Tag Archives: Neil

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: Episode of the Year

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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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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