“What’s in the back of a van?”, “A thousand strawberry lollies and the Princess of Liechtenstein.” Oh, Cabin Pressure, you really were splendid and you really did manage to put together a fairytale ending after four series of unparalleled silliness. But this leaves me conflicted: on the one hand, John Finnemore and his helpers really did do a magnificent job of finishing everything off but, on the other, I selfishly want to spend more time in the company of one-plane charter company, MJN (or Our Jet Still as it finished up as). I guess I’ll just have to make do with Radio 4 Extra repeats.
Of course I was worried. Pre-announced finales always have the danger that things are going to be too neatly wrapped or just not come together properly or not do justice to what went before. And Cabin Pressure has set the bar high. If you like your radio comedy to be full-on steely whimsy voiced by top-level actors drawing from stories whose construction you sometimes just want to stand back and applaud (and I do) then from Abu Dhabi (Series 1, Episode 1) to Yverdon-les-Bains (Episode 4, Series 6) there has been little to complain about. Even the misfires tended to work. I still find myself saying (to myself, obviously) that if the real Ouagadoogoo is to be mentioned I should say, “Ouagadoogoo, Ouagadoogoo.”
This final two-parter (Zurich) brought everything that had gone before it together whilst also flinging in more new material and directions than really should have been allowed over 56 minutes of comedy. It goes without saying that the cast of Allam, Cole, Cumberbatch and Finnemore were strong and I almost keep wondering when John Finnemore is going to write something I don’t laugh at. It also goes without saying that Cabin Pressure‘s good nature meant that everyone who deserved it got a happy ending and the plane with the heart of gold got to fly into the sunset at the end. Just beautiful, and so right.