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.
02/06/19: 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?
15/05/2019: 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.
30/04/2019: 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.
21/04/2019: 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.
02/04/2019: 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.
02/03/2019: 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.
25/02/2019: 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!
14/02/2019: 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.
24/01/2019: 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.
15/01/2019: 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.
05/01/2019: 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.