Assuming the Archers keeps going for the next sixty years – and short of international apocalypse, it will – I thought it timely to produce a brief guide to the Ambridge teenagers. They’re the next generation after all, and one day they will carry the major storylines, god help us. So if you don’t know your Daniel from your Jamie, your Pip from your Squeak, here’s my handy who’s who, to help ensure the longevity of your listening pleasure.
Jamie Perks. Age 15. A Troubled Young Man with an authentic grunt, Jamie’s been through the wringer. First his dad died. Then he realised with a start that his mother was the moaniest woman in Borsetshire. Finally, and worst of all, he inadvertently walked in on Kenton snogging Jolene. Jolene is Jamie’s alt-mum, being fun and attractive and basically everything Kathy isn’t. Thus Jamie inadvertently witnessed a true, if complex, primal scene: the father figure who’d abandoned him, in amorous congress with the mother he wished he’d had. It’s no wonder he occasionally bunks off school and trashes bird hides (Ambridge bus shelter equivalent).
- Most likely to: Play loud music to drown out Kathy’s nagging, and tell Kenton what a LOSER he is.
- Least likely to: Say, ‘would you like a hand with the dishes mummy darling?’
- Most important contribution: Telling Kathy to leave him alone. He speaks for us all.
- Where will he be in ten years time? Either working for a computer games company or in prison.
Daniel Hebden. Age 16. Unpopular, as befits a child of Shula’s. Used to be bezzie mates with Jamie, till Jamie dumped him for being boring. What took you so long, Jamie? Unlike his ex-friend, Daniel’s lucked out with the step-fathers: Alistair, despite being a dark brooding gambler, is a jolly good dad. Shula fussed infuriatingly over Daniel when he was a toddler, leaving him with a legacy of arthritis and congenital annoyingness. Being a teenager hasn’t helped him become any more likeable, but he has one saving grace: his grandfather Jim, who is gradually de-Shula-ing him.
- Most likely to: Bang on about wildlife.
- Least likely to: Become popular.
- Most important contribution: Jim’s influence on him means Shula is in a permanent state of outrage. Thank you, Jim.
- Where will he be in ten years time? Could take over his Dad’s veterinary business. Will always have a tough time in relationships till Shula dies, then will suddenly be released and marry a porn star.
Pip Archer. Age 18. Of all the Ambridge teens, Pip has the most hinterland, though it doesn’t amount to much: an excruciating romance with a moron who called her ‘Fizz’, a tendency towards eco-warrior-hood, and a brief period wearing shorts over tights. Having got all her teen rebellion out of the way in a few weeks, Pip is now a model daughter and young farmer. Has survived being the conduit for numerous bad nicknames, including Fizz, Pipsqueak and Pip. Has also been able to tolerate her mother going ‘Oooooh Peeerrrp,’ and thus deserves some kind of award.
- Most likely to: Report anxiously on some dull issue to do with cows.
- Least likely to: Fall for another man’s blarney.
- Most important contribution: Taking on Phil’s mantle as The Only Person Who Can Play the Organ in Ambridge. (Valda doesn’t count.)
- Where will she be in ten years time? Helping to run the farm. Alas, I can imagine no other outcome. I wish something wild would happen though, like she runs away to join a shorts-and-tights-wearing burlesque troupe or something.
Josh Archer. Age 13. Pip’s younger brother. I’m not much help here as I get him muddled with Ben. They both have really irritating voices. Nothing interesting has happened to Josh, apart from a brief yet intense pash for Emma (obviously foreshadowing a later unhealthy interest in older pregnant women) which led to him leaving her chocolates, the romantic fool. This storyline has been hushed up as being unduly creepy and I believe I am the only person who remembers it. The rest of you have succumbed to the powerful Radio 4 Forgetting Serum.
- Most likely to: Ask for money for something.
- Least likely to: Be interesting.
- Most important contribution: Yet to make it.
- Where will he be in ten years time? Either helping Pip to run the farm, or doing a Kenton and running away to sea in the wake of an older pregnant woman scandal.
Izzy Blake. Age 18. Izzy inhabits the role of unfulfilled teen. Unlike her best friend Pip, the scriptwriters have allowed her to dump college and work in a supermarket because she isn’t related to any of the posh Archers or Aldridges. A good-time girl to Pip’s earnest grafter, if anyone is going to get Pip into that tights-wearing burlesque scene it’s going to be Izzy.
- Most likely to: Say, ‘Oh go on Pip’ when her friend resists some plan involving boys and nightclubs.
- Least likely to: Shake off her Archers-sanctioned working class upbringing.
- Most important contribution: Slagging off Pip’s ex, the appalling Jude.
- Where will she be in ten years time? Barefoot and pregnant. Father nowhere to be seen. Laughing huskily and smoking a cheroot.
Phoebe Aldridge. Age 12. Phoebe just squeezes in because she’ll be 13 in June. Ah, how well I remember her birth. So charming: her racist father Roy and her infuriating hippy mother Kate, fighting over custody. Still, Phoebe’s turned into a generally nice person under the steadying influence of Hayley, and is probably the most reasonable of the Ambridge teens, not that it’s a hotly contested field. Went off her a bit when she recounted her boring fear-of-flying dream at great length.
- Most likely to: Say, ‘Kate bought it for me!’ when showing some new piece of bling.
- Least likely to: Realise what an asswipe Kate is.
- Most important contribution: Providing a handy source of tension between Kate (boo!) and Hayley (rah!)
- Where will she be in ten years time? Chalet girl in South Africa. (Do they have chalet girls there?) Or in therapy, dealing with her resentment over having been abandoned by her feckless mother.
Posted by Qwerty. See all Archers posts here.