Tag Archives: Kenton

The Archers: Core-shaking four months on

Incredibly, it’s been 134 days since that fateful dark and stormy night when Ambridge was shaken to its core. Time to revisit; time to see where everyone’s at and assess the devastating knock-on effects.

Mwah ha ha!

Lizzie – The Grieving Widow’s trajectory has been swift. January: Oh Nigel! February: I’m going to lean so hard on David his leg’ll fall off. March: I’ll poach Caroline’s manager as he’s the only person in the entire country who can do this job. April: Think I’ll make a few people redundant. May: Nigel who? It’s good to see Lizzie moving on in the only way she knows how: by being a complete bee-atch.     Next bit of core-shaking: See Roy, below.

Roy – When Caroline lent Roy to the Grieving Widow to help her out, she forgot what Lizzie’s like. Before you could say, ‘that’s a bit of a rum do,’ Lizzie had enticed Roy away by dint of a humungous salary made up of a newly-redundant falconry expert’s wages. Plus a fancy new car and the confidence that every time he wipes his arse she’ll tell him what a fantastic job he’s doing. I’m certainly not the only person to notice that Lizzie and Roy are very much enjoying spending some quality time with each other.     Next bit of core-shaking: I can’t shy away from this, though the very thought gives me the willies. Clearly Roy and Lizzie are going to have an ill-fated dalliance among the famous Lower Loxley rose-bushes, a low-rent Mellors/Lady Chatterley de nos jours. This will have knock-on effects on everyone, especially me. God, imagine the dialogue.

  • Roy: Ohhh, Elizabeth.
  • Lizzie: Ohhh, Roy.
  • Roy: Oi never realised you was such a goer Elizabeth.
  • Lizzie: I never realised a fellow of the lower orders could have such a massive, er, CV.

Ok, if this starts I’m switching to Ambridge Extra for the duration.

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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: 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: 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: A riot of ennui

And cut! Grandma, can you tell us how you did that pattern on the top? Wake up, Grandma.

Everyone’s got their favourite. I’ve got loads. My most recent is from just the other day. It’s the one where Josh films Jill making steak and kidney pie. He might just as well have painted a wall and set the camera to record it for fifteen minutes. If I tell you that the only vaguely interesting thing that happened was Kenton referring to the pie as ‘snake and pygmy’, it’ll give you some idea.

Boring episodes of the Archers. Lord knows, there’s an embarrassment of riches to choose from. All which feature the flower and produce show, for instance; and there’s so many of those, is it any wonder that Bert Fry has taken to phoning in his surprise at being awarded a rosette for the biggest marrow? All which centre around harvest festival, Easter or other Anglican red-letter day, and their counterpart, any based round a service in St Stephens, can be added to the teetering mound of mundanity. And naturally, any one in which Tom reveals that his sausages are organic. The presence of Tom alone counteracts any other possible excitement. He neutralises heists, earthquakes and Lilian’s giggle at a stroke.

Fanoflinda recalls fondly a particularly soporific episode in which Phil (god rest his soul) and Jill were showing holiday snaps. ‘Look at Jill in that hat!’ the poor actors were forced to cry. You could hear the sounds of their careers being flushed down the toilet – or you would have, if the flushing loo sound effect hadn’t been deemed too interesting.

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The Archers: Enough advice, already

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?

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