The Archers – April 2011

This month saw the debut of The Archers spin-off show Ambridge Extra, focusing on the lives of some of the younger and further afield inhabitants. I was excited about the show, then I was a bit put off when I saw some of the reviews who said it was like the Ambridge take on Skins. However, when I listened, of course, it’s The Archers, so it’s really not at all bad. It’s just like an extra couple of episodes a week, although with less concentration on sticking to the specific day of broadcast.

My only complaint, in fact, aside from the slight problem of not liking Jamie one little bit, is the theme tune. Why is it Irish?

Now, on with the adventures from Ambridge in April.

A new job

Elizabeth finally plucked up the courage to ask Roy if he’d like to stay. Hayley was apparently all for it, and it would be handy for them both working in the same place. I wonder if they have really put a lot of thought into the whole “working in the same place as your husband” thing. It doesn’t work for everyone.

There was a brief bit of angst where Elizabeth told Caroline face to face and the latter was polite enough to her face, but was practically holding back a swearword or two when left alone. Then in the next breath, she was over it. So all is well again. Roy has a new job with more money and more responsibility, Elizabeth can relax a bit, and Caroline is taking the opportunity to do more work. Only Oliver is left annoyed at the situation.

Questions about plants

There was a big kerfuffle in the village when they were confirmed as hosts for a round of Gardener’s Question Time. I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what that is, and I wasn’t that interested in this storyline at all. The culmination appeared to be a lot of huffing and puffing from Vicky and Lillian as the pair were locked out of the hall so that Joe Grundy’s mistletoe scheme wouldn’t be found out. My only question, then, is was this always planned when the mistletoe story began, or is that a happy coincidence?

Baby Keira

Talking of Grundy’s, there’s a new addition to the brood as Emma gave birth to baby Keira Susan. Interesting name. Interesting family dynamic she has been born into! Naturally, the two grandma’s were cooing over the baby, but Will was not so keen. Big surprise. George wasn’t that happy either, becoming quite the little brat within minutes of gaining a sister. You can’t blame him though. She stole his thunder by arriving on his birthday, and George does have a father quietly seething over the situation as well. He must be picking up on the vibes.

I thought it was particularly moving to hear Clarrie’s concerns that George and Keira could end up like Will and Ed. She tried to hand out some advice, but in the end, Will got it into his head that the best idea would be for he and Nic to have a baby as well. Riiight.

Jamie – moving out and moving in

And now, it can be avoided no longer, the Jamie storyline. Young Master Perks has dominated proceedings this month, starting when he had one bust up too many with Kathy, and stormed off to stay at the pub. Jolene does seem far more reasonable than his mother, but even she draws the line at him staying up till all hours and missing shifts when he’s promised to help out.

Fallon agrees to keep Kathy informed of what her son is up to, but things get worse and worse. He finds a nice girl but lets his friends ruin it for him. Eventually, he disappears completely, eventually returning to the pub and after Kathy apologises and essentially offers a truce, he moves back home. Perhaps that can be an end to it? For now anyway.

Jolene has plenty of her own concerns to worry about, flitting off to Monte Carlo for an Easter break with Kenton. Fun and games, I’m sure, but he convinced her to give up smoking, which she found pretty tricky. She did say it’s worth it to be with him, so despite the fact that quite a lot of the village are gossiping about them, and Jill is particularly disapproving of their union, they seem quite solid.

The rest

Other bits and bobs this month include David spiralling down further into grumpiness, with his family starting to wonder if he’s got Post Traumatic Stress. Brian finds himself more than relieved to have Jennifer back from South Africa, and the extended family are forced to look at Phoebe’s safari photos. Ted and Peggy are friends again, thanks to the new nurse. Leonie and James are an item, which is just weird because I don’t know much about either of them but they clearly know each other. Oh, and Daniel wants to do work experience with Usha, which might bring the rivalry with Shula to a head again.

Ambridge Extra

The Extra episodes this month gave plenty of backup to Jamie’s issues. He and his so-called friends hang out a lot, and they convince him he should be stealing alcohol from The Bull. Meanwhile, Daniel is a lot more sensible, and it’s clear that Jamie needs to look up to him as a good influence, instead of listening to his idiot friends.

Pip had the beginnings of a storyline, when she and Spencer shared a kiss during the Royal Wedding. Spencer’s brother Steve (one of Jamie’s bad friends) was a bit weird in the first couple of episodes, and sounded like he had an ulterior motive, but so far it has come to nothing.

The main body of the stories revolve around Alice and Chris. A video of her dancing and drunkenly flirting with a random guy put a strain on their relationship, but they patched things up. More of a strain will occur when Chris finds out that Alice has lied to the police for her friend Chaz. An all round bad guy, extorting money out of people via some dodgy loan scheme, Chaz also uses the creepy phrase: “Good girl” to Alice, when she does as he asks.

She pretended to be his girlfriend and confirmed they were together all night, to provide an alibi for an assault on the guy she had been flirting with in the aforementioned video. This can only end well.