Do let me know if you spot any errors!
CAROLYN: Good morning, gentlemen! How are we today? Satiated with the delights of New York? All ready to go home?
MARTIN: Mmm, absolutely.
CAROLYN: Then home we shall go ... almost straightaway, pausing only for an extremely minor detour ...
DOUGLAS: Oh, no!
MARTIN: Carolyn, I can’t!
CAROLYN: ... in Toronto.
DOUGLAS: Oh. Well, that is quite close.
CAROLYN: ... and then a quick stop to Qikiqtarjuaq and straight home.
DOUGLAS: ... Sorry, where?
CAROLYN: Qikiqtarjuaq. Q-I-K ...
ARTHUR: Mum, sorry, but you forgot the U.
CAROLYN: No, I did not. There isn’t a U. It’s Q-I-K-I ...
ARTHUR: No, Mum. There’s always a U after a Q. It’s the law. Mrs Dimont taught me that – eventually.
CAROLYN: And you are a credit to her. Nonetheless, the good people of Qikiqtarjuaq choose to spell it Q-I-K-I-Q-T ...
MARTIN: Another Q?!
CAROLYN: Yes. ... Q-T ...
ARTHUR: Q-T?! Well, I’m not gonna be the one to tell Mrs Dimont.
DOUGLAS: Leaving the spelling bee aside for a moment, where is this Qikiqtarryjack?
CAROLYN: Are you referring to Qikiqtarjuaq?
DOUGLAS: You’re really proud of yourself for having learned to say that, aren’t you?
CAROLYN: Yes. Also, it’s rather pleasing to say ‘Qikiqtarjuaq’. Anyway, it’s in Canada.
MARTIN: Near Toronto?
MARTIN: How near-ish?
CAROLYN: About, ooh, seventeen hundred miles.
MARTIN: No, Carolyn, I’m sorry. I absolutely can’t. I’ve got a job on Thursday.
CAROLYN: No you haven’t.
MARTIN: I do. Not with MJN. I mean a delivery job with my van.
CAROLYN: Oh well, that doesn’t matter.
MARTIN: It matters to me, Carolyn! It happens to be the only thing I’m actually paid to do.
DOUGLAS: Right – I’ve looked it up on my phone. It’s a tiny isolated settlement in the Arctic Circle. Why on Earth are we going there?
CAROLYN: Because that is where the polar bears are.
DOUGLAS: And where do the polar bears want to go?
CAROLYN: The polar bears don’t want to go anywhere. The polar bears just want to be left in peace and quiet, but that is where the polar bears find themselves bang out of luck, because we are picking up a dozen tourists from Unbeaten Track Travel and flying them past every polar bear we can find between Toronto and Qikiqtarjuaq.
ARTHUR (almost bursting with excitement): What?! Are we?! Polar bears?! We’re gonna fly over polar bears?! And see them and look at them and be with the polar bears?!
CAROLYN: Yes, we are.
MARTIN: No, we’re not.
ARTHUR: Yes, we are, Skip!
MARTIN: No, we’re not! For one thing, Gerti’s much too fast a plane. You need a prop engined aircraft to watch wildlife, not a jet.
CAROLYN: Well, why can’t you just fly slower?
ARTHUR: Yeah, we can just fly slower!
MARTIN: No, we can’t.
DOUGLAS: Of course we can. We can come down to a hundred, a hundred and twenty easily as long as we watch the angle of bank.
ARTHUR: Yeah, Martin! We just need to watch the angle of bank and the polar bears! We need to watch the polar bears!
MARTIN: No, we can’t. She’d be hard to manoeuvre and likely to stall. It would be incredibly dangerous and unprofessional.
DOUGLAS: Fun, though. When do we leave?
CAROLYN: Oh, if you’re online, Douglas, look up ‘polar bears’ or ‘exploring’ or something.
CAROLYN: Because one of you will have to give a lecture on it. Unbeaten Track’s thing is that the crew are all experts on the region and they give lectures.
ARTHUR: Can I give a lecture on polar bears?
CAROLYN (instantly): No.
DOUGLAS: What do you know about polar bears, Arthur?
ARTHUR: Polar bears are ... brilliant.
DOUGLAS: You might want to pad that out with some PowerPoints.
DOUGLAS: All right. Alfred Hitchcock.
MARTIN: Ooh, OK. Let’s hear it.
DOUGLAS: Hallo. My name is First Officer Douglas Richardson. On behalf of the captain and myself, a warm welcome aboard this MJN flight to Qikiqtarjuaq. Just to let you know we will be flying out from Toronto today, roughly “North by Northwest” at the “Vertigo”-inducing height of twenty thousand feet, way above “The Birds”. You will already have met your purser today, Carolyn “Rebecca” “Topaz”, but now, as “The Lady Vanishes” behind the “Torn Curtain” into the galley, the steward will hold you “Spellbound” with his “Notorious” demonstration of “The Thirty-Nine Steps” to a safe evacuation, though these basically boil down to three: pull the “Rope”, inflate the “Lifeboat” and escape through the “Rear Window”.
DOUGLAS: I think. I very nearly got “The Man Who Knew Too Much” in, but I was – after all – talking about Arthur.
(The flight deck door opens.)
NANCY (angrily, in a Canadian accent): Excuse me.
MARTIN: Oh, uh, hello. I-I’m the captain, Martin Crieff, and this is ...
NANCY: Nancy Dean Liebhart.
DOUGLAS: Not quite, but what an interesting guess.
NANCY: Expedition supervisor, Unbeaten Track Travel. What was that, please?
MARTIN: What was what?
NANCY: The Hitchcock thing.
DOUGLAS: Oh, you noticed that! Well done.
NANCY: ‘In an emergency, climb out through the Rear Window’? Does that strike you as a professional thing for the pilot of an aircraft to say?
MARTIN: No, no, absolutely not.
NANCY: ‘No, absolutely not’ is right, so what the hell just happened?
DOUGLAS: I can assure you, madam, I am entirely professional in all ...
NANCY (talking over him): No, you’re not. I can tell professionalism a mile off. You don’t have it, sir. This guy has it. You don’t.
MARTIN (surprised): Oh! Well, do I? I mean, yes, yes, I do, actually. Thank you. Thank you for noticing.
NANCY: So. Why did you let him do it?
DOUGLAS: Yes, why did you let me do it?
MARTIN: Yes, I-I do apologise. Rest assured, I will be disciplining him.
DOUGLAS: Oh, will you?
MARTIN (through gritted teeth): Yes, I will. (Smarmily, to Nancy) And the rest of the flight will be conducted in an entirely professional atmosphere of the utmost professionality that I always bring to my ... my ... my ...
DOUGLAS: ... profession?
CAROLYN: Hello. Everything all right in here?
NANCY: Ah. Are you Carolyn Shappey-Knappey?
CAROLYN: More or less. Hello. Pleased to meet you.
NANCY: Nancy Dean Liebhart, expedition supervisor. I was expecting you to meet me and the travellers at the gate.
CAROLYN: Oh, yes, sorry. I was unavoidably detained in the airport, helping the steward find a book about polar bears.
NANCY: So, in your absence, I had to conduct them aboard a strange aircraft – in every sense – get them seated and then listen to your first officer squeezing Hitchcock films into the cabin address.
CAROLYN: Ooh, how many did you get?
CAROLYN: Well done!
NANCY: I would like a word with you in the galley, madam.
CAROLYN: With great pleasure.
DOUGLAS: Oh, before you go, how long do you want this Arctic lecture? I’ve worked up about twenty minutes’ worth. Will that do?
NANCY: That won’t be necessary, thank you.
DOUGLAS: But I thought at Unbeaten Track you always ...
NANCY: At Unbeaten Track, we do, because our crews are staffed by professional experts and adventurers with genuine stories to tell. What I feel I would get from you, sir, is some zany British humour, and I’ve already had about as much of that as I can take.
(Flight deck door closes.)
DOUGLAS: Well, she was a little ray of sunshine, wasn’t she?
MARTIN: I thought she was quite right.
DOUGLAS: Did you?
MARTIN: Yes. I’m sorry to say this, Douglas, but sometimes you are unprofessional.
DOUGLAS: Shall we drop the subject?
MARTIN: No. Douglas, this is difficult, um, because I-I think we’ve become friends, and, um, and I’m glad about that, but I-I do also think I have a duty to you, a-a-as your captain ...
DOUGLAS (ominously): Think very, very carefully about how you want to finish this sentence.
MARTIN: ... as your captain, to let you know when you’re getting into bad habits, and it was unprofessional to do the Film Game on real live passengers.
DOUGLAS: You said, ‘Let’s hear it.’
MARTIN: And what’s worse is that you were seriously considering low-altitude, low-speed manoeuvres in the Arctic, which would be very unsafe for us.
DOUGLAS: It’ll be perfectly safe so long as I’m the one doing it.
MARTIN: Yeah, look, you see, no, you-you think you’re this invincible pilot, but things go wrong for everyone. And if you’re not professional in your assessment ...
DOUGLAS (talking over him): And you’re the perfect professional, are you?
MARTIN: No, well, not perfect, but I am professional. I analyse risk; I make sure I’m in a position to deal with whatever is thrown at me.
DOUGLAS: Of course, you know what the actual definition of a professional is, don’t you?
MARTIN: I’m just ...
DOUGLAS: What actually separates professionals from amateurs.
MARTIN: I ...
DOUGLAS: It’s being paid to do the job – the way Carolyn pays me. And doesn’t pay you.
MARTIN: Pre-take-off checklist, please.
DOUGLAS: Certainly, Captain.
NANCY: So you understand the issue I have around this?
CAROLYN: Oh, absolutely, and I do apologise for not being there to meet you, but I assure you that – though small – MJN Air adheres to the highest standards of professionalism.
CAROLYN: Uh, not now, I’m busy.
ARTHUR: No, there’s a serious problem.
CAROLYN: What, really?
ARTHUR: Yes, look. This book only has a polar bear on the cover. It’s actually about all kinds of bears.
CAROLYN: Well, I rather set myself up for that, didn’t I?
NANCY: It wouldn’t have mattered anyway. I’ve seen your website.
ARTHUR: Ooh, have you?! Brilliant. You see, Mum? I told you people would go.
NANCY: Oh! You did that, did you?
ARTHUR: Thank you!
NANCY: Are you a professional web designer?
ARTHUR: No! Not even a bit! But there’s this website that makes it really simple, even if you’re completely clueless. You can make it play music, and the words flash, and, you know, put in things like the line of dancing aeroplanes – you know, make it look ... make it look really professional.
NANCY: OK, Ms Knapp-Shappey, I’m going to ask you and your crew from now on at all times to refer to this flight as being an Unbeaten Track flight, not an MJN one.
CAROLYN: Why? It is an MJN flight.
NANCY: Yes, but my concern is that travellers may Google you on their return and discover – no offence – what sort of outfit you are.
CAROLYN: When you say, ‘No offence,’ do you in fact know what that means?
MARTIN: Could you balance the fuel, Douglas?
MARTIN: Have you done it?
DOUGLAS: You saw me do it.
MARTIN: It is protocol to tell me when you’ve done it.
DOUGLAS: I’ve done it.
(Flight deck door opens. Carolyn comes in sounding furious.)
CAROLYN: Right. If that bloody woman thinks she can tell me how to act in my own ... What is the matter with you two, then?
CAROLYN: Well, obviously something. Oh, hang on, I’ve just realised: I don’t care. Douglas, I have decided that, on this flight, I require some mildly but not life-threatening unprofessional amusement with which to while away the time.
MARTIN: Carolyn, no.
DOUGLAS: What a good idea!
MARTIN: Carolyn, I specifically gave Nancy my word ...
DOUGLAS: There’s always The Travelling Lemon, for instance.
CAROLYN: Oh, of course! The very thing!
MARTIN: What? What’s that?
DOUGLAS: Not come across The Travelling Lemon, Martin, in all your ‘professional experience’? Well, Player One strolls through a full passenger cabin, chatting to the adoring public of this or that topic of interest and, as he goes, he casually secretes – somewhere where it can still be clearly seen – a lemon, or other citrus fruit as mutually agreed by the players and referees before match play commences, but I’m a traditionalist and favour a lemon.
CAROLYN: And then Player Two goes out, finds it, retrieves it, hides it again. Now, what’s our record, Douglas?
DOUGLAS: I believe on that night flight to Miami we achieved a rally of sixteen.
CAROLYN: Well, I’m sure we can top that.
DOUGLAS: Doubtless. Shall I go first?
CAROLYN: Oh, by all means.
MARTIN (anguished): No!
DOUGLAS: Back soon!
(Flight deck door closes. Martin sighs.)
MARTIN: Carolyn, I’m glad I’ve got you alone.
CAROLYN: Oh dear.
MARTIN: I want a pay rise.
CAROLYN: Martin, this is not the time or the place.
MARTIN: Yes, it is. I do a difficult and demanding job and I want a pay rise.
CAROLYN: Fine. Consider your salary doubled.
MARTIN: Very funny.
CAROLYN (laughing): Do-do you see? Because twice nothing is nothing!
MARTIN: Yes, I get it.
CAROLYN: I could have said ‘tripled’ because three times nothing is also nothing and so on.
MARTIN: I really do understand.
CAROLYN: Do you? Good, because all this hilarious japery is a nice way of saying, ‘No, absolutely not’.
MARTIN: That’s the nice way, is it?
CAROLYN: Oh-ho-ho, you should hear the nasty way.
(Flight deck door opens.)
DOUGLAS: Carolyn, the lemon is in play.
MARTIN: Carolyn, please don’t let Nancy see you do this.
CAROLYN: What do you care what she sees?
MARTIN: Just don’t.
ARTHUR: And this one’s a koala bear. Uh, that’s not actually a bear, in fact. This one is a panda bear. That’s not actually a bear. Honestly, it’s like nothing’s actually a bear.
MRS COOK (Canadian accent): I’m sorry. I’m confused. Why are you showing me this?
ARTHUR: It’s interesting about bears and things. Don’t worry: it’s all part of the service. It’s not extra. We’re all experts on stuff today, you see? I’m the expert on bears. And Egypt, actually. In Egypt, they used to pull your brains out through your nose with a hook. And that’s not even something in this book – that’s something I know!
MRS COOK: Is someone looking after you, young man?
ARTHUR: No, I’m looking after you! You are confused, aren’t you?
CAROLYN: Arthur, what are you doing?
ARTHUR: Er, teaching.
CAROLYN: Code Red, Arthur.
ARTHUR: Ooh, right-o.
MRS COOK: What’s Code Red?
CAROLYN: Ooh, it’s just a code between him and I. It means, ‘Go away, go away now, go away fast’. Now, can I get you anything to drink?
MRS COOK: A Coke, please.
CAROLYN (pouring the drink): Certainly. Ice and lemon?
MRS COOK: Just ice, please.
CAROLYN (dropping ice cubes into the glass): All right. One Coke with ice.
MRS COOK: Thank you.
CAROLYN: And I’ll take that.
MRS COOK: Did you just take something out of my handbag?
CAROLYN: No-no, no, no, just from on the top of it.
MRS COOK: What? What did you take?
CAROLYN: Only this. Sorry – I thought you said you didn’t want lemon.
MRS COOK: No, I don’t, but ...
CAROLYN: Is it your lemon?
MRS COOK: Uh, no.
CAROLYN: Well, I’ll look after it, then. Thank you very much.
DOUGLAS: Right. Probably about time to give them my lecture.
MARTIN: No, you’re not doing a lecture. In fact, I’m going to do all the cabin address from now on.
DOUGLAS: Oh. All right.
DOUGLAS: Hallo, ladies and gentlemen.
MARTIN (quietly): Douglas, stop!
DOUGLAS: You want to talk to them, little Captain Perfect? You can talk to them.
DOUGLAS: Obviously I’ve got my thumb on the Mute button.
MARTIN (sighing with relief): Right, then. Well, then ...
DOUGLAS: Up until now. Ladies and gentlemen, it is now my pleasure to introduce you to your captain today, Captain (he assumes a French accent) Martin duCref (he reverts to his normal accent) who joins us today for his first flight, in fact, after ten years with Air France.
MARTIN (furiously, quietly): You ...
DOUGLAS: Dealing with whatever’s thrown at you?
MARTIN: Although actually I’m ...
DOUGLAS: French. He’s a French pilot, from France.
MARTIN (putting on an appallingly bad French accent): ... ’allo. It is mah pleasure to be today your pilot on this journey most exciting. ’owever, as I am not, uh, the nattive speaker, the first officer will (he drifts back into his own accent) do most of the talking today.
DOUGLAS: Oh, well, if you insist.
MARTIN: Douglas, that was the most ...
(Flight deck door opens.)
NANCY: What the hell was that?
DOUGLAS: Bonjour, Madame, bienvenue dans le flight deck.
MARTIN: I’m sorry, I ...
NANCY: You, I thought I could ... not rely on, but I thought at least I could take my eye off you while I run round nursemaiding the rest of your outfit.
MARTIN: It wasn’t my fault, though! Douglas ...
NANCY: Yeah, the big boy made you do it, I know, I heard. I mean, I thought you could take care of him. This is it, though, OK? I’m talking to you now.
DOUGLAS: Oh, really? How lovely.
NANCY: You’ve had your fun. It’s over.
DOUGLAS: You see, I don’t know. I think there might be some mileage left in it.
MARTIN: No, don’t worry. I will manage him.
NANCY: I certainly hope so.
(Flight deck door closes.)
MARTIN: Douglas, please. I’m asking you nicely.
DOUGLAS: You didn’t tell your friend you’d ask me nicely, though, did you? You told her you’d ‘manage’ me. So, let’s see you.
(Flight deck door opens.)
CAROLYN: Douglas, the lemon is with you.
DOUGLAS: Ah, excellent!
MARTIN (frantic): No, please! Carolyn, we just had Nancy in here. She’s really angry. She explicitly said ...
DOUGLAS (airily): Bye.
(Flight deck door closes. Martin groans.)
CAROLYN: Don’t worry about her, Martin. She didn’t book us. She’s just a jumped-up rep.
MARTIN: Yes, I know. I just ... I really want her to think of me as a professional.
CAROLYN: Why? What do you care what she thinks?
MARTIN: Well, she said I was one and ... and now she thinks I’m not and I ... Well, I’m not, am I, because you don’t pay me. You pay the others but you don’t pay me.
CAROLYN: It’s not that I won’t, Martin. I can’t. How many times do I have to tell you: this is a loss-making company which could fold at any moment. Anyway, I don’t pay Arthur.
MARTIN: But he lives with you, so he gets all his food and lodging for free.
CAROLYN: Martin, let me nip this very much in the bud – any suggestion of you coming to live with us.
MARTIN: Oh God, no! No, no-no-no. And what about Douglas? You pay him, don’t you?
CAROLYN: Yes. Yes, I pay him because I have to pay him, because he’s not like you. If I stopped paying him, he’d stop coming to work – in the limited sense of the word ‘work’ that applies to Douglas.
MARTIN: You ... could ... cut his pay, though.
CAROLYN: You want me to cut Douglas’ pay.
MARTIN: No, I-I don’t want you to, I’m just saying you could, theoretically, split it between us. It’s not unreasonable. We do the same job. Why should he get all the pay? I mean, have you ever thought about the way I live at home?
CAROLYN: Not – I’m delighted to say – for a single second.
MARTIN: Yes, well, maybe you should. I get ten pounds an hour as a Man with a Van.
CAROLYN: Well, there’s your problem. That’s far too cheap. Last time I used one, I paid about twenty-five.
MARTIN: Yes, but my van’s very old and breaks down a lot, and half the time I’m not there because I’m flying an aircraft for you. The only thing I’ve got going for me is that I’m cheap. So I live in a horrible attic in a shared house where I’m the only grown-up. All the other five are students at the agricultural college. I’ve been there nine years now; that’s three generations of students. They pass me on to the next lot like a sort of friendly ghost: ‘Oh, are you living in Parkside Terrace next year? Well, listen, there’s a pilot in the attic but don’t worry, he never bothers anyone.’ I can’t afford to go out, to buy nice food. I live on toast and pasta. Sometimes, for a treat, I have a baked potato. So – just so you know – I’m not asking because I’m greedy.
CAROLYN: I will think about it.
MARTIN: Thank you.
(Flight deck door opens.)
DOUGLAS: Behold! The lemon! That’s an easy one, Carolyn. You think a seasoned old Travelling Lemon player like me doesn’t know the old ‘air freshener substitution’ trick?
MARTIN: Right, good. You’ve both hidden it, you’ve both found it. Game over, all right?
DOUGLAS: No, no. We’re just starting a rally.
CAROLYN: Douglas, maybe we should ...
DOUGLAS: Of course, you haven’t found it yet, Martin.
DOUGLAS: I’ll do you a deal. I’ll hide it for you. If you find it, you can keep it. Game over.
MARTIN: And no new game?
DOUGLAS: No new game.
MARTIN: Promise you won’t hide it anywhere near or on Nancy.
DOUGLAS: Damn. All right.
MARTIN: And it’ll be in plain sight?
DOUGLAS: Of course. That is the most sacred and fundamental law of The Travelling Lemon.
MARTIN: All right.
ARTHUR: Hello. You’re – you’re the woman from Unbeaten Track, aren’t you?
NANCY: Yes. Hello.
ARTHUR: Hello. Uh, we didn’t meet properly. I’m Arthur. I’m the steward and bear expert. For instance, the sloth bear eats half its own body weight every month.
NANCY: I’m a little busy with these forms.
ARTHUR: Oh, you should do what I do. Don’t do them. Listen, I-I was just wondering: are all your experts on your crew or do you have guest lecturers?
NANCY: Yes, sometimes.
ARTHUR: Right, because I just know an awful lot about bears – at the moment. Uh, so if you ever need to, you know, borrow me, well you’d have to sort it out with Mum but I’m sure it’d be OK.
NANCY: Thank you for your offer. I’ll bear that in mind.
ARTHUR: No-no, you said, ‘Bear that in mind,’ like a bear! (He laughs uproariously.) Oh, I might put that in my lecture!
MR PEARY (Canadian accent): Excuse me, Captain.
MARTIN: Yes, hello.
MR PEARY: Oh! You – you sound different in person.
MARTIN (putting on his terrible French accent): Do I? I do not know why. Can I ’elp you?
MR PEARY: I just wondered if everything was OK. You’ve been up and down the cabin three times now.
MARTIN (French accent): Ah, non, all is well. I just, erm ... You ’aven’t, by any chance, seen ...
MR PEARY: Seen what?
MARTIN (French accent): A little lemon?
MR PEARY: What?!
MARTIN (French accent): Nothing. It is no matter.
(Flight deck door opens.)
DOUGLAS: Ah, hello, Captain. I’d given you up for lost. Found the lemon yet?
DOUGLAS: Oh dear. Then the revelry continues.
MARTIN: Look, Douglas, let’s just stop fighting.
DOUGLAS: That’s easy for you to say. You started it.
MARTIN: Yes, all right, and now I want to finish it.
DOUGLAS: But it hasn’t occurred to you, for instance, to say ‘sorry’.
MARTIN: I’m ... sorry. I’m sorry I called you unprofessional.
DOUGLAS: Thank you.
MARTIN: So we’re quits?
DOUGLAS: Nearly. Maybe if ...
DOUGLAS: 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 (hissing quietly): Douglas, no!
DOUGLAS: ... from one of the crew with particular knowledge of the region. In this case, I’d like to invite Captain duCref ...
MARTIN (quietly, hysterically): Pleeeeease!
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 gentlemen, your captain!
MARTIN (terrible French accent): ... ’Allo. Well ... I don’t like to talk about zis.
DOUGLAS: But you’ve agreed to now! We’re most honoured! So, when did it happen?
MARTIN (French accent): Uh ... when I was in ze French Foreign Legion.
DOUGLAS: Ah, the regiment famous for being non-Frenchmen.
MARTIN (French accent): Yes. For me they made ze exception ... because I am not entirely French ... (he begins to drift into his normal accent) ... in fact, I’m half-English – more than half, actually, so (he forces himself to return to the French accent) anyway, we were stationed in Alaska ...
DOUGLAS: Unusual for a desert regiment.
MARTIN (French accent): Yes, it was unusual. We wanted to ’ave ... ze element of surprise. Anyway, I saw a polar bear, so I called out to my comrades ...
DOUGLAS: What did you call out?
MARTIN (French accent): ... ‘Look out! A polar bear!’
DOUGLAS: Only you said it in French.
MARTIN (French accent): Of course I said it in French then. I do not say it in French now because ... no-one would understand me.
DOUGLAS: But, just out of interest, what is ‘polar bear’ in French?
MARTIN (French accent): It is, in fact, the same as in English.
DOUGLAS: Really? ‘Polar bear’?
MARTIN (French accent): Yes. It is a word we have borrowed from your langwaj. Only, of course, we say ‘bear polar’.
DOUGLAS: I see. So you saw the polar bear, you called out, ‘Attention, mes amis! Regardez-vous le bear polar!’ And then what?
MARTIN (very rapidly in his French accent): Then I put the egg whisk into the snowdrift, whisked it up like a blizzard in the bear’s face, then under cover of his confusion, I bounced away on the pogo stick. Zhank you, goodbye.
DOUGLAS: Goodness, what a remarkable story! Just goes to show, ladies and gentlemen, truth is stranger than fiction.
MARTIN (normal accent): Thanks. Thanks a lot. You-you had to do that, didn’t you? I just wanted one person – one stranger – to take me seriously as a professional pilot, but you couldn’t even allow that. You had to humiliate me even after I’d said sorry – and now I don’t know why I did.
DOUGLAS: If it helps, the cabin address wasn’t on for any of that.
DOUGLAS: No-one heard it but you and me.
MARTIN: You weren’t pressing the Mute button, and the red light was on.
DOUGLAS: True; but while you were out playing hunt the lemon, I switched the LED round. Now the red light comes on when the PA is off.
MARTIN: But ... that would mean it’s on now.
DOUGLAS: It is, but now I have got my thumb on the Mute button.
MARTIN: You absolute ...
(Cabin door bursts open.)
(Martin yells out in surprise.)
ARTHUR: Bears, bears, bears! Polar bears! Look, on the ground!
DOUGLAS: Of all places! Excellent! Right, bears, let’s see what you’ve got.
(Gerti’s engines start to strain.)
MARTIN: Douglas, I don’t think ...
(Gerti’s engines whine even more with strain.)
MARTIN: Douglas, we don’t have the altitude!
DOUGLAS (enthusiastically): Oh, we’ve got plenty of altitude!
MARTIN: We don’t! We’re at treetop level already!
DOUGLAS (enthusiastically): Ah, but you’re forgetting – no trees in the Arctic! That gives us at least another thirty foot!
MARTIN: No, it doesn ...
DOUGLAS: Oh, you think you can get away that way, do you, Paddington?
MARTIN (panic-stricken): No! Douglas, you’ll stall it!
DOUGLAS: No I won’t. Just sit back and enjoy the ride!
MARTIN: I can’t enjoy it if you’re gonna kill us all!
DOUGLAS: Don’t exaggerate! Ah-ha!
MARTIN: (screaming in terror)
DOUGLAS: Let’s be having you, then, Winnie!
MARTIN: Douglas! I have control!
DOUGLAS: No you don’t! Ooh, Baloo at ten o’clock! (He impersonates a machine gun.) Daka-daka-daka-daka-daka-daka!
MARTIN (panic-stricken): Douglas, please, please stop! You’re gonna kill us all! Please! You’ll kill us all!
DOUGLAS (tetchily): Oh, fine.
(Gerti’s engines settle down to their normal noise. Martin pants noisily.)
DOUGLAS: Honestly, what a fuss.
(Cabin door opens.)
CAROLYN (sounding a little breathless): Gentlemen.
DOUGLAS: There you go. We gave them a bit of a show, didn’t we?
CAROLYN: Oh yes.
DOUGLAS: Sorry I had to stop, but they must have got a pretty good eyeful of the bears, didn’t they?
CAROLYN: They mainly weren’t looking at the bears.
DOUGLAS: Why ever not?
CAROLYN: Because they were mainly frozen in terror, because for some reason, as soon as you started chasing the bears, the cabin address came on.
DOUGLAS: Oh dear. Now that, I admit, was a bit unprofessional.
(Sound of the passengers disembarking, muttering amongst themselves.)
CAROLYN: Goodbye. Goodbye. Thank you for flying with Unbeaten Track.
ARTHUR: Goodbye. A female bear is called a sow.
CAROLYN: Goodbye, madam. Thank you for flying Unbeaten Track.
ARTHUR: Goodbye. A grizzly bear can strip a deer’s carcass in six minutes.
MRS COOK: I beg your pardon?
CAROLYN: Farewell bear facts, madam, courtesy of Unbeaten Track.
NANCY: Excuse me! Let me through! I need you to stop saying that. It was MJN Air, madam. Remember, any complaints or lawsuits you may have, direct them to MJN Air.
MARTIN: Er, excuse me, Nancy.
NANCY: I’ve nothing to say to you, Captain.
MARTIN: No, well, I have something to say to you. I know I haven’t come across as completely professional this trip ...
MARTIN (passionately): ... but as it happens, I am professional. I am the most professional pilot I know. (His voice falters.) It’s just ... well, it happens that I fly with a crew who ... well, I’m not blaming them, it’s just ... (He shouts frantically) ... they never behave like the crews in the manuals! They don’t even behave like the crews in the manuals who are the examples of crews behaving badly! They do things no manual’s ever thought of! (He pulls himself together.) Anyway, I, er, I just wanted to say I am paid to fly aeroplanes, I do it proudly and I take it seriously. I am absolutely a professional, and I don’t need you to tell me so.
NANCY: Well. that’s a very lovely speech. Very moving.
MARTIN: Hm. Thank you.
NANCY: D’you know what would have made it even better? If you’d given it without a lemon taped to the top of your hat.
* * * * * * * * *
See John Finnemore’s blog about this episode, and his amazingly detailed episode notes, here.
Additionally, some genius has set up an MJN Air website a la Arthur here.