Script by John Finnemore
Transcript by Ariane DeVere
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This week, Ipswich!
DOUGLAS (into radio): Golf Tango India, continue as cleared. Thank you, Shannon.
MARTIN: D’you want any more of this one, Douglas?
DOUGLAS: No, I don’t think so. I think I’m done.
MARTIN: All right. (Calling loudly) Arthur!
(Flight deck door opens.)
ARTHUR: Yes, Skip?
MARTIN: Cheese tray is now open to Arthurs.
ARTHUR: Oh, brilliant! Thanks, chaps. Oh, wow! Almost a whole squidgy one!
(Sound of him unwrapping the squidgy one and eating it.)
ARTHUR (with his mouth full): It’s funny. This is like something I saw on a wildlife show last night.
DOUGLAS: I was just thinking something similar myself.
ARTHUR: No, it was these, um, African hunting dogs; and what they’ve got is they’ve got an alpha dog, er, beta dogs and amigo dogs.
MARTIN: Amigo dogs?
DOUGLAS: Surely you’ve heard of amigo dogs? Spanish breed; very friendly. Often found in threes.
MARTIN: Omega? D’you mean omega?
ARTHUR: Oh, yeah, maybe. Anyway, when they kill something, the alpha dog eats as much as he wants first; then the beta dogs have a go; and then the amigo dogs have the leftovers. And that’s like us, isn’t it?
MARTIN: Well, not really, because Douglas and I share the cheese tray.
MARTIN: Well, so the alpha dog and the beta dog are eating together.
DOUGLAS: And which is which, pray?
MARTIN: I think that’s perfectly obvious, don’t you?
DOUGLAS: Yes I do.
MARTIN: So do I.
ARTHUR: No-no – I-I meant you’re the two beta dogs.
ARTHUR: Because Mum always has the Camembert off the tray before I bring it in.
DOUGLAS: There’s Camembert?! We never get any Camembert.
ARTHUR: ... though, thinking about it, that is a secret.
MARTIN (loudly): Carolyn!
(Flight deck door opens.)
DOUGLAS: Carolyn, we have a complaint.
CAROLYN: Oh dear me. Tell you what: why don’t you write it down, put it in an envelope, tear it in half, throw it away, and shut your face? In the meantime, attend: are you busy on Monday?
MARTIN and DOUGLAS (simultaneously): Yes.
CAROLYN: Quite right; full marks. Now, prepare to learn what it is you will be busy doing.
MARTIN: No, Carolyn – Monday’s a day off. It’s been on the wall chart for ages.
CAROLYN: Wall charts can lie, Martin. Notoriously deceitful, the wall chart. Anyway, on Monday – you’ll be delighted to learn – I have booked us a refresher S.E.P. course.
MARTIN: Oh, no!
DOUGLAS (protesting): Carolyn!
ARTHUR: Er, what’s a ... that?
MARTIN: Safety and Emergency Procedures. Amongst other things, jumping into a cold swimming pool in uniform and scrambling into life rafts.
MARTIN: No, that’s a bad ... (He sighs.) Oh, never mind.
DOUGLAS: Carolyn, I don’t need a refresher.
CAROLYN: Course you do. Procedures change, Douglas. Aircraft change.
DOUGLAS: The only time this aircraft changes is when another bit falls off it.
CAROLYN: Well, procedures change.
DOUGLAS: Is it still pull to go up, push to go down?
DOUGLAS: I’m fine, then.
CAROLYN: You are all going, because if you don’t, the C.A.A. will stop you flying; and although heaven knows that’s not a bad idea, my job depends on preventing it.
ARTHUR: Where is it?
ARTHUR: Oh, brilliant! Where I went before. Will there be more learning how to understand people?
CAROLYN: No, Arthur. I think you understand as much about people as you ever will.
ARTHUR: Thanks, Mum! What a nice thing to say!
CAROLYN: Case in point.
(Sound of Carolyn’s car accelerating, followed by the protesting horn of another car.)
CAROLYN (loudly): Oh, pipe down! Do you not have overtaking in Ipswich?
ARTHUR: Give me another one, Mum.
CAROLYN: All right. How many loudhailers are there in the aft cabinet?
ARTHUR: Okay. And ‘aft’ is the ... one at the ... front?
ARTHUR: Back! Back! I meant back.
CAROLYN: The ‘fore’ comes before the ‘aft’ that comes after.
DOUGLAS: I haven’t heard that one before.
CAROLYN: Well, that’s because no-one but Arthur has ever needed a mnemonic for ‘fore’ and ‘aft.’
MARTIN: Two in the aft cabinet; none in the fore; one on the flight deck.
CAROLYN: Yes, Martin, but please try and let Arthur answer one.
DOUGLAS: How d’you know all this stuff, Martin?
MARTIN: It is my duty to be familiar with the safety equipment of the aircraft I command.
DOUGLAS: Goodness! Harken to the mighty woof of the alpha dog.
DOUGLAS: Arthur was telling us about that documentary. Martin is labouring under the delusion that he is the alpha dog in this organisation.
CAROLYN: Ah-ha! Whereas you, of course, correctly reminded him that I am.
DOUGLAS: You have the loudest bark, certainly; but I like to think I’m the one who brings down the hartebeest.
ARTHUR: Douglas, you give me a question.
DOUGLAS: Oh, I don’t know any of this stuff.
MARTIN: Then how d’you think you’re gonna pass the exam?
MARTIN: You can’t rely on luck!
DOUGLAS: You can’t rely on luck.
ARTHUR: Skip, you give me one.
MARTIN: Oh, all right. At what number of passengers does it become compulsory to carry at least one flight attendant?
ARTHUR: Well, we always carry at least one, so therefore ... no passengers?
MARTIN: No. Nineteen.
ARTHUR: Oh, right. It depends, though.
MARTIN: Er, no, no. It doesn’t depend. The answer is nineteen.
ARTHUR: Yeah, but if it’s somewhere nice, Mum’ll come; or if the passengers are important. Or if she’s bored.
MARTIN: Yes, but if you say any of that, you’ll fail; whereas if you say ‘nineteen,’ you won’t fail. D’you understand that? Nineteen. Nineteen passengers; one cabin crew. Nineteen.
CAROLYN: Will you all please stop saying ‘nineteen’?
ARTHUR: I didn’t say ‘nineteen.’
MARTIN: That is exactly the problem!
(Carolyn’s car pulls to a halt. Car doors open.)
DR. DUNCAN (calling out): Hello! (He comes closer.) Hello. Miss Knapp-Shappey?
CAROLYN: That’s right, yes.
DR. DUNCAN: Hello. I’m Doctor Duncan, Peter Duncan. Not the Peter Duncan.
CAROLYN: Not which Peter Duncan?
DR. DUNCAN: Peter Duncan.
CAROLYN: Who’s Peter Duncan?
DR. DUNCAN: From Blue Peter in the eighties, and Duncan Dares.
ARTHUR: Ooh, yes! I remember him! He was great!
DR. DUNCAN: Yes. Well, I’m not him!
CAROLYN: Jolly good(!) Now, this is Captain Martin Crieff, First Officer Douglas Richardson ...
DR. DUNCAN: Hello, Captain.
CAROLYN: No, no, no, the other way round.
MARTIN: Oh, for the love of ...
CAROLYN: ... and Arthur Shappey, steward.
DR. DUNCAN: Right. So you’re the advanced guard, are you?
CAROLYN: How d’you mean?
DR. DUNCAN: Well, just that the others haven’t arrived yet.
CAROLYN: Which others would those be?
DR. DUNCAN: Well, the rest of the airline?
CAROLYN: Doctor Duncan, you see before you the airline. Drink us in.
DR. DUNCAN: There’s four hundred of you?
CAROLYN: Are there, though? Count again.
DR. DUNCAN: Not four hundred?
DR. DUNCAN: Right! That’s unfortunate. I should probably speak to Catering. But, well, anyway, um, welcome! I’ll be looking after the classroom side of things and Mr. Sargent ...
(He calls out.)
DR. DUNCAN: Mr. Sargent! Can I borrow you?
MR. SARGENT (walking over): Good morning.
DR. DUNCAN: After a quick C.R.M. lecture, Mr. Sargent will be putting you through the pool drill, then after lunch we’ll have the exam, and finally Mr. Sargent will take you through the smoke-filled fuselage.
MR. SARGENT: No, sir, not metaphorically, sir, no. We ’ad a bit of a job gettin’ our ’ands on a metaphorical fuselage, sir; and even if you can track one down, it’s a bugger tryin’ to fill it with a simile of some smoke.
DOUGLAS: I see. Tell me, Mr. Sargent: were you in the R.A.F. by any chance?
MR. SARGENT: I certainly was.
DOUGLAS: And were you a sergeant, Mr. Sargent?
MR. SARGENT: No, sir, I wasn’t a sergeant because – as we just established – I was in the R.A. bleedin’ F., not the bleedin’ Army, so I was a warrant officer. And since my name is not Warren Tofficer, this occasioned no bleedin’ mirth whatsoever.
DR. DUNCAN: Right! Good! Good to get that sorted out. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m just gonna dash off and do what I can to hold back four hundred quiches.
(In a large echoing room.)
MARTIN (loudly): Must you sit at the back, Douglas?
DOUGLAS: I always sit at the back.
MARTIN: But there’s only two of us in a lecture theatre with five hundred seats.
DOUGLAS: Some of which are at the back.
DR. DUNCAN: S-sorry I’m late, chaps. Trying to intercept the caterers.
MARTIN: Did you manage?
DR. DUNCAN: No. I hope you’ve got an appetite! Right! Douglas, er, d’you want to join us down here, maybe?
DOUGLAS: No, I’m fine.
DR. DUNCAN: Right! Fair enough. All right. Well, um, well why don’t we come and join you at the back?
MARTIN: Oh, for goodness’ sake ...
DR. DUNCAN: Now then, I want to talk to you today about the potentially dangerous mind sets a pilot can get themselves into; and in particular what are known as the Six Deadly I’s. These are ...
MARTIN (instantly): Impatience, Impulsivity, Invulnerability, Insecurity, Indecision, and I-Know-Best.
DR. DUNCAN: Absolutely. Yes. Gosh! Well done! So, let’s take them one by one. I-Know-Best is the anti-authority attitude that rules and regulations don’t apply to you; that you make up your own laws. Now, I don’t know if either of you have ever flown with anyone like that ...
MARTIN (laughing): Yeah, me! I have! Yes, I definitely have.
DR. DUNCAN: Right. Well, d-don’t name any names.
MARTIN: Oh, no-no-no! Certainly not, no, no, no. Let’s, um, let’s call him Dougal. Dougal ignores safety briefings, tech checks; he can barely be persuaded to file a flight plan. He basically thinks he’s always right.
DOUGLAS: Has it occurred to you that maybe Dougal is always right?
MARTIN (chuckling derisively): It’s definitely occurred to Dougal!
DR. DUNCAN: O-kay. Great! Well, next: Impulsivity – that’s the tendency of some pilots to panic under pressure, to do the first thing they think of just for sake of doing something. Now, again, you may never have ...
DOUGLAS: Actually, that does ring a little bell.
DR. DUNCAN: Oh, well – again, without naming names.
DOUGLAS: No. That would be the height of iniquity. Well, this chap – could be literally any of the other pilots in MJN Air; let’s call him Marvin – once requested an emergency landing because his watch went off.
MARTIN: It was a new watch with a very odd alarm.
DOUGLAS: Oh. Have you flown with Marvin, Martin? Curious chap, isn’t he?
DR. DUNCAN: Then there’s Insecurity – always trying to prove he’s as good a pilot as anyone else.
DR. DUNCAN: Impatience – sacrifices procedure or even safety to save time ...
DR. DUNCAN: ... and finally Indecision – getting caught in the headlights of a problem and being unable to settle on a plan of action.
DOUGLAS: And Marvin.
MARTIN: I thought you said Marvin impulsively did the first thing he thought of.
DOUGLAS: Amazingly, he manages to combine both: doing whichever is least appropriate to the situation.
DR. DUNCAN: ... Okay. Well, what’s good here is that we’re fostering a real openness between the two of you.
DOUGLAS: Yes. That is good, isn’t it?(!)
MARTIN: Mmm(!) Well done, us(!)
CAROLYN: All right: where are the asbestos fire gloves kept?
ARTHUR: Yes! Brilliant! I know this one. In the galley, on top of the microwave.
CAROLYN: No – they’re behind the captain’s seat.
ARTHUR: ... They’re not, though. They’re on top of the microwave.
CAROLYN: Yes. I know that’s where they actually are ...
ARTHUR: Right, then!
CAROLYN: ... but that’s not where you should say they are.
ARTHUR: Why not?
CAROLYN: Because we probably shouldn’t let the C.A.A. examiner know we use vital safety equipment as oven gloves.
(Mr. Sargent pointedly clears his throat.)
CAROLYN: Ah. Mr. Sargent. I was just, er ...
MR. SARGENT: I didn’t hear anything, madam. In the Air Force we used to use the CO2 fire extinguishers to cool the beer. Just don’t let Doctor Duncan hear you. Speaking of whom, madam, the good doctor asks if you could bring your company portfolio to ’im in the Seminar Room.
CAROLYN: The ‘Seminar Room’?
MR. SARGENT: Oh, yes. How would we have won the Battle of Britain if we ’adn’t ’ad our portfolios in the Seminar Room?(!)
CAROLYN: Yes, of course(!) Arthur, stay here and keep revising.
MR. SARGENT: You ’aving trouble revising, are you?
ARTHUR: Yeah. I-I’m not at my best with exams and stuff.
MR. SARGENT: What are you at your best at?
ARTHUR: Er ... probably crazy golf.
MR. SARGENT: All right. Well, look, you didn’t ’ear this from me, but, er, shall I tell you an interesting thing about the passenger oxygen generators in your aircraft?
ARTHUR: Aw, yeah, please!
MR. SARGENT: They produce oxygen for exactly twelve minutes.
ARTHUR: That’s not very interesting.
MR. SARGENT: Well, yes it is.
ARTHUR: No it’s not.
MR. SARGENT: See, if I was a young lad studying for an exam, I’d find it very interesting indeed.
ARTHUR: Oh! Right! Because it might come up!
MR. SARGENT: Oh, I am certainly not telling you that. I’m merely saying it’s a possibility.
ARTHUR: Oh. Well, thanks, but no, I don’t think so. Er, it sounds like it’s mainly gonna be stuff about where stuff is.
MR. SARGENT: Right. So you don’t reckon that’s the sort of thing they’d ask, whereas I – as someone who works in the test centre – reckons it’s exactly the sort of thing they’d ask. Well, we’ll just ’ave to agree to disagree.
MR. SARGENT: You’re an idiot.
ARTHUR: I know! That’s why I’m worried!
DR. DUNCAN: All right. So, in this session ...
DOUGLAS: Hang on. Where’s Martin?
DR. DUNCAN: Oh. Well, this is a break-out group just for the first officers.
DOUGLAS: All one of us.
DR. DUNCAN: Yes, I see what you mean, but best to stick to the plan. You see, a common problem in flight decks with poor crew resource management is that the first officer is overly in awe of the captain.
DOUGLAS: ... Is it, now?
DR. DUNCAN: Yes. Now, the method I want to teach you is the Five Step Statement. So, Douglas, imagine you’ve noticed a problem but you’re shy of bringing it up with your captain. Step One ...
DOUGLAS: Hang on.
DR. DUNCAN: Yes?
DOUGLAS: No, it’s just this is going to need really quite a lot of imagination.
DOUGLAS: Okay, got it.
DR. DUNCAN: Okay. Step One ...
DOUGLAS: No, it’s gone again.
DR. DUNCAN: Step One: first, you get his attention. Now, depending on how you get on, that might be, “Excuse me, sir,” or, “Er, Captain” ...
DR. DUNCAN: ... or in an informal flight deck, it might just be, “Hey, Chief ...”
DOUGLAS: Might it really?
DR. DUNCAN: Yes. So, Step Two: state your concern in a non-confrontational manner. “Hey, Chief, I might be wrong ...”
DOUGLAS: “I might be wrong”?
DR. DUNCAN: Yes. That’s a good trick for taking the sting out of it. “I might be wrong, but I think we’re low on fuel.” Step Three: let him know how you feel about this. “This makes me feel uneasy.” Step Four: propose a solution. “One thing we could do is reduce our speed.” Step Five: obtain buy-in to your idea. “How does that sound to you?”
DOUGLAS: Well, frankly, it sounds like the biggest load of ...
DR. DUNCAN: No-no, no-no, that’s what you might say. “How does that sound to you?”
DR. DUNCAN: So, d’you want to role play that through now, Douglas?
DOUGLAS: I would love to. “Hey, Chief! I might be wrong, but I think we’re flying into a mountain. This makes me feel ... scared of the mountain! One thing we could do is pull up and fly over the mountain. How does that sound to ...” (He makes the sound of the plane crashing into the side of the mountain and exploding.)
DR. DUNCAN: Yes. Of course, in-in that situation you might need to react a little more instinctively.
DOUGLAS: Oh, do you think so?(!)
(Sound of a whistle being blown, and the ripple of water nearby. Voices are echoey.)
MR. SARGENT: All right, lady and gentlemen. Welcome to the pool drill. No doubt Doctor Duncan has given you some fascinating glimpses into the psychology of the aviational mind, but what we’re gonna do now is check you know ’ow to get off your burnin’ aircraft and into your nice safe floaty boat.
ARTHUR (excitedly): Mr. Sargent?
MR. SARGENT: Yes, son.
ARTHUR: This is brilliant!
MR. SARGENT: Good! Right, then. So there you are, up in your little plane somewhere above the North Atlantic when suddenly, oh dearie me, beep-beep-beep, two engine failures. Not the best of news, seeing as you only ’ave two engines; and you ’ave to glide to a forced landin’. The exercise begins just as you ’ave glid the plane to sea level.
DOUGLAS: Sorry – “glid”?
MR. SARGENT: Yes, glid. Is there something funny about that?
DOUGLAS: Not in the least, no. I’m very glad we glid.
MR. SARGENT: All right. Now, when I blow my whistle, jump into the pool, inflate the life raft and conduct standard emergency procedure.
(The whistle blows.)
(Sound of a splash as he jumps into the pool.)
MR. SARGENT: Good lad! Well, come on, the rest of you! In, in, in!
CAROLYN: Yes, all right! I’m getting in!
(She shudders noisily.)
CAROLYN: Oh God, it’s cold!
MR. SARGENT: Yes, madam. This is what we tend to find in the North bleedin’ Atlantic Ocean! An’ what about you two?! Come on, in!
MARTIN: Yes, I’m, er, I’m just putting in my ear plugs.
MR. SARGENT: You don’t need bleedin’ ear plugs, sir!
MARTIN: Well, I-I do, actually. Erm, I have a slight abnormality of the inner ear and I-I can’t go swimming without ...
MR. SARGENT: Get yourself in the bleedin’ pool, sir! Now!
(Martin whines as he jumps into the pool.)
DOUGLAS: Arthur, here’s the dinghy. Catch.
(Sound of a solid splash.)
ARTHUR: Thanks, Douglas! So now, what – do I just pull this, um ...
(Sound of the dinghy rapidly inflating.)
ARTHUR (almost exploding with excitement): Wowww! Look at that!
MR. SARGENT: Oi! Sir! Why are you not in the pool?
DOUGLAS: “First Officer retrieves dinghy, conveys it to cabin crew.”
MR. SARGENT: Yes, well, first officer’s done that. Now, first officer gets in the bleedin’ pool himself!
DOUGLAS: I think not.
MR. SARGENT: I don’t care whether or not you bleedin’ well think so. (Sternly) Get in the pool.
DOUGLAS: No. You see, the problem is, I was never in the R.A.F., so rather sadly I’ve never managed to cultivate a fear of shouty red-faced little men with bristly heads. I was, however, in command of an aircraft for thirteen years ...
MARTIN (distantly from the pool): Though not now!
DOUGLAS: ... though not now; and I picked up a few little things along the way, such as: if the engines are stopped, there’s no risk of fire and so it would be a poor decision to waterlog my clothing and risk hypothermia when I can remain on the wing of the aircraft and wait for the gallant steward to steer the dinghy close enough to it that I can step in ...
(Sound of him stepping onto the rubber lip of the dinghy.)
DOUGLAS: ... like so. Hello there, Arthur.
MR. SARGENT (after a moment): I s’ppose you think you’re very clever, don’t you?
DOUGLAS: I’ll let you into a little secret: I sometimes do.
(Back in the training centre.)
ARTHUR: Right – another quiche, I think. Anyone else? Skip?
ARTHUR: But you’ve only had one.
MARTIN: Yes! I’ve had one! One is the correct dosage of quiche for the adult human male. How many have you had now?
ARTHUR: Seven. And we have got a hundred each to get through.
DOUGLAS: It was a mistake, Arthur, not a challenge.
CAROLYN: Wait a minute, Arthur. Listen, all of you. We’ve only got the exam and the fuselage drill to go. The exam’s in the lap of the gods, but in the fuselage we are going to concentrate. We are going to be disciplined; we are going to listen to one clear voice of command. Got that?
MARTIN: Yes. Thank you, Carolyn.
CAROLYN: Not you, idiot – me.
MARTIN: But I’m the captain!
CAROLYN: Yes, Martin! Everyone who’s ever met you knows you’re the captain, but I am the alpha dog.
DOUGLAS: You say that, Carolyn, but ...
CAROLYN: I do say that, Douglas, yes; because if you’d seen the documentary you’d know that what makes an alpha dog is not languid put-downs, it’s providing the pack with their food, their shelter, their pay, their hotel rooms, and – most of all – their aeroplane.
DOUGLAS: Goodness. I wish I had seen it now.
CAROLYN: So, in the fuselage, everyone listen to me and follow me – especially you, Arthur. And Arthur, in the exam ...
ARTHUR: I know. Nineteen.
MARTIN: No, Arthur! That’s only the answer to one question.
ARTHUR: Oh, right. Which one?
DR. DUNCAN: All right. Individual questions now. Martin: how are the passenger oxygen masks activated?
MARTIN (promptly): Automatically by a barometric pressure switch when the cabin altitude is fourteen thousand feet; or when the Pass Oxygen switch on the overhead panel is positioned to ‘On.’
DR. DUNCAN: Yes! Perfect answer! Okay. Carolyn: how many smoke hoods are there in the rear stowage compartment?
DR. DUNCAN: Yes! ... Okay ... D’you want to elaborate on that?
CAROLYN: There’s one ... and there’s another one. Totalling two.
DR. DUNCAN: Yes! Okay! Fine, yes. Douglas ... a slightly obscure one for you, I’m afraid. At what number of passengers does it become compulsory to carry at least one flight attendant?
DOUGLAS: Hmm. That is tricky.
MARTIN: You would get that one.
DOUGLAS: Still, I’ll have a stab at it. Could it be ... nineteen?
DR. DUNCAN: Quite right! Finally, Arthur: for how long does a passenger oxygen generator produce oxygen once activated?
ARTHUR: Oh, that’s a coincidence! Someone was just talking to me about that! Was it you, Douglas? Or Mum? Someone, anyway.
DR. DUNCAN: So what’s the answer?
ARTHUR: I don’t know. I didn’t listen.
(Sound of a whistle being blown, and the ripple of water nearby. Voices are echoey again.)
MR. SARGENT: All right, lady and gentlemen. Ignore the pool this time. Concentrate your attentions on the mock-up fuselage. Inside, it ’as been laid out in exactly the same way as your aircraft, with the tiny improvement that we’ve filled it with smoke. Also, somewhere inside is Adrian – a life-size life-weight dummy representing an unlucky passenger. Obviously any passenger of MJN Air is by definition an unlucky passenger, but this one is unlucky even by your own ’igh standards because ’e is relyin’ on you to save ’im. When I blow my whistle, you will don your smoke ’oods, enter the fuselage in a random order, locate Adrian and retrieve ’im in under five minutes. The random order is as follows: Arthur, Douglas, Carolyn, Martin.
ARTHUR: Ooh. I mean, hooray, but also ... (He makes a doubtful, worried sound.) ... I don’t think I should go first.
MR. SARGENT: No, nor do I. That’s why you’re goin’ first. On your marks, get set ...
(He blows his whistle. Sounds of the crew struggling to put on their smoke hoods.)
MR. SARGENT: Come on, come on! ’oods on, quickly! Right! In you go! In, in, in! Not all separately, like sheep that ’ave got into a bleedin’ garden! ’old the back of the belt of the crew member in front!
MR. SARGENT: One minute left! Come on!
CAROLYN (muffled): For goodness’ sake, four minutes gone! Arthur! Are you sure you haven’t found anything?
ARTHUR (muffled): No!
CAROLYN (muffled): Hasn’t anyone?
DOUGLAS (muffled): No!
MARTIN (muffled): No. But I am ... erm ... I-I’m a bit, er ...
MR. SARGENT: Forty-five seconds!
CAROLYN (muffled): We’ll have to abandon it.
(Sound of a thump as someone’s rubber-clad body falls to the floor.)
DOUGLAS (muffled): What was that?
ARTHUR (muffled): It was Skipper! He’s fallen down!
CAROLYN (muffled): Martin! Are you all right?
DOUGLAS (muffled): Arthur, how do you know it was Martin?
ARTHUR (muffled): I was holding on to his belt.
CAROLYN (muffled): But ... but you were in the lead!
ARTHUR (muffled): But Mr. Sargent said, “Everyone hold someone’s belt.”
CAROLYN (muffled): Well, not you!
DOUGLAS (muffled): Never mind that now. Is Martin all right?
ARTHUR (muffled): I think so. My screen’s a bit misted up. I’ll just, er ...
(He starts coughing violently, then there’s another rubber-clad thump.)
DR. DUNCAN: So what exactly happened?
MR. SARGENT: Yes. What exactly ’appened? Let’s see if we can piece it together for the good doctor. For starters, how many bodies did you rescue from the fuselage?
MR. SARGENT: Two. Which is pretty good going, given that I only put one in there. Carolyn: whose body did you rescue?
MR. SARGENT: Arthur’s. And why was Arthur’s body lying in the fuselage?
ARTHUR (quietly): I got a bit smoke-filled.
MR. SARGENT: Yes, you did. Because in the smoke-filled cabin, in order to see more clearly, you took off your smoke hood. An’ what was you tryin’ to see more clearly?
ARTHUR: The body I found.
MR. SARGENT: The body you found – the body Douglas, in the end, brought out of the fuselage; the body of ...
MR. SARGENT: The body of Martin. An’ why was the body of Martin lyin’ on the floor?
MARTIN: Er, as I believe I mentioned before, I have a slight abnormality of the inner ear. It’s-it’s perfectly air-worthy, but it means I, um, I-I-I-I-I black out if I get dizzy.
MR. SARGENT: If you get dizzy. An’ why was you dizzy?
MARTIN: Because we were going round in circles.
MR. SARGENT: And that was because ...?
MARTIN: Because Arthur was holding on to my belt.
MR. SARGENT: Ex-bleedin’-xactly. Because you was all ’oldin’ on to each other’s belts, goin’ round and round the smoke-filled cabin playing Ring-A-Ring-A-Roses while Adrian the dummy looked on, burning merrily to a crisp. In which circumstances, I ’ope it will come as no surprise that you have well and truly failed the S.E.P.
CAROLYN: No! You can’t fail us!
MR. SARGENT: I not only can, I ’ave to. An’ I not only ’ave to, I want to.
DR. DUNCAN: Quite right, Mr. Sargent. Absolutely – though of course you could maybe let them re-take it.
MR. SARGENT: I could – at my discretion – allow a re-take if I ’ad any reason to think they were under an unfair disadvantage ... which I don’t.
DOUGLAS: Oh, but we were.
MR. SARGENT: Oh yes? And what was that?
DOUGLAS: Arthur was in the lead.
MR. SARGENT: A crew is only as strong as its weakest link – and your weakest link is very weak indeed. If you want me, I won’t be in the Seminar Room.
(Door opens and closes.)
CAROLYN: Peter, can I have a word with you?
DR. DUNCAN: I’m sorry, Carolyn, but Mr. Sargent’s quite right, and Arthur did fail his exam as well.
CAROLYN: Look, this is a very safe aircraft. I have a good pilot, and a safe pilot; and the safe pilot’s in charge of the good pilot. Martin won’t let them get into trouble; and if they do, Douglas would get them out of it.
DR. DUNCAN: But it does have Arthur on it.
CAROLYN: Yes, but Arthur doesn’t do anything. He just serves the meals. If anything went wrong, I’d handle it; and if I wasn’t on board, the pilots would handle it. Arthur is basically just a passenger in a hat. That’s only because he made himself a hat.
(Douglas ostentatiously clears his throat.)
DOUGLAS (dramatically): Hey, Chief.
DOUGLAS: I might be wrong ...
(He stops and laughs uproariously.)
DOUGLAS: Sorry. I really must learn to say that with a straight face.
(He clears his throat again.)
DOUGLAS: I ... I might be wrong, but I think Arthur’s about to lose us all our jobs.
CAROLYN: This is not ...
DOUGLAS (interrupting): Hang on. I’m only on Step Two. This makes me feel ... unemployed; and also a little surprised, given that I’m sure I’ve heard quite a lot recently that the number of passengers at which it becomes compulsory to carry a flight attendant is nineteen – and I just wonder how often that situation’s going to occur in our aircraft ... with its sixteen seats.
DOUGLAS: And how does that sound to you?
CAROLYN: Thank you, Douglas!
DOUGLAS: You’re welcome. Enjoy the hartebeest.
CAROLYN: Doctor Duncan, we’ve had a slight company reorganisation in the last few ... seconds. From now on, Arthur will no longer fly on the crew roster. Henceforth, any flights he happens to be on, he’ll be on the passenger roster.
DR. DUNCAN: As a passenger?
DR. DUNCAN: But still acting as a steward?
CAROLYN: Certainly not! Of course, as a frequent flyer, he may choose to ... help the other passengers. You know, always be first to offer to get the coffee and serve dinner and ... stay behind after to hoover the aircraft, but in the eyes of God and the C.A.A., he will simply be an unusually helpful passenger – who wears a hat.
DR. DUNCAN: Well, that-that would make things a lot easier.
CAROLYN: Yes it would.
DR. DUNCAN: So long as the rest of you pass the fuselage drill.
CAROLYN: Peter. It has long been a maxim of MJN Air that when Arthur stops helping, we can do anything.
(Sound of breathless panting from Martin, Douglas and Carolyn. A whistle blows.)
MR. SARGENT: All right. Four minutes and, er, fifty-two seconds – the very definition of ‘barely adequate.’ But you’ve rescued Adrian, you’re in time, an’ therefore, on the strict understanding that Arthur has no official role on the aircraft whatsoever – except possibly chock – you all pass.
(Carolyn, Douglas and Martin cheer.)
MR. SARGENT: Except you.
MARTIN (frantically): Why?! What did I do?! Please give me another chance!
MR. SARGENT: Not you.
MR. SARGENT: You.
DOUGLAS (incredulously): Me?!
MR. SARGENT: Yes, my friend, you. Because for all your smooth talkin’ and your smart answers, matey, no-one passes my S.E.P. trainin’ without demonstratin’ to my satisfaction they can swim strongly in uniform and rescue a body from the water.
DOUGLAS: I see. Well, then, we’ll just have to see what the C.A.A. adjudicates when I take ...
CAROLYN: Douglas, shut up. Martin, pass me Adrian.
(Sound of the dummy being thrown into the pool.)
CAROLYN: Douglas, fetch!
(Douglas sighs heavily, then grunts as he throws himself off the side of the pool.)