Monday, 1 December 2014

Farewell Bear Facts - Douz

I've always been very fond of Douz. Partly simply because it was unusually easy to write - generally the plotting of an episode takes days and weeks, with many false starts and many, many rewrites; but with Douz the central chain of events came to me in one session with an easy flow that I assumed - four episodes in - meant I was getting the hang of it now, and all future episodes would be as easy as this, or easier. Ha. In fact, I wasn't to have this experience again until Uskerty… five years and most of the alphabet away.

I also like it because it starts as a Martin v Douglas plot, a conflict which was the motor of the show for at least the first series; but then becomes a Crew v External Enemy plot, which are often the most satisfying, because you end up with your family of characters united in triumph as they, for instance, drive an aeroplane along a desert highway. (Though you do have to ration this kind of episode, or else your show just becomes a band of heroes defeating various monsters; which is fine if you're Tolkien, but Tolkien never wrote a sitcom.)

 Plus, it's a very important episode for Carolyn. In the first three episodes, she is a straight-forward sitcom Alpha Boss character, messing with the lives of the others, and providing the peril for them if things go wrong. Which is perfectly fine… but seemed rather a waste now we had an actor the calibre of Stephanie Cole in the role. The scene with Douglas under the wing hopefully evolves her into something more human and more interesting, and also sets up the idea of MJN always being one trip away from bankruptcy, which will eventually replace Martin and Douglas's rivalry as the main motor of the show. And Stephanie's delivery of the 'little old lady' line is astonishing, I think.

And then, of course, it has a Scottish cricket team carrying a fire truck, and John Sessions doing his finest Outrrrrageouzzz Frahnch Aczent. Two things guaranteed to make any episode go with a swing…


Anonymous said...

Did someone steal its petrol?

Anonymous said...

This still made me laugh.

Philippa Sidle said...

Douz is one of my top favourite episodes, if that's any incentive for you to get on with it...

Anonymous said...

No worries, I'm behind schedule as well...

Alex G said...

A great episode with a scheme just the right side of completely crazy, and great visual-jokes-on-the-radio too.

As for character development, it's only just struck me that the conversation under the plane shows how little Douglas has questioned his good fortune in finding someone who would take him on after being disgraced at Air England. Carolyn's been putting up a front even to him, and he's been buying it for years.

And I think Douz is the first time Arthur's crazy idea sort-of saves the day. Yay!

Anonymous said...

Douz - my absolute favourite of all time - so far.....

Brandy said...

I haven't been listening to my ep a day. Must rectify that

Anonymous said...

Martin's "There's nothing to worry about"-speech at the beginning is my favorite of all favorites. Sometimes I need someone to tell me that "There's no need to panic" and it sounds more convincing when this someone is Mr BC.

And I'm addicted to this mysterious South American stimulant.

Anonymous said...

Now I hope that someone, somewhere re-tells Tolkien as a sitcom.

Thank you for giving us these pre-Christmas Farewell Bear Facts!

Anonymous said...

I love the little old lady line. If this was on telly, as I imagine it is in my head as I watch it, I get the perfect vision of it being delivered and it breaks my heart.

You are a genius. Somehow you've created this whole bunch of sort of hopeless, verging on tragic underdog characters and you've made them funny, human and believable. And heroes in their own right!

Douz is one of my favourite episodes. Although Edinburgh is my second favourite episode, so I can't wait to see what you say tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

Er. Freudian slip in my last comment. I obviously meant Listen to, not watch. Doh!

But hey, maybe one day...?

Anonymous said...

Douz is one of my favourites as well. I love it when they're a team against the outside force.

Any chance you'll do a future project that's perhaps more of that teamwork vs the world stuff?

Anonymous said...

Saturday Night Live did a 'Tolkien as sitcom' skit when Elijah Wood was the host. Pretty funny.

Christen said...

I get the feeling you have a soft spot for an 'Outrrrrageouzzz Frahnch Aczent' Love it!

The Real Emily said...

The words "gold" and "comedy" always seem to float around my mind whenever I listen to this episode.

Philippa Sidle said...

I love getting these insights into your creative process. To me (and, I suspect, many other fans) the episodes seem like miraculously-formed pearls of perfection that could not possibly ever have been otherwise. Rationally I know they're the result of lots of internal brainstorming and re-writing, but the final result seems deceptively effortless!

spud said...

I hope you read these comments. I know it has to end, all the best comedies do: Fawlty towers, father ted, porridge, birds of a feather.......erm not the last one. Mr Finemore thank you for writing what, in my humble opinion, is perfect.... simply perfect.

Kestrel337 said...

As 'just a housewife' I about cried when Carolyn said 'little old lady'.

This is probably the first episode in which I could see bits of myself in nearly every character.

Steve said...

"Now I hope that someone, somewhere re-tells Tolkien as a sitcom."

You've not listened to ElvenQuest? ;-)

consi said...

Ah - Elvenquest. Another perfectly-cast sitcom. Another show that has wonderful "visual" radio gags (especially Lord Darkness and Creach - e.g. the stones dropping into the well). But somehow, CP is just on another level. Thankyou Mr.F for providing my extended family with hours of entertainment.

consi said...

P.S. And may I just say my favourite episode has to be St.Petersburgh. The way Douglas says "sticky fingers" with *such* relish!

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I was aware there was a reference to the Italian Job in this with the song they're singing at the end, but I hadn't realized that 'get your skates on' was also a reference to the same film.

Lovely stuff. Ever thought of doing a caper-style sitcom?

Anonymous said...

Martin's opening speech is hilarious (and what perfect comic timing from Cumberbatch!). I'm also very fond of Jutteau's line starting with "Oh dear me, what an unintended consequence" - that man is such a bastard! :-D

Anonymous said...

I've recently watched my way through the whole of Tenko, starring Stephanie Cole as Beatrice, who rapidly became one of my favourite television characters of all time. There is a scene in one of last episodes where she talks about aging and being retired which made me think very much of her portrayal of Carolyn. Basically Stephanie Cole is amazing, and if you haven't, go and watch Tenko.

Moony said...

Tolkien as a sitcom needs to be done. Imagine what the Fellowship gets up to. Walking all day, every day has got to make you go a bit batty.

Unknown said...

Douz is my absolute favourite episode and, given that I love them all, that's going some. Thank you for Cabin Pressure - it's a bloody masterpiece.

Justine Lark said...

Just discovered these series of posts. Awesome! Douz is the episode where I really fell in love with and "got" the show.

TheOldfields said...

Listened to this one again last night and wondering just how many Italian Job references there are. As well as 'get your skates on' and the song at the end there's also Douglas shouting "Go, go go." which is, I think, something Michael Caine also does in the film during the robbery.

Any others?

Kirsty said...

A very satisfying episode, this one.

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