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Listener responses to The Archers' 60th anniversary episode

Tayler Cresswell Tayler Cresswell | 10:00 AM, Saturday, 8 January 2011

There have been thousands of posts on The Archers message board, on this blog, Twitter and Facebook following last Sunday's anniversary episode. This post is my attempt to sum up the range of posts, views and opinions about it.

So did the episode shake Ambridge to the core? The majority of posts thought not and opinions ranged from "damp squib" and "OK", to "brilliant". Some think that 60 years of The Archers should have been celebrated with a happier storyline than the death of a much-loved character.

There have been questions over whether "sensible" David Archer would have goaded Nigel out on to the roof; why Helen didn't recognise her pre-eclampsia and why no-one asked what the baby's weight was; why there was so much "hype" around the episode; and dismay at the loss of Nigel Pargetter.

Many worry that the storyline brings us another grieving widow so soon after Sid Perks' and Phil Archer's deaths last year and argue that it's becoming too depressing to listen to. This coupled with the fact that Nigel was one of the more light-hearted, happy characters is making for a sombre outlook for The Archers. Here's a taste of some of the reaction on the message board:

Nigel was a genuinely sweet character, if not perhaps the sharpest knife in the drawer, and getting rid of him just seems wilful. I know it's ridiculous to feel sad about a fictional character dying, and I've never felt that way before when a TA character has popped their clogs, but in this case I do feel regretful because it seemed so unnecessary. (Soozi_quattro)

To lose a happy, positive and amusing character at Christmas is deliberately disturbing.
And the storylines to follow? A 3rd grieving widow in the last year? What misery do we have to look forward to. I'm afraid that after 20years I do not enjoy your programme anymore. The characters like Nigel and Linda were the ones that made me smile.

I would like to add my voice to those who can't bear the thought of listening to all that sorrow, but the thing is I will. I assume I'm in the majority. There are 6 million of us after all. I'm really not looking forward to my glass of wine tonight, which is what TA is to me 6 days a week. (Basia)

Like many others here, TA has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was listening before I could talk. I grew up partly in Yorkshire and partly in Ambridge, knowing the characters as well as I knew my family, neither Mum nor I ever missed and episode if we could possibly avoid it... My daily quiet 15 minutes alone with TA has been an important part of my life - my escape, my me-time, my relaxation. And yes, I'm not ashamed to say my obsession. Mum just phoned and asked if I'd be listening tonight. I told her the truth, that I probably will but that I don't know why. That I have a sick feeling in my stomach instead of my usual quiet anticipation. (Shy)

The only brightish spot was the return of Shula and quality of the acting in yesterday's eppie, which did bring a big lump to my throat. I have enough real grief and aggro in my life not to need or want more angst when it is time to wind down after a day at the salt mines... I shall be listening until the funeral but after that - really not sure. (E Yore)

I've been a listener to TA from way back and, yes, there have been tragedies before but I hated the way Nigel's death was just something to push up the viewing figures, unlike the 'death' of Betty Tucker, which was due to the actress wanting to leave the series. (Imnoangel)

On the run-up to the anniversary episode you invited various celebrities to pour out their love of The Archers for its organic storytelling and character development, as well as its avoidance of cynical sensationalism. I wonder how many of those famous fans feel the same way now? Why on earth did you think that the best way to 'celebrate' this sixty-year legacy was to defile it? To give two months' notice to an actor who has delighted us for thirty years, and to cast away a beloved character in this pointless way, all for the sake of a publicity stunt? What an act of mindless vandalism... You wanted to put cosy Lower Loxley in turmoil? Fine. You could have left Nigel terribly injured. You could have allowed the show to explore the long-term implications of disability. You could have really put Nigel's character to the test, as well as his marriage and the compassion of the community at large. But instead of letting the show expand and explore new ground, you chose to leave it diminished, and demeaned your listeners in the process. (M J Thomas)

I don't think this sensational way is really appropriate to The Archers. I also think that after the very moving events surrounding the death of Phil Archer, the listeners are longing for at least some positive stories to uplift them, especially at a time of hardship for so many people. I do not look forward to the days and weeks to come, with characters feeling guilt and grief. What a start to 2011. (LilianFred)

TA has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I realise I am in the minority but I thought tonight's episode was brilliant. Tony was magnificent and so believable. Even Nigel's demise was good...what a twit! I would like to congratulate everyone involved in tonight's episode. Can't wait for the next 60 years. (orlapends)

They could have killed Nigel by having him trip down the stairs or have a sudden stroke. But no, they set up an utterly ridiculous but typically Nigel way to go and they kept us on the edge of our seats till the final 'Aaaagh'. No one will ever forget the night Nigel fell off the roof. It's as iconic as Grace in the fire. It's a bit camp, it's a bit silly, but it's unforgettable. That's the important bit. The 60th episode will go down in history as Nigel's plunge. Job done, now let ordinary service recommence. (Morganish)

There was a call for a rewrite of Sunday's episode in a thread started by fanofthearchers with ideas ranging from Nigel's ghostly form haunting the halls of Lower Loxley or perhaps reappearing after David Archer awoke from a bad dream about being out on the roof in the dark...

Read more on the Rewrite Sunday's epiode thread

Looking at Twitter, comments tagged with #thearchers hashtag revealed a fairly muted reaction to the anniversary episode "is that it?" but plenty admitting to shedding tears in the subsequent episodes.

#thearchers episode was really clunky, undramatic, unthrilling and overhyped - tho' scream was spinechilling (@PippaSandford)

#thearchers #sattc oh my, eyes welling up listening to the archers - can see how this may reverberate for 10 years (@Fearlessguider)

There have been plenty of messages of thanks to Graham Seed, which he has been reading and has thanked his fans on the message board. And as is tradition in "Mustardland" (the name given to the message board by posters), some have lent a helping hand with preparations for Nigel's funeral in order to give him a fitting send off. In a thread started by Country Squire, there are plans for Pip to play a recital and an invite for Nigel's old friend Tim Beecham...

Cranford Crystal will draw the bier to St Stephens and then on to the place of burial....next to Uncle Rupert's gazebo would be good. (Polly Tunnel)

The Paper Plate People would like to tender for the disposables. (villageschoolmaam)

Where are the radio Borsetshire outside broadcast trucks going? Assume Wayne Foley is going to do a solemn live broadcast on the funeral cortege plus a travel update. (Feral_Ralph)

Read more on the Now is the hour... thread

Tayler Cresswell is the host of The Archers message board.


  • Comment number 1.

    A fair summary, though I'm not sure you fully capture the key quality of the posts I've read: anger at the treatment of the audience & the actor because the plot development wasn't properly thought through.

  • Comment number 2.

    The summary is ok but the strength of feeling over Nigels death hasn't been taken into account. It was a poorly written because the characters would not have done what they did. It was purely for sensationalism and not true to The Archers.

  • Comment number 3.

    TC's summary does not reflect the overall disgust, firstly at the mindless destruction of a well-loved character, and secondly at the sacking of a loyal, brilliant actor who is now at an age when he will probably never find employment again.

    If the purpose of the anniversary episode was to lose audience, then it must be considered successful. If the purpose was to entertain. increase audience or to stimulate Archers' fans, then it failed miserably. It's about time the BBC acknowledged that they got it wrong (yes, Auntie, you're not omnipotent) and rewrite the episode to include the 'death' as a dream and bring back Nigel.

    But we all know that Auntie is too self-important to admit mistakes, don't we?

    I have stopped listening to the Archers now as have many other long-term fans.

  • Comment number 4.

    If the BBC were to swallow it's pride and admit they made a serious mistake and bring Nigel back, it would show the loyal Archers fans that their feelings do matter. As it is, it seems as though the BBC do not care about the listeners.

  • Comment number 5.

    Every time a member of 'The Management' posts a new blog entry (Mary yesterday and now you). You irritate me all over again.

    Even now - a week on - you seem oblivious to the fact that you've broken the contract of trust that exists between you and your listeners.

    There are many accusations that you've lost touch with your audience - confirmed, I think, that even after a week and hundreds of us taking the trouble to 'spell it out for you' you still don't seem to understand what you've done. Had you, and you'd have apologised put it right by now.

  • Comment number 6.

    Buzzbuzzybuzz, to be fair Tayler works on the Archers site and hosts the messageboard, she isn't part of the management process that determines plot lines or writes scripts. Consequently she has no need to apologise to you or to anyone for the content of the broadcasts.

  • Comment number 7.

    Point taken Vicky, but Tayler's piece hasn't really acknowledged the strength of feeling out here.

  • Comment number 8.

    Actually, I think Tayler's done a good job here at summarising and selecting comments which do reflect the dismay that many of us felt about this story line. I was fearing a 'cover-up' and I don't think that's happened here on the whole.

  • Comment number 9.

    In defence of Tayler she is not one of the production team she is a host. Thanks for fulfilling your brief well, Tayler but are we going to get our questions addressed? A lot of us have made an official complaint but it would be good PR for the team not to infuriate their audience by silence.

    It is interesting to note the silence from Vanessa Whitburn now that there are brickbats after all she is very quick to collect the bouquets. Has she left the country?

  • Comment number 10.

    Yes, a blog on here written by Vanessa Whitburn would be interesting. Perhaps we could learn something about the script conference, when she first announced her plans to hurl Nigel to his death in order to 'celebrate' 60 years of the programme. Did everyone applaud? Were there any dissenting voices? I'd love to have been a fly on the wall....

  • Comment number 11.

    I think this is a good summary. It's fair to say opinions aren't unanimous here but the majority feel the loss of jolly Nigel in this way on this day was a mistake and are saddened by the sacking of Graham Seed in the name of an anniversary. I applaud Tayler choosing part of M J Thomas's contribution. It was brave to do so.

  • Comment number 12.

    TC's post starts out being more realistic than anything else from Them up to now, but I'm afraid I think it still doesn't reflect previous comment. I did a rough count a couple of days ago and about 25% on this blog had either stopped listening (5 days + now and surviving), or were thinking about it, for all the reasons we know about. ...So at least two of TC's quoted posts should have been from those people.

    To be picky, I also think some of the demands for re-writes and resignations should have been included, not to mention the anger caused by lack of response to complaints either here or directly. There were plenty to choose from.....

    I also reckoned that more than 7000 years of listening had been chucked in the bin. In itself quite memorable for the 60th anniversary, but even that would be outdone by a re-write....

  • Comment number 13.

    Thank you for your summary, Tayler. It must have been quite an ordeal trawling through all the posts.

    I have to say, though, that I don't feel that you have done justice to the sheer quantity and quality of the anger and disappointment out there.

    Some think that 60 years of The Archers should have been celebrated with a happier storyline than the death of a much-loved character "Some"? I think it is in the hundreds!

    There have been questions over whether "sensible" David Archer would have goaded Nigel out on to the roof There has been a massive number of posts about this.

    The threads and blogs about Nigel/Graham Seed's untimely removal from the scene speak for themselves of course.

    You mention "questions" about the unlikelihood of Helen not recognising her pre-eclampsia but not about the ludicrous outcome - the unnecessary mad dash to hospital, her miraculous recovery from the surgery, the early but "perfect baby" being passed around outside visitors before his return to the incubator and Helen's instant character transplant. I could go on - but so many posters have already.

    I believe that many long-time devoted listeners (and I am one of them) cannot face the wretched aftermath of these two poorly-researched and over-hyped SLs. Many of us will not tune in for a while. Who knows, once we have kicked the habit of a lifetime we may find that life goes on without a daily visit to Ambridge.

  • Comment number 14.

    Thanks Tayler for this summary.
    I would like to add a link to a post made yesterday evening on the thread re the response by Mary Cutler. For me, it sums it all perfectly and, if no other post critical of the current ethos in TA is taken note of by the production team except this one, then that would be fine by me.
    Post no 54

  • Comment number 15.

    It seems that The Archers addiction was far milder than I suspected. It is now almost a week since I listened after decades of barely missing an episode, and already the habit is broken.

    Actually I feel rather free! I have always boasted about never watching soaps on the TV and I justified listening to The Archers by thinking it was a cut above the usual sensation seeking dramas. But that is no longer true and I realise I was only holding on out of a sentiment for what it once was.

    As with many habits, once broken one looks back and wonders why one indulged at all. Last week's fiasco made me realise that I had not really enjoyed it for quite some time. I am now a permanent ex-listener and to my surprise I don't mind that at all.

  • Comment number 16.

    Thanks Tayler, good job.

    Any word of a response from Vanessa Whitburn to the list of issues you burned the midnight oil compiling?

    Or are you, Keri and Mary Cutler going to have to carry the can?

  • Comment number 17.

    Taylor is just reporting the response. A skim through but just representation nonetheless.

    Why are the editorial team not addressing these points directly?? Why are they not posting anything other than the couple of self-glorifying "wasn't that exciting" blog entries? Why are they ignoring the content, strength and depth of the feedback given? That is really infuriating the audience. And myself.

    Is it perhaps because they'd have to accept an error of judgement was made and that simply can't be done in management circles these days? (I type that as a member of a massive multinational corp where every screw up actually happens to be a roaring success don't-you-know). Is it perhaps because they simply don't care about the audience? Are they simply zoomed into their "response" graphics and too excited at them being off the scale, even if for all the wrong reason??

    Thanks Taylor for your time above. I don't think you should be the whipping girl for the chicken, evasive and self-absorbed editorial team though.

    Vanessa...if it's not beneath you to read these pages.....why don't you post a blog? I think it might be a "popular" read.

  • Comment number 18.

    Comment 3:
    TC's summary does not reflect the overall disgust, firstly at the mindless destruction of a well-loved character, and secondly at the sacking of a loyal, brilliant actor who is now at an age when he will probably never find employment again.

    My complaint about all this is neither the loss of this particular character nor the treatment of the actor: it is utter disappointment that a programme which, for all its faults, stayed on the whole clear of sensationalist shocks to the purpose of publicity and ratings, chose to go fully down the traditional soap route by killing off a character on the big date, hyping it in advance to get as many column inches as possible.

    This is the complaint I have seen most on the board over the past few days: not about the drama itself, although that was poor enough on the night, but at the choices made by the editorial team and the reasons given for them.

    When drama is written for the sake of press coverage rather than because it is good drama which emanated from the characters in that drama, it's clear the existing listeners are less important than the amount of blah in the media. (Viz how pleased they are about the amount of Twitter traffic, rather than what listeners actually feel about what they have done.)

    I will not mourn Nigel as a character, but I think it was an extremely poor choice to kill him (or anyone) off as a noise-generator to 'celebrate' (shurely shome mishtake) an anniversary. I think we listeners have been sold a pup, and that's what I'm most disappointed about.

  • Comment number 19.

    I think we listeners have been sold a pup, and that's what I'm most disappointed about.

    agreed Badgey - but I won't hold my breath that we shall get a response.

  • Comment number 20.

    'If the BBC were to swallow it's pride and admit they made a serious mistake and bring Nigel back'

    Blimey! I hope they'll never do such an ill-advised thing as give themselves our very own "Bobby steps out of the shower" moment from Dallas! What a terrible mistake THAT would be!

  • Comment number 21.

    No I don't want him back now - that would be even sillier. I would like some sort of response from VW acknowledging that she hasn't got it right this time - but pigs will fly first. I think she needs some PR training.....

  • Comment number 22.

    I will be joining the other erstwhile loyal listeners trying to make it to the exit. If only there was another channel to which I could migrate for a proper drama, one without the PC priorities of Venessa Whitburn. I have long been irritated by the fact that the BBC is always trying to make me think differently: business is bad, men are selfish etc. etc On top of this we have now lost Nigel's character. We will have less humour, and more Eastenders. TA suffers from being a virtual monopoly.

  • Comment number 23.

    Thanks for all your comments. My aim was to put across the main points but I'll admit that it was difficult to distil thousands of comments into just over 1000 words for the blog, so apologies for points I missed out, and thanks for adding them above.

  • Comment number 24.

    First off I think that Tayler has been doing a sterling job, trying to keep order on the MB, especially when feelings have running so high.

    I don't particularly object to the demise of Nigel, although I can think of several characters who I would rather have seen removed.

    What I really object to was: (1) the ill-conceived idea that The Archers should copy Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale, and the other dross that is on TV and have a feeble attempt to increase ratings by killing off 1 or more characters; (2) the media hype that went on for most of 2010 about this episode; (3) the badly (seemingly) researched PE story (my medical colleagues found this unbelievable); and (4) most hurtful of all has been the way that the Blessed Vanessa has hidden behind others when the brick-bats, that her decision engendered, have been flying about, whilst indicating (on the rare occasions that she has put her head above the parapet) the we are naughty listeners who don't appreciate HER Archers.

    Over the last year or two the BBC has been very keen to say that it is "Our BBC". If that is so then our BBC employees should have the courage to answer us directly and completely.

  • Comment number 25.

    Let's be clear - I'll try to put this in agricultural terms so that the humourless Archers Team can understand.

    Listeners were expecting a celebration, but instead they were given a cow-pat. The chickens are now coming home to roost. The writers have made a right pigs ear of it. Listeners are universally very angry about this load of bullocks. With furrowed brow, we note the team just want to plough on regardless. The story was implausible without a grain of truth. Not what we expect from a cereal. But as they sow, so shall they reap. The writers need to understand this script should have gone in the digester. The programme has just become a sausage machine. Someone should speak to the cow, or they all just a load of sheep?

  • Comment number 26.

    You miss out an important point which is that many listeners will be no longer be listening, due to the ruthless sacking of Graham Seed and the outrage at a dreadful storyline for an episode which was supposed to be a celebration. The majority of Archers listeners and the comments I have seen on here will not be tuning in again, including me and my family. Maybe you should have included this in your summary.

  • Comment number 27.

    Thank you, Taylor, for your summary, although I think the disgust at the unbelievable storyline has been diluted in your appraisal. However, more importantly, we want to know what is going to HAPPEN with this summary. Are we, the listeners, simply going to be fobbed off with a 'summary' of our feelings, and that's it? Is it simply going to be filed away, like Nigel, or brushed under the carpet hoping that the outrage will go away?

  • Comment number 28.

    # 20 PaulHammond26 wrote:

    "Blimey! I hope they'll never do such an ill-advised thing as give themselves our very own "Bobby steps out of the shower" moment from Dallas! What a terrible mistake THAT would be!"

    Another shower scene is not the answer - the Archers is not good at shower scenes as we already know from that excruciating episode with Sid and Jolene.

    No, what is needed is a statement from La Whitburn to say they now realise they have made a serious error of judgement and will simply put the clock back as though this dreadful episode had never happened.

    Highly unusual - but a significant radio first. The BBC could yet come up smelling of roses, showing that it listens to the public. La Whitburn would receive accolades (instead of brickbats) for this innovative approach and be able to hold her head high.

  • Comment number 29.

    I have listened to a few episodes of the Archers this week, but only because I have Radio 4 burbling away in the background while I am cooking rather than deliberately tuning in. What a joyless experience.

    After all that misery, I shall now be calling The Archers "The Widows".

  • Comment number 30.

    What a pathetic attempt 2to flannel" the true feelings of the Archer's fan base.

  • Comment number 31.

    The more I think about the death of Nigel, the more cheap and tabloid it seems. Surely the Archers, of all programmes, does not need to be as silly as the TV soaps, especially as it has tried so hard to engage with the real adult world including donor insemination and gay relationships. As unexpected and incongruous as a maiden aunt doing a striptease in the front room.

  • Comment number 32.

    I think it's important to recognise the level to which the 'Listeners Voice' has been censored .... My response to the recent script-writing and editing of the Archers was moderated and extinguished. This must mean that there are other long-time Archers fans who have failed to have their voices heard, suggesting that the true level of anger with the writing and editorial team hasn't been properly represented on any of the available sites.
    However, this is now irrelevant, as I have joined the multitude who have made their New Year resolution not to listen to the Archers again.

  • Comment number 33.

    I absolutely DO NOT agree that it is fair comment to say opinions range from "damp squib to ok to brilliant" Get real! There has been universal condemnation over this.I have not seen a single comment "brilliant" I think it would be fairer to say opinions range from "furious to disgusted to very upset"!When is someone going to sit up and take notice? Count the number of listeners who say they are now ex-listeners(myself included) and imagine how many more haven't bothered to complain but will just vote with their feet.Ms Whitburn has created a huge problem here.Is she in denial?

  • Comment number 34.

    I have just sent an email to BH hoping that they will bring this up on their show and alerting them to the fact that the BBC have not replied to any of us.

  • Comment number 35.

    It's not a good summary.

    What makes no appearance whatsoever in Tayler Cresswell's summary is any mention of the HUGE number of postings which censured in unequivocal terms the long term destructive editorial judgement of Vanessa Whitburn, and the strong suspicion that Mary Cutler's 'apologia' was not entirely a spontaneous act.

  • Comment number 36.

    #33 jakf1 wrote:

    "I absolutely DO NOT agree that it is fair comment to say opinions range from "damp squib to ok to brilliant" Get real! There has been universal condemnation over this.I have not seen a single comment "brilliant" I think it would be fairer to say opinions range from "furious to disgusted to very upset"!"

    You haven't read all the thread, jakf1. There was a thread started by a poster called Goldfinch that was entitled "What a fantastic episode" or "what a brilliant episode". I posted on that thread myself. The orginator of that thread was accused of being a troll, or of being sarcastic, but he was entirely serious and has posted to the same effect elsewhere.

    So, while you might not believe it to be possible that someone else disagreed with your view of the SATTC episode to the extent that they could call it brilliant, it is nothing but a statement of fact.

    And, to be honest, I think you owe Taylor an apology for implying that when Tayler said that someone had called this episode brilliant she was telling a lie.

  • Comment number 37.

    Here's a link to the "What a fantastic episode" thread started by Goldfinch that I mentioned.


  • Comment number 38.

    Paul Hammond, I think you'll find that Goldfinch was being sarcastic in all posts.

    ONE sarcastic person said the episode was brilliant.....

  • Comment number 39.

    I am not a Fan, as such, but I have listened to the Archers more or less regularly for about 30 years. However, this 60th anniversary 'trip' for the Editor has, quite simply, ended that and I am not going to listen again.

    If this became a mass response, perhaps our protests would be taken seriously.

  • Comment number 40.

    R_G, I think you'll find Goldfinch was being sincere - see no.23 and onwards.

    The fact that such a high percentage is of like mind is a historic thing in itself and it's the main reason I'm angry (still) that it's uacknowledged by VW. To have 100% would be a miracle....

  • Comment number 41.

    There is a far more accurate review of the 60th anniversary episode on the Guardian website

    'Stabbed in the eco-vitals for cross-platform hype. Poor old Nige.'

    you can see it here


  • Comment number 42.

    I have been an Archers fan for many years. I am deeply disappointed with the 60 anniversary plot line. First of all, I dislike the fact that we have to have a sensationalist plot line at all. One of the great things about the Archers compared to other 'Soaps' was that the plot happens in real time and are realistic. Secondly, I am fed up with the element of political correctness creeping in. I do think the Archers management need to review their direction,. After the utter nonsense of the Ruth 'affair' and now killing Nigel - They are truly losing their way.

  • Comment number 43.

    Tayler that was a very fair summary, well done. Blimey you've had quite a week, haven't you.

  • Comment number 44.

    If you are going to write story lines for dates, such as a 60th anniversary, then it is an opportunity for new listeners. My Mum, an avid listener for years, encouraged me to listen to the Archers the week leading up to the anniversary. At first I was some what reluctant, but after listening a few times I realised that The Archers is not your average soap, a more realistic one. Having decided this will become a new year hobby, I was disappointed as to the story on the anniversary. I won't be listening to months of depressing story lines. That is not the way I want to start the year. My Mum also feels the same way. What a shame!

  • Comment number 45.

    I have been listening to the Archers since the 1980's and have always looked forward to the regular slot in the evening whilst preparing the evening meal. One of my favourite characters was Nigel Pargeter. He was the character who always supplied light relief whilst at the same time being a wise and moral character. He was always up to something and provided us with lots of amusement over the years. His recent double act with Kenton as highwayman at Lower Loxley was hilarious and I was looking forward to many more antics. There have been far too many grief stricken storylines in the past few years and we have to put up with the unremitting panto preparations of Linda Snell every year too (too repetitive) plus we have had the whingeing of Helen (on "planet baby") and her whiny father Tony and the irritating Kate. It was always such a relief when we got a scene with Nigel who would always provide some interest. I was disgusted when he was killed off. It was unnecessary as this was supposed to be a celebration of 60 years of the programmes. What a stupid way to celebrate it - by killing off the best character. I have listened to one programme since and had to turn off as it was so dismal and I can't face anymore episodes. We have just had weeks of Jolene grieving and we want a break from this. It is in danger of going the same path as Eastenders - which I would never watch. I don't know if I can face listening to the Archers again without one of the best characters it has ever had.

    Please please make it all a dream and bring Nigel back!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 46.

    Whatever the in and outs of the debate on Nigel, my partner has followed the Archers for decades, but has now stopped listening. I grieve for her and I grieve for all those who felt this was just a step too far.

    What an own goal!

  • Comment number 47.

    Tayler, thank you for this summation, you have had a really busy week and all your responses have been measured and polite which is no mean feat with the strength of feeling on the boards.

    I too have been so disappointed with the hype surrounding what turned out to be less a celebration, more an assasination for all the reasons already expressed on the various threads.

    I have always listened to the programme and this week, for the first time I switched off and just read the synopses. I have had enough misery and strife in my life without hearing it on my favourite radio programme which is the only reason I have listened to Radio 4 for a great many years.

    So, so sad.

  • Comment number 48.

    I have been an avid fan for the past thirty years but after getting through the grind of the Kenton / Kathy and Helen / Tony SLs I feel very let down by the 60th "celebration" and have now turned off and wont be returning - what a wasted opportunity

  • Comment number 49.

    I think Tayler's summary is pretty representative except that there were actually a few more of us who quite enjoyed the episode and thought the actions of Nigel were in character (a bit of an ass really although nice) and that no, Helen would not have necessarily picked up on the symptoms of pre-eclampsia as high blood pressure does not usually make you feel ill. We who were happy were drowned out by those who were not!

  • Comment number 50.

    Maybe the BBC could offer an alternative podcast which has all the story lines to with Nigel's death removed until normal service is resumed.

  • Comment number 51.

    Whoever had the idea to kill off Nigel has made a huge mistake. I heard the first episode of The Archers with hostile feelings since it displaced Dick Barton, but have been following the programme ever since. It has recently achieved cult status with a cult following of all ages, which is why it keeps going. The living Nigel character is essential, a dead one won't do. It has one of the best actors in the series, the character is colourful and exciting, while also very believable. It has not become diluted into the Ambridge melange.

    From the deluge of comments it appears that this will be a disaster. I have listened a bit during the week but felt turned off. It is neither profound nor challenging, just dreary. It must be possible to just disregard the episodes of the last week and start again, so why not? Otherwise I think I shall stop listening.

  • Comment number 52.

    I have been a more or less regular Archers listener for many years but his latest development has left me completely cold, I don't know where to begin with how ridiculous it is.

    The idea that an experienced farmer (who would by the nature of his job be steeped in health and safety awareness) would start climbing on a roof at night in cold wet windy conditions with someone like Nigel for anything other than a life or death emergency could only occur to a committee of midddle class urban media types who had pretty much lost touch with a) their audience and b) the world they are supposed to be depicting.

    Also in what parallel universe do you "celebrate" the 60th anniversary of a popular drama series by killing off one of its most popular characters? How is this supposed to not alienate its core audience, never mind retain them or attract new listeners?

    It is necessary in a drama like this to present a full range of situations and emotions but lately the amount of grieving has for me become disproportionate and unrealistic. A mindset seems to have taken root in the editorial department that drama = wailing and gnashing of teeth. Sorry but this is lazy thinking.

    Drama is the art of presenting life's issues in a convincing and hopefully thought provoking way. Entertainment is passing the time in an agreeable and interesting manner. This is neither. It is lazy cliched thinking by a committee of media apparatchiks who have spent so long in their cosy bubble that they have lost sight of what they are supposed to be about. It is hard to avoid the feeling that their main focus has become to justify their salaries to their bosses.

    For years I have turned an affectionate blind eye to the cliched scriptwriting, mostly lacklustre acting and obviously committee driven plotline development because The Archers with all its faults represented something quintessentially English, even though its connection with reality could be more than somewhat tenuous at times.

    The killing off of Nigel has really irritated me, I feel that my intelligence has been insulted by such an improbable storyline.

    When I started listening to the Archers 30-odd years ago it seemed more grounded in reality, there seemed to be more information about agricultural and rural issues. They now seem to be working under the assumption that they have to compete with tv soaps by killing people off whenever they think things are getting too quiet, or in this case an anniversary needs marking.

    I saw a few minutes of an Archers script commitee meeting a few days ago and this explained a lot to me. A plot was being decided by a committee and the script writers were being told in some detail what to write. This certainly explains the leaden quality of much of the writing.

    Writing is a creative activity, and I doubt that the more talented scriptwriters would stay in such an environment for long unless they were allowed more creative freedom.

    From now on my listening to the Archers will probably be confined to not switching it off if it comes on the car radio, but that will be about it, unless the quality and plausibility increases somewhat.

    What I am dreading is if the Archers committee decides to take notice of the "enough doom & gloom" comments and orders the scriptwriters to dial in a bit more lightness. If this is as ham fisted as the attempts at drama this will be a disaster.

    I think the whole production team at the Archers needs taking by the scruff of the neck and given a damn good shaking. There is certainly space for a decent radio drama covering rural life but the Archers is becoming a joke. This is particularly disturbing at a time when the BBC is under attack as never before and needs all the friends it can get. Alienating people who have been loyal listeners for decades is a spectacular own goal.

  • Comment number 53.

    Nogbad has said what I wanted to say much more eloquently than I could have done. The 60th anniversary has been wasted.


  • Comment number 54.

    Nah. After 30 year of listening to TA I just can't listen again. Always respected the quality of the script writing and the skill of the acting (especially Nigel). Just got it all wrong. Yes, life is unpredictable, death is tragic and cruel...but this felt like 'soap' at its worst. I believe they wanted a 'death and a birth'. Think it might be the death of the series...

  • Comment number 55.

    This is the first time that I have posted on this site and it has taken me a week of thinking to decide to do it.
    I have been listening to the Archers since I was a student some 30 years ago. It has been a mainstay of my life. Things have seriously changed for me, however, since the 60th anniversary episode in that I don't really want to listen any more, and that has been the feeling of the other Archer listeners with whom I have spoken during the past week. I have nothing against dramatic story lines, and there have been some very good ones over the years. But Ambridge now seems to be a village of sadness,filled to bursting with more widows than I would have expected. Phil Archer's departure was understandable, and maybe, for dramatic reasons, that of Sid Perks. But why did another younger person have to die? Did the 60th anniversary episode really have to have a death at all. Did it need to be memorable at all, and, if so, were there not other ways to achieve that?
    Normally I listen to the Sunday morning edition. Today I went to the gym. I expect sadly that I may be doing that from now on

  • Comment number 56.

    My hubby and I have been listening to the "everyday story of countryfolk" since 1965 (no telly then!) we have hardly missed one episode as we have always enjoyed the storylines. However, we are now very fed up with this new storyline. We were extremely upset and unhappy at the way Nigel was "killed off" we felt this was totally unnecessary and we have stopped listening to the programme altogether now. Never have we felt so strongly that this was a big mistake. It has nothing to do with what "the Archers" are all about. It is too much like all the other soaps on TV. So sorry BBC you have now lost two ardent listeners, and I'm sure we're not the only ones!

  • Comment number 57.

    I hope we have no more deaths on the Archers , on of the reasons, I listen to the Archers is because of its humour now we have lost a funny, well loved character, there is enough misery on Eastenders.
    I will continue to listen , I still think it is a superior soap .

  • Comment number 58.

    I just feel manipulated and let down. Had TA on in the background this evening and irritated to hear Shula and Usha being grown up at last. Fed up with all the 'ACTING' going on.
    Asked a fellow ex-TA addict last Wednesday and asked her opinion. 'Sack Vanessa Whitburn' she said (and she's an RE teacher). jampan

  • Comment number 59.

    I have never been on this site before but have listened to the Archers for decades. I am amazed at the negativity - I thought the 60th anniversary episode was good and the subsequent ones have been excellent. its a soap - its never been entirely realistic.....more people seem to die from accidents than natural causes and to say its never been sensationalist before.......John and the tractor? Grace and the fire? and to say Nigel shouldn't have died because we all liked him is a nonsense and certainly not true to life. anyway I'd just like to say .well done and thanks to the production team.

  • Comment number 60.

    Never commented before. Pretty fed-up with the 60th anniversary edition, but assumed "Nigel" got wasted as Graham Seed wanted to leave the programme and only read today that he didn't.

    The build-up was unnecessarily hyped and made the event a let-down. Is this *really* going to rock Ambridge for years to come? Well, maybe the controversy in the real world will!

    No - what I thought was going to happen is that Helen would have "complications" (I got that bit right), and she and the baby would die. Tony's grief (2 children and a grandchild lost), and his guilt about how he'd reacted to Helen's pregnancy, would drive him to suicide. Pat would sell the farm and go back to Wales. The effect of all this on Tom would break up his relationship with Brenda.

    Now *that* would have had Ambridge reeling!

  • Comment number 61.

    I forgot to say - in soaps more people die than you'd expect because not only do actors get ill and, sometimes, die, but they also decide to leave the programme, and death is often the only realistic way to remove their characters.

    Sadly, they had to kill off Phil. I don't know why Sid had to die. But Nigel certainly didn't have to go. And the writers are going to rue that decision if another important member of the cast gets ill, dies or just decides to leave.

  • Comment number 62.

    I have listened to the Archers since it started. I cannot express too strongly how affronted I feel that it has been subjected to the same sensationalist attempts at increasing audience as other BBC "soaps". I cannot understand that Vanessa Whitburn, whom up to now I have greatly admired for her handling of issues, her modernising of those issues, and whom I would have credited with a better understanding of her audience, has resorted to such an unnecessary, and, for Archers listeners, inappropriate episode. She seems to be under the delusion that the fact that people are talking about the Archers means that the audience figures will suddenly jump. I would think that the opposite would be true - that the sort of people, like me, who look forward to what has been a believable, sensitive, funny, informative, and unique show, are more likely to be alienated by this latest episode. It would be bad enough if someone had just taken over the show and showed this insensitivity to its audience, but that it could have been done by someone who been responsible for all the delights of TA, I find incomprehensible and very sad. Could we not have a Dallas-like dream episode, bring back Nigel, and try and forgive the BBC for this travesty?

  • Comment number 63.

    i have been reading many msg boards and i have to say there are a lot of miserable,self centered, moaning, groaning, arrogant, self obsessed listeners out there. you need to get a grip, grow up, it is fiction. you are begining to sound like tv audiences and dare i insult some of you more, like the EE audience. at least they have an excuse, they are thick. you really do depress me, please shut up. i will no longer be reading any more of these threads for my own sanity. but i will still be listening to dum di dum. goodbyee. :-(

  • Comment number 64.

    Thank you Tayler.

    This blog represents a very well-balanced portrayal of the audience reaction as exposed in the DTA message boards. I thank you [and Keri] for being the hosts who listen-to and understand your audience.

    That is the spirit I cherish from the BBC.

  • Comment number 65.

    Fortunately the 'miserable,self centered, moaning, groaning, arrogant, self obsessed listeners out there' seems to be limited to just one - who doesn't seem to understand the problem!

  • Comment number 66.

    Have been a listener to the Sunday omnibus editions for decades and never posted before. Very disappointed that the 60th anniversary was marked by a 'death sensation' in imitation of most TV soaps. Life is pretty depressing for most of us at present with the economic situation, job losses etc and I just can't face more depression on a Sunday morning. So have stopped listening to the Archers and spent yesterday morning tuned in to BBC Radio 7 - brilliant fun and cheered me up no end. That will be my Sunday morning date with the radio from now on. Bye bye.

  • Comment number 67.

    I like many others will not be listening to the Archers again. It is not the death of Nigel, sad that it was, but the realization that the next many years will be filled with family emnity between Lizzy and her family and David and his family. I do not listen to the Archers for "Easteneders" type anguish and depression but for an expresion of cummunity and family values that many of us miss in suburban life.

    The Archers is now broken and I cannot see how it can be fixed.

  • Comment number 68.

    Thank you Tayler - I find your selection of comments pretty representative.

  • Comment number 69.

    Killing off a key character in this way has zero impact because it just bumps you back to the reality that this is a story with writers who are quite capable of resorting to the shock factor when they run out of ideas. How can we take David's guilt seriously when the guilty party are the writers?

    My problem is not that I can't “bear the thought of listening to all that sorrow”, my problem is that I'm not going to be able to take it seriously – and when that happens it is time to stop listening.

  • Comment number 70.

    I agree with what seems to be most comments. We have had plenty of grieving widows etc this year.
    What an opportunity missed - Nigel could have had a spinal injury, equally devastating to a family but such a good opportunity for a more interesting storyline.
    Anyone who has has this type of injury (and thier friends/family) have a roller coaster of highs and lows which continue for many years. All sorts of issues could have been covered from rehab to wheelchair access to changes in relationships.
    Nigel could have been a great advocate for this disability using humour and pathos and Lower Loxley as a centre of excellence for the disabled.

  • Comment number 71.

    Ms Cresswell's introduction disingenuously glosses over the fact that listeners' reactions ovewhelmingly range between dejection and extreme anger. Few have described the 60th anniversary episode in words as anodyne as "damp squib", fewer still opt out with "OK", and almost none have said "brilliant". The team remains in denial.
    A grave mistake has been made, an actor has been ignominiously fired, a much-loved character has been written out and a rich seam of future storylines abandoned -- and your audience has been left perplexed and bereaved. An apology would be too much to hope for, but we might at least hope for acknowledgement. I think many will feel as I do: The Archers has been taken from us and even if we occasionally return to listen it will never again be with the same engagement and enjoyment as before.
    Please, face the facts, recognise your mistake, and give us the closure we need to move on. What a pity there's nowhere to move on to.

  • Comment number 72.

    If Nigel is not to be buried in his gorilla, I bags it please.

  • Comment number 73.

    I have read VW`s latest.Unbelievably she seems to be proud of what she has done. She is obviously completely out of touch with her listeners, and has upset thousands of people, not because we do not realise this is only fiction, but because we all get so much pleasure listening and now it has been taken away from us. TA is not a melodrama; such episodes are out of keeping. Celibration means making people happy. Whay an opportunity lost. Plese, BBC, remove VW from this job, issue a heartfelt apology, wipe it out, and give us back the thoughtful, entertaining programme we have enjoyed for so long.

  • Comment number 74.

    An excellent summary, Bereft of Paris (message 71).

    WE will read it, and see how well it sums up our feelings. THEY won't read it though, neither will they acknowledge the damage they have done. Such a shame - and shame on them too.

  • Comment number 75.

    Dear BBC, could you please stop the spin and admit many loyal and faithful Archers fans are in uproar? And switching off. Listen to us - many, many loyal, long term Archers fans say: you got it wrong. Time for an apology?

  • Comment number 76.

    My husband (avid listener for 50 years) is one of the silent majority so I shall represent him here.

    I asked him what he thought of the episode. He shrugged his shoulders and said "We've all got to die sometime".

    The very idea that there should be an apology for a storyline that some people don't like (even if it is the majority which no-one can tell) is laughable to him.

  • Comment number 77.

    35 years of loyal listening (and I'm only 43) has suddenly come to an abrupt end. If I wanted unbelievable, depressing, sensationalist drama,I'd watch EastEnders! Let's hope we all switch off in our millions (for two or three months at least) and pray Ms W gets her marching orders.

  • Comment number 78.

    Yes, iFlea (post 76), your husband is right. We do all have to die sometime. This happens in the natural course of events, through age or illness; it also happens through accidents. In a long-running series the age or illness varieties will inevitably occur, and at these times soap and life converge. Accidents can be a useful device for creating drama, for refreshing interest, or for getting rid of a character. But that is not what this groundswell of complaint is about.

    This is not about people sulking because a story didn't go their way: this is about people feeling that a part of their lives has been hijacked and irredeemably spoiled for the sake of cheap sensation. With a half-hour of lacklustre and implausible melodrama, Ms Whitburn and her team have slammed the door in the face of a huge number of loyal followers.

    We're not mad as hell - we're Radio 4 listeners, after all - and I can't claim we're not going to listen any more. But as an audience we have been misjudged and disregarded. We are sad and frustrated, lost and abandoned. I don't think anybody expects or wants or cares about an apology. What we want, we clearly can't have.

  • Comment number 79.

    Sunday 9th January 2011


    This is the first time I have ever written to the BBC.

    Though not of course continuously over that whole period, I have listened to the Archers for over half a century. Why?

    Well a while ago I realsed it is because it sets a consistently very high standard, by not simply mirroring society - those that do seem to choose the worst to ape, but by sticking to principles of the best in people, while at the same time taking on very real situations.

    While not wishing for a moment to invaldiate the efforts of all the
    characters, I believe Nigel was the prime example of this.

    Lord Reith started the BBC bestowing upon it the purpose to Inform,
    Educate and Entertain. I believe there is a vital item missing here,
    perhaps because before the beginning he did not fully realise the colossal power of this new medium.

    And that is - to Set Standards.

    I do realise that the actors behind our characters sometimes wish to move on, as in the case of Betty Tucker and Sid Perks, or sadly actually die, as did Phil. So I naturally wondered what happened to Graham Seed. And just today, I believe on Pick of the Week, there he was, telling us that his reaction to the plot line was 'Why me?'

    So he was deliberately written out! Well, apart from the sense of loss
    that I feel, along with many others it seems, I can only say I think this was a terrible mistake, and a very stupid one, for the reason set out above, and also because of the timing.

    I wish to goodness you could undo it. My hope was that Nigel was going to end up hanging onto the banner, but because of the foreshadowing we'd been given I guessed he was going to end up in a wheelchair.

    You didn't have to kill him!

    Although this is the only time I have felt you have made a real mistake,
    it is so serious that I find it very difficult to forgive. I am sure that, back in your normal mode, you will deal with the aftermath excellently, and you'd better!

    But ideally you could have a discovery that he was misdiagnosed and is
    actually in a deep coma.

    In contrast to all this, despite being no conventionally strong
    religionist, and also having some familiarity with the stories
    from childhood without having retained any enthrallment, I have found
    today's readings from the King James Bible absolutely riveting.

    Good actors are owed a tremendous debt by us all.

    Kind regards, JRH

  • Comment number 80.

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

  • Comment number 81.

    Nigel really was a great character and killing him off was a serious mistake. He didn't just lighten Lizzie's life, he made us all smile. As well, he was the main voice of the eco-movement in the show - a critical opinion which no other character can easily step in to. His eccentric character was also completely unique and constantly refreshing.
    I can think of many other character that I personally would be pleased to see the back off. Helen, Emma and Kathy jump to mind: essentially they are the same self-absorbed complainers. You also had the perfect set-up for Helen's demise. Shame you decided not to take that option.

  • Comment number 82.

    Is there a thread anywhere to discuss alternative storylines? That would make good use of the extra 15 minutes a day most of us seem to have gained. Like Colin Dixon, I'd have been happy to be released from the dismal presence of several characters: Kathy, Susan, the appallingly selfish Kate, the snivelling inadequate Will. Even Shula - now that would really have SATTC.

    My favourite scenario would have Helen suffering kidney damage while giving birth and the perfectly but uniquely tissue-typed Tony stepping in as an organ donor. There would be time for dramatic reconciliation before complications set in and Tony dies a hero, as opposed to the feeble, self-pitying wretch he was in life. The admirable and resourceful Pat would be free to take up a new life, once a decent period of mourning was over. Helen would be tortured with guilt and self-hatred (what's new?) but would have learned the ultimate lesson in humility.

    And then we'd have been perfectly back on track to have that 747 crash-land on top of Shula's car while she's giving a lift to Kathy and, inexplicably, to Will. But there goes my 15 minutes.

  • Comment number 83.

    I'm counting on Ms Cresswell to respond "Yes, we thought of that one, of course..."

  • Comment number 84.

    It would be more accurate to say that reactions varied from an overwhelming majority thinking the episode was a disaster rather than a damp squib. and a very small number thinking it was good. Your summary makes it appear that opinion was much more evenly divided than it was. I calculated that 95% were angry. I have not listened since Jan 2nd and feel liberated. I realise now that listening was making me depressed.

  • Comment number 85.

    Thanks Tayler, for another opportunity to express deeply felt feelings on this subject. The 60th anniversary episode and all the ridiculous and irritating hype which led up to it was a PR disaster. I have never before felt so strongly about something which happened in a radio programme - but then there is no other programme to which I have listened without a break for over 40 years. I was so sure the lamentable Jan 2nd episode would be redeemed next day by its having been a cliff-hanger and that on Monday we would find Nigel still alive - but no. All opportunities for acceptable future storylines on the matter missed and replaced with 'it's Nigel. He's dead.' I switched off right then and haven't listened since. Please PLEASE can this disastrous mistake just be admitted to and scrubbed out. PLEASE can a fresh start made with this ghastly few weeks behind us. That would be unprecedented, I think - and therefore a very good publicity proposition, which has been at the editor's own admission the main aim behind the anniversary 'shock'.

  • Comment number 86.

    I agree that alternative storylines could have been much more fun. Who needs depressing deaths - so cliched in soaps?

    Joe Grundy winning the lottery and buying Lower Loxley - that really would shake Ambridge to the core, and cheer us all up into the bargain.

  • Comment number 87.


    Goodbye Nigel - Goodbye The Archers.
    Have listened all my life, my great Grandparents were fans.
    There were so many ways of "CELEBRATING' 60 years and this was possibly the worst.

    If VW has to continue her sensationalist PC liberal agenda how about:
    -Ian declaring his love for Helen and asking her to marry him over the incubator
    -Debbie getting preggers by a latvian farm hand
    -a black Vicar for Ambridge
    so many ideas - much better than my humble efforts.
    But not Nigel. He was a vehicle for so many great agendas and he was fun.
    He loved his wife and adored his children and was making great strides with the green agenda.
    He was a link with the goold old days of Nelson Gabriel and the Wine Bar and he was popular.

    Too far VW. I would have thought you would have done your homework.

    Adieu Ambridge.

  • Comment number 88.

    Soap scriptwriters and editors are wrong to imagine that they have a duty or a right to manipulate their dramas to mark meaningless landmark moments, and hyping them in advance is counter-productive. Soaps aim to reflect life, and they succeed insofar as they make us suspend our disbelief. What view of life is this kind of plotting supposed to encourage - one where the divine puppet master celebrates a landmark birthday by striking dead an earthling with a thunderbolt? This kind of chicanery shatters the illusion, and that is why there has been so much anger about the killing of Nigel Pargetter. It’s not that we will miss him. We have been reminded that he never existed, and nor, by extension, do any of the other characters, so why should we bother with them? Novelists don’t feel the need to bump someone off to celebrate reaching page 100, and if they did they would hardly put a note at the bottom of page 95: ‘only 5 pages to go until an earth-shaking plot twist.’ They move their stories along with shocks occurring as they would in life, according to the internal dynamic of the action or more often as random events when least expected.

  • Comment number 89.

    I could not believe that you killed off another character just after we had to put up with so many boring episodes after the death of Jolene's husband: her mooning around like a wet weekend, the son being a stupid brat without real cause. Quite unbelievable characterisations. Then there was all the stupid broken relationship between Helen and her father. Again, a totally unnecessary and unbelievable situation, with no foundation.
    Now, you start off a new year with the whole country and the world in depression, by killing off a character in such a dramatic and bloodthirsty way. There are other characters you could do without, not because they are not good actors but because of the stupid things they have to say and do.
    So, if in doubt kill someone. If that is all the writers can come up with, we're in ap retty sorry situation.

  • Comment number 90.

    Stop the clocks and re-write.
    Bring Nigel back.
    Don't underestimate how many people have switched off.
    Do something really sensational - admit you were wrong, get Graham in, pay whatever he asks, and start again.
    It doesn't matter how well-thought out the plot is from now on, how skilled the cast, how good the production team - if no-one is listening, what's the point?
    For too many of us TA has been spoilt.
    Just bring Nigel back. Simples!

  • Comment number 91.

    You have seriously underestimated the number who have stopped listening. They have also not listened to the programmes following The Archers in many cases. All of Radio 4 has been badly damaged by this shocking error of judgement.

    An apology is the least we are entitled to.

  • Comment number 92.

    Well I've had two weeks sans Archers and also sans cigarettes. Victory is mine - I'm missing neither and my mood has improved tremendously!

  • Comment number 93.


    This where the plot line came from :-


    There are 3 parts and you will get the prompt when one finishes. It is worth watching all of it and to think 1961 - a 50 yearold plot recycled!

  • Comment number 94.

    If you're counting lost listeners then add another one. Neither Nigel or David would ever have been so stupid as to attempt anything like that stunt, and the stream of clumsy hints throughout the programme was scriptwriting at its worst.

    The biggest problem for the programme now is that it will be forever associated with this nasty sensationalism instead of what it has been: for example, the beautifully crafted story and acting following Jack's descent into the hell of Alzheimer's has been radio drama at its very best.

    Once Ms Whitburn goes (hopefully taking her PC agenda and the tiresome Helen with her) and the programme is once again "an everyday story of country folk" I'll be back. You'll let me know, won't you, because I'm already missing what The Archers used to be.

  • Comment number 95.

    Only a decade of listening for me, but the Nigel/Helen debacle has finished my tuning in, for all the myriad reasons listed elsewhere in these blogs and on the boards, and written remarkably articulately by so many others. I've read the odd synopsis, heard a minute of an odd few episodes since, but the OFF button has been pressed each time, very quickly: this whole 'celebration' has been a huge misjudgement and compromised so many characters.

  • Comment number 96.

    I sent a blog to the blog page a few days ago. cant find it, so here it is again, briefly.
    Killing off a really well appreciated character was a terrible mistake as so many others have said. I think its because you couldnt stand the fact that he was middle class, and we cant have them can we?
    We need a balance to the hunting shooting brigade, we need a fun person who had a good heart, ie, he was an environmentalist. We need that balance on TA. We have no longer got it. And what a stupid shock tactic to celebrate 60 years. We know its not a true story but at least it was more realistic that the awful Eastenders and Corrie. Radio listeners had the edge, a realistic soap. Now we have nothing. Might as well watch telly.
    Archers was only just hanging on in there, with a load of whiney people or busybodies, now it has only those, and nothing else.

  • Comment number 97.

    To misquote Mr Knightley when Emma gets it SO wrong: 'Twas badly done, Vanessa, badly done indeed!
    Celebration implies something joyful, something to bring pleasure and happy memories. We can (heretofore) leave all the death stuff to the inferior TV soaps, but as others have said before me, TA has been dragged into the sensationalist twaddle we know we can get from the TV. I haven't been as dedicated to TA over the last year or two and had thought this anniversary would bring me back to avid listening. It hasn't. Doubtless I will pop in and out from time to time, but I think you have missed a great opportunity to gather me and probably many others back into Ambridge.

  • Comment number 98.

    This is really just to echo the opinions of many above.

    It's a shame when people in positions of power think that the best way to "spice things up a bit" is to stamp on talented and well respected (but apparently dispensable) underlings. Still, I guess that's the way of the world these days.

    My mother had been listening to the Archers for many years, and me just the last 10 or so. Neither of us would care too much about the loss of an odd Editor or two, but a pivotal character is a completely different thing. Neither of us will be listening again, unless there's a Patrick Duffy moment ...

    So, well done Vanessa, I hope you're pleased with the outcome.

  • Comment number 99.

    Tayler. It is now a month since the anniversary episode, with many long-time regular listeners no longer listening (in fact, many signed up to the MB or the Blog specifically to say so).

    The 2nd Jan eppie was upsetting and far-fetched enough but the current SLs, with so many character transplants, are simply ridiculous.

    1. Neurotic Helen now sweetness and light, with her perfect baby(a month premature - weight not mentioned) who never cries and is toted around the village in freezing weather?

    2. Amiable David believing he can organise a smart wedding while being rude to everyone?

    3. Bossy businesswoman Lizzie letting him?

    4. Clarrie being beastly to Vicky.

    We know Ambridge is fictional but the programme no longer rings true. It has become silly and I felt silly listening to it..

  • Comment number 100.

    Please can Horrid Helen take Simpering Shula onto the roof (perhaps with Vicky?)


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