My lovely and esteemed wife has recently introduced me to the joys of Cabin Pressure, a Radio 4 comedy series set aboard the fictitious MJN (My Jet Now) Air, a tiny little outfit run by the crabby Carolyn Knapp-Shappey (Stephanie Cole from Waiting for God) that has only two pilots - the by-the-book captain Martin Crieff (Benedict Cumberbatch from Sherlock, Star Trek et al) and the ever-superior first officer Douglas Richardson (Roger Allam from The Thick Of It and Endeavour) - and an air steward, Cole's simple but eternally upbeat son Arthur (John Finnemore, who also writes the show).
Featuring guest stars including John Sessions, Anthony Head (playing the fabulously named Hercules Shipwright), Prunella Scales and Alison Steadman, it's an award-winning comedy with surprising depths that largely revolves around the games the pilots play to stave off boredom on long flights, the schemes they need to concoct to deal with difficult customers, mechanics and other airlines, and the tensions between Crieff and Richardson, Crieff always wanting to have been a pilot but having no real aptitude, while Richardson has never found anything hard but after a distinguished career, now finds himself first officer to Crieff at MJN thanks to his crossing certain legal lines at his previous job.
As well as being very funny, well written and well acted, it's also capable of pathos and drama, so I recommend you catch up as best you can via Amazon, iTunes or other avenues.
The show is also a creator of some great memes. Here, for example, is the birth of the 'Hey, Chief ' meme, which my wife and I find a constant source of hilarity when we use it on each other (yes, we're a fun pair):
If you're a Cabin Pressure fan already, though, please enjoy the following encapsulation of a whole bunch of Cabin Pressure memes in a manner similar to the current Nikon ads. Do you recognise them all?
It's got Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann as the Doctor (obviously), as well as Louise Jameson as Leela, Sarah Sutton as Nyssa, Nicola Bryant as Peri, Sophie Aldred as Ace and India Fisher as Charley. Plus Geoffrey Beevers is back as The Master – well, one of them, obviously – and there are 'special guest stars' promised, too.
I might actually get this when it comes out (and review it for you lovely people). Even if it is written and directed by Nicholas Briggs.
November 23rd 1963 proves to be a significant day in the lives of all eight Doctors…
It's the day that Bob Dovie's life is ripped apart…
It's also a day that sets in motion a catastrophic chain of events which forces the first eight incarnations of the Doctor to fight for their very existence. As a mysterious, insidious chaos unfolds within the TARDIS, the barriers of time break apart…
From suburban England through war-torn alien landscapes and into a deadly, artificial dimension, all these Doctors and their companions must struggle against the power of an unfathomable, alien technology.
From the very beginning, it is clear that the Master is somehow involved. By the end, for the Doctors, there may only be darkness.
Paul Magrs is a very clever chap. He's a lecturer in creative writing, and has written numerous books and audio plays. Not all of them are about Doctor Who, but quite a lot of them are. Indeed, he's written a few Big Finish Doctor Who audio plays, including my favourite ever, the insanely clever Ringpullworld. He was even the author who managed to lure Tom Baker back to Doctor Who for a series of BBC audio plays, starting with The Hornets' Nest.
Largely, if Magrs has a theme, it's to deconstruct Doctor Who, not just as a show but how it's written. Indeed, his most famous creation is Iris Wildthyme, a perpetually drunk, lying, sexually active Time Lady (the clue is in the name) with her own range of books from Obverse Books and a range of Big Finish audio plays that stars former Doctor Who companion Katy Manning. Iris, who travels the universe in a double-decker bus with a talking panda for a companion, originally started as a way to subvert Doctor Who, the Doctor and science-fiction conventions - she did what the Doctor doesn't and that illuminated the nature of the Doctor in various ways.
All this is by way of introduction to Magrs' latest creations, 70s glam rock star Vince Cosmos and his biggest fan Poppy Munday, who feature in a new series of audio plays from Bafflegab Productions, which is best known for producing The Scarifyers on BBC Radio 4 Extra. Starring Julian Rhind-Tutt of Green Wing, Hippies et al, Vince Cosmos: Glam Rock Detective is an origin story that sees Munday moving down to London from Sunderland and meeting her idol, Vince Cosmos who for some reason seems to think the Martians are intent on invading the Earth. Is he mad? Will the Martians, if they exist be stopped? And will Munday manage to get her end away with Cosmos before the end of the play?
Sound a bit like it might be subverting and deconstructing Doctor Who? You'd not be wrong.
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This is a UK media blog with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
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"For most of us watching the telly of an evening is a way to wind down and relax, but for Rob Buckley it’s his blogging bread and butter. With reviews of cult classics and up and coming US and Brit television shows, The Medium is Not Enough is fast becoming essential reading for TV buffs, with over 50,000 hits a month."
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I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.