Brilliant! The Cabin Pressure appreciation thread

If you don’t know Cabin Pressure, welcome. If you do know Cabin Pressure, bienvenue à bord. Je suis ton capitaine Knead du Know.

The lemon is in play.

I’ll be checking that out…in?

Yellow car!

Everyone should check it out. It’s unbelievably good radio comedy - funny, character led, neat plotting, and - in the style of e.g. Parks and Rec - genuinely feel-good in that you like the characters, you want them to triumph over both obstacles and their own flaws and it’s unashamedly optimistic and positive in its outlook.

We got the full set for a summer of road trips and it went down a storm with the whole family. (I spend 2-3 evenings a week going into my 10-year-old’s room to tell him to stop listening 'cos its late, then sitting down and finishing the episode with him.

Yes, but what’s it about?

It’s about the trials and tribulations of tiny charter aeroplane company, MJN Air. MJN has one, very old, plane and four staff: the hard-pressed owner, the safe pilot, the good pilot, and the cheerful but none too bright steward. Voice cast includes Benedict Cumberbatch, who started on the show when he was an up and coming young British actor who you might have seen on telly at some point, and kept going after he became Benedict Cumberbatch. All the cast are excellent, but the casting of Roger Allam as the supremely self-confident, slightly disreputable old pilot/sky god was a stroke of genius. The man has a voice like honeyed mahogany.

Is it Birling Day already?

Yes, Roger Allam has one of those “I’d listen to him read the phonebook” voices. Those unfamiliar with Allam may know him as Fred Thursday in the Inspector Morse prequel series “Endeavour”.

Also among the cast is John Finnemore who, apart from playing the cheerful idiot Arthur, is the brilliant comedy writer responsible for the series. He’s also done a BBC Radio 4 sketch show called “John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme” and two series of two-handed comedy radio plays called “Double Acts”, both of which are also worth listening to.

This is a constant in our house - Husband likes to put it on as he’s going to sleep.

Some other notes: There are 26 episodes, each named after the destination/location of that week’s episode, from Abu Dabi to Zurich. You totally fall in love with these ridiculous people over the course of the series, and as it progresses you see them growing and changing and see the relationships between them going from distant co-workers to tight-knit friends. They should absolutely be listened to in (alphabetical) order, but IMO the second half of the show is far more compelling than the first half.

It’s amazing. And hilarious. And really, really good.

I’ll admit I was surprised to find out there was still such a thing as a radio series.

Previous thread: Let’s talk about the funniest British comedy of the last decade

Since that thread, I’ve proceeded to listen to the rest of the 26 episodes, and if anything they keep getting better as they go along. The series deserves all the praise heaped upon it.

BBC Radio (specifically BBC Radio 4) still does a good job of producing these - half-six Monday to Friday is the comedy slot where you’ll find long-running panel games but also sketch shows (e.g. Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme which Gyrate is completely right to also recommend) and sitcoms. A mixed bag, inevitably, but it’s an approach which produces absolute gems.

The radio can be a step towards TV (e.g. Mitchell and Webb were doing sketches on radio and transferred to sketches on TV) or it can be the right medium for the show.

Nitpick: 27 episodes. Zurich is a two-parter.

I simply cannot stand Martin’s character. I find him simply too stupid and irritating to be allowed. However many his faults, though, he does have flying skills and I rather liked St. Petersburg and his interview in Yverdon-Les-Bains. It’s definitely a funny series.

I had no idea there was a Zurich episode. I thought the series ended on the cliffhanger at the end of Yverdon-Les-Bains. I need to track that down, now.
I suppose in a way you died doing what you loved, shouting and smoking and covered in foam.

whoah! are you me and is your son my son?

He loves it. (as do I) He has it on constant repeat together with “That Mitchell and Webb sound”. The common theme being John Finnemore as writer on both.

I never tire of it. I really like black humour but the general feel-good nature of it is infectious and the cast is absolutely perfect, Anthony Head as Herc? of course…who else could it have been? The episode where he and Douglas try to out-pilot-voice each other for the promo video is a treat for the ears.

My daughter learned to knit and crochet recently and one of the first things she did was to knit a lemon so the whole family can indulge in Douglas’s favourite game (the lemon is currently in play but I know not where. When she had friends over for a hot-tub party I also found her teaching them how to play “numberwang” as well but that’s by-the-by.

We were recently flying from Gatwick and when passing the posh whisky shop she strode over, pointed to the Talisker 25, shouted “daddy, is it Birling day?” and strode off laughing. The shop assistant furrowed a brow.

Oh, by the way…a female bear is called a sow.



Have a banana!!!

Perhaps, but I think Ipswich is the best episode.

No one has mentioned the excellent Stephanie Cole in the cast. I knew her from the show Waiting for God which I’ve seen in the States a few times.

And I did order a Talisker at a bar once. I don’t usually care for scotch, but it wasn’t bad.

Yellow car.

I should just point out - the lemon is in play.

That’s a shame, because the entire series is about his character development, in a way. He’s not stupid, he’s massively insecure and badly, badly overworked and underpaid, so he’s stressed out constantly. I think his growth really starts showing up in the episode where he accuses Douglas of always thinks up a bunch of good examples before proposing a new game: he’s finally starting to catch on.

Maybe you’ll appreciate it more once you’ve heard “Zurich.”