Viewers of the BBC show Inside No 9 have been tricked by an impressive stunt on the live programme.
It is the eighth series of the anthology show on BBC2 and new episodes arrive on Thursdays. But people were told by an announcer that the next instalment would not happen as planned, due to a change in the schedule.
Viewers were then delivered a viewing experience with a twist.
— Reece Shearsmith (@ReeceShearsmith) May 18, 2023
Instead of Inside No 9, a Lee Mack-presented quiz show aired in its place, called 3 By 3, which appeared to be a normal quiz show and had nine contestants.
But during the final moments the Inside No 9 credits rolled, and viewers who were in the dark suddenly realised they’d been tricked once again by creators Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith.
Every week, the writers preview the next episode, and all week long, they had been promoting Hold On Tight! an On the Buses-inspired outing featuring guest star Robin Askwith. There was a trailer and promotional photos for the fake episode.
The fact that neither Pemberton or Shearsmith were present during 3 By 3 was a further source of bafflement.
“So you mean to tell me Reece and Steve got an actor to take promo pics and filmed a few bits and pieces for the trailer for an episode they didn’t actually write???”, @anna_sogo wrote on Twitter.
Last nights episode of Inside No. 9 was the best piece of tele in years
— Guy Incognito (@_dobbsey) May 19, 2023
Another person said: “Last nights episode of Inside No. 9 was the best piece of tele in years.”
The chills that went down my spine seeing the rolling credits gradually change 😱😱 Brilliant! The small sense of dread building in the pit of my stomach made for such a unique and unforgettable viewing experience. For once I don’t mind missing the bus 😆 #insideno9
— Katie Heyes (@heyes_katie) May 18, 2023
For those re-watching the show on BBC iPlayer, the episode does not feature the announcer saying there had been a change in schedule.
The team also tricked people in 2018, with a live episode for Halloween in which everything went wrong.
After the instalment titled Dead Line began there were technical problems.
After efforts to remedy the sound glitch, a BBC apology card appeared and the announcer said the live episode had been stopped and an old episode would be played instead. But after a few minutes, the show was interrupted by a ghost, before moving on to CCTV footage of Pemberton and Shearsmith in their dressing room.
Shearsmith was alerted to the fact that footage of their dressing room was being shown on TV, prompting him to send a tweet that his followers saw appear on their feeds in real time. In reality, they were broadcasting from a haunted TV studio.