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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