Friday, 20 February 2015

Two of a kind

Winston Churchill. Not that one.

This is nice. In 1899, Winston Churchill was 25, an aspiring politician, and the author of a couple of books. He was not, however, the most famous Winston Churchill around. That was the now largely forgotten, but at the time best-selling, American novelist... Winston Churchill. Aware of this, the British Winston Churchill wrote to his namesake as follows:

Mr. Winston Churchill presents his compliments to Mr. Winston Churchill, and begs to draw his attention to a matter which concerns them both. [...] He has no doubt that Mr. Winston Churchill will recognise from this letter — if indeed by no other means — that there is grave danger of his works being mistaken for those of Mr. Winston Churchill. He feels sure that Mr. Winston Churchill desires this as little as he does himself. In future to avoid mistakes as far as possible, Mr. Winston Churchill has decided to sign all published articles, stories, or other works, ‘Winston Spencer Churchill,’ and not ‘Winston Churchill’ as formerly. He trusts that this arrangement will commend itself to Mr. Winston Churchill, and he ventures to suggest, with a view to preventing further confusion which may arise out of this extraordinary coincidence, that both Mr. Winston Churchill and Mr. Winston Churchill should insert a short note in their respective publications explaining to the public which are the works of Mr. Winston Churchill and which those of Mr. Winston Churchill. 

To which the American Winston Churchill replied:

Mr. Winston Churchill is extremely grateful to Mr. Winston Churchill for bringing forward a subject which has given Mr. Winston Churchill much anxiety. Mr. Winston Churchill appreciates the courtesy of Mr. Winston Churchill in adopting the name of ‘Winston Spencer Churchill’ in his books, articles, etc. Mr. Winston Churchill makes haste to add that, had he possessed any other names, he would certainly have adopted one of them.

Good work, Winstons.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

John and Kevin's Sunday Papers - Review of the Year

I know it's hard to imagine, but beneath the impossibly slick looking surface of John and Kevin's Sunday Papers, with its sky-high production values, glamorous locations, and billion dollar cast, lie ordinary fallible human beings who occasionally make mistakes.

Here are a few of them...

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Well, it's here... yes, it's here...

Happy Fifth of February! Here's a little song Susannah Pearse and I wrote in honour of this deeply unspecial day...

(Yes, I know it's some peoples' birthdays. Doesn't make it any more special, I'm afraid. Every day is some peoples' birthdays.)

However, this particular Fifth of February is at least a fraction merrier than most, because today is the launch of the complete and utter definitive A to Z Cabin Pressure CD box set! Here they are, all fourteen of them:

The discs include:

- All 26 episodes (well, technically 27, but I like to think of Zurich as one two-part episode. It's just neater) in correct, alphabetical order.

- A bonus half hour in which producer David interviews me, mainly about odd little references in the show; and we introduce such things as:

- Some deleted clips and scenes, including Martin and Douglas talking about their fathers in St Petersburg, and Martin X-raying the geese at the end of Uskerty.

- The little monologues I wrote just for the audience at the very first recording, in which each character introduces themselves.

- Two specially written trailers for series 2 of the show, one featuring Stephanie, the other Benedict.

- One 'blooper'. I know you wanted more, but for some reason they generally don't really come across in audio only.  But this one does, and it's a good one...

Then there's the 32 page booklet, which includes:

- Casting and transmission details of all the episodes, obviously.

- Strange little doodles, by me, of things like oboes and green bottles and stuffed sheep and cricketers carrying a fire-truck, all around the above.

- A hand-drawn world map of all the destinations, also by me.

- An annotated diagram of the layout of Gerti; including secret location of the asbestos gloves; untampered with armrests; and the captain's seat for the captain to sit in, because he's the captain. Yep, me again.

- The official MJN Air Games Compendium - a list of all the games played by the crew through the show.

- The Rules of The Travelling Lemon.

- The Rules of Yellow Car. Well, the rule.

- The five double page spreads, one for each main character, showing their notebooks, wall charts, manuals or diaries; as published in the individual CD releases, but now in glorious technicolour, which means Arthur's jelly-babies are finally recognisable, and don't just look like weird stones.

- Eleven hidden lemons.

- A page of plot ideas which never made it into episodes, with explanations as to why not.

- A page of my notebook from the writing of Zurich.

- A double page spread of photos of the cast rehearsing and recording Zurich.

- Two high quality staples (used)

So, yes. We tried to pull out all the stops for this. Hope you like it. If you want to discover whether you like it or not, you can do so by buying it from Pozzitive, the BBC, high street book and music shops, or even big bad Amazon:


I already have the CDs! Can I get Zurich separately, or are you trying to make me buy the whole show all over again, you gang of twisters?

Not at all. Both series 4 and Zurich are available to buy separately, like so:

What about the booklet and the bonus material? Can I get that separately?

I don't think so, no. But that's fair enough, isn't it? That's what 'bonus material' means.

Will it be released in America? Or the rest of the world?

It's definitely going to be released in America, we think in April. I don't know about the rest of the world. But you can always order it from Britain and get it shipped to you.

I am young, and have never even heard of CDs. Are they those things Victorians played on gramophones, in their zeppelins?

That's right, yes. You can of course also still get all of Cabin Pressure by download, from iTunes or wherever else you get your music.

Why are you using Amazon links? Don't you know they're the baddies?

Because they tend to have the cheapest price, and it seems unfair not to point at the cheapest price. Also, because they're the single source most likely to have it in stock. The BBC shop, for instance, is currently sold out, even though it's the day of release. But you are of course welcome to buy it from whatever shop your taste and conscience dictate.

Is this the longest blog post you've ever written?

I don't know. It's right up there, isn't it?

Don't you feel bad that it's essentially just a huge long advert?

...Well, I didn't. But now I do. There's the song, though! Don't forget it started with a song!

We'd already heard the song.

Oh, leave me alone.