Tag Archives: Bert

The Archers: The Odd Couples

I'd rather be at Jax

So Kenton and Kathy have split asunder eh? Well, you might say you were surprised they’d lasted so long, and you might be right. But in the Archers even the most implausible couples plod on and on for all eternity; there’s rarely any call for mediation. So although in the real world Kathy and Kenton wouldn’t have lasted five minutes, there are plenty of other couples whose continuing existence ought to bring a large delegation from Relate to look and marvel and maybe give out certificates.

Alistair & Shula – Frankly they’re an incredible couple, and I use the word in its old sense, meaning it defies credibility. Poor old Alistair has had several chances to make it out of Shula’s gnarled clutches, including before their ill-fated nuptials when she shagged Richard Lock. That was a perfect opportunity for Alistair to pack his possessions in a large spotty hankie and make merrily for the open road but like an oaf, he forgave her. A mere couple of years later she had turned him into a sulking, misanthropic gambler.      Real-world relationship rating (RRR): By now he’d have had an affair with the receptionist at his vets practice, twisted the will in his favour, and buried Shula beneath the stables. And there ain’t a jury in the land that would convict him.

Eddie and Clarrie – Given that Clarrie is resourceful, respectable and earns her own income, her mystifying willingness to stick around can only mean one thing: that this is fiction. Not that I was in any doubt, obviously (ahem). Eddie has settled down a bit lately, but he has always been and always will be a wastrel, a chancer, a ne’er-do-well, whose only contribution to the household is to make Clarrie wail, ‘Ohhh EDDDDDDIE!’ at regular intervals.     RRR: Clarrie would have quickly remarried an estate agent called Roger, and be having a nice middle-class life with a hostess trolley. Occasionally she would think of her brief sojourn in Meadow Rise, and shudder. Eddie would be living in a static caravan with some drunken trollop who’s no better than she oughta.

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The Archers: Driving me Mental

I was chatting to my friend Fanoflinda the other day, and she said something extraordinary. She said she had changed her mind about something. As this had never happened before, I bade her speak on.

‘You know how I’m always complaining about the mental health storylines on the Archers?’
‘Yes, you never stop.’
‘How everyone with a mental health issue – Mike, Helen, Pat, Alistair, Eddie – has a few weeks of a problem in its most clichéd form, before it abruptly disappears following a magical radio-land intervention of a very brief therapy course, or a couple of tablets, or simply having realised that things aren’t so bad after all?’
‘I do remember you mentioning this, yes.’
‘And how I lamented that these things should be more realistically portrayed? And how terrific it is on the rare occasions when they are?’
‘Such as Jack’s Alzheimers’, we chorused together.

Fanoflinda is, as you may have guessed, a mental health professional herself. Her dearest wish is to be employed by Vanessa Whitburn as the Archers psychiatric story-editor. ‘Frankly I’d have a lot more to do than that cushy number, the agricultural story editor. He just has to remind them about beets every so often, then goes back to eating cheese and reading Playboy’.

Betty will tell you: it's no joke working in a pub.

‘So what have you changed your mind about?’
‘It’s Jolene. She’s in the throes of post-bereavement depression. Very natural, very well-played, very accurate. People take months, years, to get over something like this.’
‘And?’
‘And it’s boring the bejesus out of me. It would be better if she’d got over it by now.’

Ain’t that the truth. Someone being permanently depressed doesn’t make good radio. Yes, I know you’re going to say what about Marvin in Hitchhikers, but Marvin wasn’t trying to run a pub. Listening to Jolene being depressed as she pours Shires onto the floor and breaks glasses and forgets to greet people is about as much fun as listening to one of Bert’s poems.

It’s no wonder punters are leaving the Bull in droves. I just hope Jolene doesn’t drive us listeners away too. What she needs now is a session of CBT, or a couple of Prozac, or alternatively just realising how much everyone loves her via Harry’s Facebook group.

Posted by Qwerty.           See more Archers posts here.

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