Friday, 22 July 2011

I wish I could find the setting for 'Jelly Babies to Automatic'...

Ottery St Mary is now available here. I have to say, I do like this episode. It might be my favourite this series, or that might be St. Petersburg; but for very different reasons. This one I like because it's silly and cheerful and fun; and for most of it, everyone gets on rather well and enjoys one another's company. You can't do that often in a sitcom, or it gets dull, but it's nice once in a while.

In the first draft, it was designed to be the counterpart to Johannesburg, in which the cast are for half the episode split Douglas and Carolyn / Martin and Arthur. And of course there are several episodes where the split is Martin and Douglas / Carolyn and Arthur; so I thought I'd try the other possible pairing. The version I wrote worked fine, but it just seemed such a shame to do a 'Martin's van' episode without Martin in the van. So I took it apart, rewrote the road trip section to include Martin, and came up with a new plot for Carolyn. Then, at the recordings, this was the other episode recorded the week Benedict was ill. However, the cast all very kindly agreed to re-do the Martin scenes at the end of the third recording - and Tom very very kindly agreed to perform Martin on stage, even though he knew it wouldn't go out. Which meant I got to hear the script performed as if for real, in front of an audience... but with two weeks to improve it with rewrites and cuts, which was an incredible luxury.  So, this has had more rewriting time than any other episode, and not coincidentally it's one of my favourites. You just cannot rewrite too much. Even now I'd like another pass at it - why on earth did I make Herc's sports car green rather than yellow? Idiot. 

Another rewriting story - the design of the Herc / Carolyn story was always that they would alternate having the upper hand in their skirmishes, and first time round this meant when it got to the sheep scene, it needed to be Carolyn with the phobia, and Herc mocking her. Which didn't work at all - Carolyn seemed out-of-character, and Herc seemed bullying and unpleasant. But when I finally realised what the problem was, and restructured it so they could swap, it worked fine. Interesting that even with a female character you've spent two and a half series establishing as strong to the point of fearsome; 'woman is scared of sheep' just fundamentally isn't as funny as 'man is scared of sheep'.

When I was first creating the show, in 2005 (!), my working title for MJN Air was 'Icarus Airways'. Once Carolyn's character became more developed, I realised reluctantly she'd never be daft enough to call it that. But I know a man who would...

For the origin of the otter-imagining game, have a look at this blog post I wrote three years ago. I like that I titled it 'I am supposed to be writing a sitcom.' Little did I know I was bunking off writing Cabin Pressure series one to write a bit of Cabin Pressure series three.

I like that, although I know 99.9% of the audience wouldn't remember, Snoopadoop's name (and Carolyn's soppiness about her) is actually mentioned in the very first episode. Snoopadoop, by the way, is named after a poodle puppy I met at the Edinburgh festival in about 2004, and so whom is probably still around. So if you're here because you got bored and googled your dog's name, hello, and thank you! 

This week's 'deleted scene' is from near the end, when they're at Ottery St Mary's (non-existant, by the way) airfield, and realise the pub is a mile away:

DOUGLAS: ...yes, yes, alright. Let’s start pushing. 
MARTIN: Thank you so much! Except of course... I can’t really push. Because of my ankle?
DOUGLAS: Alright. Arthur and I will push. You can walk alongside
MARTIN: ...I don’t think I can. Not for a mile.  Again, the ankle.
DOUGLAS Then what do you suggest?
MARTIN Well… I thought perhaps, if I were to do this…
FX INDISTINCT NOISE
DOUGLAS: Ah. I see. ‘Hello Ottery St Mary. Please welcome Douglas Richardson and Arthur Shappey, and joining them, on the piano, Martin Crieff.’




88 comments:

rajani said...

I might be overthinking things, but here goes (I should say that I was at the recording session for N and O - I'm that idiot American who flew over from New York for the privilege and to make your eyes pop out in horror). I found the name of Martin's company terribly poignant. Yes, as Douglas notes, Icarus was the first bad pilot. But he was also a son who followed his father (no shining example of mental health himself, surely, what with designing labyrinths and wings held together with wax) to a certain point and then rebelled. For Martin, driving his dead dad's van but not following in his dad's footsteps - that name resonates.

Plus it's funny.

ProfZarkov said...

Hello - another absolutely brilliant episode! Well done. How did you get Antony on board? Excellent choice. I imagine he's at a loose end not being Oofah any more (!). I thought you missed a trick at the end - surely Douglas should have ended the scene with "Yellow Car"? Brillaint!

beinghumanfan said...

Absolutely fantastic as always. Martin came out of this episode rather well for once; a nice change! Also, thankyou so much for taking the time to respond to everyone on Twitter - it made my day to get a reply from you. And I think you should definitely release that album with Roger and Benedict on backing vocals!

Anonymous said...

You realize the entire country - if not world - will be playing Yellow Car now, don't you? You've created a monster! :)

Anonymous said...

Brilliant!
But I always feel slightly disappointed that Douglas doesn't sing "post take off checks" to the tune of Post Break-Up Sex by The Vaccines.Yes, I am aware of how mental I am :)

Meow said...

You are *genuinely* my writing god.
I absolutely loved this - it was an episode of a sitcom about an airline and only about four minutes was flying or something - which just shows exactly how far the characters have come. It's brilliant.
God knows what I'll do when the run is finished D:
Maybe just keel over and die.

muerps said...

I've worried my flatmate with my reactions to this week's episode. She heard my high-pitched laughter and then saw me with tears in my eyes… Love this episode, it's probably my favourite Cabin Pressure episode so far.

missfiddledeedee said...

My favourite one of the new series so far! It was brilliant and I was laughing like a loon, alone in my kitchen...

Lucy H said...

you've got us all playing Yellow Car, all you have to do is put a reference to The Game (if you don't know what it is, God and Google help you) and every Cabin Pressure fan will have a fit. Not even joking.

Sabina said...

This is definitely my favourite episode out of all the three series. I know I say this after each cabin pressure episode I listen to, but never has the comment been more apt: "absoultely WONDERFULLY written"

and please can there be more of Roger Allam singing in future episodes!

And the ending was absolutely wonderful!! I was feeling ever so sorry for Arthur all the way through and then the ending was just the most wonderful ending ever!! Oh John - your characters are the most delightful concoctions ever!!

I don't want this series to ever end =) (my 11 year old younger sister agrees! =p)

Sabina said...

p.s. to Lucy H - darn it, I'd managed to go four years, without remembering The Game...

A.W. said...

Oh man, Germany is the best place in the world to play the Yellow Car game - they do love their yellow cars here in the Land of Chocolate. I was out for only about an hour and spotted nearly twenty yellow cars: all the Deutsche Post vans are yellow, the Weyermann Malz semi-trucks are yellow, and there are a ton of yellow smart cars out there. I don't know why, but the Germans really love gelben Autos.

Anyway: Another hilarious episode - I was wondering how Martin could have gotten from the plane to the pub with a sprained ankle... The image of him on the piano with Douglas and Arthur pushing it along is hilarious. I also love how Douglas got his comeuppance in the end with the van keys. I really didn't like Douglas and Martin's teasing of Arthur in this ep., calling him a clod right to his face. It seemed really mean-spirited. Though I did love that Arthur got to fire the insult right back in the end. Yay (sort of) revenge!

Also, will we ever get to hear more singing from the cast? The song at the end was - to quote Arthur - brilliant. Roger Allam has a lovely singing voice.

Nance said...

Otter-imagining is a "brilliant" new phrase. I agree it is hard to imagine stacking a theatre with otters. It is mildly disturbing too much like a nightmare. If you saw Neil Gaiman's Coraline then you may remember the theatre filled with tail-wagging and all the more menacing Scottie dogs (about half way in the trailer): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO3n67BQvh0&feature=player_embedded#at=105

Fruitbat said...

I have to say I really do enjoy these notebook pictures. Your yellow spoiler post-its are so frightfully tantalising.

Another great episode, and I love Carolyn's interpretation of being soppy around Herc.

Caroline said...

So many wonderful things about this episode - yellow cars, otters, Carolyn and Herc, Snoopadoop, Martin being Martin, Douglas being actually kind-of-helpful, and Arthur being even more adorable than usual (if that's even possible)...

Thank you so much, Mr Finnemore. Cabin Pressure brightens my day.

And thank you for hanging around twitter with us ;)

Carolene said...

making lunch for the kids when Caroline started making sheep sounds...Laughed so hard I dropped the fish stixs on the floor...

now lunch for kitty...

kitty thanks you, and the kids say, no big lost, your cooking is not that good anyways...

loads of love and stuff...

Petina said...

Even though we were at the recording of this episode, we still laughed like drains! (Only this time we could clap along to the song at the end without being told off ;)!)

Kaitebon said...

This episode had me in stitches!

And will there be a backstory explaining WHY Martin would choose to name his van service "Icarus?" (in the universe of the show, as opposed to your explanation of why you chose to you it, that is) I'm very curious now!

Nicky said...

My children have played the Yellow Car game for some years, only they call it Nanny Nanny, as my mum's always saying there aren't many yellow cars just before we see about 20! Drives me slightly mad in the car, as you so succinctly put it, it NEVER ends, and there are more of them on the road than one might at first hope...

rewboss said...

Excellent. Of course Douglas had to have been the one who lost the keys, that was obvious, and yet the way it was revealed still surprised me. I was, I assume like many others, expecting that scene to end with the collapse of the piano as soon as the new owner started playing on it.

I never played Yellow Car, but the dad of one my friends always used to wave at the drivers of white cars, which was fun for him, mystifying to the drivers and embarrassing for us.

wCow said...

Fantastic episode.I love Cabin Pressure and I hope you'll write more.

I wasn't fully aware of the yellow car game...infact when Arthur began playing it I thought it was the yellow mini game. I can't remember the exact rules, but it involves punching people in the arm when you have seen a yellow mini. I would have loved to have heard Douglas' reaction if Arthur attempted to hit him in the arm after spotting one...

I enjoy seeing your notes, it's very educational.

Ross Bennett said...

I've gotten more out of this blog in the past four weeks than from a whole year in the BBC Writers Room site--which itself is splendid.

I believe this episode has excelled Limerick, which until today has been my favorite. I'm generally a chortler, it's exceptionally rare when I am a full-blown belly-laugh guffaw-er.

Today there was a convergence of draining the last from a cup of coffee, a top-rate setup and the line, "Always remembering to open them with care because otters may have shifted during flight." That very nearly destroyed a Macbook.

I have never been so happy to wipe up sugary coffee from the kitchen floor.

There is so much exceptional about this episode, even by the already high standard CP has established. It makes your comment about St. Petersburg even more weighty.

Kaitebon said...

@wCow: If I recall correctly it was "punch buggy" for VW Bugs. I think when you saw a Bug you said "punch buggy no punch backs [insert color of car here]" and punched the person in the arm.

I never quite "got" the game... but I definitely got punched in the arm.

More than once.

the half blood princess said...

Have you developed an obsession with otters John?

Rachel said...

Love the drawing of the Otter! The Eiffel Tower on the Paris masterplan too, you're very good at art.

Again another amazing episode, hoping for more singing in the rest of the series. I actually used to play Red Car as a child on long journeys. Probably red because there were so many more of them than yellow cars, so the game would never die down or get boring. We'd literally be yelling "Red Car" for hours, must have driven our parents mad! Lovely to hear a variation of it again.

Anonymous said...

You, sir, are completely bonkers in a good way!

Mandy said...

You have completely hit your comedy writing stride, Mr Finnemore. I didn't think you could top the polar bears and the travelling lemon, but you have!

Douglas (and Martin a bit) being so mean to Arthur at the beginning, must have been very satisfying to give Douglas his comeuppance at the end.

So many great ideas - the otters in the plane and Yellow Car, getting Roger (and Benedict at the end) to sing! I laughed so hard when Carolyn made sheep noises at Herc - who would have thought cool Giles/Uther would be scared of sheep?!

I have loved every step of the journey these characters have taken - moving the whole set up from the plane to Martin's van really was quite fabulous and a testament to your great characterisation.

I have to stop gushing now :-) thanks again for a great ep!

Lunacy said...

I want to live in Weasels King Henry.

theficklepickle said...

Best so far this series, definitely, but I still want to know where they landed; it's a long way to push a piano from Exeter Airport. And my BH and I were worried all the way through that the pub landlord was planning an old-style 'piano-bashing' event except that (a) it's too obvious and (b) only oldies like us remember such things.

You are A Bad Man with all the little allusions and references you throw in, but nevertheless you get my all-time prize for cojones by having Stephanie Cole say "What fresh hell is this?" (Yes, I know that was a different episode but it may be my all-time favourite line with the possible exception of "Douglas, fetch!") And no, Carolyn is not afraid of anything - except possibly Arthur.

kodama said...

Yellow car!

Briliiant episode, I suppose it will be one of my personal favourites. I craved to see Martin as a Man in A Van. I love Herc's vegetarianism (I'm one myself) and his sheepophobia (I am afraid of swans, it's not funny, although it is). Carolyn and Douglas were both very mean in those episodes, but finally Douglas wasn't right in the very end ;)
And I remembered the dog's name! :D
Thank you for this episode! :D

FrenchListener said...

Bonjour !
Still laughing out loud on this episode ! so well written !
after polar bears, lemon now yellow cars,otters ...That i won't see anymore without thinking of "cabin pressure "and have a smile ( quiet hard to explain to my french family and friends ...)
Thank you for

Natalie Harris said...

It was a classic.. thank you so much.. my 4 year old daughter listening away fully embraced the yellow car game in sainsburys car park afterwards too!

Karen said...

Once again BRILLIANT Mr Finnemore,imagining otters and Arthur didn't lose the keys afterall - oh Douglas, tut tut. And yes I'll be playing "yellow car" too from now on

MistressBligh said...

"Type in the address." "Which address?" "The Gettysburg address, Arthur, which one do you think?"

Brilliant! I think this is one of my favourite episodes ever. Really enjoying the blog, too - interesting to read about the writing and recording process. Well done you.

kodama said...

PS. I love the otter sketch. And the whole ottery thingy in the episode.

Rebecca said...

Hey, I did remember Snoopadoop's name! (Err, I swear I do have a life!)

Awesome episode! I really loved Herc/Carolyn. And the otters. And Yellow Car. (Yes, have played it today. :D ) And Douglas singing. ♥

Niblick III said...

I remembered Snoopadoop's name!

A fantastic episode. Having been in the audience for the re-record, it was great reliving those brilliant van scenes whilst still having the new (to me) scenes with Herc and Carolyn to enjoy.

I used to play yellow car as a kid. And after the recording, my friends and I went home to watch the Royal Wedding on iplayer and played Yellow Queen...

We also played The Travelling Lemon, but that's a whole other story :)

DevoteeofRogerAsDivineVoice said...

My otter-imagining imagination or was Carolyn channeling both 'My name is not important' DNA & 'clever sheep' Python?

Musical Lottie said...

I will probably post another comment tomorrow when I'm less tired and more coherent (or maybe just less tired) but I'd like to pipe up just now and say that I remembered Snoopadoop from the first episode! I also thought that they were revisiting Birmingham in 'Newcastle', but then realised I was getting confused with Bristol. Oops.

Erin said...

I know the otter species was presumptively a European river otter, but having grown up on the North American coast, an "otter" to me is a critter the size of a large labrador retriever. This set me off wondering if you could, in fact, fit a sea otter in an airline fridge. I don't think you could, but I'm not positive, so I suppose that is where I reach my imagination's limit on the topic of otters in enclosed spaces.

Anyway, it was a completely delightful episode, otters, sheep, piano and all, and I'm loving these notebook postings.

debmeister said...

Yup another truly fab episode 'yellow car' if only I cd understand what most of the other bloggers are talking about 'yellow car' I think most people speak an entirely different language to myself, any chance we cd include translations for semi- normal folks like 'yellow car' me...

ldstrong said...

The episode was fantastic! And thank you for introducing me to the song 'Those magnificent men in their flying machines'.

Karin said...

Another absolutely fantastic episode. I'm glad nobody was home when I listened to it, or they might have thought I've gone crazy because I was laughing so hard. So well written and very funny, and the cast was superb. I love Anthony Head as Herc. I think it has become one of my favourite episodes of Cabin Pressure.

Anonymous said...

What did you draw before you tipp-exed it out and redrew an otter over it on the page?

Brilliant episode, needless to say actually.

mckuroske said...

Dear, dear John! Thank you so much! This is getting better and better every time (and who could've supposed it could be THAT better?!) Otters in heaven are brilliant, yellow cars are brilliant, sheep are brilliant...

And yes, I DO remember the name of the dog!

Anonymous said...

Some of my friends are now playing Yellow Car ... by text! Very worrying!

Miss Pear said...

Before my sight got overly bad, I used to play my own sad, OCD version of Yellow Car - when the car registration letters used to change on the 1st August (before all this new-fangled twice-a-year thing came in), I would spend the next few journeys looking for all the newly-registered cars. (And that, Your Honour, is why I had no friends as a child.)

Hedgehog O'Brien is my new favourite name.

Erika G said...

Thank you very much for creating Cabin Pressure. And of course, thanks God for iPlayer, so I can listen to it even far away from Britain.
Such a hilarious show is both relaxing and inspiring for a writer-beginner as I am.
Hope to see you live on stage, when I am in London next time.
I wish you the best of luck in whatever you are doing right now.

Erika from Slovakia.

Tim said...

Pleased to see the return of the notebook this week. I'm keeping it secret from my wife that you use a mac John. I'll never hear the end of it and there's enough tension in our house already over that issue! (She's a mac, I'm a PC. Though Windows 7 was definatly NOT MY IDEA!)

My Wife and I listened in the car on our way south from Hull to London. We needed to stop for petrol but since the show was so good (and my car radio doesn't work without the ignition on) we both refused to get out at the first station and the 2nd. By the time we got to the third the fuel situation was somewhat critical so we pulled onto the forecourt then sat in the car in near hysterics for the last 5 minutes, much to the bemusement of the staff!

I still want to know the answer to one question though? What was Martin doing when he twisted his ankle? It's hinted that he was providing instruction on something. So either he is instructing apprentice Men with Van (sorry Ven), or someone has asked the only pilot in the sky who took six goes to get his licence to be an instructor (possibly working on the principle that like with driving tests people who pass first time are not as good later as those who have to repeat. Though surely there is a maximum to this!)

John Finnemore said...

Hello, thank you, and here are some answers:

People who said they liked the episode - thank you so much! Sorry not to reply individually, but I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me.

Rajani - I like that explanation a lot. Yeah, that was definitely what I had already thought of, way before you said it. Yes.

Lucy H - Whenever The Game crops up in conversation, I claim that I didn't just lose it, because I actually won The Game whilst at university. Someone will usually, quite angrily, point out that you can't win the game. I don't argue, I just smile. Drives them mad, especially because part of them is wondering... maybe... you can win The Game?

People saying Douglas was too mean to Arthur / Martin in Qik - I love how protective people have got these days of Martin and Arthur! Sadly, things going wrong and people being mean to you is very much the lot of a sitcom character. If nothing goes against you, there's nothing to deal with in a hopefully funny way. For instance, Benedict fans - remember, if Douglas hadn't been mean to Martin, you'd never have got to hear Ben's French accent. Swings and roundabouts...

Carolene - Your cat and I have been plotting this heist together for many months. Glad it all came together. Tell your cat to leave my cut of the fish stix in the usual place.

Kaitebon - Read the first comment in my thread, it's better than mine. Mine is just that Martin wanted something connected with flying, but which sounds classy.

People praising / wanting more of Roger's singing - I couldn't agree more. Sadly, that's your lot for this series, but I got three songs out of him. Not a bad score. He's cottoned on to what I'm doing now though, so it may be a bit harder next time...

People saying 'Yellow Car' should involve hitting - yes, in an early draft I had Arthur explaining that rule was banned by Carolyn after his step-brother knocked his tooth out, but I ditched it because it was the first time I'd referred to Arthur's step-brother, and it seemed distracting. Now that makes THIS is the first time I've referred to his step-brother. Don't get excited though - my rule is it's not true until / unless it's been broadcast.

Half-blood princess - No! I can give up otters any time I like, I tell you! I can take 'em or leave 'em alone!

People mentioning 'White Car', 'Red Car', or other variants - Wow. Those sound like tiring games. Though not as bad as 'Car'.

Ficklepickle - The thing about Carolyn is that she likes making allusions, so it's not me ripping off Dorothy Parker, it's Carolyn deliberately quoting her. Like 'Ring out wild bells' or 'All manner of things shall be well'. That's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking to it. But yeah, I am a bit embarrassed when people mention the line as if it's mine.

People telling me they remembered Snoopadoop's name - Well, yes, you did, because you are people of such taste and discernment you even tracked down the author's self-indulgent blog. I meant normal people. Er, I mean... worse people.

Devotee of Roger - Absolutely yes about the Slartibartfast reference. No, or at least not consciously, for the Python sheep, but it is one of my favourite sketches. 'One thing is for sure... the sheep is not a creature of the air.'

Anonymous - Another, worse, otter.

Tim - The student he sometimes ropes in to help him when Icarus Removals needs to move something that's a two-man job, like a piano. Was at one point explained in the script, but was too boring and didn't actually matter enough to make the cut.

Random said...

Hi! I'm a new (American) fan. I was just introduced to Cabin Pressure a couple of weeks ago and now I'm hooked! I listen to it while riding to work on the bus. It is a little difficult, though, because I tend to get a lot of funny looks when I'm laughing so hard that I'm crying. I could list the things I love about the show, but then we'd be here all day. Thanks for sharing it with us; your writing is--there's no other word for it--brilliant.

(Also, my kids will be playing Yellow Car FOREVER. Thanks very much for that as well...)

Sasha said...

I began a game of Yellow Car with a friend via text while at work. This has proven quite a horrible idea as many of the baggage carts at the airport are yellow. Now that I am noticing them, I can't stop.

toveb said...

I played Yellow Car yesterday. The problem was that no-one else in the car understood the reference, so it was basically just me chuckling to myself in a slightly madwoman way...

Rachel S said...

I have a question. I am from Wokingham and LOVE it that Martin is too. But what made you choose Wokingham? In my experience it's a place that very few people have heard of.

Or is that classified information?

Sabrina said...

Congratulations on another amazingly hilarious episode! This honestly is my favorite one of the 3rd series so far. I've been dying to see Martin in his van so thanks for not taking him away.

Oh and "Jelly babies to manual" has become an everyday statement. Thanks!

Jane Russ said...

On Friday we were having a day off and went to Cambridge from Banbury via Watford. (and you think you WRITE some stupid and unlikely things!!)

I found myself nearly but not quite imagining an otter in the fridge, just before you got to it - but I'd rejected it on the grounds of cruelty.

Played yellow car all the way back to Banbury on Sunday. Result - 4 all, although there was a bit of a moment between the two of us over whether vans counted (they don't, the clue's in the title of the game).

There is something so wonderfully innocent and yet mightily clever about CA - it is a lipsmacking joy.

the half blood princess said...

Hello John
The otter thing was actually a question from my dad.
He did think you had gone mad.
John, you now have us hooked on Yellow Car.
I was winning 27-0, when my dad said "jackpot red balloon!" (hot air.)
Is this cheating?
Your input is needed on defining the rules.
I must say that it did sound like something that Douglas would say to trick Arthur.
Does that make me, me, Arthur???

Jo said...

I've only just realised that the episodes are named in alphabetical order. I am a thick.

Yellow car.

Mandy said...

Don't worry, Jo.

I only just realised the other day why the plane is called GERTI...

:-)

So many clever ideas in this show that take constant looping on CD in the car to finally understand!

Yellow Car.

Anonymous said...

I now feel truly stupid, but...
Why is the plane called GERTI???

Rebecca said...

G-ERTI is the plane's tail number. In the Boston ep, you can hear the crew use Golf Echo Romeo Tango India when identifying to ATC. (Yes, I have spent way too much time thinking about this...)

Horsa said...

Don't worry Jo and Mandy. As the person who earned a "Well done" from John re. spotting Cooke and Peary in the Q episode (still basking in the glow from that-thank you John, it made my day!), I pondered long and hard over the connection between the lady from the Laurels sending a piano to a Mr Hardy in Ottery St Mary. I got the Laurel and Hardy, but what had they to do with delivering a pia....Oh!!!!

Hadn't realised why Gertie (sic) was so called possibly because I'd mis-spelled it, so not such a smart a**** after all!

Yellow car looks as if it will be replacing our old game of Eddie and Norbert.

John Finnemore said...

Rachel - No offense to you or your home-town, but I picked Wokingham as the most anonymous and unimpressive place I could think of. I wanted to avoid an obvious 'comedy' dull place like Slough or Milton Keynes, and hit on Wokingham as somewhere no-one has an opinion on, one way or the other. I'm sure it's lovely, though. (Well, I'm not SURE. But it might be.)

Princess - Your Dad was thinking of Purple Balloon, which is indeed worth a jackpot of sixteen thousand points. Sadly, spotting a Red Balloon means you automatically forfeit the game.

Horsa - get ready for another 'Well Done': Well Done. Up until a very late draft, those two characters were simply known as 'Mrs Piano-Haver' and 'Mr Piano-Wanter'. And then I had a better idea, exactly as you spotted.

debmeister said...

I literally cannot big up enough to my friends about how Good 'cabin pressure' is I was lucky enough to see most of the live recordings for this series and have enjoyed re-listening to them on radio, I can't seem to find C.P on CD only downloadable versions anyone know why? I know its a tad old fashioned but i've only just got over calling CDs albums. I simply can't cope with having to buy downloads too...

Horsa said...

Many thanks John for the second well done. I wasn't angling for one and being the sixty odth post didn't expect there would be much interest in such a late comment. Just read your "Cheetah" post and sincerely hope the bad reasons mentioned are resolved soon.

Robin Tamblyn said...

The otter business - fantastic! I'm really missing not being able to listen to this ep anymore, hope series 3 makes it to audible/itunes soon!

A question re: series 1: does anyone know whether the Mr Leaman/Dr Price characters were a nod to the Fawlty Towers episode "The Kipper and the Corpse"?

ProfZarkov said...

Two weeks running - a letter in the radio Times saying how good CB is! No other radio prog gets this! Well done!

pureteenlard said...

MMmmm . . . Ferrari 250GT swb.

Missed this episode so can't comment. Alas.

KB said...

I loved this episode, it was...I don't think fantastic is a strong enough word. If it helps, I'll type it in capitals. FANTASTIC!!! ...and apparently add a few exclamation marks. Really wonderful episode, and absolutely my favourite of all three series. My friend and I spent the last month on a walking holiday in Devon & Cornwall, and prior to listening to this episode she had, several times, been trying to get me to play Yellow Car, so we both loved Arthur's "explanation"! (She spent the entire time nodding and looking smug). Also, she, I, and my entire family are now hooked on it.

Steffi said...

I just wanted to let you know that I actually saw a van on the motorway near my home in Germany yesterday that had 'Ikaros Transporte' written on it ('Transporte' is the German word for 'transports', in case you were wondering).
It made me ridiculously happy.

Anonymous said...

Too late to be of any value, really, but "DOUGLAS: Ah. I see. ‘Hello Ottery St Mary. Please welcome Douglas Richardson and Arthur Shappey, and joining them, on the piano, Martin Crieff.’" Should be : ?... and accompanying them on the piano, Martin Crieff"

(I'll get my coat.)

Sarah said...

Did you know that in Ottery St. Mary there is the Finnimore Industrial Estate? Pity it is not spelled quite right.

Rupert Goodwins said...

Glancing (as one does) through the backwaters of Pprune, it turns out there was an Ottery St Mary's Incident. Involving a Viscount.

http://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/253545-clive-ex-alidair-lamtex-banner-prentice-bhx-2.html#post3029221 refers...

India Pharmacy said...

That is a beautiful and awesome car, I love this vintage cars a lot.

MissTARDIS said...

You, Sir John Finnemore, are an ABSOLUTE GENIOUS. Cabin Pressure is funny, touching, and so very very clever. I'll introduce Yellow Car to the Dutchies over here, hopefully you don't mind? Yes, you read it right: Your fame is spreading to the cold Netherlands, and very deservedly and rightfully so. Can't wait for Series 4 :)

Fiona Lee said...

Hello from China here! And John, you are BRILLIANT!!!
I am now officially addicted to Cabin Pressure, and my friends think I am crazy. Having no one to share it with is very very...saddening.
Anyway, just want to tell you that there is a bunch of people here in China who love the show, and perhaps you can let cabin crew stop by.... Say Urumqi next time they fly from HK to Limerick! LOL

K. said...

I think it's so great that you post these little peeks into your process. It's very reassuring for those of us just starting out to be reminded that these stories don't spring fully formed from your head like Athena.

For what it's worth, Ottery St Mary is my favourite episode (many people's, I believe), with St Petersburg second. But I don't think it would have worked as well if you hadn't already established how the three of them normally interact. It's compelling because it's an exception. Which is one of the things I love about long-running media like radio or television series (as opposed to movies or plays): You can do something out of the ordinary,because you've had time to establish what ordinary is.

Stephanie said...

Hello there ... this is just a short-ish comment to thank you for this brilliant episode that just made our holiday (to Ottery St. Mary - no, seriously, to Doddiscombesleigh in fact). We listened to it about five times on our 9-hour-journey, and you can't imagine how hard it made us laugh (actually, I think you can). It got us hooked on otters, yellow cars, planes, stupid names, and lots of other random things. Thank you so much for this. Best wishes and all the best for season 4, Stephanie & the Otter Gang :o)

PurpleSparklePony said...

Ottery is just a brilliant episode in so many ways. The piano, The Game (to which I've managed to get my daughter addicted - we once played it on the 295 bus up to Hammersmith and the amount of yellow ambulance cars nearing Charing Cross Hospital made it too easy!), Caroline and Herc .. so much jammed into half an hour.

Here's hoping we can get tickets to a recording for the next series! If you see an eight-year old sneaking into the audience, you'll know who we are.

Cheers, Mr Finnemore!

Anonymous said...

My husband and I just made a day-trip pilgrimage to the Anglican shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk. I was prayerfully contemplative until I came to the side altar of St Cuthbert. On the right-hand wall I was suddenly confronted by a mural of St Cuthbert, sitting with his comforting otters. . .

I burst out laughing and had to cover my face with my hands to disguise my unholy snorting as loud coughing. The line from CP which immediately strikes the unwary pilgrim viewing this charming wall painting is St Peter saying to the otters, "Aw, you guys. . ."

Anonymous in Broadbottom, Cheshire
(because who wants to admit living in Broadbottom?)

MK said...

Yellow car is my new favorite game! My favorite color was always yellow, and whenever I'd see a yellow car I'd always point it out to whoever was with me in the car. It made my family roll their eyes before, but now, instead of sighing in a long-suffering way, they're playing along as well. I love it!
I find myself in a tight spot though, lots of the time, because I usually get places by hitchhiking, and hitchhike almost every day to and from school. You can't shout 'Yellow Car!' when you're in a stranger's car, but I just can't bear to not say anything, so I end up whispering it under my breath... It gets me some funny looks when I don't do it quietly enough, and whenever someone looks at me like I'm weird, I just shake my head at them with pity because they have never been exposed to the brilliance that is Cabin Pressure!
Thank you for creating this!

Joan said...

Cabin Pressure is really fun! It can really make my day. All episodes are hilarious but yes, ottery is my favorite (followed by qikiqtarjuaq and abu dhabi) :) love the yellow car game, the piano and singing, herc's phobia for sheep, herc's reaction to snoopadoop, how martin sprained his ankle and how he played yellow car, too... Just evrything. I've listened to this episode several times ( can't count it actually).

Thank you so much for sharing your talent Mr. Finnemore. More power and looking forward with much anticipation to series 5. :) this is with love from the Philippines!

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Please suggest me some thing special for my car finance houston

Anonymous said...

It's that Michelle Pfeiffer moment ....

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YuppieScum said...

Sorry to post a question to such an old post, but it's been bugging me for ages and I can't think of anywhere better to ask it, so...

Who actually played the piano during the recording of the episode "Ottery St. Mary"?

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Elizabeth said...

To my enormous delight I have just discovered that Ottery St Mary is a real place. (I am Australian and thought it was akin to Weasles King Henry. Such silly place names - not at all like Useless Inlet, Nowhere Else, Pisspot Creek, Happy Go Lucky, Oona-Woop-Woop, Burrumbuttock or Tittybong.)

Better yet, according to Wikipedia it is notable for a plane crash in which two sheep died when an elderly charter turboprop ran of fuel and dropped on them.

This is a superbly written episode. It has infected my family with Yellow Car. (Xinzhou later infected them with FizzBuzz.) I wish, I do wish, there could be another Christmas special as Molokai'i is another favourite and it was really hard to accept that the series had come to an end.