The Archers: Ambridge Extra

Half-way through listening to the new Ambridge Extra thingy, I realised my teeth were all tense. Odd, I thought. My teeth are normally quite relaxed when I listen to the Archers. Then it hit me like the Rophynol someone had clearly slipped into Alice’s lager: I can’t stand the young people of Ambridge. I can tolerate them only if they are leavened by the over 25s. They’re all unlikeable and operate on one note: stroppy (Jamie, Josh), whiny (Alice), or boring (Pip, Daniel, Chris, Ben). The only properly rounded character is Phoebe, who has just buggered off to South Africa specifically to avoid being in Ambridge Extra.

All together now: 'Dum di dum di dum di dum...'

Other than her, they all make my teeth tense. And this extra thing was all. About. The. Young. People. I don’t want to speculate knee-jerkingly about why the P That B thought this was a good idea. Yes I do. Obviously they think there is a breathlessly waiting market out there of 15-23 year olds desperate for a Skins-style Archers spin-off. So in the first episode we have (checklist at the ready please, Mr Stereotyped Brainstorming Man in Whacky Braces and Big Blue Glasses):

  • Alice getting hammered in an appalling Portswood nightclub (I too went to Southampton university so know of what I speak).
  • Alice hinting hammeredly that she’d be up for marital infidelity with some chancer, in a scene so painful I split a filling.
  • Alice whinging about Chris for three times longer than the actual length of the episode, totally messing with the space-time continuum and giving me a migraine into the bargain.
  • Chris producing a last-minute invite to a stag do, an excuse of such jumped-up proportions that it can only mean one thing: he is already shagging someone else, probably a man, probably this so-called Ravi Shamar that no-one’s heard of before.
  • The introduction of an unrequited love-interest for Alice in the form of her house-mate, a boring boy called Chas who I spent ten fruitless minutes assuming was Jaz, as in Jazzer, and puzzling over why he’d lost his Glasgow accent and was now at university. No wonder my blinking teeth hurt.
  • Jamie spending the entire time inside that aggressive way of speaking he can’t snap out of.
  • Jamie being egged on to pinch booze from the bar in such an embarrassing Grange Hill peer pressure storyline that I split my other filling and had to make an emergency dentist’s appointment but alas not in time to miss:
  • The effing new version of Barwick Green! What the what? Were they aiming for edgy but when the music producer popped out to snort coke in the loo an intern accidentally pressed the buttons marked ‘maypoles’ and ‘Morris dancers’? Someone even mentioned maypoles disparagingly in the first few minutes of the episode, a weird internal castigation of the bastardised theme tune that would do the writers credit were it deliberate.

The dentist forbade me to listen to it any more. I can’t argue with a health professional. I’ll come back to it when they do an entire episode revolving round Brian’s hapless flirting with Annabel, or Jolene and Lillian having one of their husky smokers’ cough-filled women of the world chats. Till then, my critical faculties, my musical sensibilities and my pearly whites are going to sit this one out.

Posted by Qwerty


Filed under Radio, The Archers

8 responses to “The Archers: Ambridge Extra

  1. inkface

    I missed this, praise be, by the sound of the punishment your dental work took from listening to it Qwerty. Did it have a yoof oriented theme tune too? Reading this weirdly made me nostalgic for the Golden Girls. Much more fun to be had with some wild living old folk. Well, it couldn’t be worse than this.

  2. Qwerty

    It’s worth going to ‘Listen Again’ just to hear the bonkers theme tune, which was definitely not yoof-ish. Then walk away, Inky, if you value your dentistry.

  3. Agree with just about everything there – it wasn’t subtle, was it?

    However, the connection of the new version of theme tune (by festival favourites Bellowhead, by the way) with maypoles isn’t as mad or sad as you seem to think. Barwick Green was, after all, composed as a maypole dance in the first place.

  4. I had strong intimations already that I loathed the yoof of Ambridge and spared myself, but might take you up on the theme tune.

    Evidently they have been listening to Roy’s advice to Elizabeth about getting the kids in to trash Lower Loxley – ‘After all, it’s got to be your most under-represented demographic’. Anyone not cringe when they heard that line?

  5. Velocity Girl

    I am sure all of this is utterly correct but one of the happiest hours of my life so far was spent dancing to Bellowhead on Cheltenham Racecourse (those days they were) so I think I’ll at least give the theme tune a go as suggested.

    Apart from that, who on EARTH thought this was a good idea? I can’t possibly imagine why/how any Yoof Person interested in Skins, Hollyoaks etc would be likely to listen to The Archers (albeit in new hip-and-happening format).

    Furthermore, I give it a fortnight before every single sodding episode ends if “if you have also been affected by binge drinking/the drugz/glue sniffing/gaying/tropical diseases/Ruth Archer then please call the BBC Action Line”.

  6. Fanoflinda

    Actually when I heard the trailer, I realised immediately that the producers had read Querty’s last blog about teenaged Archers and thought it so good, they thought it could expand to a whole programme. So you a
    (and your teeth) only have yourself to blame.
    P.s. Presumably jolene will be able to
    Keep a tab on Jamie, by listening to AE thus saving her the need for any more heart to hearts?

  7. Our Man In The South

    I’m listening to Ambridge Extra as a type this. Oh dear. This is where they put all the things that you don’t really want to know, like what happens to Alice on a night out. They’ll be whizzing us off to Kate in South Africa next. And do we really need a ‘teenager being led astray’ storyline. We’ve got Waterloo Road for that. I want a Talking Heads featuring Freda Fry and Derek Fletcher. Nothing else will do. And while we’re at it ‘At Home With The Titcombs’. Please.

  8. Val Underhill

    Ambridge extra is dire ! I thought we were going to hear all the “silent” charcters from years and years of episodes , not just these ghastly bright young things, and what on earth is the matter with Alice, why is she speaking in that stupid pseudo sloane accent ?

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