The Referee’s a Wanker – Inside No.9 Series 5 Episode 1 – The DVDfever Review

The Referee's a Wanker
The Referee’s a Wanker is the first episode of Inside No.9 Series 5, and it really doesn’t feel like it’s been over a year since Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith brought us their incredible live Halloween special in 2018. If you missed that, then it’ll be on the iPlayer and you really need to check that out.

In fact, all of the episodes so far are on there, and while there are a couple that miss the mark, more often than not, they are a hit, and when they hit big, they’re a must-see.

Football is the name of the game in this series opener, it’s an important match – United Vs Rovers, and there’s 62 minutes until kick-off.

Which United and which Rovers? It doesn’t make that clear, but that doesn’t matter because it’s the final game for Ref Martin Rutherford (David Morrissey) prior to retirement. United are the big team, while Rovers are trying to escape relegation, so the ref and all his team of match officials are having to be on their mettle.

Revelations will be revealed, and if you don’t want to know the scores… look away now…. No, I jest. There’s nothing I can reveal here. And what mascot creature is Mitch meant to be? I was thinking some sort of chipmunk, but you’ll get the answer in the programme.

What I can say is that there’s a segment before the match, at halftime, and afterwards – with around ten minutes per segment, but, as you’d expect for this series, all the action takes place in one single location, and that’s in the changing room.

There’s a few great exchanges of dialogue, such as when arguing with the time-keeper ref…

    Ref: “Can we synchronise watches, please?”
    Oggy: “We don’t have to do that, it’s not Mission Impossible(!)”

And in the changing of their uniforms over the years, adding in colour instead of being just ‘the man in black’ as the television money came into football, Brendan says: “We look more like Showaddywaddy than referees(!)”

Overall, David Morrissey plays his authority as the ref perfectly, while the others give neat understated performances. However, there’s nothing that makes this feel uniquely “Inside No.9“, so it does lose a point for that, although not one that would lead to relegation.

The Referee’s a Wanker is broadcast on BBC2 on Monday February 3rd, and then will be on the BBC iPlayer..

Inside No.9 Series 5 is available to pre-order on DVD, but there’s no Blu-ray listed yet. However, with Series 4, I think the Blu-ray came a short time after the DVD release, rather than simultaneously, so hopefully that’ll come soon, as it’s popular series, as it’s longevity testifies.

Also available to buy:

Inside No.9 Series 5 – Series Trailer – BBC Two

Score: 7/10

Director: Matt Lipsey
Producer: Adam Tandy
Writers: Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton

Martin Rutherford: David Morrissey
Phil: Ralf Little
Oggy: Steve Pemberton
Brendan: Reece Shearsmith
Mitch: Steve Spiers
Calvin: Dipo Ola
BBC Radio 5 Live commentators: Mark Chapman, Alistair Bruce-Ball