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Susan Carter has a PhD?

Thursday 10 February 2011, 11:21

Keri Davies Keri Davies Web Producer, The Archers

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Charlotte Martin (Susan Carter)

Well, not exactly. But the actor who plays her does.

When not playing Susan, Charlotte Martin is a research psychologist. Charlotte helped develop the recently launched Youthspace website, designed to help young people with mental health issues.

Keri Davies is an Archers scriptwriter and web producer.

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    Comment number 1.

    Mr Davies,

    Why are you using The Guardian as the basis for your blog?


    Could you answer som of the questions asked over the past 6 weeks or so do you think?

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    Comment number 2.

    I'm not. There just happen to have been two consecutive stories from The Guardian this week.

    We'll try to link to any interesting Archers-related stories wherever they appear. For example, in this post about coverage of the 60th anniversary, as well as The Guardian I linked to the Mail, the Express and several stories in the Telegraph:


    >Could you answer som of the questions asked over the past 6 weeks or so do you think?

    I have to say I've seen rather more opinions, accusations and assertions rather than actual questions. That's fine, but they are harder to 'answer'. We certainly note them all, even if we find ourselves in disagreement with some of them.

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    Comment number 3.

    Dear Mr Davies,

    Thank you for your response.

    I see you note them all, even if you find yourselves in disagreement with some of them.

    Could I ask just one? when did the direction of the whole programme shift? From as wiki says :-

    It was originally billed as "an everyday story of country folk", but is now described on its Radio 4 web site as "contemporary drama in a rural setting"

    Was it from this rebranding?

    You know what you have done for a great many of us? Having chosen a very acceptable brand of chocolate and been feeding the habit over the years suddenly to find that it has been debased and ruined (the run up to "that" episode). Further that revelation has given retrospectve illumination and realisation that it has been going "off" for some time.. Years

    Conned & betrayed. Brand destruction. Reminds me of Perrier. Never seen again

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    Comment number 4.

    Why does the Guardian article refer to her as Charlotte Connor but here and in all Archers material she is Charlotte Martin? Stage name? Thanks.

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    Comment number 5.

    I'll ask a question then, 'When is Vanessa Whitburn going to stand down?'

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    Comment number 6.

    Perhaps Dr Connor could do psychological profiles for all the Archer's characters? This for the benefit of editor and scriptwriters, so that they could refer to them when planning future plot lines.
    If these were based on the characters as they manifested themselves, say, five years ago and their future behaviour could be guaranteed to develop logically from now on, I might - maybe - possibly be tempted back.
    Otherwise, there's no point in investing any time or imagination in to listening.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.


    As you requested, here are some questions for you:

    - What percentage of the feedback on the 60th storyline was positive?
    - What percentage of the feedback on the 60th storyline was negative?
    - How are these figures arrived at?
    - How have viewer ratings figures held up since Jan 3rd?
    - Why was the summary of press coverage of the event shown in a positive/neutral light?
    - Does listener feedback EVER change story lines?

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    and Keri, following on from @7, jdo....

    - How was it possible for the viewers complaints about 'that' EastEnders episode to be counted within a couple of days, whereas we have to wait until May to see just how much damage has been done to TA and Radio4 listening figures according to RAJAR?

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.


    Question 1 Why was it thought right to celebrate the 60th anniversary with the death of a character?

    Question 2 Why is a storyline of a bereaved widow and children being repetaed for the third time in 12 months?

    Question 3 As stories are planned well in advance why was the Helen pregnancy story told in such an unbelievable manner?

    I asked these question on the messageboard on 20 January and have had no reply.


  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    ..... and ....

    - Why did Ms Whitburn and the prod team believe that the 60th had to be 'traumatic'?
    - What is in keeping with TA about 'traumatic'?
    - Why does Ms Whitburn and the prod team think 'traumatic' is good?
    - Why did Ms Whitburn and the prod team believe that inflicting more death and resulting misery on the listeners was a good thing?
    - Why does Ms Whitburn persist in the wilful misunderstanding of the complaints, preferring instead to promote the myth that it's all because a character was killed ..... rather than the real issue, which is the misery such an event leads to will last far too long for many of us to want to hear?

    (ex-listener of 29 days)

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    Comment number 11.

    Actually that's 39 days of course..... Silly me...

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    Comment number 12.

    Mr Davies,
    I notice that the Archers remains at the top of the list of Radio 4 favourites on Iplayer. Can you tell us please the Listen Again figures for the period before and after 2nd January? I often wonder how much blog comments and messageboards reflect the whole audience.
    I am grateful you are noting the comments.
    Many thanks,

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.


    Why was it deemed necessary to create yet another widow?
    Why was it thought a good idea to have yet another period of mourning?
    Why was it thought a good idea to remove one of the most likeable and well established characters who had been over twenty years in the developing?
    Why does the team say they have to disagree with listeners? Aren't listeners rather crucial?
    (Would the team regard an emptying theatre a mark of success if their show was on the stage?)
    Are the listeners' opinions irrelevant?
    Why did we all get the same generic reply (addressing none of the concerns we separately and collectively wrote of) when we emailed, posted messages, wrote letters etc?
    Why did the team of Feedback misunderstand nearly everything that was said to them about the quality of the scripts and storylines? Should Susan Carter be employed to explain to them? (she does have a PhD after all).
    Why was there apparently such a strong anti-male, pro-feminist leaning? (Helen's hideous behaviour was deemed to be fine, Tony's absolutely understandable feeling that children are better with a father was deemed as reprehensible.)

    Why - if the Duchess of Cornwall's role was recorded in early December - was THIS not aired on the anniversary?

    There are many more questions, but perhaps these could be answered first?

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Dear Keri

    I did ask on the relevant blog why, if the Duchess' visit was planned so far in advance that an osteoporosis SL had not been introduced?


  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Why has Helen been transformed into a saint?

    Why has Clarrie been turned into a misery?

    Why is personality transplanting become a feature of The Archers plots in recent years?

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    I'm glad to hear our comments are being noted. I note the Brechtian determination to bring about some kind of Verfremdungeffekt by telling us about such details as 'Susan' having a PhD.

    Why?? lol I mean, we can read about it in the Guardian if we must, where is the old mystique?

    Ah Mr Davies, you seem to have no idea of the breadth of destruction you have wrought.

    Slightly more ON topic, laudable stuff here. Young people's mental health is a huge (and historically badly-addressed) issue.

    Perhaps Susan could do an OU degree just in time to dissaude Freddie from his teen suicide bid?

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Evening Keri, you said above:

    "I have to say I've seen rather more opinions, accusations and assertions rather than actual questions."

    There may be more opinions and accusations (you've gotta admit the VAST OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF PEOPLE are unhappy with the developments recently so are expressing their opinions). But you admit there are also questions.

    Question 1: If you are noting the questions, why are you/Ms Whitburn not answering them?

    Question 2: The reaction since SATTC is overwhelmingly negative here, DTA, AA, general media etc., and people are genuinely turning off TA. What is the production team's feeling about the reaction please?

    Question 3: Do the editorial, production and script writing team understand the REAL reason why ppl are so upset? (Reason for question is the official line from Ms Whitburn, Ms Williams et al is "several listeners were unhappy", "some complaints" and "we'll have to agree to disagree". These present a wilful misunderstanding of the reaction, which may/may not be accurate).

    Looking forward to responses to the direct and clear questions.
    Many thanks

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    Comment number 18.

    Dear Keri
    My question is - why is Ms Whitburn still Editor of TA when she has switched off so many previous faithful listeners? Firstly with her sanction of the poor scripts and latterly with her arrogance to audience feedback.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    I too ask about the proportion of positive versus negative feedback that has been received.
    It's quite simple, according to your 'that was exciting' blog you said the team actually had someone counting tweets (unbelievable though I find this).
    So, counting tweets, blogs, messageboards, press is part of what you all apparantly do.
    What is the answer then?
    Second part of question: when are you all going to realise this will NOT go away UNTIL there are some answers?

    There, questions - now answers - please.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Well, if I were a betting man (and I don't bet, and nor am I a man), .... but IF I were either of those things I would place all my worldly goods quite confidently on a wager that we will not receive the answers we request.


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