So Kenton and Kathy have split asunder eh? Well, you might say you were surprised they’d lasted so long, and you might be right. But in the Archers even the most implausible couples plod on and on for all eternity; there’s rarely any call for mediation. So although in the real world Kathy and Kenton wouldn’t have lasted five minutes, there are plenty of other couples whose continuing existence ought to bring a large delegation from Relate to look and marvel and maybe give out certificates.
Alistair & Shula – Frankly they’re an incredible couple, and I use the word in its old sense, meaning it defies credibility. Poor old Alistair has had several chances to make it out of Shula’s gnarled clutches, including before their ill-fated nuptials when she shagged Richard Lock. That was a perfect opportunity for Alistair to pack his possessions in a large spotty hankie and make merrily for the open road but like an oaf, he forgave her. A mere couple of years later she had turned him into a sulking, misanthropic gambler. Real-world relationship rating (RRR): By now he’d have had an affair with the receptionist at his vets practice, twisted the will in his favour, and buried Shula beneath the stables. And there ain’t a jury in the land that would convict him.
Eddie and Clarrie – Given that Clarrie is resourceful, respectable and earns her own income, her mystifying willingness to stick around can only mean one thing: that this is fiction. Not that I was in any doubt, obviously (ahem). Eddie has settled down a bit lately, but he has always been and always will be a wastrel, a chancer, a ne’er-do-well, whose only contribution to the household is to make Clarrie wail, ‘Ohhh EDDDDDDIE!’ at regular intervals. RRR: Clarrie would have quickly remarried an estate agent called Roger, and be having a nice middle-class life with a hostess trolley. Occasionally she would think of her brief sojourn in Meadow Rise, and shudder. Eddie would be living in a static caravan with some drunken trollop who’s no better than she oughta.
Will and Nic – Yes, she’s a single mum in need of financial support and company. But surely there must be slightly less psychotic places to go for those? Whatever Will says, even if it’s ‘let’s have a cup of tea’, he always sounds horribly menacing, as if he’s about to run amok with a blunderbuss. RRR: If this was real Nic would be more worried for the safety of her kids given Will’s mad jealous rages. She would give him many ultimatums and finally move out with her kids and a black eye in the middle of the night and go to her mum’s. Will would then do a Greg in the toolshed.
David and Ruth – Now this really is six of one and half a dozen of the other. Who in their right minds could spend more than three minutes married to Ruth without bashing her around the head with a frying pan and yelling, ‘Jail? JAIL? Bring it on! It will be a relief, I tell you!’ But then on the other hand, whenever David goes all sanctimonious (eg every episode), or when he calls Pip ‘Pipsqueak’, it occurs to one that the frying pan might come in handy once more. RRR: She would absolutely have shagged Sam the herdsman and then confessed all to David over a bottle of cheap Cava. He would have sobbed briefly, then thrown her out on her ear and gone off with that old flame of his whose name escapes me. Felicity? Fenella? Flirty-pants?
Nigel and Elizabeth – This is a reasonably realistic lasting marriage. They have lots in common: elitism, receding chins, and a taste for luxury that borders on the Liberace. They seem genuinely fond of each other and you can kind of see why: Lizzie’s not very well submerged bitchiness is sexy, and Nigel, despite his prep school conversation, is a romantic who knows that some ladies like to be pitched a little woo and flung onto a four-poster bed. RRR: Yeah, they would still be together. Who says money doesn’t buy happiness?
Jenny and Brian – It’s no secret that I’m fond of Brian. But what – I ask you WHAT – does he see in Jenny? Apart from her willingness to foster bastard children of his extra-marital affairs, that is. I was going to say she is the most boring woman in Ambridge but realised how unfair I was being to so many other people who have fought hard for that title. But she is dull and provincial, never happier than when buying something absurdly pricey in Underwoods. Whereas Brian is a man of the world who has had many pretty ladies falling over themselves to fondle his large wallet. He shagged Caroline… then married Jenny! I just don’t get it, frankly. RRR: Brian would be on trophy wife number four by now and Jenny would be living in a small mews house full of bile. Her, not the house.
Bert and Freda Fry – No wonder this marriage works. He’s out all day ploughing fields for no reason and writing doggerel; she never says a single word and dishes up a mean steak pie. They’ve really got the secret of longevity, these two. RRR: They’ll easily celebrate their diamond.
There’s so many more. Which other Archers couples do you find implausible?
Posted by Qwerty. See other Archers posts here.