Inside No. 9: Series 4, Episode 4 – To Have and To Hold

To Have and To Hold
Picture Shows: Harriet (NICOLA WALKER), Adrian (STEVE PEMBERTON). Image Credit: BBC/Sophie Mutevelian.

A terrace house is the setting for this week’s tale, about a married couple and some dark secrets.

The story follows Harriet and Adrian Connor (Nicola Walker and Steve Pemberton), a couple who have been married for 20 years. Adrian works as a wedding photographer, but his own marriage is rather dull, as his he. While Harriet is keen to renew their wedding vows, he is more interested in jigsaws, Pot Noodles and working in his darkroom, located in the cellar.

As we learn of the troubled relationship between the two, as well as Harriet’s efforts to try and spice things by trying to roleplay a sexy nurse, we uncover the twisted goings on are really taking place in the between them.

Inside No. 9 has often had episodes with suburban settings and the results have been mixed. Last Gasp from the first series is considered one of their poorest efforts, while Nana’s Party and Diddle Diddle Dumpling had a more positive reception. To Have and To Hold is probably the best of these suburban episodes, partly because of the mundane nature of the episode with becomes much darker as it progresses, and ends up with something truly shocking. Mixed in with this the comic embarrassment of the roleplay scene and you get an intriguing balance.

Interestingly this is an episode in which Pemberton has a much bigger role than Reece Shearsmith, who appears alongside Miranda Hennessy as a couple of newlyweds who have had their photos taken by Pemberton’s character. Of course, this is no problem: there have been episodes in the past where one of the duo hasn’t appeared at all. The writing has been great, as well as the direction from David Kerr. The use of lighting, music and camera angles are just as important as the acting and writing, and help to create both moments of comedy and horror.

Inside No. 9 is on BBC Two at 22.00.