Friday, 12 December 2014

Farewell Bear Facts - Ottery St Mary

Ah, good old Ottery. One of the two episodes, along with Qikiqtarjuaq, people most often tell me are their favourite - depending, I suppose, on whether your tastes run to otters and yellow cars, or polar bears and travelling lemons.

I've already put up most of the things I find interesting about this episode, plus a deleted scene,  in the post I wrote when it came out, here. All I can think to add is:

- The person Martin was demonstrating how not to lift a box to when he twisted his ankle was one of the agriculture students he lives with, and occasionally pays to assist him when an Icarus Removals job needs more than one person.

-  I am not a vegetarian, but Herc's argument sounds horribly convincing to me, and makes me think I really probably ought to be.

- The 'How many otters can you imagine' conversation originally happened in Limerick, following on from when Martin tells Douglas he can imagine a thousand stewardesses. But Limerick ended up (as virtually all my scripts do) far too long, and the otter conversation was the easiest to cut. And thank heavens we did, because it fits far better here, and we'd never otherwise have got to hear about St Mary, and her ottery martydom...


The Pink Lady said...

Ottery is perfect. Douglas sings, Carolyn gets the better of Herc, Arthur isn't entirely a clot, and Martin can imagine a hundred otters. And he gets the best line. As I say: perfect.

Jelly Babies to manual.

Anonymous said...

Some of us had guessed it was an Ag student who helped Martin out now and then. To be honest I'm a little sad the Aggie was helping out in exchange for money for money. A few of us had a theory the Aggie student was doing it for free, because he'd always wanted to be a man-with-a-van ever since he was six (and before that he'd wanted to be a van). ;D

YuppieScum said...

John, please can you tell us who played the piano in this wonderful episode?

Anna said...

If anyone reading this wants to see John in Ottery St Mary you can do so next year at my event: Exmoor in F#.

More details here:

and here:

Anonymous said...

YuppieScum - the piano part was a sound effect and not played live.


Anonymous said...

I would like to thank you for making Herc a vegetarian. Even more so I'd like to thank you for making fun of his vegetarianism in a way that doesn't feel like Cabin Pressure as a series is making fun of it or judging it. I've been a vegetarian for a long time and I've been made fun of it numerous times. I've seen vegetarianism being made fun of numerous time in a way that makes me feel bad, makes me feel like it was a direct insult towards me for my life choices. But Cabin Pressure doesn't do that. So thank you. :) It means quite a lot to me.

Anonymous said...

If I have to choose just one favorite, it's Ottery St. Mary. More than once I've walked home from a long and hellish day at work and listened to this episode, and come home grinning. It's a life-saver from time to time! So thanks so much, and I too am so glad the whole otter thing got cut out of Limerick (my second favorite, if I have to put them in order).

inanutshell said...

Otterly is my favourite because of the way Arthur says "I'm always useful" but why are Douglas and Martin so horrid to him?

Anonymous said...

I once instigated a game of traveling lemon with coworkers during a particularly stressful time at the office. Before long we were all grinning like mad

Anonymous said...

Me, too.

Lothiriel said...

Best episode ever! I love Yellow Car (which I'm always playing, by the way), and the whole trip Martin, Douglas and Arthur take together; not to mention the exchange between Carolyn and Herc about Snoopadoop, which is absolutely brilliant.
Oh, and I can't tell you how happy I am that Douglas sings 'Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines' in the end. Roger Allam has such a beautiful voice...

bigseach said...

i was waiting for douglas to explain that the otters were the reason that mary became a saint. as she wasn't a saint until she was martyred. of course, they would go to heaven for helping a nice lady become a saint!

and yellow car! arthur would have a time of it in nyc.

Anonymous said...

I second the vegetarian comment above. And will get to my allergy/intolerance view (in a similar vein) when we reach Yverdon.
Keep up the good work (and mentions of my home town).

The Pink Lady said...

Bigseach - if you watch the excellent instructional video "How to play Yellow Car", which Arthur has helpfully uploaded to YouTube, you'll discover that, for the sanity of the rest of the MJN crew, yellow cabs aren't eligible for spotting in Yellow Car.

Philippa Sidle said...

Thirty little lives on a plate! I have to admit, I ordered whitebait from a menu not long after the broadcast of this episode specially because of that line.

It's so hard to pick, but I think this vies with St Petersburg as my very favourite.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone who adores very rare steaks, I was firmly on Carolyn's side in that argument. Roger Allam's singing chops are impressive (fandot, why are there far fewer Les Mis jokes than Sherlock ones?), and I always loved picturing the three of them playing Yellow Car.

JP said...

The fact that it wasn't all cut from Limerick is one of my favourite things. People do have the same conversations more than once in real life, and people bring up the same nitpicky ideas more than once, like Douglas's fixation with how many of each thing people can imagine. Excellent stuff.

Unknown said...

Douglas's--and Roger Allam's--"You guys [pause]. . ." reduces me to rubble every time I hear it. A golden moment among golden moments.

Anonymous said...

St Peter Welcomes the Killer Otters is one of my favourite bits of comedy writing ever. It is an exquisite piece of juxtaposition. It works like a still life painting - the arrangement of every day items in a particular bowl in a particular light and then described with talent can be endlessly appealing. Though in this case instead of fruit we have otters, murder, a fond St Peter and the pearly gates. No actual punchline just a nice arrangement and so it remains amusing time after time.

Are you taking requests for Farewell Bear Facts? If so, when you get to Vaduz can you give us the conversation the Martin had with the bratty King that made it seem plausible that the Princess fell for him. That missing bit is important for later episodes as well. It's hard to buy into their relationship without it, really.

Anonymous said...

For myself I love this episode for the Otters and for the tribute to the amazing and eternal Piano Delivery scene in the Laurel and Hardy short "The Music Box" (The lady who owns the piano lives at the Laurels and Mr Hardy is the pub owner, and of course the Piano)

Excuse me my inner film geek is showing...

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marie said...

Ottery is only one of my favorites. I've got my whole family (and even some friends) playing Yellow Car every time we go out on the road now! I spent all last summer and most of the fall going on road trips all over my home state, and every road trip included a game of Yellow Car - we got into a really competitive one on our last trip to L.A., and had a dispute over whether a truck cab counts as a "car."It vaguely reminded me of the King of Liechtenstein and how he tried to change up the rules on Arthur in "Vaduz"!

Rach Cherryade said...

Anonymous, I presume that the conversation between Martin and Max which impressed Theresa so much was the one where Martin advises the king not to keep telling his schoolmates how much more important he is than them, advice which he draws from his own experiences. Theresa had clearly been becoming exasperated with this discussion with her brother before Martin intervened so I think she was just grateful for Martin's timely good advice and impressed by how he expressed it! This is what I assumed she was thanking him for, I've never got the impression that another important chat was cut from the show but I could well be wrong!

Not a lot to say about Ottery apart from that it is, unsurprisingly, 'brilliant'! My favourite line is Arthur's explanation of why he loves service stations:
'It's like a little group of shops that have gone on holiday together.'
I admire Arthur's endless capacity for finding joy and wonder in the most mundane things in life!

Anonymous said...

Awesome! I didn't really think anything of it before this blog post but that comment Douglas made about stewardesses in Limerick always (that is after my nth go of the entire show) reminds me of the otter game in this episode. I love both episodes by the way, they make up my top 3 along with St. Petersburg. Though that isn't to say the rest aren't brilliant! Arthur wouldn't have that now, would he?

Steve said...

This was my favourite episode until Xingzhou - the "have a banana" game made that the all-time best ever. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I was very surprised when my children started playing Yellow Car, given that we live in a non-English speaking country I doubt that they got it from Cabin Pressure.

Their version of the game involves hitting people when you see a yellow car (as also described here.

Is this a well known game I missed or does Cabin Pressure really have such an wide reach.

BTW does not mention Cabin Pressure in its history page

gaelic lupin said...

Ottery is definitely one of my go-to episodes when I need a cheer-up.
And Carolyn's line 'Twelve balaclavaed ewes with a thirst for revenge, a jar of mince sauce, and a murderously sharp sprig of rosemary' must be the most tongue-tying sentence in the whole of cabin pressure. I love it xD

Anonymous said...

And no post about Ottery St Mary, otters and Benedict Cumberbatch would be complete wsithout

I'll get my coat

Pipit said...

I was always disappointed that in some later episode we did not hear what Carolyn's reaction was to the boys flying a piano to Devon in Gertie without her permission.

This is one of my absolute favorites and has gotten not only me, but both of my pensioner parents hooked on playing "Yellow Car".

ClosetDiva (aka Kate K) said...

Love this episode, and not just for introducing the lovely game of "Yellow Car!" Some friends & I have sort of combined it with "Traveling Lemon" - the Volkswagen Beetle cars have a lemon-ish shape, so if we see a yellow one, we call out "traveling lemon!" (Kind of wish we had Citroen cars over here...)

Moony said...

Yellow car.

That is all I have to say.

Justine Lark said...

Yeah, this one is my favorite because Douglas finally finally does something flat out nice for Martin. Of course he often does try to help him with advice but to me this was a change and a huge step from Martin rejecting advice from Douglas in "Abu Dhabi" to "I know there's nothing you can do, but is there anything you can do?" in "Uskerty."

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