Inside No 9 tricks BBC viewers with Lee Mack quiz show episode

Fans who watched it live received quite the surprise

Jacob Stolworthy
Friday 19 May 2023 15:10 BST
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Inside No 9 Series 8 trailer

BBC series Inside No 9 pulled off another impressive stunt that tricked many viewers who watched it live.

The anthology show is currently airing its eighth series on BBC Two, with new episodes arriving on Thursdays.

However, those tuning in to watch the next instalment were told by the announcer that there had been a change to the schedules and, instead of Inside No 9, a Lee Mack-presented quiz show would air in its place.

Viewers then watched on as Mack hosted 3 By 3, a seemingly normal quiz show featuring nine contestants.

However, when the quiz show took a terrifying turn of events in its closing moments, the Inside No 9 credits rolled, and viewers who might have not clocked the prank realised they’d been tricked once again by creators Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith.

Each 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.

Promotional photos, as well as a trailer, were released for the fake episode. Heightening the surprise was the fact that neither Pemberton or Shearsmith were present during “3 By 3”, which is a rare occurrence for the show.

“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.

Lee Mack was at the centre of an unexpected ‘Inside No 9’ surprise (BBC)

Sadly for those catching up on BBC iPlayer, the episode does not feature the announcer saying there had been a change in schedule.

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In 2018, Inside No 9 pulled off an impressive stunt that saw them dupe viewers who were watching the episode live.

After the instalment tilted “Dead Line” began, it ran into technical issues. Following a few attempts to fix the sound glitch, a BBC apology card appeared with the announcer stating that the live episode had been halted, and an old episode would air in its place.

A few minutes in, though, the broadcast was hijacked by the appearance of a terrifying looking ghost before switching to CCTV footage of Pemberton and Shearsmith in their dressing room, awaiting details of what was to happen with the live episode.

A meta moment saw Shearsmith alerted to the fact that footage of their dressing room was being broadcast on TV, spurring him on to send a tweet that his followers saw appear on their feeds in real time. It all added to the feeling that what they were watching was real.

As the episode transpired, it was revealed that they were broadcasting from a haunted TV studio, with a spirit – a former production worker who died by suicide years before – wreaking vengeance on the writing duo seemingly for refusing to admit they believe in ghosts on an old episode of The One Show.

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