Recording Cabin Pressure Series 4 Episodes 3 & 4 – Spoiler Free Report Sherlockabilia Shop Now Open

Recording Cabin Pressure Series 4 Episodes 3 & 4 – Spoiler Free Report * 17 December 2012

Cabin Pressure

On December  16 2012 we  joined the crew of MJN Air at RADA Studios for the second recording session of Cabin Pressure Series 4, thanks to the production team from Pozzitive Productions. Read on for our spoiler free look at the day's work.

Trying to write a review of two Cabin Pressure episodes without including any spoilers at all sounds like a game Captain Martin Crieff and his First Officer Douglas Richardson might play while on a long haul flight on MJN Air, but as we always like a challenge, here goes… or should that be 'Geronimo…?'

As with the recording of Series 4 episodes 1 and 2, the beginning of the session saw David Tyler introducing the day's proceedings. David warmed the audience up with some jokes of his own for the sound level check, while John Finnemore rated them by revealing his arm from behind the stage curtain with thumbs up or thumbs down depending on the strength of the joke, which really got the proceedings going.

The regular cast were introduced and took their places, and then the guest actors were welcomed onto the stage, a mix of some old favourites who it was a delight to see returning and some new - one of which was a REAL treat, the individual being what can only be described as British comedy royalty! In fact John Finnemore, who usually gives a short introduction before each recording, made a show of literally not being able to speak as he was in such awe - he didn't even manage a "Brilliant!", to take a leaf out of Arthur's book.

The genius of Cabin Pressure is that it relies wholly on vocal performance and narrative to derive its comedy from, but while watching this recording you couldn't help but feel it is such a pity the series is not on screen, as there were two very physical comedic moments in both episodes. One was performed by John Finnemore, and the other by Benedict Cumberbatch, and as a testament to how physically funny both men can be each scene had to be re-recorded as the audience was laughing so hard at something the radio listener will unfortunately only be able to imagine.

The atmosphere during the recording also adds so much to it, which you can see the cast literally feed off of and play up to. On one occasion a returning cast favourite - who has been known in the recording of Series 3 to giggling profusely - had such a tongue twister of a sentence to speak that even after multiple attempts they could not quite manage to reach the end of the line. Roger Allam - who shares the same quick wittedness of Douglas - asked in character "Would you like me to say it?" Which was perhaps even more fitting, when you consider which character his comment was directed at! During the retakes, for moral support, Benedict left his seat and rallied around John and Roger to cheer the actor in question on - which amazingly rather did the trick!

The spoken end credits proved problematic for Benedict again as at the first recording of Series 4, resulting in a rather exasperated exclamation of, "Oh God, this is a never ending nightmare!" along with the little added extras of Benedict managing to swear after making a mistake while still in character as Martin and almost not even notice.

The wonderful thing about this fourth series is that we are able to see real development in the characters now, especially for Carolyn and Martin in particular. MJN Air feels very much like a solid family unit, all pulling in the same direction for no other reason but to help each other out.  This also seems to have crossed over to the actors themselves, as they clearly are having a whale of a time together and make each other laugh (even at the expense of an otherwise perfectly delivered line.) It was a joy to witness their support for one another in the pure chorography of watching them hold another's script without a prompt in order to deliver a line when physical work was required, and the ease in which new cast members were welcomed into the fold. It all adds to the genuine love, humour and originality that makes this radio sitcom loved so much by its fans.

Cabin Pressure Series 4 airs on BBC Radio Four from Wednesday January 9 at 18:30GMT.

Read our spoiler free report on recording Cabin Pressure Series Four Episodes 1&2.