Outside the DWU, Finnemore is best known for writing and creating the BBC Radio 4 sitcom Cabin Pressure — starring Stephanie Cole, Roger Allam, Benedict Cumberbatch and Finnemore himself — as well as the sketch series John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, starring Finnemore, Lawry Lewin, Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Simon Kane and Carrie Quinlan.
More recently, John Finnemore created John Finnemore's Double Acts, a radio anthology series with only two main speaking parts in each episode. Guest stars on this series have included Celia Imrie, Lawry Lewin, Simon Kane, Rebecca Front, Jenny Bede, Stephanie Cole, Kerry Godliman, Julia McKenzie, Gus Brown, Una Stubbs, Tamzin Outhwaite, Martin Clunes, Tom Goodman-Hill, Kieran Hodgson and Michael Palin.
Doctor Who sketches Edit
The very first episode of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme included a sketch called "The Man Who Makes the Noise of the TARDIS", about a young boy named James (played by Finnemore) who dreams of becoming the man to make the noise of the TARDIS. When he's older, in 1985, he applies to college for sound engineering, hoping to work for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. As he graduates from Nottingham University in 1989, James finds out that Doctor Who has been cancelled. He gets a Media Studies degree, and joins the BBC as an unpaid intern in 1994. Jim gets his first assistant producer job in 2002, and soon moves up through the ranks.
He moves to management, and eventually becomes the Controller of BBC One. In 2003, Jim meets with Russell T Davies, played by Simon Kane, and asks him to revive Doctor Who. Faced with the opportunity, he steps down as Controller of BBC One, and joins the sound team at BBC Cardiff, in a junior role. In 2005, Russell calls up, and questions the TARDIS effect Jim has sent him. James proudly proclaims that that is the noise of the TARDIS, and he is the man who makes it. Russell decides to go elsewhere, and so James returns to his original childhood dream: being Thomas the Tank Engine.
In a fourth wall-breaking sketch in series 6 episode 6, Carrie Quinlan asks Finnemore if she could be allowed to do her own bit on Souvenir Programme: "It's Doctor Who, and all of the adventures of Doctor Who, except that though Carrie Quinlan is Doctor Who". She notes that the key "twists" are the different actor, and that the character is actually called Doctor Who, rather than the Doctor. She further suggests that it be made a television spin-off, just starring her.