Tag Archives: Nigel

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: On the telly

Don't look! You might accidentally see what David looks like... too late.

I hadn’t seen this Arena programme when it first aired in 2007, and wondered what the Archers would be like on the telly. Turned out that, for the first half hour anyway, it was exactly the same as on the radio. Fearing the wrath of the famously militant listeners (many of whom are currently demanding the head of Vanessa Whitburn), the programme-makers tiptoed round, unwilling to show us any actors. Snatches of dialogue were in audio only, played over stock shots of the countryside. It was still vaguely interesting, though the programme focused too much on the Ruth-Sam story which feels as though it were a hundred years ago, what with people falling off roofs and cursed brooches. You’d think being the Archers they might have stuck in one of their much-admired and clunky ‘topical inserts’ and mentioned poor old Nigel, but no.

Incidentally, am I the only one bored to the back dentures by Stephen Fry’s ubiquitous narration? He’s so effing cosy and complacent, his mouth full of moist fruit-cake. I wish they’d got someone more edgy for the voice-over. Like Alan Bennett.

There were only a handful of really good bits in the first half of the programme. One was when we got to see the exciting story-board conferences. How I would love to be one of those writers! (Vanessa I’m available, I have some great ideas for how to get rid of Kate). Another was when a scene-stealing perky blonde woman, I’m afraid I missed her name, showed us round the sound-effects (marigold gloves for udders; bicycle pump for champagne corks; a board with all the different houses’ doorbells).

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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: 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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