So glad someone's finally applied my theory to something meaningful
Malcolm Gladwell described a ‘tipping point’ as a moment of critical mass. He used it to explain how crime dropped dramatically in New York in the 1990s, but here I will apply it to something far more important: The Archers. I fear my favourite programme is on the verge of a tipping point, from which there is no return.
It’s been flirting with danger for some time, but The Archers has now almost reached the point at which the number of staggeringly irritating plots outweigh the enjoyable story-lines. Soon the whole edifice will come crashing down. It’s not just me who feels this way. Only the other night this comment appeared on The Archers message board: ‘Could someone get my radio back please? It’s in the garden and I’d get it myself but I’m just phoning the glazier.’ This cri de coeur was triggered by the episode in which Helen discovers she is pregnant. Right there with you, glazier-pal. Hell-en is unbearable whether she’s happy or sad, but happy is definitely worse.
Here are eleven pieces of evidence to support my thesis that The Archers is becoming so utterly annoying, it’s only a matter of days before every listener turns off their radio simultaneously at 7.05 pm, producing a surge of power to the National Grid large enough to cause a tsunami or earthquake (or something – haven’t quite sketched this part out properly yet).
Uh, please can I have a choice of mother?
I picked up the radio and shook it, unable to believe my ears. Surely that wasn’t Kate giving Helen advice about having babies, was it? Wasn’t that a bit like Hugh Hefner guiding Peter Stringfellow in the ways of monogamy? Or, here’s a good one, like Emma giving Pip advice about choosing the right man… hang on a minute!
Yes, it was Implausible Advice Week on the Archers. Kate started it, by lecturing Helen on what a huge commitment it is to have children. You could hear a collective Radio 4 gasp of outrage. I bow to no man in my dislike of Helen, but even I had to applaud when she pointed out that Kate had abandoned her child and gone to live on the other side of the world.
But did this setback stop Kate? Did it heck as like. Just a couple of days later, she was dishing out advice to Alice about not settling down with Christopher. ‘You’re not going to marry him, are you?’ she sneered. (I bloody hope she is: Jenny at that wedding would be a sight worth seeing. Er, hearing.) Since Kate slunk in from Jo’berg, we’ve been dodging large, cumbersome, Bartleby-sized hints that all is not well with the Kate-Lucas ménage, Lucas presumably having finally woken from his trance. So this, too, was a piece of wisdom that Kate was not in a position to give. Especially as her first choice of baby-father was Roy, who’s got only two settings: boring as all get out, or committing acts of racism. Yes, Roy, I do have a long memory, don’t I?