The Archers: Why Vicky’s patio heaters warm my heart

Foarchers logor years, us die-hard Archers listeners have had to get our jollies from just one or two vaguely entertaining characters, their appearances doled out in meagre helpings across the week. We had to rely for light relief on the occasional dirty laugh from Lillian, or a gnomic interlude involving cider and Joe Grundy. Now, suddenly, the show’s been inundated with wall-to-wall personalities. We’ve got Vicky, Jim and Wayne going head-to-head in a consolidated attempt to turn the Archers from a soap in which there are seven dull characters for every interesting one, to the other way round.

Those of you who haven’t visited Ambridge since Nelson Gabriel popped his clogs won’t recognise the place. When you last saw Mike the milkman he was a steady sort, married to solid Betty who knew that no situation was so fraught it couldn’t be righted by one of her barm cakes. Now Betty’s buried in the garden (natural causes), and Mike is married to Vicky, who he only knew for two sex-drenched weeks before popping the question in a haze of testosterone.

Vicky is to Betty what Jordan is to Thora Hird. Vicky is big, brash, brassy, and yes, I’m going to have to say it, common. Vicky, who has infiltrated herself into village life faster than one of Eddie’s ferrets, has a swooping Brummy voice that could shatter Mike’s milk bottles. Numerous references have been made down the Bull to her fun-loving personality and womanly figure, which must make Jolene, classic barmaid with a heart of gold hidden under a large décolletage, and previous title-holder of most-mentioned bosom in the village, seethe into her Martini and coke. Vicky is everywhere, all the time, all over the place, like, well, Martini. We suspect even Mike must be getting fed up with her steam-rollering over everything in her jolly, loud, Bette Midler kind of way. I mean, just how good in bed must she be to override all other requirements of middle-aged companionship? Don’t answer that.

 Now Vicky has struck up an unlikely friendship with Linda Snell. True, they are both outsiders whom no-one else can stand. But in every other regard, they are nothing alike. In a scene of exquisite excruciatingness, the sort the Archers does so well, a gushing Vicky invited Linda and Long-Suffering Robert (to give him his full name) to dinner in her newly tarted-up garden. You could tell from Linda’s sniff after being given the full tour that we weren’t just talking about a few pelargoniums. That sniff spoke volumes. That sniff told us there were fairy lights and baroque benches and screens and ornamental grasses and decking and water features, and poor old Betty turning in her grave under a tree in the middle of it all.

Best of all, there were patio heaters, and Linda, a long-time eco-warrior sat under them, perspiring with rage. Just as L.S. Robert reached to switch one off, along bustled Vicky in full fig, and, assuming her guests were feeling cold, turned it up. The ensuing social awkwardness was sheer heaven and one of the reasons why the Archers is right back on track.

 Next time: Why Wayne Tucson is King of the Road (and a Man of Means by No Means)

 Posted by Qwerty

6 Comments

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6 responses to “The Archers: Why Vicky’s patio heaters warm my heart

  1. inkface

    Hang on a minute. I’ve been away a mere ten years, and I don’t recognise this place at all. What’s happened to the well-researched agriculturally accurate story lines? Artificial insemination? Rotational leys? I’m shocked I tell you, shocked. And I may have to start listening again…

  2. fanoflinda

    Surely Vicky spells her name vikki?
    You have missed out Linda in your cast of amusing characters, the episode when she and L.S. Robert went to see Dame Edna remains one of my all time favourites.

    Sadly I cannot help thinking that Vikki is being set up so that Mike can realise the terrible mistake he has made and how he should have remained faithful to Betty (lesson to us all etc etc).

    After all everyone else can see they are not suited (even the worldsmostboring Susan doesn’t like her).

    Also when are they going to cast a long suffering woman married to an insufferable man – after all there is Vikki and Mike, Linda and Robert and Susan and Neil.

  3. Bucks Boy

    And talking of Nelson Gabriel, my father is still prone to disapproving looks whenever his name comes up in conversation (as, of course, it does). Asked why, he’ll shake his head and reply, ‘He treated his father very shabbily’. Somehow I feel personally implicated in this statement and have never dared asked what exactly Nelson did to poor Walter. So, Qwerty my dear, can you tell us what exactly Nelson did to his old Dad?

  4. Qwerty

    Bucks Boy, I am engaged in some very urgent research in order to try and answer your important query. Though perhaps you could save me the bother and take a deep breath and ask your Dad. He probably will be glad of the chance to talk about it. Then let us all know.

    Fanoflinda – I adore Linda of course, but I thought I would just focus on some newer characters who have brought such a fresh feel to the village. And if it’s a l.s. woman with an annoying man you seek, I feel I need say no more than the words: Clary & Eddie.

  5. inkface

    My memory must be a bit rickety because, as I remember it, Walter and Gabriel had a sweet relationship, or they did towards the end when I was listening. I’m sure I cried when Walter died.

    I went welly-wanging with Eddie Grundy once. Just thought I’d mention it. Part of the ‘live’ show when you got a ride on a hay cart with the crew. He sang too. Didn’t make him any less annoying, but I enjoyed with welly-wanging part.

    • discerning viewer

      I suspect that Buck boy’s father is referring to the large period in Nelson Gabriel’s life when he thought himself too posh to hang around with his working class father and went off to the big city for various ventures ignoring his working class routes. I hope your father is not suggesting this of you B.B.

      Querty, perhaps you could do some research on the Archer’s website, there will be someone there who has been listening since 1912 or whatever.

      Eddie Grundy – I won’t have a word said against him, though I do agree Clarrie is long-suffering.