John Finnemore

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John Finnemore
John David Finnemore

(1977-09-28) 28 September 1977 (age 43)
Reading, England
Alma materPeterhouse, Cambridge
OccupationComedian, writer
Years active2000 – present

John David Finnemore (born 28 September 1977) is a British comedy writer and actor. He wrote and performs in the radio series Cabin Pressure, John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, and John Finnemore's Double Acts, and frequently features in other BBC Radio 4 comedy shows such as The Now Show. Finnemore has won more Awards than any other writer.

Early life and education[edit]

John Finnemore was born in Reading to parents David and Patricia and has a younger sister, Anna. He attended Dolphin School in Berkshire, High Lea in Dorset and Poole Grammar School.[1] At 19, he moved to Kraków in Poland, where he spent 6 months teaching English.[2]

He then studied English at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he wrote his dissertation on Thomas Hardy ('Icons, Frames and Freedom in Jude the Obscure') and graduated in 2000.[3][4] He was a member of the Cambridge Footlights, becoming vice-president in his final year.[5] After graduating, he performed in Sensible Haircut with the Footlights team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2000.[6]


Finnemore wrote the BBC Radio 4 sitcom Cabin Pressure and played the part of the "consistently cheery steward" Arthur.[7] The sitcom aired for four series between 2008 and Christmas 2014, with a two-part finale at Christmas and New Year 2014–15.[8][9] He also wrote a radio sketch show, John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, which he performed with Simon Kane, Carrie Quinlan, Lawry Lewin and Margaret Cabourn-Smith.[10] The first series was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2011, and a special edition recorded at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe was broadcast in 2012. Seven further series followed annually until 2019, and a ninth series began broadcast in 2021.

Finnemore has written extensively for other comedy shows, both on radio and TV, including That Mitchell and Webb Sound (2003–2009), That Mitchell and Webb Look (2006–2010), Dead Ringers (2003–2007), Safety Catch, The Now Show and The Unbelievable Truth (2011).[11][12] From 2009 to 2012, he co-wrote the podcast David Mitchell's Soap Box with Mitchell.[13] He was a programme associate for 10 O'Clock Live.

Finnemore has appeared on various BBC Radio 4 shows, including The Now Show, The Unbelievable Truth, I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, Just a Minute, and The News Quiz. He also appeared as a minor character in Miranda Hart's television sitcom Miranda, in the episodes 'Teacher' (2009), 'Before I Die' (2010), 'The Dinner Party' (2013) and 'I Do, But to Who?' (2014).

Finnemore did voice-over for 24 Hours to Go Broke on Dave.[14]

In September 2011, Finnemore wrote a pilot episode for BBC One called George and Bernard Shaw, a sitcom starring Robert Lindsay and Richard Griffiths as an elderly gay couple. The show was not picked up for a full series.[15][16]

Finnemore wrote John Finnemore's Double Acts, an anthology series of loosely connected two-handers. The first series of six episodes aired on Radio 4 from October 2015, and was released on CD in 2016.[17] A second series of six episodes was broadcast in 2017.

A stage version of Souvenir Programme, renamed John Finnemore's Flying Visit, completed two UK tours. The first was between May and June 2018,[18] the second from September to November 2019[19] with a bonus date in December.[20]

In March 2020, John Finnemore appeared as a space-shuttle pilot in episodes 7-9 of Armando Iannucci's American space comedy Avenue 5.

Finnemore is a regular performer at the bi-monthly Tall Tales storytelling shows in held in North London.[21]

Since 2016, he has written Listener cryptic crosswords under the pseudonym 'Emu', published in The Times.[22][23]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Finnemore uploaded videos to his YouTube channel entitled "Cabin Fever" as his Cabin Pressure character Arthur Shappey.[24] These would often involve games or puzzles for the viewer. In this period, he also become only the third person to solve Cain's Jawbone, a literary puzzle published by Edward Powys Mathers in 1934.[25]


Cabin Pressure won the Writers' Guild of Great Britain 2011 award for Best Radio Comedy, and In 2014, it was awarded Silver for Best Comedy at the Radio Academy Awards.[26]

Double Acts won the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain 2017 award for Best Radio Comedy.[27]

Finnemore has also won more Awards than any other writer.[28] When adding together shows for which Finnemore is the main writer and an additional writer, Finnemore's work has resulted in him winning 13 awards. Cabin Pressure was voted "Best British Radio Sitcom" in 2011, 2013, and 2014.[29][30][31] Cabin Pressure was also voted "Comedy of the Year" in 2014 across TV and radio, making it the first radio show to be given the honour.[31] John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme was voted "Best British Radio Sketch Show" in 2011, 2012, and 2014.[29][32][31] Finnemore has also written for other shows that have won Awards such as That Mitchell and Webb Sound which was voted "Best British Radio Sketch Show" in 2009, 2010, and 2013;[33][34][30] That Mitchell and Webb Look which was voted "Best British TV Sketch Show" in 2006 and 2009;[33][35] and The Unbelievable Truth which was voted "Best British Radio Panel Show" in 2011.[29]


  1. ^ "Old Delphinians: John Finnemore". Archived from the original on 19 February 2012.
  2. ^ "John Finnemore". My Teenage Diary. Season 8. Episode 2. 19 June 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Twitter post". 3 November 2011.
  4. ^ "Congregations of the Regent House on 29 June, 30 June, and 1 July 2000". Cambridge University Reporter.
  5. ^ "Cambridge Footlights Alumni 1990–1999". Archived from the original on 15 October 2012.
  6. ^ "Cambridge Footlights at Edinburgh Fringe Festival". 2000. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011.
  7. ^ Whannel, Kate (2 July 2018). "Ten years on: The comedy hit that almost wasn't made". BBC News. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Cabin Pressure Update".
  9. ^ "BBC - Good Omens and last ever Cabin Pressure confirmed in Radio 4 Schedule - Media centre".
  10. ^ "John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme".
  11. ^ "John Finnemore, Apparently". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  12. ^ "Interview with John Finnemore". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  13. ^ "Ten Questions for: John Finnemore". Varsity. 16 November 2011.
  14. ^ Richard Herring (25 November 2015). "John Finnemore". RHLSTP (Podcast) (88 ed.). British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  15. ^ Tom Bryant (8 August 2011). "My Family replacement stars Robert Lindsay in show about two gay men". The Mirror.
  16. ^ Seale, Jack (9 January 2013). "Cabin Pressure writer John Finnemore on the joy of radio, crafting comedy - and Benedict Cumberbatch". Radio Times. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "New Tour Date!". Forget What Did. 21 February 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  19. ^ "Flying Visit Visits Again". Forget What Did. 3 May 2019. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  20. ^ "Last Call for the Flying Visit". Forget What Did. 29 October 2019. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  21. ^ "Spoken Word Review: Tall Tales @ Peckham Literary Festival". Londonist. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  22. ^ Finnemore, John (27 February 2016). "Emu's debut". Forget What Did. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  23. ^ "Crossword blog: why are puzzles symmetrical?". the Guardian. 29 April 2019. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  24. ^ "Cabin Fever - Episode 1: Fitton". 22 March 2020. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  25. ^ Flood, Alison (10 November 2020). "Literary puzzle solved for just third time in almost 100 years". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  26. ^ Radio Academy Awards | Winners | 2014 | Production Awards | Best Comedy
  27. ^ "Writers' Guild Awards 2017 - Writers' Guild of Great Britain". Writers' Guild of Great Britain. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  28. ^ " Awards 2014 results announced". British Comedy Guide. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  29. ^ a b c "The Awards 2011". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  30. ^ a b "The Awards 2013". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  31. ^ a b c "The Awards 2014". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  32. ^ "The Awards 2012". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  33. ^ a b "The Awards 2009". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  34. ^ "The Awards 2010". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  35. ^ "The Awards 2006". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 28 January 2015.

External links[edit]