Tag Archives: Christine Barford

The Archers: Things that are currently baffling me

Obviously there are many long-term and ongoing baffling things about the Archers, not least of which is, what is the point of Christine Barford, and why am I still listening after all these years. But over the last few months there have been so many baffling plot elements – considerably more than usual, I warrant – that most episodes end with me shaking my head in confusion. Which, to be fair, makes a nice change from shaking it in anger/despair, as is usual. So here we go. As at 19th June, 2014, these are the key things I don’t understand.

Image1. Why have all the younger generation been summarily dispatched?
It’s like Logan’s Run in reverse, down Ambridge way. No-one’s allowed in under the age of forty. First Pip was sent to Yorkshire, and nary a (Pip) squeak out of her thereafter (believe me, I’m not complaining). Next, Amy vanished into the NHS underworld. Then Brenda, after dumping Tom and having crazy Russian adventures that only happened on Ambridge Extra, not in real life, shacked up with some fancy-pants new boyfy down in that London. She reappeared briefly, and pointlessly, to show off her Liz Taylor-style rock and set tongues a-wagging that she caused the collapse of the Tom/Kirsty ménage.
Which brings me to Tom and Kirsty, who looked for some time like the inheritors of the series, and who fell apart so spectacularly that I imagine the Archers writers are gutted that they wasted the ‘shocks Ambridge to the core’ strapline on that posh bloke, can barely remember him now, who slid off the roof a few years back.
Phoebe’s been struck dumb, Will’s largely AWOL apart from the Obligatory Conversation With Charlie (see 4 below), and even Emma, who was previously never more than three whines away from popping up in a storyline, has gone shtum. Whither Alice, Christopher and Jamie, eh?
My bafflement is this: when the old guard dies, who’s going to be left? I’m with the Archers through thick and thin – sick and sin – but even I might struggle to stay with a showcase for Ed, Jazzer and Fallon.

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The Archers: Nice day for a white wedding

There’s really ever such a lot that is irritating in the Archers at the moment. All right, there’s no need for that. I mean even more than usual. There’s the continuing story of Bridge Farm going down the toilet, in which it’s hard to say who’s more infuriating: Tom for insisting they have to re-brand (how many times can he say ‘re-brand’ before we must spear him with his own pitchfork?), Tony for being so dead set against the idea, or Pat for being sanctimoniously in the middle. Also super-irksome: Tom’s godawful pigs-playing-football youtube monstrosity. Please, pretend virtual people, don’t click on it any more, it only encourages him.  The only pleasing aspect of  the Bridge Farm yawn-fest is Brenda being pissed off about being left out of the planning meeting.

Then we’ve got the December romance of Jim and Christine, which is teeth-gritting not because I’m troubled by the thought of wrinklies having sex – just ask my 75-year old boyfriend! – but because it means we have  Jim being nice instead of his old irascible wind-up-Shula self and, more to the point, we have regular interludes with Christine whose acting is still as mahogany as a sideboard. And not to mention, though I will, because everyone else is, the tedious presence of Cloive ‘Orrobin, a man who is supposed to be menacing but who is merely nauseating, and whose performance makes Christine look like John Gielgud.

Nonetheless, in a wide ocean of irritation, the thing that winds me up the most every time I switch on, is this bloody wedding. WHY? I yell regularly at the radio, there being no one in earshot to yell at, everyone having evacuated the house at the first sniff of a ‘dum di dum.’ WHY ARE THEY SO BLOODY-MINDED ABOUT JANUARY 1ST? While Nic blathers on about invitation cards (how implausible was it to think that she might actually try and buy them in the village shop? Whoever wrote that line deserves a smack), and Will decides to have Roy as his best man again because it all worked out so well last time, I just keep hurling unanswered questions into the Ambridge ether. What’s the big deal about January 1st? Who’s going to cover the huge expense of people having to be paid time-and-a-half? Why’s Caroline being so sodding accommodating when clearly she’s already got a ton of other stuff going on? What about it traditionally being a nice quiet day after the excesses of New Year’s Eve, a buffer with nothing more than telly and left-over Quality Street before everyone has to back to work? What, in short, is going on with Will and Nic’s massive sense of entitlement that they’ve decided the day and that’s that; now everyone else must work their butts off to ensure it happens just as they have randomly decreed? And finally, and most puzzling of all, why is Nic even contemplating wedlock, when Will becomes more serial killer-esque with every episode?

In short, I’m not surprised Ivy chose now to peg it. ‘A wedding?’ she cried. ‘On January 1st? How incredibly narksome. Unplug the life support Susan, there’s a love.’

If only we could all be as blissfully un-sentient.

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The Archers: A riot of ennui

And cut! Grandma, can you tell us how you did that pattern on the top? Wake up, Grandma.

Everyone’s got their favourite. I’ve got loads. My most recent is from just the other day. It’s the one where Josh films Jill making steak and kidney pie. He might just as well have painted a wall and set the camera to record it for fifteen minutes. If I tell you that the only vaguely interesting thing that happened was Kenton referring to the pie as ‘snake and pygmy’, it’ll give you some idea.

Boring episodes of the Archers. Lord knows, there’s an embarrassment of riches to choose from. All which feature the flower and produce show, for instance; and there’s so many of those, is it any wonder that Bert Fry has taken to phoning in his surprise at being awarded a rosette for the biggest marrow? All which centre around harvest festival, Easter or other Anglican red-letter day, and their counterpart, any based round a service in St Stephens, can be added to the teetering mound of mundanity. And naturally, any one in which Tom reveals that his sausages are organic. The presence of Tom alone counteracts any other possible excitement. He neutralises heists, earthquakes and Lilian’s giggle at a stroke.

Fanoflinda recalls fondly a particularly soporific episode in which Phil (god rest his soul) and Jill were showing holiday snaps. ‘Look at Jill in that hat!’ the poor actors were forced to cry. You could hear the sounds of their careers being flushed down the toilet – or you would have, if the flushing loo sound effect hadn’t been deemed too interesting.

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