Tag Archives: Jolene

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: Things they haven’t said yet

Post SATTC there are quite a few conversations waiting to explode. I thought I’d jot down a handy list in case the script-writers need reminding. What have I missed?

David: ‘Lizzie, there’s something I need to tell you about who gave Nigel the idea to go up on the roof…’

Freddie: ‘Now Daddy’s dead please can’t we just go to the local comp?’

Jill: ‘Now Nigel’s dead can’t the twins just go to the local comp?’

Jill: ‘Lizzie, I’ve never told you this but my father sent me to a fancy-pants posh school and I thought he’d abandoned me. Not to pressurise you or anything.’

David: ‘Perhaps it would be a good idea to ask Lizzie some questions about the business, save me any more exasperated phone-calls in which I behave like a straw-chewing hick.’

Kenton: ‘Life’s short, Jolene. Let me take you up Lakey Hill. If you know what I mean.’

Tony: ‘Hang on a minute, I’ve just emerged from a trance. Helen, you are a complete cow of the first order.’

Helen: ‘Why, when most women are nuttier once their baby’s arrived than when they’re preggers, have I bucked the trend? I guess it’s because I’m more irritating than getting a lump of cheese stuck in your throat.’

Ian: ‘Helen, did I ever tell you I was a sperm donor?’

Helen: ‘Ian, did I ever tell you that I specifically requested your wriggly Irish tadpoles?’

Tony: ‘I’m sorry, I’m just going to be sick in this yellow baby bath decorated with duckie-wuckies.’

Henry Archer: ‘You’re kidding me, right? Billions of women in the world and she’s my mother?’

Harry: ‘Listen Fallon, I didn’t kiss you passionately when I gave my Dick because I have cold sores/HIV/halitosis/ am gay/frigid/a virgin. But we just need one brief episode to sort it out and live happily ever after.’

Matt: ‘Bet we could get a really good price for Lower Loxley; Elizabeth’s too grief-stricken to negotiate.’

Lillian: ‘That’s terrible Matt! Oh, okay then.’

Tony: ‘Listen Kathy, can you just piss off? You’re in my house more than I am.’

Lizzie: ‘You utter bastard, David.’

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The Archers: Stirred but not shaken. Boing!

The brooch goes nicely with this cape.

After all the anticipation, the weeks of speculation, the outlandish yet exciting theories: did it live up to the hype? No. It did not. And what’s more, Hell-en is still with us.

The unusually large cast spread out languorously across the half hour, confirming that what’s perky in fifteen minutes can be a complete dog at twice the length. We began with the much-trailed conclusion to the Hell-en drama, in which everyone who’s ever given birth – and many who haven’t – yelled ‘It’s pre-eclampsia!’ at the radio. The clues were obvious. Swollen ankles? Check. Headache? Check. Need for dramatic finale to a pregnancy during a special anniversary edition? Check.

And so a nation pinned their hopes on a perfect end to this sorry saga: Hell-en pegs it but the baby survives. Actually I was perfectly prepared to give up on the baby too if it meant binning Hell-en. In hospital Tony reprised the teary-scene from when he found poor John under the Massey Ferguson. He had a horrible reversal and started blubbing that Hell-en had been right all along and it was All. His. Fault. How very irritating. I think FanofLinda, a mental health professional, will back me up when I say that this is a classic case of someone with Personality Disorder (Hell-en) gradually sucking those around her (eg Tony) into their twisted world and making them see things all distorted. Tony mate; you were and are still right, and you have been way more supportive than the silly moo deserves. Take it from one who knows someone who knows.

The red herrings came thick and herring-y. Tony’s driving too fast and they’re all gonna die! Oh. They’ve arrived safely. Hell-en’s not going to make it through the Caesarean! Oh. She’s fine. (Damn.) The baby’s going to be touch and go! Oh. He’s doing well. Lizzie’s going to remember she has a heart condition and collapses on the banqueting table, accidentally stabbing herself in the heart with that Art Deco brooch as she falls! Oh. She’s hale and hearty. Kenton’s going to over-excite the children into a frenzy in which they go all Lord of the Flies and kill off the adults. Oh. They’re eating crisps.

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The Archers: Shaken to the core

High Priestess Whitburn says 'Let's shake it up, baby'. Photo from the Guardian.

For an update after the Big Event, click here

Since High Priestess Vanessa Whitburn announced that there would be a special sixtieth anniversary episode on January 2nd, the world has been abuzz with anticipation (it says here in this BBC press release that I’m copying this from). Ambridge will be SHAKEN TO THE CORE apparently. Well shiver me timbers and pour us another sherry Marjorie. I have managed to avoid the message board speculation, which uses the acronym SATTC to refer to this topic, in order to bring you my unadulterated (apart from the sherry) thoughts on what these possible Ambridge Shaking Events might be.  Apologies if they’re all wildly unoriginal and have been bandied about already across the internet, though I don’t know why I’m apologising because I don’t actually care. The only clues I have permitted myself are Herself’s own words that two storylines are involved: ‘one running and one new surprise.’

In Category One, the most obvious Core-Shaking Storyline currently running is Hell-en and her increasingly criminal behaviour. If ever a pregnant woman was asking to be pushed down the stairs it was this one. Possible core-shakers include:

  • Tony finally growing a pair and strangling Hell-en with that godwaful-sounding butterfly mobile. The clue is that it ‘hangs from the ceiling’ – this has been mentioned several times – so he could easily make it look like suicide.
  • Ian finally realising that Hell-en is an evil succubus and poisoning her with the much-referred to white spirit he borrowed from Robert Snell.
  • Hell-en miscarrying, though I really don’t think the writers will go down this route, for reasons too complicated and frankly dull to go into here (if you’re interested I can send you my lengthy ‘Why Hell-en’s baby will survive’ treatise, £2.99 plus p&p).
  • Hell-en going into premature labour. The baby’s health hangs in the balance for a few nail-biting weeks before the little fighter slowly gets stronger and stronger, though sadly not strong enough to cope with the ultimate horror of being parented by Hell-en.

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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?’
‘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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The Archers: Everybody Hurts

Clearly the script-writers, like the rest of us, could take no more of Jude. With brutal speed they dispatched him to roam America, sans Pip. Go West, young man. No, a bit further than Penny Hassett. If only he could have taken Brenda and Helen with him, my cup would have runneth over. Just imagine the three of them in a Thunderbird convertible, barrelling along the Big Sur Highway. They could fuel the car on whinge-gas alone.

Hey Jude, you let me down...

The departure of Jude and his irritating text-speak was an occasion of great delight for everyone, particularly me, David and Ruth. Everyone, in fact, except poor old Pip, who has lost her Fizz. Her wailing reminded me very strongly of being dumped myself, at seventeen – even though surely I must have been quite pulchritudinous and fascinating – by an older man. Well, he was eighteen but he’d been to Belgium, so he seemed very worldly. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? No, I don’t mean to Belgium.

I thought Ruth did a fair job of comforting Pip, at least until she started banging on about college again. I’m learning a lot of parenting techniques from Ruth, though I’m mainly filing them in the ‘how not to do it’ section. I also learned a lot from David, who, when confronted with his post-Jude daughter, decided to focus entirely on a cow he was grooming. Grooming as in brushing it and tying ribbons on its tail, rather than preparing it for an illegal relationship. At least, I think so. Their skirting-around conversation about forelocks and rosettes was meant to be a metaphor for everything being okay between the two of them, but it just made them seem completely suppressed and weird. Which is accurate enough, on reflection.

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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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