Cabin Pressure

Returns for a new series on Tuesday 23rd December.  Episode Details

Radio sitcom based around a one-plane charter airline. No job is too small, but many jobs are too difficult for pilots Douglas and Martin

Cabin Pressure At Christmas
2008 - 2014  (BBC Radio 4)
27 (4 series)
Benedict Cumberbatch, Roger Allam, Stephanie Cole, John Finnemore, Anthony Head
John Finnemore
Pozzitive Productions

Set in a small airline business, Cabin Pressure is a comedy about the wing and a prayer world of a tiny, one-plane charter airline staffed by two pilots - one on his way down, and one who was never up to start with. Whether they're flying squaddies to Hamburg, metal sheets to Mozambique, transporting lads on a stag night or shifting a panther for the odd oil sheik, no job is too small - but many jobs prove to be too difficult - for MJN Air!

The airline is run by forbidding divorcee Carolyn Knapp-Shappey who, at last, aged 64, is free of her awful husband, but pleasingly not free of his private jet. Her two pilots are the smooth, experienced and almost certainly fired-by-a-big-airline-for-all-round-naughtiness Douglas, and the struggling, almost competent sweaty young captain Martin. General help is provided by Carolyn's dim-witted son Arthur.

Our Review: A strong premise, successfully turned into a very good radio programme thanks to some well-defined characters and performances. John Finnemore is great at weaving interesting stories - something missing from so many of the other recent radio sitcoms.

The final episode of each series has revealed much more about the crew's backgrounds (for example we discovered Douglas still wears three stripes at home because his wife thinks he is still a captain, and Martin doesn't get paid for all the work he does), and these certainly add a bit of depth to the characters.

It should be noted that Cabin Pressure is a prime candidate for a TV transfer - in fact it would probably particularly flourish in the visual medium - so we have our fingers crossed that someone in TV land gives it a chance.

The last series ended on a bit of a cliffhanger... no news yet on if there will be another series, but as one of Radio 4's most popular comedies now it's very likely it will return for Series 5 in 2014. Writer John Finnemore has said "It is not and never was my intention that Yverdon should be the last ever episode of Cabin Pressure"... so he's clearly up for writing another series.