Cabin Pressure is a radio sitcom written and created by John Finnemore which aired on BBC Radio 4 between 2008 and 2014.
The show follows budget airline MJN Air and its crew: owner Carolyn Knapp-Shappey (Stephanie Cole), First Officer Douglas Richardson (Roger Allam), Captain Martin Crieff (Benedict Cumberbatch) and steward Arthur Shappey (John Finnemore).
The name MJN stands for “My Jet Now” when Carolyn wins it as part of her divorce settlement from Gordon Shappey (Timothy West) who tries on several occasions to get it back at any cost.
The majority of the episodes take place on the flight-deck focusing on the relationship between the four staff and in particular between the characters of Martin and Douglas.
Whilst Martin is the senior of the two, he was only made Captain when he agreed to forfeit his salary, most people consider Douglas to be superior to him and often make the mistake of assuming he is the Captain, much to Martin’s dismay, which leads him to always try and better Douglas in any way he can.
Some of the funniest scenes are between Martin and Douglas as they try and outwit each other at word games often over the cabin address system. These include ‘Brian of Britain’ (naming as many famous Brians as possible), inserting Hitchcock films into the pilot address and thinking of celebrity names that sound like evil villains.
As well as writing Cabin Pressure John Finnemore plays the character of Arthur, Carolyn’s son, who is always excitable and optimistic and thinks that everything is brilliant!
Cabin Pressure is laugh out loud funny, with well-defined characters, a great cast and superb scripts which are laced with witty dialogue, a key ingredient to a successful radio sitcom.
The episode titles follow an alphabetical sequence, beginning with ‘Abu Dhabi’ and ending with ‘Zurich’. In series 2 and 3 the episodes were broadcast out of the intended order but are listed in the correct order in The Complete Cabin Pressure: From A to Z collection.
Cabin Pressure during its run won many awards including being voted ‘Comedy of the Year’ in 2014 across TV and Radio making it the first radio show to be given this honour.
The Complete Cabin Pressure: From A to Z collection is available now on CD