Get dressed ye merry gentlemen! For it is both Christmas, and the half-way point of the whole show. I like this one. I like Christmas specials to be Christmassy, which this one is (but Zurich alas will not be, because I had no idea it was a Christmas special when I was writing it). I like how the various plots (Arthur's Christmas / secret santa; getting Alyhakin's business and the Petrus '05) affect each other, and merge together into a three part ending. And I like how everyone, with the possible exception of Martin, is back to doing their core thing - Arthur's enthusing and being unhelpfully helpful; Carolyn's doing battle with a passenger with one hand and trying to keep a lid on the mayhem in the flightdeck with the other; and Douglas is scheming up a scheme.
- If you try to keep track of who has whose name in the Secret Santa over the course of the episode, you will fail. That's because a long scene in which Douglas orchestrates a baroque sequence of swaps in order to get the one he wants got cut even before the recording on the grounds that it was a lot of hard-to-follow plot, for not many jokes. (Some tough love there, quite correctly, from Producer David.) But let's say that scene still took place, it just happened while we weren't listening…
- Mr Alyhakin's Massive Yachts are a reference to this sketch and indeed this sketch, which I wrote for That Mitchell and Webb Look.
- The reason that Nigel is the first name that comes into Carolyn's head when she's making up pilots is that the captain at MJN before Martin arrived was called Nigel. (Also, 'Nigels' is an industry nickname for British Airways pilots. Presumably because a lot of them were either called Nigel, or looked like they ought to be. )
- I love Roger's delivery of '…and you mulled it?' Though it was scary to be on the receiving end of it. Is this the only time we see Douglas lose his cool, if only for a moment?
- Deleted scene:
1. ARTHUR: Yes. Because I couldn't help thinking, it was a bit unfair on you with the Secret Santas, because everyone else got such great presents, but you ended up with wine you can't drink.
2. DOUGLAS: Oh, don't worry, I-
3. ARTHUR: So instead, I made you... this!
4. DOUGLAS: ... Oh.
5. MARTIN: Oh, that's nice, Douglas. We've got matching hats.
6. ARTHUR: Yep! You didn't think I'd make Martin one and leave you out did you? Look, I've done you some gold braid on it, because I know how much you like Martin's.
7. DOUGLAS: So you have. Using?
8. ARTHUR: Mostly scrambled egg.
9. DOUGLAS: But also?
10. ARTHUR: Superglue.