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Well, that was exciting...

Keri Davies Keri Davies | 19:58 PM, Sunday, 2 January 2011

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If you can bear to hear it again, here is that awful moment when Nigel fell from the roof.

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Discussion on The Archers Message Board and Twitter ran rife. There were over 10,000 tweets during the half hour episode, collected by our special graphic. While a team in London ran that, Archers editor Vanessa Whitburn and I tried to keep abreast of the flood and send the odd tweet ourselves.

Of course, we don't actually know what was the outcome of Nigel's fall, or how little Henry - or Helen - will progress after the dramatic birth. As ever with The Archers, the only way to find out is to keep listening.

The original version of this blog post incorrectly named the baby as Harry. Please accept my apologies for any confusion.

Keri Davies is an Archers scriptwriter and web producer.

  • The picture shows an early design for the graphic which monitored activity on Twitter during the episode
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  • Comment number 1.

    is there a therapist in Ambridge for David to see?
    BTW what's the BBC action line number? we've been affected!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 2.

    I have listened to the Archers for about 50 years and I was filled with foreboding when I heard Nigel and Kenton going up on the roof. I think it has been a big mistake to kill off Nigel. Nigel has been such a wonderful exuberant character, an asset to the programme and it will be the poorer without him.
    I absolutely hate the idea of a huge family split which looks likely and it is simply not the way to go.

  • Comment number 3.

    Isn't he little Henry?

    Calling him Harry comes close to being a spoiler.

  • Comment number 4.

    From Banbury to Birmingham, from Durham to Nigeria, from The Netherlands to Romania, I've listened to The Archers for forty years. You could have indulged me this evening with a half-hour of Joe and Peggy (or Jill) talking about times past......Now it's time for my cocoa, hot water bottle and bed.

  • Comment number 5.

    Can you really see Alan allowing a parishioner to be buried in a gorilla suit?

  • Comment number 6.

    That was a genius stroke - I'm so traumatised cos I love Nigel but that's how it should be. Brilliant addictive listening. How can we possibly wait til tomorrow?

  • Comment number 7.

    Stop trying to pull the wool over. Read the message boards. Hundreds of people are saying it was utter pants, an insult to regular listeners and that Vanessa Whitburn should go.

  • Comment number 8.

    I have been listening to the Archers for 59½ years. I was never an admirer of Nigel - he sounded too much like Prince Charles for my liking - but I remember his early days, not least as Mr Snowy. It is sad when an old acquaintance meets a sorry end.

  • Comment number 9.

    Pathetic. Heads should roll. Not the scriptwriters. That was just a bad day at the office. Happens all the time. Just a written warning would do. "Do not rehash ideas from Eastenders" (didn't both Nick Cotton and Bradley Branning fall from a height?).

    The heads that should roll are those belonging to the licence-fee funded BBC executives who for weeks have been gloating and boasting, hugging themselves with self-congratulatory glee, all about the earth-shattering events we were going to witness.

  • Comment number 10.

    Oh dear, was that “it”

  • Comment number 11.

    Should have been Tony, as a result of his erratic driving on the way to the hospital, through a red light, crash, Fire Crews cut them from the wreckage, Paramedics save the baby & Helen, airlifted to hospital, however not poor Tony, he took the brunt of the crash, died at the scene.

    We need a Nigel, for a little light heartedness through the dreary story lines.

  • Comment number 12.

    I was out till 8.30pm and when I got home went to the Archers webpage. I tried not to see anything but what did I see before I'd even got as far as starting the Listen to the last episode? 'List of characters - Henry Archer' So I knew straight away that would be the baby. Thanks a bunch. And then 'can you bear to listen again to the thrilling moment when Nigel fell off the roof?' So no surprises at all for me. That was thoughtless at best and gutting at worst. As I say, thanks for spoiling it for me, webpage people. If you're going to give things away that blatantly, why bother with a 'listen again' feature?

  • Comment number 13.

    why was it Nigle who had to die!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! couldnt someone from Ambridge, mr Pullen (who we never hear from )be the one .Wet eyes, ok so Helen huas Henry, but Lizzy such a loss. what next.??

  • Comment number 14.

    I echo a previous comment.. wake up and smell the coffee. The message boards are full of people commenting about how bad they felt this episode was, both in terms of the plot line and the quality of writing.

  • Comment number 15.

    After listening all my life to The Archers (57 years) I was very disappointed with the 60th Anniversary broadcast especially as it seems to be Nigel and not the awful winging Helen who has been killed off.

  • Comment number 16.

    No, it wasn't exciting at all. It was obvious at least one of them was going to fall off the roof, and if you read the programme message board, you'll see there's a lot of unhappy regulars. It really didn't SATTC: sorry, but it didn't match the hype being put out about it. Shame really.

  • Comment number 17.

    I love the archers,im 62. When i was a little girl i listened to it with my blind grandad it was the hilight of his day.I was sucked in & have listened to it for the rest of my life.This plot could develop with David looseing Brookfeild? but i loved Nigel he was always so entheusiastic about life.

  • Comment number 18.

    I refuse to believe that Nigel is no more.
    I'm sure he landed in a bush and has cuts and bruises.
    He's not dead - he's just asleep.

  • Comment number 19.

    Loopy falls off roof....can't believe how dull that was.

    Still hoping the ghastly Helen doesn't come out of hospital and can we have less fawning from her terrified family. Is it realistic that a control freak like the cheese queen wouldn't be up on every possible complication of pregnancy?

    So disappointed...a truly damp squib of an episode.

  • Comment number 20.

    Well that was an anticlimax. Compare it to John's death, which was similarly hyped up, but thanks to sensitive writing and superb acting fully lived up to the hype. Tonight we had just a cynical attempt to build up tension by throwing us red herrings and then signalling the dénouement (literally) way in advance.

    I look forward to a sensitive treatment of disability (if that's where the storyline is going), and not just using it as an excuse to present more and more family rows.

  • Comment number 21.

    Sorry, Keri, but that was unadulterated drivel; a hugely predictable & over-hyped storyline leading to the 'shark-jumping' moment of the unncessary killing-off of one of the best characters in TA, leaving so many better candidates for early demise.

    That was sensationalist carp: it truly lived down to my greatest fears about Whitburn's inability to handle the "big occasion".

    She should resign, quickly & without fuss, and return to her origins in TV soaps - the lowest-common-denominator fare to which she is clearly far better suited & with which she wishes to retain so much connection.

    And as for the Helen, the Baster Baby & Tony's Damascene conversion ... poor & defying credibility ever since May.

    Shake Ambridge to the core? Well, Lizzie might shake David's neck to the core, but as a listener of 30-odd years, I am even more underwhelemed by tonight's feeble & pathetic effort than I was by the shambolic failure of the 15,000th episode : neither lived up to their hype or promise.

  • Comment number 22.

    I think many of us would have been a lot less deflated if we hadn't been subject to relentless hype about this episode for the last three months. If anyone listened to The Archers for the first time as a result of the publicity, they won't have heard the kind of episode that drew in most of the existing audience - it isn't normally bam, bam, bam - one crisis after another - screams and welling emotion - like a variant on Casualty or Holby. What most of us love is the slow, steady building up of character over decades and all the delightful little things we look out for: change counting in the shop, the witty asides from Brian, the gossip from Susan, the little snippets of agricultural stuff, the annual rituals like the panto, Stir-Up Sunday, the Flower and Produce Show. More of that and less sensationalism, please!

  • Comment number 23.

    I really enjoyed the episode and thought it a very appropriate for the 60th anniversary.

  • Comment number 24.

    Why is the quality of research so poor? The symptoms Helen had this evening would be most unlikely in themselves to have neccessitated an emergency dash to hospital, much less an emergency delivery.

    Pre eclampsia manifests with more than swollen ankles and a mild headache. Hundreds of pregnant women would have those and either require no treatment or be successfully treated with anti hypertensives and have their pregnancy monitored to judge when delivery was neccessary. Fulminating pre eclampsia, which would have justified Amy's reaction, would have been heralded by more serious and extensive swelling and pitting odema in the legs plus severe visual disturbances, epigastric pain and bad headaches. I feel that the programme will cause needless anxiety to pregnant women and their famillies whose elevated blood pressure is accompanied by mild swelling and is managed entirely safely and appropriately on an outpatient basis.

    A more dramatically satisfying and obstetrically accurate storyline might have been Tom going to pick Helen up, her declining to attend because of a bad headache, Tom mentioning in passing to Amy that Helen had had a headache and a puffy face and an emergency dash to the flat followed by an emergency dash to the hospital. That took me about three minutes to think up, would be more realistic that Amy's frankly OTT reaction to minor symptoms and would have been more educative for the population as a whole.

  • Comment number 25.

    To the whingers:
    Do please get some perspective. If you are able to get so worked up about a soap, go and seek out Dr Legg for some sedatives.

  • Comment number 26.

    well said Mustafa!

  • Comment number 27.

    serves Nigel right for hunting on boxing day, ask Alan the vicar 'God's decision is final'.

  • Comment number 28.

    Very heavy handed writing (pardon the pun), nothing subtle, nothing innovative. Before publicising a "special" anniversary episode, better to check that the episode is special.I am disappointed. Added to the fact that one of my favourite characters has just fallen off a roof !!!!!!!!! If it had been Helen on the roof, I would have given her a push ( Can I get away with saying that, in as much as she isn't a "real" person.)

  • Comment number 29.

    The Archers has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, I'm 59 in two weeks time so it's a fair while. I found tonight's episode a huge disappointment after the weeks of hype - a major disaster as a minimum, a shotgun rampage by Will or LL going up in flames. But good ol' Nigel falling to his death, whilst sad, is hardly the major disaster we were all lead to believed was to happen. OK Lizzie will be in bits and will probably disembowel David but hey! I feel cheated. I expected a much better episode to celebrate 60 years after 55 years of conscious listening!

  • Comment number 30.

    Forgot to say that perhaps for the 70th anniversary, Linda Snell could be trampled to death by stampeding lamas. Now, that WOULD be exciting....

  • Comment number 31.

    I can picture the scene at the beeb when this story was constructed.

    "ahh, a diamond anniversary. what's something cheerful and exciting that we can do to celebrate our 60th year? something that will warm the cockles of
    the nation's hearts. something to mark such a proud achievement."

    "throw nigel off a roof."


  • Comment number 32.

    Archers...... I'm not angry, I'm just very very disappointed!

  • Comment number 33.

    So far so bad... of course we will have to listen to see how everything resolves but it was totally out of character for a risk averse character like David to have encouraged Nigel onto the roof, maybe Kenton, or perhaps Nigel encouraging David but David simply would not have done this." are you a man or a mouse" indeed ! Very ham fisted

  • Comment number 34.

    Please, please, please, producers and writers liven up Helens part, it is so sad, she should have no friends or family support if this was real!

  • Comment number 35.

    Congratulations writing team !!!two hits in one !!!! Both pathetic AND poorly executed. Await the sound of crashing listener figures

  • Comment number 36.

    load of carp

  • Comment number 37.

    Well, I know I am the wrong sort of listener but it was really very annoying to hear this episode. I've listened for decades and its not been sensationalism that has kept me hooked, it has been character led plots and humour arising from naturalistic dialogue.

    There was NO justification for the hype, and the accident on the roof just would NOT have happened. Sensationalism for what purpose? What would new listeners have made of it and how many long term loyal listeners have been alienated by it.

    Bad call, Archers, bad call. So many ways of celebration 60 years, but not like this.

  • Comment number 38.

    Well that was very, very dull. My family laugh at my obsession with the Archers and after today I agree with them. Are we to assume that Henry is Ian's child? He was very anxious to be a dad in the past.

  • Comment number 39.

    It wasn't exciting, it was depressing. On top of cuts and job losses this is the last thing we needed. Now, even if he isnt dead, one of the cheeriest voices on radio is out of action, and there'll be weeks of grim Brookside-type weeping and wailing and soul searching etc etc. What a dsimal prospect. Thanks a bundle, Ms Whitburn, but I'll be tuning out.

  • Comment number 40.

    Why did poor old Nigel have to get it? Why not ghastly self-centred Helen? Presumably her dreadful mis-mothering of the unfortunate Henry will provide rich dramatic possibilities for the future. And Lizzie will never speak to David again. Still, it's a shame that Nigel was the sacrificial victim!

  • Comment number 41.

    Sorry I missed one out .... Pathetic , poorly executed and pointless.

    How can killing off a central character in such a ill concieved and heavy handed way possible increase my enjoyment of listening to the gentle twists and turns of Ambridge life ??

  • Comment number 42.

    Very disappointing. No need for such a build up as it didn't warrant it at all.
    Not that we know that Nigel has died - -but if so, why is the death of a character such a coup de theatre? Its bloody miserable! If he is dead, to kill of such a character is detrimental to the soap.
    I was expecting sibling rivalry amongst the Grundy boys to either go to far again or even have something happy happen!!!
    The birth of baby Henry to the painful Helen is hardly joyous!!

  • Comment number 43.

    Sorry, but I too was disappointed with tonight's episode. I thought that Helen should die in child birth (after all she's been really painful for the last few weeks)and so Ian & Adam could bring up the child.
    Let's hope it isn't the lst of Nigel

  • Comment number 44.

    And the offending spoilers on the home page are still there for all those who couldn't listen to the episode live.

    Maybe the producers want to save listener's the pain of actually having to listen? Or the web team really are incompetent.

  • Comment number 45.

    Bad writing aside, I can't accept that Nigel has gone and, like the previous poster, I look forward to a sensitive handling of a character living with a severe disability (which Ambridge has been lacking hitherto)
    complete with all the discrimination, emotional and practical issues he will face. It would help his personality to develop in a new direction and take both their minds off ruining Freddie's life before it has got under way. Ambridge has seen a lot of deaths recently and needs an alternative for a change.

  • Comment number 46.

    I've listend since a very young child. The start up was always bedtime. I've always listend when living overseas, yes I was in Hong Kong with Mark Hebdon.Ambridge has always been that little bit of home.Dispite living overseas, BFBS always broadcasted it.I feel really let down, now it seems like any other soap. Can I now become a writer as I feel the present ones should stick to T.V Soaps

  • Comment number 47.

    Nigel has great panto review, Nigel gives Lizzie lovely jewellery heirloom. Of course he's going to fall off the roof! how much more of a surprise it would have been if he had managed to retrieve the banner and get the champagne out of the cellar....

  • Comment number 48.

    Did anyone hear David get down safely? Goodbye Nigel and thank you for many cheery thoughts over the years. You will be missed by me but I think your leaving was in character (spotted the potential with Kenton last week - who puts a banner on the roof?)

  • Comment number 49.

    What an awful episode! I was hoping that we'd finally loose the whinging Helen. Argh!

  • Comment number 50.

    Hmmmmm, there seems to be a theme running here. Nigel dead? Or in a wheelchair? Helen (she needs a slap says the wife) with pre eclampsia? Seriously, the beeb need to take a long look at this. I think we could have coped if a plane crashed in the village.....

  • Comment number 51.

    Well I lost my bet (I thought Will would kill Ed or vice versa) and was actually fairly disappointed. David will beat himself up for the rest of his life for 'encouraging' Nigel onto the roof. David will disclose this to Ruth (Ooooh nooooo) at a later date, and no doubt Elizabeth will find out and never speak to David again....

  • Comment number 52.

    I wonder if anyone's thought through the consequences of this...I mean there's no way Lizzie could possibly run Lower Loxley on her own. Just think of the stress levels. How can one possibly organise robbing children on skates on ones own? Especially while trying to juggle one thick child, one bright child and a new brooch. I mean a girl just hasn't got enough hands.

    Such things require a calm head. And with Nigel's ever calm head now little more than a calm head shaped hole in the car park, she's going to explode! Explode I tell you. And then the archer's will be minus it's most bitchy character. And the kids will have to be fostered by Oliver and Caroline and thus grow up well balanced and sensible individuals. And the Titcome's will actually have to retire rather than dying in post...

    ...oh wait maybe someone has thought this through.

    Sorry. I'll go back into my hole now.

  • Comment number 53.

    Why is the headline 'Well, that was exciting...', when the concensus seems to be (including me), well that was awful (and not very exciting)?

  • Comment number 54.

    My guess is that Nigel isn't dead, but will be a paraplegic... so it will run and run.

    Henry's middle name intrigued me. Was it a hint to the baby's father?

  • Comment number 55.

    Exciting? Oh come on. That has to be one of the sloppiest episodes ever. Poor scripting, poor continuity and poor characterisation.

    When did Helen suddenly forgive Tony? When did the ever sensible David turn into Kenton? Was it while we were inexplicably hopping between hospital and party?

    The whole thing sounded as if it had been cobbled together at the last minute. Was the planned storyline overtaken by real events and deemed unsuitable at the last moment?

    I've grown up with the Archers, but this storyline has left my belief suspended in mid-air with Nigel.

    Bad, bad decision making by whoever is responsible.

  • Comment number 56.

    I've always loved TA. A bit of gentle diversion of an evening. Cows, sheep, ferrets, Flower & Produce, a bit of gossip in the shop, nothing too serious. I'll give it a go, but I dread the future. My favourite character has taken a header off the roof and I see nothing ahead of me but 'drama', not an escaped piglet in sight.

  • Comment number 57.

    On the question of credibility of the story line, we must remember that David Archer has learnt about why Health and Safety is important on several occassions - from Jethro's death or from Pip's quad bike accident. As an active NFU member he would have been aware of the HSE's current "Make the Promise" campaign to farmers to come home alive at the end of each day.
    Similarly Nigel, running a business with lots of employees and access by the public, will have been involved in developing a health and safety plan. His rope walk through his woodland will have required specific considerations about safety at height.
    Carelessness while working at height is the cause of many unnecessary deaths, but while both Nigel and David may have a certain bravado, neither of them is stupid.
    This storyline is therefore far fetched. Even if they were considered capable of doing something so stupid, they would at least have told someone else at the party what they were planning to do. From a legal perspective I supect Nigel would be at fault for taking David up on the roof under such entirely inappropriate circumstances and without any discussion of the risks. I will be interested to see whether or not we hear about the threat of an HSE prosecution of Elizabeth if she becomes the sole remaining director of Lower Loxley.

  • Comment number 58.

    Very disappointed that the Archers editorial team decided to go down the route so well trod by TV soaps of chasing ratings by a big shock (or not) death (or near death) event on an anniversary. Oh, and a premature birth, also rather overdone on anniversaries. I wonder how many soap characters have been born, got married or died on the programme's anniversary or at Christmas/New Year? Far more than would be the case in real life, I'd suspect.

    It's a shame that TA, which calls itself a drama serial rather than a soap opera, is doing this rather tedious soap stuff. Why not celebrate and commemorate what has been special to TA over the years: everyday drama in everyday situations. I was hoping for a bit of marmalade-making, a bit of change-counting, some farming chat and plenty of incidental conversations which gently and incrementally developed plots and characters. I got none of that.

    I'm not sure what 'that was exciting' refers to - I assume it can only be your excitement at following a trending graph on Twitter, which seems to me to have far to great an importance to the programme-makers.

    Very disappointed. I've resisted joining those who call for heads to roll, but this episode did sound like the product of some very tired dramatists.

  • Comment number 59.

    come on people it was not that bad we all have to addmit we were all on tenterhooks all through the episode and was quiet thrilling. we have heard worse in the past and if we really know the archers the storyline is not over. there are lots of things that copuld still happen for example helen and baby could still both die and nigle may still be aluive lets all remember it is the archers and soapland after all lets keep listening and lets see what happens then lets see what we are say by friday.

  • Comment number 60.

    Well, looking (on the messageboard) at the posts saying 'how boring and predictable' and those saying 'oh no, not lovely Nigel', I suspect that the SWs may have got the balance about right.

    Incidentally, if you must call a child 'Henry Ian', you are going to get a distinct glottal stop in the middle.

  • Comment number 61.

    Excellent episode, I loved it. My only complaint is it was too predictable from all the hype that had gone on beforehand. As soon as Nigel mentions going on the roof it was obvious what was about to happen. I woulld much rather have not known that something big was going to happen tonight!

    I'm also so glad to see that TA have not copied the tv soaps with massive disaters killing of large numbers of the cast. I find this sort of thing too melodramatic and unrealistic in the extreme.

    The sw have created a huge story which will continue for years to come plus a happy event in Helens baby and apparent reconciliation with Tony. I'm very much looking forward to tomorrows episode!

  • Comment number 62.

    Can't agree that it was exciting, Keri. Sorry.
    It was badly conceived and poorly judged for a special 60th anniversary special.
    Really disappointed in it.
    What a wasted opportunity.

  • Comment number 63.

    Sadly I wasn't on tenterhooks after the word 'roof' was mentioned. I knew Nigel would be the fall guy after seeing a spoiler on the website earlier in the day, and it didn't take Miss Marple to guess that something would happen to Helen, after the last couple of weeks' build up.

    The half hour itself seemed a bit drawn out, only two storylines featured and the characters spent a lot of time saying 'I hope Helen will be OK' over and over again. All rather undramatic and certainly less than the hype warranted.

  • Comment number 64.

    For the last few weeks I have been advocating the Archers after Coronation Street's efforts in 'celebrating' their 50th anniversary by demolishing half the street and killing off characters. 'The Archers' I said 'do not resort to such methods, there is no need to with such a well written, entertaining, true to life story of everyday folk'.

    I now take it all back! All I now ask is that you take the 'celebrating' out of your headlines and just say '60 years of the Archers'. It's now like all the other soaps. Hang your heads in shame!!!

  • Comment number 65.

    @59 archersfan60, you are so wrong. We were not on tenterhooks at all, because the script was far too clumsy.
    Amy Franks would never have been invited to a party at LL except to serve the premature baby plot-line, which was so over-contrived as to be ridiculous. Nigel's plunge off the roof was predictable from the moment Kenton put the banner up there - it was just a matter of time before we found out who the victim would be. Using David as the accomplice was absurdly out of character. Everything jarred hopelessly.
    Presumably the baby is blind/deaf and/or has brain-damage and Nigel is alive but crippled, otherwise the threat to change Ambridge forever has failed completely.
    Shaking Ambridge to the Core? What rubbish.

  • Comment number 66.

    Hmm, 60 comments, of which 4 are favourable and all the others are unimpressed.

    No, it was not exciting, it was over-hyped and soap-style sensational, an insult to Radio 4 listeners. I was not "on tenterhooks", I was carefully playing Tetris to save myself from too much pain as the dreaded accident clunkily unfolded.

  • Comment number 67.

    Very disappointed by tonight's episodes on so many levels. Firstly, as an Obstetric Anaesthetist in a large teaching hospital, this is virtually a "routine" emergency caesarean section for us that occurs every day, with no particular need to panic or get over excited. So, why did Amy allow Tony to come close to killing all of them by driving through red traffic lights? If he was that incapable of coping with the stress of the emergency, she should have calmed everyone down and asked Tom or Pat to drive instead. It was certainly the worst thing possible for a pregant woman with very high blood pressure. Secondly, whilst severe pre-eclampsia is not to be under-estimated, it was very melodramatic to talk about Helen dying, particularly as Helen had complied fully with her midwifery and medical advice.

    Also very disappointed that Nigel has been severely injured or killed, as he is an excellent character who just about makes Elizabeth Archer bearable. I hope he has instead landed fortuitously on a large soft pile of mud, left when unsupervised ice rink removal company damaged the garden and has thus escaped with only minor injuries. If the roof of Lower Loxley is anywhere near the height of Downton Abbey, this seems unlikely.

  • Comment number 68.

    After the emotion of Helen and Tony's delight at the birth, I could only laugh at Nigel's predictable and melodramatic fall from the roof.

  • Comment number 69.

    I had an absolutely awful day at work, then came home to Nigel's blood curdling scream. I've been a fan of this character since its debut in the 1980s and I see this story-line as no way to celebrate 60 years of The Archers. It was cheap and nasty.

  • Comment number 70.

    I could have provided a much more exciting episode. Such a shame you didn't ask listeners to provide storylines for the 60th anniversary;a missed opportunity. No doubt we will have baby and blaming storylines for the forseeable future. No doubt if Nigel survives he'll win a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic games - equally unrealistic! Incidentaly,why are Archer family members whingers,spoilt and pathetic? Shame we couldn't bump them all off!

  • Comment number 71.

    Regardless of the merits of the plot line of the most recent show, how is Jill going to handle all of the latest developments? Poor girl, she lost Phil within the last twelve months and now all this...

  • Comment number 72.

    Was it the Curse of the Mummy's Brooch? Whosoever disturbs the treasure from it's resting place is doomed.

  • Comment number 73.

    Thought the whole episode was over-hyped and was disappointing. Did not feel moved by the sad demise of Nigel and felt like screaming at the Radio "Is that the best you could do?" Even my wife whose is not a regular listener could work out who and what was going to happen when she heard the words "roof" and "banner" mentioned in the omnibus edition!
    Ambridge has been all of my married life(17 yrs) and some before that when I was a kid and would listen with my uncle at 6.45pm! With the disappointment of this and the return of an unsavoury character to Corrie perhaps it's time leave the soaps alone for a while!
    I hope powers that be take notice and improve the writing, lest they lose too many listeners!

  • Comment number 74.

    it was a bit of a let down to go to the downloads page and read about how Nigel fell off the roof before I'd heard the episode.

  • Comment number 75.

    Total overblown hype about this episode, which had hardly any real drama in it. As for "shocking Amdridge to the core" - I don't think so!
    A big dissapointment - Us fans could write better scripts than this.
    How about writing off Helen next time, that's what everyone wants.

  • Comment number 76.

    I've just listened to the episode on iPlayer. It was so dull that I checked a couple of times to make sure I was actually witnessing the earth shattering event that I was promised! A total disappointment.

  • Comment number 77.

    Deeply disappointed tonight. Like the majority I am fed up with Helen and her moaning and self righteous behaviour. The whole plot line regarding her pregnancy has been tedious and I am with Tony and his earlier views. I also agree with the majority that the outcome was so obvious as soon as the roof was mentioned that one could have turned the radio off then and listened no more. Nigel was a popular character and although it took years to warm to him most of us had.

    It was a sad way to celebrate 60 years and to see The Archers follow the sensational and ridiculous plot lines of Eastenders an absolute insult to those of us who have enjoyed the programme over the years.

    An error of judgement and one that will lose loyal listeners by the hundreds.

  • Comment number 78.

    A lot of negative posts. come on people it's a drama! mind you, BBC obviously haven't been watching eastenders, or was that why Nigel bought it and not Helen's baby? Hmm.

  • Comment number 79.

    When characters are killed off - remember John? - they don't play the theme tune at the end. Doesn't that suggest that Nigel's fall might not be terminal?

  • Comment number 80.

    shame though. such a nice chap. shouldn't Will have been eaten by a badger or something? Oh he gets on my wick! Happy New Year all.Nite.

  • Comment number 81.

    Of course, there could be the silver lining, revealed on Monday, that Nigel landed on Ruth.

  • Comment number 82.

    Could I just add my agreement to those who are saying it's ridiculous that Helen wouldn't have know about pre-eclampsia? My youngest turns 14 years tomorrow and the moment she mentioned swollen ankles, I immediately thought, oops, better see a doctor! Especially someone like Helen who thought she knew every last thing about her condition. Was this written by people who had never been pregnant?

  • Comment number 83.

    Nigel was (is?) a jolly chap but honestly, am I the only person who thought whoever played him was just a dreadful actor?

  • Comment number 84.

    To those mourning the loss of Nigel: There was a fellow here in NY today (where I live) who jumped out of the 9th floor of a building but lived after landing on a pile of rubbish bags, uncollected because of a recent blizzard. Just wondering how snowy it is at Lower Loxley and whether anyone has collected the rubbish recently?

  • Comment number 85.

    Just dreadful, a poorly written episode completely lacking in tension (particularly if you used listen again and read what had happened before hearing it). Did any of you Beebies or actors honestly think it was tense, exciting or Ambridge rocking? The accident on the roof was too predictable for words, David's behaviour completely out of character and as for Helen's baby drama, downright misleading and poorly researched.
    Comments blog last week had far better scenarios.
    Happy New Year to all those who will be falling on their swords, no bonus's await you I trust.

  • Comment number 86.

    I agree that this was not TA’s finest hour (or half hour). The only thing that I can add to fully illustrate my disappointment is that after tonight TA is in danger of becoming simply a radio version of Emmerdale . I hope this is not as terminal as Nigel’s fall and the patient can make a full recovery!

  • Comment number 87.

    I think the episode generally worked well, although the research on Helen's pre-eclampsia was inadequate and her making-up with Tony was far too quick and easy. What I really enjoyed was the rooftop drama, which means David and Lizzie will fall out permanently and their children probably forbidden to play together ever again. And what are the implications for LL of inheritance tax? I hope Nigel has placed the Hall and its surrounding acres in trust for Freddie and Lily. Otherwise they are left open to the predations of Borchester Land (who might convert it into the new cattle market) or even Matt and Lilian (who would no doubt rush to transform LL into an exclusive gated community of executive homes). Yes indeed, plenty of long-running possibliities.

  • Comment number 88.

    I gave up watching soaps a few years ago because they were so unrealistic. I think the time has come to stop listening to the Archers. Besides, I don't think I can face the weeks of unrelieved misery ahead. Nor the months of unrelieved cooing at baby Henry, or Tony's unrelieved grovelling when he has done nothing wrong. And least of all, the transmogrification of the Hellqueen into somebody nice.

  • Comment number 89.

    "Well, that was exciting" nah, mate...it wasn't.

  • Comment number 90.

    Has Nigel really gone to meet Mummy, or is this story just a lame excuse to raid DH Lawrence's plot? Is Elizabeth to become Lady Chatterley of Borchester, her minor aristocrat of a husband rendered paralyzed and impotent by a tragic accident? (She was always fit and lusty, young Lizzie). How long before she starts nipping off into the woods for trysts with Will 'Mellors' Grundy? Would make an interesting longterm prospect for a classless society in Ambridge... not only could we look forward to the imminent mixing of Aldridge/Horobin genes, but also to an Archer/Grundy sibling for Lil the Frill and Fred the Dope.

    Hard to know whether the writers are following the time-honoured literary tradition of deprived middle-class wife and wheelchair-bound upper crust husband, or whether Nigel's fate has been modelled on that of poor Rod Hull. Even Emu couldn't save him. On the other hand, perhaps he's landed smack bang in the middle of Lil and Fred's giant trampoline and will bounce orff into the sunset.

  • Comment number 91.

    'As ever with The Archers, the only way to find out is to keep listening.'

    Nice try. Of people's patience, that is. Expecting them to want to keep listening is another matter. I suppose I'm curious to know if Nigel dies instantly, or gets taken to hospital. That's about it, though.

    I nearly always have R4 on, though, so I can't help picking up on developments (and I also can't help thinking this is going to be all over the schedule for the next week or so).

  • Comment number 92.

    Shame on whoever maintains you for posting this on the opening page of your website and completely ruining my listening experience. I was just about to listen to today's episode. You could at least have put a spoiler alert and not mentioned it right below the listen again buttons. Tut, tut. Way to lose listeners.

  • Comment number 93.

    "Well, that was exciting". I assume that you mean watching the Twittermeter during the broadcast? The episode itself was a total let-down and I concur with the overwhelming opinions on here and on the Message Board. Was this really the best that the TA team could come up with by way of a much hyped diamond anniversary core-shaking episode? If so, I fear that you have alienated a vast number of Archers listeners - many after decades of involvement and enjoyment.

  • Comment number 94.

    This was just about the most pathetic episode of The Archers I have ever heard. I have been following all the various characters and story-lines for many years but this was the worst ever and the MOST UNBELIEVABLE.
    Helen would have had more than just one incident of swollen ankles and a headacheto have indicated pre-eclampsia. Don't the producers and scriptwriters do any research.

    David and Nigel would never have gone up on the roof at night and never in a howling gale. In their various jobs they are both very aware of the need for caution and care (H&S). So out of character for both of them. You could have let Jack die and Peggy make a frantic drive over to the nursing home and then collapse herself or maybe her old boyfriend turn up unannounced but this episode was RUBBISH. Goodbye!!

  • Comment number 95.

    You all know that it's just a dream. Lets hope when he wakes up Helen is dead.

  • Comment number 96.

    In the early days of The Archers, when I was a child, a pal of mine used to sing, "Dah di dah di dah ..." the first music phrase, and then to the second phrase he would add the words, "Wait again till tomorrow!"

    Even though in a minority, and an avid Radio 4 listener, for what it is worth I did not think last night's double-bubble episode a failure, but quite enjoyed it over a glass or three of red wine.

    Two things strike me. First, we do not know of Nigel's fate - so, those who blog, stop pretending you do. Second, I am less concerned at the standard of the script-writing (which, in my opinion is good) than with the generally-appalling slapdash wording of the blogs. Even if we forget the elementary spelling errors, and grammatical faux pas, clearly the writers have just gone to the keyboard and chucked together a collection of words - AND NOT EVEN BOTHERED TO READ WHAT THEY HAVE WRITTEN BEFORE POSTING. How superficial is that?

    I suggest that those bloggers need to consider the fact that their illwritten comments say more about them than The Archers.

    Do I sound OTT or superior? Well, earlier in my life I was a schoolmaster ... but my subject was Mathematics.

    Finally, I thought the "secret", despite the build-up, was quite well-kept, unlike those of recent TV soaps (which I do not watch). Not even Julian Assange of WikiLeaks spilled the beans.

    Happy New Year


    PS Now I must check what I have written to try to ensure it is error-free.

  • Comment number 97.

    What a huge let down! Why Nigel? Tension and drama? Don't think so. How predictable after all the hype. Expected road crash, plane crash, nuclear war? But Nigel falling off the roof..... is David hanging on by a thread? Will he slip too?
    So disappointing........big anticlimax..

  • Comment number 98.

    I have listened to the Archers since 1965. The other night a rather smug looking lady appeared on the TV, proud to have written last night's scene. That was worrying, and worries have been fulfilled. I agree with the other commentators that it was very poor. By all means have some drama, but it seems a sad way to celebrate 60 wonderful years by killing off or gravely wounding one of the more unusual characters. Perhaps we will now be told that Nigel was the sperm donor for Helen's boy, and young Henry will stake a claim to Lower Loxley?

  • Comment number 99.

    I was hoping for rather more of a massacre. My only hope now is that Tony was standing at the point of impact and two Ambridge bores were wiped out at the same time.
    My pity would be with St. Peter.

  • Comment number 100.

    A well-written episode, classic Archers stuff! BBC radio drama at its best! Well, I can only imagine it would have been, if the anticipatory media hype had not completely destroyed the dramatic impact. What a shame and what a waste!

    Another case of ratings rule?


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