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.
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