12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Cabin Pressure seems to be the main star in Radio 4's comedy firmament at the moment. With a genuine A list cast (Benedict Cumberbatch who seems to be in everything on both sides of the Atlantic these days, Roger Allam who is also doing fine work as the only watchable character in Endeavour, well loved veteran Stephanie Cole and writer John Finnimore) and some decent writing it is easy to see why.
Writer Finnimore sticks pretty true to the tried and tested comedy formulas, and why not? They work so well. Following the old 150s-1960s Service comedy formula of the crooked one (Allam), the honest one who knows what's going on and can't stop it (Cumberbatch), the idiot subordinate (Finnimore) and the superior who tries but eternally fails to outsmart the crooked one Cole), and set in a ramshackle air line this is comedy gold. We get to follow the adventures oft eh cabin crew as they try to deceive passengers and each other in the hope of earning a quick buck. It's good old fashioned stuff, the kind of rock solid humour that should be good for several more series (a-la Navy Lark...). With some excellent writing from Finnimore, who sets up some good situations, understands each of his characters and is not afraid to share out the good lines among the other characters, and the top notch performances that you would expect from such a talented cast, this is a series that had me laughing till it hurt.
All 18 episodes of series 1-3 are here, plus a Christmas special, two episodes a disc on ten discs held in a spindle case. The liner notes are down the Beeb's usual poor standard in this department. But other than that an essential and worthwhile purchase.
5 stars in all for this excellent release.
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2012
John Finnermore is a comedy giant in our house. Cabin pressure is so beautifully written and just the best comedy series ever. It's just "brilliant!" I bought this for the car and now my 6 year old wants an emergency "citrus pocket" sewn onto his coat and we all shout yellow car at every occasion. More please.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2013
Wonderful family-friendly, clever comedy. Bought for my husband's birthday, and chosen by one of the children. We listened to much of it during a long drive on holiday. Three boys (15, 13 and 10) loved it and we were all laughing out loud. The journey passed easily, and there was no bickering on the back seat. Fantastic characters are created by the writer John Finnemore, while the acting is superb. Roger Allam is now hero worshipped by my sons because of his way with a come-back line - my youngest has even used a few in the playground against rough older children - with great success. Benedict Cumberbatch, as Captain, is the foil to Allam's world-weary second officer pilot, while Stephanie Cole as owner, Carolyn, is witheringly acerbic. The sunny mood of the whole series is carried by the character of Arthur, played by Finnemore himself. Arthur is a fool, but one with a totally positive, child-like outlook on life, but surprisingly we can learn something from his philosophy. ( Listen out for Arthur on those little moments of happiness, or on why flight delays should be enjoyed.) Hugely entertaining and weirdly uplifting, while never once using offensive language, or even anything smutty. I wouldn't have minded if it did, but it shows the writer's skill, and the performers' talent, that such a great comedy can be created through characterisation and wordplay.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
"Again I fear you flatter my knowledge of cat pathology."
Radio comedy has been hit and miss for years, its best shows soon departing for BBC TV while weaker ones seem to drag on for series after series because of the absence of anything better to replace it with. Cabin Pressure is unlikely to make the transition to the box because of a combination of the budget required for a series that follows a charter airline on its bargain basement travels across the globe and the commissioning of the Little Britain team's Come Fly With Me, but it certainly is one of the best comedies BBC Radio has come up with in years. It's a simple premise that's basically a four hander between Stephanie Cole's authoritarian owner, trying to keep her one plane in the air and out of debt, her idiot son John Finnemore (clearly not so idiotic in real-life since he wrote the show), Benedict Cumberbatch's insecure middle class pilot and Roger Allam's gloriously deprecating co-pilot. Luckily the casting is inspired, with the four playing off each other perfectly and being blessed with great dialogue as they either ward off the boredom or deal with their far more difficult than they should be charters, whether it's obnoxious passenger who insist on smoking or obnoxious drunks who are spectacularly big tippers - but only if you grovel enough. As comedy it doesn't reinvent the wheel, but the first series certainly keeps it spinning with real panache and plenty of genuine laughs.
"Arthur is basically just a passenger in a hat, and that's only because he made himself a hat."
The second series shows only a marginal loss of altitude and still provides plenty of laughs. Working on the principle that if it ain't broke, don't fix it - perhaps not so applicable to a show about a cut-price charter airline where if it IS broke, don't fix it and it'll hopefully sort itself out - the formula is the same, with only new destinations and a few new revelations about the characters this time round. Once again it's an enjoyable four-hander between Stephanie Cole's authoritarian owner, her idiot son John Finnemore, Benedict Cumberbatch's insecure upper class pilot (who finally lets slip how he became a Captain so young) and Roger Allam's glorious deprecating co-pilot, and once again they play off each other perfectly. This time round they face obstacles like having to go on a refresher Safety and Emergency course, ferry a very dysfunctional orchestra complete with conspiracy theorist who thinks the crew are trying to kill her to Gdansk, deal with a very obstructive ground control in Spain to win a bet, ferry some very disgruntled relatives and, as always, come up with stupid games to while away the boring hours in the air. It may not quite match the first class standard of the first series, but it's still a hugely enjoyable flight that you'll take more than just once.
"To be quite honest with you, Captain, I don't think there's a whole lot about this plane full of unsupervised otters the CAA is going to love."
The third series runs into some surprising moments of turbulence, making it occasionally disappointing and the weakest of the first three, but even occasionally disappointing Cabin Pressure is better than any other sitcom on BBC Radio at the moment. The situation is the same, but the tone is more uncertain this time round. The first episode is at times overplayed when Finnemore's writing has always benefited from a dry, straight delivery to counterpoint the moments of silliness, though it thankfully rights itself when the second episode sees Birling Day return and Allam plotting to steal the obnoxious big tipper's expensive whisky. The third episode is slightly disadvantaged by Benedict Cumberbatch losing his voice and having to be replaced at the last minute by Tom Goodman-Hill, who does a decent impersonation of Cumberbatch but understandably tends to stick out despite a clever introduction.
Yet there's still much to enjoy, whether it's the usual in-flight games to wile away the boredom - this time working Hitchcock movie titles into a passenger safety announcement and a hypothetical plane full of unsupervised otters - the introduction of Anthony Head's Herc (named after the Hercules plane rather than the Greek hero) as Cole's romantic interest and plenty of askew observations from Finnemore, among them the notion that motorway services are "like a little gang of shops that have gone on holiday together." While the highly enjoyable Christmas special episode was not included on either the individual series two or three CD sets, it is available in this collected edition of the first three series, which leaves those who bought the individual series having to buy this to fill in the gaps - the kind of double-dipping tactic BBC's video arm is notorious for with the likes of Doctor Who and Tony Hancock.
51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2013
A quiet yet persistent choking noise brought the rest of the workers to the far end of the store. Senses numbed from lack of sleep and the oncoming morning, fear crept silently alongside each of them as they sought to discover the reason for the strange sounds in the distance.
Turning the corner of the Health and Beauty aisle, a huddled shape could be seen down the far end, now moaning like a wounded animal. As the group ran towards the lone figure, it raised its head and faced them, eyes streaming with tears.
She struggled for breath, gesturing to the headphones, and tried to breathe through what they now realised was a fatal fit of laughter.
"Cabin...Pressure..." she choked, before becoming still and falling back to the floor. Her glassy eyes were still framed with tears of mirth, the wide grin now fixed on her face forever.
John Finnemore had killed again.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 4 December 2012
I had not heard this series on the radio but bought it on the basis of the short clip I was able to preview. It's a gem! I laughed from start to to finish and listened to half of the 10 CDs back-to-back. You don't have to be 'in the airline business know' to appreciate the well-informed humour that runs throughout the episodes. Comic timing is genius. I would recommend this box set to anyone who likes to laugh on their way to work! It would make a great Christmas present.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 2013
I really cannot even begin to describe how much fun this is. I heard about it and jumped in with this box set. Not only is it funnier than anything being produced on TV these days, but it also has great characters and superb performances that seem to grow each year. The more ludicrous capers are worthy of Fawlty Towers, while the cast have a similar dynamic to Father Ted and his household. Actually, some of the guest character names are nodding references to Fawlty Towers and even Laurel and Hardy.
The episodes seem to get better with repeated listening, so this is an essential purchase that you will laugh at again and again...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2014
I have lost count of how many times I have listened to this, and yet I continue to laugh out loud constantly. It is so well written, and the characters are played expertly. Do be aware, though, that this does not include the final episode, Zurich, due to be aired this Christmas and set for CD release in January. You may either want to preorder the complete series, or buy this and preorder Zurich (which is the cheaper option at the moment). Whichever you do, though, do treat yourself to some of the funniest, wittiest and endlessly re-listenable comedy out there. Enjoy!
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
I can whole heartedly one hundred per cent recommend this fabulous three series radio show to you.
Series one was excellent series 2 great and series 3 continued it excellent and humor.
I have reviewed series one and two on Amazon and said
'One of the little joys of life in our troubled times, in our troubled world is discovering a hidden gem of a series and believe me this series is just that- a sparkling gem of a comedy series.'
I still hold on to that view this a cracking little series that really brings a smile to your face and a chuckle/
Now at less that fifteen pounds, at the time of writing, this is fabulous value. Less than a fiver a series and less than the cost of series one and two together alone. This is also cracking value.
I originally received series one via Amazon Vine- I was hooked by episode 4.
When offered the chance to hear and review the second series I was more than keen.
It too was equally brilliant and entertaining.Cabin Pressure Series 1 (BBC Audio)
Cabin Pressure Series 2 (BBC Audio)
Cabin Pressure Series 1 (BBC Audio)
Cabin Pressure Series 2 (BBC Audio)
One liners, wise cracks and simply daft situations with crack pot solutions abound.
I still believe it would make a brilliant television series it is that and I mean THAT good.
That would of course you could get Benedict Cumberbatch but he, and I really am sincere in this view could easily be replaced. Don't get me wrong he is good and plays his part well
but for me the outstanding actor is Roger Allam ('The Thick of It' Parades End)
who takes the role of 1st officer Douglas Richardson and is played to the hilt by Allam.
Finnemore has written Allam a dream role and character. He's a world weary, seen it all, wheeler dealer time passed over as Captain and he conveys this magnificently.
Allam is simply wonderful as he wheels and deals to get the benefits of his knowledge.
In one episode in series 2 he expects to swap 600 Euros worth of Orchids for 660 Euros worth of fish products on a stop off in Helsinki with a view to dropping them off in land locked Zurich Switzerland to trade for up market chocolate!!
The fact that this original chain of barter started with a cheese and pickle sandwich adds to the sheer fun of the trades!!
Stephanie Cole ( 'Doc Martin'), is great as the aged owner of the one jet Carolyn Knapp-Shappey. On radio she is fine in the role. Television may be another matter perhaps but she has some great one liner and convinces the listener that her character is believable and funny.
The in demand Benedict Cumber batch (Sherlock, End of the Parade) plays the inept flight Captain.
He is good and has some great liners- and is a brilliant foil to Allam- but I really think he will have gone on to better things should this convert to TV. However having recently seen Cumberbatch opposite Allam's role of his general in End of the Parade I may be totally up the runway without a landing slot.
As I said at earlier in this review another up and coming actor would easily step into his flight shoes. Allam,Finnemore and to a lesser extent Cole are the indispensable stars.
Finnemore is to be congratulated in letting all his best lines go to the cast of actors (just like Victoria Wood does in her series Dinner ladies)
He also plays the idiot role of Arthur Shappey his character??
- As the great Groucho Marx once said
He may look like and idiot- he may talk like an idiot but don't let that fool you--he is an idiot. Comes to mind think of Pike in Dad's army.
This set contains CDs with 2 full shows on each making 18 in total BUT and Barbara has put me right on that it contains a fabulous 10th Cd containing the Christmas special episode 'Molokai' - making this a really 'bumper' buy.
So perfect for the car and a fabulous Christmas Present for someone?
John Finnemore has written wonderful stories and this series should run and run.
I look forward to the 4th series
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2014
I never tire of hearing any episode of Cabin Pressure and am saddened to hear that the next broadcast episode will be the last one. Each character is brilliantly defined - the overbearing proprietor, the less than gifted pilot, the world weary first officer and the idiot cabin attendant. And perfectly cast - how they managed to get such talented individuals in the same room so often is a mystery. It's a rare thing fr every episode in every series to build and build and just get better and better. John Finnemore (who plays Arthur) is a generous writer, and shares the best lines equally amongst his incredible cast. On a rainy day there is nothing better than fishing this out and enjoying the entire series from the start. The very best of British comedy.