Sunday, 20 December 2015

Nerdversity Reviews: Cabin Pressure Series 2, Episode 4: Johannesburg


Johannesburg aired on BBC Radio 4 on 7th August 2009 and starred:
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as Martin
  • Roger Allam as Douglas
  • John Finnemore as Arthur
  • Stephanie Cole and Carolyn
  • Michael Fenton Stevens as Senor Quintilla
  • Javier Mazan as Diego
The pre credits sequence has Arthur narrating the landing as follows:

(Bing-bong.) 
ARTHUR (into cabin address): Ladies and gentlemen, as you can see, our onboard transit process today has now reached its ultimate termination.
CAROLYN: He means we’ve landed.
ARTHUR: Yes. So, as yourselves prepare for disemboarding, if I could kindly ask you to kindly ensure you retain all your personal items about your person throughout the duration of the disembarkation.
CAROLYN: He means take your stuff with you.
ARTHUR: In concluding, it’s been a privilege for ourselves to conduct yourselves through the in-flight experience today, and I do hope you’ll re-favour ourselves with the esteem of your forth-looking custom going forward.
CAROLYN: … No idea.

The episode begins with Martin and Douglas flying over Barrow-in-Furness, Martin is a little unsure, but Douglas is fine with the plan. They open the air brakes and then Douglas laments on how he over-estimated on how fine it would be. Back at Fitton, it's revealed that Douglas and Martin should have taken GERTI to take a printer to Paris, instead, the flew it to Barrow-in-Furness to Douglas' daughter's birthday party. He'd put boiled sweets in the air brake and planned to open them and let the sweets flutter gently onto the children below. Unfortunately, in the heat, they'd melted a little and then solidified in the cool air, turning it into a sugar brick, which, when dropped from GERTI, had landed on a koi carp, killing it. Carolyn laments that they're paying out too much money for flights, so they need to rein in the costs. Carolyn bets them that they can't do the flight to Johannesburg for less than £12,000. If they can, they can split the difference between them. If it's over, they both owe Carolyn £1000 each.

Douglas begins his money saving plan by stripping out the galley and cancelling the catering for a 12 hour flight. Instead, he brings in his own food. Martin and Douglas compare cost cutting measures as well, Martin's suggestion is to get a really long runway in Johannesburg to prolong the life of the wheel brakes. Douglas' plan to save money is to turn off the air con, take half the liquid oxygen, keep the air re circulation fans on and only use one engine to taxi with. Martin quips that many of these things are illegal. Douglas reveals his meal for the flight is the carp he killed and plans to sleep on the plane in Johannesburg.

During the flight, the starboard wing anti icing warning flashes, to which Douglas describes it as "the rabbit of negative euphoria". They plan on flying close to the sun and avoiding clouds, however Martin believes this to be too dangerous and then decides to land. They land in Spain after only 3 hours. Upon arrival, they find there is no engineer to look at GERTI, his car is broken down and he lives in Albecete. Martin realised that he can't fly the length of Africa without coffee, so Douglas teaches Arthur a trick on how to make boiling water. Fill a wine bottle with water, place it on the engine and presto, boiling water.


Martin and Arthur take a baggage truck to Albecete to find Diego, the engineer. On the way, they sing "one man and his dog" and get stuck under a low bridge. They manage to free themselves and finally make their way to Albecete airport. They find Diego and rouse him from his siesta, bringing him back to the airport to fix GERTI.

Meanwhile, Douglas is working out the costs and they're £14 over budget, meaning he has to knock at least 20 euros of the bill. He's forced to wash Senor Quintilla's BMW to get the money off, much to the delight of Carolyn, who even has a drink and deck chair as she watches him wash the car. 

Martin arrives with 20 minutes to spare. He does a walk around in less than a minute and then Diego comes in and explains that the warning light was a faulty console and a false alarm, which he fixes with a smack to the console. As they fire up GERTI to take off with only 5 minutes left, they hear a massive bang and glass shattering. Upon shutting down the engines, it turns out that Arthur had left the bottle in the engine, which had fired out the engine and into Senor Quintilla's BMW. The episode ends with Martin whining in anguish.