Saturday, 2 February 2013


Just the way she likes it.

This was a tricky one. One thing I was sure of when I started exploring ideas for a 'Martin's family' episode was that I didn't want any of them to be out and out villains. Carolyn's sister in Helsinki and Arthur's father in St Petersburg both turned out to be pretty nasty pieces of work, and I thought it would be stretching it a bit to have three members of the crew related to monsters. But of course, there has to be some source of tension and conflict, or there's no story. And so, eventually, I came up with Wendy's genuine, non-manipulative, yet still fantastically annoying compulsion not to be a bother to anyone. Similarly with Simon: he's brash and insensitive, but he's also genuinely fond of Martin, pleased to see him, and is even quick to praise him, in his own condescending way. Basically, we all fall back into our old roles when we visit our families, and for Simon, Martin will always be nine. Anyway, as often happens when you set yourself more or less arbitrary extra restrictions in writing, good things came out of it - Arthur as the perfect Wendy-neutralising force, for instance; and the chance to play a little at the end with the possibility that Martin was actually being a bit hard on Simon….

And then we only went and got Prunella Scales to play Wendy! I mean, Good Lord. As if it wasn't comedy-royalty-amazing enough (and it really is) that I get to play scenes every episode with Stephanie Cole, now it turned out I had written a two-hander scene I would play with actually Prunella genuinely Scales! (If you don't know what all the fuss is about, then I'm pretty sure you're not from Britain. That's fine, it's not your fault, poor thing. But do Google her. And Stephanie.)

What else? Oh yes: this episode contains I think quite a good example of what I mean when I say sometimes that it's actually very easy to do visual jokes on the radio. The example I usually give is the unfilmable last scene of Douz, but this is a subtler version. It's when the doctor meets Martin and Caitlyn in the hospital, and says he's sorry they had to come away from their party, to which Martin, after a moment's puzzlement, replies: 'Oh… no, these are actually our jobs.' The radio listener has to think back to make sense of this, and recall that we've been told Martin is a pilot, Caitlyn is a traffic warden, and Wendy's chided them both for coming straight from work, in their uniforms. So the realisation of what the doctor saw when he came in hits the audience in one moment, and also functions as a call back - the audience race back through what they've heard so far to make sense of the line. On television, we'd see the uniforms constantly, so although the line would still make sense, it wouldn't be as funny, because the audience would have to do no work to get the joke - and oddly, having to do a bit of mental work tends to make jokes funnier. 


'Hang on… doesn't Douglas lose the one syllable game in his cabin address?'


'Yes he does! He says 'hour', and that's two syll-

No he doesn't. Of course he doesn't. Why would you make up such a silly lie?

'He does! He definitely says 'hour'! Go back and listen, he-'

I don't need to listen. There's no way he says 'hour'. And even if he did, which he didn't, Carolyn didn't notice, so he didn't lose. And anyway, I did that deliberately, to, er, to demonstrate that… er… …for reasons you wouldn't understand. Next question. 

Why is Caitlyn pronounced 'Kate-lyn' in Limerick and 'Cat-lyn' here? 

She was always 'Kate-lyn' growing up, but then when she was 17, she announced she preferred the 'Cat-lyn' pronunciation. The rest of the family do their best to remember, but sometimes they slip back, especially when she's not there.  

I mean… technically, given that it was radio, Justin didn't have to physically pick Benedict up for the 'He's flying!' bit. But, well… he did.
I am helpfully holding the script for them. And I am also standing next to Prunella Scales. Oh yes. 


Aimee said...

I did the same thing when I saw her name in the cast list.
How do you manage to develop characters so well in under thirty minutes? Between Princess Sassy and the dynamics of the Crieff family, you deserve an award for it.

Anne-Marie said...

Brilliant! Just... Brilliant!! Prunella Scales was a marvel, and seeing (well, hearing...) the Crieffs interact was great fun!

Such a wonderful show, you forget that you are listening to the radio and can genuinely picture every single thing!! You are a genius - you make us fall in love with your characters after only mere minutes (Diego the Engineer and Princess Theresa being my two fav 'guest characters' at the moment...!!)and your cast of such wonderful actors and actresses are, well, Briliant!! Thank you for giving us the remedy to anyone's bad mood; a show that never, literally never fails to bring a smile to my face!!

Anonymous said...

As always, Cabin Pressure far outweighed anything on the box. I only wish there was more than six in this series! It gets better every time :)

The Professor said...

We'll wait! Enjoy Cuba--can't wait to hear your descriptions of it...and perhaps the episodes Artemisa, Baracoa, and Colon next season!

Unknown said...

Hello! Enjoy Cuba! Lots of scope for a Havana episode, I hope you will continue to circumnavigate the alphabet until the globe is crisscrossed with MJN flights and their brilliant broadcasts.

Casey said...

Hope you're enjoying your Cuba trip! I miss your online presence a bit, though. Wokingham was fantastic, of course; this season's episodes just keep getting better and better!

Here's a bit of a miscellaneous question for when you get back: if you were to transfer Cabin Pressure to screen, would you prefer live action or animation?

Gray said...

Fantastic episode as always. The perfect combination of comedy and characters that we truly care about. Please don't end Cabin Pressure anytime soon!

The crazy Frog said...

I hope you don't put us in your "enemies" !

I didn't know Prunella Scales (she isn't famous in France) but I find her absolutely irresistible. Thanks to your creativity and the wonderful actors you choose your characters become real and alive to us - whereas I've seen (and loved) BC in many films, every time I hear his voice now I just think : "Martin !"

My only regret is that I'm deeply convinced that you're going to stop that series at the end of the alphabet. I also love your other comedies but still, leaving definitively MJN Air crazy team makes me really sad...

enigel said...

Ah, this was great! It was a thing of joy how the My Jet Now tribe stood up for one of their own.

The guy with the hat with too much gold was a bit mean, but I do not blame him in the least. The guy with hair on top of his top lip got no worse than what he was due.

And I think we all know folk like the Crieff mum... She and Art were a match made in the skies.

All in all, it was great like a thing that shines!

Luna said...

Have fun in Cuba! The episode was fantastic as per(especially Arthur and 'Mrs. Skip'!)

And kudos for all the words of one sound scenes. I've tried it, and it's a lot more hard than it sounds.

Luna said...

Oh, also, Captain Winnie the Pooh, First Officer Heffalump... Steward Tigger and CEO Rabbit? (Owl maybe?)

I guess that makes you Christopher Robin.

Mandy said...

It's nice of you to update your blog, though shortish, within the limited internet connection time available. Enjoy Cuba and can't wait for your behind-the-scene info on the W and X episodes. If this was the last series, could you pls at least do a Z episode to complete the alphabets?

Musical Lottie said...

I've held off commenting this series because each time I think I have a new favourite episode, along comes the next, jostling for the title. I genuinely am astonished by how much better this series is than the last; I had an inkling it'd somehow be a little better simply because you consistently somehow manage to keep coming up with funnier and deeper (in terms of character development) stuff, but I am truly blown away! I just ... even now, I'm speechless.

Like many other fans who've commented, I will be sad when CP has to end and I would love for that to be later rather than sooner - though there does seem to be some groundwork being laid for wrapping things up - but really, we can't complain if it has to finish at Z! You've given us four series of genius; not just comedic, as the characters themselves and their development are also genius. We could not possibly ask for more, as if you owed us anything!

I know we still have another two episodes of this series, but thank you so, so very much for what we've had so far! I have no idea how you can possibly top it, but I'm sure you've somehow managed to do so :)

I hope you enjoy/have enjoyed your time in Cuba!

Katrin said...

Loved the episode, as always. Especially the Arthur–Wendy combination. I was about to say that I don't know Prunella Scales either, but then realized I know her as Sybil Fawlty. Now I have to listen to the episode again ...

And … just to double-check … Carolyn did really really win the game? Because I think one might argue that Douglas actually won without knowing it.
Maybe I'm just being over-analytical and if that is the case: apologies. It might be that this is just because I'm German and we're supposed to be good at recognizing long words and counting things. Or I'm being paranoid because I listened to a few The Unbelievable Truth episodes and know that you are quite good at smuggling things past your audience.

Katrin said...

PS: Have fun in Cuba!

Julia said...

Somehow your post had me wondering why you would take the time to write emails to your enemies while on vacation? And, more importantly, what would you write?

Something along the lines "Beaches are great. Enjoying the weather. Had plenty of fresh ideas on how to win our eternal struggle for world domination upon my return. Mwahahahaha..."?

And now I'm picturing Captain Hook sitting under a parasol, writing a little note to Peter Pan. Or rather Lex Luthor to Superman? Newman to Seinfeld? Somehow that does sound like fun...

Anyway, Prunella Scales was so awesome, as was the new episode!
Keep enjoying your holiday in Cuba!

Justine said...

When do you think Carolyn messed up? I'm a native English speaker and I didn't hear any multisyllabic words from her other than when Douglas wasn't there or they were on Martin's amnesty.

Justine said...

Loved the episode. I've read fanfic in which Douglas or all of them defend Martin against someone who is mean to him or was mean to him in the past. I think we were all desperate for Martin to have a champion, so THANK YOU for making that wish come true. Glad to hear you're taking the time to deal with enemies when you have a chance. You've got to stay on top of that stuff. Looking forward to your complete Wokingham post!

Justine said...

As a smooth man once said: most, most good!

Becky Black said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Becky Black said...

I'm now convinced you are precognitive!

In the first episode the civil war in Mali is a plot point - just as the civil war in Mali becomes headline news.

This week you have a character who absolutely embodies the "I don't want to bother the doctor, I'm fine really," attitude of many British people, on the actual day a report comes out saying this attitude causes Britons to have poorer cancer survival rates than we should have.

How do you do it? ;-)

The Great Encourager said...

I hope your visit to Cuba is wonderful. Wokingham was a triumph! Just when I thought Uskerty could not be topped.
Truly, this is a show that never ever disappoints, and I wish there were a million episodes of it.

SJ Howitt said...

Glad you contacted us lot as well, we were worried!

Wokingham was superb!

Have fun in Cuba!

Anonymous said...

i think wokingham might very well be one of my favourite episodes so far, even though the characters didn't meet my expectations at all - no idea why, but i always imagined simon crieff to be an arrogant bully who genuinely hated his little brother. and that would have been quite terrible in a comedy, wouldn't it?
the only thing i didn't like was that we didn't get to hear more about carolyn and herc and seriously, i think they've become my all time favourite fictional couple. you could make a whole show just about those two. you really should consider a spin-off.

Katrin said...

Justine: What made me suspicious is Carolyn saying "She still makes me feel like a five-year-old." and later (when trying to prove she has won) changing this to "What – when I told you how Ruth can make me feel five years old?". So I was wondering whether one might not count "five-year-old" as one word. It reminded me of Gdansk (possibly my favourite episode ever), where Carolyn counts "arm-rests" as one word, because it's hyphenated.

And so I thought, maybe John didn't believe Douglas would lose, but on the other hand wanted Carolyn to win. Or wanted them both to win in a way. Or something like that.
But then again, maybe this is one of these Sometimes-a-dragon-is-just-a-dragon moments.

Mike said...

Wokingham-place-Holder is my new favourite town. I feel a renaming campaign coming on...

Anonymous said...

I've been wondering why, though it's lovely to have new episodes, Season 4 just hasn't had quite the same sparkle for me that the first three seasons did, and I think I may have finally figured it out: it's become largely the Martin-Carolyn Show. My favorite smart/clever/sneaky First Officer appears to have been relegated to a supporting role. So far, at least.

Timbuktu - Douglas recognized Martin's idea for the scheme as a good one and found a new twist on the Talisker contest, but had relatively little to do beyond that.
Uskerty - his main function was playing 'daddy' to Arthur in the airport. Yes, he came up with the idea of using the metal detector to find Martin's ring--many seconds after I had announced it to myself. Any time I'm ahead of Douglas, he's not having one of his better days.
Vaduz - I don't recall Douglas doing anything particularly significant here.
Wokingham - He came up with the idea of having the whole crew, in uniform, call on Martin's family. Under the circumstances, most fans would have thought of that.

Yes, he's still there these days, but it's almost like he doesn't really need to be.

Or am I just being paranoid? But I really miss our brilliant Douglas of old!

kodama said...

Have a nice stay in Cuba! :) CP makes me simply happy! Thank you for that.

Unknown said...

Love CP, but came here to say I was very impressed with the beard tax thing on the Unbelievable Truth. Seriously.

Best wishes from the other Cambridge!

Nick H said...

Loved your contribution to The Unbelievable Truth this week. My command of the German language is minimal at best, but I'm pretty sure your initial comment translates as "Germany, of course, was invented by Jesus". If so, wonderful; just surprised it didn't get more of a laugh from Henning.

Anonymous said...

@keesiegirls: I know what you mean. But I think Martin and Carolyn are the characters that offer most opportunities for development. Arthur is, well, just cheerie Arthur - we don't want him all grown up, do we? - and Douglas a "57(?)-year-old first officer with three ex-wives, drinking sodding pineapple juice". Of course, that is enough to make something of it but one should also keep in mind that CP 4 hasn't finished yet. And also, I quite like Douglas being fatherish to both Martin and Arthur.

Sef said...

Just listened to St Petersburg for the first time last night and had to tell you how much I enjoyed it - perhaps my favourite episode ever! Great to see (? hear) Martin and Douglas in action in a crisis. And of course to have Douglas save the day yet again.

My dull hours on the motorway have flown past since acquiring the full box set.

Please write as much more of Cabin Pressure as anyone will let you. Or even if they don't.

Annie said...

Loved Wokingham and your spot on Unbelievable Truth this week! I'm really quite sad that there are only two episodes left of this series of Cabin Pressure. You continue to amaze me week by week!

Hope you're having a wonderful time in Cuba!

Anonymous said...

PRUNELLA SCALES!!! I very nearly needed to call 911 (emergency number here in the U.S.) when I saw her name. Well done, Mr. Finnemore!

Cheryl in Orange County, CA

Linette Moccia-LeBlanc said...

Is Captain Winnie the Pooh the same Winnie that had an intervention from your other radio programme? (one of my favorite of your non-Cabin-Pressure sketches)

Excellent season so far! I'm enjoying this immensely.

Anonymous said...

Hello, just wanted to say I was lucky enough to be at the recording for Vaduz and wokingham and in the words of arthur they were "brilliant!". So funny , original, warm hearted and clever. Please never stop making cp, I work in a doctors surgery and listen to cp before my shift. It always makes me laugh and sets me up for the day ahead with a smile on my face! Thank you for this wonderful show! Also have to mention watching martin get lifted up by Simon as an aeroplane was the funniest thing I have ever seen! Can't wait for the next episode!

Anonymous said...

Will you ever come back from Cuba?

Julian said...

So, Tim West plays Arthur's father and Prunella Scales plays Martin's father. John, do you secretly yearn to be Sam West?

Julian said...

Mother! I meant mother, not father. Oh, never mind... It wasn't that funny to start with...

Anonymous said...

Hey John, what happens when an immovable object meets an unstoppable force?

I couldn't stop thinking of Cabin Pressure for this.

Unknown said...

Have a great time in Cuba!
you have fans here in Miami Florida please do feel free to come visit us we would love to have you here!!
Love the show! Thank you!

Unknown said...

Just wanted to say how much I love the show! you have fans down here in Miami Florida please come visit us it would be Brilliant!!!

Anonymous said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely X...-episode!! And Arthur's mathematical skills match mine! Hooray, I'm not alone!

Have a save journey home.

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Beth Davis said...

As a girl from a town primarily known for its municipal airport, I am delighted with Cabin Pressure. Your writing is absolute perfection and I'm in love with the characters you've created (yes, even crabby Carolyn).
I'm sure Gertie would be welcome at the Lansing Municipal Airport (in Illinois) any time and that Martin would love the little airplane statues that pepper our town (It's true. I'll send pictures).
Best of luck and here's hoping for a fifth series.

Casey said...

Mr. Finnemore, I've just listened to X. I think, at this point, it probably goes without saying that it was brilliant, fantastic, wonderful, etc. There's just this one little itsy bitsy tiny thing.


I also second earlier sentiments about hiring another actor to play Martin if Benedict gets too busy. Please, please, please do not write Martin out for something like that. Tom Goodman-Hill is great! I just can't bear the thought of the MJN family splitting up.

Anonymous said...

You know that there are more letters in the alphabet in other languages than english, do you Mr Finnemore?
There is e.g. the german ä, ö, ü, the norwegian æ, ø, å,... For which we can surely find adequate towns for further episodes?! Consider the town Å in Norway!
So, no excuse for you that the english alfabet is that limited... And there are numbers. Sure you get my point!

Though, I don't agree that Mr Cumberbatches part/voice can be taken over by whomsoever.
(Had difficulties to differ the voice of Mr Goodman-Hill of the one of Herc, to be honest.)

Greetings from Germany,
have a nice trip (But get back to your writing desk, now!)
By the way, tank you for all the laughs!

Sarah (The other one) said...

I love this episode (X)... right up there with Ottery St Mary and St Petersburg, which were previous favourites... I love it when its just the four of them... (and ATC of course).

I am loving the way you are gently knitting up the ravelled sleeve (bringing together the loose ends).. we see things resolving, like watching quicksilver gather in a glass dish... sad of course, but beautiful.

This week I feel that, even if Y and/or Z are the end of the road, I am in safe hands and it will be OK.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Will "Z..." be the final good-bye as the cast has big problems to find the time to meet?

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kodama said...

As the alphabet goes, I suppose that we are going inevitably to the end of it. And end of the series. I've noticed that the main characters issues are being delicately and nicely resolved, one at a time. I'd love to protest, but in fact... If it's the end, and all my powers of deduction say so, it's fine for me. Not because it's getting worse or something like that. The writing and acting is excellent as always, but I think that for our protagonist it's time to move on. Somehow. I'm so happy for Martin, he's my favourite character (not because BC's voice, or not only because of that ;) ) and I see him develop from very pathetic little man to very cute little man.
I was thanking you so many times on this blog, but I will do it again: thank you for Cabin Pressure. The whole Gdańsk is playing "Yellow Car", I can assure you! My English has improved (he first listening od Abu Dhabi was awful, I could understand maybe a half of it...?) and sense of humour as well. And I've just simply fallen in love with all the characters, humorous situations, word games and aviation.
So I think I can let them go, personally, however... You know that in Polish we have to more alphabet letters? It's Ź and Ż. Think of it.
Have a nice trip, I envy you the sun and the bikes! :)

Veej said...

What's Up Doc? Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
Went The Day Well? Four Weddings And A Funeral
X-cellent, x-pertly written and acted episode. I cried with laughter at Fizz Buzz 'Ave A Banana!

Anonymous said...

Can we please have Samuel West on soon so we can have the West Family Trifecta?

I'm in Australia and listen on a Thursday morning before work. As usual, this morning, you stopped my ability to breathe, repeatedly.

If Arthur is actually based on a real person I need their name and contact details pronto, because, to quote Peter Cook: 'Mawwidge'

Veej said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Oh dear. I think we're all in for a talk that starts with "you know Gertie's been unwell for some time now". I can't speak for everyone BUT I'M NOT OLD ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND.

I seem to have thrown my rattle out of the pram, could someone get that for me?

Also "Dude, Where's my Car?" "Where the Heart Is". Gertie... *sniff*

Anonymous said...

Ignoring everyone talking about the end of the series and what that may entail and ploughing on with my own comment:
I've said it a few times now, but you, Sir Finnemore, are a genius. I hope that when Cabin Pressure does come to an end, whenever that may be! that you continue to fill up the radio waves with the fruits of your brain labour.

And if you ever read the comments and consider answering questions... I was wondering how much research you had to do for a series based on aviation and airlines. Did the show come from a childhood interest or did the knowledge come after an idea struck you for the show?

Anonymous said...

Love all the episodes! Wokingham and now, Xinzhou, really I think one episode is my favourite when along comes the other. The 'Ave a Banana part was hilarious!
The only problem I have with the episodes is that each one of them is too short!
Please don't end CP Mr. Finnemore. Pretty please!!
Well anyway since the Y one is the last episode and we might have to say goodbye to GERTI and the crew, I had to come here and say thank you. thanks for giving us one of the best comedy sitcoms ever! In the words of Arthur Shappey (who is my favourite character btw); the cast, the crew and especially you, are...yep you guessed it...Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Did anybody else catch Carolyn's comment about having to miss Tosca, and that no, she wasn't going with Herc? Carolyn said she hated opera last season. Has she changed her mind? (Personally, I'm with her earlier position on the matter.)

Queen Paige said...

Oh the suspence is killing me! I've promised myself I wouldn't comment about the episodes until your actual posts are up, but I'm about to die of all the things I want to say!

Also: Mutual agreement between everyone that we don't talk about the forever end of CP until next week when it has either happened or not? I can handly bear to think about it...

Luke Surl said...

I'm guessing Z... is for Zurich? A Christmas special? :)

Eclectic Man said...


Q "What's Up Doc?"

A "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines"

Sorry, couldn't resist

Freddie Emsworth said...

I was hooked from the very first 'I wish I had a carrot' to the final ''ave a banana!'

What a joy to witness an MJN sleepover!

Anonymous said...

As an opera lover, I am going to assume that Carolyn went to the opera and found that she really loved it and was going on her own! That's what I do given that I find few people who like it and Tosca! Great one.

I can't wait till we get JF comments when he returns from his well deserved holiday. Here in the US, we can't just go over to Cuba and I would love to someday. Lucky him!

Thom said...

I wonder whether we might see Martin get the career boost he needs to Swiss Airways. I'm also sure that Carolyn might finally come to her senses and ask Herc not to go to Zurich. We would then be left with Herc needing a job and MJN needing a pilot... Hmm...

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Mandy (from Australia) said...

Oh John Finnemore, this was an absolute treat of an episode!

An MJN slumber party, more word games than you can poke a stick at and snowmen wearing Martin hats... just BRILLIANT.

It does look like the series is resolving itself beautifully, as sad as that is (I dread and anticipate the Z ep whenever it happens in equal measure).

But since you're going out on such a high (with such a stellar cast, and a storyline that just keeps getting better as the characters evolve into more than just caricature), I think I can let go with a light heart.

You are such a good writer and deserve every bit of praise you see in these comments sections (also love your appearances on Now Show and Unbelievable Truth - I really look forward to your lectures/segments, they're nearly always head above the others!)... I'm a fan for life!

NAA said...

Hi there, I probably can't think of a new way to express how truly excellent CP is. It certainly ranks up there alongside all your other work -I always tune into a programme when I see you are on it because it guarantees it will be perceptive and funny. A quick question sparked by your notebooks (well couple of questions really). First, do you keep that on you all the time so that the programmes sort of grows organically in that fashion, or do you also have times when you sit in front of the computer and think, right, must work on episode six today. Second, it looks like you jot down bits of dialogue, do you ever find the characters talking in your head all the time? Not in a crazy 'oh your honour Douglas told me to steal the bottle of Talisker from Tescos' sort of way, but just going round and round in your mind? Must be a bugger if they are there when you are trying to sleep. Do you end up counting stuffed sheep!

Lillian Bellamy said...

I was so worried that series 4 would not live up to previous but I was wrong, so wrong.... Brilliant...

the interaction between Arthur and Wendy was hilarious. Thank you JF.


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Kris said...

You're back! We missed you! How was Cuba? I've never been and shan't ever go (even though it's a puddle jump from where I grew up) b/c my president doesn't like theirs. Lucky you!

W and X were gorgeous. You got ALL OF TUMBLR playing Fizz Buzz. Great fun! The first 50 posts... ;)

I SO know what you mean about the sneaky plotless plot eps. I'm having that problem right now. How do you hide the plot? I keep thinking "plot is things causing other things" and trying not to structure too much, but I just know that my characters are talking AROUND the story instead of diving into it.

Anyway! sorry to digress. You always manage to structure in clever ways that pull stuff out I never expected, like Mrs. Skip's simple line, "Don't do that to Simon again." Turned the whole ep on its side, and made me reconsider Martin. (the noises I made listening to that whole ep were not human. Oh Martin! Yay Arthur, he really should work in a care home.)

Can't wait for Y, am scared for all of them, esp (my pet favorite) Douglas.


Katrin said...

@Nick H
I've also loved the last Unbelievable Truth episode! And yes, the first sentence did mean "Germany, of course, was invented by Jesus". I'm only wondering where John got that German sentence from so quickly after hearing Henning's story … (a) he speaks German a bit? b) Google translate or something like that? c) Henning??)
And I actually loved how Henning wasted points buzzing in to claim that that was all true! I didn't find him very funny in the beginning … but he might be winning me over.

And about Douglas. It recently hit me how Jeevesish he is in that everyone wants him to solve their problems. And how Woosterish Martin is. And Arthur. But I'll stop right there. Don't want to ponder who that would make Carolyn …

Indy said...

Ok, your back then? I'm waiting with bated breath for your notebook pages...

Oonae said...

Okay, love everything, it is all perfect, and all that, but I am really anxious that you write this post, so that we can reconsider Martin's character from your perspective. Is it true that his family actually finds him intimidating? That Simon feels inferior and is compensating with bravado? And so: is it only Martin's narcissism that makes him feel that they all think themselves superior to him?

Anonymous said...

I'm just shaking with excitement here, waiting for you to update this... Will you please tell us which one of the Crieff siblings is the youngest and which one is the oldest? I sort of got the feeling that Simon is the oldest, Martin is the youngest and Caitlin is the ignored middle child. By the way, what happened with the pronunciation of her name..? O__o

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to add my "Brilliant!!" to the others (the non-spambot ones, anyway). I loved Martin's mum - spot on & pitch perfect, I'd say! (Also loved Arthur going over to help "Mrs. Skip"!)

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Anonymous said...

***Prunella genuinely Scales***

I screeched (really) when I first saw her name listed among the cast members for this episode on Radio Four. Seriously. Sybil Fawlty: Goddess. Unbelievable. Go, you!

--Cheryl from Orange County, CA

Kw.Park said...

amazing story! thanks for sharing. it's my very pleasure to hear the story happened behind the air:)

and hope I'll be hear from youo that season 5 would be coming up. it definately would be the one'd make me happy!

greeting from Seoul, South Korea.

caroline said...

Watching Benedict being swung around by Justin is something i will never forget!

Also watching Mr Finnemore himself have a bit of a "fanboy" moment at the mic before they started recording this episode was magical...

caroline said...

Watching Benedict being swung around by Justin is something i will never forget!

Also watching Mr Finnemore himself have a bit of a "fanboy" moment at the mic before they started recording this episode was magical...

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the full post!

Catlin said...

As someone whose name is pronounced "Cat-lin" (and spelled that way also), I must admit that this episode filled me with a ridiculous amount of glee. I finally heard my name in something I like! Sort of.
The pronunciation is the same, so I'm counting it. Shhhh.

Unknown said...

Oh, you've finally updated this! Or at least I've finally noticed that you have. Either or!

Here's possibly a good reason to demonstrate why you kept "hour" in. To prove that unless someone catches you, you can slip up and still be in play! :P And honestly, one word with two syllables should be excused. I mean, it's a very, very difficult game! I know I tried making a short little paragraph talking about Cabin Pressure using all words of one sound, and I almost gave up and just ended it right there! I can only imagine the time it took to write those scenes out.

And I am not from Britain, so thank you for feeling sorry for me. Because as you have pointed out, being American means I have no idea of the sheer amazingness of Prunella Scales and many, many other such British treasures. Once again I am adding to my mental list of reasons why I should eventually move over there.

Honestly, this was a brilliant episode (as always) and a blast to listen to!

Ben Moore said...

Hi John. The Arthur vs Mrs Crief thing was a masterstroke. I've genuinely listened to Carolyn's 'we have at our disposal, do we not' line about 10 times. Series 4 spent a lot more time sketching the characters in emotional depth and I think it really worked well.

Anonymous said...

I thought the mental picture of BC!Martin being picked up and twirled around couldn't get much better, but then you posted a picture of it actually happening.

Thanks for clearing up some things! Gotta be honest, some of those did niggle at the back of my mind but i couldn't come up with any plausible explanations.

helix said...

The picture is brilliant (as was the episode), but...but...but...where did his legs go??

pj said...

My good Mr F, 'hour' is one syllable. It's a triphthong. Here. (As, incidentally, is 'our', as in, 'We will take one hour for our trip.') There are accents where it is pronounced unquestionably disyllabically, but Roger Allam's is not one of them.

Alison said...

Hi John, we ADORED this episode! FYI, regarding "hour" - our 9-yr-old caught that (and thank you for being educational as well as hilarious), so we looked it up. Turns out there's something of a debate about how many syllables it has, and it's often listed as having EITHER one or two syllables, because it has something called a "tripthong." I'd give this one to Douglas!
love, Alison

Anonymous said...

thanks for the recap!
i really really loved the episode. one of my favorites in season 4!
it was particular impressive how you managed the one-syllables parts. was it as difficult and frustrating as i imagine it to be?

Maren De Simone said...

Thank you for the update!

'Wokingham' definitely is one of my favourite episodes, and I think it already was before I listened to it, simply because of Prunella genuinely Scales.
She was lovely, as expected; she actually did remind me of the Major in Fawlty Towers, with the way she appeared a little doddery but at the same time very amiable. And it was heartwarming to hear that she does google her son's name from time to time and actually knew about his van business before he told her.

Having the MJN family come to Martin's aid was also amazing, and I was shrieking with laughter again during the hat scene or when they had their little talk in the kitchen.

Every Wednesday feels a little empty now without a new episode to look forward to.

Thank you, again, for all the brilliant hilarity!

Love, the airp- errm, a fan from Northern Germany =)

Gina said...

Wendy was PERFECT. No one is so troublesome as those who are heroically determined not to be troublesome. And she and Arthur were perfect together. If MJN is truly breaking up (sob), I can see him getting a job as her endlessly cheery Scrabble-playing caretaker.

Shannon said...

I just want you to know, my family is more like Martin's than you'd guess. Really. Guess and then read.

My mom is EXACTLY the type of person who doesn't want to be any trouble, would take a meal "however it comes," would think the names of board games are rappers, and would say in earnest, "Someone else might have needed [the ambulance]!"; I'm the youngest and my older brother/s used to do "Flying Time" which involved them spinning around while holding me by an arm and a leg and then throwing me onto a sofa; and although it's not quite specific to this episode, I've wanted to be a novelist since I was about five or six but I'm really not suited for it and I have to make up for it by adhering strictly to "rules" and guidelines for writing and grammar. (And dude, am I ever a capsized duck.)

I'm not sure if I should thank you or resent you for portraying me and my family so accurately, but I can at least let you know that Wokingham is one of my absolute favorite episodes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr. Finnemore! Great episode. It was fun to hear more about Martin's family and get a little backstory there. Wendy's insistence on the chipped mug and not being a bother were spot on.

The visual jokes do work really well & the reason they work so well is because of your awesome writing skills. It worked in the last scene of Duoz with the cricket team, and also in a more subtle way when Carolyn tells Douglas to put the rest of his clothes on & the audience has to remember that he's in his swim trunks.

The same humor worked hilariously in Wokingham with the doctor mentioning the uniforms. It's true--the mental work makes it funnier :)

Thanks for the post and the picture. So funny--I had no idea Benedict was actually lifted up.

--ks from Illinois

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Paula Jantunen said...

While we're nitpicking on the game-of-words-with-one-sound, Douglas also said "Good morning, Martin" while the game was on, but I sort of assumed it didn't count because he apparently hadn't noticed Carolyn was present. :-)

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Tara said...

Dear John F.

hooray for Wokingham and the post! Apart from its obvious hilariousness, it is also full of painfully true (and painfully funny) patterns how people act when confronted with their family.
I also have a theory why these visual jokes work so well. Of course, first of all, they are very well written. Then we are a smart audience, Mr. F., but we also like to think of ourselves as a smart audience: therefore we like indulging in the "Ohhh...I get it! I completely get it now!"-parts. ("Because normally, it's the other way round!")
I still also like visual visual jokes, like when Arthur dropped his hat while practicing bows for the king in the recording for Vaduz...and David Tyler pointed out that it was a radio show. Really?
Anyway, these two recordings I attended last year make up for a lot of trouble...and help me any time I have to record an answering machine greeting, because I am actually smiling and "fairly often just completely happy". And this is really important, because I don't have a bathtub.

The Professor said...

Loved this episode, John. Not only because the Arthur/Wendy dynamic was so marvelous, and Prunella Scales is incredible, but because it set up such a lovely contrast between the Crieff family and the MJN family--beautiful build-up for the dilemma of Yverdon-les-Bains.

Thanks for posting the picture of "flying," which explained certain vocal characteristics of the episode. And congratulations on getting the "Lemons and Landmarks" book after the episode--that was a lovely project, and you (all) well deserved it for all the joy this show gives us.

Hope the BBC greenlights season 5 very very soon...tell them I'm not getting any younger (though I don't want to be a bother...)

Thanks for the update!

Helen said...

The family dynamics in Wokingham were beautifully done; yet another delightful episode, thank you! And yes, I would agree that visual jokes work wonderfully on the radio; there's nothing more satisfying than that ever so slightly superior feeling you get when you understand a joke like that. I think it's the British in us.
Oh and it is perfectly acceptable for Douglas to use the word "hour" as it does only have one syllable if you speak using RP. And as this is Douglas we're talking about, I think you're safe. It's a good job he's played by the velvet voiced Roger Allam and not, say, Liam Gallagher. For a whole multitude of reason, really.

Philippa Sidle said...

What I want to know is... did you deliberately chip a mug to set that photo up?

My husband and I always make the 'already being made tea, however it comes, in a chipped mug, just the way you like it' every time we make each other cups of tea now.

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Anonymous said...

Hour is a one syllable word here in Ireland, sort of like a pirate pronunciation ie."Arr" So I never noticed!

Narrelle said...

Isn't 'hour' more of a dipthong than two entire syllables? More of a syllable and a half, if you stretch it. ANd if you say it all posh it's more like 'aaahr' anyway.

What do I know, though. I'm Australian. Practically related to Arthur.



Unknown said...

I've only just discovered Cabin Pressure and only because it was mentioned in an interview with BC (I say BC because I cant spell Benedict Cumberbatch. It's brilliant - and I agree that I think it's a show that is ideal for Radio as it treats the listeners as intelligent - the case in point being the Uniform joke. TV would spoil the show I think - any way I've brought all the series from Audio Books so I can listen to them at my leisure. Well done John Finnemore (not JF as I can spell Jin Funnamore)

Artistic Director of The House of Strange and founder of Oblong said...

I am NOT British and yet I know Prunella Scales too well...having been raised properly. In a home full of British comedy, from the Goon Show and onward!
I truly loved Wokingham (as I do all Cabin Pressure episodes but the family ones always make me smile just that little bit more)
Benedict being picked up really made those grunting sounds more grunty....It was a brilliant idea! Was it Benedicts or the actor playing Simon OR PERHAPS A JOINT CONSPIRACY?!

Anonymous said...

where are Benedict's legs?!

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Anonymous said...

We had the privilege of seeing Prunella Scales perform here on stage in Massachusetts in 1999, in An Evening with Queen Victoria. Having loved Fawlty Towers for a long time, it was exactly like seeing royalty! Love this episode, and adore all of Cabin Pressure - I just discovered it recently, and now my whole family has made several purchases. We're on a mission to convert others to its genius.

Unknown said...

I remember hearing the audience's reaction to Arthur's brother-assisted flying and wondering what was happening while this was being recorded. Thanks for the laughs! Seeing this being recorded would have been a real treat.

Narrelle Harris said...

You know, I just thought 'hour' has a dipthong rather than two actual syllables. It's like... a single syllable with a wobble. Isn't it?

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