My 2018 Archers Diary (see here), which I updated from time to time, proved to be one of my more popular 2018 blog postings. It helped me to get off my chest my thoughts on the latest happenings in Ambridge, adding my own two penneth for any interested enough to want to take note!? I intend to do the same with my 2019 Archers diary, and wish fellow Archer’s fans many hours of happy listening.
So I come to my final posting in my 2019 Archers diary. I realise my entries have been a bit hit and miss and it has been two months since I last posted. Reasons include that in the main recentepisodes have just chugged along – interesting maybe but not earth shattering. Besides, other things have occupied me but invariably I have found time to follow episodes, often on catch up, and that included the month abroad when the Archers was not available. What I want to do in this final installment is to run through many of the main characters including new ones and to give my highlights and lowlights and awards, including my last champagne moment
… which goes to Clarrie Grundy for kissing Eddie under the mistletoe after a highly successful and no doubt lucrative “Grundy world of Christmas”, especially when to start with Eddie was not keen to go ahead, partly given dad Joe’s recent death and a feeling of hopelessness. Harrison proved to be a surprise but effective Father Christmas and almost won my champagne moment. Having been subject to years of disappointments with Grundy fortunes, the latest being Ed’s loss of Emma and Will’s loss of his children, it is lovely to have good news for a change, and the icing on the cake was when a somewhat merry Oliver announced that the Grundys could stay on at Grange Farm. As for the boys with their various trials they look good as the year end approaches but promises for more twists next year. I had thought when this year begun that the family to watch would be the Pargetters, but while Elizabeth’s mental health, Freddy in prison and Lily with horrible Russ were cliff hangers from last year, the expected fireworks weren’t quite as hoped for this year and so, as for my family of the year award, it goes to always good value, the Grundy family, now sadly minus Joe, the biggest loss in the year.
Families do play a part – after all my favourite soap is named after one – the Archers, of which there are several branches. David and Ruth and Tony and Pat have been relatively tame despite featuring in many of the episodes and despite faults and foibles are decent and dependable. David remains Mr Grumpy especially when it comes to Justin, who I will get to and Ruth is Mrs Sulky although the object of her sulkiness daughter Pip she is ok with right now. Their offspring continue to make their mark – Josh’s mysterious involvement in a bank robbery (yet to be resolved), Tom ruining the family Christmas by having a go at Joy and Helen’s on off relationship with Lee, currently on, and not to forget grandson Johnny who has learnt what it is to be let down in love. As for other Archer family members: Elizabeth coming out of her depression, Shula adjusting to her divorce well it seems and well on her way to becoming a vicar and Kenton being Kenton, now covering up his hit and run on annoying peacock, Eccles. As for Tony’s side: Lillian and Jennifer can be relied on for fun and drama. As for the two matriarchs, Jill and Peggy, despite old age they remain a formidable presence. Brian is nicely settling into a wise and even kindly older statesman role and it is nice to see son Ruari now playing a decent part in the story. While I am glad other son Adam along husband Ian are turning into doting dads, Lexi’s surrogacy was not a story I particularly enjoyed.
When it comes to villains, the Archers can always boast their fair share. Vince clearly drives a hard bargain and rubs it in like Matt did before him but yet to shine in the villainy stakes. That can’t be said of his arch rival, Justin, who having taken David on a ride regarding the abattoir, has managed to stitch up daughter Pip and team on the re-wilding scheme, all in the name of business, aided by ambitious yet naïve Phoebe yet to be reconciled to Pip because of her actions. Alf is a villain to be sure, but has shown his lovable side as he quietly rode in the sunset. Hannah is a scheming ***** and continues to undermine Neil; no doubt her time will come. I ought to mention Lily’s boyfriend, Russ, whose narcissism alone qualifies him as a villain. But here, if I were to take a punt – Kirsty’s boyfriend, Phillip’s just arrived son Gavin strikes me as being a wrong ‘un, trying persuade dad to part with ten grand to help fund his overseas wedding – decidedly selfish methinks – it will be interesting to find out how Phillip responds and not get irritated if he gives in. While he has not done much yet Gavin gets my villain of the year award.
But the Archers always brings out heroes too. There is Oliver of course, not only letting the Grundys stay on at Grange Farm despite not being able to pay the going price rent wise, but always batting for the underdog and outsider e.g. when it came to hiring Freddy and Tracey. But my award for this year’s hero of the year goes to Jazzer who noting that Jim’s ghost story evenings looked as they were going to flop with hardly anyone booking the first night has become a roaring success thanks to Jazzer taking extraordinary steps to get the punters in, including from the old folk’s home. About Jim, he gets my character of the year award, not just for telling ghost stories, which I look forward to listening to, but for coming to terms with past demons and captivating me when he opens his mouth with sage advice articulately expressed. But it needs to be a joint award along with Tracey, who has given me many laughs and explains why I am an Archers fan. As for newcomer of the year, it has to go to Joy. Irritating and insensitive she may be, but she is lonely and is trying to come to terms with her situation as best she can, for she also means well and has a kind heart.
I am afraid there are inevitably omissions and many other Archer’s characters deserve a mention, but I must stop here. I end by wishing readers a Happy New Year and to join me with excited anticipation when it comes to what the Archers has in store for us in 2020.
As I reflect on three weeks of Archers listening my highlight has been the introduction of new characters, mostly in the baddie category. While she has been around for a while now, Hannah is doing a good job at being a right bitch e.g. in her undermining of and disrespect toward her boss, hapless Neil. Then there is Vince, now owner of the local abbatoir and knowing he has local farmers where he wants them and milking it! While not a baddie as such, more an annoyance, is Joy who is lonely but for all intents and purposes means well and has come up trumps finding Peggy’s cat from hell, Hilda, now with her litter of newly born kittens. Then there is not so lovable (unlike recently deceased dad, Joe) rogue, Alf, who has been quickly making his presence felt. While tempted to give my champagne moment again to Tracy for the revelation she has found a sugar daddy in Oliver, it has to go to Ruairi, and his exchanges with Elizabeth, and later with dad Brian and step mum Jennifer, regarding his late mum, Siobhan. As for what to look forward to, it has to be Jim Lloyd discharging a debt of honour and playing at the wake of recently departed Joe Grundy. I have to say, I will miss Joe and his unique approach to life and family and friends, but credit to the script writers given the way they handled his death.
By Friday Archer’s bombshell standards, tonights episode was tame. Even so, having been strung along by “it is only business” Justin, David is understandably righteously indignant, having discovered Justin’s failed bid was NOT to develop the abbatoir after all, who he soundly put in his place, but with Justin losing David now has dodgy Vince to deal with. And well done olive branch wife Ruth! I’m glad Jennifer has (I think) made her peace with Lexi, having seen sense thanks to Ian, as Lexi earlier sent Brian away (trying to please his wife) with a flea in his ear, thinking he could bribe her to leave the country, thereby leaving Xander behind. Not convincing and my unchampagne moment of the week. As for champagne, it has to go once again to Tracey, who has put full of himself Russ soundly in his place. I don’t normally post so shortly after the previous one, especially if drama content is not edge on your seat stuff, but I am now looking forward to an imposed week away from Ambridge, wondering what surprises will be in store when I get back.
I tend to update my diary whenever there is what I regard as a bombshell event in Ambridge. The recent happenings involving Ed, Emma, Will and, even though it seemed long ago, the scam involving Tim, did produce such bombshells as did recent happenings in the Pargetter family: Elizabeth, Lily and Freddy. Don’t get me wrong, there have been happenings like Will resigning his gamekeeper job to look after Poppy, much to the relief of Eddie and Carrie; Freddy landing a kitchen porter’s job at Grey Gables, nailing it with his offer to be Ian’s spy on his replacement chef rival while he is on paternity leave, and Lily chucking in uni and who knows what will happen next, and all possible indicators to the next startling turn of events, and then there is Joe who with the passing of the actor who played him has gone strangely quiet.
As for stand out story lines, I can think of two, although while creating points of interest neither are especially scintillating. There is the unlikely trio of Rex, Pip and Phoebe as the winning re-wilding scheme entry for Peggy’s favoured environmental project, but without making much progress to date given no land as yet and the annoying recurrence of Ruth going into sulk mode. The other is Ian and Adam have at last have their baby thanks to surrogate Lexi. While this was one storyline I had rather hoped script writers would ditch, I have to credit them for handling what is a controversial subject with various angles like Jennifer in anxiety mode and the way interested parties have dealt with the birth. I must admit though, I think Ian and Adam will make fine dads. I should mention a storyline that strikes me as having a lot of potential, involving Vince (reminds me a lot of Matt) and Justin who may find his comeuppance, not just with Vince but also David who he has insensitively led up the garden path, on taking over the abbatoir.
As for champagne moments, I have to cite two. The first is Oliver and Tracey going on an unlikely restaurant date to check out ideas of bringing theme evenings to Grey Gables. The other is nothing to do with current story lines but rather is a blast from the past. When you have been listening as long as I have, it brings back pleasurable memories to be reminded of old favourites from long ago, and these being passionately discussed among Archer’s fans. I refer to Nelson Gabriel (and dad Walter), who remain among my all time favorite characters. It reminded me why I (and others) love the Archers, even when despite less than convincing story lines.
Yet again the script writers have saved melodrama to Friday Archer episodes, maybe to help tie us fans over the weekend, being without an episode to feed our addiction. Last night it was Will and his gun that held centre stage, presumably with a view to top himself like his predeccessor gamekeeper or maybe to go after Poppy’s grandma to rescue the one person that gave his life meaning – not entirely sure but might assume the former. And Ed was in the frame too with the story shifting from Tim and Ed scam with Will putting his oar in, to Ed, Will and Emma triangle, not helped by Will trying to kiss Emma and Ed eeking the story out of her and being outraged. That Will is a nut job, few would argue, but he is undoubtedly disturbed, and how lucky he is to have supportive parents Carrie and Eddy. Arguably, Carrie did the wrong thing by involving suspicious grandma in looking after Poppy, albeit in an emergency. And just as I was coming to a view there was no-one in the Archer’s cast I liked, Eddy came up trumps and was magnificient in his role in handling a desparate situation. But I am less than convinced by the storyline, which to be sure has taken turns I did not expect. Just as I am with the other bigger than average (although imo somewhat depressing due to its divisive nature) story – Peggy’s wacky scheme to give half a million pounds for an environmentally friendly project to benefit future generations. The big thing to come out of it is the spate between Pip and mum, Ruth. Both have acted foolishly – Pip by not letting Ruth know she is helping a rival bid and Ruth going into her customary sulk mode, but gladly now are reconciled. I’m sure there are other stories, like what is happening to Jim, especially after Jazzers unwelcome intervention but that will have to wait to next update when no doubt there will be developments. Champagne moment has to go to Tracey yet again. I am undecided if it should be her and Susan’s reaction to the ghost at Grey Gables or her being sent away by holy Shula (following her wise counselling of Jazzer) with a flea in her ear after asking about exorcism as a way to rid the ghost. And then there is Jakob and Kate, an unlikely couple if ever there was one but as in physics (despite what Jakob says), unlikes do attract. O and I forgot, “bitchy” Hannah (there has to be a resident Ambridge villain after all); she is back in town to be just that!
The Ed and Emma storyline continues to run with the juicy stand off between “bee in her bonnet, righteously indignant” Susan and her best friend “I will stand by my boys come what may” Clarrie. After some tameish episodes, Friday’s was a bombshell that definitely got me going (probably why they leave such to the day before Archerless Saturday). I have no doubt the story will continue to run and the script writers well aware they are on a good one here will drop more bombshells in the weeks to come – will they (Ed and Emma) get back together and what will happen regarding the Tim scam now the van and dodgy fertilizer have been nicked back? But it is the return of Oliver, one of the few really likeable characters in the Ambridge cast, that has fascinated me. I like his posh, reassuring voice, pillar of the establishment credentials and that he is a genuinely decent chap, who now it seems has gone a bit soft in the head offering interviews to Freddie and Tracey for the receptionist job. I really felt the script writers have missed a trick as he was trying to come to terms with the death of his beloved Caroline, but maybe he will yet have an important part to play helping Ed get out of the hole that he / circumstances have dug for him? Just as an aside, I have difficulty in deciding whether to award this weeks champagne moment to Jakob for his reaction to Kate’s spiritual home massage services or Tracey for how she dealt with the noisy hen party ladies at the Bull.
I have to confess that it was not my intention to update my diary so soon after my last update, but the past week or so has been dramatic and emotionally draining. And I am not talking about Jazzer going to the police to report the person who had abused Jim Lloyd as a boy, which I dare say will have consequential fall out in weeks to come. Rather, I am talking of the story that we all knew would end in tears, and here I refer to Tim’s scam that had drawn in Ed (with it should be said Emma’s pressing), who is now unable to escape. Somehow I had reckoned it will end up as a cops and robbers story with Ed being the main sufferer from this sorry tale. How that side of it will end, who can say, but what I did not expect and nor did most Archers listeners, was the recent twists in the tale involving Ed, wife Emma and her idol, a house of her own, the buying of which we now know has all more than disappointingly fallen through and her chip on her shoulder at being poor when others are doing well and should be helping. It has certainly got fans agitated given the number of opinions voiced on Archers Facebook pages, keeping those who can stand it on the edges of their seats.
My own take is the story has an unconvincing ring. I don’t mean Ed being sacked by Adam for storing illegal pesticides but as a result of being jobless they can no longer get a mortgage and this has led to Emma going into a panic and begging the likes of Jim, Peggy and Ruth to lend them the money and getting the cold shoulder, and falling out with Kirstie and Fallon in the process, with the unlikely hero in all this is sister Tracey and Brian too for his sound counsel. But the drama value is high, if one can stand the emotion, and if nothing else the story gives insights into the characters involved, especially Emma and Ed. The upshot of yesterdays dramatic episode is the couple looking to part ways and this coming from Ed who has reacted against Emma’s nothing else matters but her dream home attitude and his own feelings in all this and view it is family that matters above anything else being shoved to one side. It would be tempting to give a view on the rights and wrongs of how everybody (probably half of Ambridge) has acted in all this but I will leave that to the many Archers fans, many who have already done so. It also occurs to me that while this is fiction, the situation which is presented typifies what often happens when couples separate, which is all very sad. But there is a lot more to come with this story and all we can expect now is the unexpected.
It is strange how one can listen to tame, innocuous Archers episodes as have been the case recently and then a bomb shell as tonight! I don’t claim special powers of prediction when I said the Tim scam that Ed has been involved with and can’t get out of was going to end in tears, but the question is how? At least from tonight’s episode we can see the end is in sight. The story line has still a twist or two to go but with the prospect of their dream home soon coming and a well earned bonus by boss Adam, it has suddenly gone pear shape for Ed, just like that! Tim wants to shift and sell the dodgy pesticide, insisting Ed helps, and now Will and Adam has found out what is going on. Sanctimonious Will wants to punch his brother for putting his son, George, in danger by the hit squad, and lying to him, and Adam has just sacked Ed because of the scandal should the scam be made public. Things can only get worse and that is the likely outcome to this not too convincing yet riveting story line. Fingers crossed that one of the twists will be a get out of jail free card for Ed, and in the meantime the wags are talking and we the Archers fans are keenly awaiting the outcome of this sorry affair.
It has been nearly two months since adding to my Archers diary. There is a good reason for that: I was away from Archers listening access for most of that period, and as for the rest of that time it has been catching up, and today I finally caught up. Having long periods away makes one realise things change slowly and except for one story line which I will get to, that has been so with the Archers. We are still waiting, sadly, for the tears, when basically decent Ed’s Tim scam involvement gets rumbled by the law. We still await to see whether Will is in the clear with dear Poppy, as Ian and Adam’s surrogacy outcome draws nigh, all is lovey dovey with Tom and Natasha, and “saintly” Shula is getting her faith back. Things have gone quiet on the Pargetter front and we are on tenderhooks as to what happens with Peggy’s award for the best idea of now any Ambridge resident to improve the local environment. But the biggie is Jim (the “Prof”) and his strange behaviour, which we now know is to do with him being abused as a boy and it coming to a head when seeing his abuser at his surprise birthday party. Like the Helen domestic abuse story, this one is designed to keep us gripped for the longer term, although imho it ain’t as good as the Helen and Rob story but even so very important and further evidence of the Archers writers obsession with psycho-drama.
Just listened to tonight’s episode of the Archers and it got no more exciting than Harrison getting a further sniff it was Jim who was the bunting prankster. I am about to be away from Archers listening these next 5 weeks so I thought I had better make an entry before I do and in keen anticipation of what will happen. Looking at the sizzling story lines, there hasn’t been too much development other than Natasha, all sweetness and light, is back with besotted Tom, but will it work out one asks? One nice thing for Tom though – he is the single wicket champ, getting one over Tracy no less. She has already managed to persuade Emma to chalk up credit card debt making one worry for the time that is surely soon when Ed gets further beholden to lucrative but dodgy work opportunities and done for his part in Tim’s scam. Sadly, imo, Adam and Ian’s surrogate baby storyline has come back again – one story I hope had died. And Kenton, thanks to help from mum has repaid David’s loan, but without good grace. As for other stories e.g. Freddie, Joe, Will and how Jim’s birthday surprise will turn out, we will have to wait. And funnily enough, one wonders about other Archers regulars e.g. Brian and Jennifer, and what they might be up to?
One of the fascinations of being an Archers fan is there are often, and it is certainly the case at this time, fascinating storylines on the go and it is not always easy to predict how they will turn out, which of course is the reason that keeps us hooked. The easy one to predict is Ed who has now teamed up with Tim and his scheme which as predicted is dodgy, upsetting Jazzer and his reputation of reliability in the meantime. I would have to lay short odds the next time he does a pickup that it will NOT end in tears. Talking of Jazzer, now he has the bit between the teeth to go for constructive dismissal, one wonders what next – I reckon he and Tom will make up and resume being best of mates and Jazzer (Jack) will continue to be Jazzer. Maybe not quite so easy to predict but only just is Tom’s relationship with Natasha that really does seem doomed barring an unforeseen miracle. As for Mia fleeing from Will to live with her dad, while one would like to sympathise with Will, the bereaved husband that is unable to cope, but with Mia leaving and ex mum in law threatening to give him a hard time over Poppy if he doesn’t pull his socks up is not a small part down to him being an a****** although one can’t help want things to resolve. And Freddie, still the pariah of the village – even salt of the earth Clarrie won’t do a freebie tour of hitherto unseen by the public parts of Lower Loxley, not wanting her young charges to be exposed to a druggie. But I really hope Freddie who is at least making an effort does get back on his feet such that rather turning in it dead dad Nigel will rise from the grave with delight. Leonard has been a bit quiet lately and I am still waiting to see he really is an international art thief rather than this benign old boy he purports to be. And Kenton continues to act according to type and sadly brother David still has to wait for his loan to be repaid. Great to see a typical charming cameo from Joe Grundy, who was caught napping when he wasn’t and showed gratitude being on given tea with sugar and a chocolate digestive – interested to find out how he will be written out of the script. My champagne moment though has to go to Tracy Horrobin for her sledging antics on the cricket field, not that I approve mind.
One of the sad events to occur since I last posted is that “Edward Kelsey, who played Joe Grundy on The Archers from 1985, has died at the age of 88”. There is no doubt that we have lost a fine actor whose cameo appearances in the Archers as this (for most of the time at least) lovable rogue with his farmers lung and rustic wisdom, were one of the highlights. Looking back on my 50 years as an Archers fan, my favourite characters have been Nelson Gabriel and Nigel Pargetter and they are about to be joined by a third, Joe Grundy, who as he has long prophesied is about to meet his maker (we know not yet – how). Thank you Joe, aka Ted.
So back to more mundane stuff… The highlight for me has been the passionate discussion on social media: who is the best/worst Natasha or Tom? While the jury appears out who that is, I sense on balance more agree with me and favour Tom (although I do find him infuriating), but both having glaring faults and taking the best of the comments may also have amazing qualities and all sorts of extenuating circumstances that make them the people they are. I could further pontificate but suspect those who commentate on social media may say it better, especially now that Natasha has walked out on Tom and we wait with bated breath to see how it all pans out. One salutary fact, and once again kudos to the script writers, is that one in three marriages end in divorce (although it is nice that Shula and Alistair have become quite friendly of late now the decree absolute is in) and the story line provides plenty of clues why this happened, and while I am not a big fan of Emma she did speak one profound truth – she and Ed are ok because they managed to work through their differences – maybe a salutary lesson to folk reading this who resonate with this story line.
Two recent developments that I have noted in my 50 years of following the Archers are:
- It has become more psychological. It is not just the likes of Elizabeth, Will and Helen having to come to terms with past trauma etc. (discussed earlier) but almost every character has a psychological screw loose and knowing this helps to keep us on tenterhooks when it comes to anticipating plot developments.
- Learning of the number of “saddos” (I always suspected existed and included myself in their number) who are avid followers and may well read this, evidenced by a large Facebook presence that feature opinionated fans, e.g. in groups like “Archers Appreciation”, who can dissect in fine detail all what is going on and offer deep insights that even offer alternative yet credible views. For example, I have long had Will down as a sanctimonious ****, an annoying nut job, but at least one contributor thinks quite differently, who sees him as a tragic heroic figure. This is in comparison with black sheep, was set to become a ne’er do well, brother Ed – now salt of the earth and veritable good guy, although scriptwriters are about to have a field day. Urged on by wife Emma, against his better instincts, Ed is now signed up to Tim’s dodgy scheme, which we all know will only end in tears.
So back to the show – it has been chugging along nicely thank you. Now the honeymoon period is over we are wondering still how it will turn out with Tom and Natasha. We now know she has added to her what else does Tom not know about her hidden activities e.g. in her confiding in her ex-lover, having been instrumental in Jazzer leaving over Tom’s (really Natasha’s) plan to get rid of the pigs. But then some fans see it differently – with Natasha the independent go-getter and Tom the hapless wimp. Freddy (I mean Freddie) is still an entitled pain we hope is redeemable, with touches of the Hooray Henry we long ago saw in dad Nigel. It seems that as with mum Elizabeth, and sister Lily, Nigel’s presence continues to loom – maybe he is the ghost of Lower Loxley. And Russ, having taken over from Rob as village villain in waiting, now officially made the Art man of the whole business enterprise, continues to intrigue as to what he might get up to next. I like the way Rory (I mean Ruairi – why do these pick these weird spelling names) is coming to the fore, having recently discovered girls. And Shula, having been called out by Jim as a sanctimonious hypocrite is now been lauded by him as she tackles her crisis of faith. More characters to ponder of course, which will wait to my next diary entry, but my champagne moment has to do with wet blanket Jakob. Apparently there is a human side to him after all. He was quite chatty with Chris Carter and opened up as to why he wasn’t for mixing business with pleasure, pointing out by way of example the unwanted attention of “I don’t do gossip”, Susan. Unbeknown to Jakob was that Susan is Chris’s mum, but then we long standing Archers watchers could have told him, given everyone in Ambridge is related somehow, but it takes time to suss.
When I last posted (a month ago) a number of psychological dramas were unfolding, leaving us on tenterhooks as to how these would pan out … Elizabeth’s depression, Will’s bereavement, Helen’s trauma and Freddy after jail. It is happening but only SLOWLY. Elizabeth is not yet over her depression but has perked up now Freddy is home. Will continues to grieve, using work as his escape. Helen still has not been able to be straight with Lee concerning her recoiling from him when love was on the cards. The interim answer to how being in prison has affected Freddy is he is still the same entitled spoiled brat he was before being imprisoned. Lots else is happening although none I put in the major category, but here are my highlights … Natasha is indeed more than she seemed on the surface – a profligate spendthrift who thinks money grows on trees and now showing more of her pushiness, in contrast to hapless, frugal Tom – one fears things will only get worse. As for Pip’s baby, Rosie, whether to christen (as not very Christian granddad wishes) or not, is causing friction, especially as certain parties, including Pip, recognize to go ahead is rather hypocritical if you don’t believe in God. Then there is poor Alistair, about to be bashed up by a pincer movement from money is all what matters Lovell James who has taken over his practice and new associate, cold, wet blanket Jakob. But since we mentioned depression, I couldn’t help feeling we could now do with a nice story line.
what is it about present Archer’s scriptwriters pre-occupation with plots having a strong psycho-analytical element? After all, we have had and are having: Elizabeth’s depression, Will’s bereaving and now flashbacks by Helen to do with her tumultuous past relationship with the evil Rob Titchener. While we never expected she be shot off it, at least any time soon, it has suddenly exploded. I am talking about new love of her life Lee choice of playlist music. He was not to know of course but it brought back such horrendous memories. Interesting to see how all this pans out and if there is a part to play for Elizabeth’s annoying depression counsellor to help her to confront her demons. That apart, the main development from last time is with the Grundy’s. I concur with Neil Kinnock, who once said the show could be renamed: “The Grundys and their oppressors”, and welcome story lines where the Grundys play a significant part. Things are looking up for Ed and Emma with work coming in and the prospect of their own home. And thanks to Tim, Eddie has a new van to replace his old one that died – but is Tim another to put in the maybe too good to be true category? And while things are not looking good when it comes to the prospect of having to move from their home because of not affording the rent credit goes to Joe, the one more likely to be affected, for recognising this is of lesser importance when compared with family. Champagne moments go though to thisdivaisnotpastit Jolene for her reaction to the various social media comments regarding her singing exploits.
As one would expect, all sorts of sub plots going on since I last posted. My favorite was Susan inviting herself round to Jenifer’s house and empowering her to clear a blocked sink much to Jenifer’s delight. My least favorite is the Adam, Ian and Lexi surrogacy story continues to rumble with Ian persuading Adam to put aside work and go out to Bulgaria to visit Lexi. And yet again, Eddie Grundy has had a spot of bad luck but still pressing on. And, sobering thought, it is Susan and Neils 35th wedding anniversary almost on us – united by that special understanding, and I remember them before they married. Elizabeth’s depression is getting better according to Elizabeth but the plot thickens now with Lily back with not particularly welcomed back Russ in tow. And no doubt there will be more twists and terms, including with Freddie’s return, soon to be released from prison. But the big development is the appearance of Mia, Will’s step daughter. aged 13 going on 23. Highlight so far is the anniversary of mum, Nic’s, death and the differing ways the two come to terms with their grief – visiting Sound of Music (Mia’s preference) or Nic’s grave (Will’s preference) bringing the two into conflict with Will being typically annoying, but he did later apologise and the conflict was resolved. Credit goes to the script writers – having sensitively opened up the subject of depression it is now doing similar with how different people come to terms with bereavement. And maybe congratulations to besotted Tom, on his surprise engagement with Natasha (to marry next week!) – albeit with mixed reactions from his family. The big question: is Natasha all what she seems? We will soon find out!
Things move on and romance is in the air (well it is Valentines day) – Helen and Lee and David and Ruth even and Jill and her toy boy and the Button girl and ? and Will and his mystery valentine … Lexi has moved back to Bulgaria leaving behind forlorn Roy and Brian now knows where he stands for past sins (hefty fine) and now is facing the prospect of more antics from his just returned prodigal daughter, Kate, and as for his son, Rory, now in the frame, we know not quite what to be expect but it looks as it will be interesting. But the big story is Elizabeth and her depression – now officially recognised and with psychological therapy (counselling). Depression is a serious subject and much as I like many want Elizabeth to pull herself together realise it ain’t that simple and that depression is an illness. Before I got to listen to last night’s episode on catch up, a friend, a fellow Archers fan, told me it was a weepie, and she was right. While the counsellor played her part in such a sensitive unravelling of Elizabeth’s past that began from birth and peaked with the loss of Nigel, I still found it a bit yukky. I look forward to finding out where the story goes and hope it will be rivoting and close to reality as that around Helen’s domestic violence, the central theme of the last major Archers story line. For many of us who have experienced depression, it is a big deal.
A lot going on since I last posted – Brian knows his court hearing date and to the consternation of wife, Jennifer, is going to plead not guilty; all sorts of happenings on Bridge Farm, notably around cows, veg boxes and Helen’s love life (as well as besotted Tom and now it seems Johnny too); an intriguing cameo with Alice trying to commit Home Farm to be the guinea pig for her AI project and being disappointed that strawberries will now no longer feature, village gossip concerning now pregnant Lexi and what next and, my favourite, Alistair doing well in his marathon. But if one were to predict who in Ambridge will take centre stage in 2019, the likely answer will be the Pargetter family, sadly missing dad, Nigel (if only he had not died, who is so missed). With Freddie banged up in prison and Lily back at uni along with loser boyfriend, Russ, focus is now on arse about face, albeit well meaning etc. mum, Elizabeth, and her DEPRESSION. I really hope she comes through it, although things look dark, and kudos to the script writers for taking on this important theme and hoping they will run with it.
I confess, since opening my 2018 Archer’s diary, I have been looking for some crash, bang, wallop story line to write about, and while there are stories nicely simmering just beneath the surface, waiting to explode, there is none that springs readily to mind. But then as an Archer’s loyalist, that is of little consequence, and there is enough tamer stuff that is going on to maintain interest. Even when I don’t get to hear an episode live (which is most of the time) I do eventually get to listen on catch up. Brian Aldrich and Kirsty Miller are like chalk and cheese and (unsurprisingly) they don’t hit it off and (tantalisingly) they are now next door neighbours. And we are not disappointed when fireworks erupt. Insensitive, caddish, roving eye, chase the bottom line Brian (who later apologised for crossing the line when having a go at Kirsty) and crusading, whinging, tree hugging, in your face Kirsty have had their ding dongs when their paths have crossed, and a truce might have been made but for well meaning, trying to make peace Jennifer putting a spade (or something) through Kirsty’s land and internet line. Actually, I quite like both Brian (who I feel sorry for knowing he is about to have his day in court for past transgressions) and Kirsty (who while sometimes getting it a**e about face has a heart of gold) and I can quite see why, with their widely different takes on life, they don’t quite hit it off. Hoping they might become best of friends is a bit much to expect, but I look forward to developments.
So here goes with my first entry of the year. And no fireworks yet or are there? Lily’s decision to remain home with still fragile mum Elizabeth, rather than return to uni, has rather put out boyfriend, Russ (where is that relationship going I wonder?) Talking of relationships going somewhere or nowhere, what about Helen and Lee, Henry’s karate teacher? And sadly Tom, now with matching tattoos to (it seems to be going well with) Natasha, hasn’t started the year off well with Lexi, but who is in the right, but more to the point, what will be the fall out from this fall out? My highlight so far is Eddy winning the best story teller award for Lynda’s Canterbury Tales production, which I look forward to listening to tonight. The big question is what is in store for this year? I am loathe to make predictions here and expect there will be surprises, which is why this Archers fan continues to listen with expectation.