Trust John Finnemore to leave his script-writing and try-outs to the last minute – I thought he was bad enough when he was writing new lines during the recording of the V and W episodes but to try out an entire script four days before recording it is pretty impressive. As he put it, “I’ve got three more days to get this right. So you’ll hear stuff you don’t like today, but you’ll never hear it again!”
Once again the roles of the other characters were played by friends of John’s:
Kieran Hodgson – Martin
Matt Green – Douglas
Kate Ferguson – Carolyn
Some of the three actors played other roles as well. Afterwards John pointed out that all three of the actors have appeared in episodes of Cabin Pressure before and, in a weird coincidence, Matt had played the role of Kieran, the young boy in Helsinki; while Kieran has just played a young boy during the recording of the V and W episodes a few weeks ago (I’m keeping it deliberately vague).
This was the final episode of the series, so you can work out for yourself what letter of the alphabet it begins with.
John goofed early by forgetting that about the third line of the episode was his, leaving a long silence before he scrambled forward to his microphone. For his next line he leapt forward so eagerly that he trod on the footstand and the mic promptly swung forward and thumped him in the face. “I have dreams like this!” he bemoaned. “This is not a good start: first time I forgot my line; second time the mic attacks me! Wait ’til I get to the third line!”
You haven’t lived until you’ve heard/seen Arthur miming the word “dragonfruit”.
There are lots of “aww” moments for Martin in this episode. And there’s a Martin speech which I just know that Benedict is absolutely going to nail the hell out of on Sunday at the recording. I really hope John doesn’t cut or reduce it before then. And then Benedict is going to have every one of you in tears.
And the ending. Oh My Good Gods, the ending …
I’m saying nothing about the ending. I really really want to give some kind of hint, but I’m absolutely not going to spoil it for you. DO NOT MISS THIS EPISODE.
Because of the fiasco that arose when people talked about the Q&A which John did after the first try-out, I won’t go into detail here but a couple of (hopefully!) innocent things he mentioned:
It took him about eight months to write Series 4. At first he wasn’t writing all the time but with three months to go it was pretty much all he did. He reckons it took him on average a month to write each episode.
He writes in an office in his house, sometimes in a coffee shop and very often in the Priory Tavern where this try-out took place. He added, “You can tell the bits I wrote on coffee and the bits I wrote on beer!”