Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Farewell Bear Facts - Zurich

The Nachzehrer, by Simon Kane. 



(Spoilers follow, obviously.)


Well, I'm glad you liked it! Glad, and very, very relieved.

I've said before that I often give episodes working titles alongside the geographical ones, to help keep my mind on the theme. Zurich's was 'Graduation Day'. My starting point was, why is this the final episode? I knew that everyone would still be doing their respective jobs at the end, so why won't we be following them any more? Because, I decided, as well as the straight-forward happy endings involving gold and marriage; there needed to be another, intangible level of happy ending, in which all five of the crew graduated, in one way or another, from being sitcom characters. We're not going to be following the adventures of OJS Air, or of Martin in Switzerland, because while they’ll still be having fun and playing games, they won't be doing the sorts of things that kept them getting into sitcom-episode-sized scrapes, and that ultimately stemmed from something out-of-joint in their lives. They’ve grown up. Except Arthur. But even Arthur, a little bit.

Martin Crieff was a sitcom character because i) he desperately wanted to do something he fundamentally wasn’t very good at, and ii) he was over-promoted, under-confident and over-compensating. In the last two series we've seen him grow in confidence - and competence - to the point that in Yverdon, it is (I hope) plausible that a major airline could offer him a proper job. There was never any question for me that for Martin, a happy ending had to involve him taking that job. To reject a real career, with a future and prospects (not to mention being handy for Vaduz) in favour of the security blanket of MJN - even with a salary - would be a failure. Certainly MJN is like a family to him, but if it is, he’s the elder child… and what children have to do eventually is grow up, and move out. Not that the security blanket isn’t tempting, of course; so for Martin, graduation was about overcoming his melt-down at the auction, and realising both that he can leave home, and that he should do.

The thing that has kept Douglas a sitcom character - and I've had to bite my tongue so many times not to say this in any of the previous Bear Fact posts, because to me it's so fundamental to his character, but I didn't want to mention it until Zurich aired - is that he's not the captain. So much of his persona, his put-downs, his scheming, stems from the fact that he used to be a captain, he ought to be a captain… and he's not. He pretends not to care about it, but we see as early as Fitton that he cares deeply. The natural order of things, certainly as he sees it, is that he should be in charge, the father figure in the family… and technically, he's not. I’ve always thought that the running joke of strangers assuming Douglas is Captain and Martin F.O. must have been at least as painful for Douglas as it was for Martin. He’s just better at hiding it… and better in general at constructing a super-human persona to hide behind.

So, the thing Douglas needed to graduate from being in a sitcom was to become a captain again… and the test he needed to pass in order to earn that was to act like one. Not just take charge and make decisions in a crisis, but do so openly and honestly. Douglas prefers to hang back, let other people make mistakes, work out the 'something clever' he's going to do in secret, and then present it with a flourish. He's a goal-hanger. This time, he has to act on his sense that it's imperative to get Gerti back before he's worked out all the details. He has to risk his own money, and more importantly, he has to admit to Carolyn and the others that he’s making it up as he goes along. He's not trying to impress anyone with how clever he is, he's trying to do the best thing for the crew - like a captain. And finally, if the crew is a family, he has to be a good parent. He has to look after the younger sibling; and he has to help the older one leave home, by sharing the secret of his persona.

Carolyn had the shortest distance to go to graduate. She's always been eminently capable of running her business, and she remains so; just as she has always been an excellent parent, both literally and metaphorically. So, although I was keen that she, like the other three, should do 'something clever' to save Gerti - in her case, it's manipulating the auctioneer to sell her to Bruce not Gordon - her real graduation is in her personal life. She needs to say 'I love you' to Herc, because the Beatrice and Benedick schtick is all very well - and I'm sure will continue throughout their marriage – but it’s time for her to accept that she can show vulnerability to Herc without suffering for it.

And in order for her to believe that, Herc needs to stop showing off, and actually work hard to persuade her that he is genuine, and she is safe with him. Which he does with the ‘white hair’ speech; but more importantly by putting his money where his mouth is, and accepting both a pay cut and a demotion if that’s what it takes for them to be together. To put it another way, both Herc and Carolyn needed to stop sparring, and work out which one of them actually was the alpha dog. And the answer, of course, is Carolyn.

And Arthur… well, Arthur is never going to grow up, as the ice cream van shows us. But luckily, he’s entirely happy as he is, so he doesn’t need to. So, graduation for him (apart from successfully over-riding a Code Red) is all about dealing with the only thing that’s wrong in his life – his father. Arthur’s test was to stand up to the false (if biological) father in his life, firstly at the auction and secondly and most importantly by remembering his grandmother’s name, realising that he will never, ever have a genuine father / son conversation with Gordon Shappey; and renouncing him once and for all in favour of the two genuine father figures in his life – and in particular, the one who has always looked out for and defended him, even as he mocks him; the one with whom he can discuss the dames and the horses over a few pineapple juices; and the one on whom he can utterly rely to do something clever, and make everything alright.


And because they all did those things, lo, the God of sitcom was pleased with them, and rewarded them with golden buns for tea, and an annoying sunset to fly into… but only as far as a destination beginning AA.

171 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year! :)

Beatty B. said...


Hope 2015 is a fantastic year for you and those you care about!

bigseach said...

a happy, healthy, and wealthy new year to you mr. finnemore!

The Pink Lady said...

I just arrived here to send you a new year message, only to find your new placeholder!

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for another year of splendiferous entertainment. Bringing Cabin Pressure to a safe, touching and hilarious landing; giving us another cut-out-and-keepable Souvenir Programme; telling unpalatable truths in the most entertaining way in The Now Show; and doing silly things in such a charming way on ISIHAC, among others. Not to mention your generosity in sharing your thoughts and ideas with us here on your blog.

May 2015 bring you all you deserve, and bring all your fans more of the glorious outpourings of your brilliant brain. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Happy new year all!

womble42 said...

Thanks John - a very Happy New Year to you too!

Thanks for all the laughs in 2014, your wonderful Farewell Bear Facts, Sunday Papers and giving Cabin Pressure the best ending I could have hoped for.

2015 shall certainly get off to a great start with the release of the Cabin Pressure A-Z box set!

Daedalus said...

From the New York Times:

With his wide forehead and high cheekbones, Benedict Cumberbatch has been compared, and not unreasonably (especially if you’ve seen him in “August: Osage County”), both to an otter and to Sid the Sloth from the animated movie “Ice Age.”

Do you think we should tell them about otters shifting in flight?

Luna said...

Merry happy new year Finnemore <3

Lothiriel said...

Happy New Year to you too, John! Thank you for making it a happy one for all of us Cabin Pressure fans! :)

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year!
To the whole Finnefandom, but especially to you, John, who have given us so many cheerful and happy hours :)
All the best!

Jessica Marie said...

Happy New Year John, Swiss Air and OJS chaps!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Finnemore sir x

Pete Forman said...

Wishing you a Brilliant New Year.

Daedalus said...

You know, if Gordon really could hide enough gold on Gerti to affect how she flies, he would be worth - well, an awful lot of buns for an awful lot of teas.

Tealin said...

You have an absolutely spectacular new year as well!

Anonymous said...

Even just thinking of the finale makes me go all wibbly.

Happy New Year.

sylvia-rachel said...

Happy New Year, Supreme Commander! :D

Helen said...

Thanks for Zurich, looking forward to your Farewell Bear Facts on it. Happy new year John! From myself, my person-I-know and their ridiculous dog.

[ V ] said...

Happy new year, John!

Evia Highlen said...

Happy New Year!

I did notice in Zurich, they briefly mentioned a destination beginning with A at the end. Is that a hint to a possible sequel? Or just a nod to the series? In any case, my family and I quite enjoyed the ending!

Anonymous said...

just wanted to drop by and say Happy New Year.
May it be filled with cats, cigarettes, spotty knights, obstacles that you must maneuver around, Tallisker, apples, orchestras, mainly chocolate things, swimming pools, jolly spaniards, "flap and throttle", limericks, Christmas joy, new dates and new jobs, otters, mystery, lemons, commercial success, villains to defeat, trips to the Mediterranean, sheep, true love, family, snowmen, new jobs, and gold!

That list was random but it will make sense to you I hope. Cabin pressure is simply brilliant and you deserve more success.

Toni P. said...

Happy New Year! Good health, wealth and happiness for 2015 and beyond! I'm sure you've heard this about 10 MILLION times.... Thank You!

urcool91 said...

Happy New Year Bear Facts! It must be Christmas!

Yamiska said...

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to tell you that last year didn't start too well for me due to personal tragedy but your shows and this blog have played the key part making it a whole lot better by giving so much laughter and new friends from fellow fans. So thank you for saving my year!

I hope 2015 will be a fantastic year to you! :)

& said...

Happy 2015! Thank you for everything back in 2014. I hope you have a wonderful year and that you get what you so obviously deserve!

Damaris Almon said...

Happy New Year, John! Thanks for everything. :)

Dalton Pfifer said...

Happy New Year, Mr. Finnemore. I just wanted to thank you for all your show has done for me and helped me get through over the years. Series 4 in particular gave me something to regularly look forward to when I badly needed that. I've been too shy to participate in any of the big fandom-wide thank-yous and whatnot, but I had to at least leave a comment here :)

(Arthur especially has often made me laugh when I felt like crying, and I aspire to be more like him in the face of a crisis.)

FiniFan42 said...

Happy new year to john and Arthur and a slightly odd looking goofy!!

Philippa Sidle said...

Happy New Year!

And that's coming from Scotland, where it counts. :)

Christen said...

Have a Very Happy new year John! You've helped me have an absolutely brilliant 2014 through cabin pressure and JFSP. Thank you!

urcool91 said...

I hope your New Year is absolutely brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year, John - and lots of new contracts, followed by oodles of awards.

Papas said...

A good finale is any one the characters can walk away from.

A great one is where they can reuse the plane

Pipit said...

Happy New Year, John! Thank you for making my last few years more enjoyable. You don't know how Cabin Pressure and Souvenir Programme have made my life better by helping me get through stressful times. My husband is in a wheelchair, I have numerous health issues, and we care for our adult autistic son who is 27 going on 5. Some days are harder than others and were it not for Jesus and being able to listen to your shows for some well deserved laughter, life would be intolerable.

God bless you and yours in this new year. Now when life hands me a lemon,I don't make lemonade, I play hide the lemon.

TheOldfields said...

Great stuff John. Many thanks for all these 'Bear Facts'... very interesting to get an idea of how your mind has worked to produce the scripts and that it's not just a case of writing down gag after gag after gag.

I'm sure that we're not the only ones who would like to know what you are thinking about as the next 'big project'. Any ideas yet?

Tealin said...

I was very worried I was starting to get my hopes up about Zurich, but the episode(s) vastly exceeded any expectations I had. Now your writeup has done what I thought was impossible and made me love it even more. Everyone goes on about how funny the show is (rightly so) but there's an awful lot of wisdom in there, sneaked in and under and through the laughter. It's a real work of art, and all the more beautiful in completion. Thank you for letting it into the world.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mr. Finnemore, for an incredibly thoughtful commentary on Zurich. With good wishes to you, the people who made Cabin Pressure, and all of the fans who enthusiastically followed the path of MJN Air - a very Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Hi John! I just wanted to say thank you so much for such an incredible show. I love the whole series, and especially Zurich. I listened to part 2 on Christmas Eve as I was driving around doing some last-minute shopping, and when it finished I sat in my car in the parking lot and shed a few happy tears, celebrating the fairy tale ending. I love reading your insights on the blog as it shows how much thought goes into every episode. Your characters are like cherished friends to me. I also want to thank you for answering our questions via twitter at the 221B Con back in April, the Cabin Pressure session had a huge audience! I admit I started listening because of Benedict Cumberbatch, but I kept listening because the show is fabulous. Can't wait to hear what you do next. You have an amazing gift and you work so hard to share it with us, and for that I am extremely grateful. Happy 2015 to you, Mr Finnemore!

-Katie from Alabama, USA

Anonymous said...

Funny that. Zurich didn't make me cry but reading this did.
*sniffle*

Anonymous said...

Hi John

Thank you so much for a very funny finale. It's hard to say goodbye to your brilliant characters, and I retain a stubborn but slightly forelorn hope that you will give us future episodes portraying the exploits of OJS Air.

Just one question, and apologies for being dense: what does OJS stand for?

Roo said...

Wow! Brilliant! and is that Goofy?....slightly off? Or is it..a demon of some sort? An angry hippo? hehehe :)

Thank you so much for all your work! You are brilliant!

Christen said...

I've listened about four times already and the ending will always make me smile! Its the best ending you could have written, Thank you! (Loved the otter on the flight deck, you are a genius!) and have a Happy New Year!

Molly J said...

Happy New Year, Mr. Finnemore, and thank you so much for a fairy tale ending to Cabin Pressure and for your lovely summation of it above.

Would this be an appropriate place to ask a question about the Cabin Pressure Christmas Special? I didn't see any Farewell Bear Facts for it and I have a question I've been hoping someone would ask or cover.. Thanks!

Christelle said...

<3

Margaret said...

OJS = Our Jet Still. It was in the script, I think.

MJN was My Jet Now.

Thanks for everything, Mr Finnemore!

Anonymous said...

Zurich was a brilliant ending and Cabin Pressure is possibly the most consistently brilliant show I've ever seen/heard/read.

I also just want to say that I love Carolyn and Herc's relationship. I love that it was never seriously suggested or implied by the narrative that what Carolyn should do was move to Zurich and give up MJN.

Anonymous said...

By the way, love that Carolyn and Hercules are intentionally thought of as Beatrice and Benedict. That shows that you are not just making this up as you go along, but actually have some literary knowledge, by using things like Shakespeare and the greek myth of Icharus. Please continue writing brilliant things, maybe an idea for a comic novel about the first flight of MJN, or the first flight of OJS.

Panda Airlines said...

Hi and happy new year!

Just wanted to drop a note congratulating you on writing and performing in a wonderful series. Not many manage to successfully merge both comedy and character development so successfully, and Cabin Pressure is in the elite category. May many awards continue to rain down on you.

I'm aware I need to curb my enthusiasm, because I will write reams otherwise. But, like Evia highlighted, I thought that was slightly naughty to tease a followup series with Addis Ababa!

I thought Zurich was a perfect way to feed the fans, with all the references to glories past and present. Flying east to west into a never-setting sun (Limerick); the way Herc says "Well done" (Newcastle).

Thanks for the love and laughter - you truly have contributed a star to the history of artistic endeavour.

P.S. How much would it need to commission a cartoon using Tealin's creative talents? Kickstarter...?

Joe Trickey said...

Happy New Year John!
I just want to add my voice to all the lovely messages down here in the comments.
Sadly I only heard about Cabin Pressure right after series 4 ended, but I had a whole year to get up to date. It's been truly fantastic, I'd love to hear it all again for the first time! Over that year I've been persuading my friends to listen, and it's been painful work, as it's been shrugged off as a radio show, which is a bit "weird." But, as is always the way, as soon as one got into it, they all quickly followed, and we all loved it in time for Zurich.
Thank you so much for the perfect ending, and I look forward to whatever you choose to do next!
Best wishes,
Joe

Anonymous said...

Teared up reading this. It was a wonderful final episode - sad, funny and hopeful - and I know the show had to end sometime but tonight I'm feeling not very grown-up about it at all and wishing it could have gone on forever.

安娜 said...

Love the Beatrice/Benedick reference, it suits Carolyn and Herc so perfectly.

Thanks for these last farewell bear facts, and for Cabin Pressure.
It's been brilliant.

Caroline said...

Thank you so much for the little extras you have always given us through this blog - and particularly the Farewell Bear Facts in recent weeks, at what must have already been a very busy time for you.
There isn't a day goes by without someone in this house quoting or referencing one (or more) of the precious nuggets that are the 27 Cabin Pressure episodes you have given us.
Thank -you John!
We await your future projects with continued enthusiasm.

Weez said...

Oh but you are just the cleverest and wisest man. Thank you, for EVERYTHING.

Unknown said...

Do you know I study your work? I've been in a lot of fandoms with a lot of mad, or irresponsible, or hack, or accidental show creators, and they never have so much control over their plot and themes like you do. I want to write like this and you explain how to keep your plot and characters tight and to the point.

I'm just so impressed. You never went off the rails; even the eps you say are clunkers are still, at least, within the scope of the show's themes. I really really can't wait to see what you do next.

Happy new year! Good luck in the future. We'll be with you the next go round!

VB said...

Amazing how, even after you've pulled back the curtain on how you ran the show, revealing the needs of our merry band on their trip to OZurich; Martin to find his courage, Douglas his heart etc, and we found that the road was wired with gold, the ending remained as brilliantly conceived as any I can recall.

No other series has ended with everyone getting what they want, in a perfectly logical manner, (no Deus ex machina, no dream sequences).

So often dramas up the body count, comedies run out of ideas, sitcoms bring in ever more ridiculously contrived farces worthy of Brian Rix, or just disappear without a goodbye.

We got, albeit sooner than our selfish sides would wish, the finest 27 episodes of anything. Every episode, The ones that seemed only good on first listen revealed hidden richness in further listens, even Kuala Lumpur. Gdansk, Ottery, Limerick, St Petersburg can stand tall amongst the legends of the genre and age doth not wither nor custom stale their infinite hilarity.

The English reserve might cause me to stop there, but it would be churlish to not say that I place it above even Fawlty Towers as the finest sitcom ever created.

When you further add JFSP, the best radio sketch show since Round the Horne or Mary Whitehouse, and the MASSIVE YACHTS, it's hard to conceive of a more brilliant writer working today.

Thank you, and long may you continue to have me in paroxysms of laughter.

Anonymous said...

Well, "Zurich" was exactly as it should have been. Everybody's happy and doing what they love with the people they love, and they've all grown into the people they always had the potential to be. And I'm so glad that GERTI made it! She's pretty much the fifth main character of the show, so any ending without her would have been awful.

John, thank you so much for creating this show. This made me laugh when I was in a really dark place, and I love every single one of the characters. I will miss them, but I can always go back to listen to the series. And good luck with whatever projects you have next!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to drop by and thank you for such a satisfying and beautiful ending to Cabin Pressure. I've loved the series for awhile and seeing the growth of the characters come to fruition has just been wonderful.

This sitcom has been proof in my mind that you can write something with humor that is also kind, but not icky sweet, and also clever as hell (which is also one of those things I love about shows like Parks and Recreation).

So thank you very much for this and best of luck in the future.

Elwing said...

I've already thanked you for the series, and I really mean it. Thanks for bringing it to be.

But I wanted to thank you also for sharing your process. At least some of it. And give some pretty honest and profound explanation of character creation and working out their arcs and motivation. You sir, are great at your craft.

Also, thanks to your dad. I'm guessing that this world you created was because of his input. And though am sure the motley MJN crew could have been fine in other work situations, this entire piloty wonderland is just precious to us listeners.

I'm a fan and will be following your work. The very best of luck for the future and a Happy New Year!

MartinPic said...

While I realise that all four were paramount to the show, for me it was Douglas (Roger Allam, take a massive bow) that really drove the narrative.

And it's for Douglas that I'm most happy.

He gets to be called Skip at the end (the best, most understated line of the whole show is Arthur finally calling him Skip), he is Herc's Captain, he gets to wear the hat, has gained a quasi-son in Arthur, and has also been happy to pass on the secret of his shtick to Martin.

Oddly, he's the only one without a romantic interest at the end, yet the one that I feel most happy for.

Because he has truly become the best thing to happen to the sky since rainbows, and that makes me very happy indeed.

Hamish Watson said...

Dear Mr. Finnemore,
You simply must have the most awfully lovely super-scrumptious new year :) Thank you for the laughs, it's been a wonderful journey. Lots of love from Croatia :)

Anonymous said...

Arthur's Goofy? More than slightly off. Cabin Pressure? Never so.

Everyone grows up with a comedy series they love to the point where they can recite the script (or 'learn the manual', as it were). Mine was Blackadder. And for over 20 years little has come close to its moments of brilliance. Superbly scripted and acted.

You've bested it, John, in every conceivable way. You've given my son his own comedy manual, which gets quoted at every possible opportunity, and which will bring us much joy for years to come.

And although it truly is an ensemble piece, thank you in particular for Douglas. Who absolutely does not remind me of a member of the family who's a retired airline captain.

I salute you, sir, with hoots. And not just any hoots, but low and reverent hoots, like an owl at a Jubilee.

What's next?

Laura said...

I was wondering how Goofy could look like a demented hippo. Now I know.

Anonymous said...

There have been so many people rightly praising you about Cabin Pressure that I have been reticent to do so myself. But I have loved it since coming across it completely accidentally one evening in 2009 - Johannesburg was the one. I listen almost exclusively to comedy on the radio and this has been the best thing I've heard. I've been hooked ever since.Zurich was wonderful.

In St. Petersburg, the line that Arthur delivers about the goose - 'is it alright?' had me in stitches. It really floored me in paroxysms, with the tightness of chest, the near inability to draw breath, which lasted for about two minutes... which were two minutes of pure delight. That episode is, overall, my favourite - beautifully written with absolutely gems in every line where everyone shines. But I wanted to thank you for being able to floor me like that with a single line because it made me very, very happy.

Eclectic Man said...

As ever, reading your notes and explanations is fascinating. Thank you, but I do hope we can look forward to Martin and Theresa's wedding (and of course, Herc and Caroline's) as a special. After all how else could they set off for their honeymoon, but flying on GERTI somewhere special?

And (because your word games are addictive):

John Hurt and Paul Nurse

Lee said...

Amazing ending. The evidence (to me) of an excellent writer and story teller is that even if you had not generously taken the time to write this post about "graduation" - it all was clearly on display to understand and enjoy in the listening.

Nothing you wrote enlightened me as you wrote it so beautifully in the show itself. Brilliant, really.

I will miss them but will continue to enjoy them long into the future.

Thank you again, you stunningly brilliant human you!

Tabitha said...

"Let's hope you never leave old friend
Like all good things on you we depend
So stick around cos we might miss you
When we grow tired of all this visual
You had your time, you had the power
You've yet to have your finest hour.."

or to put it simply, thank you Mr Finnemore for restoring my faith in quality radio entertainment. Good luck with your future work and may the new year be - brilliant.

(Lyrics shamelessly lifted from Queen's Radio Gaga, but you already knew that)

Anonymous said...

It's all been said before and so much more eloquently than I could.

Thank you

And I'm so glad your dad got in the final credits as technical consultant

Fantastic

Brilliant

Fiona said...

Thank you for Zurich.

Like some other people here, I'm going through a rough patch at the moment. Zurich has been able to cheer me up quite a lot over the past couple of weeks.

The fairytale ending is brilliant. I like that Carolyn can find love while continuing to be herself, and I liked all the references to previous episodes.

You're a great writer, and I'm looking forward to listening to your next project. May terrapins tickle me if I lie.

Anonymous said...

I was able to keep my cool all through the post... Until the bit about Douglas being Arthur's father figure. I'm in tears, BUT! They are happy happy tears. It's weird how the characters of a sitcom can become so important to someone; they feel so real and close to my heart. It's sad that this is the end, but leaving the story where you have was the best thing to do, imho. Every time I go to an airport I'll think of them, and I'll love imagining what they are up to.

Thank you, sir. And a Happy New Year! May it be full of Finnemoresque genius!

(No, seriously. I mean, do by all means enjoy the holidays, but keep working on lots of stuff, yeah? Life would be so much worse without your work in it!)

Lothiriel said...

You know, the thing I was most worried about before listening to Zurich was that Douglas might never get to be a captain. Which made the moment Carolyn tells Herc that Douglas will be captain (just in the same moment she finally says she loves him) even more perfect.
I never fully realized how much Douglas was upset at not being captain whilst being mistaken for one - I guess that he fooled me as well in his pretending not to care about it. And, yes, here I am worrying over the wellbeing of fictional characters, because you were so magnificent in creating them that I've come to care about them as if they were indeed real people.
Well done, sir. Thank you, and let me wish you a Happy-as-Arthur New Year once again!

Michele said...

I think the fact that I've already listened to the finale four times, and EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. it makes me both laugh and weep is testament to the brilliance of your writing. I do hope you'll be bringing us a new comedy radio show in the not-too-distant future. And in the meantime, happy new year, and safe flying!

sonjabi said...

Dear John.

You have done marvellously. I think so, and my students think so. I teach adults and they have the best time learning english while listening to your wonderful and hilarious scripts.

You are a genius, and you deserve all the good comments :)

Be proud of the fact that you make a lot of people all over the world, and not just the UK, happy, especially a crazy girl in austria.

All the best!

Anonymous said...

Happy new year, Mr Finnemore. Can you get a doctorate for the study of your own work? Fascinating to read all the background information - I'm very much looking forward to hearing what you do next. Please keep radio your medium of choice - it is something really special that doesn't get the recognition it deserves.

Anonymous said...

Hey Finnemmore...nice job!!! Loved it. Best radio comedy ever. What's next chummy chum chum?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the awesome and (dare I say it) brilliant blog post! Thank you for an amazing sit-com and even though we're all sad it's over, it's a happy sad. I realise I'm now starting to sound like Arthur. I'd better stop.

Have an excellent 2015 :D

Anonymous said...

Thank you for Cabin Pressure it has been absolutely fantastic - now go write something equally amazing please!

The Pink Lady said...

PS. That Goofy is not just slightly off - he's positively terrifying. Sleep well, my children...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for so much joyful and ingenious fun! Pure dead brilliant!


Lang may your lemon remain in play!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for every minute of Cabin Pressure. It is my go-to comfort food. when I am driving around and need a little chuckle I call up a random episode.

In my opinion this is the best conclusion to a sitcom (or most any kind of show) I have experienced. Well played.

Another way in which Douglas has grown up: he did not once point out that he bought Gerti with his money and so owns her (and all the gold) until he is paid back.

I am always playing yellow car.
Thank you again,
Alice Pope

sylvia-rachel said...

I loved nearly everything about Zurich I & II, but possibly the very, very best moment for me was Arthur triumphing over Gordon.

I also had a deeply problematic relationship with my biological father when he was alive (due partly to my being a disappointment to him, and partly to him being various sorts of emotionally immature twat), and part of growing up for me was accepting that he was never going to behave the way dads are meant to and I was never going to be able to count on him for any kind of moral or emotional (never mind financial) support. Like Arthur, I am lucky enough to have had a variety of other, much better father figures in my life, most notably and ongoingly my stepdad. I have long thought of Herc and Douglas as collectively Arthur's Real Dad, and it was very satisfying to hear him overcome his anxiety/fear/deference reaction to Gordon, realize that Gordon is absolutely not worth getting upset about, and fly off into the sunset with his real family, who love him.

Justine Lark said...

Hi there! I enjoyed the final episode and I find your analysis of your goals for it to be fascinating because I wrote a fanfic version of the episode in February 2013. I thought to myself, "There must be a way to get to a satisfying resolution from this, because John Finnemore is going to do it. So I'm going to try to do it so that I don't go crazy waiting!"

One thing that I wrote towards, though, was everyone being together, because you hadn't said yet that Zurich would be the final episode of the show. So Martin accepts the job-- I agree he had to-- but in the end there is a plausible mechanism for MJN to be reunited, plausible as a plot development (nobody wins the lottery) and for the characters, I think, in the sense that people are not compromising on their needs and their dreams. In fact they come to see that what they need and want might be a bit different than they had imagined.

I got a lot of lovely praise from my fellow fans for my fanfic, but the credit is really yours for creating such engaging and fully realized characters. I felt that I knew what they might do and say because you as a writer and you and the other cast brought them fully to life.

Amber Z said...

I love this post. Thanks again for all your dedication and hard work. Happy New Year!

Narrelle Harris said...

Thank you so much for such a wonderful series and one in which our knowledge of the characters deepened at the same time as they all grew. I knew it had to end with all of them getting what they needed, growing into what they should be and showing that they would continue to grow and be happy long after we stopped hearing their stories. You more than fulfilled my expectations for this and Cabin Pressure will continue to be a show I return to in my dark days, as well as happy hours - just like PG Wodehouse, only with more growth - throughout my life.

I've enjoyed so much of your work, including with David Mitchell, and I can't wait to see what's next from your wonderful brain.

Rachel said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful series, Mr. Finnemore. I've loved listening and also reading the behind-the-scenes insights you've shared here on your blog. It's been such a pleasure, and I hope 2015 will be a very happy year for you!

Farewell Archenemies Thoughts:

P.G. Wodehouse meets his nemesis, George Burns, and they get on like a house on fire

Bernard Hill makes war on Brad Pitt, while Sally Fields attempts to act as intermediary

River Phoenix finds himself double-crossed by Harrison Ford

Martin Freeman cannot escape John Cage

<3 <3

Anonymous said...

Oh, you've gone and made my face do that thing again.

I'm so glad you've shared the psychological underpinnings for this episode and indeed the entire show, really. The moving on from being sitcom characters is unprecedentedly brilliant, and perfect.

Ooo, I've got to go find a tissue now.

Anonymous said...

i don't know what to say other than thank you but it doesn't express the utter delight Cabin Pressure has given me. Happy new year.

Anonymous said...

You did an amazing job with this episode- it was amazing and a terrific end for the series.
Thank you, Mr. Finnemore, and a happy new year! c:

Max Marnau said...

And that, children, is why no other sitcom, radio or TV, can remotely compare with Cabin Pressure.

I remember that in my days of lit crit I divided poets into those who wrote poems that were strings that hung together more or less well, and those who wrote poems that were all of a piece, where no word could be changed without affecting all the rest. These were the real poets.

What I couldn't have imagined was that anyone - but ANYONE - could write 27 episodes of a sitcom (or of anything) that were all of a piece in that way. You are not only a hilariously funny and clever man, not only a philosopher, but a poet in the most real sense there is.

Hats off...thump...er, picking that up was part of my bow.

Anonymous said...

Despite a *Brilliant* ending, tightly scripted as ever, I suppose you know that CP will not lie down! There will be fanfic galore, probably not a film but just possibly a musical.

Btw, I'm working on a model Grumman Gulfstream II which seems to be the only plane that fits the bill for G-ERTI.

With many, many thanks for hours of amusement and silly games.

John & Sharon

Nic Orchard said...

The hard work plotting certainly gave me good reason to add this episode to all the others I have on the memory stick for re-playing more often than I'd care to admit.

I've played cod-analysis with the characters and plots over the years and it's flawless.

If it has to end and I suspect you're right, it does, you can fly off into the sunset over Fitton (night rating assumed) happy in the knowledge that you've made many people very, very happy and will continue to do so.

Alice Lawrence said...

Thank you.

Cabin Pressure is a show very close to my heart, and thank you for ending it so beautifully.

untiltheygo said...

I have shed a lifetime's worth of happy tears over Douglas alone. Sitcom Character Syndrome is a curse indeed and I'm so proud of him for overcoming it, and of his relationship with Arthur. (I can't help wondering about his actual daughter. Clearly their relationship must be better than that of the Shappeys, but maybe Douglas also has a family member-shaped hole in his life to fill?)

Anyway, thank you so much for confirming and clarifying all my main Zurich feelings in this post. I hope you'll let us in on more details about the writing process in the future - your behind-the-scenes are always fascinating.

Phred said...

Brilliant! Thank you for a wonderful series with great characters. Some shows worm their way into your heart, and the comments here show I'm not the only one for whom Cabin Pressure did just that.

(Now comes the boring analysis. Feel free to skip it unless you're Mr. Finnemore, in which case I hope you muddle through.)

I have a lot of favorite moments from the show, but the one that really sticks in my mind is the opening of the St Petersburg show and the bird strike. I'm a medical librarian, and one of the things that intrigues me is how to teach doctors not to panic during an emergency--one doctor (Jerome Groopman, in How Doctors Think) said that on his first night as a resident in charge of an entire unit, a patient coded while he was talking to him and everything he had learned on resuscitating patients fled from his mind. Martin and Douglas were the epitome of inexperienced and experienced pilots, right down to Douglas deferring to Martin's decision to land the plane (and respectfully calling him Captain, if I recall). I plan to use that clip as an example if the situation arises. (Using a short clip counts as fair use under U.S. copyright law, and I hope you won't mind.)

Anonymous said...

Thank you & happy 2015

Rebecca McMonies said...

I just loved this series of Farewell Bear Facts, it really helps me to fully understand everyones back stories and goal. In the future, students will use all of this to help them create their own little families within sitcoms. Oh, I'm going to miss these characters, but I will always remember them and always imagine their wee adventures.

Radio 4 Obsessive said...

Thank you so very very extremely much for Cabin Pressure, and everything it has done. It's been so interesting to read these Bear Facts, and find out that authors do actually have to think and analyse what they're going to write next, and it isn't just coincidence that Eng. Lit. students have to spot these ideas throughout every book (or, indeed, radio sitcom) ever written. Not to mention that I love the looks of casual ignorance and confusion on people's faces if I mention anything CP-related as they try toy ignore me and steer the conversation a different way. That's what kept me sane, come to think of it.

Conny said...

Thank you, Mr Finnemore. It is a very well written and sitcom and I truly appreciate all the thoughts you have put into it. I enjoy it very much. Again, thank you for such an amazing piece of work.

Kay said...

A huge thank you for Cabin Pressure. For many months the CDs of series 1,2,3 and 4 were the last thing I listened to at night. Infinitely better than antedepressants when going through tough times! Just very grateful to you Mr Finnemore for creating a treasure that grew in quality as we were exposed to the next letter of the alphabet! And as for the cast, one word: BRILLIANT! With gratitude and thanks, Kay

Megann said...

I am honestly not able to find the words to thank you enough for the Cabin Pressure. The show is a huge thing in our life, just to mention playing yellow car when we drive to Poland and back (my youngest learned colours this way, he still shouts green yellow car or pink yellow car sometimes). My 12 yo son is your biggest fan, he knows CP by heart,it has done great things to his English (and mine ;) ) and his sense of humour - and as he has an Asperger syndrome it is also a great therapeutic tool.
Well, it was brilliant. And it is not just show, it is a way of life for us. So THANK YOU.
God bless and a happy New Year xx

Amanda said...

Thank you so much. This has brought so much joy and glee!

Bedders said...

I'll always think that Douglas was telling a white lie to Martin about his personality to give him the final confidence boost as he graduated to Swiss Air.

Thank you for pointing out that Douglas would be hurt from the Captain/FO running joke as well as Martin. Obvious when you point it out, but something I completely missed.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can't articulate enough how wonderful it was to have these characters grow up and on while still having some smart, silly fun along the way. Long story short, I needed the encouragement for my own life. It's also wonderful to see the work and craft of constructing the stories and why the characters work the way they do. I can hardly wait for your new projects. So again, Mr. Finnemore, thank you for everything.

Alex C said...

What a journey that was - so sorry to see it end,(or has it?) but a joy from start to finish.

I couldn't help but wonder what was the value of the gold on the plane.

What follows is just my best guess - please feel free to improve it.
First question how many miles of cable on Gerti? Answer - Apparently a Dash8 100 Series (1984 - 37 passengers) has 23 miles. It was my only source for something so old and small and I guessed about 15 miles for Gerti - not every wire runs the length of the plane after all and most of the same services need to be replicated on both planes. (By the same token not all wires needed to be replaced so this represents a sort of maximum. The point of course being that Gordon is trying to hide a lot of wealth on the plane). Googling this tells me that's about 24000 metres.

Next what thickness of metal would we expect in a wire for aviation grate wiring. I was given various thickness's but again for older planes it would seem to be a median of 18 gauge (some thicker some thinner)which is (from here http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Engineering_Tables/Standard_Wire_Gauge) is 0.0104 kg/m. this gives us approx 250kg worth of copper to wire Gerti normally.

If Copper has an atomic mass of 29 and Gold is 79 then the same amount of wire (assuming the shielding is the same) would weigh about 680kg. 430kg difference - enough to make a noticeable difference but not necessarily scupper it except possibly if you try to land at more than you think max landing weight including fuel is). Looking over the last year is seems reasonable to suppose one might get £25,000 per kilo of gold (http://goldprice.org/gold-price-uk.html) in those quantities which would be worth in the region of £17,000,000. Presumably one would spend a million or so rewiring and refitting Gerti, but you'd still be on the right side of £16m.

Continuing our silly analogy a little further Tea at Fortnum and Mason is about £40 per person. In terms of buns for tea we'd get approx 400k servings, or enough to serve 6 characters (I'm assuming Theresa and Martin are still very much up for tea) - enough to feed them for 182years 7 months.





bigseach said...

i'm reckoning that there was a small bit of rewiring when the engine was replaced. gordon would have been able to get some gold wire during that, as well as checking to be sure that the wiring he had installed was still "golden".

when arthur shouted out 10 million he wasn't that far off from the true value.

Holly said...

I'm in tears at the perfection that is this show.

M.Ochs said...

So, Aachen in Germany it is? Will go looking there

Anonymous said...

So, Aachen in Germany it is? Will go looking there ;-)

Bex's Mum said...

If, after one hundred or so other comments he is still reading, I would like to sincerely thank the author for this blog. It became my little daily highlight for advent. I really enjoyed peeking into the mechanics and challenges of sitcom writing. It has helped me appreciate just how much effort and skill each Cabin Pressure episode represents, and I now find myself re-visiting other favourite comedy series with similar increased appreciation and enjoyment.

I can only imagine how stressful the last few months must have been. Writing and recording a much anticipated series finale so many months in advance, then having to wait so long for it to be broadcast must have been like sitting a major exam and then having to wait ages before it is marked, by public audience no less.

If it was me I think I’d need a little lie down after that.

Mr Finnemore Sir, you have my admiration and my very best wishes for a brilliant 2015!

Anonymous said...

Let us know what you're up to now please, John, if you'd be so kind, I for one am gagging to know.

jlr said...

Thank you so much, John, for a truly wonderful end to an amazing series. While I'm sad we won't hear anything more from these great characters, I'm very happy that I can listen to these 27 episodes over and over again, and share them with friends, and the end was truly BRILLIANT. I'm also having lots of fun playing Yellow Car, so thanks for that. Best wishes for the new year, and thanks again!

Anonymous said...

So, Addis Ababa, then?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for everything.
Happy New Year!

Stee Williams said...

Never posted here before but I've just (sorry!) listened to the final episode(s) and I'd like to say that not only were they.. brilliant!... but it was the best end to a series that I have ever heard!

Thanks!

Stephen Buxton said...

Just had an email from Amazon saying that there is a delay on the release of the complete CP box set! Got a similar email from them regarding Good Omens as well, so it looks like it is a general problem with BBC audio releases, rather than CP being singled out.

Add that to Amazon having sold out of JFSP series 3 and 4, my January fix of really good quality comedy is now in jeopardy!

Anyway, there is a positive spin you can put on it - it is possible that the supplier is having trouble meeting the demands of the pre-orders, so hopefully a well-deserved royalty checque will be winging its way to John Finnemore soon!

RMb said...

Thank you so much for such a satisfying ending to a great show. I loved every minute of it and I'm very excited for the box set to be released! You have an immense writing talent- thank you for sharing your gift with the world!

For those fans who aren't able to buy it on cd, both Cabin Pressure & JFSP are available on Audible. :)

Anonymous said...

Is that clematis?

Lillian Bellamy said...

That last bit? Flying into a sunset until another destination of AA??? Really?? Can you be thinking? Oh, be still my beating heart, but are you implying that all will be well and Gertie will fly again????

didn't think so :-(

Jessica Marie said...

We should simply because the comparison to otters and Sid is three years ago. Help them stay updated you know? ;)

Jessica Marie said...

OJS= Our Jet Still :)

Kristýna said...

Thank you for a brilliant show and for this equally brilliant article that puts a few things into perspective.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to say this, but I loved the way you ended Douglas' story. He was my favorite character right from the beginning: the mixture sarcasm and intelligence and Roger Allam's voice was simply irresistible. However, over the time I became really fond of him because underneath all those perfectly presented layers of someone who deserves to be called Sky God was a nice guy whose life was far from perfect. I loved how the only time he willingly let someone into his personal world was when he was sitting with Martin in a dark, flying to Limerick. I admired his humour any time when he had to explain (yet again) that he's only F.O. and Martin's Captain.

Before I listened to Zurich, I had guessed that Martin would leave to Switzerland and Herc, thanks to his experience and relationship with Carolyn, would take over as Captain, which would mean happy ending for all but Douglas. Martin would have a new job and Theresa; Herc and Carolyn would have each other and MJN Air; Arthur would be naturally happy because he's Arthur. Douglas would leave the show divorced and doing a job that's beneath his abilities.

So thank you for that final moment when Carolyn makes him Captain. And thank you for that lovely line when Arthur finally calls him Skip. This is the ending that Douglas deserves and somehow - even though his personal life did not have many high points recently - I know he'll do just fine in the future.

LG said...

Please tell me this isn't you...

http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/80270000/jpg/_80270947_177537883.jpg

Taylor Hood said...

I've just finished listening to the entirety of Cabin Pressure in just a few days, John. I don't know if you'll ever read this comment, but I thank you sincerely for writing it. And thanks to the all the cast and crew who made Cabin Pressure such a wonderfully entertaining and comfortable radio sitcom.

Cheers. May G-ERTI fly forever onward and the lemon be always in play!

Xparrot said...

Wow but you stuck the landing. I've been enjoying Cabin Pressure since series 3 and while I'm sad it's over, the end could not have been more perfect for the show. Cabin Pressure is one of the mostly tightly crafted and beautifully written comedy series I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy, and the finale did just what a great finale should, being such a satisfying ending that it makes you want to re-listen to the entire show, just to experience it again.

And I just read all your Farewell Bear Facts, thank you for them, they're an absolutely fascinating peek into your writer's mind.

--Also, I thought that Arthur's Goofy painting was one of those radio-only jokes, but the art you included here is frighteningly perfect, wow!

Rachel C said...

Thanks for making Zurich available on iTunes so soon after it came out! Gotta run, I've got a date to listen to it at least 5 more times before breakfast.
Please write more things!

Anonymous said...

A fantastic show, but you surely can't say the whole thing's over, until Douglas has brokered at least one Peace Treaty?

Lesley-Anne said...

Never mind the Comedy Awards - Cabin Pressure was the answer to one of the Brain of Britain questions this afternoon. Now that's affirmation...

Mountainebony said...

Congratulations on your comedy.co.uk award wins!

PugSlope.com said...

Congratulations on those Comedy Award wins! A friend of mine introduced me to Cabin Pressure a couple months ago and I was instantly hooked. I listen to an episode every day before I go to sleep. Thank you so much for creating such an amazing group of characters and the hilarious and touching moments of their lives together. Looking forward to your future work! Take care, Brian(Chicago, IL USA)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your Comedy Awards (I voted for you!)
By the way, do you know what's going on with the A to Z release? Amazon just emailed me to say it's been put back again to early February.
Rachel

Stephen Buxton said...

New release date for the complete Cabin Pressure: 10th February! Noooooooooooooo!

Supplier issues. Not blaming you, John. But I was wondering if you might be able to contact all the cast and quickly knock up a new set of recordings to send out instead of the BBC? Shouldn't take too long to do :-)

Mum's Taxi said...

After "Cabin Pressure" family car journeys will never be the same again - thank you! For everything, that is, except "Yellow Car". We are now ALWAYS playing "Yellow Car". The mere appearance of a yellow car induces screaming fits and "I saw it first" arguments that often endure until spotting a further yellow car. It occasions waving arms, ringing ears and cursing when driving on unlit roads. There have been several near misses. So, again, thank you for "Cabin Pressure" - but perhaps, on reflection, NOT for "Yellow Car"! ;o)

Rachel R said...

So I have listened to Cabin Pressure for years now, it's really helped my through some hard times. I've had Zurich loaded on my ipod until now and just worked up the nerve to listened to it.
It was absolutely phenomenal - now i'm not saying you made me burst out in laughter or tears in public (No, i'm just kidding). I love the family you've created and how perfect the ending was. I'm sad it's over but i'm so happy with the journey.
Thank you so, so much for creating this.

bebe catz said...

Thank you so much for such a delightful program! I discovered Cabin Pressure while looking for driving distractions during the daily commute and especially long road trips with my husband (we enjoy our time together, but even loving couples need a diversion). I adore the characters, your writing is superbly funny, witty, and heart-warming, and I couldn't imagine a better cast to round it out. Best of all, I got to binge-listen to the entire series in a matter of days! I'm sad it's done now, but look forward to surprising my husband with Souvenir Programme on our next trip. Best to you, and thank you!

Jake Syme said...

Hello!
When's Herc's birthday?
Abrupt, but I like to get straight to the point!
Thanks :)

Philippa Sidle said...

Happy 5th February! Have a truly miserable day :)

BradyB13 said...

Hope you're merry, even though nobody is merry on the 5th of February!

Lexi said...

I am merry. Today Amazon delivered my boxed set of Cabin Pressure from A to Z with exclusive bonus features :o)

KarenM said...

I finally got a chance to listen to Zurich and it was even better than I could've hoped for. Thank you so much for all the joy Cabin Pressure has brought into my life. I first discovered the show when I was in grad school and really needed a fun diversion in my life, and now years later it still makes me laugh when I'm in a bad mood.

TheRealEmily said...

Re-listening to Arthur's icecream van chimes made my eyes water with laughter!

lekkermeisje said...

My mother ordered it for me for Christmas. Awaiting with bated breath in Texas... Avoided listening in December so I'd have even more to look forward to!

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Nikki said...

I can't wait to see what you bring us next. This entire series is 'Brilliant' and I am so glad my neighbor clued me into it. I'm also so glad that Zurich came out, the final episode in Series 4 left everyone unfinished, but it's good to see that they truly are real people and can learn and move on!

PS I love Arthur just the way he is, definitely no need to change.

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michellegrand said...

We love Cabin Pressure. Came to it late, and saved Zurich for 6 months. You made us, still make us very happy. And we play yellow car and teach our friends.

bebe catz said...

Echo (echo) everything michellegrand said, except for saving Zurich (listened to that immediately). My husband and I tore through Cabin Pressure once we discovered it, and I keep coming back to visit. I miss those characters like family, it's such a treat to be able to return to them time and again. Thank you for them, and Souvenir Programme, and anything else you do I may find to consume. I just hope a trip to the UK someday coincides with something you're doing that I might witness in person. Cheers!

Mark Bolton said...

Just adding to what they said. I love the dilligence with which you set about that script. Not the lazy half arsed approach most writers adopt. You really put your heart and soul into it and that made it special.

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Sara Rayne said...

I am a little late to the party, but I finally did get a chance to listen to the final episode. I was not in the least bit disappointed - not that I expected to be. Your work is absolutely fantastic, and I am so glad I stumbled upon this series when I did.

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geekmama said...

Discovered Cabin Pressure a few months ago after seeing multiple references to it on Sherlock fansites -- so late to both those parties, but have been making up for lost time. I bought the series on Audible and have now listened to CP in its entirety at least four times on my daily commute, with a fifth on the horizon. It never fails to make me smile, if not grin maniacally, or laugh out loud. So hilarious, yet never off color. Every character is so vivid, and the main characters as they develop over the course of the series become dear as family (not family like Gordon or Ruth, of course). And it's educational: my family was working on a crossword puzzle a few weeks ago and I got two of the answers because of facts gleaned from CP!

And now there are all these notes, which I have just discovered, about each episode, and about the writing process.

It's all like a small but BRILLIANT miracle, and I hereby render my profuse gratitude to you for sharing it all with us.

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musicguy said...

I loved Zurich (but also series one through four). When Martin says "On behalf of Captain Loutre and myself…" I didn't get the joke at first. I had to look up "loutre" to discover that it is the French word for otter (this is obviously a nod to Ottery St Mary). I also loved Martin describing himself as Martin du Creff! The plots weaving together getting GERTI back, bringing back Herc, Princess Theresa and Gordon Shappey were brilliant! I also loved the references to Uskerty and other previous episodes.

Although I miss the antics of Arthur and the others, Zurich ties things up quite nicely. I listen to Cabin Pressure almost every day (I listen to the audiobook versions as I live in Canada) and it never gets stale. Thank you very much, Mr. Finnemore for bringing these characters to life and creating something appreciated around the world!

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