Timbuktu aired on BBC Radio 4 on 9th January 2013 and starred:
- Benedict Cumberbatch as Martin
- Roger Allam as Douglas
- Stephanie Cole as Carolyn
- John Finnemore as Arthur
- Geoffrey Whitehead as Mr. Birling
- Steve Brody as Giancarlo
There's no pre-credits sequence this episode. The episode opens with Martin and Douglas playing a game of Beat the Manual, which Martin is winning in and boring Douglas. Martin agreed to play after Douglas got him playing Flight Deck Buckaroo. Arthur comes in and offers teas or coffees, much to Douglas' relief. As they go to land in Fitton, Arthur is saddened to learn that he'll be missing Birling Day as the final is in Twickenham, which Birling would have to drive through to get to Fitton. However, when they get to their Portacabin, an angry Birling is stood waiting for them.
After an argument with his wife, Birling is told that he can watch the rugby in Twickenham for all he cares. After the promise of a few grand and double the fees, they prepare to leave within the hour. Douglas realises there's no Talisker to steal from Carolyn so offers to sell it back to her for £200 a bottle. Martin returns and explains they can't go to Mali because there's a civil war on and it's closed to all air traffic. Martin ponders the idea of taking Birling to somewhere that might be like Timbuktu, but isn't, which gives Douglas the idea of going to Sardinia instead, which is home to a desert and the airport owner is a friend of Douglas'. He offers to get the place looking like Timbuktu.
They take off. Carolyn puts Mr. Birling's seatbelt on despite him not wanting to. Arthur initiates a discussion and tries to override the code red. Carolyn explains that this year, she'll steal it back from Douglas. Martin gets worried about getting away with the crime, while Douglas tries to swindle the bottle of Talisker for £300 as they're in the air. Once they land, they get Mr. Birling into the crew room as they prepare to watch the rugby.
In the flight deck, Carolyn searches for the bottle of Talisker. After Martin catches her out, they have a chat and after giving him £200, Martin tells her it's in the Avionics Bay. Birling returns to GERTI after realising that Italy are beating Wales 38-3 at half time. They prepare to leave, but Birling wants to see the sights and take some photos.
They take Giancarlo's car out for a drive. Arthur keeps dropping them in it that its not Africa. Birling gets more and more suspicious until they pull over pretending to be stuck. They remind Arthur that they're tricking Mr. Birling that they're in Africa. As they get back in the car, Mr. Birling demands to know what's going on. Martin blurts out that they can see the sea from where they are.
Back in the flight deck, Carolyn announces that Mr. Birling won't sue or pay them. It's a topsy turvy day for MJN air. They flew away from the rugby and Mr. Birling was sober. Carolyn announces she stole the Talisker from Douglas. Martin hands over the £100 from the £200 Carolyn to Douglas and then opens the flight operations manual, where Douglas has hidden the real talisker bottle.