Warner Bros

The Sex Lives of College Girls, all of series one streaming on ITV Hub  

Anyone who’s read my TV reviews knows I’m not a massive telly watcher – and it really takes a lot for me to want to sit down and commit to something new. But I saw an advert for a new series airing on ITV Hub, and it caught my eye immediately.   

HBO Max’s The Sex Lives of College Girls is an American drama following four college freshmen as they navigate their first year at the fictional Essex College in Vermont, and all of the trials and tribulations that come with being away from home for the first time.   

Created by The Office’s Mindy Kahling and Justin Noble (whose writing credits include Brooklyn 99 and Never Have I Ever), the writing is really witty, perfectly capturing that pivotal time in our lives when we’re no longer awkward teenagers at school – but not quite yet adults who have everything figured out.   

Far less gritty and dark than Euphoria, it’s a perfect bingeable watch, without coming across as forced, and successfully tackles subjects such as race, sexuality, sexism, class, and relationships in a realistic and relatable way.   

The show’s main cast follows four dormmates who couldn’t be more different, but somehow make it work.   

There’s Leighton, the rich girl/legacy student from New York; Kimberly, the straight-laced girl hailing from smalltown Arizona; Whitney, a college athlete trying to juggle dealing with her overbearing Senator mother; and Bela, an Indian-American trying to forge a path for herself in the world of comedy (all while her parents think she’s studying neuroscience). When watching the show, you can’t help but wonder if Mindy Kahling drew upon some of her own experiences when writing the character of Bela.   

I’m about halfway through the series at the moment (there’s 10 episodes in total), and I can’t get enough. It’s a comforting, nostalgic watch too – as this year will actually be 10 years since I left home and went to university myself. How time flies.   

If you’re a fan of shows like Gossip Girl, Broad City, or Girls, then I’d definitely recommend adding this to your watch list. If you’re like me, you’ll no doubt finish this in just a couple of days. And good news – there's a second season currently in production. There’s no word on when it’ll air yet, but I’m already excited – and I haven’t even finished season one yet.   

Danielle Lett