The Archers: Driving me Mental

I was chatting to my friend Fanoflinda the other day, and she said something extraordinary. She said she had changed her mind about something. As this had never happened before, I bade her speak on.

‘You know how I’m always complaining about the mental health storylines on the Archers?’
‘Yes, you never stop.’
‘How everyone with a mental health issue – Mike, Helen, Pat, Alistair, Eddie – has a few weeks of a problem in its most clichéd form, before it abruptly disappears following a magical radio-land intervention of a very brief therapy course, or a couple of tablets, or simply having realised that things aren’t so bad after all?’
‘I do remember you mentioning this, yes.’
‘And how I lamented that these things should be more realistically portrayed? And how terrific it is on the rare occasions when they are?’
‘Such as Jack’s Alzheimers’, we chorused together.

Fanoflinda is, as you may have guessed, a mental health professional herself. Her dearest wish is to be employed by Vanessa Whitburn as the Archers psychiatric story-editor. ‘Frankly I’d have a lot more to do than that cushy number, the agricultural story editor. He just has to remind them about beets every so often, then goes back to eating cheese and reading Playboy’.

Betty will tell you: it's no joke working in a pub.

‘So what have you changed your mind about?’
‘It’s Jolene. She’s in the throes of post-bereavement depression. Very natural, very well-played, very accurate. People take months, years, to get over something like this.’
‘And it’s boring the bejesus out of me. It would be better if she’d got over it by now.’

Ain’t that the truth. Someone being permanently depressed doesn’t make good radio. Yes, I know you’re going to say what about Marvin in Hitchhikers, but Marvin wasn’t trying to run a pub. Listening to Jolene being depressed as she pours Shires onto the floor and breaks glasses and forgets to greet people is about as much fun as listening to one of Bert’s poems.

It’s no wonder punters are leaving the Bull in droves. I just hope Jolene doesn’t drive us listeners away too. What she needs now is a session of CBT, or a couple of Prozac, or alternatively just realising how much everyone loves her via Harry’s Facebook group.

Posted by Qwerty.           See more Archers posts here.


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10 responses to “The Archers: Driving me Mental

  1. Fanoflinda

    Too right, too right. Let’s get jolene back to her buxom (interestingly my spellchecker tried to give me Nixon just then) best. What she needs is a new man in her life. Any suggestions querty? I hear Kenton might be free.

  2. Qwerty

    Superb suggestion. Jolene and Kenton – it’s a match made in heaven. They can have an empire of drinking establishments; they’ll understand like no-one else the impact of one’s life of running a bar; Jamie and Fallon already get on; and it means that Kenton gets to shag both of Sid’s wives. Genius.

  3. inkface

    Apols for tangent, but as an intermittent listener, please can you regulars advise on whose side to be on in the Kathy/Kenton situation. I was away from the radio during the years they got together, so have to assume they had reason to like each other once, but both seem unlikable now to be honest. She appears to be annoying, which means I sympathise with him to some extent, but then he’s apparently behaving like a turnip.

    • It is a difficult one Inkface… but as Kathy is less irritating than Hell-en and Shula, and Kenton is the one who’s been putting (seemingly) anything and everything else before his family, I’m siding more with Kathy than him. Mostly though, I’m siding with me for having to listen to the pair of them!

  4. inkface

    Thank you Ms Hat. Doesn’t sound clear cut, which I can just about cope with since having professional training!

  5. Qwerty

    I can see how Jo-hat reached that conclusion, but I am Team Kenton. Obv they both need their heads bashing together, but he has charm and she has whinge and ultimately, I always go for charm.

  6. Ordinarily Kenton’s charm would win me over, but for some reason Kathy’s shouldering off all familial responsibility has my sympathy! Still I prefer Kenton to creepy Will Grundy. I fear he’s about to do something Very Bad and/or Very Stupid…

  7. Fanoflinda

    Really one has to sympathise with Kenton. Kathy knew what she was getting into – she wanted a bit of fun and romance after her marriage – you can’t expect Kenton – the playboy of Ambridge – to suddenly become a responsible citizen just because her first husband died. I’d love them to go into couple therapy though as we could then hear what did attract them to each other. You see they do need me as mental health editor!

  8. MrB

    Absolutely siding with Kenton. That whole business about her booking him a ticket to NZ for Sid’s funeral when he was due to open Jacks! What was the woman thinking? He’s better off without her, and I love the Jolene suggestion – that hadn’t occurred to me. Brilliant. As an aside on creepy Will, what the hell is his problem about Nic working some shifts in the pub? Is he living in 1935? Women have jobs and children these days, in some cases jobs that are a little bit more demanding than doing a lunchtime shift in The Bull. He’s becoming increasingly menacing.

  9. Qwerty

    Good to see you here Mr B, and thanks for another vote for Kenton. But as to your question about Will: I think if you asked him he’d say his problem was men ogling his Nic over the bar, rather than the amount of time she works there. Well he wouldn’t say that cos he’d be too busy duffing you up for even mentioning Nic’s name. Yes, we’re soon going to need Fanoflinda’s mental health expertise to provide a foundation for the storyline about Will’s pathological jealousy and further decline into lunacy.