The Archers – August 2013

Another month has magically flown by both in reality, and in Ambridge.

Rob and Tom had dinner, much to Pat’s disapproval. What would she think if she learned about Helen’s real relationship with Rob? Meanwhile, Tom got all over-eager, based on Rob’s advice and Kirsty’s Twitter campaign – she’s turning into the new Brenda, meals with Tom, marketing ideas, etc. But Bellingham’s don’t want to increase their order, and Tom may have jumped the gun. For a change!

At Brookfield, David was teased for toppling some grain and found himself rescued by Brian and some kind of grain sucker. He and Pip had a blowout about the future of the herd (particularly as the mega-dairy is starting to roll into action), and then Pip departed for pastures new… for a bit.

Meanwhile, after an initial awkward phase, Helen and Rob couldn’t keep their hands off each other. Helen even made up a jewellery making class to attend twice a week. I don’t know. I think if you get to the point that you’re buying handmade jewellery to pass off as your own so your mother doesn’t suspect you of having an affair with a married man that she hates… you’re probably going down the wrong path. Equally, Pat and Tony have been far too lenient about babysitting. From the occasional night here and there to suddenly twice a week on a regular basis? Taking advantage, much?

Oliver whisks Caroline away on a holiday to Italy, but not before employing a temporary manager to be in charge in her absence. That succeeds in putting Lynda’s nose out of joint, and there’s no prizes for guessing that something bad will occur at Grey Gables while the pair are away.

Martyn has been hounding Kathy non-stop, and whilst his attitude continues to be repulsive, she’s not exactly helping her cause. Someone was stealing money from the till and she didn’t notice. Dropping optics, and letting Martyn walk all over her. Now she’s taken up swimming at Grey Gables a lot to destress, which places her nicely at the scene to help out when the management issues arise. I’m intrigued by where this storyline is headed.

It was sobering to hear Shula stumble across Darrell at the homeless shelter, craving nothing more than a hot meal and a blanket or two. How quickly things turned around for him, how easily things can go wrong.

On the lighter side, there were flower problems galore, as Jennifer hired one of the pickers to tend her garden, only to find he sprayed her precious roses with weed killer. To celebrate their anniversary, Alan kindly brought Usha’s prize roses into the house as a present. I find it slightly odd that he wouldn’t have known they were not to be touched, but it’s still quite funny.

Lily is a bridesmaid for Kenton and Jolene’s wedding. I thought Freddie handled himself well, politely declining the pageboy role. Elizabeth offers up Lower Loxley at cost to host the wedding, and Jamie gets to be best man. There are big rows over the guest list, I did think Fallon lost her temper with them far too quickly, but she made up for it with her reaction over Jolene’s dress – once they found it. The big news is that Meriel is coming over for the wedding but that Mel managed to invite herself too. What with that and Kathy mooching about, there are fun times ahead!

Lilian finally admits that Anthea is very good at what she does and they come to a grudging understanding. Enough that Lilian can drop everything and dash off to London. It’s a wonder Amside is still in business, it really is. That brings me on to Ambridge Extra, which I would normally write about. But in all honesty, I gave up listening earlier in the month. Blah blah Brenda smooching her new and not-to-be-trusted beau, Matt going on and on AND ON about the phone and the contract. It feels like they’ve been faffing about for ages. Hopefully anything important will filter back to the Archers proper, because Extra this series has really not done it for me.

The Archers – July 2013

Let’s start with the good news – Kenton and Jolene are getting married! Such a lovely couple, they are, and it was so much fun hearing David worrying that Kenton was getting itchy feet. It was the exact opposite, and over a packet of cheese and onion crisps, he asked that crucial question. Lovely stuff. Fallon was brilliantly supportive, and hopefully Meriel won’t be too bossy, although purple is a good choice of colour.

Brenda finally snaps and quits her job at Amside. It was quite fun hearing Lillian trying to cope on her own, and even more amusing to have the temp show her up for the lazy, messy and laxadaisical boss that she is. Ambridge Extra holds most of the other side of this story, with Brenda flitting off to Russia to help Matt out with a dodgy investment. Last I heard, Matt was staying with a the family who have robbed him of his money and still hoping he can get it back. It all seems rather far-fetched, and I do feel sorry for those sticking solely with The Archers. The catch-up explanations can be very tedious, particularly as Extra was supposed to be just that, Extra information that didn’t particularly impact on the main show.

Pip is suddenly being incredibly reasonable, looking after the farm so her parents can have a holiday and checking they can spare her for her second temporary assignment. They can’t but they let her go anyway. This girl’s ability to be considerate flashes on and off like a light switch. Typical teenager!

The final cow left Bridge Farm which meant Pat could turn all her negative energy on something else, or in this case somebody else. She’s so blatantly disapproving, that if Helen were a bit younger, it would be a case of driving them together by trying to keep them apart. As it is, Helen has managed to get herself into a relationship with Rob, they seem like a great couple except for the small problem of Rob’s invisible wife Jess. She won’t come to Ambridge, so it looks like Rob is simply finding a replacement! It would be nice for Helen to find a bit of happiness for a while, but she’s so independent and this is such a sticky situation, it can’t possible come out well, can it?

Caroline continued to get more tired and stressed and overworked until eventually her body gave in. The doctor diagnosed it as shingles, which meant Caroline was confined to bed rest. Even Lynda wouldn’t tell her anything about work when she popped by for a visit. Presumably this is a wake up call for Caroline that she does need to finally replace Roy, but who can they get for the role? The obvious choice is Brenda… but she’s in Russia. Perhaps Kathy is about to get the sack from the golf club – nosy Martin is digging into the books – and she could come back to the village to help.

Emma tries to distract George from religion by buying him seeds and roping him off a garden. When that doesn’t work, she decides to go with him to church instead. The competitiveness between Emma and Nic is building again, I dread to think what it will be like when the baby arrives. Nic wasn’t happy with everyone telling her what to do, which was an overreaction and a half when they were trying to avoid night leg cramps. Was her old partner totally controlling? That might explain some of it.

Also related to the church, there have been fundraising events all over the place, swishing, a donation from a long-lost relative and now a silent film-night. What with that and the Highland games, Ambridge has been a bit of an entertainment hub this month! Next month is bound to be quieter… isn’t it?

The Archers – June 2013

Can it only have been the start of June when Lillian was desperately trying to contact Paul and not getting any response? It feels like so long ago that she was finding out just how grumpy Paul could be, and then before you know it, he is dead. It’s slightly disappointing that we didn’t get to hear a big showdown with Matt revealing he knew all about it, but having said that, it’s also been interesting hearing his manipulation of Lillian as she goes through her own secret grief.

Jolene has been a rock for Lillian, particularly as it can only have reminded her of Sid. And in turn, Kenton has been super-supportive of Jolene. They’re a lovely couple.

What is the mystery behind Rob and the absent wife Jess? He’s coming across as a very capable chap, learning how to deal with Brian, and trying to ingratiate himself with the locals even if they don’t agree with the mega-dairy. Meanwhile, he’s busy flirting with Helen and avoiding questions about the missing spouse.

Emma or Tracey as replacement for Elona. Jennifer has a clear favourite but Emma is very cheeky to assume she can bring Keira. Emma stamped her foot a little when she found out that George was praying and asking if guinea pigs had souls. I actually agree with her on this point that, whilst it may be a phase, Nic probably should have asked her about church first. Emma has to deal with a lot of the questions, after all. But she also complained that Nic was sucking up to Clarrie with her church-going, flower-arranging goodness. Ed, brilliantly, told her to stop moaning about it and do something about it. This jealousy is building up nicely to the birth of another Grundy. Goodness knows what will happen then.

Pip passed her exams, thank goodness. Hopefully she can disappear off on her placement and clear her mind. Although, as much as I think Pip’s attitude of late has been awful, her parents do seem to be playing favourites with Josh currently. I seem to recall Pip getting a rollicking for not being present at a family birthday, but Josh is off selling eggs and that’s okay. Although he’s got himself into hot water on that front anyway, signing up for more farmer’s markets than Hayley and Neil can cope with.

Clarrie went completely mental, and there was a bizarre if slightly amusing storyline surrounding Jazzer spying on Christine, lying to Clarrie and getting free food out of the bargain. Come flower festival day, Clarrie’s gone way over the top, whilst Christine’s minimalist design wins the day. That should teach Clarrie not to act so out of character.

The cows get sold. It was a well-handled episode, and a momentous event, obviously, but leaves little to say about it – everything has already been said, time to move on!

Caroline is overdoing it, and Oliver is getting grumpy. She did promise it would only be for a few months (was it six?) and it’s been forever. Something will break soon though, whether it is mind, body or relationship.

Jim winding Jennifer around his little finger, first toying with her, then making it seem like he apologised when he wasn’t at all sorry.

Jamie joining the Ed and Jazzer sheep-shearing team. They want to do more work together but splitting the money three ways can’t appeal to greedy Jazzer though, surely?

Brenda is getting under everyone’s feet staying with Hayley and Roy, and knows she has to move out. If she doesn’t take this opportunity to leave for the bright lights and big city, then she’s crazy. What’s keeping her in Ambridge?

The Archers – May 2013

Here’s my random thoughts, in no particular order, about events in Ambridge in May:

Kirsty boosts Tom’s morale when he really needs it, let’s hope he’s not going to have any rebound feelings in that direction. It would just be embarrassing for everyone involved.

Josh gets a loan from his parents so he can buy a share in the chicken business, which puts Pip’s nose out of joint. She gets a reprieve from them, and still barely manages to spit out her thanks. It made her feel slightly better to beat her brother in the Single Wicket Competition, and I thought it was a fun coming together of characters to hear her complaining about brothers to Ed.

I had thought the Lilian/Matt/Paul thing was coming towards a conclusion now that Matt was in the know. He got an incompetent fool to do some menacing, but other than that seems to be just spending his time being nice to Lilian. I assume he is still plotting though. On her side, she’s starting to see Paul for the manipulative liar and grump he seems to be, and yet she still seems to be interested. If a guy really did just abandon me on the side of a road, I’m not sure I’d ever return his calls again. Does she really need this in her life?

Oh, and was it really only this month that Elona and Darrell split up? It seems like ages. Jennifer has been huffing and puffing around trying to sort out cover for Peggy, who doesn’t want anyone else. Talking of Jennifer, how much did I enjoy her trying to avoid Jim? Loitering outside the shop and everything.

The big Bridge Farm sale was scuppered briefly by a reactor in the TB tests, but ultimately it came to nothing and the herd auction was allowed to go ahead.

Helen’s upfront nature with her boyfriend scares him right off. I wonder if she will tell the next boyfriend about the way Henry was conceived or if she has been scared off that truth.

I liked Clarrie’s birthday surprise of the seaside coming to her, although I’m not 100% sure why she couldn’t go to it. Having her sister come visit was the icing on the cake, lovely stuff.

It seems as though we’re going to have some Highland Games fun soon! Or is all the fun in the build-up?

The Archers – April 2013

Helen persuades her mum and dad to think seriously about Tom’s proposal, and after a bit of debate, Pat eventually comes round. The timing couldn’t be better, as they agree to sell the cows and make all his dreams come true just as Brenda decides to break his heart. I thought the break-up was done very well, although slightly weird. Am I the only one who thought it odd they still slept in the same bed for a week after deciding to split up? Eventually they moved out, and as it finally did start to dawn on Tom that his relationship was over, well I did start to feel sorry for him.

The whole storyline with Darrell and Neil, the dogfighting, the police and the shooting was not to my taste. I thought the shooting was a bit overdone – we’ve had so much violence of late, did we need another cliffhanger like that? Thankfully, Neil wasn’t too badly hurt and weakling Darrell got away with it. The perpetrators were rounded up and arrested, so hopefully that’s an end of it. I’m not sure I had any fondness for the Makepeace family, but I have less than ever now, and Elona’s determination to get a divorce did not surprise me in the slightest.

I’ve been disappointed with Anita Dobson so far, she’s just been on the phone telling Paul to get lost, over and over again. You’d think the guy could take a hint, but apparently not. Although, when he was meeting Lilian at the flat and got all angry about nothing, I think we got a glimpse of what he’s really like. He’s been so nice to Lilian up to this point that it was both a surprise, and also predictable – no one can be that thoughtful and nice all the flipping time! Thankfully, Matt has got wind that Lilian is lying about something, so maybe we will see an end to this nonsense!

Nic and Will announced their pregnancy, approaching Clarrie and Eddie with the good news. Of course, then she has to tell Emma who doesn’t do a good job at hiding her disdain for the announcement. She disguises it with feigned concern for George and how he will take it, but in the end she’s just bitter. The wonderful Clarrie steps in, reassuring Nic and telling Emma what’s what. They are amicable again for now, but this will rear its head again soon, I’m sure.

Other bits and pieces:

  • Pip! There just aren’t any words for how ridiculous she is. She lies to her parents, gets in another row, crashes her car and then strops off because they won’t buy her a new one. Just unbelievable.
  • Chris and Alice decided not to talk about Canada for even longer than necessary, but eventually came to a decision. He said they should go, she said they shouldn’t, so they won’t. She even cleared the air with her boss, which made me feel it was slightly too neat an ending to that particular storyline. But, I guess, sometimes life does work out.
  • Ifty goes for dinner with Elizabeth and risks a kiss. Despite the fact she has been playing along quite nicely, she decides she’s not quite ready. Slightly unfair but he’s nice and understanding about it.
  • Helen also goes on a date with a nice guy called Jonathan. Where this may go is unclear.
  • There was a great episode with a WI meeting, where a mother, and son with Down’s syndrome, came to speak to a willing audience. It was nice to hear the some of the talk and the reaction.
  • Josh tries to buy the hen business from Neil and Hayley. They turn him down because he’s too young, but are impressed with him. He just keeps on showing Pip up at the moment… but presumably will also take a turn for the teenage soon.
  • I am so intrigued to find out how the interview with Brian comes out. It’s clearly going to be something special – Jim had no desire to interview Brian previously, and it is his last piece so he has nothing to lose!

The Archers – March 2013

Two big storylines this month, with the developing situation at Bridge Farm, and the saga between Chris and Alice.

Alice heads off to Canada after a frosty goodbye with Chris, and it isn’t long before she’s getting a phone call saying he’s had a bad accident and she needs to return. There’s a long-standing joke saying: “It’s all kicking off in The Archers” because it never is. This time, it literally was, as Chris found himself at the wrong end of an angry horse. He pulled through, although it was touch and go for a while, and thus the agonising over whether to stay or go continues with the added emotional drama of recovering from a near-death experience as well.

The one thing I took out of the whole thing was just what a terrible mother Jennifer is. I’ve said before how I dislike the woman, but this time it was too much! She hides it under a “caring” attitude, but telling her daughter that she couldn’t and shouldn’t go to Canada was over the line. It’s not really her business, for a start, and what a preposterous thing to try and control. I’ve always counted myself lucky to have super-supportive parents, and the more I hear from Jennifer, the more I remember that fact!

Over at Bridge Farm, Tom upsets his family, and Brenda, by being all about work at home, and all about work at work too. He tells his mum and dad they need more interesting veg in the veg boxes, that they should start using non-organic meat in the ready meals, and that they should give up the cows altogether. Whilst passion and verve do get you ahead in business, and Tom is clearly a chap with plenty of ideas, a little sensitivity wouldn’t go amiss. That’s a lot of changes to be suggesting in just a few short weeks – and all of them massive life-changing (or farm-changing, at least) decisions.

Meanwhile, Brenda is stressed out in her own work – she’s having to cover a lot of Lilian’s work while the latter is out at hew new flat with her new chap. She also tried to support Vicky by going round for an evening to look after Bethany, only for them all to have a baby-not-breathing scare. With all this weighing on her mind, and a growing dissatisfaction with Tom’s behaviour, something is going to have to give and soon.

I almost felt sorry for Tom when he booked the gig and, not being too angry that it all fell through, then tried to rearrange something else. Brenda shot him down in flames, presumably leaving Tom wondering what else he can possibly do!

Elsewhere, smaller things were rumbling along. Pip’s actions have consequences as she starts failing her courses at university, upsetting her grandmothers by staying at Spencer’s for tea, and letting some sheep die as well. She had a wake-up call and appeared to turn over a new leaf, but we’ll have to wait and see. I’m staggered that the dead sheep didn’t do it, but the possibility of having to repeat a year of studying seemed to do the trick.

Ifty’s is busy making his move on Elizabeth, and staying in good graces with Freddie. I wonder if the relationship does develop, whether Lily will have anything to say about it. She hasn’t had the same chance to get to know him as her brother.

There’s also news on Darrell, who has next to no support from his wife Elona who busybodies her way into telling Neil about her husband’s prison spell. We don’t know what Darrell is up to at the moment, and it probably isn’t good news, but hassling and questioning him all the hours of the day isn’t going to help. Having said that, Darrell really needs to wise up and appreciate what he has. He’s clearly a pushover, but with a family to support, another stint in prison isn’t going to wash!

The Archers – February 2013

Despite being a short month, it’s been a busy few weeks in Ambridge, with lots of storylines thrown into the melting pot. Here are my scatter-brained thoughts on February with The Archers.

Pip did overdo a bit going to stay at Rickyard Cottage whens he was mad at her parents. It’s quite fun seeing Josh become the responsible one as Pip gradually loses every ounce of respect she ever earned from her parents.

Meanwhile, David’s suggestion that Ed take up shearing takes an unexpected turn. Ed recruits Jazzer to make a shearing dream team, but they found they didn’t have the funding. A random woman on Jazzer’s milk round has a tracter to sell and it all gets very complicated, with the end result being Jazzer and Ed’s morals going head to head.

We had the grand return of the new (or perhaps old) Clarrie, at Will’s 30th birthday. Ed and Emma were invited, with both brothers being shouted at by their nearest and dearest to make the effort and behave themselves. Oh, families, eh?

Paul becomes a complete doormat, saying he’ll come to Lilian whenever she calls and then snapping up a little love nest for the pair of them.

Elizabeth doesn’t get the loan from the bank that she wanted to expand at Lower Loxley, so she turns to auctioning off valuables and selling off parcels of land to raise the funds instead. It’s nice to see she stopped short of giving up a sentimental painting, no matter how valuable it might have been. It was fun seeing the rumour mill in full force once the village started to hear that Elizabeth was searching for money. However, of course, Elizabeth seems to have Ifty’s shoulder to cry on, after he just casually mentioned that he and Kirsty split up.

I was super impressed at how Rob won over Ed, he sympathised, kept himself objective and impartial and shows a genuine interest. Naturally, as such a good guy, I’m suspicious of him, but so far he seems to be trying to fit in as best he can.

Lynda’s poor llama that passed away and is now being tested for TB came out of the blue. Robert quite sensibly told her she needs to inform David and Ruth, but she’s reluctant. Presumably because she’s spent the past few weeks arguing with David about TB in badgers. Awkward.

Finally, of course, it’s all about Chris and Alice. Just as with Lilian and Paul, this is a relationship I do not understand. Oh, so you have the potential for an amazing job in Vancouver? The last person you should tell is your husband, there’s no reason he needs to know. In fact, go behind his back completely and get on with the application and Skype interview in secret. Madness! If their relationship is going to work, they need to be honest with each other, and if it’s going to last the distance, then they can work something like this out.