Tuesday, 9 December 2014
I think this one is my favourite of the three bottle episodes, partly because it's the purest of them. We only hear the four main characters's voices - there's not even an ATC line; it all takes place not just on the plane, but in the flightdeck; and it's also, though people don't seem to notice this, all one long scene, taking place in real time. The idea was that this episode would be exactly what you would hear if you listened to twenty eight minutes of the flight deck voice recorder. It's also a rare episode where everybody's Want is the same - to stave off boredom - and so there's little or no conflict, bar some very mild teasing about Martin's watch. Normally, I'd say an episode can't work without conflict- both the other bottle episodes have plenty - but I think here, partly because of the secret-telling and partly because there are so many games and other threads going on simultaneously, it somehow works. The effect of which is that this episode seems to me to be the heart of the show - they're not battling a crazy passenger or other antagonist, or even each other; they're just getting on with their job, somewhere over Russia, passing the time, teasing each other, playing games, telling secrets, and very very slowly heating up a pie.
Speaking of which, here's a deleted scene:
CAROLYN: Admiral's Pie.
ARTHUR: Ok. Is that the same as the Fisherman's Pie?
CAROLYN: No, it's not. The Admiral and the Fisherman favour entirely different pies.
ARTHUR: Right. They've both got fish in though, right?
ARTHUR: Thought so. Because I was thinking, it's funny, when you think about it, that the Admiral's pie has got fish in it. I can see why the Fisherman's pie has. But you'd think the Admiral would be sick of fish. I mean, he must have had to eat loads of fish when he was just a sailor. And now he's an Admiral he can have whatever he likes. I'd have thought he'd want something he couldn't have at sea. Like lamb pie. With turnip.
CAROLYN: Arthur. Dear heart. Could we have a little less philosophising about the pie, and a little more cooking of the pie?
Also, of course, this episode has Arthur learning the phonetic alphabet, which might have been the single most fun thing for me as an actor in the whole show. Especially Boo! / Bye-bye! / Boncore!
Posted by John Finnemore at 5:36 pm