Steve Pemberton has said viewers have a “heightened awareness” of the violence in dark anthology series Inside No. 9 because it is framed as a comedy.

The actor and writer, who co-created the series with long-standing collaborator Reece Shearsmith, said they had never “overstepped the mark” when it came to gore or tasteless content.

He compared the programme to fellow BBC Two show The Terror, a horror based on Captain Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition to the Arctic in the 1840s, saying it contained “far worse” than Inside No. 9.

Speaking during a BFI At Home event ahead of the sixth series airing, he said: “Because it is coming out of a so-called comedy programme there is a heightened awareness of that, because we like to mix these genres up.

“You watch The Terror on BBC Two at nine o’clock, a whole hour before we were on, and you will see far, far worse things than what we did.

“So I don’t think we have overstepped the mark. We are very, very cautious in how we approach that stuff.”

Producer Adam Tandy said he thought Pemberton and Shearsmith may have gone too far on one occasion – the 2020 episode Misdirection about a world-famous magician who is extremely protective of his secrets.

Sky Arts Awards
Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith (Ian West/PA)

He said: “I think the only time I have seriously thought we might have gone too far was the decapitation in Misdirection in the last series.

“In Misdirection that decapitation with the guillotine felt to me like we could go too far.

“So it is always a judgment call on the day as to how much gore, how much you can push the idea of offending taste.

“We have had similar instances where taste has been an issue. But that is probably the goriest moment we have done.”

Series five of the anthology show received two Bafta nominations, for scripted comedy and male performance in a comedy programme for Shearsmith.

Series six of Inside No. 9 begins on Monday May 10 at 9.30pm on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.