Well here I am back in Ambridge after a two month stint Educating Rita at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury - I popped up to Birmingham to do four episodes in that time but was otherwise immersed in the discipline and rigour of theatre. Most of my life as an actor involves doing something different every single day and having to do the same thing every night (and twice on Thursdays and Saturdays) for six weeks was a shock to the system. However the result is that I feel more alive and brighter than I have for years - a nightly dose of adrenaline is a wonderful boost to the system and feels like having one's batteries recharged. I recommend it.
Of course I've returned to a Norman-less Ambridge, which is sad and very much the end of an era. It really won't feel the same. No doubt we will be recording scenes of the death of Phil at some point, which will be poignant for me, having lost my own Pa not so long ago. A little known fact is that as well as using the pen-name 'Bruno Milner', Norman also wrote Archers scripts as 'Norman Bentinck' - this long before I joined the show - weird or what? He was very different from my own father in so many ways but they had two things in common: they both had silver hair and beards and were both Google-like in their ability to answer almost any question you could throw at them. They both had prodigious memories and seemed to be able to recall everything that ever happened to them - unlike me: I am in the process of devising a one-man show about my life, with anecdotes, my songs and video, and have been trawling my friends for funny stories. It's terrifying the things that they've sent back - entire swathes of my life that I have no recollection of whatsoever. Scary.
Happy Christmas to all, and be nice to me in Mustardland!
Tim Bentinck plays David Archer in The Archers
- The Stage reviewed Tim's Educating Rita.
- Here's a sample of his work outside The Archers.
- Archers Week ran on the Radio 4 blog from 23-30 November 2009. 19 blog posts were published in all, from 17 authors. They're listed here.
- Radio 4's Archers web site is full of good stuff, like a map of Ambridge, family trees for all the big clans and a detailed who's who. There's also a 'two-minute guide' for Archers newbies.
- The Archers messageboards are among the busiest at the BBC - nicknamed Mustardland because of the distinctive yellow page backgrounds. They're a bit sceptical about Archers Week, though.
- There are two Archers podcasts: one for the daily episodes and one for the Sunday omnibus.
- Hedli Niklaus, who plays Kathy Perks in the serial, also runs the Archers fan club, Archers Addicts.
- Norman Painting, who played Archers patriarch Phil for nearly sixty years, died on 29 October 2009. The last episode he recorded aired on 22 November. Archers Editor Vanessa Whitburn paid tribute to him here on the blog and the Archers Addicts have collected listener tributes.
- The picture shows cables from the studio wall. During our visit to the Archers' home in Birmingham dozens of photographs were taken, many of which feature pictures of cast members (and an ironing board).
- Twitter was put to use during Archers Week. #archersweek was the hashtag and we learnt that Tim Bentinck, who plays David Archer (@timbentinck) and Keri Davies, who writes scripts (@keridavies) are both Twitterers. Follow the Radio 4 blog on Twitter.