Saturday, 6 December 2014

Farewell Bear Facts - Ipswich

Ipswich is one of my favourite episodes - so much so that it was the one I chose when I adapted a script for a possible pilot TV version (don't get excited, it's not happening). So today, by way of a change, here are a few of the stage directions from that script, never before seen by anyone who doesn't work for either Pozzitive Productions or the BBC…



1A. INT. ATC TOWER. DAY
CROSS CUT TO KARL’S TINY ATC TOWER. KARL IS WEDGED IN FRONT OF THREE COMPUTER SCREENS: HIS AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL RADAR; MUTED ‘POINTLESS’, AND ONLINE SCRABBLE. HE IS WEARING A HOODED TOP BACK TO FRONT, SO THAT THE HOOD HANGS UNDER HIS CHIN. HE HAS FILLED THE HOOD WITH POPCORN.

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BEHIND HIM, ARTHUR HELPS (AND HINDERS) A BEDRAGGLED MARTIN CLAMBER INTO THE DINGHY.

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INT. SEMINAR ROOM.
A LARGE, SOUL-SAPPINGLY BEIGE, SEMINAR ROOM. MARTIN IS WEARING A TRACK-SUIT, HIS HAIR IS ONLY HALF DRIED, AND HE LOOKS RATHER PINK. DOUGLAS IS STILL IN UNIFORM, LOOKING SUAVE AND IMMACULATE. MARTIN KEEPS TIPPING HIS HEAD ON ONE SIDE.

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ARTHUR RETURNS, BALANCING FOUR QUICHES, TWO ON HIS UPPER ARMS, LIKE A WAITER. 

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ON THE TAPE, CAROLYN STAGGERS OUT, DRAGGING A COMATOSE ARTHUR BEHIND HER BY HIS LEGS.

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MR SARGENT STABS THE REMOTE. THE PICTURE CHANGES TO A THERMAL IMAGING FIXED CAMERA PICTURE OF INSIDE THE FUSELAGE, SHOWING THE CREW DOGGEDLY PROCESSING IN A CIRCLE, EACH HOLDING THE BELT OF THE ONE IN FRONT...

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THE DOOR OF THE FUSELAGE BURSTS OPEN, DISGORGING SMOKE. OUT STUMBLE CAROLYN, DOUGLAS….

ARTHUR
Yes! Skip! Come on!

SARGENT
Three… Two…

… AND MARTIN, DRAGGING ADRIAN THE DUMMY BY THE FEET. HIS HEAD BANGS SICKENINGLY ON THE SILL. ARTHUR CHEERS HIS HEAD OFF, RUNS TO HUG THE PANTING CREW.

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DOUGLAS    
I see. Well then, we’ll just have to see what the CAA adjudicates when I take it up with-

SOMEONE SNATCHES HIS FIRST OFFICER’S HAT OFF HIS HEAD. DOUGLAS TURNS TO SEE WHO.

IT WAS CAROLYN. SHE HOLDS IT, AND LOCKS EYES WITH HIM.

DOUGLAS
Carolyn, what are…

CAROLYN    
Douglas?

SHE SKIMS THE HAT OUT INTO THE POOL, LIKE A FRISBEE.

CAROLYN
Fetch!

DOUGLAS LOOKS AT HER. HE KNOWS TRUE ALPHA WHEN HE SEES IT. HE SIGHS, SQUARES HIS SHOULDERS... AND LAUNCHES HIMSELF INTO THE POOL.

END





32 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see who would be playing the characters. These are ace (especially the vision of Carl) though I'm really glad actually that it won't be on TV. It's so perfect as it is.
Rachel x

Anonymous said...

How great is this! Ipswich is also on of my favorite episodes of all time, I always thought it a bit underrated. It always makes me laugh out loud, especially when Douglas uses the five steps in on of his speeches. I would have loved to see the TV-version, the extracts sound great, even if it was with a different cast. But of course, it could have been worse than the original which would have been a pity.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again! This episode is one of my favorites as well (nothing beats Ottery St. Mary, mind). "It’s definitely occurred to Dougal" is just about Martin's juiciest line ever!

Christen said...

I love this episode! I keep thinking one is my favourite and going along in the advent I remember more of my favourites!Kinda glad it wasn't on tv, its perfect on radio! (and my mum couldn't call me a radio 4 'Groupie')

Anonymous said...

I'd love to know who was going to play Arthur!

I'm so glad Carl is watching Pointless.

Annso said...

I LOVE CARL! So much. And thank you for the great idea of putting a hoodie on the wrong way to use the hood for popcorn. I might never do anything else ever again.

The Pink Lady said...

Ipswich is among my three favourites (though it's soooo hard to choose!) - it's the team versus each other, but the pulling together at the end, which is always the best premise. A masterly turn from Alex McQueen adds to the brilliance of this episode. And the five-step plan has proved endlessly useful in my dealings with some of my more challenging colleagues, so the element of practical instruction was well worthwhile. Carolyn's eventual dominance over Douglas is delicious!

Kathryn said...

Ipswich is my favourite episode too, in part because the "Hey Chief" bit was the first bit of CP I ever heard, so I retain a great deal of affection for it. The 5 Step Statement is a brilliant piece of writing, and I enjoy it all the more because it's performed so beautifully by Roger Allam & Alex MacQueen, who clearly have a wonderful chemistry from working together in The Thick Of It. All this, plus quiche, Camembert, amigo dogs, Carolyn's response to complaints, the notoriously deceitful wall-chart, a Peter Duncan joke for those of us who grew up in the 80s, the number nineteen, Marvin & Dougal, the way Roger Allam says "Might it really?", and another scene-stealing guest star in Phil "ex-bleedin'-xactly" Davis.

Kathryn said...

Oh, and I forgot to add; I have to negotiate fees all the time in my job, and have started using "How does that sound to you?", to obtain buy-in to my idea in an informal style at the end of quotes. So, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Very often I only know an answer on Pointless because of Cabin Pressure and usually it's pointless. Thanks for making me seem quite smart just by quoting my favorite series.

Anonymous said...

It´s also one of my favourite episodes (the others are Fitton, Limerick and Ottery St. Mary.)
"It was a mistake, Arthur, not a challenge." still makes me laugh every time I listen to it.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU FOR TEACHING ME THE TRUE MEANING OF SQUEE. Literally I am sat here at my computer going "AAAAHHH!!!" and waving my arms about. KARL! CAROLYN DRAGGING ARTHUR! MARTIN GETTING ADRIAN! DOUGLAS'S HAT! AAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Roo said...

I do hydrotherapy to try and improve the strength in my legs, often I am allowed to choose music or a Cd to listen to! I took my cabin pressure CD and played this episode, and we all thought it was really funny! Now when I go, we quote this episode a lot!...Either that I am told to "Stop drowning! you're doing so well" and then when I actually start almost drowning I have to be dragged from the water like Arthur is from the smoke-filled fuselage... to be listening to cabin pressure can make anything funny though...!Even when you are hurting, because cabin pressure is so funny! Thank you!

Simon Emms said...

I once went to Suffolk and did a detour to eat a quiche in Ipswich (400 seemed excessive for the adult human male, so I had 2).

Anonymous said...

Is it weird that I've always, for no apparent reason, pictured Karl as a wheelchair user?

Anonymous said...

I love Ipswich in general, from the superfluity of quiche, Douglas's "break out group for First Officers" or Caroline making clear who is the Alpha Dog.

Only now, having read your stage directions, I have to go buy more hoodies because that's the best way to have popcorn I've ever heard of.

Jessica Marie said...

I am absolutely LOVING the farewell bear facts! Entertaining, nostalgic and informative. I'm never eating popcorn the same way again!

Philippa Sidle said...

Ipswich was the second episode of Cabin Pressure I heard, and the one which made me fall in love with it. Partly because of that, but mostly because it's brilliant, it may be my very favourite.

I remember the hints on Twitter a few months ago that there might be a TV version in the offing and I did wonder what happened there. I'm actually really sad to learn that it's not happening - not because Cabin Pressure isn't completely perfect as a radio series, but because it (and you) deserve the wider exposure that TV would bring. What were the people who didn't commission thinking? How could there be a better sitcom?

Oh well. It's fascinating to see these glimpses of what Cabin Pressure might have looked like with picture.

Bigseach said...

This and ottery are neck and neck favourities of mine. The 5 steps crack me up every time.

Now we will be able to spot cabin pressure fans by how they wear hoodies. Much better than hoping to hear a mumble of " yellow car".

Anonymous said...

I always thought that if Cabin Pressure got on TV, it would be best if it were animated. I always picture everyone as cartoon characters anyway (Douglas looks like an older, gray-haired Dmitri from Anastasia to me), and the original cast could return in their full glory. Something about Benedict's performance as Martin seems to beg for Disney- or Dreamworks-style squash-and-stretch animation in particular.

Love the last scene with Carolyn telling Douglas to "FETCH!" That is awesome. This is also one of my favorite episodes.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the middle of law school exam season right now, and these farewell bear facts are easily the best part of each day. Keep 'em coming Mr. Manacatsuman.
Gratitude & Love from Vancouver, Canada

Tim and Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim and Amy said...

Love Cabin Pressure. Ipswich is hilarious. Too bad CP won't be made into a TV series.

On another note, will there be any more audio seasons of CP? I know, I know.. you are asked that all the time.... It's just so dang good! :-)

Marie said...

"Ipswich" is one of my favorites, although for some reason I don't seem to listen to it all that often (not as often as my S2 favorite, "Limerick," and definitely not as often as "Ottery St Mary,", "Qikiqtarjuaq," "Uskerty," or "Wokingham," which are my top favorites). Is the repetition of "19" a Paul Hardcastle reference? I couldn't help but think of that when they kept repeating "nineteen."

Johanna said...

I want this as an animation so badly! Actually I also sort of want to be the one animating it.. Have thought about doing an episode several times but I just don't have the time. Definitely something to think about though - no other actors could do them justice and an animation would be absolutely spectacular! :)

Henry said...

'I could be /wrong/?' is the best delivered line in CP (against a lot of strong competition).

Mary Jo in GA said...

This is easily one of my favorite holiday treats this year...like a little present I get to open every day! Thank you, John, for taking the time to do this for the fans.

Pipit said...

All I can say is "Brilliant!"

Does this mean we will NEVER see our beloved Cabin Pressure on the small screen? Oh, the humanity!

Brandy said...

I probably love Ottery a little more than Ipswitch but I love Ipswitch from the very first with the call back of Arthur's understanding the people of Ipswitch to the bitter, bitter Fetch Douglas. LOVE.

Anonymous said...

Dear John Finnemore, I would just like to say thank you for being so brilliant, for you have changed our family forever. Playing yellow car is now the way of life in our house and brilliant is a common adjective used in every sentence possible. We can just about name every episode that has ever been broadcasted, and you've made us laugh when we needed it most.
Thank you Cabin Pressure, for everything.

Moony said...

That image of Karl with his hoodie on backwards is the single. Greatest. Popcorn eating. Invention. For. All. Time. Makes me love this episode even more and I am not sure I will be able to stop giggling every time I go up through Ipswich on the way to visit friends. (Will be giggling even more).

Matt Smith said...

Just to chip in on the TV show subject. I'm *really* glad that it hasn't happened. I wish you all the best on a TV show - you really deserve more TV writing and appearances, but radio to TV is as book to film is. The film is sometimes good, but almost never as good as the book.