The original St Petersburg blog, with deleted scene and notebook pictures, is here.
When I'm asked which episode of Cabin Pressure is my favourite, my stock reply is to say (truthfully) that it changes all the time, but at the moment I'm very fond of… Wokingham, or Ipswich, or Douz, or whichever it happens to be. But it has to be said that the one that comes up most often when I do that is St Petersburg. It's probably not the funniest, and it would be a terrible place for someone to start listening to the show, as it's quite unrepresentative; but it has the highest stakes of any episode, and I do love the plot, and the ending. It's also another episode that marks a change in the dynamics of the show - just as the central relationships are different before and after Fitton, they're altered again by St Petersburg.
- This episode was also the most daunting for me as a actor, because for once I actually had to do some acting. Mostly, Arthur sails along on a cloud of equal parts optimism and clottishness, and as an actor I can sit back and watch Stephanie, Benedict and Roger do all the heavy lifting. I had a little bit of something more complex to do in Fitton, and then again in Helsinki; but now here was an episode in which everything was far from Brilliant for Arthur, and I actually had to carry some of the emotional burden of the show, for once … and do so whilst playing opposite, not just my ridiculously over-talented friends and colleagues in the regular cast, but the great Timothy West, into the bargain. Sheesh.
- The emergency drill when the goose strike happens is a little cut-down, but otherwise (I hope) accurate. In this bit:
In switching from 'Captain' to 'Martin' for the last question, Douglas is saying: 'It's obviously your job to land it, but, point-scoring aside, we both know I'm a better pilot, shall I take over?' Martin's reply means: 'We do both know that, and I'm not taking offence; but it is my job, and I'm confident I can do it safely.' And Douglas' 'Okay', means 'Yes, I'm confident you can too.' If this had happened in series one, and possibly two, Douglas would not have been confident of that, and would simply have taken control, by force if necessary. (The hydraulics failure in Douz was nowhere near as serious as this, obviously.)
I'm sorry I haven't in general been able to answer the questions put to me in the comments sections so far - as those of you who've suffered through the placeholders know, I have my hands full just doing these daily posts. However, one Stephen Buxton has been particularly dogged in his posing of a question about this episode:
When you wrote the episode, did you have a moment in mind when Douglas realised that he might be able to scam Gordon Shappey out of an engine, or at the very least, the money for a new engine? If so, at what point was that?
Answer: Douglas is just as baffled as he says he is for most of this episode- it's only in the taxi that he twigs that Gordon's trying to steal Gerti, not buy her. And I think as soon as he realises that, the mighty and well-practised scheming centres of his brain come up with the whole frozen control column / gin / blackmail thing pretty much instantaneously.