Tag Archives: Nic

The Archers: Nice day for a white wedding

There’s really ever such a lot that is irritating in the Archers at the moment. All right, there’s no need for that. I mean even more than usual. There’s the continuing story of Bridge Farm going down the toilet, in which it’s hard to say who’s more infuriating: Tom for insisting they have to re-brand (how many times can he say ‘re-brand’ before we must spear him with his own pitchfork?), Tony for being so dead set against the idea, or Pat for being sanctimoniously in the middle. Also super-irksome: Tom’s godawful pigs-playing-football youtube monstrosity. Please, pretend virtual people, don’t click on it any more, it only encourages him.  The only pleasing aspect of  the Bridge Farm yawn-fest is Brenda being pissed off about being left out of the planning meeting.

Then we’ve got the December romance of Jim and Christine, which is teeth-gritting not because I’m troubled by the thought of wrinklies having sex – just ask my 75-year old boyfriend! – but because it means we have  Jim being nice instead of his old irascible wind-up-Shula self and, more to the point, we have regular interludes with Christine whose acting is still as mahogany as a sideboard. And not to mention, though I will, because everyone else is, the tedious presence of Cloive ‘Orrobin, a man who is supposed to be menacing but who is merely nauseating, and whose performance makes Christine look like John Gielgud.

Nonetheless, in a wide ocean of irritation, the thing that winds me up the most every time I switch on, is this bloody wedding. WHY? I yell regularly at the radio, there being no one in earshot to yell at, everyone having evacuated the house at the first sniff of a ‘dum di dum.’ WHY ARE THEY SO BLOODY-MINDED ABOUT JANUARY 1ST? While Nic blathers on about invitation cards (how implausible was it to think that she might actually try and buy them in the village shop? Whoever wrote that line deserves a smack), and Will decides to have Roy as his best man again because it all worked out so well last time, I just keep hurling unanswered questions into the Ambridge ether. What’s the big deal about January 1st? Who’s going to cover the huge expense of people having to be paid time-and-a-half? Why’s Caroline being so sodding accommodating when clearly she’s already got a ton of other stuff going on? What about it traditionally being a nice quiet day after the excesses of New Year’s Eve, a buffer with nothing more than telly and left-over Quality Street before everyone has to back to work? What, in short, is going on with Will and Nic’s massive sense of entitlement that they’ve decided the day and that’s that; now everyone else must work their butts off to ensure it happens just as they have randomly decreed? And finally, and most puzzling of all, why is Nic even contemplating wedlock, when Will becomes more serial killer-esque with every episode?

In short, I’m not surprised Ivy chose now to peg it. ‘A wedding?’ she cried. ‘On January 1st? How incredibly narksome. Unplug the life support Susan, there’s a love.’

If only we could all be as blissfully un-sentient.

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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: Who will give Helen a bay-beee?

Danger! Story-holes ahead.

Update, Feb 17th: Ooh! I’m psychic. Hell-en’s just announced she wants a sperm donor baby. C’mon, Ian! You know you want to!

With a great, rumbling, clanking noise, the wheels of another demented Archers storyline have been set in motion. You’ll know of course that Annette shagged Leon and, in line with Soap Opera Law 14.2,  got knocked up. (This law states that casual sex never goes unpunished, especially when it’s with someone else’s boyfy.)

Despite her sweetly neuron-free brain, Annette has responded quite sensibly to her predicament. She has weighed up the facts: she is 19, has unstable work, an unsupportive family, can’t stand the father of the child, and lives with a nutter. Frankly, without wishing to be too Germaine Greer, these are reasonable circs in which to consider an abortion. But there’s that clanking, grinding sound getting nearer… Is it? Could it be? Yes! It’s Helen’s story arc, which has rammed into her with the subtlety of a Massey Ferguson.

Listen Annette, what say we get one of those bug-a-boo strollers?

Suddenly Hell-en is baby mad. Emphasis on mad. She does everything she can to talk Annette out of the termination. Like a modern-day Miss Havisham in cobwebbed maternity frock, she offers to put her entire life on hold to become a proxy mama to this bastard child – bastard used here to be rude, rather than as a description of the sprog’s out-of-wedlock-ness.

Hell-en becomes so manipulative (‘Annette: ‘It’s not really a baby yet, is it?’ Hell-en: ‘We don’t know that’), so wheedling, so downright psychotic, I am surprised Annette hasn’t already fled to a saner soap, like Eastenders. All Annette has to do, surely, to deflate Hell-en’s ‘So lovely to have a little bay-beee round the place’ shtick, is to say, ‘Did I mention Leon’s the father?’ Then she can watch Hell-en disintegrate, like the Wicked Witch of the West under a power-shower. But Annette is clinging onto that excellent piece of gossip for dear life, presumably saving it for a more dramatic juncture.

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