For those of you who spend countless hours systematically swooning over pictures of John Finnemore’s face, I have a present. However for those of you who do not indulge in this particular pass-time, you mean nothing to me.
So, as I am constantly saying, about a year ago I met Benedict Cumberbatch at a recording of the radio sitcom Cabin Pressure.
Although I managed to get his autograph and stare into his face, I din’t get a photo which I’m very annoyed about.
However whilst on Instagram the other day I saw a picture of someone who was at the same recording as me and managed to snap me in the background of their picture with Benedict!
There I am just to the right of Benedict’s head.
My friend and I are great fans of the radio sitcom ‘Cabin Pressure’ and it is an ambition of ours to meet every actor who has been in the show. So when tickets became available for a sketch and poetry show ‘Ayres on the Air’ we leapt at the chance to go, sorely to meet Geoffrey Whitehead who has appeared three times in CP.
We arrived dreading the show (needless to say neither of us are budding poets), however excited at the chance of meeting Mr Whitehead. We were amused but not altogether surprised to find that we were the youngest members of the audience, in fact the only members below the age of 40.
So as we were headed into the theatre, preparing ourselves for the worst, dreading the two shows that were being recorded that night we were pleasantly surprised to find that the show was actually quite good.
Now I must admit, I am the last person to admire poetry but this show definitely changed my view. Pam Ayres (who wrote and starred in the show) performed wonderfully, her poems were great and the sketches were funny. It seems that poetry can be quite entertaining. The two episodes that were recorded were centered around horse and the home. We even got to meet Geoffrey Whitehead so that was a relief.
Yesterday I fulfilled one of my long time dreams. I met one of my favourite actors, my role model, my hero. Yesterday I met BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH. But let’s start from the beginning, we can’t just skip to the main event.
Me and two friends had journeyed up to London for the recordings of the last two episodes of Cabin Pressure Series 4. We didn’t have tickets but like last time our intention was merely to get into the studios at the end to meet the actors and collect autographs. We also hoped that, like last time, stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Roger Allam would journey down the road to Café Nero to grab themselves a coffee. We positioned ourselves in Pret (‘twas really cold outside) and waited for the chance to see Benedict and Roger. We were half successful as it seems poor little Ben didn’t want a coffee leaving Roger on his own to journey to Nero. We ran ahead to the café where, to look like we were doing something, bought some popcorn and then sat at the window seats. ‘twas then that Roger Allam walked in and ordered a small espresso!!! He then took the window seat next to me!!! Exciting much. However it seems a small espresso is REALLY small and before I had time to take some subtle pictures of him he was gone causing us to rush out a follow him.
The next few hours were quite uneventful. They included wandering round London, using McDonalds toilets and not actually buying anything, looking at the RADA studios from round various corners so we could not be seen and generally passing to time in any way possible.
There we met Anthony Head, Roger Allam, John Finnemore, David Tyler, Stephanie Cole and BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH!
They were all lovely people (especially Anthony). I got loads of photos and two new autographs from those I hadn’t seen before. This included Benedict who, although was in a rush, managed to make my day.
BENEDICT: What’s your name (taking autograph book).
ME: Philip, one ‘l’.
BENEDICT: (Handing back autograph book and looking at my face) Thank you Philip.
That was a dream come true! On my third recording (I’ve been to all of them this series although only got in once) I met lovely Benedict. That’s my life’s ambition complete!
When you mix together being a massive Cabin Pressure fan and not getting tickets to the second recording of Cabin Pressure Series 4, the result is 5 hours standing in the middle of London waiting to sneak into the studios and meet the cast.
Me and two others arrived at the RADA studios at about 10:30, fully aware that we had no tickets and yet even more determined to meet the actors (in particular Benedict Cumberbatch). As soon as we got there opportunity meet us with the sight that I had already seen before, just two weeks before. This sight consisted of two men who looked very too much like Benedict Cumberbatch and Roger Allam and, not wanting to miss that chance I had missed before (See here), I and my friends started following them.
We followed them to a coffee shop (turns out Benedict and Roger prefer Caffé Nero over Starbucks), followed them inside the coffee shop and then backed out again quickly whilst they sat down and drank with us pacing outside waiting for them to leave.
- Being chucked out of the RADA bar and later off the premises by the same man.
- Running round London.
- Walking round pretending to be Benedict and Roger.
- Meeting Goeff Posner in the break between recordings and getting his autograph.
- Sneaking into RADA when the recordings had finished to meet the actors.
- Meeting John Finnermore for the second time and Anthony Head for the first.
- Standing outside all day was also fun.
Oh what fun I did have. The best thing is that it over as there is another recording on the 6th of January. Shall we go or not?
Well Sunday was a real blast as me and a friend journeyed up to London to witness the first recording of Cabin Pressure Series 4. We went by a train and then by tube, held up along the way by 20 speaker announcements by the same monotonous women, announcing that there had been a fire alert further down the line, however that did not stop us and we still managed to get to the RADA studios 31/2 hours early. We sat and became (may I quote) busy doing nothing. It really was amazing how the time flew out there. By
far the highlight of the wait was when two men who looked extremely like Benedict Cumberbatch and Roger Allam walked past and I followed them for a bit before deciding that it couldn’t possibly be the two actors of whom I was in awe and gave it up only to find out later that it had been them and I had missed my chance at an autograph. After a few hours we were let into the auditorium where the main part of the day began. We were greeted by producer David Tyler who ran us through the structure of the recording before introducing the cast for the episodes. John Finnemore said a few words, my favourites being ‘God knows what Benedict does on his time off. Mostly stunt work, I hear? Something with jumping off roofs.’ Of course I am forever forbidden to reveal the contents of the episodes that were recorded (also John Finnemore jumping on the stage and shouting “No spoilers!”). However my highlights were:
- Both Benedict Cumberbatch and Stephenie Cole getting angry and swearing.
- Benedict Cumberbatch needing 5 attempts to record the credits without slipping up.
- A scene needing to be re-recorded due to the audience laughing too much.
- “I prefer to use the word ‘hat’”. (You will get it when you hear it).
- and the list goes on and on…
Whilst there I had the pleasure of meeting (and collecting the autographs of) Roger Allam, John Finnemore, two guest stars whose names I can’t remember, David Tyler and Carrie Quinlan (who was’nt in the episodes, just there to watch).
I also collected one more momentum of the day. Each of the actors had a bottle of water to drink whilst recording, John Finnemore left his and I grabbed it and got him to sign it. Such fun!
It has only recently occurred to me that my experience in listening to radio programs is minimal. So that was why when my friend recommended the highly popular radio sitcom; Cabin Pressure, I was very sceptical. However after uploading all the episodes to my iPod, and sitting down to listen to it, I was immediately enthralled.
Cabin Pressure is a highly acclaimed radio sitcom which has entertained audiences with 3 series and 1 Christmas special. Running since 2008 it stars well-known actors Stephanie Cole, Roger Allam, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Finnemore (also the show’s writer) and Anthony Head.
It focuses on the travels of a small charter airline; MJN air with its CEO Carolyn Knapp-Shappey, failed Pilot Martin Crieff, Co-Pilot Douglas Richardson and steward Arthur Shappey.
Together they fly all over the world, taking stag parties to Rome, film stars to Italy and rich gentleman Mr Birling to wherever the six nations rugby final is happening.
Along the way they get into various fixes whilst we learn new things about the crew…