The Bill is the second episode of series 3 of Inside No.9, and if that has you wondering where the first episode went, well, that was the Christmas one.
As always, the story takes place in a building of some description with the number in place, and this is a restaurant called “number nine”, and about to close up for the night… until it comes to who’s going to pay the bill.
I don’t want to give too much away about how things turn out (well, anything, really, since the fun is in watching what happens) but with perfect comic timing and brilliant interplay, and with some tight editing and some neat direction, it’s safe to say the four get ridiculously competitive, much to the annoyance of waitress Anya (Ellie White), who only just started there this evening.
Just to give a hint of a few lines of dialogue which had me laughing out loud (and there are zillions – so much that I had to watch it a second time to take them all in), alleged penny-pincher Kevin (Jason Watkins) only wants to pay for himself as he had no alcohol, while the rest argue about each paying the entire thing. In addition, they moan about Kevin, “He’s that mean, when he takes a tenner out, the Queen blinks in the light!”
Add to that, a discussion about how the mints in Northern restaurants, accompanying the bill, are all ‘drenched in piss’ and even worse… although to my recollection, that was something alleged at peanuts on the bars in pubs, since any restaurants I’ve come across in give out the mints in wrappers.
Plus, part of the arguments descend into:
- Archie (Reece Shearsmith): “I’m offering to buy everyone’s meal!”
Malcolm (Steve Pemberton): “Yes, because you’re a selfish prick!”
While there’s superb support from Watkins and Philip Glenister, there’s only one thing I have a slight issue with, which I’ll wrap a spoiler heading round – it doesn’t say WHAT the issue is, but it does state WHEN it happens, so while I’d suggest you avoid that until you’ve seen the episode… (and I could only add this in after the episode was broadcast)
Overall, the first and second series proved that the second episode in each (A Quiet Night In and The 12 Days of Christine, respectively) were the best of each, and it’s looking like it could also be the case, here.
The Bill is broadcast tomorrow on BBC2 at 10pm, and the series continues every Tuesday at 10pm.
Inside No.9 Series 3 is available to pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD. You can also buy Series 1 and 2 on DVD together, plus the recent releases of Inside No.9 Series 1 on Blu-ray and Inside No.9 Series 2 on Blu-ray, and after broadcast, you can also watch this episode on BBC iPlayer until March 23rd.
Director: Guillem Morales
Producer: Adam Tandy
Screenplay: Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton
Archie: Reece Shearsmith
Anya: Ellie White
Malcolm: Steve Pemberton
Kevin: Jason Watkins
Craig: Philip Glenister
Tim: Callum Coates
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.