There’s so much I could say about what on earth is going on down Ambridge way. But why bother, when everyone else is already saying it, repeatedly, heatedly, and occasionally, defeatedly? Ablaze, we listeners are, ablaze, to be sure. So before I get onto the issue that’s really worrying me, I’ll quickly get some of the baggage we’re all carrying out of the way. Baggage is how my Archers therapist describes this stuff, by the way. She says I’m doing pretty well, all things considered. Though we need to up the sessions to three times a week.
- All the new actors – ah, get over it. We’ll be used to them eventually. NewPip’s better, anyway, isn’t she?
- Too much drama – yeh, I know. Annoying, isn’t it? When we’re used to bugger-all happening for months on end. Still, to be fair, it is meant to be a, well, drama.
- The fact that we all now know – as if we didn’t before! – that the sale of Bookfield isn’t going to go ahead (the final clue was Kenton buying business class plane tickets. In soap that kind of reckless expenditure ahead of an expected windfall means only one thing – the money ain’t coming in, honey-chile). Which means we have a very tedious period of hand-wringing and recriminations to look forward to when David and Ruth decide not to move. Look, here’s my suggestion: we can just work our way through some box sets during that month, instead of listening. I personally haven’t seen Breaking Bad yet.
- Finding out once and for all whether Rob is a bastard (yes) and Helen is a deluded loon (yes) and Jess is a manipulative cow (yes). There is no way this story ends well for Helen, that’s all you need to know.
- Charlie/Adam/Ian triangle – I’m torn as I hate Charlie, as one is clearly meant to, but I also hate Ian, who one is clearly meant to like (in your face, scriptwriters!) They’re all too good for you, Adam. Have you considered starting up with NewTom? He sounds like Charlie, which will be comforting, and he clearly has had enough of the laydeez for the time being.
- Matt being thrown into the drama mix apropos of nothing – on the one hand, yes, annoying, as there was already more than enough to be going on with. On the other hand, welcome back, Pusscat!
- The Roy and Hayley split – they’ll get back together, don’t worry. Not yet, but soon. Roy is too boring a character to be trailing around being tediously single and depressed. Also the writers will want to educate us that forgiveness is a possible outcome of infidelity. Hahaha.
- Emma’s homespun wedding dress – sorry, I dropped off for a moment there.
- Harrison and Fallon finally getting together randomly – yes, this could have happened at any of the other sixteen points in which they nearly got together. Why now? Why not, say I, breezily, which shows that my therapy bill is well worth the money.
- Carol’s absurd ubiquity and tedious herbal witchery – I bow to no-one in my love of Carol (see here for my earlier love letter), but like a Yankee soldier in London during the Blitz, she is overpaid, oversexed and over here. Except not oversexed and probably not overpaid. But she is overused and overprescribing of camomile tea.
- Kate being back and even more of an entitled hippy vegan stereotype than before – I confess, I’m struggling. My therapist says we need at least another forty sessions before there will be any kind of resolution with this one, so I’ll come back to you.
So look, I don’t give a rat’s Kardashian for any of that. I’ll tell you what’s really worrying me. Where the actual eff is Kathy? Hmm?
In the past, if Pat so much as broke a fingernail, Kathy would be round straight away to sympathise, have a little whinge about her own travails, and eat up Tony’s portion of the supper that was being kept warm in the oven. Kathy and Pat are bezzie mates, aren’t they? BFFs. So FFS, where IS she? This has been the worst ever crisis in Pat’s life. Tony’s been at death’s door for weeks. OK he’s recovering now, as we all knew he would because he spoke to Peggy, and in soaps you just do NOT have a character in a coma speaking, then dying. They either speak, then live; or they remain silent, and die. (Unless they speak in order to have a deathbed scene, but in that case everyone would be handily round the bedside, tissues at the ready.) Those are the choices. I don’t make the rules, I merely report them. But anyway, where oh where is Pat’s best pal?
Kathy’s absence also means that Jamie’s MIA. Don’t get the wrong idea. I don’t like either of these characters. Jamie’s irritating, and Kathy is a whiny bore. But I also don’t like people disappearing without explanation (unless they’re Kate, in which case, bon voyage and don’t bother leaving a forwarding address). What happened to Kenton and Jolene’s rather sweet step-parenting of Jamie, huh? Or Fallon’s step-sisterly storyline? I quite liked those bits, because they felt plausible.
The thing about Kathy, right, is that although she was quite moany (all right, a lot moany), the character was always true to herself. You wouldn’t catch Kathy suddenly deciding to go clubbing in Felpersham, or telling Jamie not to worry about his homework, or laughing spontaneously, or anything of that nature. She was that thing we are all grappling for at the moment: consistent. I feel that in these difficult times, we are sorely in need of Kathy’s dependability. So, though I can’t believe I’m saying this, considering how much I have slagged her off in the past, Kathy come home! (Nearly) all is forgiven!
Posted by Qwerty, whose debut novel, When We Were Sisters, is out now in paperback