Assuming the Archers keeps going for the next sixty years – and short of international apocalypse, it will – I thought it timely to produce a brief guide to the Ambridge teenagers. They’re the next generation after all, and one day they will carry the major storylines, god help us. So if you don’t know your Daniel from your Jamie, your Pip from your Squeak, here’s my handy who’s who, to help ensure the longevity of your listening pleasure.
Jamie Perks. Age 15. A Troubled Young Man with an authentic grunt, Jamie’s been through the wringer. First his dad died. Then he realised with a start that his mother was the moaniest woman in Borsetshire. Finally, and worst of all, he inadvertently walked in on Kenton snogging Jolene. Jolene is Jamie’s alt-mum, being fun and attractive and basically everything Kathy isn’t. Thus Jamie inadvertently witnessed a true, if complex, primal scene: the father figure who’d abandoned him, in amorous congress with the mother he wished he’d had. It’s no wonder he occasionally bunks off school and trashes bird hides (Ambridge bus shelter equivalent).
- Most likely to: Play loud music to drown out Kathy’s nagging, and tell Kenton what a LOSER he is.
- Least likely to: Say, ‘would you like a hand with the dishes mummy darling?’
- Most important contribution: Telling Kathy to leave him alone. He speaks for us all.
- Where will he be in ten years time? Either working for a computer games company or in prison.
Daniel Hebden. Age 16. Unpopular, as befits a child of Shula’s. Used to be bezzie mates with Jamie, till Jamie dumped him for being boring. What took you so long, Jamie? Unlike his ex-friend, Daniel’s lucked out with the step-fathers: Alistair, despite being a dark brooding gambler, is a jolly good dad. Shula fussed infuriatingly over Daniel when he was a toddler, leaving him with a legacy of arthritis and congenital annoyingness. Being a teenager hasn’t helped him become any more likeable, but he has one saving grace: his grandfather Jim, who is gradually de-Shula-ing him.
- Most likely to: Bang on about wildlife.
- Least likely to: Become popular.
- Most important contribution: Jim’s influence on him means Shula is in a permanent state of outrage. Thank you, Jim.
- Where will he be in ten years time? Could take over his Dad’s veterinary business. Will always have a tough time in relationships till Shula dies, then will suddenly be released and marry a porn star.