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Archers irritants - and a new web site

Friday 19 November 2010, 13:55

Roger Bolton Roger Bolton

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Ryan Kelly as Jazzer rehearsing in The Archers studio in Birmingham.

Lynda Snell has seen off many rivals to her position as the most irritating person in Ambridge. Marjorie Antrobus started as a formidable character but went on to become a bit of a national treasure. Brian Aldridge can be a pain, and has caused much unhappiness, but his love for Ruairi is unquestionable. But they all face much more serious competition from that layabout, sponger and occasional drug taker, Jazzer.

In this week's Feedback programme I asked Jazzer, otherwise known as Ryan Kelly, whether he has any redeeming features at all, and he made some frankly incredible claims. I also ask whether, as a Scot, he agrees, with some of our listeners, that he is "a shocking case of an untruthful (Scottish) stereotype", after all there have been references to deep frying substance abuse.

I also talked to one of the scriptwriters Keri Davies about the role of 'the irritant' in The Archers and about the blueprint the series' creator, Godfrey Basely laid down well over half a century ago. Plus we hear about the latest updates on The Archers' website.

The Archers is gearing up for its 60th Anniversary celebrations - how do you think they should celebrate?

Roger Bolton (Born and brought up 8 miles south of Scotland. He has never seen, let alone eaten, a deep fried Mars Bar) is presenter of Feedback.

  • Listen again to this week's Feedback, produced by Karen Pirie, get in touch with Feedback, find out how to join the listener panel or subscribe to the podcast on the Feedback web page.
  • The new Archers web site has many interesting new features, including a brand new blog, edited by Keri Davies.
  • Feedback is now on Twitter. Follow @BBCFeedback.
  • The picture shows Ryan Kelly as Jazzer McCreary rehearsing with, on the right, Joanna Van Kampen as Fallon Rogers and, on the left, Director Rosemary Watts. It's by Steve Bowbrick.

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    Comment number 1.

    Dear Feedback

    Did ANY of your 'researchers' bother to see what the reaction on / about that very Archers new website actually was before you launched into today's fawning Archers slot?

    Many of us were astonished at both the uninformed nature of the presenter's comment and Keri Davies's own contribution.

    The reaction on the new website, from serious website design techies to baffled regulars, has been almost universally dismissive. Post after post contains detailed evaluations. For Keri Davies to have asserted that it was going down well was just plain untruth. Check out the responses for yourself. At least four major threads almost all of which are deeply disappointed and technically critical. This is NOT Archers demographic conservatism. It is a seriously, technically botched job.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 2.

    On a different note, I enjoyed the interview with Ryan Kelly (Jazzer is one of my favourite characters) and I was relieved to hear Keri Davies say that 'he wouldn't be surprised' if Ruari Donovan gradually lost his accent over the years!

  • Comment number 3.

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

  • rate this
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    Comment number 4.

    I can’t believe that Archers’ listeners are complaining when they have SEVEN messageboards, yet 10m+ R4 listeners who want to discuss the rest of R4’s output are now left with just THREE boards (Mornington Crescent MB has noting to do with R4). All our complaints to Feedback are ignored and the BBC Trust has refused to investigate the complaints. Additionally, Keri Davies may have his failings – but at least he has always supported Archers’ messageboards. The R4 message boards have never received any support from controllers, producers (with the exception of Ed Morrish, Torquil MacLeod, Kate Murphy and Simon Clancy) or editors. Caroline Raphael gave up with her one-line postings (‘so glad you enjoyed it’) years ago.

    Given the sudden disappearance of Brian McCluskey, how about Karen Pirie introduces herself to listeners in case she suddenly vanishes? Why is she qualified to produce Feedback and what programmes has she produced in the past? Why doesn’t Feedback investigate the results of the Radio 4 Roadshow? Where are we up to with the Friday play issue? Has Ms. Williams seen the light and reinstated it? Is Ms. Raphael still lurking around R4? I quite miss her telling me (on Feedback) that I don’t anything about radio.

    Radio producers are extremely important, yet listeners never hear anything from them. Why not have a feature on this? Who, for example, is the producers’ producer? If radio producers had to nominate their favourite producer, who would win? Is the producer/editor relationship always harmonious? Why is R4 saturated with female producers when men tend to be far more enthusiastic – and knowledgeable – about radio? Is there a secret posh girls’ boarding school in the South of England set up to train girls to become radio producers?

    Another question: why has ‘The Bottom Line’ struggled so much? Producers have come and gone, yet the CEO’s and chairman on TBL are rarely interesting people. Contrast this with Mary Goldring’s CEO/Chairman interviews on Analysis.

    Finally, I would like to hear further editions of ‘Meeting Myself Coming back’. Great idea, fine radio production – and none of the guests got a cob on if John Wilson embarrassed them with some of their early broadcasts. Janet Street- Porter was particularly interesting – and clearly a very sensitive person.

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    Comment number 5.

    I would not expect the wife of Roger Bolton to be acquainted with deep-fried chocolate bars. Every meal would be carefully assessed: comments, queries, criticisms and congratulations freely made and given. Poor standards would not be tolerated.

    One finds layabouts and spongers everywhere; it just happens that Jazzer is a Scot. Perhaps, the introduction of an English no-hoper would assuage those who object to Jazzer? Interestingly, someone recently told me about an inner city grocery shop with sales of fresh vegetables totalling only £100 a week, and alcohol sales totalling £8,000 over the same period.

 

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