Tag Archives: Brian

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: Episode of the Year

So this is why we listen to the Archers. Why we stick with it through thick and thin. Why it’s worth our huge investment of time and sanity. Because very occasionally – rather less than once in a blue moon – there is a superb episode that sparkles like a well-polished beer mug hanging in the Bull. Not that the glasses are that clean at the moment, what with Fallon up to her eyes and Jolene trailing round the village like that mad caped bint in the Scottish Widows advert.


Alice and Christopher’s triumphant return from America to announce their quickie Vegas marriage was the episode of the year. From Jenny’s appalled ‘I’m related to a Horrobin!’ to Brian’s, ‘Well darling, you’ll just have to think of it as her starter marriage’, there was so much to enjoy. From Susan whooping for joy and getting hammered on Cava, to Neil shyly offering to give the newly-weds the handsome gift of, er, a peal of church bells (thanks Neil but I’d rather have a set of steak knives), every perfectly delivered line was a thing of joy forever.

This is why we’re with the Archers for the long haul. We know these people as well as we know our real friends (sorry, I know they’re real, I mean our non-Ambridge friends). When something out of the ordinary happens, as it does so rarely in Borsetshire as in life, we want them to behave as we know they would do, from our long and sometimes dreary study of their personalities. There’s nothing more frustrating than following a series in which people behave out of character simply to serve some ridiculous plot-twist.

This episode  was sheer class and rang true in every particular (apart from what Alice and Christopher see in each other, other than both being as boring as a wet weekend in Penny Hasset). Susan’s chavvy excitement at marrying into the Aldridges, Jennifer’s horrified snobbish wail of despair, and Brian reacting with urbane upperclass calm, pointing out that at least they’d saved on the cost of the wedding. Ooh it were marvellous.

After all these turgid weeks of Brenda, Kate, Kathy, Jude, bees, graffiti, New Zealand campers and the appalling village fete, when some of us were ready to hang  up our radios, how blessed we are. Yes, it’s manipulative: like a Vegas fruit machine that mostly sneers at you but very occasionally pays up with three strawberries, the Archers sucks you in and keeps you hanging around on the off-chance that a jackpot will come up. Last night, thank goodness, it did.

Posted by Qwerty. Listen to this episode here though be quick.

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The Archers: Goodbye, Mr Perks

Blimey, I certainly didn’t see that coming. Peeling the potatoes, I was, and idly listening to Fallon flirting with Harry (pack it in, Fallon, none of us think you’re going to end up with Harry rather than Jazzer), when Jolene rang and dropped the bombshell. Two bombshells actually, the first being that she gets a better signal on her mobile when calling from New Zealand than I do when trying to speak to a chum up the road. Must find out what network she’s with.

And secondly, that Sid – Landlord of the Bull, erstwhile manager of the cricket team, and King of Homophobes – was dead. You could have knocked me over with a potato peel. I reeled from the sink and turned up the radio (laptop, actually – it was on Listen Again but ‘turn up the computer’ is a phrase that has yet to slip comfortably into the language). I felt sure if I listened hard enough, it would turn out to be a mistake. Lucy had smothered Sid with a pillow but he had been resuscitated; a rampaging herd of lambs had trampled him underfoot while out jogging (him, not the lambs), but he was now right as rain and suffering no more than hurt pride and hoof imprints on his stomach. But no. Heart attack and bam. Gone.

On reflection, some clues were there, if only I had been concentrating. Sid hasn’t been heard from for a while (apparently the actor who plays him is ill). And Fallon, a few days ago, expressed regret she hadn’t said goodbye to Sid before he went to NZ, then said, ‘Well, it’s not as if it’s the last time I’ll see him.’ Big chunky clue – no-one ever says that in soaps unless it is in fact the last time they’ll ever see them.

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