Script by John Finnemore
Transcript by Ariane DeVere
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This week, Yverdon-les-Bains!
ARTHUR: He’s here!
(MJN’s portacabin door opens.)
CAROLYN (sounding genuinely welcoming): Hello, Martin!
ARTHUR: Hi, Skip.
MARTIN (suspiciously): Hello. What’s going on? Why are you ... why are you all looking at me like that?
ARTHUR: A letter came for you, Skip.
MARTIN: A letter?
CAROLYN: With a Swiss stamp.
MARTIN: Oh God!
(He slits the envelope open.)
MARTIN: Oh God!
DOUGLAS: We’re hoping Heidi’s finally replied to your fan mail.
MARTIN (nervously): Er, okay, okay, okay, er ... Head of Personnel, Swiss Airways, Yverdon-les-Bains. “Dear Mr. Creuff ...”
DOUGLAS: Good start.
MARTIN: “Thank you for attending our simulator check and technical exam. Your results are ... very interesting, and we would like to invite you to an interview to our headquarters in Yverdon on the twenty-first of March.” I’ve got an interview! (Almost singing) I’ve got an interview!
CAROLYN: Well done, Martin!
MARTIN (loudly): Oh God, I’ve got an interview!!
ARTHUR: You’ll be brilliant.
MARTIN: I won’t! I’m terrible at interviews!
DOUGLAS: Ooh – bad news from the wall chart. We’re taking some of Mr. Alyakhin’s yacht-fanciers yacht-shopping that day.
CAROLYN: Well, you can do that by yourself, can’t you?
DOUGLAS: Certainly I can, but I thought Mr. Alyakhin insisted on the full complement of pilots – if you can call two a ‘complement’.
CAROLYN: Oh, I’m sure it’ll all be fine.
DOUGLAS: All right, then let’s see ... Well, Martin, if you relieve me of the pleasure of the dawn flight to Doncaster I’m down for on the nineteenth, I’ll be in hours to do the Antibes solo.
MARTIN: Oh, thanks, Douglas ... although, actually, you’d be in hours even if I didn’t do ...
DOUGLAS: Yes, but then what would I get out of it?
(Airport tannoy bing-bing-bong.)
FEMALE VOICE (over tannoy): Passengers for Flight SA23 to Yverdon, we should be ready to board you within ten minutes.
MARTIN: Right, right, right-right-right-right-right.
(He drags in a nervous breath.)
MARTIN: Anyone got any more practice questions?
ARTHUR: What’s been your best crash?
MARTIN: Anyone apart from Arthur.
DOUGLAS: Oh, here’s an old one: you’re on a stopover in Bangkok, and your captain meets you in the hotel bar wearing a red cocktail dress. What do you say?
MARTIN: Oh, right. Er, well, um ... it’s not on company time or property ... um, so in the spirit of respecting his life choices, I’d ...
DOUGLAS (interrupting): No, no. You tell her how well it goes with her earrings.
MARTIN: Oh, but that’s not fair! The question pre-supposes the ...
CAROLYN: Don’t scare the boy, Douglas. They don’t really go in for trick ones these days, Martin. It’ll just be things like: what would you say is your worst quality?
MARTIN: Oh-oh-oh-oh, yes; I’ve got a great one for this. I saw it on a website. My worst quality, I’m afraid, is that I am sometimes a bit too much of a perfectionist.
(Carolyn and Douglas both groan.)
CAROLYN: Whatever you do, don’t say that.
MARTIN: W-w-why not? Don’t you see? It’s really clever because it sounds like I’m criticising myself, but-but actually, being a perfectionist is a good thing for a pilot to be, so ...
CAROLYN: Yes, I understand the fiendish cunning of it, Martin. I just fear it may have lost the first fine flush of youth.
(Martin sighs in exasperation.)
CAROLYN: You should say something that shows you’re genuinely aware of your weak points as a pilot.
CAROLYN: Yes, thank you, Douglas. I am not looking for contributions from the floor.
ARTHUR: Ooh-ooh, I know. Make it something, um, you can’t help but will make them feel sorry for you. Like, um, your worst quality is, er, you’re blind.
(Airport tannoy bing-bing-bong.)
FEMALE VOICE (over tannoy): Ladies and gentlemen, Flight SA23 is now ready for boarding.
MARTIN (anxious and high-pitched): Ooh. Okay!
(He drags in a breath.)
CAROLYN: Good luck, Martin, and remember: be calm ...
CAROLYN: ... take your time ...
DOUGLAS: Be assertive ...
CAROLYN: ... but relaxed ...
MARTIN: Yes, yes!
ARTHUR: Good luck, Skip! Just be yourself!
CAROLYN and DOUGLAS (simultaneously): No!!
DOUGLAS: Don’t do that!
CAROLYN: Be a version of yourself.
DOUGLAS: Quite a different version from usual.
MARTIN (tetchily): Oh, all right. Thank you.
ARTHUR (calling after him as he walks away): Good luck, Skip! I hope you get the job! But I also hope you stay with us! So overall, I hope, er ... I don’t know what I hope!
DOUGLAS: Tell you what, Arthur, give it another crack and try stopping after ‘good luck’.
ARTHUR (calling out): Good luck! (To Douglas) Oh, yeah, that is better.
(Portacabin door opens.)
DOUGLAS: Good morning, Arthur. Now, then: are the self-loading freight all aboard?
ARTHUR: The what?
DOUGLAS: The passengers.
ARTHUR: Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah, they’re all on.
DOUGLAS: Very well. Then ho! for sunny Antibes.
(Office door opens.)
CAROLYN: Er, one moment, Douglas. I’m going to come with you.
DOUGLAS: Good! The more the merrier.
CAROLYN: And so is Herc.
DOUGLAS: ... up to a point.
HERC: Always nice to see you too, Douglas.
DOUGLAS: I don’t know where we’re going to put him, though; sixteen passengers, no spare seats.
CAROLYN: Yes, well, there is one.
DOUGLAS: What? ... No! Oh, oh no, absolutely not.
CAROLYN: I’m sorry, Douglas, but you were quite right. Mr. Alyakhin insists on two pilots.
DOUGLAS: But he’s not even type-rated on GERTI.
CAROLYN: I know. He doesn’t need to be. He’s not going to do any actual flying.
DOUGLAS: Oh, I see. So I’m going to do all the work and he’s just going to sit in the first officer’s seat looking ornamental.
CAROLYN: Almost right.
DOUGLAS (increasingly indignantly): ... Oh, no, no, no, no!
HERC: I’m sorry, Douglas, but I am a captain.
DOUGLAS: You’re not my captain.
HERC: No, but your captain will be busy trying to persuade my new firm to let him be my first officer; so I suppose in a way that makes me your captain’s captain.
DOUGLAS: No it doesn’t!
HERC: Besides, I only have a captain’s uniform.
DOUGLAS (grimly): I am prepared to swap uniforms.
HERC: I’m not entirely sure mine would fit you.
DOUGLAS: Yes it would!
HERC: D’you think?
DOUGLAS: Yes! It would be fine!
HERC: The sleeves would be fine ...
CAROLYN: Enough! Everyone will wear their own clothes and sit in their own seats. Good God, I work in a kindergarten.
ARTHUR: Er, Mum?
CAROLYN: Yes, Arthur?
ARTHUR: Just checking: who am I gonna be?
CAROLYN: You’re going to be you.
ARTHUR: Oh good. That’s the one I know.
(Knock on a door.)
DEROCHE (female, Swiss accent [allegedly]) (muffled): Come in.
(The door opens.)
DEROCHE: Good morning. My name is Élise Deroche. You must be Mr. Creuff.
MARTIN: Er, Crieff, actually.
DEROCHE: Oh, my apologies. Mr. Crieff.
MARTIN: Er, well, Captain, actually. ... Sorry, I don’t mean, “Call me Captain”! I-I-I just thought it would be useful for you to know that I ... am one.
(He chuckles nervously.)
DEROCHE: I see. Well, a pleasure to meet you, Captain Crieff.
MARTIN: And you, Mrs ... Dddd-drouch.
DEROCHE: Well, since we are being exact, I am also a captain.
MARTIN (quickly): That doesn’t surprise me.
DEROCHE: I’m sorry?
MARTIN: I mean, I’m not surprised you’re a woman.
DEROCHE: Why would you be surprised ...?
MARTIN: Oh, no! No reason! I wouldn’t be, and I’m not. That’s my point.
DEROCHE: What is your point?
MARTIN: That if you wore a red dress in a hotel, I wouldn’t assume you were a man!
MARTIN (quietly): Shall I ... um ... shall I, shall I just go?
DEROCHE: Fortunately for you, we record all our interviews and it is company policy that the interview does not begin until the recording starts.
MARTIN: Oh, thank God!
(Click and beep as Captain Deroche starts the recording machine.)
DEROCHE: So: good morning, Captain Crieff.
MARTIN: Oh, please – call me Martin.
DOUGLAS: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Douglas Richardson and I am your pilot. It’s my pleasure to welcome you to my aircraft, and to introduce you to my crew. In the cabin you’ll be looked after by Carolyn and Arthur, two colleagues for whom I have the utmost respect. Also joining me today is ... (he almost gargles the first letter of the name) Hhherc Shipwright – which he assures me is a perfectly normal name – who’ll be helping me out with maps and so on if the need arises.
HERC: If I can just add my voice to the first officer’s fulsome welcome. My name – and I don’t pretend for a moment it’s a normal one, but there you go – is Captain Hercules Shipwright, and I fear it momentarily slipped the first officer’s mind to mention that we’re going to Antibes at the height of thirty thousand feet and a speed of four hundred knots.
DOUGLAS: ... unless I decide to go higher, lower, faster or slower than that – in which case, that is exactly what we’ll do.
CAROLYN: On behalf of the cabin crew, I’d like to add my voice to the torrential downpour of announcements from the flight deck, and to assure passengers who might be planning on reading, sleeping, or hearing themselves think, that they’re now entirely at an end.
DEROCHE: So: how good a pilot would you say you are, on a scale from one to ten? For instance, I would say I am a six.
MARTIN: Right, okay. Er, w-well, I’m confident ... er, but I’m not over-confident, so, um ... five?
MARTIN: No, no, too low, obviously. But, you know, I don’t want to say I’m a better pilot than you because ... because I’m not – I shouldn’t think.
DEROCHE: You might be.
MARTIN: I “might be”. Er, well, eight. Eight ... eight’s too high. Is it? Nine and ten are definitely out. (Chuckling) As I say, I’m not over-confident.
DEROCHE (mildly sarcastic): You don’t sound it.
MARTIN: No. I-I’m not. So, er, seven? (Instantly) No, not seven! Everyone says seven! (He chuckles briefly.) Six. Can’t say six – you said six! Maybe it is eight. Can I check: what’s ‘one’ on the scale – a bad pilot or someone who can’t fly at all?
DEROCHE: You decide.
MARTIN: All right. Er, well, if-if-if ‘one’ is the worst pilot who’s legal, then I’m a five ... (Frantically and very rapidly) ... but a really good five, nearly a six, five point nine, well, five point eight; no-o-o, five point nine, say five point eight five, yes.
DEROCHE: Thank you(!) No-one’s ever answered to two decimal places before.
(Flight deck door opens.)
ARTHUR: Cheese tray, Douglas?
DOUGLAS: Thank you, Arthur. I believe I will take the Roquefort, and the Emmental, ooh, and the Brie. Do help yourself to the others, Herc.
HERC: Really?! Either of them?!
DOUGLAS: Be my guest ... because you are.
HERC: Well, thank you, but actually I’m a vegetarian.
DOUGLAS: Well, fine. Feel free to nibble wanly on a cracker.
HERC: I think not.
(Flight deck door opens again.)
ARTHUR: And fruit tray for Herc.
HERC: Thank you, Arthur.
DOUGLAS: Fruit tray?
ARTHUR: Yeah. Herc’s vegetarian, you see, Douglas, so he has a fruit tray.
DOUGLAS (petulantly): I want a fruit tray.
ARTHUR: I-I’m sorry. I only ordered one for Herc.
HERC: You’re welcome to an apple, Douglas, if you have room after all that cheese.
DOUGLAS (sulkily): Keep your apple.
ARTHUR: Ooh, I’ll have it!
HERC: You can have something more interesting if you like, Arthur. There’s, er, there’s guava; mango; dragon fruit ...
ARTHUR: Wow. Dragon fruit?!
HERC: Help yourself.
ARTHUR: Thanks, Herc!
(He takes and eats a piece.)
HERC: So, what do you think?
ARTHUR (with his mouth half full): Yeah, it’s quite nice. Mmm. It’sh not really what I was expecting. I-I thought it’d be a bit more, um, I don’t know ...
ARTHUR: Yeah, yeah, maybe. It’sh all right, though.
(He chuckles, then speaks with a muffled lisp.)
ARTHUR: I quite like what it does to your lips.
HERC: Your ... your lips?
ARTHUR (even more muffled and lisping): Yeah, you know, the way it makesh them go all short of tingly and funny. That ish quite dragony, I shuppose.
HERC: Ar-Arthur, are you all ...
ARTHUR: It’sh a bit like that thing you get when you eat shtrawberriesh, which is good, becaush no-one’ll let me eat shtrawberries any more.
DOUGLAS (groaning): Oh, no ...
HERC: All right, all right. A-Arthur, keep calm and-and breathe regularly.
ARTHUR (muffled): I am calm. Shouldn’t I be calm?
DOUGLAS: Carolyn – strawberry drill in the flight deck.
CAROLYN (exasperated, over intercom): Oh, for goodness’ sake.
ARTHUR (almost incomprehensible): I don’t need a thtrawberry drill!
HERC: Douglas, this is serious! He needs urgent medical attention!
DOUGLAS: All right, Buzz Lightyear, keep your helmet on. We do this about twice a year. All he needs ...
(Flight deck door opens and closes.)
CAROLYN: Arthur, come here.
ARTHUR: No, no, I’m fine.
CAROLYN: Good. Now, stay still.
ARTHUR (very muffled and swollen-mouthed): I don’t need it. It’sh fine. (He protests incoherently.) ... Ow!
CAROLYN: Good boy.
CAROLYN: Now: what is it you didn’t know had strawberries in it this time? Because if it’s strawberry mousse again, I swear I will ...
ARTHUR: No, I promise, I hagn’t had a thtrawberry; it wath a gragon froo.
CAROLYN: A what?
ARTHUR: A hhgrago froo.
ARTHUR: Froo-froo ...
CAROLYN: Through ...
CAROLYN: Throoot ... fruit!
ARTHUR: Gragon fruit.
ARTHUR: Gragon froo!
CAROLYN: Kiwi fruit!
ARTHUR: Gragon ...
(He makes the sound of flapping wings, then roars as best as he can with his swollen mouth.)
ARTHUR: ... fwoo.
CAROLYN: Dragon fruit.
ARTHUR: Yeth! Thith ith actually quye a goo game, ithn’t it?
DEROCHE: So, you have a command already at, er, MJN Air.
MARTIN: That’s right.
DEROCHE: But you’re prepared to accept a drop in salary?
MARTIN: Errrr, yyyes.
DEROCHE: Because you are aware that our starting salary for first officers is only, er, in-in sterling, twenty-two thousand pounds.
MARTIN: Yes, well, I-I-I will make that sacrifice.
OSKAR (male, Swiss accent [supposedly]): Hi, hi. Élise, do you mind if I ...
MARTIN: Oh. My. God.
DEROCHE: Of course.
OSKAR: Hi, hi. Good to meet you. I’m Oskar Bider.
MARTIN: I know!
OSKAR: I’m the CEO.
MARTIN: I know!
OSKAR: Call me Oskar.
MARTIN (plaintively): I’ll try!
OSKAR: So, guys, ignore me. I’m just sitting in. You won’t know I’m here.
OSKAR: Though I say that – I’m a pretty chatty guy, so maybe you will.
(Martin laughs nervously.)
MARTIN: C-c-c-c-can I just ask: d-d-d’you always sit on ... on all the interviews?
MARTIN: Right, just-just some of them?
OSKAR: No, I never do.
DEROCHE: All right. Shall we return to the interview?
OSKAR: Sure, sure.
(Martin gulps nervously.)
OSKAR: Does anyone want muffins? I can get some muffins sent up. No? Okay, carry on.
CAROLYN: All right, Elephant Man, how are you feeling?
ARTHUR (still very garbled and fuzzy): Oh much better. The only thing ish, my lipsh are shtill a dit numb.
CAROLYN: Yeah, all right, then. I suppose I’ll have to feed the animals myself.
ARTHUR: Oh, no, no, le’ me do it, I’m fine, honethtly.
CAROLYN: Offer me dinner.
ARTHUR: Good evening, thir. Woulg you like the taghlitelli or ... or the boobooginyon? ... I can’t say the ‘b’ ... booboogi ... boobooginyon!
CAROLYN: All right, it’ll do. Go on, off you go.
ARTHUR: Hhanks, Num!
(Galley curtain opens, then closes.)
ARTHUR: Good evening, thir. Woulg you care for the tagliatelle?
MAN (American[ish] accent): I don’t eat pasta.
ARTHUR: Oh dear.
MAN: Well, isn’t there an alternative?
ARTHUR: ... Yeth.
MAN: Well, what is it?
ARTHUR: ... The tagliatelle ish vewy nice.
MAN: I don’t want the tagliatelle. What is the alternative?
ARTHUR: Boof booginyon.
ARTHUR: Oh, you know: boof – like, like, beef, like from a cow ... booginyon, like ... I don’t know what that meanth. But look, this!
(He takes off the lid of the tray.)
MAN: Oh, stew!
ARTHUR: Well, that’th what I thaid it wath, but Nun says we ‘ave to call it boof booginyon.
DEROCHE: So, let’s talk about your results so far.
MARTIN: Ah, yes.
DEROCHE: Well, firstly, you’ll be pleased to know your references from your current airline are excellent.
MARTIN: Oh! Are they?
DEROCHE: Indeed. Positively glowing report from your CEO, and another from your Chief Pilot.
MARTIN: Well, that’s very ... from who?
DEROCHE: Your Chief Pilot – Mr. Richardson. He is most complimentary: “Myself apart, there is no-one at MJN whose abilities as a pilot I rate higher.”
MARTIN: How kind(!)
DEROCHE: And we also request your CEO to select at random a member of the cabin crew to fill out a questionnaire, rating you on various attributes from ‘poor’ to ‘very good’. In your case, the respondent drew in and ticked an additional box at the end of each line, labelled ‘brilliant’.
MARTIN: Gosh! I wonder who that was?
OSKAR: You sounded great!
(Martin briefly laughs in an embarrassed way.)
DEROCHE: So we invited you to take a sim check and a technical exam.
DEROCHE: Yes. Your results are rather curious reading. In your simulator exam, you were rated ‘adequate’ ...
MARTIN: Oh! Good!
DEROCHE: No, ‘adequate’. But in your technical knowledge exam ...
DEROCHE: ... you got ninety-nine percent.
MARTIN: Oh, good. That is good, isn’t it?
DEROCHE (hesitantly): ... Yes.
OSKAR: Kind of amazing, actually, because the test is designed to return scores of between forty and sixty percent. No-one’s ever got more than eighty-four percent.
MARTIN: Really? ... (Thoughtfully) Ninety-nine percent. So I got a question wrong?
MARTIN: Which one?
DEROCHE: Er, “What increase in landing distance is required for a flap-thirty landing with auto spoilers inoperable?”
MARTIN (instantly): Seven hundred and thirty feet.
DEROCHE: That’s ... the right answer, yes. You put a hundred and thirty.
MARTIN (snorting derisively): I don’t think I did!
DEROCHE: You ... you did. Look.
MARTIN: No! That’s a seven!
DEROCHE: Oh. ... Well, then you got a hundred percent.
(Martin sighs happily.)
OSKAR: So, look, Martin – just between ourselves, what we’d kind of like to know is: how did you cheat?
MARTIN: What?! I didn’t cheat!
DEROCHE: Nobody ever gets a hundred percent, Mr. Crieff.
OSKAR: It’s been driving us crazy! We’ve all looked at the footage; we just can’t see where you’re getting the answers!
MARTIN: From my head!
DEROCHE: I took the paper myself, as an experiment. I got seventy-eight percent!
MARTIN: Yeah, but you said you were only six out of ten!
DEROCHE: There are questions that are designed to be unanswerable without consulting the manual. They’re there for us to see how candidates cope under stress.
MARTIN: But I learned the manual.
OSKAR: You ... learned it?
DEROCHE: That’s impossible. It’s-it’s six hundred pages long.
MARTIN: I know – it took me ages.
OSKAR: But some of the questions weren’t even about our aircraft.
MARTIN: No, but those ones were easy. They were just general knowledge.
DEROCHE: We asked you which aircraft type KLM added in the winter of nineteen forty-eight!
MARTIN: Exactly! The Convair two-forty! Any twelve year old could tell you that!
OSKAR: ... Okay. Well, it looks like we owe you an apology. Thanks for coming, and well done. You broke the record!
MARTIN: Thank you!
OSKAR: So, you’re free to go.
MARTIN: ... But ... but-but, well, what about the rest of the interview?
OSKAR: Oh. ... Yes, of course. Er, carry on the interview, Élise. I’ve ... I’ve got to go, Martin, but great to meet you!
MARTIN: Er, I-I’d like you to stay.
OSKAR: Yeah, wish I could, but Élise’ll look after you.
MARTIN (more firmly): I think you should stay.
OSKAR: Okay, the thing is, I like to keep things sort of casual, but I am the CEO of a kind of pretty huge company. I get a bit busy.
MARTIN: Yes, I know, but I think you put aside more time than this to deal with the cheating thing, and since you asked me to give up a day to come to Switzerland to interview for a job you had no intention of giving me ... (his voice becomes even more firm) I would like you to give me ten minutes to try to change your mind.
(Oskar draws in a long deep breath. Then he buzzes the intercom.)
OSKAR: Ute, can we get some muffins up here?
(Flight deck door opens.)
ARTHUR (still muffled and swollen): Hello, chaps.
HERC: Hello, Arthur.
ARTHUR: Cheas and coffees. Chea for you, Douglath, an’ coffee for you, Skik.
HERC: Thank you.
DOUGLAS: Wait a minute: coffee for who?
DOUGLAS: What did you call him?
ARTHUR: Who, Skik? Skip.
DOUGLAS: He’s not ‘Skip’. Martin is Skip.
ARTHUR: Well, yeah, but it’sh jusht short for ‘Skipper’, isn’t it?
DOUGLAS: Yes! And he’s not the skipper. I’m the skipper, so don’t call him Skip.
ARTHUR: But I thought Shkipper jusht meant ‘Captain’.
DOUGLAS (his voice rising angrily): No. ‘Skipper’ means person in charge of the vessel, and as I am the only one on board who is trained or qualified to fly her, I think you’ll find that I am the supreme commander of th...
(He trails off.)
HERC: Y’all right, Commander?
DOUGLAS (horrified): What have I become?
DEROCHE: All right. Let’s talk about your experiences as a pilot.
DEROCHE: Can you think of a time when you were in conflict with someone professionally?
MARTIN (laughing): Oh God, yes!
MARTIN: I mean, like hundreds!
OSKAR: Wow! You’re a bit fighty, huh? Wouldn’t have guessed it.
MARTIN: No! I mean ... y-you know, professional disagreements, which are then discussed and resolved professionally.
OSKAR: Okay, show me. Suppose you’re all ready to take off. Suddenly you realise: oh no! You’ve left your licence at home. What do you do?
MARTIN: Oh, that’s easy.
MARTIN: That wouldn’t happen.
OSKAR: Okay. But if it did?
MARTIN: But it wouldn’t. No, my licence is in a special inside pocket of my flight bag. I never take it out except at Customs; and I check it’s there on leaving my home, on getting into my car, on leaving my car, on entering the terminal, on leaving the terminal, and on entering the aircraft.
OSKAR: Why do you do that if you never take it out?
MARTIN: So that I can never leave it at home.
OSKAR: Okay, but say this time, somehow, you have.
MARTIN (laughing in disbelief): But how?!
OSKAR: Somehow – for the sake of argument.
(Martin sighs in frustration.)
MARTIN (unhappily): All right.
OSKAR: What would you do?
MARTIN: Well, I would immediately inform the captain what had happened, apologise profusely, explain how literally impossible it is that this has happened ...
OSKAR: ... but that it has happened ...
MARTIN: ... but that ... (he sighs) ... for the sake of argument, it has happened, and then I would go home and get it.
OSKAR: Okay, great. So Élise is your captain – tell her.
MARTIN: Okay. Um ... (He clears his throat.) Captain Duhrrrosh-sh ... Élise. (He coughs.) I’m very sorry, but I have – for the sake of argument – left my licence at home.
DEROCHE: You fool! Never mind – we’ll go without it.
MARTIN: Obviously we can’t do that, Captain, because it would be illegal ...
DEROCHE (talking over him): Nonsense. The flight is within Europe; your airline I.D. will do.
MARTIN: Yes, but I’m afraid I left that behind as well.
DEROCHE: No you didn’t, or you wouldn’t have been allowed to board the plane.
MARTIN: Well, I must have done, because I keep my I.D. card in the same pocket.
OSKAR: But for the sake of argument, you didn’t.
MARTIN (tetchily): Fine! (Through gritted teeth) Very strange argument. (To Élise) Still, I don’t have a licence and it’s illegal to fly without a licence.
DEROCHE: Technically, but it’s not as if anyone ever checks.
MARTIN: No, but it is illegal.
DEROCHE: But this airport closes at dusk.
MARTIN: Then we’ll have to go tomorrow!
DEROCHE: But there are two hundred people on board ...
MARTIN (talking over her): We’ll have to find them hotels!
DEROCHE: It’s Christmas Day!
MARTIN: Merry Christmas!
DEROCHE: You are proposing to cost the company thousands and thousands of Euros for a technicality which has no effect on air safety?!
MARTIN: Well, this is exactly why I’d never leave my licence at home!
DOUGLAS (hesitantly, anxiously): ... and ... it was as if I was seeing the whole world through Martin’s eyes.
HERC: That sounds unnerving.
DOUGLAS: It was absolutely terrifying! I don’t know how he does it!
HERC: D’you think he’ll get the job?
DOUGLAS: I hope so.
HERC: You hope so?
DOUGLAS: Well, I suppose I feel the way any rat on a sinking ship would feel if he saw one of the other rats leaping into a passing speed boat: pleased for my fellow rat ...
HERC: ... but a little jealous of his speed boat.
(Flight deck door opens.)
CAROLYN: Whose speed boat?
DOUGLAS: Martin’s. I-I was saying ...
CAROLYN: Oh, well, actually, I don’t care. But talking of Martin, where is it he’s having this interview?
DOUGLAS: Yverdon-les-Bains, near Geneva.
CAROLYN: Yyyes. Now that’s sort of on the way back for us, isn’t it?
DOUGLAS: Yyyes – it sort of is. I mean, it’s a very much going the pretty way ...
CAROLYN: Yes, well, it’s only money. Shall we pop in and pick him up?
DEROCHE (tiredly): And finally, what would you say is your greatest weakness as a pilot?
MARTIN: I-I’m afraid I’m too much of a perfectionist.
(Deroche groans quietly.)
MARTIN: I try too hard to do every aspect of my job really well.
DEROCHE: That’s your greatest weakness?
DEROCHE: I see. Thank you for...
MARTIN: I mean I worry too much.
DEROCHE: I’m sorry?
MARTIN: That’s what I meant to say. I-I-I worry too much ... a bit. I don’t worry too much too much – I just worry too much about the right amount, which is almost not at all. What I’m saying is I don’t get panicky ... (with a rueful laugh in his voice) ... I do realise, by the way, that this, this may now sound a ... (he drags in a breath) ... a bit panicky, especially now I’ve used the word ‘panicky’, but look-look-look, the thing is ... (a little agitatedly) ... although sometimes I can appear a little agitated on the surface, deep down I’m ... (his voice becomes calmer) ... actually really calm. I’m like a duck.
DEROCHE: You are like a duck?
MARTIN: Yeah, you know: I’m paddling like hell on top, but I’m very calm underneath. ... Oh no. Oh no! I mean, I-I’m like a capsized duck.
DEROCHE: Thank you.
MARTIN: Can I have another go?
DEROCHE: I don’t think so.
MARTIN: D’you wanna hear one you’ve never heard before? I’ll tell you one that I guarantee you have never heard before.
DEROCHE: Quickly, then.
MARTIN: My biggest weakness, as a pilot, is that I’m not very good at flying aeroplanes.
OSKAR: Well, you’re right about us not having heard it before.
MARTIN: I mean ... (he sighs) ... I’m good enough. Like the sim said, I’m adequate – adequate to the task. But I ... I don’t do it easily. It’s not second nature to me. On your scale of one to ten, if one is the bare minimum of competence, I’m ... about a four. And I used to be a one – no ... (he chuckles ruefully) ... I used to be a zero, and then I took my C.P.L. again ... and then again ... and then I was a one, and then a two, and then a three, and now I’m a four. And I’m not finished yet. And that’s why you should employ me. That’s why you’d be lucky to employ me, because if you’re not naturally good – if you can’t rely on just knowing how to do it like Doug... l-like some people can, then you have to... well, you have to be a perfectionist, actually – and I am one. And that’s why even when you’ve turned me down, I’m gonna keep on applying – because flying is the perfect job, and I won’t settle for a life where I don’t get to do it.
DEROCHE: Well – thank you for seeing us, Mr. Crieff. We’ll let you know as soon as we can.
OSKAR: Ohh. Can’t we just tell him now?
DEROCHE: We can, but it-it seems a little cruel.
OSKAR: You can start in June.
DEROCHE (high-pitched with indignation): What?! Just because he made a nice speech?!
OSKAR: No, I kind of tuned out for that. But, come on – he’s a captain at thirty-six; he’s got our first perfect exam score ever.
DEROCHE: But he did a terrible interview!
OSKAR: Sure, but he got me to stay in the room; and he wouldn’t fly without a licence. You see, Martin, I really hate the stereotype we Swiss have as really precise and rule-following. I’m more of a kind of crazy guy, you know?! But my pilots – I like pilots who do things by the book ... and you’ve actually memorised the book! Plus, the more pressure Élise put on you to break the rules, the more confident you got. How’d you do that?!
MARTIN: ... Well, I’ve had a lot of training.
(Distant bing-bing-bong of airport tannoy. A door opens.)
ARTHUR: Shkip, Shkip! Over here!
MARTIN: Arthur?! What are you doing here?!
ARTHUR: We’ve come to pick you up! The othersh are jusht coming – they didn’t want to run. How did it go?
MARTIN: Well, it ... Are you all right?
ARTHUR: Oh yeah, I’m fine. I had a ... I had a dragon fruit and I shtill can’t shpeak properly. Everything shounds like I’m really posh ... and-and a little bit drunk.
ARTHUR: But it doeshn’t matter! How about you?! How did it go?
MARTIN: ... I got it.
MARTIN (half-laughing as if he can’t believe it): They offered me the job right there and then! I-I-I can start in three months!
ARTHUR: Wow! Skip! That’sh absholutely ... (he chokes on his words) ... jus’ what you wanted!
MARTIN: Just-just what I wanted, yes.
ARTHUR: Yeah, exactly! It’s briwiant!
MARTIN: ... but it’s-it’s not brilliant for anyone else, is it?
ARTHUR: Oh, don’t say that, Skip. The Swissh guys’ll get used to you!
MARTIN: Yes, thank you, Arthur. I didn’t mean them – I meant you. MJN.
ARTHUR: Oh, we’ll be all right! We’ll find shtuff to do. I was thinking I could be a hotel guy – you know, the ones with those huge bird cages for suitcases? I love those things.
MARTIN: Or I-I-I ... I-I could just turn it down and ... What do I need twenty-two thousand pounds a year for?(!)
ARTHUR: Well, loads of stuff, Skip!
MARTIN: Yeah, yeah, Arthur, I know.
ARTHUR: Well, look, to be honest with you, Skip, I-I wouldn’t worry about it. Once Mum hears you’ve got an offer, you won’t really have a choice. She’ll make sure you go.
MARTIN: Yes, but ... I-I-I might have been joking.
(He laughs nervously.)
MARTIN (more firmly): I might have been joking about-about getting an offer.
ARTHUR: ... Oh, right!
(He chuckles briefly.)
ARTHUR: I don’t get it. Were-were you joking?
MARTIN: I don’t know.
(The door opens again.)
CAROLYN: Ah. They’re in here.
MARTIN: Er, hi, Carolyn, Douglas.
MARTIN: Hi, Herc!
DOUGLAS: Never mind that. How did it go?
MARTIN: I-I, I-I-I was just telling Arthur about it.
ARTHUR: Yeah, well, I didn’t completely undershtand.
CAROLYN: Well, then, tell us! Did you get in?
MARTIN: ... They’re going to let me know.
I have to say I was rather disappointed with how this episode changed from the early try-out that I went to. There were two moments which John changed and which I thought were much better before he changed them.
The first was after Martin’s amazing speech, when Captain Deroche said, “Thank you, Mr. Crieff,” to which Martin replied despairingly, “Captain Crieff.” And Oskar said, “Actually, it’s First Officer Crieff.” And that was how we and Martin found out that he’d got the job. It caused an enormous gasp of delight from the audience.
And the ending – oh, John, you ruined the ending. The original ending was Carolyn saying, “Did you get in?” and it went straight to end credits. With no sound effects or music available in the pub during the try-out, this meant that the actress playing Carolyn on the day said the line, then one of the two male actors started whistling the theme tune. Simultaneously the entire 90-strong audience frowned, started to look around at each other as if to ask, ‘What’s he doing?’ and then we all gasped as it hit us at the same moment. It was way more powerful without Martin’s final line, and left it on even more of a cliffhanger than this version.
Many thanks to verityburns for her help, particularly with attempting to decipher Arthur’s garbled speech.