Benedict Cumberbatch is taking his last bow in Radio 4's cult comedy Cabin Pressure on December 23 – but you can catch a sneak listen below right now.
Charting life in a small airline business, it sees Cumberbatch as Martin, a struggling semi-competent pilot, who finds himself wrestling with the offer of a new job in the final episode.
With the show titles running alphabetically from the first ever episode, Abu Dhabi, through to this double finale, Zurich, the cast and crew of MJN Air have discovered that whether it's choosing an ice-cream flavour, putting a princess in a van or remembering your grandmother's name, no job is too small, but many, many jobs are too difficult.
Cabin Pressure is written by John Finnemore who has also starred as the idiotic Arthur Shappey since the comedy began in 2008.
As we can hear in the clip below, Arthur has spent thousands on brake pads for a clapped-out transit van – from which he hopes to sell ice cream. The man with all the acerbic asides is smooth-talking Douglas, played to perfection by Roger Allam.
Other stars include Stephanie Cole as Carolyn Knapp-Shappey, Anthony Head as Captain Hercules ‘Herc’ Shipwright and Matilda Ziegler as Princess Theresa. Guest star Timothy West plays Arthur’s unscrupulous father Gordon Shappey.
Such was the demand for tickets to the final recording that the BBC took the unusual step of issuing a random draw to choose which fans got to see the show at RADA studios in February.
Days before, the finale had already broken a record for the most ever ticket requests for a single Radio 4 comedy with 22,854 applications.
At the end of the recording Finnemore paid tribute to the cast in a speech in which he was clearly struggling with his emotions after more than six years of running the show.
He said: “I’m overwhelmed. This has been such a huge part of my life, it has been such absolute fun. Seeing what the show has gone on to do was something I would never have predicted or dreamed of when I started in 2008. It has been a pleasure and a privilege. It has been such fun because, my God, the cast are amazing.”
And with that his "amazing" cast mingled with the audience, Cumberbatch naturally getting swamped by a large contingent of fans who had waited outside to see him (see below) and admitting that it was an emotional experience to end the show.
The first part of the Cabin Pressure finale airs on Radio 4 on Tuesday 23rd December at 6:30pm. The second part airs on 24th December at the same time