The Archers – November 2010

A fascinating month in Ambridge this time out, with lots and lots of little bits and pieces helping to set things up for Christmas, and keep the longer storylines bubbling along nicely. I have no idea how I’m going to cover this all in a reasonable space, but let’s just dive right in.

Ed, Emma, Will and Nic

What used to be a complicated love triangle has now become more of a hate quandrangle. Ed and Will are still at loggerheads whenever they bump into each other. Emma is wary of getting involved with anything to do with Will, but Nic is keen for them all to get along nicely.

After shouting at each other about blocking the lane for the second time, the boys found themselves forced to be nice to one another after the seating plans for the Young Farmer’s Ball threw them together. Nic managed to swerve a disaster or two, and generally held them all together. Who would have thought she would be so capable, after appearing so meek when she first moved to the village?

Buoyed by the success, Clarrie has asked both sides to visit on Christmas Day. This sounds like a recipe for disaster, if ever I heard one. I am enjoying the relationship between Clarrie and Nic, though, who seem to be getting on really well. Nic went back and bought the pashmina for her potential mother-in-law, although goodness knows when Clarrie would have a chance to use it. It sounds like they have fun at the WI, too. It was good hearing Nic so angry at the food labelling talk – I’ve been hearing a lot about that on Farming Today, and it’s good to spread the word!

The Panto

It was all so very obvious as Lynda struggled to find her leading men/women. How very convenient that everything fell into place to allow Harry and Fallon to fill the two main roles. They’ll be looking into each other’s loved up eyes during a musical number before we know it. Having said that, it was all a bit awkward when they were trying to organise some one-on-one rehearsal time. Either Harry isn’t aware that Fallon likes him, or he’s too shy to do anything about it – whether it be to take the initiative, or tell her he’s not interested. He hasn’t really come across as the shy type.

They were having quite a lot of fun rewriting the script and winding Lynda up though.

I did so love it when David, frustrated at being talked into a small panto part, said: “Why can’t I ever say no to that woman??” You could hear the gritted teeth, and Ruth falling about laughing.

At first, I liked hearing Sabrina referenced a lot in the panto rehearsals, it really felt like the silent character was in the room, rather than just being talked about as is so often the case. However, then she was supposedly stomping about, and I’m sure I heard a meow, and she was certainly sobbing after getting covered in wallpaper paste. I’m less keen on hearing peripheral noises of a silent character. It takes some of the magic away.

Brookfield

Pip is back in the centre of things once more. She’s practicing a hymn for her grandma, taking driving lessons from David (apparently she drives too fast as a result of having driven tractors too long – are tractors that fast?), and she’s eyeing up Felpersham University. She’s suddenly bucked up her ideas regarding the farm, taking a very big part in training up a show cow, getting up early just like her mum, and coming up with lots of marketing ideas to erm, beef up their beef sales. It’s good to hear her motivated and not pining after Jude – who even got a dismissive mention. She’s well and truly over him.

Stir Up Sunday was particularly poignant, as it was the last time we heard Phil Archer speak, and Pip’s hymn surprise for her grandma was also a nice tough.

What is Kenton Up To?

He’s being awfully nice to Jolene. It’s bizarre. I get that people are rallying round her in her time of need, and that’s lovely. He may also have a bit more knowledge of what she’s going through, having just lost his dad. But he donated £100 worth of fireworks to the Bonfire Night cause, for no apparent reason. He went up to check on her when she was watching TV to get away from what was Sid’s Night. He took her to the wholesalers, he’s organising all kinds of leaflets for her, I’m just a bit suspicious. Where has this new-found friendship come from, and where is it going?

At the other end of the spectrum, he seems to have completely blown it with Jamie. It’s good to hear him say he won’t give up, but I’m not sure what he’s going to be able to do. It’s also good not to have heard from Jamie or Kathy too much recently.

Tony, Pat, Tom and Helen

Talking of Kathy, she seems to be spending most of her time round at Pat’s lately. I find that odd, considering she spent most of the last few weeks unable to bring herself to leave Jamie alone for a minute. Now she’s round for dinner at the Archers most nights, watching films, and falling asleep on their sofa. Very odd.

Tony tends to want to steer clear of Kathy, indulging her to start with but getting mighty frustrated at her constant presence. He feels he can’t relax in his own home, and is bored of all the talk about Jamie (aren’t we all!?) Instead, he prefers to go to the pub, or the race night, and generally steer clear of things at home. It’s not just Kathy he’s got on his mind either, as Helen’s pregnancy is becoming more of a topic, he’s getting more frustrated at the idea.

At the beginning of the month, Helen was blooming. She was handing out stretchmark oil to Emma, counting the calories, doing yoga and step aerobics and all manner of other things. She talked to Emma about the details of labour, and went on and on about birth plans, as though Emma hasn’t already had a child of her own. These were all the worrying signs that Helen was overdoing it, and despite protests from everyone around her, she kept on working hard. After hurting her knee, she took up swimming, and only when forced did she take a day off. Of course, Helen’s idea of a day off entails painting the skirting boards. Unreal.

It was all leading up to something, and after visiting the midwife, Helen was told her baby was “small for dates.” I don’t know much about babies but I can gather that means it might not be growing as well as you’d like. Helen thinks it’s all her fault, and Pat comforts her. Later, Tony tells Pat what we’re all thinking – that she has been overdoing it. Perhaps this will be the wake up call Helen needs.

I must say, that episode was particularly good. Having sat through all Helen’s neurotic behaviour when it came to Annette, I was dreading what it would be like with this. It’s all starting to come together though, with a fascinating story and some outstanding work from the actors. When Helen was revealing her fears that everything goes wrong for her, and she wanted to control this one thing, I really felt for her. I was annoyed at Pat for comforting her without offering any constructive advice, but then when Pat was later upset talking to Tony, I really felt for her too.

And I have a heart of stone.

My only complaint is how very convenient it is that Amy the midwife has returned, just as Helen is having a wobble.

Let us finish with a few quick bits:

  • Who is this Uncle Lord Netherborne that Caroline is going on about? Is he important? He’s getting a lot of airtime for someone we have never heard of before.
  • I did not like Brian when he was happy to drink whisky upstairs, leaving Kate and Jennifer to host Ruari’s party. Poor kid. It’s also disturbing to see him cosying up to Annabel.
  • I have never heard of orf. It’s a funny word. Not a funny disease at all.
  • Peggy was happy to tell anyone and everyone about Conn. I bet she goes over to visit him soon. Although she may not be able to leave her cats. Bill is getting quite a lot of airtime at the moment!
  • The speech from the ex-soldier was great, but I was slightly disturbed by the fact that it was Sean from Silver Street.
  • It turns out Freddie isn’t all that smart, and Nigel wants to give him extra maths lessons over Christmas. For once I am siding with Elizabeth that the boy needs a break!