Cabin Pressure is set in a small airline business. The flipside of the glamorous world of international airlines.
©2008 John Finnemore; (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
Audio books and radio shows fill the hours of biking and public-transit time. If you see a woman cackling with her blue earbuds, wave hello.
If I had to sum up Cabin Pressure in three iconic words from the show it would be: Lemon In Play.
Arthur is by far my favorite character- I want to say Martin, but Arthur doesn't let anything keep him down. In a group of four clot poles he's the clot pole that never lets the biting sarcasm and sideways jabs get to him.
A great example of this is in an exchange about a cup of coffee.
Arthur: Here you are, Skip. Nice hot cup of coffee.
Martin: Augh. It's cold.
Arthur: Nice cup of coffee.
Martin: It's horrible.
Arthur: Cup of coffee.
Martin: Not even sure it is coffee...
I dare you to hate Arthur's enthusiasm after Season 2. It's near impossible.
What don't I like about this performance? It's a radio play in all the beautiful and gleefully imaginative ways that made sitting and listening to the radio as a kid just as entertaining as watching the telly.
The characters are often cheerfully perverse, boldly bad and hilariously hypocritical. John Finnemore does a beautiful job of weaving fantastical cock-ups into the every day lives of these four misfits. From the dry and sarcastically suave Douglas to the socially awkward and dweebish Martin playing a piloting version of Abbot and Costello, to Arthur playing the plucky young idiot and the counterpoint to his waspish and shrewd mother Carolyn- the owner of MJN and hostess of the tiny charter aircraft.
The best part is that while each character is larger than life, they are all three dimensional characters. Arthur has a few moments where it is obvious that not only does he have a decent mind sometimes, but he has to force himself to choose to be cheerful, and Carolyn has many moments of humanity and heartfelt connections. So many beautiful little moments that really make everything that much better, funnier.
The sound effects and method of recording are also delightful, and I never cease to be swept off into the clouds for a half hour when Cabin Pressure comes on.
You can not listen to Cabin Pressure without getting at least one good chuckle. I however had never listened to it before Season 3 and was given a copy of Season 1 and 2 for listening to during my Holiday.
Suffice it to say I got many odd looks as I broke into giggles and peals of laughter despite white knuckled grips on my own armrests during the long flight. In fact, by the third episode I was relaxed and fairly good even with the pockets of turbulence we went through at one point.
If you hate flying, or love flying, have never flown or fly every week, the MJN crew will have you in stitches. It's just relatable and human in ways that make it an enjoyable experience no matter when you decide to listen in.
If you want a good laugh and a ready giggle, Cabin Pressure is the purchase for you!
So I downloaded Cabin Pressure from Audible because Benedict Cumberbatch plays the pilot, Martin Crieff, and since Ben's voice is like melted chocolate, I thought it might soothe me to sleep. But YSK: It is REALLY hard to sleep when you're laughing so hard you can't breathe. I listened to all three available seasons last week and then just started right over from the beginning! I've also taken to stalking the BBC Radio 4 website at odd hours of the day/night to catch up with series 4 as it airs.
And as Arthur Shappey would say, "It's brilliant!"
"Oh, dear. Surely we had two wings when we started?"
MARTIN: Good afternoon. This is your captain speaking. Just to say there is absolutely nothing to worry about.
MARTIN: Hello. Captain Crieff here again. Still no need to panic. I repeat, there is no need to panic. Or to look out of the windows. Everything's fine.
MARTIN: Actually, I wasn't being entirely straight with you just now. You see, it's this damnable sleeping sickness of mine. [Yawns.] Normally, I control it with a mysterious stimulant from South America but blast it, my supply's run out. I'm afraid our only hope now is if by some chance someone on board knows how to prepare this stimulant and could—
CAROLYN: Yes, we get the message. Arthur, take Martin his coffee.
I laughed so hard that I forgot how to breathe. Then I died. I am currently listening to CP from the beyond. "What fresh hell is this?"
If you don't mind me saying so, that question is entirely against the spirit of surprising rice!
I absolutely LOVE this series. Funny, cleverly written material and terrific performers. I especially relish Roger Allam's deadpan, sardonic, quietly superb, and all-knowing "sky god" Douglas. The most fun you'll ever have in connection with air travel. Enjoy!
A lover of audiobooks of all kinds, since childhood, when long car journeys were accompanied by Discworld stories. @ReineDesLivres (Twitter)
Buy this audiobook. Buy it now. Buy it fast. You'll laugh until you're sore in the stomach listening to the adventures of MJN air, Britain's least competent but most endearing airline. This is British radio humour at its very best, and it has Benedict Cumberbatch in the cast (as Captain Martin Crieff)! The entire series is excellent, so don't stop here, but the second and third series and the Christmas special too - there's not a dud episode among them. I cannot wait for more episodes so come, and have listened to these ones many time and they just keep staying funny.
Laugh out loud, tickle my funny bone silliness. A charter plane flys into high turbulence of comedy. I love it when the owner of MJN Air tells the pilot he is not an airline pilot because you can't put one plane into a line. This is a terrific series and I hope they'll be more!
Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
Thank goodness Audible has all 4 seasons of this BBC radio show (plus the Christmas Special!) available. I haven't yet met my son's girlfriend, but since she was the one to recommend Cabin Pressure to him, and he in turn told me I had to listen to it, I like her already! As far as I'm concerned, John Finnemore is a creative genius. His writing and the acting of all four characters is perfect and perfectly funny, across all four seasons. Some details about the characters are revealed as the seasons progress, adding depth to the extraordinary comedy. I've listened to all the episodes of Cabin Pressure multiple times and they never get old. I anxiously await Season 5!
Hilarious, non-stop laughs.
The actors are simply fabulous at delivering the lines and their timing is perfect.
Divided into 30 minute episodes, it is the perfect length for the morning commute.
Yes, absolutely. And I do, all the time.
Cabin Pressure is a series consisting of six plays, so it's not comparable to books.
Again, Cabin Pressure is a series consisting of plays, and you don't get the same experience reading plays as you do from having them performed. Stephanie Cole is wonderful as Carolyn Knapp-Shappy, CEO and hostess of MJN Air, and the interplay between her and Douglas Richardson, the first officer played by Roger Allam is fantastic. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Martin Crieff, the hapless Captain of the "airdot" and John Finnemore plays Arther Shappey, the ever cheerful steward.
John Finnemore writes the series and has managed to place the characters in such bizzare and perverse situations, you can't help but cringe and laugh.
Engaging and hilarious performances. Very well written, Finnemore fleshes out the characters in quick and natural way. You find yourself really caring about them.
Too hard to choose just one. I love them all.
Very engaging, you can visualize the characters the narration is so colorful!
I found myself laughing out loud to this on my commute.
This series has a high re-listen value!
Cabin Pressure is the reason I started to listen to radio dramas.
The actors are so distinct and clear with all their own unique quirks and personalities. I never really realized how much could be conveyed through voice alone until I listened to
I'm absolutely in love with this radio drama. The characters are fantastic (as Arthur would say). The stories are hilarious and, at times, heart warming and tragic. Any work that can simultaneously make me laugh out loud and then truly make me feel for a character is well worth listening to. Get Cabin Pressure! You won't regret it.
With all the joy of flying and none of the carbon footprint, John Finnemore's perfectly-crafted sitcom will have you disturbing the other passengers with shouts of laughter. The regular cast are so brilliant you forget they are a cast and start (worryingly!) to believe that there really is a tiny airline somewhere, run by the fearsome, headmistressy Carolyn and staffed by her only-marginally-more intelligent-than-a-potplant son, Arthur.
Finnemore delights every time with clever plot twists and the occasional glimpse into the tortured private worlds of his characters, continually hinting at personal tragedies but keeping the balance firmly in the area of comedy.
Buy this CD for every possible reason: the script, the acting quality, and Duggie's irresistible dark brown voice. Buy another copy for a friend. If you can't think of a friend you'd like to buy it for, make some new friends.
P.S. The captain is called Martin. He just wanted me to include that.
"One of the best radio comedies"
This is a great radio comedy. One of the best comedies to have recently come out of Radio 4. I can't recommend it highly enough.
"Upgrade to first class!"
I caught the 2010 Christmas special and laughed my flaps off but had missed the original series. I was really pleased to see it on Audible. I listened to all the episodes in one go and and wasn't disappointed.
Perfectly observed characters and some of the sharpest comedy writing since Blackadder I cannot recommend this highly enough. the dry one-liners and put downs from Douglas the First Officer (Roger Allum) are worth the price alone but there's also an superb turn by Benedict Cumberbatch (pre-Sherlock) as the hapless Captain Martin Crieff.
So funny I nearly choked on my complimentary nuts.
"Original and VERY Funny"
Once in a while you find a hidden gem on the radio - this is one of them.
Originally played on BBC Radio 4 after the 6pm news 'Cabin Pressure' had me hooked from the first time I heard it.
The story is based around MJN Air (My Jet Now), its not really an airline, if they lined up their planes it would be more an airdot (listen to the story to find out why!)
MJN Air is owned by Carolyn Knapp-Shappey as part of her divorce settlement. MJN Air is crewed by an strange mixture of characters who head off to random countries around the world and encounter a some of the oddest situations you could imagine.
This is really good break from the usual full length audio books that I normally listen to but DO NOT listen to this series when driving or operating machinery. You will laugh that much.
I had not heard of the show but on browsing Audible, the casting of 'Dr Mason' ( Tenko - Stephanie Cole) added credit to the production and so I downloaded it. FANTASTIC - very funny and all of the cast give an enjoyable performance. Roger Allam's use of his voice alongside the writing is hilarious. Benedict Cumberbatch sounds like a fool - what a performance.... and Stephanie Cole had me in stitches. Great writing - John Finnemore. Highly recommended.
"LOL - as they say nowadays."
This is absolutely Laugh Out Loud fare. Benedict Cumberbatch - always excellent at everything he does - is a wonderful foil for Roger Allam's biting wit. The hapless Martin is a gem. Stephanie Cole holds this motley crew together with a vicious tongue. Loved it.
This is simply wonderful. Great writing, great cast, great timing. That John Finnemore both writes and plays the hapless Arthur beautifully shows that his is a talent worth watching. Benedict Cumberbatch as the frustrated Senior (as in only) Captain is marvellous. Stephanie Cole's CEO of MJN Air is a delight to the ears. And nobody does laconic sarcasm like Roger Allam. If you haven't already heard this on Radio 4/4 Extra you've missed a real treat. Buy it now and listen to it immediately. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
I ran across this show while browsing Audible and decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did as Cabin Pressure is probably the best comedy show I have ever listened to! The show is both perfectly written and cast and the actors are wonderfully convincing and engaging. The cabin announcements and games played in each episode make me laugh out loud every time - which has earned me some very odd looks at the bus stop!
Series 2 is just as great, if not better, and I can't wait for series 3! For the amount of enjoyment this has brought me it would have been cheap at twice the price.
Many Radio 4 comedies fail to engage. This one is an exception - its utterly perfect. Great script and fantastic, funny performances from the core cast of four. My particular favourite is Roger Allam's smooth Douglas, the first office who delivers his withery put-downs with the precision of a surgeon.
"Superb Acting, Sublime Writing"
John Finnemore is a master at creating personalities and the characters of Cabin Pressure are truly three dimensional.
The casting is genius. Benedict Cumberbatch elicits sympathy with his idealistic but slightly pathetic captain, Roger Allam casts a superior tone as the capable first officer and Stephanie Cole's adds a touch of vulnerability to her school-mistress style "CEO" persona. John Finnemore's own portrayal of of the dim-witted Arthur is always brilliant.
The first season gets off to a great start with Abu Dhabi and the revelation in the series finale Fitton adds real depth to one of the characters.
Cabin Pressure is to be savoured, again and again.
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