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Recap / Inside No 9 S 4 E 2 Bernie Cliftons Dressing Room

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As comedy duo Cheese and Crackers Len and Tommy had some success in the 1980s until Tommy walked out on the act. Now they regroup for a one-off comeback but Tommy is now as successful businessman, scathing of their old routine, though he realizes why Len is so desperate for the reunion. However after Tommy has confessed his real reason for ending the act its true nature is revealed.


This episode contains examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Len was one, and it ultimately killed Cheese and Crackers' career.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In contrast to the show's usual Downer Ending. Tommy has still lost his old friend, but has resolved his issues with him and can grieve with fondness.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Heartwarmingly subverted. Tommy believes that Len had forgotten the incident at Bernie Cliftons Dressing Room. But it turns out, he hasn't.
  • Comedy Duo: Len and Tommy were one.
  • Dead All Along: Tommy's entire conversation, practice session, and revelation to Len about why he left was all a fantasy as he was preparing his speech for Len's funeral.
  • Deader Than Disco: invoked Len and Tommy have this problem since most of their material is now hideously dated.
  • Driving Question: What was the incident in Bernie Clifton's dressing room?
  • Foreshadowing: Including Tommy refusing to disclose what Leanne told him, and Len not being injured when he is hit with a beer bottle.
  • Minimalist Cast: Except for a brief appearance from a guest character (Leanne), Len and Tommy are the only characters featured in the episode.
  • Nice Hat: One of their sketches involves Len putting on a variety of accents and wearing a different hat for each one.
  • Old Shame: invoked Tommy considers his stand-up career to be this. Played with: it's revealed he's actually been trying to hide it because the memory of Len was too painful for him, although it is implied he wants to prevent his business suffering if old clips of Len's drunken behaviour surface.
  • Quick Nip: Len spikes his tea with booze.
  • Reunion Show: The premise of the episode is Cheese and Crackers, two performers of a long-defunct comedy act, agreeing to reunite for one last performance.
  • Shout-Out: To several figures in comedy including The Krankies, and Bernie Clifton himself.
    • Tommy references doing a Tina Turner impression "with tights on my head and ping-pong balls for eyes", a reference to Maureen Sowerbutts in a scene from the creators' previous work Psychoville.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Len thinks that Cheese and Crackers were a lot more popular in their "heyday" than they actually were. Somewhat justified since they could have been a lot more successful, had Len's drinking not lost them opportunities.
  • Take That!: Tommy doesn't think very highly of Britain's Got Talent.
  • Title Drop: "Bernie Cliftons Dressing Room" is mentioned several times.
  • Too Soon: invoked Tommy and Len consider reviving an old routine involving impressions of famous people, but realize they can't because almost all these people have since been arrested under Operation Yewtree (an investigation into historic sexual abuse claims at the BBC.)
  • Totally Radical: Cheese and Crackers' routine about a teenage punk rocker, which Tommy points out was dated even when they performed it in the 1980s.
  • Values Dissonance: invoked Len doesn't seem to understand why his Ching Chong impression may not be well-received by a modern audience.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Tommy and Len are formerly best friends who haven't spoken for thirty years after Tommy ended their comedy partnership by walking out on Len during the show.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Len is a smaller-scale version of this.


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