I adore Cabin Pressure with every fibre of my being. I’ve loved John Finnemore for a very long time, having listened to him in The Now Show for years, but I was a bit slow to listen to his new ‘sitcom’ as I thought it couldn’t possibly match up to his satire. I was wrong, of course, and happy to be so.
The show is a comic marvel and, for a short and (ironically, since the stories technically take place all over the world) fairly static sitcom, the characters are extremely well developed. However, it’s important to note that the darker elements of the characters’ lives, while alluded to in brief at intervals, are never talked about explicitly.
We can surmise, for example, that Gordon Shappey was an abusive git, that Douglas was an alcoholic and that Martin’s childhood was a little less than joyous, but at no point are any of the characters intended to appear ‘tragic.’ Martin’s jacket potato comment is a prime example of this- it’s hyperbole, intended to be comic, not to incite sobbing in the ranks of listeners.
The aforementioned (and infamous) ‘potato moment’ is one that is often stated as a reason why Martin’s life is plainly dreadful but I must state that I would really much rather have his lot than my own. This isn’t because my life is dreadful (though it has its moments), just that his is actually pretty damn cool. He’s a pilot, a captain, and he gets to share a confined space with
Roger Allam Douglas.
This isn’t to say that tragicomedy doesn’t play its part in the series (of course it does), just that any aspects of the pathetic are more than outweighed by the hilarious. Douglas’s revelation of Helena’s martial arts related affair most certainly had the capacity to be very tragic indeed, but any anguish Douglas may or may not have felt is swiftly brushed away, in typical ‘Sky God’ fashion, with a bet.
As for Martin, well, forgive me for not pitying a man who’s following his childhood dream. Yes, he might live in a student house and on a diet of pasta but this is not quite the same as living on the streets on a diet of thin air. If the latter was the case then there would be no need for it to be written in fanfiction and this would be a very bad thing indeed.
This is a cracky cracky fic based on a lovely ottery picture (below) and is a present for my dear flatmate (though, I fear, not a particularly good one) :-P
There were perhaps one or two… bizarre… aspects to their current situation. One moment they had been in a car, pulling out at a cross-roads, then there had been a lorry, and then…
The second before impact had felt eternal, the whole world distilled into one moment of inexorable panic as his body prepared for the pain that was sure to follow but that, somehow, didn’t.
Instead, here he was. Here they both were: Henry Knight and Martin Crieff. Both inexplicably alive and both, even more inexplicably, otters.
Their astonishment at finding themselves in this predicament was quickly replaced by horror on Martin’s part and, on Henry’s, a wry appreciation for the fact he hadn’t been changed into a dog.
Looking down at his paws in interest, for perhaps the first time in twenty years, Henry found that he actually felt calm. With the weight of humanity lifted from his shoulders he felt somehow free.
No one had any expectations of Henry the otter; there was no boss could disappoint, no deadlines he had to meet. Just him and Martin. Ah, yes, Martin.
Padding across to his quivering, newly otterfied partner, Henry offered his nose out to him, giving him a few gentle nuzzles before wrapping him in his surprisingly strong paws.
He couldn’t talk but he had no need to, everything that needed to be said was communicated in gesture. I’m here; you’re safe; we’re together; we always will be.
(There are now two chapters to this… good lord- here’s the next part)
Part one of the ‘Henry/Martin otter fic o’doom’ can be found here - now for a more angsty bit *evil cackle*
Love Is Not Love Which Alters When it Otteration Finds- Part 2
Henry had been registered as Martin’s next of kin for several months at the time of his death and, in an absence of another emergency contact, the police had called Carolyn. She was in her office, grumbling to herself about ‘useless pilots’ when the phone call came.
Douglas and Arthur were in the portakabin, Arthur tossing a Braeburn and Douglas amusing himself by coming up with increasingly unlikely excuses which Martin might use when he finally arrived, no doubt with his face a shade of red to rival Arthur’s abused apple.
What he was certainly not expecting was for Carolyn to emerge from her office looking like she had just been forced to remarry Gordon. The small smile that had been playing across his lips vanished as he looked at her questioningly. “Douglas, a word. In my office.”
The funeral was a predictably depressing affair and the lump which had formed itself in Douglas’s throat as the coffin containing MJN’s late captain, hat and all, had disappeared behind the curtain to the tune of ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’ showed no sign of dissipating. Damn.
Arthur, red eyed and inconsolable, had run out mid way through the ceremony. Now he was nowhere to be found and a search party of sorts had been sent out with Douglas at the helm. A horrid thought occurred to him as the group neared the river. Arthur had been upset, yes, but surely he wouldn’t have..?
Thankfully, his morbid thoughts stopped there as he spotted their elusive steward. He was about to call to him when he noticed something extremely peculiar indeed which caused him to enact what would have been an exceedingly comical double take had anyone been around to witness it. Fortunately he was alone with his imaginings, because surely he must be seeing things?
The closer he got, the more certain he was that Douglas Richardson, former ‘sky god’, had finally lost his mind. No matter how many times he blinked and shook his head, the image remained. Arthur, sat on the bank of the river, talking to two otters who were, to all intents and purposes, ‘talking’ back. Absurd!
Skip was brilliant… Skip’s boyfriend was brilliant… they couldn’t be dead! The very thought of not having them around just couldn’t be supported by Arthur’s unrealistically optimistic world-view. He had left part way through the funeral because he hadn’t been able to listen to the lies they’d been saying about Skip having gone to a better place. There was no place better than GERTI!
And his mum had told him that Martin was going to be ‘cremated’. And Arthur had looked that word up on the internet and gathered that that meant ‘really burnt’, like the pizza he had been cooking last week and had forgotten about for a couple of hours. But that was silly; Skip couldn’t fly a plane if he was all black and crispy. And he wouldn’t like for his hat to be like that either!
As it turned out, he needn’t have worried. His eternal and all encompassing theory that ‘Douglas would make everything alright in the end’ seemed to have been justified once again. Though how Douglas had managed to turn Skip and Henry into otters was quite beyond him. This was even more brilliant than the time he had managed to land them in that really pretty field after GERTI’s electrics had failed.
When Arthur was little, one of his best friends had fallen out of a tree and hurt his back. He had been really sad about being a bit broken until Arthur had convinced him of all the reasons why wheelchairs were brilliant and they had come up with all sorts of new games that they could play.
This, to his mind, was just like that. It didn’t matter to him that Skip and Henry’s forms had changed. They would always be counted among the most brilliant and really really clever people that Arthur had known and he would always believe in them. Because that’s what friends do.
(Well you asked for this… literally)
You Moose Be Kidding Me
“Well we’ll just see what the CAA adjudicates when I…” Carolyn interrupted him with her ‘alpha dog’ speech and by this time Douglas was genuinely beginning to panic. He needs to find a way to wriggle out of this. There’s no way that he can get into that pool.
“Carolyn, I’m sorry, there’s no way that I can…” and then she pushed him. A firm shove in the direction of swimming pool and dummy, and so it began. First came the antlers, they were always the first, and the worst, because at this point he was still aware of what was going on.
He was aware too of the thickening fur, of the bones beginning to break and reform. It was agonising. Thankfully he wasn’t aware of too much after that point, and then nothing much at all until he woke up later wrapped in several towels and with a worried air-dot crew staring down at him.
“It’s the water, I…” he can’t think of a way of explaining this that will make him seem like anything more than the freak he is. The silence that follows his aborted statement is oppressive until…
“Douglas… that was BRILLIANT!”
LE BEAR POLAR!