The Archers: The Odd Couples

I'd rather be at Jax

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.

Adam and Ian: the golden years

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.

13 Comments

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13 responses to “The Archers: The Odd Couples

  1. How could you forget Tom and Brenda? Though I like to think that by staying together they are saving two other people from putting up with either of them!

  2. DrTrickCyclist

    So what about Adam and Ian then? All we get is a photo. How does Adam stand all that smug, salt-of-the-earthier-than-thou blarney? RRR: Adam would’ve shoved him in the Grey Gables Aga, turned it up to max and run off to do a bit of straight-bashing on Sid. When Sid was still around. Obviously.

  3. inkface

    Like the sound of the Grey Gables Aga. You could write a Gaga Saga about it.

    I always find myself wanting to rescue Robert from Linda, but that’s not to say they’re implausible.

  4. MrB

    I’ve never found Ruth as annoying as everyone else seems to. Compared to Shula, she’s an absolute angel. Kenton and Kathy were always an unlikely coupling. And Tom and Brenda, likewise. Tom always sounds like a 14 year old. I’ve never really seen what Lillian sees in Matt either, to be honest. And Robert is such a nice character – how has he put up with Linda’s histrionics over the years? Her fake sneezing would in RRR terms should have led him to strangle her years ago, and bury her under her hypoallergenic garden.

  5. Fanoflinda

    I also totally disagree with you querty about Clarrie and Eddy – he is a lovable rascal and she the hardy sort who would ‘stand by her man’.
    What about emma and Ed though? RRR would have involved the lovely Ed realising pretty soon into their ‘marriage’ that his feelings for Emma were based entirely on her unavailibilty and that the minute she became free he would go after someone else unobtainable (though not sure who – Nic perhaps?).

  6. Qwerty

    Good new game, fanoflinda: what couples would we LIKE to see? Off the top of my head: Kenton & Jolene (someone else suggested this recently), Jim & Shula (slightly incestuous maybe but you can’t tell me there isn’t a deep attraction beneath their constant sparring), Caroline & Eddie, Jazzer & Ruth (just for the mangled vowels angle), Will & Helen (just for the moaning). Any more?

  7. MrB

    I agree – definitely Jolene and Kenton. But Shula and Jim? Not sure about that one. Fallon and Harry, just to irritate the hugely annoying Jazzer. Jim and Jill, again to annoy Shula, who then starts an affair with Derek Fletcher. Joe Grundy and Peggy Woolley, just because I’ve got into the swing of this……

  8. RobS

    As I sit through the omnibus, somewhere between irritation and downright anger whenever Cathy or Jazzer start talking, it becomes clear that their futures are together, they have so much in common: both eternally grumpy, unutterably tedious and enjoying the social skills of angry brown bears. Heh!

    • But RobS, think of poor Jamie having to put up with the pair of them. I used to have a soft spot for Jazzer, but not even that lovely Scottish brogue can redeem him at the moment.

      • inkface

        As a late returner to the Archers, all I’ve seen of Jazzer is a really annoying twonkhead. What were once his redeeming features?

      • RobS

        Don’t you think Jazzer could become the perfect male role model for Jamie? Then, when Jamie’s outgrown his monosyllabic teenage angst and Cathy has eventually kicked Jazzer into the long grass after their smelly and impassionate affair, Jamie will be able to give the gift of Cathy something to rail against for the rest of her life.

  9. Mostly his Scottishness (I am that shallow), but he was welcome relief from some of the middle-class priggishness (I’m looking at you Tom Archer) too.
    These days he does just seem to be a twonkhead…

  10. Qwerty

    Actually I think Jazzer would do Kathy the power of good. She definitely needs a rebound shag and he might as well be the man for the job. I agree that he has been showing his twonk-headedness of late, and he was originally cast as a twonk-head (who remembers his embarrassing brush with ketamine? Embarrassing for the Archers script-writers I mean, and their pathetic attempts to be down wiv the kids). But in between he has been a rather fine, as Jo says, antidote to the boring young men that otherwise populate Ambridge.

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