The Archers: Shaken to the core

High Priestess Whitburn says 'Let's shake it up, baby'. Photo from the Guardian.

For an update after the Big Event, click here

Since High Priestess Vanessa Whitburn announced that there would be a special sixtieth anniversary episode on January 2nd, the world has been abuzz with anticipation (it says here in this BBC press release that I’m copying this from). Ambridge will be SHAKEN TO THE CORE apparently. Well shiver me timbers and pour us another sherry Marjorie. I have managed to avoid the message board speculation, which uses the acronym SATTC to refer to this topic, in order to bring you my unadulterated (apart from the sherry) thoughts on what these possible Ambridge Shaking Events might be.  Apologies if they’re all wildly unoriginal and have been bandied about already across the internet, though I don’t know why I’m apologising because I don’t actually care. The only clues I have permitted myself are Herself’s own words that two storylines are involved: ‘one running and one new surprise.’

In Category One, the most obvious Core-Shaking Storyline currently running is Hell-en and her increasingly criminal behaviour. If ever a pregnant woman was asking to be pushed down the stairs it was this one. Possible core-shakers include:

  • Tony finally growing a pair and strangling Hell-en with that godwaful-sounding butterfly mobile. The clue is that it ‘hangs from the ceiling’ – this has been mentioned several times – so he could easily make it look like suicide.
  • Ian finally realising that Hell-en is an evil succubus and poisoning her with the much-referred to white spirit he borrowed from Robert Snell.
  • Hell-en miscarrying, though I really don’t think the writers will go down this route, for reasons too complicated and frankly dull to go into here (if you’re interested I can send you my lengthy ‘Why Hell-en’s baby will survive’ treatise, £2.99 plus p&p).
  • Hell-en going into premature labour. The baby’s health hangs in the balance for a few nail-biting weeks before the little fighter slowly gets stronger and stronger, though sadly not strong enough to cope with the ultimate horror of being parented by Hell-en.

Other current runners include Harry And His Implausible Niceness. He will either turn out to be a sex-maniac – perhaps he’s the scary man who frightened Usha? I don’t think Harry and Usha have had a scene together yet. Or he will turn out to have some taboo-busting illness like HIV or piles, only revealed when he finally gets off with Fallon. There’s also the will-they-won’t-they Jolene and Kenton shag, which surely is on its way; Con turning up on Peggy’s doorstep with a pair of silk stockings, yet another of the overpaid and over here Yanks the Archers is oddly fond of; and Will murdering Ed with a twelve-bore more commonly used on grouse.

In Category Two, these are the SATTC Surprises that I have spent many minutes guessing at:

  • Debbie coming out as a lesbian. This is my big tip, so bet now at Ladbrokes. There’s been just one little hint of this but when you think about it, everything falls into place. Why was Simon Gerrard playing away so soon after their marriage? We all thought it was because he was a Canadian tart, but it could be because Debbie belatedly revealed that she bats for the other team and thus wasn’t interested in him in the duvet department. And no wonder things didn’t work out with Marshall – he was a beard.
  • Emma’s baby is revealed to be Will’s (she might as well take this whole two brothers thing to its logical conclusion).
  • Nic is wired for sound and is working for the Feds (or whatever the UK equivalent is, can’t think right now, damn that sherry). With the huge amount of evidence she garners, especially during the turkey plucking, (did you not hear her chanting, ‘I’m not a turkey plucker, I’m a secret agent’), Eddie and Joe will be banged up for life for nicking Christmas trees. Mia and Jake are very small detectives and not children at all, which explains a lot.
  • Jenny kills Ruairi by whacking him round the head with a Le Creuset casserole dish. And which of us would judge her?

Right, them there’s my suggestions. Now let’s hear yours, and we can reconvene in early January to see who’s right. Me, probably.

Posted by Qwerty

14 Comments

Filed under The Archers

14 responses to “The Archers: Shaken to the core

  1. therapy

    Brilliant, brilliant. (Not reading from the press release.)

  2. Velocity Girl

    Clarrie Grundy waging biological warfare on behalf of an al qaeda cell is the best suggestion I’ve come across so far…More realistically, I’d be inclined to go with the whole “Will kills Ed” thing but I suspect that ship has long sailed.

    My money is on a Hell-en suicide attempt or her going off at Tony again, only this time with Actual Consequences.

  3. Simon

    You’ve not mentioned the event at Lower Loxley on 2 Jan – virtually the whole village will be there so lots of potential for shaking to the core – maybe a fire kills several of the Archers/ Nigel/ Nigel’s offspring. Especially if Nigel dies it will throw Elizabeth into a tricky situation as she will potentially lose her home and job/ have to give house to National Trust as these stately homes often have complicated ownership arrangements. And the twins – maybe it will kill off the clever one, leaving the dim one who wont pass the exam?

    Another possibility is David and the hay thieves – why was this inserted if not to build for a future event?

    And of course the back burner is Clive Horribin – he must be due for reelease soon. And the Grundys – what about Will’s mental health? Maybe he will flip and turn the shotgun on the brother or go on a shooting spree through the village?

    and then again maybe something completely different like an al qaeda bomb, plane crash, horse stampede?

  4. hippetyhop

    My guess is that Hell-en (fab! thanks!) falls asleep at the wheel due to Overdoing It because she’s FINE and DOESN’T NEED ANY HELP, THANK YOU and crashes, possibly hitting a cow or a child. The baby’s born while she’s in a coma and the BBC renegotiates her contract. She either dies unemployed or gets better on half pay.

    As for the “new surprise”, it’s like a particularly enticingly shaped present under the tree, I can’t wait.

  5. Qwerty

    Oh yes Simon: a Lower Loxley mass wipe-out along the lines of Tony Hancock’s Bowmans all falling down a disused mine shaft. I LIKE it.

    Hippetyhop (good name) – I can’t take credit for ‘Hell-en’; I pinched it off the Archers message board where they also refer to her as ‘Hell-Queen.’ I think your car crash scenario has legs, which is more than Hell-en will after such a pile-up. I can’t wait either!

  6. The baby will have a medical problem (Downs, heart defect or some such) meaning that Helen has to stop being do egocentric at last and really look after someone else for a change, while all the time blaming herself for the way she behaved while pregnant.
    The baby will stir up Ian’s paternal instincts even more and caused problems with Adam.
    Kate will finally decide to bring all her family together and move back to Ambridge.
    Kenton – something to do with Kenton and his Australian child, perhaps?

  7. Robert

    I don’t know what all the fuss is about; it’s obvious what will happen. An earthquake flattens Lower Loxley (bumping off any number of actors, thereby slashing the wage bill) and results in Ambridge being – you guessed it – shaken to the core.

    Ambridge will then be renamed Amnobridge. Or Ampontoonbridge.

  8. Kas

    It’s totally obvious what will happen. Ambridge Organics will be the victim of armed robbery, Tony will be visiting, trying to make up with Helen (why bother?), and when he realises what’s happening, he throws himself in front of her to take the bullet. Helen instantly goes into labour from the shock, and also has a relapse of her mental problems (yeah, I know, they never went very far away), so Ian and Adam foster the baby. Pat is distraught, Tom is worried about having to pull leeks for the rest of his life and Brenda goes back to Uni to do a PhD just to get away. Oh yes, and the baby is named Antonia in memory of Tony.

  9. Fanoflinda

    Well querty I thought your article would be about this event. I better get my comments in before it actually happens. Of course we are all dying for Helen to disappear. Many imaginative versions have already been mooted. Could I add that maybe Annette returns to tell Helen about Leo and the baby and Helen has a miscarriage from shock and dies?
    Completely unexpected.. That’s harder. A terrorist bomb at Lower loxey killing off most of the archers clan?

  10. Mrs Hall

    Hell-en gives birth to her baby which just happens to have 666 marked on her skull. Tony can’t resist the “I told you so” and drops dead. The bundle of evil kills Hell-en and is kidnapped — with everyone wondering when “it” returns to Ambridge…..
    or Tony kills himself because he is depressed which will set off the martyr Hell-en in a downward spiral of mental illness with the same effect as fingernails up a chalkboard for the listeners.

  11. Sparkle

    I’m going with the fire at Lower Loxley scenario with Hell-en trapped in the kitchen while looking for some organic pomegranate yoghurt. Though it seems a bit mean to hit Tony and Pat again, what with John and all – maybe Tony’s trapped in the kitchen and Hell-en fights through the flames to save him. Or not.
    Or Brookfield catches fire – again, torched by the hay thieves and Dave and Co have to move in with Jenny and Brarn.
    Or Lizzie runs off with Jazzer.

  12. Oh dear

    Well it was Nigel…

  13. jasmine

    Whooppee!!!!! Thank you BBC for giving me such a good laugh with the earth-shattering events which SHOOK AMBRIDGE TO THE CORE! Listening to Nigel the wimp twittering away on the roof we were only left in suspense momentarily, wondering ‘Will it be Nigel?’ or ‘Will it be David?’ That one of them would fall off the roof was inevitable and Nigel’s weird never-ending scream was quite hilarious! Who will Lizzie boss about now? Oh, I forgot, she still has the little ones to be po-faced with – I hope they’re prepared for a life with a mother who was born middle-aged. How did she ever manage to have children in the first place? Bit of a messy business I’d have thought for the likes of her and the delicate Nigel who still refers to his parents as Mummy and Daddy! The Hell-en and baby story was a great red herring – had me going for a bit I must admit.

  14. Jo

    Nic is wired for sound and is working for the Feds
    Bet they’re now very glad they didn’t go with this particular (inspired!) plotline, given what we’ve just learned about that group of tree-huggers’ farcical 6 year long infiltration by an undercover cop (he was a plant, geddit?).

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