Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Farewell Bear Facts - Edinburgh

Ah, Birling Day!

- This episode evolved out of another one, in which MJN were given a spot check by the CAA, and had an inspector ride along in the flightdeck, so they were trying to do everything by the book to impress the inspector, whilst also trying to bend the rules to please a big-tipping passenger. I called the Inspector 'Goole' and the passenger 'Birling', after the characters in 'An Inspector Calls'. But then two things happened. One was that I couldn't make the conflict believable, because however much I tried to persuade myself otherwise, I knew that actually, in that situation, even Douglas (let alone Martin)  would first make sure the Inspector was happy, and his job was safe. And the second was that it occurred to me that we could try to get Geoffrey Whitehead, one of my favourite comic actors, to play the passenger. And as soon as I started hearing his voice in my head, I just wanted to write more and more for that part. So, Inspector Goole bit the dust, and I rewrote the episode around Mr Birling… whose name now, of course, made no sense as an allusion; but I'd got so used to calling him that, I couldn't bring myself to change it.

- In this episode, there's a running joke that Arthur doesn't know much about rugby. And also in this episode, Wales apparently play France in Scotland, for some reason, at the previously little-known 'final' of the Six Nations. Rugby fans may at this point be able to spot where Arthur gets it from…

-Deleted lines, after Douglas tells the story of his first stag night:

 MARTIN:         And the other two?

 DOUGLAS:        Antigua.

 MARTIN:         You went to the same island for two successive stag nights?

 DOUGLAS:        Same island. Same club. Same year.


Nick H said...

... and with a full 3 minutes to spare. Nice job JF.

Brynhild said...

Wiiiiiillll yooooouuuuuu beeeeeee reeeplllllaaaaaaciiiiinnnng thiiiiiiiis wiiiiiiiiith aaaaaaa wiiiiiiiiinnnnnnd driiiiiieeeeeed saaaaaauusaaaaaaaaageee????

Anonymous said...

"he's bloooogging late in style todaaaaaay"

Anonymous said...

You dream maker, heart breaker - what about the poor insomniacs in need of farewell bear facts?!

Anonymous said...

It's still 6:24 PM in the US. We can wait.

Kelsey said...

When you get around to posting, could please mention what film Martin spoils at the beginning? I've actually been through part of Bill Paxton's filmography trying to figure it out...!
I hate not knowing things.

Stevie said...

And they call Hitchcock the master of suspense...

YuppieScum said...


Pretty, pretty please* - when you get to Ottery St. Mary, can you tell us who played the piano?


* with sugar on top.

Mindy said...

Me too! I've decided, for my sanity, that either he (John) made up a movie, or he (Martin) got the actors wrong (Bill Pullman instead of Paxton, for instance).

Philippa Sidle said...

I want to know what not-very-good public school it was that Arthur went to. I would have suspected it was the same one as my older son, were that not in Scotland!

Claire said...

Diiiiid theeeeee whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaleeees taaaaaaake ooooooooooooooveeeeeeeer yoooouuuuur blooooooog Jooooooooooohn?

John Finnemore said...

Kelsey and Mindy - the film is made up, because I didn't want to spoil a real film! I'd watch it, though. Especially if by 'the woman from the West Wing' he means Alison Janney.

Weez said...

I'd always assumed "that woman from The West Wing" was Moira Kelly. I can REALLY see her playing a gun-toting double-crosser in a political thriller, though I concede she wasn't in The West Wing for a terribly long time.

Anonymous said...

I do hope that when you do this for the Helsinki episode, you will finally reveal where the character Milo comes from. As a Finn, he has always mightily confused me!

Emma M said...

Oh lordy. I love rugby, and I never noticed the WalesvFrance in Scotland/rugby final thing. Was obviously completely distracted by the brilliance of the episode ;)

Alex G said...

I know nothing about rugby except what I picked up from this episode. So I know less than nothing about rugby.

Christen said...

Its ok I don't know anything about rugby either, probably less than Arthur. Douglas had two weddings in a year?! that must have been expensive

Lucille said...

I'd be curious to know why you cut the lines out. Was it because of time of simply tightening or something else? I'd love to see one of the scripts one day! Do you think that might ever be possible, like on the BBC writers' room?

Aileas said...

One wonders how many Birling Days it took for the crew to determine the optimal volume of whiskey to ply Mr. Birling with for maximum tips.

Dylan Thompson said...

I don't mean to go all maths-y, but you could use Calculus to determine the maximum amount of whiskey to give Birling and therefore maximum tips. Or you could if it had an equation. That would have been fun to listen to -- or agonizing.

Unknown said...

It's a good sign that's I'm reading those deleted lines with Benedict's panicky squeal and Roger's lackadaisical drawl in my head.

At least, I think it's a good thing...

Anonymous said...

I'm a massive rugby fan and horrible pedant, but the absolute brilliance of CP means the whole rugby thing doesn't bother me in the slightest, despite having probably listened to the Birling Day episodes dozens of times.

Thank you Mr Finnemore for bringing us the greatest radio comedy of all time.

Anonymous said...

AHhhh you have no idea how happy it makes me to hear about An Inspector Calls. I fell in love with that play when I did it for GCSE and I didn't guess at all that's where you'd have got it from.

And about Rugby, I'm almost sure the players and organisers make it up as they go along anyway!

Aileas said...

Dylan, while that is as entirely Sherlock thing to do, I doubt such a thing would cross Douglas's mind, to say nothing of Arthur's. Besides, such a calculation would probably involve knowing the concentration of alcohol in the Talisker, the pace of drinking, and Mr Birling's body mass (easy enough), but then you need data on whether he's eaten, whether he's had earlier drinks, and the real crux of the problem: how easily affected by alcohol he is, and in what way.

Anyway, it is much more satisfying to imagine them using the trial-and-error method, with enough trials that Arthur remembers that they must 'regulate the flow'.

Anonymous said...

I want to know where you came up with the ideas for Douglas' successful theiverings of the prized whisky. Who would ever think of nail varnish?

Cerys Byrne said...

I've listened to this so many times and only today did I notice that Wales were playing France in Scotland. And then I wondered why.

Moony said...

Ha! Mr Birling was named after the character from Inspector Calls!

Thank you billions Mr Finnemore. You have just won me a long standing bet. :D Brilliant!

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