Nic Wright

Review: Inside No. 9, The Trial Of Elizabeth Gadge

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

There’s no messing inside this week’s No. 9; the gags are rolling rapidly as we’re dropped into a barn in puritanical England for this week’s installment the offbeat comedy series.

The barn in question it transpires, is about to be transformed into a court room, as the village of Little Happens welcomes two of the country’s foremost witchfinders to try suspected witch Elizabeth Gadge.

Writers Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton return to centre stage as the stony, over-zealous Warren, and the weary, rational Clark respectively. Horrible Histories and Peep Show actor Jim Howick, and horror royalty David Warner guest star as villagers indecorously keen to point the finger.

Despite its grim, straight-laced premise, The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge quickly proves to be the most hilarious episode of this series, if not the entire run.

As any League of Gentlemen fans will know, the pair are not above employing a baser, occasionally gross-out, level of humour, and here the dirty jokes come – pardon the pun – thick and fast.

Broad, filthy and howlingly funny, this No. 9 works on the formula that the only thing more tickling that blowjob jokes, is blowjob jokes in 16th century language.

With the villagers baying for blood and light entertainment, the situation quickly escalates, and the puritans become increasingly sidetracked by talk of teats and licking the devil’s bum hole.

Through its historic framing, subjects such as small town tourism, the imprecision of witchfinders tactics, and the public’s love of a good old fashioned witch-hunt are viciously lampooned.

True to form, however, the pair lull viewers into a false sense of knob-joke-laden security before stabbing them in the guts with a whip smart return to their trademark darkness in its closing moments.

The marriage of the deliciously sinister and down and out hilarious proving once again a uniquely winning combination for Pemberton and Shearsmith.