The Archers: A man who knows the price of everything

It’s never a good idea for soaps to stray far from their usual arena. At present we have the continuity announcer saying gamely, ‘and in just a minute, we’ll be heading off, not to bonnie_clyde_465x402Ambridge, but to Costa Rica’, and our hearts sink.

Dodgy Matt’s done a runner, dragging a reluctant Lilian in his wake. For every cockroach the size of a terrier that terrorises Lilian, Matt sees only a nice little pastry shop. He is as determinedly upbeat as she is down. It’s like two sides of a bipolar personality in one fractious relationship.

The long-distance phone calls between Lilian and her anxious sister Jennifer are splendidly done. Jenny’s primary role is to say, ‘Oh, LILIAN!’ and she can imbue this simple phrase with exasperation, sympathy or horror. Some yokel asked Jenny where Lilian and Matt were, and rather than admit to a country in Central America – soap opera code for ‘bail-jump’ – Jenny rather wonderfully found herself murmuring, ‘Oh, they’ve gone to one of the Costas.’

Poor Lilian hates the Costa she’s in. She’d rather be in Costa Coffee, as Matt pointed out, when she said she had nothing to do all day. ‘Do what you do at ‘ome!’ he snapped. ‘Go to lunch! Get your ‘air done!’

‘Twice a day’, retorted Lil, ‘Given this humidity.’ She sounded for a moment as if she would rather like to have her hair done this often.

Lilian’s been so stressed and shrill, she has managed to force Matt into doing something that Archers characters absolutely hate doing: namely, reveal the cost of something. Prices are never specified. It’s too vulgar. Even in the shop, when Susan dourly rings up purchases, we are not privy to exactly what the items were in the wire basket which led to the sum of £5.21. Generally, no sum beyond a tenner is ever mentioned. Which is why it was so shocking when Matt finally admitted to Lilian how much he was paying for their flea-hole in an insalubrious barrio. He hedged and flannelled in usual Archers style for a while. ‘Less than what we’d pay in England’, and ‘He’s charging a fair sum.’

I was barely paying attention at this point, toying with my tea and wondering if it was too early to pour in a slug of gin. Then, with a final push from Lilian, he suddenly said, ‘800 dollars a month.’ You could have knocked me down with a cockroach. I pushed my tea aside and grabbed the gin bottle. I don’t know what this means for the Archers, but I suspect it’s the beginning of the end for Matt and Lilian.

Posted by Qwerty


Filed under The Archers

16 responses to “The Archers: A man who knows the price of everything

  1. inkface

    So, are they in a relationship? I thought he was gay, but clearly I’m confusing him with someone else. That’s what comes of not paying attention for ten years.

    And as a matter of general policy in my house, it’s never to early to pour in a slug of gin. That’s what international time zones are for. You can be sure the sun’s over the yard arm in Costa del Bollocks.

  2. Qwerty

    No, Matt’s resolutely heterosexual. I’m wondering who you’re confusing him with. Ian? Adam? Sean (he hasn’t been in it for years)?

    You know you’re going to have to start listening again, don’t you, Inky?

    Have taken your advice; got a gin sling lined up, next to my typing arm.

  3. Bucks Boy

    I have to say that I’m becoming a touch concerned Qwerty. Do you think you and inkface might be taking an identification with Lilian too far? You must realise that all this gin drinking can end in only one way: gold shoes and (his voice drops to an urgent whisper) white leather sofas.

    Now then, having finally laid to rest the mystery of what Nelson did to his poor old dad, let us cast our minds back to Mark Hebden’s final minutes. Who was it that was driving the oncoming car and why has Roger Travers Macey never appeared since that day?


  4. fanoflinda

    Well Tiger and pussycat are on their way home – or are they?
    One cannot but help thinking that Lillian seems to have conveniently forgotten that she has only relatively recently returned to Ambridge having lived as a tax exile in the Channel Islands for several millenia – methinks in such circumstances that the lady protesteth just that bit too much about being away from her beloved family…

    BB. may I suggest (given the previous poor attempts at helpful answers to your historical Archers questions) that you would be better served by logging on to the Archers homepage on the BBC website and posing your tricky questions there. Let’s stick to the present in Pauseliveaction!

  5. inkface

    Oooh, I don’t think we need to be quite so strict FoL. Tho’ I’m suspecting you of being a little inclined in that direction. Surely it’s ok for time and space to be fluid in the wonderful world of PLA? Especially once the gin fumes work their magic. And what’s wrong with white leather sofas BB? So judgmental, the pair of you. And isn’t Travers Macey a village in Dorset?

  6. fanoflinda

    Strict – me? surely not…

  7. Bucks Boy

    Talking of over-identification with characters in The Archers, I think fanoflinda might well be channelling the Great Lama-farmer herself. Either that or we shall have to conclude that she is, in fact, matron at a prep school somewhere in the home counties.
    As for white leather sofas … let’s just say that I can’t imagine Nelson ever had one (although I do remember he had black satin sheets so perhaps I’m wrong).
    No takers on the Mark Hebden death-smash mystery then?

  8. Bucks Boy

    … Or should that have been Llama-farmer? … It’s getting late …

  9. inkface

    I suppose an alpaca is out of the question?

    It is indeed ‘llama’ BB (I’m a deputy editor in another life, and can be pretty stern with a blue pencil before the gin hour descends, which makes my working day a short one. Perhaps more information than you needed, but it means I sympathise a little with FoL’s tendencies. To strictness I mean, I’m not casting aspersions on her drinking habits).

    If you are Welsh, would you pronounce it cl-ama?

  10. Qwerty

    I’m enjoying all these strict blue-pencil discussions. Though your Welsh pronunciation joke, Inky, was a pont too far (‘pont’ is bridge in Welsh, English friends).

    BB, the best I can do with regard to the Mark Hebden business is to refer you to what the Sainted Nancy Banks-Smith said at the time. Which was something to the effect that she felt she had inadvertently caused Mark’s death by finding him so boring.

  11. fanoflinda

    If only one could kill Archers characters off by finding them boring. Goodbye Susan, goodbye Helen, goodbye Phil’s sister who is so boring I can’t even remember her name…

    That BB is clearly uncanny, I better go and dispense some aspirins and slipper a few youngsters now.

    I have always enjoyed the llama farmer game, how long can you carry through this sentence: a more laid back, Eastern philosophical herder of South American beasts? (A calmer, Kama, llama Farmer)
    additions welcome (should keep us away from those tricky Welsh pronounciations – luckily my place of work is in deepest Dorset).

  12. Bucks Boy

    I can see I’m on a hiding to nothing with the great Mark Hebden car-carnage mystery. It’s clearly something I will have to worry over alone …

    … But inkface is a sub in another existence … That is interesting … Tell us about gerunds inkface … You know you want to …

  13. inkface

    Dep, not sub, dear bb. I’m truthfully much slacker than our sub and rely on her eagle eye to pick up my many mistakes. Not all of them alcohol related. It’s a pretty frightening place to be, an editorial meeting at Crochet Monthly (incorporating Tapestry World). I keep my hook turned outwards at all times. You have to.

  14. Bucks Boy

    Sorry about that inkface. I really should pay attention . You quite clearly wrote deputy not sub. If I don’t look sharp, fanoflinda will be telling me to stand up straight and take my hands out of my pockets.

    Pity about the gerunds though. Perhaps we should see if we can persuade Qwerty to use a few in her next blog (I’m thinking ‘pronouns in front of …’, ‘the possessive case and …. ‘ etc.)?

  15. fanoflinda

    …of course that farmer was also a bit of a lady’s man.. a charmer, karma, calmer, llama farmer…

    Inkface, I have a friend who does the designs for tapestry world, I wonder if you know her. It’s all done on computers these days you know. I am surprised that you have time for these comments with both crochet monthly and tapestry world to look out for.
    BB. less talking and get on with your grammar prep.

  16. inkface

    What’s her name, dear FoL? I’m sure we’ll have met over an Eccles cake in the Craft Towers canteen. And I’m pretty good at multi-tasking. It is possible to keep my eye on a flying needle and comment at the same time you know. The accidents have only been minor ones.