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Ambridge Village website - extending the fiction

Monday 29 November 2010, 16:00

Keri Davies Keri Davies Web Producer, The Archers

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The Ambridge village website

One of the things we launched along with this new Archers website is the Ambridge Village website. This purports to be the "real" village site that Jennifer runs, and is a way of extending the broadcast fiction into the online space. Or to have a bit of fun, as I prefer to think of it.

Because we wanted the site to be as authentic as possible in its look and content, we took advice from the "talk about local" project, which helps communities use online tools to develop their own voice - classically by setting up "hyperlocal" blogs and websites.

The director of talk about local, Will Perrin, writes about the new Ambridge village site here.

He draws comparisons with various real village websites, and has a number of interesting suggestions for how our site might develop, from discussions about sewerage to online punchups (all drawn from real life).

Own domain

One of his suggestions is already in our to-do list. At the moment the URL (web address) makes it clear that the Ambridge site is actually a BBC blog. We plan to float the site off onto its own domain, unconnected to the BBC. After all, the citizens of Ambridge (who I've always thought should be referred to as Amburgers...) don't know they're on the radio, do they?

So to someone coming across it randomly it should look like a real village site. It will still be linked from The Archers website, of course, and there is a discreet explanation of what the site is really, if people click on "More information".

What would you like to see on the Ambridge village website?

Keri Davies is an Archers scriptwriter and web producer.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Has anyone else found the quiz baffling? I thought Ted Fearney (pronounced 'ferny') was the supplier of Eddie's Xmas trees, but no. But then again he isn't either of the other options either!!!
    After 34 years of listening I'm usually good at the quizzes. Where am I going wrong?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    I'm sorry about this - it's a bug on the quiz. We'll get it sorted asap.

    And yes, you're right - it it Ted Fearney.

    NB as a long term listener, you'll be interested in a new quiz we're developing and which we'll be launching (hopefully bug-free) in a couple of weeks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.


    As someone involved in the field of digital inclusion and social media (and an avid Archers fan), I very much welcome the increased focus there has been recently in the series on the use of computers to help the residents of Ambridge keep in touch. I think it's been very well done, and hopefully will bring these issues to wider attention.

    However, there is one thing that does not ring true in the story lines. And that is the ease with which Ambridge residents get online. We have heard about Kate video conferencing with her family in South Africa, and there never seems to be a problem with connectivity, no matter what people are doing. This is very much in contrast with the experience of people in most rural areas comparable with Ambridge. The reality is that rural areas are becoming depopulated of younger people and of businesses that rely on being online (which after all is nearly all of them now) because connectivity is so poor in the vast majority of rural areas.

    There are a number of initiatives being taken to address this situation, like the installation of the first rural 100MBps network in Ashby de la Launde, Lincolnshire (http://www.fibrestream.co.uk/2010/11/26/final-third-first/), and Rory Stewart MP's campaign to get next generation connectivity to Cumbria (http://broadbandcumbria.com/), but, these initiatives tend to show that people in rural communities can only get decent connectivity if they do something about it themselves. Nothing like this has happened in Ambridge, so I am at a loss to understand how they get such good connections. Some of us got together and did an Archers spoof on this subject http://5tth.blogspot.com/2010/11/rorys-reivers-do-ambridge.html we'd love to see the "real" residents of Ambridge doing something similar.

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    Comment number 4.

    Totally agree with John's comment above. I don't understand why the writers of the Archers don't do a story on it, currently it is totally out of touch with real life in rural areas. TOTALLY.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Could someone please tell the producers of the Archers' that Ruairi would not have an Irish accent. He lives in England which were he will have aquired his accent. I hate to disapoint them but you are not born with it and at such a young age he would have lost it very quickly. So without being unkind - sack him!

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    We asked Vanessa Whitburn, the editor of The Archers, about Ruairi's accent. She replied: "We made a decison to stay with the Irish accent for a while as much as anything to distinguish the voice and the character. But I agree that it should be toning down soon and that eventually, living in Borsetshire, he will lose the accent."

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Thanks John and cyberdoyle. Very fair point, which I've passed on to the production team.


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