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Recap / Inside No 9 S 2 E 6 Seance Time

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Tina attends a séance at an old Victorian house. She meets Madam Talbot, a blind, elderly medium; and Hives, Talbot's strange assistant. During the seance the furniture shakes, objects fly, Talbot spews ectoplasm from her mouth, and her voice becomes low and demonic. Tina is terrified, but Hives encourages her not to "break the circle." A demon appears and Tina screams. Hives reveals himself as Terry, the host of hidden camera show Scaredy Cam; the entire séance was a prank for TV. Scaredy Cam had been cancelled, but it is now returning on a different channel; Tina remembers enjoying a prank where Terry dressed as a gorilla and a young boy wet himself.

The production crew begins setting up for the next victim of the prank. The Blue Demon Dwarf's actor chats with makeup artist Amanda and Talbot's actress Anne, both of whom ignore him. He tries to ask Terry why the original script had a "Spirit of Little Boy" in place of the demon, but Terry is evasive and makes up an excuse to leave. He notices what he thinks is water on the floor, and orders it to be cleaned up. The actors get back into place for the prank and Terry, as "Hives", shows in a new mark named Pete. However, the footage is near-unusable: Pete swears constantly, breaks props, laughs at inappropriate moments, and takes a phone call during the séance. Backstage, producer Gemma notices that the camera footage has become mysteriously blurry. The prank continues to go wrong, with Anne saying unscripted lines ("Where's Mummy?") and the Blue Demon Dwarf missing his cue. When the demon finally appears, Pete punches him, and the actor collapses. It seems that no one remembers the actor's name. Terry becomes anxious; he reveals that the prank where the child wet himself caused so many complaints that the show was cancelled. Gemma attempts CPR, but the actor has died.

Everyone waits for police to arrive. Terry tries to ask Anne why she went off-script during the prank, but she can't remember doing this. When Pete leaves, Terry plots to try to save the show by making it look like Pete deliberately attacked the Blue Demon Dwarf's actor. A disgusted Gemma refuses to co-operate and storms off, leaving Terry alone backstage. The camera footage goes blurry again, and Terry sees from the feed that the Blue Demon Dwarf's actor has got up. A relieved Terry goes back to the main room to speak to him. A puddle of urine appears underneath the actor, and he speaks in a child's voice. He says that he was the little boy who was the victim of the gorilla prank; because he wet himself on national TV, he was bullied so much that he drowned himself. Terry thinks this is another prank for the show. He touches the Blue Demon Dwarf's shoulder, but the actor collapses, dead. The ghost of a little boy rises out of the cradle that contained a baby doll prop, and says "Where's Mummy?"

Gemma shows a police officer into the room. Terry has wet himself and says "I'm on Scaredy Cam." The boy's ghost appears on the camera footage, which finally goes blank.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: Happens to the actor playing the Blue Demon Dwarf. Unaware that the séance is a setup for a prank show; Pete thinks he is a real monster and punches him out of fright, which kills him.
  • Advertised Extra: Sophie McShera whose character Tina becomes largely peripheral after the first few minutes and disappears completely around two thirds of the way through.
  • All There in the Script: The ending credits name the Blue Demon Dwarf's actor as Clive and the boy's ghost as William.
  • Creepy Doll: "Madam Talbot" has one.
  • Deadly Prank: The hidden camera prank causes Pete to throw a punch that kills the Blue Demon Dwarf's actor.
  • Driven to Suicide: The young boy from the gorilla prank.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Gemma has no qualms about manipulating the footage or keeping actors in horrible working conditions, but draws the line at setting up Pete to take the fall for the actor's death.
  • I Resemble That Remark!:
    Anne: I could have been Marple but they said I wasn't gentle enough. Fuckers.
  • Manipulative Editing
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Terry; who, Tina comments, seemed much nicer on TV.
  • No Ending: The episode ends with [[spoiler: the Scaredy Cam host seemingly possessed by the ghost of a child who killed himself because of the humiliation he experienced being featured on the show. The child's ghost then appears on the camera and the episode ends. The death of the actor playing the Blue Demon Dwarf and its consequences are never resolved.
  • Proscenium Reveal: "Séance Time" initially presents a séance as the episode's main story, only for a character's line to reveal it is in fact part of a hidden camera prank show.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Pete, who, unaware that he's on a hidden-camera show, ruins the entire set-up with his constant swearing (making it very difficult to broadcast.)
  • Skewed Priorities: When the Blue Demon Dwarf's actor dies, Amanda's main concern is trying to get the props back from the corpse before police arrive.
  • Spooky Sťance: What the prank is based around.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Averted by having promotional material refer to the characters by their in-universe names on Scaredy Cam (crediting Reece Shearsmith as Hives rather than Terry, etc.)