Tag Archives: Phoebe

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.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Radio, The Archers

The Archers: Ambridge Extra

Half-way through listening to the new Ambridge Extra thingy, I realised my teeth were all tense. Odd, I thought. My teeth are normally quite relaxed when I listen to the Archers. Then it hit me like the Rophynol someone had clearly slipped into Alice’s lager: I can’t stand the young people of Ambridge. I can tolerate them only if they are leavened by the over 25s. They’re all unlikeable and operate on one note: stroppy (Jamie, Josh), whiny (Alice), or boring (Pip, Daniel, Chris, Ben). The only properly rounded character is Phoebe, who has just buggered off to South Africa specifically to avoid being in Ambridge Extra.

All together now: 'Dum di dum di dum di dum...'

Other than her, they all make my teeth tense. And this extra thing was all. About. The. Young. People. I don’t want to speculate knee-jerkingly about why the P That B thought this was a good idea. Yes I do. Obviously they think there is a breathlessly waiting market out there of 15-23 year olds desperate for a Skins-style Archers spin-off. So in the first episode we have (checklist at the ready please, Mr Stereotyped Brainstorming Man in Whacky Braces and Big Blue Glasses):

Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under Radio, The Archers

The Archers: Teenage kicks

Assuming the Archers keeps going for the next sixty years – and short of international apocalypse, it will – I thought it timely to produce a brief guide to the Ambridge teenagers. They’re the next generation after all, and one day they will carry the major storylines, god help us. So if you don’t know your Daniel from your Jamie, your Pip from your Squeak, here’s my handy who’s who, to help ensure the longevity of your listening pleasure.

LEAVE ME ALONE ALL RIGHT

Jamie Perks. Age 15. A Troubled Young Man with an authentic grunt, Jamie’s been through the wringer. First his dad died. Then he realised with a start that his mother was the moaniest woman in Borsetshire. Finally, and worst of all, he inadvertently walked in on Kenton snogging Jolene. Jolene is Jamie’s alt-mum, being fun and attractive and basically everything Kathy isn’t. Thus Jamie inadvertently witnessed a true, if complex, primal scene: the father figure who’d abandoned him, in amorous congress with the mother he wished he’d had. It’s no wonder he occasionally bunks off school and trashes bird hides (Ambridge bus shelter equivalent).

  • Most likely to: Play loud music to drown out Kathy’s nagging, and tell Kenton what a LOSER he is.
  • Least likely to: Say, ‘would you like a hand with the dishes mummy darling?’
  • Most important contribution: Telling Kathy to leave him alone. He speaks for us all.
  • Where will he be in ten years time? Either working for a computer games company or in prison.

Daniel Hebden. Age 16. Unpopular, as befits a child of Shula’s. Used to be bezzie mates with Jamie, till Jamie dumped him for being boring. What took you so long, Jamie? Unlike his ex-friend, Daniel’s lucked out with the step-fathers: Alistair, despite being a dark brooding gambler, is a jolly good dad. Shula fussed infuriatingly over Daniel when he was a toddler, leaving him with a legacy of arthritis and congenital annoyingness. Being a teenager hasn’t helped him become any more likeable, but he has one saving grace: his grandfather Jim, who is gradually de-Shula-ing him.

  • Most likely to: Bang on about wildlife.
  • Least likely to: Become popular.
  • Most important contribution: Jim’s influence on him means Shula is in a permanent state of outrage. Thank you, Jim.
  • Where will he be in ten years time? Could take over his Dad’s veterinary business. Will always have a tough time in relationships till Shula dies, then will suddenly be released and marry a porn star.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Radio, The Archers

The Archers: Dodgy sexual politics in Ambridge?

Listening to The Archers omnibus this morning, I found myself getting increasingly incensed by the appalling mothering of Kate and loony behavior of pregnant Helen, having a right old go at a bewildered Tony, as she threw her metaphorical steriliser out of the pram (and since I imagine she plans to breastfeed, I was confused that she even bought one, especially since it sounded, via radio, to be bewilderingly huge). I even tweeted about it.

Then a friend, and fellow omnibus listener called, and said how cross she was that the writers are ‘presenting women facing difficult choices’ as being so crap and so mad. ‘Oh bloody hell yes, it’s not real,’ I reminded myself hastily, and deleted the draft emails to Social Services.

So I contacted the Diva of Archers blogs, Qwerty, (and the reason, after a ten-year absence, that I even listen to the show again) who gave me permission to trespass on her regular Pauseliveaction patch and have a rant. Please bear in mind I’m not as regular or attentive a fan as her.

But this morning, after pausing for thought, I did feel my friend has a point. Helen and Kate are characters created by the writers of the Archers, and hells teeth, if you cease to be annoyed by how whiny, selfish, narcissistic, passive-aggressive and ghastly they both are and remember we are hearing the voices of actors, speaking lines written for them, you do start to wonder if there is some misogyny afoot.

The character of Helen (or ‘Hell-en’, as Qwerty calls her) is pretty unrelentingly unlikable. Could we not have an over-arching storyline about either her, or single parenthood, that does not start from the basis that someone choosing to have a baby on their own is not stark staring bonkers and thoroughly unpleasant to boot?

I know this is supposed to be a traditional, conservative rural community, but I’m still hacked off that, when Brian Aldridge brought home the child of his dead mistress, Jenny not only had to put up with the humiliation, she also seems to do all of Ruairi’s childcare.

Then we’ve got the gruesome Kate, the most careless mother in the world, leaving her offspring willy nilly across the globe, all of whom are distraught at her inability to keep her children on one continent at the same time.

Come on Archers writers, will you stop writing storylines that kick women in the teeth? Can we muster something good, positive, constructive? If you need a really good example of a show where women, and particularly older women (Candice Bergen as Shirley Schmidt), are written fabulously well, with lots of character, lots of power, lots of sex and chutzpah, go and watch Boston Legal. Then do please, buck up.

Posted by Inkface              (more Archers reviews/rants here)

6 Comments

Filed under The Archers

The Archers: Don’t kiss me, Kate

‘No! No!’ cries Mr Qwerty, backing out of the kitchen, hands clamped over his ears. Kate, who is back in Ambridge for a relentlessly long visit, was the cause of Mr Q’s permanent exile from The Archers. In the fifteen years since her troubled youth drove him to despair, he’s heard only snippets of the programme, commenting occasionally as he flits past, ‘What’s happened to Richard Lock?’ or ‘That doesn’t sound like the real Hayley’.

No, I said DON'T

Last week, I had to break the terrible news that Kate was back. He went quite pale. Now as soon as there’s so much as a whiff of dum-di-dums, he, like many a spouse, high-tails it out of the house, in terror of hearing Kate’s nasal whine. Fair enough. She is appalling. I’m only able to tolerate her myself if I have a large gin and tonic to hand, and if she’s counter-balanced by Hayley, saying sweetly, ‘Oh look! Phoebe must have liked that Mother’s Day card a lot, to get it for both of us.’

The script-writers must be in a particularly mean mood, for the other day they jammed both Kate and Helen in the same episode. Together. All that was needed for them to move seamlessly into the opening scene from Macbeth was for Pip to stroll in carrying a cauldron. Under the pressure, I finished one vat of Bombay Sapphire and cracked open the next. Helen was a-quiver with un-expressed resentment over Kate’s negligent uber-breeding. Kate meanwhile had come rather late to the notion that leaving her daughter on the other side of the world might have one or two minor repercussions.

I was surprised to find Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under The Archers