Tag Archives: Eddie

The Archers: Why Matt’s plan for the Bull is bull

Ooh that sneaky Matt. Ignoring Lillian’s explicit instructions, he’s been leaning on the bar of the Bull pouring honeyed words (‘Poison!’ screeched Lillian) into Jolene’s unhappy ear. ‘Money,’ whispers Matt, who is wearing horns and a red cape. ‘No more responsibility.’ ‘Doing everyone a favour – housing stocks are low.’ And Jolene, who’s a right old misery-guts, yes I know she’s in mourning and has just had a bewildering kick-back from Kenton but honestly! She needs to get her mojo back sharpish or she is going to join my list of Archers Characters Who Will Be First Against The Wall When I’m In Charge. (Helen, Kate, Kathy, Christine, Daniel, Shula and Ruairi, thanks for asking.)

Where was I? Yes, Jolene, instead of telling him to sling his hook, which is a phrase much-used in Ambridge if nowhere else in the English-speaking world, says, ‘You might ‘ave a point there Matt,’ in her strange Memphis drawl and buggers off to see her financial adviser. As an aside, am I right in thinking that the same man plays all the incidental professionals in the Archers? He’s got a cushy thing going there: financial advisers, bankers, lawyers, BL Board members: I reckon he plays them all. I bet you ten pence he pops up as the coroner in the forthcoming inquest which Susan and Emma so clunkily explained to us the other day, Emma having found out about it via the traditional means of reading someone else’s important letter which just happened to be lying around.

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The Archers: The rest is silence

Eddie finally had enough of Linda, Sabrina and Nathan.

Was last night’s panto rehearsal the daftest episode ever? I know it’s a hotly-contested field. But it really was a pantomime in the classic sense of the word, with poor Eddie having to interact blue-screen style with not one but two of the silent characters. For once I could see what people mean when they say they don’t like The Archers. Linda barked directions -‘cower, you’re very frightened!’ – at Sabrina Thwaite and ‘poke her with the stick!’ at Nathan Booth. We heard nothing at all from Nathan, not even poking, though Sabrina (‘dressed most unsuitably’) was permitted to make scuttling sounds with her footstep. She even had an exchange with Eddie, which went like this:

Eddie (creepily flirting and looking into Sabrina’s doubtless plunging cleavage): ‘Can I help you up the steps Sabrina?’

Sabrina: Silence

Eddie: ‘No? Oh, all right then.’

The chap playing Eddie really earned his Equity minimum last night.

It reminded me slightly of a post-modern play I saw years ago at the Edinburgh Festival, ‘The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other’ which consisted of a hundred pages of stage directions and no dialogue. Being radio the Archers had to include a small amount of dialogue or it would be fifteen minutes of dead air (okay, who said that?), but basically this episode was Linda talking into the void, a cruel metaphor for her normal conversational style.

Then came the surreal end, when the imaginary Nathan Booth set Eddie up to hurl imaginary wallpaper paste into the imaginary yet luscious face of Sabrina Thwaite. Yes all right I know everyone on the Archers is imaginary (aaargh! But Santa exists, yes?), but at least they talk while they’re being imaginary. Silent slapstick is probably not in its natural setting on the radio. Sabrina however smashed down her own personal fourth wall and could be heard sobbing. It was almost Beckettian in its conception somehow. And I say this as someone who finds Beckett boring.

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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 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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True Blood 202: I’ll be your bad-ass vampire

Ooh, the stress, my dear! Even Jason, who usually provides light relief, set my nerves a-jangling. At first it was fun watching him bounce around Christian Leadership camp with other blond chirpy Walton types, all in their silver anti-vamp rings and sunshine yellow t-shirts. Or sunshine yellow pecs in Jason’s case. That boy can’t keep his top on for more than five minutes. But he freaked during role play with Sarah when she popped plastic fangs into her mouth (only slightly less convincing than the ones the real vampires wear). Flashing back to the horror of  Amy killing Eddie, Jason damn near staked Sarah with the American flag. From the way Sarah flushed and licked her over-heated lips, it seemed she’d be purty glad to be staked by him any time.

You could, uh, fry an Egg on that

It was Pecs On Parade this week, as Eggs also swanned about shirtless. He has a perfect washboard stomach, but for some reason Tara was less interested in that than in interrogating him about his past. Though the poor boy wiggled his manly chest at her, she kept her eyes resolutely above neck-level and insisted on knowing what he’d served time for. Who cares, Tara? So it was armed robbery. Never mind that, look at his six-pack!

Maryann was stressing me out too. If she wasn’t eating her way through Merlotte’s entire menu (‘what’s going on at table four?’), she was somehow persuading the entire bar to dance and rut in bacchanal fashion. And turning Sam into a dog when he gave her a hard time about it. When Sookie listened in to Maryann’s thoughts, all she got was a lot of what could be ancient Greek. Or Latin. Who knows? It’s all Greek to me.

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Nurse Jackie: Health Care and Cinema

In the last of the series,  Zoey is still in the doghouse wearing gloomy Eeyore grey scrubs instead of her usual pink small animal themed ones to express  remorse at sending the cinema critic into a coma with the accidental overdose. 

Jackie and Zoey are both avoiding Mrs Akilitus (the divine Anna Deavere Smith) who conveniently gets stuck in an elevator. No-one is in any rush to let her out, so after multiple failed attempts to phone the nurses’ station (they keep slamming the phone down on her), she gives up and sinks to the floor, quite literally unravelling (her skirt) and performing a David Letterman interview with herself.

The tragedy unravelling in the background is Jackie’s lover, recently redundant pharmacist Eddie (superbly played by Paul Schulze) talking to Jackie’s clueless husband Kevin in his bar, slowly getting drunker as he listens to details of how solid a marriage Jackie has. This is punctuated by Eddie’s cellphone buzzing  from calls from Jackie trying to speak to him about how to trick the new pill-o-matix vending machine that has replaced him into giving her the painkillers she is addicted to. Painful in every sense.

Meanwhile, Dr O’Hara is falling apart as she waits for her mother to be admitted as a ‘Jane Doe’ vagrant.

Good news for Zoey tho’ as the film critic wakes up from the coma. She tries to cheer him up by agreeing with his previously held loathing of Kevin Costner, only to find he can’t remember all his previous encyclopaedic knowledge of film. She has apparently ‘broken’ him, but he seems much happier for it and presumably less likely to sue.

The episode ends with Jackie on the floor having taken several tablets having a happy, cloud filled vision which gets rudely interrupted by a rat running over the light fitting.

Weird, dark, strange and disturbing and, like the rest of the series, really rather excellent.

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Nurse Jackie Episode 11: the bitterest pill

This was a tough episode, especially on Jackie’s poor, duped pill-dispenser and-lunchtime-hump Eddie. You did have to wonder why it had never occurred to him that she might be married, what with the never-seeing-him-out-of-work-time thing and all. What a lousy day at the office. Zoey walked in on him and Jackie in flagrante whilst his pharmacy was being gutted in the next room so a new pill-o-mattix machine could be put in to dispense drugs. Mrs Akilitus claimed it was the saddest day of her career, quite convincingly until you remembered it was her decision to dispense with the dispensary and his services.

The episode kicked off quite amusingly, well for me it did anyway, because I could hardly believe my eyes. There, teaching the tap class, was the one-armed evil genius Dr Robert Romano from ER, with both arms and head magically intact again after the ghastly rooftop hospital helicopter scene (never was a vehicle more accurately nicknamed than that chopper). I’m so glad he’s ok and is in another hospital drama, although I never suspected him of being a secret hoofer I must say. I was once a little in love with the little slapheaded fascist when he was a brilliant doctor. But not sure jazz hands can top surgeon’s hands really.

Anyhoo, Jackie’s underling,  the increasingly interesting student nurse Zoey, was also having a bad day after she gave a famous film critic with a broken arm an overdose of painkillers. Not a great day for drugs. This was after giving him a dressing down for disliking films with cats in them, and cats generally.

Jackie’s complicated love life got even more messy when the young fool, Doctor Fitch, dumped his glamorous girlfriend. This was because he has developed feelings for Jackie, who kissed him at the end of the last episode after he did his ‘Tourette’s’ thing (yeah, right) of grabbing her breast whilst under stress. Again. But to be honest, this time she didn’t seem to mind too much. And now he’s buying her roses and gum. Romance clearly isn’t dead.


Well it is for Eddie, for now anyway, as we left him forlornly walking away from the bar after seeing Jackie being embraced by her husband through the window. This on a day when her husband had used all his savings to replace the wedding ring Jackie got her doctor friend to saw off when it got stuck on at work (she needed to hide it from Eddie). But to hide the reason for doing this from her husband, she then broke her finger with a hammer in the toilets, then got Dr Fitch to patch it up, which is where the kissing started. Are you still following this? Ow. And indeed eugh. Yes indeed. I think, with a love life this complicated and in all senses painful, I’d probably rather stay celibate.

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True Blood 110: Don’t you dare get morally superior on me

Everything kicked off in this episode. The announcer warned cheerily that there would be strong language, strong violence and strong sexual scenes right from the start. Well damn tootin’. Straight away there was a completely starkers Sam, explaining to Sookie what we’ve all known for weeks: that he is a bit of a dog. Actually, I’d thought he was a werewolf, whereas he claims to be the much more house-trained shape-shifter. It was cool, the way he went up and down, from dog to man,  just like in ‘Manimal’, except with better special effects. But Sookie wasn’t pleased, and suggested Sam ‘get the fuck out of here’. Her language sure has deteriorated since the early days of ‘good golly miss molly’.

We’d just got over that when Tara booked in for a little exorcism. To my horror, it seemed to work and Tara was – good gracious – smiling and trotting off to buy ice-creams with her mama. Well hie me to the vomitorium, cause a happy Tara ain’t worth a dime. But it was mercifully brief, for she quickly discovered that the voodoo woman of the bayou (demon removal a speciality), was in fact working in a pharmacy, wearing a bad wig and nylon pinnie. Tara’s demon came back quick as slug of snake oil, and weren’t we all grateful? She poured herself into a tarty red frock and poured into herself a good sixth of bourbon, and made as ungracious a pass as has ever been made at poor old Sam.

Arlene and Rene had their engagement party, at which Hoyt stood up to his mother for the first time ever, after a hilarious male-bonding scene with Jason and Rene. Hoyt is so sweet; I will be gutted with a capital G if he turns out to be the murderer. There was another cracking three-way sequence between Jason, Amy and Eddie, with Amy furious to discover that Jason had given Eddie Tru-Blood to help keep his strength up. She insisted, coldly, that she was morally superior, because she had a ‘miniscule carbon footprint’. I couldn’t help feeling, when she savagely killed Eddie with a stake, that there was a little more to being a good person than using eco light-bulbs, but I was so thunderstruck at the loss of Eddie, my favourite character, that I forgot to shout at the telly.

The murderer came after Sookie in the deserted bar, and we almost got to see him/her/it, but Sookie escaped into Sam’s arms. So he probably isn’t the murderer after all. Actually I never thought he was: you can’t be a shape-shifter and a murderer, it’s too complicated and what would you put on your passport?

Most strikingly, we saw Bill’s trial for the murder of Longshadow. There were a few contradictions at this kangaroo court. For a start, though the vampires kept going on about how fantastic they were, how superior to humans, the courtroom was a derelict parking lot. Surely they could have found a nice little room somewhere with comfy chairs? Then the chief guy, the ‘Magister’, claimed to have been involved in the Spanish Inquisition. So why did he have a sardonic New York accent, eh?

Then the defendant ahead of Bill was on his knees in chains, blood pouring from his wounds, and punished by having his fangs yanked out with pliers. All he’d done was feast on some other vampire’s human. So I expected Bill to be nailed to a cross at the very least. But no: he was unmarked and stood, proud and noble, not a restraint in sight. That sorts the leading men out from the extras, don’t it?

The usual sentence would be five years in a silver-lined coffin, eg quite bad, but the Magister decided instead to give Bill a fresh young virgin to ‘turn’. For Bill, this was clearly meant to be a far worse punishment, being as it tormented his conscience so, but from where I was sitting, it was obviously an infinitely more lenient option. Like the difference between the electric chair and an ASBO. After listening to the human sacrifice tell us what a good girl she was, a deep south Eliza Doolittle, the Magister declared himself bored. Fair enough: if he’s been around since 1478, it’s probably been a while since he saw something new. And so poor old Bill was forced to dig deep for his vampire instincts. With a blood-curdling howl, he bared his fangs and bit the irritating girl good and proper.

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The Archers: Why Vicky’s patio heaters warm my heart

Foarchers logor years, us die-hard Archers listeners have had to get our jollies from just one or two vaguely entertaining characters, their appearances doled out in meagre helpings across the week. We had to rely for light relief on the occasional dirty laugh from Lillian, or a gnomic interlude involving cider and Joe Grundy. Now, suddenly, the show’s been inundated with wall-to-wall personalities. We’ve got Vicky, Jim and Wayne going head-to-head in a consolidated attempt to turn the Archers from a soap in which there are seven dull characters for every interesting one, to the other way round.

Those of you who haven’t visited Ambridge since Nelson Gabriel popped his clogs won’t recognise the place. When you last saw Mike the milkman he was a steady sort, married to solid Betty who knew that no situation was so fraught it couldn’t be righted by one of her barm cakes. Now Betty’s buried in the garden (natural causes), and Mike is married to Vicky, who he only knew for two sex-drenched weeks before popping the question in a haze of testosterone.

Vicky is to Betty what Jordan is to Thora Hird. Vicky is big, brash, brassy, and yes, I’m going to have to say it, common. Vicky, who has infiltrated herself into village life faster than one of Eddie’s ferrets, has a swooping Brummy voice that could shatter Mike’s milk bottles. Numerous references have been made down the Bull to her fun-loving personality and womanly figure, which must make Jolene, classic barmaid with a heart of gold hidden under a large décolletage, and previous title-holder of most-mentioned bosom in the village, seethe into her Martini and coke. Vicky is everywhere, all the time, all over the place, like, well, Martini. We suspect even Mike must be getting fed up with her steam-rollering over everything in her jolly, loud, Bette Midler kind of way. I mean, just how good in bed must she be to override all other requirements of middle-aged companionship? Don’t answer that.

 Now Vicky has struck up an unlikely friendship with Linda Snell. True, they are both outsiders whom no-one else can stand. But in every other regard, they are nothing alike. In a scene of exquisite excruciatingness, the sort the Archers does so well, a gushing Vicky invited Linda and Long-Suffering Robert (to give him his full name) to dinner in her newly tarted-up garden. You could tell from Linda’s sniff after being given the full tour that we weren’t just talking about a few pelargoniums. That sniff spoke volumes. That sniff told us there were fairy lights and baroque benches and screens and ornamental grasses and decking and water features, and poor old Betty turning in her grave under a tree in the middle of it all.

Best of all, there were patio heaters, and Linda, a long-time eco-warrior sat under them, perspiring with rage. Just as L.S. Robert reached to switch one off, along bustled Vicky in full fig, and, assuming her guests were feeling cold, turned it up. The ensuing social awkwardness was sheer heaven and one of the reasons why the Archers is right back on track.

 Next time: Why Wayne Tucson is King of the Road (and a Man of Means by No Means)

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