Phoenix Cinema Fundraiser: Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton

PUBLISHED: 16:47 21 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:47 21 March 2019

The audience looks on as Dr Matthew Sweet interviews Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton on stage at a fundraiser for the Phoenix Cinema last weekend. Picture: Harry Taylor

The audience looks on as Dr Matthew Sweet interviews Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton on stage at a fundraiser for the Phoenix Cinema last weekend. Picture: Harry Taylor

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The League of Gentlement and Inside No9 stars went local once again on Sunday as they teamed up to raise money for their local independent moviehouse

The League of Gentlemen and Inside No.9 actors Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton. Picture: Harry TaylorThe League of Gentlemen and Inside No.9 actors Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton. Picture: Harry Taylor

Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith went local once again on Sunday night, as the East Finchley actors teamed up to help raise money for the Phoenix Cinema.

Fresh from completing their latest series of Inside No.9, the League of Gentlemen and Psychoville actors were quizzed on stage by Dr Matthew Sweet.

Inside the packed cinema, episodes of the duo’s best known work was played, with Inside No.9’s poignant Bernie Clifton’s Dressing Room drawing a strong reaction.

Speaking to the Ham&High beforehand, Shearsmith said they were pitching in to help the Phoenix’s fundraising weekend because of a long-running personal and professional relationship with the venue.

Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton before their Q&A and screening at the Phoenix Cinema on Sunday. Picture: Harry TaylorReece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton before their Q&A and screening at the Phoenix Cinema on Sunday. Picture: Harry Taylor

The Phoenix is trying to raise £20,000 to stay as an independent cinema.

He said: “We both live in East Finchley - it’s literally five minutes away from where we live.

“We enjoy its programming and felt it was such a shame that it was being subsumed into not being independent any more. We just felt ‘let’s do our bit, and see if people come along’.

“We need to make people aware that it’s their local cinema and that’s where they should come to watch stuff.”

Pemberton fondly recalled hiring the cinema for his son’s sixth birthday party to show Shrek 2.

“It’s all about trying to raise funds to keep it independent,” the former Benidorm actor said.

“Every time you come off the tube and you that front, all the work they’ve done over the years to modernise it and keep it accessible, anything we can do as local cinema fans we’re very happy to do.”

The audience revelled in the anecdotes as both actors reflected on their creative journeys, spoke about what they enjoyed most, and gave tips about how they got their ideas.

As well as living nearby, the majority of their work is created locally at their office in Muswell Hill.

It’s even led to episodes with a very local connection, such as Diddle Diddle Dumpling and The Bill.

“Oftentimes the most mundane seed of an idea may come into our office in Muswell Hill. We talk a lot about things before we dare to think a story may be there,” revealed Shearsmith.

He continued: “The silliest one was when Steve came in one day, and said ‘come with me’, and he took me outside and showed me a shoe on the floor next to a bin,”

Pemberton chips in, “In Grand Avenue it was.”

“And he said ‘could this be a No.9?’ It just sparked an idea in our hearts and minds.

“It was the idea of someone putting posters on trees saying, do you know who owns this shoe,” and we came back and started writing it immediately,” said Reece.

Pemberton said the idea for Series 3 of Inside No.9’s The Bill came from eating out in Feast on the Hill, near their office.

Shearsmith said: “Two old couples were talking about trying to offer to pay the bill and it wasn’t about them arguing about not paying the bill, it was that they wanted to pay it, so we thought could we spin a story from it?”

Speaking on stage, Pemberton said that neither of them has a veto over the other’s ideas, and that an episode in the next series would be based around football, of which he’s a fan. Harry Taylor

To make a donation go to phoenixcinema.co.uk

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