My 2018 Archers diary

I intend to update my Archers diary from time to time, especially when there has been a significant happening in this the world’s longest soap operate (began 1950), which has been going longer than I have. Anyone interested in my latest entries need to scroll to the bottom and work their way upwards.

While my heavier political etc. blog posts get ok readership, I find looking at the stats my Archers blog posts top the list in terms of number of hits. The Archers is a soap I began to follow in my teens and fifty years on I still follow. Forget about Coronation Street and Eastenders, there is only soap that has captured my imagination this past 50 years. The Archers has stood the test of time and is the only soap I follow these days, either live or on catch up via the Internet.

The recent memorable story line to capture my imagination (and others) is the domestic abusive relationship between Rob and Helen, which I have blogged about, and which headed my popularity list:

  1. The Archers, Rob Titchener and Domestic Violence
  2. The Archers: the Saga of Rob and Helen continues

It was compulsive listening, having all the ingredients of great drama, relating to real life issues, as we witnessed the story unfold, hoping the baddy (Rob) gets his just dessert and all the people he wronged, headed by his longsuffering wife (Helen) being either vindicated or compensated at the end. When that story came to an end after running for a few years, I was wonder what will replace it and captivate my interest. I then began my “The Archers – post Rob Titchener” blog, which I now draw a line under.

Besides recording many of the significant goings on in Ambridge and its surroundings, I was on a constant look out for but not finding story lines, like the Rob and Helen one, to keep me on tenterhooks. There have been many interesting story lines, as we might expect, and some more in keeping with the original “every day story of country folk theme” but nothing as yet to take over from where Rob and Helen left off. I am not convinced that what can now be better described as “contemporary drama with an edge in a rural setting” is for the better, with all sorts shenanigans taking place, is a change I would favour but as an Archers loyalist I take it on the chin. Story lines like Adam and Ian’s attempts to have a surrogate child or assorted scams or hanky panky going ons don’t quite fit the bill. I would have liked to see more substance in Oliver coming to terms with the death of his beloved Caroline but the one that comes closest is what happens next as a result of Pip’s unplanned pregnancy. Great Pip is keeping the baby and not great Toby is not interested. Now many know, Jolene’s advice is right – tell the family!

We will wait and see of course and all that remains is to wish my fellow stalwart Archers fans interesting listening for 2018.

Update 07/01/18: Now David and Ruth know and while Pip’s pregnancy is a shock the big annoyance is the identity of the father: Toby – the least favourite person in David’s book. But in fairness they look like they are going to be supportive and now look forward to welcoming their first grandson into the world. The other big story, relating to Adam and (even more) Ian’s desire for a baby, has taken a new turn with Roy angry Lexi has been approached by Ian to be a surrogate mother. Of the two story lines, it is the implications concerning Pip’s pregnancy that interests me more (although I am not impressed with Ruth entertaining the termination option) and, as for the surrogate story, I would rather it just fades away.

Update 09/01/18: So it is two stories vying for our attention (besides the story of Joe’s cider) and both are to do with babies. Lexi is thinking seriously about being a surrogate and Roy is confused! Now Jill knows Pip is carrying Toby’s baby and after the unpleasant shock has come round to what is happening doing the good great grandmotherly thing – well done Peggy for talking sense into her.

Update 24/02/18: A reoccurring theme in my Archers related blogs is finding a storyline to replace that of the intricate going ons involving Rob and Helen. Last time I posted there were two that appeared promising: Pip’s pregnancy and Ian’s surrogacy, with the former intriguing and the latter irritating. Both have moved on – now everyone knows Pip is pregnant and the wonder of it all Toby is trying to be responsible. Ian’s hopes to have a child where he is the biological father has received a boost with Lexi agreeing to be the surrogate mother. It is now a matter of wait and see. Besides the normal sort of fare we are dished on the Archers there is the story of Brian’s contaminated land that looks to have a further twist. But out of the blue has come the sad, rapid and unexpected passing of Nic, William’s wife, having developed sepsis, which I found especially touching and well scripted and acted. The tragedy and human element with actors playing their characters well to type was well covered, especially Will, Eddie and Joe Grundy, and reminds us that life can never be taken for granted with how things can change so unexpectedly. While I liked it that Nik could say good bye to her children and tell Will she loved them all, I was sad about her torment at the end that she had been bad and wondered what it was she felt bad about and whispered to Joe. I look forward to what comes next, including finding out more about sepsis and reflecting on some of the whys and wherefores, mourning despite the fiction.

Update 05/06/18: All good intentions and all that … my idea of regularly updating my Archers diary hasn’t quite materialised but hey I am updating now. The stories I featured in my last Archers update have all moved on between “not a lot” to “a lot”. Other than Toby getting responsible and Pip’s pregnancy coming on nicely, there has been little other development and one awaits the outcome. As for the Adam and Ian (and Lexi of course) surrogacy story, not much has happened other than what has not happened – Lexi is still not pregnant, although not for want of trying, and the story has gone to the back burner for the time being. As for poor Brian – things have gotten worse and every time clear sky can be seen there is a set back. One wonders where it will all end and I can’t help feeling Brian has already paid a heavy enough price for his foolishness 40 years prior and it is about time for him to have a break. The most intriguing storyline is that involving Will, now without his beloved Nik and how he is coping (or not). I find Will to be an annoying character and his actions following Nik’s death has been true to character as he seeks to cope as a father of three children with the danger that the two he is not the biological father to will be given over to be looked after by the man who is. What is clear to all (but Will) is, despite a supportive family, he is not coping and as good a dad as he is those who suffer are the children. Lots of other stories that could well develop into something interesting, like the former love of Jazzer’s life coming back as the pig lady to the new pig unit at Barrow Farm. But there are two developments that I find particularly interesting and it is still not clear where all this will end. There is the separation of (fallen out of love) Shula from (don’t understand what is going on) husband Alistair. Then there are the two entitled youngsters, Freddie and Lily, with no Nigel (dad) to guide them any more. Freddie with his drug habit and getting in with the wrong crowd, and Lily falling in love with a right creep – her college lecturer. The time is nigh for the proverbial to hit the fan – fingers crossed, it won’t end in tears. I hope Pip will give birth and be a happy mum; Shula and Alistair will be reconciled; Brian will get get back on his feet; Will  gets enlightened; the strawberries get picked; the Ambridge cricket team win the league and pigs will fly.

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