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Ariane DeVere
“Cabin Pressure” Season 4 episode try-out #1, 22 October 2012 
23rd-Oct-2012 01:10 am
CP - Bing-bong
“Cabin Pressure” Season 4 episode try-out #1, 22 October 2012

John Finnemore had decided that, with Season 4 of Cabin Pressure likely to be recorded in December, he wanted to try out very early drafts of episode scripts on a bigger audience than the six friends to whom he had presented Season 3! He therefore made arrangements to premiere some of the scripts to a small “friendly” audience so that he could gauge their reactions.

After major shenanigans during the online seat-reservation process which had shown both the best and the worst of the show’s fans, almost 90 people squeezed into quite a tight area in a pub in Kilburn, north-west London. As always, despite having started arranging this a couple of weeks ago, John confessed that he had still been writing the episode at 3 p.m. this afternoon even though it was already over forty minutes long and would therefore need serious cutting before it would be fit for broadcast. The audience expressed some surprise at the news that there would only be one episode premiered, as we had probably all assumed that – with three sessions arranged – each one would premiere two episodes. “Well, yes,” said John, “but this one’s really long!” “It’s Cabin Pressure: the Movie,” said one of his friends.

The roles of the other characters were played by friends of John’s, and I hope they’ll forgive me if Ive spelled their names wrong but I wrote down what I heard from the back of the room.

Simon Kane – Martin
Matt Green – Douglas
Margaret Cabon-Smith – Carolyn
And Carrie Quinlan and John Dryden-Turner played other characters – sometimes more than one.

And yes, we were told the title of the episode. And no, I will never reveal it. I will say only that it was the “W” episode but you’ll get no more information from me! And for all I know it could have been a huge bluff and John will not only rename that episode but give it a different letter, so I’m not going to make an idiot of myself by yelling, “Hey, everyone, the W episode will be called ... and it’s about ...” And John Finnemore asked us not to tell. And when John Finnemore asks you not to tell, you don’t tell. Because he’s John Finnemore. Nuff said.

He’s lost none of his talent, though, I’ll tell you that. He knows his characters so well that, despite them being read by different actors, you could still hear the original voices, and there were many many occasions when I was just dying to hear Roger or Stephanie or Benedict say particular lines because you know that (a) they will crack up laughing when they first read them and (b) they’ll deliver them brilliantly. I’m really having to bite my fingers here because I’d love to say more, but I absolutely mustn’t. But a couple of very general moments:

At one point Carolyn said something so cruel about Arthur that the audience as one made a really loud protesting “Aww!!” noise. I have a feeling that that line may be cut from the final version!

Despite already running over the allotted 30 minutes, there were still a couple of moments that John hadn’t written yet, and he paused the performance on these occasions to explain what was going to happen in the final version. One of these produced such an affectionate “D’aww!” from everyone that John said triumphantly that he was going to do the same in the final version – just go on and tell the audience what would happen next because it would get a much better reaction, and it would save him having to actually write the scene!

There was a glorious moment where John – as Arthur – threw in an extra unscripted, “Brilliant!” and Margaret, playing Carolyn, said without hesitation and totally in character, “Hush, dear,” which got a huge shout of laughter from everyone.

It’s going to be a great episode when it’s finished and there are some moments which – if they stay in the final version – will go down as classics, especially the latest word game that Douglas starts in the cockpit, and another one that springs from that. John was really grateful to the audience for coming and said that our responses had been hugely helpful to him and he now had a stack of notes in the margins of his script.

Edit, 24 October: I am taking down the rest of this entry, which was a report on the Q&A which John did after the script try-out. Sadly there are some moronic people out there who call themselves ‘fans’ but are so pathetically obsessed on Benedict that they think they have the right to actually contact John Finnemore and tell him that he isn’t allowed to have his own mental image of what Martin Crieff looks like. These are probably the same people who stole tickets from other fans in order to attend these try-outs.

While Tumblr and Twitter have gone a little ballistic with comments arising from Johns observations on Monday night, the majority of people have had fun with the concept; but like I said, there have been the few morons who have taken the whole thing far too seriously and John has had to resort to writing a blog post about it – it’s here. I think it’s outrageous that the poor sod has had to write and defend his own internal process (though of course he has phrased it far more charmingly than that). Anyway, he has also asked – totally understandably in the circumstances – that people don’t write up the Q&A; and I suspect that he might not even do a Q&A at the future two sessions.  So, jolly well done, idiot obsessives.  *sarcastically applauds*

Don’t it make you mad? Why can’t people just think?

(Deleted comment)
23rd-Oct-2012 11:32 am (UTC)
You're not alone there - the internet appears to be rather melting today under the weight of people doing their best Molly Hooper impressions and protesting, "He's not bald! He's not!"
23rd-Oct-2012 12:27 am (UTC)
thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuu
23rd-Oct-2012 12:38 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you for writing this up! Wow.
23rd-Oct-2012 12:42 am (UTC)
This must have been so much fun! Glad you got in.

How is it that "Awww" is protest and "D'awww" is affection? I don't know, but you're right about that.

I wonder which two actors he already had in mind when they did the casting? Are you allowed to tell, or are you sworn to secrecy?
23rd-Oct-2012 12:53 am (UTC)
He didn't and wouldn't say, but he said that he wrote their characters with their voices in mind, but never dreamed he would actually get them.

I really wasn't feeling brilliant today and didn't much fancy a trek all the way up to north-west London, but I'm so glad I did go, cos it was enormous fun! Really looking forward to the next one in a couple of weeks' time.
23rd-Oct-2012 01:30 am (UTC)
thank you for sharing this, so that everyone who couldn't go could join in on the excitement! ahhhh
regarding Martin being bald, I'm prepared to live in denial...
23rd-Oct-2012 02:21 am (UTC)
OMG thank you soooo much for writing this up! It's wonderful to get the insider scoop; I feel like I was there despite being a country away. Good on you for not revealing the W; I'm sure John Finnemore appreciates it, too.

I'm ignoring that bald bombshell, of course, because in my mind everyone looks just like their promo pictures. :)
23rd-Oct-2012 02:34 am (UTC)
Oh my goooddd, thank you so much for posting this! c: Just hearing about your experience is so exciting!

Also, oh my goodness, bombshell about Martin!
23rd-Oct-2012 05:09 am (UTC)

Bald Martin?! I already have problems picturing him short!
23rd-Oct-2012 07:32 am (UTC)
Good Lord, don't tell the fanart artists! If i ever see a bald Martin I might scream!

Thank you so much! Now I'm double happy that I'm going to be there after Sherlopalooza. It's simply brilliant!
23rd-Oct-2012 10:46 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you went to this, sweetie!

It sounds fabulous - and thank you very much for writing up this wonderful report when you got home at ridiculous o'clock. Clearly your 'fandom asset' badge covers much more than just 'Sherlock'!

23rd-Oct-2012 11:56 am (UTC)
Your non-spoilery review is BRILLIANT!!!!n May I share it on Facebook?
23rd-Oct-2012 12:52 pm (UTC)
Yes, please do! Glad you liked it.
23rd-Oct-2012 01:21 pm (UTC)
This is amazing report! Thank you for this! It leaves me with so many Cabin Pressure feelings... It would be so awesome if tv series happened. Once again thank you so much for this- fandot is saving my life :)
23rd-Oct-2012 09:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this very promising review! I'm glad you had a terrific evening and I suppose you expect a witty comment but I'm sorry, I'm stuck on the word "bald", or rather on the juxtaposition of the words "Benedict as Martin" and "Martin’s bald". They are not suited. It's like, I don't know, "Sherlock" and "het fic". For example. Also, John Finnemore says that Martin Freeman sounds a little weak. My commentarial skills can't stand this kind of things. Sorry. :D

24th-Oct-2012 10:06 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for sharing this - it must have been an amazing experience in itself.
5th-Aug-2013 05:55 am (UTC)
Wow... I'm reading this almost a year after the fact, and I gotta admit, I never heard it mentioned before that Martin would be balding. I had to read that blog and look all that stuff up. X-)

But I gotta agree with the people who say he isn't. I just can't seem to picture Martin that way. X-) Benedict's ridiculously, addictingly beautiful voice aside X-), Martin's expression and inflection come across as sort of youthful, as are lot of the things he says, and he's treated almost like a child by Douglas and Carolyn, so the picture those things give me is of a short, gingery guy who looks significantly younger than he actually is. Such is the case with me... I'm a not tall, 33 year old woman who gets mistaken for a 23 year old girl on a regular basis. X-) Although I'm quite flattered that people think I'm much younger than I am, it seems to cause people to subconsciously, yet insultingly, treat me accordingly, just as they do to Martin. I think if he was balding, his age would be much more apparent, and it's less likely that they would do that to him. But then that's just my personal opinion... likely influenced by my relating to the situation X-)... and it's always fascinating to see how different people can see the same things so differently from one another. :-)
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