Tag Archives: Matt

The Archers: Why Pusscat and Tiger mustn’t split

Image SPOILER ALERT: If you’re an Omnibus listener and you haven’t yet heard the one on Sunday 2nd December, there is a spoiler in the first paragraph. Though you probably won’t be that surprised by it, tbh.

So after months (or years? It felt like years) of Lilian and Paul meeting clandestinely in little tea-rooms for tete-a-tetes in which NOTHING whatsoever happened, they finally shagged. I’d like to say it was a surprise but the only surprise was that it took so long. Though when it finally happened, it was kind of abrupt.

  • Lilian: “Usual dreary chit-chat hinting at unhappiness with Matt.”
  • Paul: “ Usual dreary platitudes hinting how much better it would be with him instead of Matt.”
  • Listener: “Zzzz”
  • Lilian: “Let’s go to your hotel room.”
  • Listener, waking up and spilling tea: “Hey what?!”

Anyway, once the relief of a plot having moved forward was over – a relief so rarely experienced by Archers listeners – the panic set in. OH LILIAN! What about Tiger?? Matt and Lilian are by far and away my most favourite couple on the Archers. Whenever they share airtime you know you’re in for a treat. He growls away, tiger-ishly, like a middle-management Reggie Kray, alternately treating Lil like dirt or whisking her off to Lower Loxley when she needs to be distracted from some naughty thing he’s done. She, purring or letting rip her filthy forty-a-day laugh, tells Matt exactly how she feels, all the time. Both actors sound like they’re a gnat’s crotchet away from bursting into giggles. I love them so much. If they split up (NO!) and Lilian gets together with the too-good-to-be-true Paul, one of the great soap partnerships will be crushed, like Nigel after he messed up his Chim-Chim-Cheree roof routine.

More to the point, it will be the demise of the only couple in which I properly like both partners. There aren’t any others. Look!

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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: Tipping Point

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).

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The Archers: Stray pusscats strut

Get real, Lilian. No-one believes in this ‘platonic’ interest in Paul nonsense.  Even Jennifer, never the sharpest nail in the manicure, has seen through your flannel. As will Paul at this rate.

Rather than be judgemental, however, I would like to offer Lilian a handy guide as to how the half-brothers compare.

Matt, I can't believe you've got to wear... trainers

Availability: Matt being banged up, Paul wins hands down. While Paul can happily contrive implausible-sounding work opportunities which bring him within a gnat’s crotchet of Felpersham, Matt’s obviously not at liberty to wine and dine Lilian. Even when Matt comes out, he’ll be on a curfew. Which is kind of mystifying, isn’t it? As Paul himself has pointed out, fraud’s not really the sort of crime that’s only committed outside the home during the hours of darkness. Anyway, the only thing tying Paul down right now is a couple of kids, but they don’t seem too irksome. Less irksome than an electronic tag, in fact. Score: Matt 0, Paul 9 (includes extra point for smart observation regarding ridiculous curfew storyline). Verdict: No contest. Sorry Matt.

Sexiness: There’s obviously a familial resemblance, but I guess Paul is younger. Not that that necessarily has anything to do with sexiness. He doesn’t yet have a bedroom nickname for Lilian in the ‘Pusscat’ mould, but he does have the immense advantage of the thrill of the unknown. And the way he says ‘Lilian’ is rather phwoar-some. Score: Matt 5, Paul 8. Verdict: The younger brother strikes back. It’s the oldest rivalry in history. It’s Cain and Abel, it’s Christopher and Peter Hitchins, it’s Will and Ed Grundy.

Family involvement: Matt famously can’t stand family life. Even when he grudgingly agreed to meet his birth mother, it was only at Lilian’s shrill insistence. Later, on hearing his mother was dead, he said, ‘Oh.’ He’s not much better with Lilian’s family, regarding Jennifer, Brian, Peggy et al as necessary irritants. Hmm. Good point. Paul, meanwhile, has clearly been the good son, doting on his cold-hearted mother and spawning some sprogs of his own. He even asks after the appalling James, which Matt has definitely never done. However, I haven’t forgotten how good Matt was when Jack was at his pre-Laurel’s worst. So it’s not a complete whitewash. Score: Matt 4, Paul 9. Verdict: Gotta say, my sympathies lie with Matt here.

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The Archers: A man who knows the price of everything

It’s never a good idea for soaps to stray far from their usual arena. At present we have the continuity announcer saying gamely, ‘and in just a minute, we’ll be heading off, not to bonnie_clyde_465x402Ambridge, but to Costa Rica’, and our hearts sink.

Dodgy Matt’s done a runner, dragging a reluctant Lilian in his wake. For every cockroach the size of a terrier that terrorises Lilian, Matt sees only a nice little pastry shop. He is as determinedly upbeat as she is down. It’s like two sides of a bipolar personality in one fractious relationship.

The long-distance phone calls between Lilian and her anxious sister Jennifer are splendidly done. Jenny’s primary role is to say, ‘Oh, LILIAN!’ and she can imbue this simple phrase with exasperation, sympathy or horror. Some yokel asked Jenny where Lilian and Matt were, and rather than admit to a country in Central America – soap opera code for ‘bail-jump’ – Jenny rather wonderfully found herself murmuring, ‘Oh, they’ve gone to one of the Costas.’

Poor Lilian hates the Costa she’s in. She’d rather be in Costa Coffee, as Matt pointed out, when she said she had nothing to do all day. ‘Do what you do at ‘ome!’ he snapped. ‘Go to lunch! Get your ‘air done!’

‘Twice a day’, retorted Lil, ‘Given this humidity.’ She sounded for a moment as if she would rather like to have her hair done this often.

Lilian’s been so stressed and shrill, she has managed to force Matt into doing something that Archers characters absolutely hate doing: namely, reveal the cost of something. Prices are never specified. It’s too vulgar. Even in the shop, when Susan dourly rings up purchases, we are not privy to exactly what the items were in the wire basket which led to the sum of £5.21. Generally, no sum beyond a tenner is ever mentioned. Which is why it was so shocking when Matt finally admitted to Lilian how much he was paying for their flea-hole in an insalubrious barrio. He hedged and flannelled in usual Archers style for a while. ‘Less than what we’d pay in England’, and ‘He’s charging a fair sum.’

I was barely paying attention at this point, toying with my tea and wondering if it was too early to pour in a slug of gin. Then, with a final push from Lilian, he suddenly said, ‘800 dollars a month.’ You could have knocked me down with a cockroach. I pushed my tea aside and grabbed the gin bottle. I don’t know what this means for the Archers, but I suspect it’s the beginning of the end for Matt and Lilian.

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