Cabin Pressure is a radio situation comedy series written by John Finnemore. Its first series was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2008. The show follows the exploits of the oddball crew of Gertie (G-ERTI), the single aeroplane owned by "MJN Air", as they are chartered to take all manner of items, people or animals across the world. The show stars Stephanie Cole, Roger Allam, Benedict Cumberbatch and John Finnemore.
Abu Dhabi (1.1)
- Douglas: Does 'Bob Holness' count in our list of people called Brian? What the hell, yes, he does.
- Carolyn: I don't have an airline. I have one jet. You cannot put one jet in a line. If MJN is anything, it is an air dot.
- Arthur: That amazing moment when twelve tons of metal leaves the earth, and no one knows why.
- Carolyn: Yes, we do.
- Arthur: Yeah, but, you know... not really. I mean, we know you need wings and engines and... a sticky up bit on the end for some reason. But it's not like we actually know why a plane stays in the air.
- Carolyn: No! No, Arthur, we really do. We, we do. We do know that.
- Martin: Where's Carolyn?
- Douglas: Sharpening her teeth.
- Arthur: Brushing.
- Douglas: Brushing her teeth. Yes, sorry.
- Arthur: Why does the air on the top have to keep up the air at the bottom? Why don't they just... split up?
- Douglas: For the sake of the kids?
- Arthur: Aha, my signature dish. Behold! Surprising Rice.
- Douglas: Good lord!
- Martin: What are those bits?
- Arthur: Ah, you see, Skipper, if you don't mind me saying so, that question is entirely against the spirit of Surprising Rice.
- Douglas: Can you smell smoke in the flight deck, captain?
- Martin: Sir, as the commander of this vessel, I must demand –
- Mr. Lehman: Okay, that’s about enough. What are you gonna do, Commander? Have me arrested? No. And I’ll tell you why not. Because your tin pot, little one-airplane outfit needs me and my business about a zillion times more than I need you. You think you can scare me by marching down here in your Fisher Price, when-I-grow-up-I-want-to-be-a-pilot costume? Give me a break! You’re not the commander of anything! You’re a little guy who can’t get a game with the big boys and wears a uniform like a rear admiral’s to make up for the fact that he’s basically just a flying cabbie! Am I right?
- Martin: NO! No! You’re not right! You’re – a very rude man! You can’t speak to me like that. I’m the captain!
- Mr. Lehman: Okay, Captain. You run along now and uh [inhales] try not to cry into any important equipment.
- Martin: [tearfully] I’m not crying! Your smoke got in my eyes.
- Douglas: How did it go?
- Martin: Fine! Fine! Fine! Fine! Fine! ...Arthur?
- Douglas: Well, anything you say five times is obviously true.
- Arthur: Yes, Skipper?
- Martin: Right, right. Arthur, did you see me inform Mr. Lehman about our non-smoking policy?
- Arthur: Er. Well, I wasn’t – I wasn’t really looking. I mean… I certainly didn’t notice if he made you cry. Or not. I mean, he probably didn’t.
- Martin: I was not crying! His smoke got in my eyes.
- Arthur: The thing is, is it unprofessional to tell a passenger that you once made a collage of her face out of pasta shapes?
- Carolyn: What's going on in there? You've been on stand for half an hour! I've been waiting for you in the portacabin!
- Douglas: Yes, we saw your light was on and we thought you might still be there.
- Carolyn: But you didn't come in!
- Douglas: No, we saw your light was on and we thought you might still be there.
- Douglas: Why are you taking our pictures?
- Arthur: Mum's reprinting our company brochure, and she said I could have a go at taking the picture of the cover.
- Douglas: Oh dear, does that mean we're losing the current one?
- Martin: The one with Carolyn strangling a customer?
- Douglas: I always thought that summed up MJN Air rather well.
- Arthur: She's adjusting his pillow! . . . But yeah, it does look a bit strangle-y.
- Martin: Do they drive on the left or the right in Tunisia?
- Douglas: I think when they're driving on an empty highway through the desert in an aeroplane, they probably drive pretty much wherever the hell they like.
- Douglas: Two miles to go, Martin.
- Martin: Thank you, Douglas.
- Douglas: Do you want me to drive for a bit, darling?
- Martin: No thanks, dear. You know I get carsick in the passenger seat.
- Douglas: So, Arthur. In your quest to find the one image which perfectly sums up MJN Air and everything it stands for, you've elected for a shot of twelve Scottish cricketers in the Sahara Desert wearing swimsuits and carrying a fire engine.
- Arthur: Yes.
- Douglas: Hmm. The awful thing is, I sort of know what you mean.
- Carolyn: Is Mr. Birling happy?
- Arthur: Yeah, it’s all fine. Martin’s showing Mr. B. to his limo. Douglas and I are going to watch the match in the plane. Mr. Birling says I’ll never find another girlfriend.
- Carolyn: Oh. Well, Mr. Birling, the seventy something retiree from Sussex, is of course one of the country’s foremost relationship experts.
- Arthur: Oh no, is he, I didn’t even know that!
- Carolyn: But what he doesn’t know that we know, is the peculiar and unaccountable pull you have over bossy pony club types with Alice bands and stupid names.
- Arthur: Yeah, I do have that don’t I? Like Minty. And Libbett. And Pobs!
- Carolyn: Oh no, please don’t list them. Sounds like you’re brainstorming names for a Black Labrador puppy.
- Mr Birling: (singing)
- Bread of Heaven, bread of Heaven,
- Yum yum yum yum yum yum yum!
- Bread of Heaven, here I come!
- Douglas: Arthur, tea!
- Arthur: Er, yeah, will do, Douglas, just trying to fix this leak first.
- Douglas: Oh well, in that case... Arthur, tea?
- Arthur: Wow! You're making me tea?
- Douglas: I know, it's a topsy-turvy day of misrule, isn't it?
- Martin: "First officer leaves through nearest exit. Captain writes CAPTAIN on forehead with lipstick, dons cap, enters cabin"?
- Douglas: "In unlikely event of captain nonrecognition, captain doffs cap, gestures to lipstick inscription."
- Martin: But I have always wanted to be an airline captain.
- Douglas: Really?
- Martin: Yes, ever since I was six.
- Douglas: Oh, and before that?
- Martin: I wanted to be an aeroplane.
- Arthur: [...] I'm fairly often just completely happy. Like, for instance, when you get into a bath quickly and it's just the right temperature, and you go "ooooh". I mean really no one gets any happier than that.
- Martin: What a depressing thought.
- Arthur: No, no, it's not though, because those sort of things happen all the time, whereas you're hardly ever, you know, blissfully happy with the love of your life in the moonlight, and when you are, you're too busy worrying about it being over soon, whereas the bath moments, there's loads of those!
- Douglas: That's the beauty of vodka - colourless, odourless, proof that God loves pilots. Or at least the Russians do.
- Arthur: Good evening, this is your captain speaking, Captain Martin Crieff speaking, I shall be captaining the plane, as your captain, this evening. OK, bye!
- Martin: Why do they always think you're the captain, Douglas?
- Douglas: Oh, that's easy. 'cause I don't care. Captains don't care. I've been a first officer, then a captain, then a first officer again. All the same to me. So long as you're happy, who gives a toss how many rings there are on your sleeve?
- Helena: [...] I know I'd hate to be Douglas' first officer.
- Martin: Yes, well, as a friend once told me, "as long as you're happy, who gives a toss how many stripes you've got on your arm?"
- Helena: But I bet whoever told you that was a first officer.
- Martin: Now you come to mention it, I rather think he was.
- Douglas: Carolyn, we have a complaint.
- Carolyn: Oh dear me. Tell you what, why don't you write it down, put it in an envelope, tear it in half, throw it away and shut your face.
- Carolyn: Doctor Duncan, you see before you - the airline. Drink us in.
- Dr. Duncan: There's four hundred of you.
- Carolyn: Are there though? Count again.
- Dr. Duncan: Not four hundred.
- Carolyn: Four.
- Dr. Duncan: Right. Well... that's unfortunate. I should probably speak to catering.
- Douglas: Hey, chief, I might be wrong, but I think we're flying into a mountain. This makes me feel... scared of the mountain. One thing we could do is pull up and fly over the mountain. How does that sound to...
- [Douglas makes a crashing noise as of a plane flying into a mountain.]
- Douglas: Hey, chief.
- Carolyn: What?
- Douglas: I might be wrong... Ha, ha, ha, ha ha, sorry, I really must learn to say that with a straight face. Er, I might be wrong, but I think Arthur's about to lose us all our jobs.
- Carolyn: This is not...
- Douglas: Hang on, I'm only on step two. This makes me feel unemployed. And also a little surprised, given that I'm sure I've heard quite a lot recently that the number of passengers at which it becomes compulsory to carry a flight attendant is nineteen, and I just wonder how often that situation's going to occur in our aircraft, with its sixteen seats.
- Carolyn: Aah!
- Douglas: And how does that sound to you?
- Douglas: Little flashing warning light, Captain. Anti-icing the starboard wing. Declaring itself rabbit of negative euphoria.
- Martin: What?
- Douglas: Not a happy bunny.
- Douglas: You've brought a deck chair?
- Carolyn: I always keep one in the hold for just such an occasion. Ahhh, this is the life. You know, I think this would be my luxury if I was on Desert Island Discs.
- Douglas: A deck chair?
- Carolyn: No, you washing a car. I think I could endure almost any hardship as long as I had the Bible and Shakespeare, Palgrave's Golden Treasury, and the sight of First Officer Douglas Richardson grumpily soaping a wheel arch.
Kuala Lumpur (2.5)
- Carl (ATC): Welcome home, Golf Tango India. Vacate runway to your right, and taxi to your stand.
- Martin: Thank you, Carl. Oh, incidentally, be advised: as we landed, we saw a large hawk or kestrel about fifty feet from the runway.
- Carl: Noted, Golf Tango India. What was it doing?
- Douglas: Watching how it’s supposed to be done.
- Arthur: How do people do it? How do they lie
- Carolyn: Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has now illuminated the seat belt sign, so please ensure your hand baggage and duty-free are safely stowed, your tray tables are folded away and your seat is returned to the upright position. Or, as they say in Limerick:
- The captain has turned on the signs,
- So stow away bags of all kinds.
- Then make sure your tray
- Is folded away
- And your seat back no longer reclines.
- Carolyn: Is it me or is the sun not getting any lower?
- Douglas: No, it's not just you.
- Martin: Because we're flying west into a sunset near the Arctic circle.
- Douglas: Every time it just dips behind the horizon ATC makes us climb a thousand feet and up it pops again like God's own fiery yo-yo.
- [Arthur is trying to learn the phonetic alphabet]
- Carolyn: Arthur, “B”.
- Arthur: Oh! Big. Bag. Bog. Bob. Bush. Ball. Bag. Bug. Bag. Bag. Bag.
- Carolyn: It is not Bag. Two syllables.
- Arthur: Balloon. Baboon. Bassoon. Bubble. Babble. Back... Bag. Bag-bag. Baghdad.
- Martin: No, it's something you say at the end of a play.
- Arthur: Bye-bye.
- Carolyn: No! What do you say to the actors?
- Arthur: Boo!
- Douglas: No! Like Encore.
- Arthur: Bencore!
- Martin: Bravo!
- Arthur: Yes, I knew that.
- Douglas: You really, really didn't.
- Martin: Romeo and?
- Arthur: Jomeo.
Cabin Pressure Christmas Special (2010)
- Douglas: Golf Tango India, continue as cleared. Thank you, Oceanic, and merry Christmas.
- Oceanic ATC: I’m a Shinto Buddhist.
- Douglas: And may you be a merry one.
- Arthur (singing): Get dressed, you merry gentlemen! Let nothing you dismay, For it is Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas Day!
- Douglas: Yes...
- Arthur: It’s Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas Day!
- Martin: Arthur...
- Arthur: It is Chri-i-i-i-i-istmas Day, Christ-i-mas Day! It is Chri-i-i-i-i-i-istmas Day!
- Douglas: Are you finished?
- Arthur: Not necessarily - I know other verses.
- Martin: No, you don’t. You don’t even know that one.
- Douglas: You... took my Pétrus ‘05, and you... mulled it.
- Arthur: Well, not properly. I don’t have the stuff, but, you know, I whacked in some fruit juice and some sugar and the rest of the orange Tic Tacs, and then I just blitzed it in the microwave. It’ll be close enough!
- Carolyn: That's actually rather good.
- Carolyn: What is the matter with you two then?
- Martin: Nothing.
- Douglas: Nothing.
- Carolyn: Well obviously something. Ooh, hang on a minute, I've just realised! I don't care.
- Martin: So we're quits?
- Douglas: Nearly. Maybe if.. [Puts the Cabin Address on] Ladies and gentlemen, First Officer Richardson again. As you know, here at Unbeaten Track it's our pleasure to provide you with a short talk or anecdote -
- Martin: Douglas, no!
- Douglas: From one of the crew with particular knowledge of the region. In this case, I'd like to invite Captain du Creff -
- Martin: Pleeeease!
- Douglas: To share with you the enthralling story of how he once encountered a polar bear in the wild and outwitted it, armed only with, if I recall correctly, an egg whisk.. And a Pogo Stick. Ladies and gentleman, your captain.
- Carolyn: This Birling Day, the whisky is going to be under constant and vigilant watch.
- Douglas: Oh, are you coming with us for once? That, I admit, does make it a little more interesting.
- Carolyn: No, I'm not. I do not trust myself to spend any more than twenty minutes with Mr Birling without thumping him in the cravat.
- Mr. Birling: Ah, my dear boys, there you are. Ready once more to help me slip the surly bonds of Earth, put out my hand and punch the face of God?
- Douglas: I think the expression is touch the face of God.
- Mr. Birling: No no no. I don't like that at all. Sounds icky
- Martin: So... Linda... you're a pilot.
- Linda: Yes?
- Martin: Yes, obviously, sorry. That wasn't a question, that - that was just a preliminary statement before the actual question I was gonna ask... which is... How long have you been a pilot?
- Linda: Twelve years.
- Martin: Twelve years, right, twelve years, well... that is not a long time or a short time... And... do you like it?
- Linda: What?!
- Martin: Being a pilot?
- Linda: Yes, I do. Do you?
- Martin: Yes, I do. I like it. Like you. I mean I like it like you do, not I like it like I like you, I don't like you. I mean I don't not like you, I just... I don - I don't like you as much as I like being a pilot.
- Linda: Don't you?
- Martin: Well, not yet. I - I mean I'm sure, if I got to know you, I'd like you more than being - well, probably not more than, because I LOVE being a pilot and I don't suppose I'd love you... well I suppose I might. No - I mean... I'm just gonna go and have a wander down the cabin now.
Ottery St. Mary (3.4)
- Herc: Snoopadoop the cockapoo, noblest of hounds!
- Arthur: Ooh, services! Can we stop?
- Martin: Arthur, surely you can’t need to go again?
- Arthur: No, I don’t. I just really like motorway services. It’s like a little gang of shops that have gone on holiday together.
- Douglas: Bristol, Golf Tango India, request permission for passage through your airspace for three men and a flying piano.
- Bristol ATC: Golf Tango India, please state intended next way point and key signature.
- Douglas: Exmoor in F sharp.
- Bristol ATC: Accepted.
- Arthur: Yellow car.
- Martin Davenport: Hello, I'm Martin.
- Douglas: Goodness, what happened? Did you find a magic lamp?
St. Petersburg (3.6)
- Arthur: Here you are Skip, nice hot cup of coffee.
- Martin: Oh, it’s cold.
- Arthur: Nice cup of coffee.
- Martin: It’s horrible!
- Arthur: Cup of coffee.
- Martin: I’m not even sure it is coffee.
- Arthur: Cup.
- Arthur: It turns out a really good cure for being drunk is when you’re on a plane and then an engine explodes and you think you’re going to die.
- Martin: What’s he like then, Mr Shappey?
- Douglas: I don’t know, I’ve never met him either, what’s he like Arthur?
- Arthur: Ooh he’s er. He’s, er. He’s, er.
- Douglas: Good lord Martin, I think you’ve broken him.
- Arthur: No, no, no. It’s just that he’s, er. He’s, er.
- Douglas: I think – I think what we may be witnessing here is Arthur attempting to describe something with an adjective other than “brilliant.”
- Arthur: Yeah, n-n-no I wouldn’t say he was b-b- I mean obviously everyone’s b-. No, he’s not brilliant. He’s, er. He’s alright.
- Martin: God.
- Douglas: Yes.
- Martin: He must be awful.
- Gordon: It’s not so much that you took it off me, even though you couldn’t fly the bloody thing, not even that you then used it to play airlines with one pilot who failed his CPL four times and one who got thrown out of Air England for having sticky fingers, yeah, I looked you up. No, it’s just because you called your airline “My Jet Now” - as soon as I heard that, I said to Hayley – she sends her love by the way, though obviously she doesn’t mean it – right, right I said, I’m having that back off her. And you know what I’m going to do with it? I’m going to break it up for parts, and sell the rest to scrap, except for the tail fin. That, I’m gonna ship back to England and hang above my mantelpiece, after of course, I’ve resprayed it “NYBJAMS” – Not Your Bloody Jet Any More Sweetheart.
- Douglas: It’s like the story of the old shoemaker. I forget the finer details but I believe it concerns an old shoemaker who left a knackered old aeroplane in his workshop overnight and then magical mice, or it may have been pixies, came along and bolted a new engine to it.
- Carolyn: And now Gordon?
- Gordon: What?
- Carolyn: Get off my jet now.
- Martin: Destination is Guspini, codenamed "Timbuktu". For the avoidance of doubt, crew should note that any time Timbuktu is referred to, Guspini is meant.
- Douglas: Yes. I believe we're up to speed with the deception.
- Martin: In the unlikely circumstance the actual Timbuktu is referred to, the name is to be repeated twice.
- Douglas: How do you mean?
- Martin: "Timbuktu Timbuktu".
- Douglas: Means Guspini?
- Martin: No! "Timbuktu" means Guspini; "Timbuktu Timbuktu" means Timbuktu.
- Douglas: Oh, I see. But you only repeated it once.
- Martin: The alternate is Palermo, codenamed "Ouagadougou".
- Douglas: And if the real Ouagadougou is meant?
- Martin: I really can't imagine circumstances under which we'll need to refer to the real Ouagadougou.
- Douglas: Alright, but a good pilot is prepared for any eventuality, however...
- Martin: Alright! The code for the real Ouagadougou is "Ouagadougou Ouagadougou"!
- Douglas: Thank God we're not going to Baden Baden.
- Arthur: [over the airport tannoy] Ladies and gentlemen, can I have your attention, please? This is the Airport speaking. Listen to the Airport. Flight 2020202 is now ready for boarding at Gate...Eight. It isn't late, it will not wait. If you want to be on that aeroplane...it's time to get on the aeroplane now. If you have young children...put them on the aeroplane. If you have any hand baggage...put it on the aeroplane. If you have any bombs...they're not allowed on the aeroplane. Please put them...in the bin. Okay, bye! Love..the Airport.
- Douglas: [over the tannoy] Your attention, please. This is an important message for all passengers hoping to fly to Nottingham: raise your ambitions.
- Martin: Bees! Carolyn! A lot, a lot, a lot of bees! I-In the dead branch! A lot!
- Carolyn: Oh, don’t shout! Just climb down – climb down!
- Martin: No! I don’t think I should move – I don’t think the bees would like it. I think I’ll just keep very still and maybe… the bees will forget me!
- Martin: Douglas, quick! I need your help!
- Douglas: Martin, good Lord! You’re soaking wet!
- Martin: Yes, well, it’s raining outside. Look –
- Douglas: What happened to your uniform?
- Martin: I tore it falling out of a tree.
- Douglas: Yes, but what’s that all over it?
- Martin: Oh, uh, goose droppings.
- Douglas: Is your hand okay?
- Martin: No, a bee stung me, but –
- Douglas: What are you carrying?
- Martin: What does it look like? A stuffed sheep!
- Douglas: You see, Arthur? The master!
- Douglas: Good evening, Carolyns and Arthurs. This is your Douglas speaking. I am delighted to tell you that four hours in a Chinese traffic jam have not been in vain, and we are awaiting clearance to leave the mysterious Orient and return to the obvious Fitton. I am joined in the flight deck by Martin, who will be your Martin today.
- Carolyn: I've just realised, I'm not going to be back in time for Tosca.
- Douglas: Oh dear. That won't go down well with Herc the Berk.
- Carolyn: Do you mind not calling him that?
- Douglas: I'm sorry. Hercules the Berkules.
- Martin [On Swiss Air interview]: My biggest weakness, as a pilot, is that I'm not very good at flying aeroplanes... I mean, I'm good enough, like the sims said, I'm, adequate, adequate to the task. But I don't do it easily. It's not second nature to me. On your scale of 1 to 10, if 1 is the bare minimum of competence, I'm..about a four. And I used to be a 1, no, I used to be a zero. And I took my CPL again, and again, and then I was a 1, then a 2 then a 3 now a 4. And I'm not finished yet, and that's why you should employ me, that's why you'd be lucky to employ me. Because if you're not naturally good at it, if you can't rely on just knowing how to do it like Doug..like some people can, then you have to be a perfectionist actually. And I am one! And that's why even when you've turned me down, I'm gonna to keep on applying, because flying is the perfect job, and I won't settle for a life where I don't get to do it!
- Stephanie Cole — Carolyn Knapp-Shappey
- Roger Allam — First Officer Douglas Richardson
- Benedict Cumberbatch — Captain Martin Crieff
- John Finnemore — Arthur Shappey