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Duchess of Cornwall visits The Mailbox

Wednesday 16 February 2011, 17:51

Keri Davies Keri Davies Web Producer, The Archers

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The Duchess of Cornwall in The Archers studio


On the day of her appearance on-air in The Archers, the Duchess of Cornwall visited the home of the programme, at The Mailbox in Birmingham.

She spent two hours meeting BBC staff, Archers cast members and scriptwriters.

Her Royal Highness plays herself in the programme, as the president of the National Osteoporosis Society. She has supported the charity since 1994 and became president in 2001. Her appearance coincides with the charity's 25th anniversary.

Her scenes were recorded in December at Clarence House, so this was the first time she had visited The Archers studio.

The Duchess viewed a pictorial timeline of Archers history

The Duchess viewed a pictorial timeline of Archers history


Helen Monks (Pip Archer) presented her with a bound copy of tonight's script, signed by members of The Archers cast, writing and production team.

Hedli Nicklaus (Kathy Perks) gave her a selection of souvenirs from the official fan club Archers Addicts.

Trevor Harrison (Eddie), Duchess of Cornwall, Rosalind Adams (Clarrie)

Trevor Harrison (Eddie), Duchess of Cornwall, Rosalind Adams (Clarrie)


Before cutting a celebratory cake, the Duchess said how enjoyable it had been to meet everybody and put names to faces. She thanked The Archers for the enjoyment it had given her for over 30 years. 'I couldn't do without it', she said. 'There have been many times when I've switched on The Archers and felt a lot better.'

The Duchess of Cornwall and Carole Boyd (Lynda Snell). In the background, Sunny Ormonde (Lilian Bellamy)

The Duchess of Cornwall and Carole Boyd (Lynda Snell). In the background, Sunny Ormonde (Lilian Bellamy)


After wishing the programme the best for the next 60 years, she thanked Archers editor Vanessa Whitburn for her appearance - although she joked that she was not looking forward to hearing her performance.

Keri Davies is an Archers scriptwriter and web producer

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Comments

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    Perfectly wonderful!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 2.

    "I couldn't do without it" said the Duchess.

    Well, that was back in December, when they did the recording, presumably?

    I wonder if (like so many others) she's changed her mind since 2 Jan?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 3.

    Who is James Bellamy?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 4.


    To the Archers production team

    We have decided to make a comment because we are so thoroughly disappointed with the Archers of late.

    Sensationalism is now the norm, killing off (decent) Nigel and then dragging us all through endless mourning and regurgitating grief...so soon after poor Sid!

    This, followed by having the person who was a consenting part of the biggest episode of deceit this country has witnessed in recent times, as a 'guest' is just appalling.

    It is so sad that the team that is running the Archers is dumbing down such an great institution, you should be ashamed!

    But, what do we matter? Having been listeners for over 35 years, we are now running out of patience and if things don't change soon, we will be switching off, (as we did tonight, as it made us feel sick)

    Yours hopefully

    Alan & Jan

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    Yuck

  • rate this
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    Comment number 6.

    (in response to #2) Er, no, the article clearly describes her visit to the Mailbox today (16th Feb).

  • rate this
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    Comment number 7.

    I thought the Duchess of Cornwall was great and it was a lovely episode! Thanks Archers team and Your Royal Highness you cheered me up after a long and tough day.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 8.

    Am I the only one who was underwhelmed and baffled by the Duchess of Cornwall's visit to Ambridge today?

    Perhaps I am missing something, but I listened in utter disbelief at the fawning hysteria of characters like Clarie Grundy and Susan Carter, both upstanding married women who have never strayed.

    I'm sorry, but this is Camilla we are talking about, is it not? -- You know -- the woman who had an affair with the prince of wales that broke up both of their marriages? Has everyone forgotten who she actually is?

    Am I alone in the opinion that we should of course tolerate her presence so as not to be mean-spirited --- but hyserical excitement at her presence! Calling her 'your royal highness'! That does really seem a bit far-fetched!

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    Comment number 9.

    Dear Fearless Guider. James Bellamy is Lillian's errant son. I thought the Duchess was fine. Liked the bit at the end about Linda - nicely played and as for Kenton and Jolene..... it's just a matter of time

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 11.

    Alan and Jan wrote: " .. having the person who was a consenting part of the biggest episode of deceit this country has witnessed in recent times, as a 'guest' is just appalling."

    I too found using 'my' favourite programme as a vehicle to improve the Duchess' PR, with all of Ambridge apparently conniving in this, very galling.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 12.

    Alan & Jan (Message 4)

    "This, followed by having the person who was a consenting part of the biggest episode of deceit this country has witnessed in recent times, as a 'guest' is just appalling."

    You're not counting the Iraq War then?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 13.

    "the fawning hysteria of characters like Clarie Grundy and Susan Carter, both upstanding married women who have never strayed."

    My mother answers to the same descripton as Clarrie and Susan and she has been won over by the openess, down-to-earth and general "niceness" of the DoC (whom she met last year), as have many others. The PoWs first marriage was not "black and white" - it was a rather more convoluted situation than any of us can properly understand.

    "Calling her 'your royal highness'! That does really seem a bit far-fetched!"

    and surely, calling her anything else is incorrect. Just as you wouldn't call Clarrie Miss Grundy - she has a correct form of address.

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    Comment number 14.

    Well I thought it was a very nice, playful programme. (Pity the storyline was so similar to Doctors on BBC 1 in the same week, but never mind.) Yes, people did fawn, but that was very much in keeping with their characters (unlike events back in January...). Huge pity you didn't have something like this for the 60th anniv. But, seeing the amount of negative response above, I can see why.

    Personally, I don't see Camilla as any kind of villain - I think she's a nice, normal person, and she & Charles are a hugely romantic couple, a love that survived each of them marrying the wrong person and numerous mistakes before they finally ended up together and happy. What could be more romantic?

    On here and on some tv/radio programmes recently there is an impression that the majority of people don't think highly of royalty. I think that's an erroneous assumption. I'm no fawning royalist but they're much better than politicians or bankers and I would far far rather have a head of state who is above politics, not trying to get re-elected. And they do a very professional job. I'm sure there must be many people who think as I do but don't speak out because it's unfashionable.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 15.

    To #14
    Thank-you, listen_here, I agree with everything you said.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 16.

    PS Keri, you can probably get up off the floor now?! See, I don't automatically slam you lot, only when I think you've got it wrong!

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    Comment number 17.

    A clunky script, poorly directed and excessively contrived. The very essence of the Whitburn era...

  • rate this
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    Comment number 18.

    Can't help feeling the script would have been more entertaining if HRH and Ian had had their conversation on the fire escape both having nipped out for a 'fag' break.

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    Comment number 19.

    I no longer listen to the Archers and seldom turn on R4 at all now. R4 had been my constant companion for around 30 years (until the turn of the year) except when I was working in a newsroom, standing in front of a class of students etc.

    I didn't hear the episode with the Dutchess in it (or indeed anything other than the odd sentence or two inadvetantly) since Nigelgate.

    If I have been stupid enough to put the radio on at all, I break my neck to switch off when I hear "dumpty dumpty dumpty dum, dumpty dum de de de!" before this (now) trash comes on the air.

    I really feel for the Dutchess of Cornwall, who strikes me as a rather nice woman, when nasty comments are made about her on these blog pages.

    After all, she wasn't the one who destroyed the Archers! I wish herself and Prince Charles, both of whom seem to be fairly nice people, with a concern for others, all the happiness possible.

    It is not her fault that she has been ill-used for publicity's sake. She and Charles have suffered enough without her being maligned here. Perhaps an apology from Her majesty the Queen might be in order as well as one from VW? I think others (certainly those at lawnderhall) will follow this train of thought!

    I always thought democracy/republicanism was the thing - and that Royalty was a waste of money. A mere tourist attraction.

    However, I really wonder now if we mightn't actually be better off with Charles in charge, given the mess that has been made since the early 1970's by politicians of both sides.

    In some senses (though I have always been against the idea of a ruling elite of any sort and really wonder whether royalty is much more than an expensive ornament) I have recently begun to think that I would rather have Charles and Camilla in charge of the country (and perhaps the BBC?) than current incumbents!

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    Comment number 20.

    So, no-one tried to throw themselves under the Prince of Wales' horse, then?

 

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