Archives for March 2011

"Thank you David. That will be all" - Listener discussions from 17-23 March 2011

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Tayler Cresswell Tayler Cresswell | 18:50 UK time, Monday, 28 March 2011


Roy will soon have that dodgy LL printer sorted. No stopping him now. #Thearchers - Tweet from @psalotti

There was a collective sigh of relief after "last year's man" David Archer was replaced by "Super Roy" Tucker at Lower Loxley. And everyone's talking about Jamie Perks - particularly after he told his mum about Kenton Archer's new relationship with Jolene Perks. Plus is this year's Lent storyline "too predictable"? And what will Jim Lloyd pick for next month's book club? Some helpful message board folk have offered a few suggestions ...

Here's my pick of listener discussions between 17th and 23rd March on the message board, Twitter and Facebook.

Jamie's "sullen" and "disgraceful" behaviour has come under scrutiny along with Kathy's parenting. Was young Jamie being "spiteful" telling Fallon about Kenton's dalliance with Holly?

Vintage #archerspause tonight as Jamie drops the Kenton-Jolene bombshell on Kathy (@archelina on Twitter)

#thearchers nag nag nag nag nag - just leave him be Kathy. He's a teenager (@bluejude on Twitter)

Surely [Kathy] went away so that she could have a good cry? It was in the voice, I thought. (jennet_device)

Jamie is being brilliantly played at the moment, too - the teen sulkiness, surliness and general vileness can't be easy to pitch, but he's got it to a T. Definitely one of the more interesting developing storylines currently. (Gervase)

Have your say in the Jamie, now he has a reason... thread on the message board

There's been a huge debate about whether Fallon Rogers is interfering unnecessarily in her mother's love life. Or perhaps she's just looking out for her? If Kenton moves into The Bull, will Fallon be forced to move out? (Will she be able to stand all that smooching?)

Keep out of it, Fallon! It's none of your business! Your mum is an adult, and what does it matter if all she has is a brief fling with Kenton----or otherwise! I wouldn't want my daughter interfering with my middle aged love life--yuk! (Nemo399)

I really like Fallon, she seems the most sensible person of the four of them, and why should she not be protective of her mum, I hope my daughters would care as much. Fallon has always been a huge support and still is, no reason for such criticism IMHO, praise I think is due... (esmeandsebastiansgrannynic)

Where do you stand? Add your thoughts on the Keep out of it, Fallon! thread.

Once David had slunk back to Brookfield to be replaced by Roy as temporary manager at Lower Loxley, Ruth came in for some praise for her plain speaking. And there was a tinsy bit of sympathy for David - "last year's man"...

Enter SuperRoy! All efficiency and flattery. Elizabeth: "Yes, thank you, David, that will be all. Now, Roy..." (typewright)

Elizabeth being soooo dismissive to David. He kind of slunk away --- last year's man ... (The devil wears Burberry)

This was IMO the best part of the David's guilt SL so far. At least someone in TA is ready, after great patience, to speak plain common sense. Go Ruth! (Jacks Parakeet)

David definitely needs some help, either from the vicar, a good friend (does he have any?) or a therapist... I think we all get the point now, that he feels Lizzie needs him for the rest of his life. It is up to his family and friends to help him get it into perspective before we all die of boredom. (coaster)

I'd have tipped a bucket of some unmentionable cow fluid over his head. (Tadpole)

Read more on the David dismissed and the And furthermore, good for you, Ruth threads.

Eddie and Joe Grundy's Lent storyline has got many talking - but many on the message board say they find this one too "predictable".

Rice, puy lentils and brown sauce????? Are they having a laugh? I'm not. (Dusty Substances)

Funnily enough the dialogue around Eddie and Joe's food from Clarrie was clever in my opinion, great lengths have been gone to showing us how incredibly spoilt they are with mentions of full English's and great picnics. It's just the upcoming hilarious consequences that are going to spoil it for me. (Jigje)

Tell us what you think on the message board

And finally, what will Jim Lloyd choose for next month's book club? Something in Latin perhaps? A scholarly work?

A rare translation of Herodotus' History of the Pubic Wars,' that should get Neville interested. (Majorclanger)

Or of course it could be Jimus's autobiog 'I Jimus' that he puts forward, vanity copies at the ready. (irene)

I thought Jimus was quite sweet tonight though. He bought a bottle, engaged in lively chat and then stayed to help clear up. Good for him. (villageschoolmarm)

Add your suggestions on Jimbo's choice of book? thread

Tayler Cresswell is host of The Archers message board.

"Every family needs a Jill" - Listener discussions from 14 - 16 March 2011

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Tayler Cresswell Tayler Cresswell | 17:15 UK time, Wednesday, 23 March 2011


I would like Jill Archer to make me a lemon drizzle cake and tell me everything's going to be OK *right now* #thearchers  - Twitter post from @CEMichael

Elizabeth Pargetter's indecision about having an ICD [Implantable Cardio Defibrillator] fitted has had many shouting at the radio. There were congratulations for Eddie Grundy after his win at the races and tears and fears after Freddie and Lily Pargetter's cake-making session with grandma Jill - and could more have been made of Brian Aldridge smoking out the mole at Borchester Land? Plus we've had plenty of discussion about the new Ambridge Extra programme planned for Radio 4 Extra...

Here's my pick of listener discussions between 14th and 16th March on the message board, Twitter and Facebook.

Why was Elizabeth dithering over the ICD implant? And were David Archer's attempts to persuade his sister to go ahead with the operation for purely altruistic reasons?

Think of your children, you silly moo. (Damson)

Stupid, stupid, woman. My own pacemaker must have been doing overtime last night, I was so angry with her. Why isn't anybody telling her straight that she's being unreasonable? (Blue-sky-two)

David needs to lighten up, she only just found out about it, give her a day or two before you start insisting to others they bully her into it when she hasn't even said no yet, jeez, just a couple of days to get her head round the idea, that's all. (Jigje)

Get it out of your system on the For heaven's sake, Elizabeth! thread on the message board

Brian's trap for Borchester Land's mole was enjoyed, but some felt that the story had more potential...

Lillian should have been made to wriggle more; Annabelle to interrogate her lightly; Brine's visit to Andrew Smith's office a real man to man confrontation, with no punches pulled. (The devil wears Burberry)

I can almost hear Brian twirling his moustache! (MMP)

I am surprised that Brian hasn't 'turned' him into a double agent in order to do Matt down. (Jacks Parakeet)

Read more on the I can almost hear Brian.... thread

Twitter joined Eddie to celebrate his birthday and race winnings...

#thearchers "Mines a Pint" wins at 20-1 for Eddie !! (@JamesDMcConnell on Twitter)

#Thearchers Good old Clarrie, came up trumps again - she's a smasher (@annsusanballard on Twitter)

Hurrah! A happy ending in #thearchers for once. A win richly deserved for @eddie_grundy. Hope he buys Clarrie something nice. (@MrInch/status on Twitter)

Jill's lemon drizzle cakes made many hungry and some were moved by Freddy's plight. On the message board some thought that Lily was ominously enthusiastic about the use of the skewer...

If I were Freddy Lily's face would have tested the sponge (sunnyakasonnycitizen)

It was the relish of Lily that alarmed me. Freddy is a little too biddable and will be in thrall to the whims of his evil sister who will always be able to produce an alibi when suspicions lead to the unmarried siblings of Lolo [Lower Loxley]. (Dr Toad Leg)

oh dear am crying over #thearchers saddo that I am :-/ (@JaneWenhamJones on Twitter)

Every family needs a Jill #thearchers (@SeemaKennedy on Twitter)

Read the message board suspicions on the Lily seemed to enjoy using the skewer thread

Over in Fantasy Archers The Drama Queen British Championship Finals live has been delighting the crowds with Helen Archer and Elizabeth Paregetter vying for the title. Visit the thread to find out who wins this prestigious title (as seen by Vicky S)...

The announcement of Ambridge Extra has started a huge and ongoing discussion. Many are delighted but for some, the main concern is that it may divert time, energy and budget away from the main programme. The other concern is about listening...

This could be disastrous for my productivity (@ruththevet on Twitter)

There will now be first-class listeners (get all the extra bits...) and second-class listeners (the poor things who happen to be at work when the extra bits are on, and don't have a digital radio). We, here, know we have the option of Computerised Listening, but many people don't. (Chris Ghoti)

Well I for one am looking forward to this. Spin off series are always tricky, but this is a clever idea, especially using the 'silent' characters... The first week in April is going to be a good one I think! (Andy on the blog)

Please let the new programme open with Freda Fry, she's waited years for a chance to be heard. (MrsMiggins)

Read more about Ambridge Extra and have your say on the blog

Tayler Cresswell is host of The Archers message board.

Advice from the heart

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Keri Davies Keri Davies | 15:51 UK time, Monday, 21 March 2011


Alison Dowling (Elizabeth Pargetter)

The recent storyline concerning Elizabeth's heart trouble - and its treatment with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) - was developed with the help of Dr Sara Thorne, a specialist in congenital heart disease.

This article from University Hospitals Birmingham gives the details.

Keri Davies is an Archers scriptwriter and web producer.

(These links are for background information only. If you have concerns about your health, consult your GP.)

Ambridge Extra on BBC Radio 4 Extra

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Keri Davies Keri Davies | 08:25 UK time, Wednesday, 16 March 2011


Scott Arthur plays Rhys, barman at The Bull

People who follow me on Twitter @keridavies will be aware that I've been very busy recently but I haven't been able to say why.

Now at last I can.

I'm one of the two scriptwriters from The Archers team who have been working on a spin-off from the main programme. 'Ambridge Extra' will launch on BBC Radio 4 Extra (the new version of Radio 7) in the first week of April.

The idea is that you'll be able to hear more stories from in and around Ambridge, and also we'll be able to go further afield with Archers-related characters.

You can enjoy the new series without listening to the main Archers programme. And you can continue to listen to The Archers without missing out on anything essential. But if you follow both programmes, then you'll get a deeper insight into what's going on in our characters' lives. You'll also hear from new characters in Ambridge Extra who don't appear in The Archers, or who are only minor characters there.

It's been an exciting challenge helping to develop the new series. The episodes have a different feel to the main Archers programme. Unlike The Archers, where the events of one day are covered in one episode, Ambridge Extra episodes often cover the key events of two or three days in their 15 minute duration. So it zips along quite fast, although we are covering fewer stories, so we hope it should be a lively listen.

In the early episodes, we learn how Alice is getting on at university, and we meet Rhys, the barman at The Bull, who up to now has been a silent character. There's also a chance to see what Jamie is getting up to behind his mother's back.


Ambridge Extra will broadcast on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10am, with repeats on the same days at 2.15pm (straight after The Archers on Radio 4)

An omnibus half hour programme will air on Fridays at 10.30am, repeated on Sundays at 11.15am and 7.15pm (again, straight after The Archers Omnibus and evening episode)

BBC Radio 4 Extra can be heard on DAB digital radio and digital television, and online via your computer. You'll also be able to have episodes sent to your computer free of charge as a podcast.

The initial plan is for two 13-week series. The first starts on Tuesday 5 April, with a second series in the autumn.

I hope you give the new programme a try. Do let us know what you think of it.

Keri Davies is an Archers - and Ambridge Extra - scriptwriter and web producer

"Oh Elizabeth, your heart!" - Listener discussions from 10 - 13 March 2011

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Tayler Cresswell Tayler Cresswell | 23:47 UK time, Tuesday, 15 March 2011


Oh bloody hell not Elizabeth as well #archers #sattc - post from boffbowsh on Twitter

The main topic of conversation everywhere has been Elizabeth Pargetter and her dash to hospital on Friday night. Also under discussion are "revolting" Brian Aldridge, "toadying" Tony Archer and what to call Ed and Emma Grundy's baby...

Here's my pick of listener discussions between 10th and 13th March on the message board, Twitter and Facebook .

Friday's cliffhanger enticed many Omnibus listeners to break with tradition and tune in at 7pm on Sunday.

I hope Lizzie's OK, been worried about her all weekend. Leave us dangling on a Friday #archers (@TonyFisherHandW on Twitter)

and what happened to ELizabeth? less than an hour... (Jean Edwards on Facebook)

Many tweeted their surprise about the turn of events on Friday just as the programme ended.

Oh Elizabeth, your heart! #archers Haven't listened for a while. Am sitting in the car. And poor Freddie, so sad. (@LucySweetman on Twitter)

I can't bear it if David Archer is going to be given more reasons to do his wretchedly guilty voice #archers (@cathharvey on Twitter)

Cor, The Archers was a bit exciting wunnit? (@DanRebellato on Twitter)

And over on the message board...

What's wrong with her: Hysteria and utter selfishness. (Earldunda)

Ooooh - a poorly heart eh? What a stick to beat someone with! And she will. Oh yes, she will! (PollyGlot)

And to think Ruth wanted Lizzie to face reality. David goes back to Brookfield and see what happens! He can never desert her again, can he? (JustJanie - jogging through the Snow)

Send Lizzie your get well wishes on the Elizabeth Pargetter................. thread.

There were mixed feelings about Friday's episode on the message board. Some found it confusing. Others were "gripped".

Is it me? I found most of that episode quite incomprehensible. Why was Jill there so early? Why was Chopper(?) being taken away whilst Lily and Freddie were around? What was all the gasping for breath about? Why was Peggy giving flowers to baby Cheesus [Henry]? (JudithL)

I thought it was quite a good epi. Glad Jill got cross with lillyanfreddie. Felt sorry for Lizzie and am worried about her. I like Lizzie though and I know lots of others don't. V fed up with HelenandHenryandTony though. (theduluxkid)

Get Roy in prontissimo and let's get it settled. (DracsM1)

They seemed to appreciate Jill's firm hand in dealing with Freddy and Lily

It was time for someone to show the children the line in the sand instead of saying 'there, there' and patting them on the head. (Wanda_Ofwandas)
I cheered her all the way. I'd have loved to hear the "little chat" she had with Freddie.....

Brian's chat with Annabelle on Thursday had Twitter talking espionage and the message board parental responsibility.

Counter-espionage on #thearchers! Sleeper cells and dead drops just around the corner. (@jamspangle on Twitter)

come on Brian, it's obvious that it's Annabelle Scrivener that's the mole #thearchers (@lukedriscoll on Twitter)

TREAT to hear Brian in full scheming, gossiping, pretending-to-be-good-dad mode
#archers (@vencut2 on Twitter)

So how will Brian spend his time when the family are all away? Is it a coincidence that Annabel's back? (Springy Fieldpenguin)

He still has a week alone with Ruairi . . . potential for some interesting childcare lapses there surely? (Mild at heart)

What Brian did doesn't surprise me but his smirking explanation to Annabelle was rather revolting. I also felt there was an element of 'I'll show Jenny' about it. Poor Ruari (ermintrude)

Is Brian doing right by his son? Share your views on the Ruairi's going to spend time with.. thread

Peggy Woolley's visit to see Helen and Henry at Bridge Farm was discussed on the message board - some felt more should have been made of Peggy's visit. Before the broadcast, many hoped that Peggy would buck the trend and "object" to her granddaughter's situation...

There needs to be another view on the situation and Peggy is sure to provide it. (Albert)

I am happy for a bit of baby cheerfulness. What I find creepy is Tony's abject toadying to Helen - it's pitiful. I guess fathers are emotional when their daughters have a baby - but are any quite like this? (Botticelliangel)

Read more: So nobody objects to Helen and her baby? Where is Peggy?

They're thinking up baby names for Ed and Emma in an ongoing message board thread with plenty of suggestions. Should they go for a double-barrelled Carter-Grundy surname?

Cider Grundy (boy or girl). It can have holidays with Rosie... (Botticelliangel)

Help Ed and Emma Name the Grundy baby

Tayler Cresswell is host of The Archers message board.

Johne's disease

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Keri Davies Keri Davies | 19:10 UK time, Tuesday, 15 March 2011


A dairy cow suffering from Johne's disease

As Alistair confirms Johne's disease in Brookfield's herd, large animal vet Keith Cutler explains why Ruth and David are so dismayed.

Johne's disease is a chronic, insidious disease of cattle (and other species) for which there is no treatment and which is ultimately invariably fatal. It is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis.

Most affected animals are infected within the first weeks of life, generally through exposure to faeces from infected adults. But clinical signs of disease, including profuse diarrhoea and weight loss, are not usually seen until the animal reaches between three and six years of age. Before this, during the preclinical phase of the disease, fertility and milk yield will be compromised and there will be an increased susceptibility to a range of other diseases to which cattle can succumb.

Owners of herds infected with Johne's disease have to cull more animals at a younger age, need to rear more heifers to replace them and are less profitable than herds which are free of the disease.

Keith Cutler BSc BVSc DipECBHM MRCVS is a partner in Endell Veterinary Group in Salisbury

  • Picture shows a dairy cow suffering from Johne's disease. The weight loss is especially apparent around the back legs and spine.
  • Picture courtesy of Endell Veterinary Group.

Happy pancake day! Listener discussions from 7 to 9 March 2011

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Tayler Cresswell Tayler Cresswell | 23:11 UK time, Sunday, 13 March 2011


 There is a probably an old Ambridge saying along the lines of

Is Lower Loxley in financial trouble? Why hasn't Elizabeth Pargetter seen this coming? What's wrong with the cows at Brookfield? Is it "ALL DEEEEVEEED'S FAULT"? Is Jolene Perks rushing things with Kenton Archer? Poor Eddie and Joe Grundy - will Clarrie's frugal Sunday lunches drive them to The Bull? And has Rev Alan Franks got it all wrong about his Lent appeal?

Here's my pick of listener discussions on the message board, Twitter and Facebook between Monday 7 and Wednesday 9 March...

Lower Loxley (affectionately dubbed "LoLo") is under discussion on The Archers' message board. Some wonder at the amount of work Nigel is said to have done there and think Elizabeth would have known more about the business. But was Nigel hiding problems from her?

Tonight's epi shows why Lizard [Elizabeth] won't be a multi-million biz CEO... Nigel seems to have saddled her with a dodgy arrangement with the bearded wonder, which she should at least have tried to make better for LoLo to the extent that it wasn't costing LoLo money (Jacks Parakeet)

Wine requires too much thought! What makes a good wine? I have no idea. (@LizziePargetter on Twitter)

... Lizzie wouldn't have been wishy washy with the wine tasting. She would have told Nigel which one was best and he would have deferred to her not the other way around. (Meedenny)

Read more in the Wine tasting on radio and Business dunce: need answers threads on the message board.

Young Freddie Pargetter was applauded for standing up to his mother on Wednesday

Congratulations to Freddie's actor - he got the young teen voice exactly. Noo-wha! (Toastmonster)

Poor Freddie surely needs a break from being Awfully Brave and Doing It For Daddy. (PhyllisDoris)

#thearchers - The prospect of playing word games with Elizabeth or playing with Connor? Hmmm. Lewis you have the patience of a saint. (@mudpiescooking on Twitter)

Read the I officially HEART Freddy thread.

Many enjoyed Pancake Tuesday with its "Pub banter, ironic crushed nuts gags, Mr Pullen and the over-sixties, peregrines as reincarnated souls, Joe in rare old form, maple syrup and nice remarks about Kenton" (villageschoolmarm)

I'd like to hear Eddie's 'crushed nuts' gag in full. (AcidRefluc)

"He said a lot of things like that. Neighbours stopped dropping in towards the end...". Brilliant - classic Joe Grundy! #thearchers (@revenante on Twitter)

AT LAST! I laughed out loud several times tonight - might even get back into TA... (toriren)

Join the discussion on the Tuesday 8th's episode: just me or... thread.

Over at Brookfield, if vet Alistair Lloyd's fears about the cows turn out to be true, many think they know who will get the blame... But was Eddie's description of the problem too graphic?

It is ALL DEEEEVEEED'S FAULT for being awol. (MsMumbo-Jumbo)

Eddie's description was quite euphemistic, I thought he must be sparing the listeners' sensibilities. (maggiechow)

@eddie_grundy Please! Do we have to have so much information at teatime? #thearchers (@eatcakeandbehappy on Twitter)

I blame whoever asked for more agricultural detail in The Archers. (ermintrude)

Make sure you've finished eating before you read the Loose?!? thread.

It's love among the pancakes at The Bull, but is Fallon Rogers right? Is it too soon for her mum to start a relationship? Many hope the kissing scenes will be kept to a minimum! And when Kathy Perks finds out, will she care? Most hope she will - on air.

Sod being on your own, bring it on (Titanic350000)

...Let them both have a little bit of happiness, I say. Sid can't come back and Jolene is no Queen Victoria. (StargazerwithOscar)

But am still grinning over Kenton and Jolene. Happy moment & hurrah to Jolene's husky/racy tones returning ... #archers #thearchers (@thearchersfan on Twitter)

PLEASE, (double please with knobs on) show us the scene where Kathy finds out, don't just tell us in one of those clunky add-on's from another character. I want to actually hear her jaw drop. (Bert The Bard)

Do you think it's too soon for Jolene to have a relationship? Add your thoughts on the message board.

Many were cross on Joe and Eddie's behalf after Clarrie's plans for Lent were revealed. Some groaned "not again!" about the Lent storyline. There has also been much debate on the message board about whether or not Sundays are a fast day during Lent.

There's no reason why Joe & Eddie shouldn't buy the ingredients and cook their own lunch though, is there? Except they behave as children who are incapable of cooking their own meals, and Clarrie knows it. Their choice. I suppose they could always get the ever obliging Nic over to cook for them. (old cath)

Debate the Lent appeal on the Frugal Sunday lunches? thread.

Tayler Cresswell is host of The Archers message board.

"Awwww Kenton and Jolene!" - Listener discussions from 28 Feb to 2 Mar 2011

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Tayler Cresswell Tayler Cresswell | 18:55 UK time, Tuesday, 8 March 2011


I am so happy!! It's so wonderful!! I'm clapping with joy and the dog thinks I have gone quite mad!! - Message board post from Skybird

Just as Kenton Archer was admitting his feelings for Jolene Perks, Twitter and the message board lit up with posts ranging from "At-a-boy, Kenton!" to "yuk yuk yuk". Fallon has been advised to "get your ear plugs ready". There have also been discussions about manipulative Helen Archer, feisty Lily Pargetter, dithering David Archer and "scarlet" Emma Grundy...

Here's my pick of listener discussions on Twitter and the message board between Monday 28 Feb and Wednesday 2 March...

"OMG!" Jolene and Kenton! Is she is too old for him? Will there soon be an Archer back at The Bull? How will Jamie and Fallon feel? And never mind what the rest of the village will think, what will Kathy Perks have to say?

Awwwwwwwwww Kenton and Jolene! Fluttery tummy :) #thearchers (@lolaandjeff on Twitter)

I am so happy!! It's so wonderful!! I'm clapping with joy and the dog thinks I have gone quite mad!! (Skyebird)

I think, now the shock is wearing off, I may be a small bit pleased. (Dusty Substances)

yuk yuk yuk bleurgh...kenton and jolene...please warn me in the future @BBCRadio4 #thearchers (@caracourage on Twitter)

Very predictable. But I now beg of the scripties; no shower scene. Please, no shower scene. I have only just finished the last of my counselling sessions after the previous one and now there are these pictures in my head again and they won't go away (Dr Toad Leg)

Let's not forget the HUGE bonus of this relationship - Kathy is going to be furious. Bring.It.On (Furious Scarlett)

Read more in the Declaration of love from Kenton? and the J'Leen 2, Cathy 0 threads.

Is Helen Archer manipulating her parents? Many think she's playing the sympathy card. Or is Pat to blame for pussyfooting around her daughter?

Pat, you were the one who encouraged Helen to go ahead with this mad scheme to have a baby without a father... Her choice, you backed her. Are you totally lacking in the brain area? She needs to learn how to cope. If the sky above the village green is black with the wings of the chickens coming home to roost, who's to blame here? You are, Pat, you are. (JudithL)

Read more on the For heaven's sake Pat, get a grip! thread.

After David Archer was once again stuck at Lower Loxley, they're fuming on Ruth's behalf - some wish he'd hurry up get back to Brookfield to move the story along. Most felt that Jill's remark about Elizabeth's heart didn't help matters

I'm afraid I'd get a little more physical over this, ie: going round to LL, holding Lizzie upside down by her ankles and SHAKING some bluddy sense into her. I bet "it's what Nigel would have wanted...." (annieoakley)

If I were Ruth, there's no way I'd believe that David is ACTUALLY going to talk to Elizabeth after the last 5 or 6 promises. #thearchers (@marzillk on Twitter)

That's right Jill, pile it on? One minute you agree with David about the pressure the next your laying on with him about Lizard's heart. He'll never be free at this rate. OoooooNooooooo. (binocular)

It would almost serve Jill right if David ended up having a heart attack. (Auntie Molly)

Read more on the Ruth and That's right Jill, pile it on? threads.

Folk on the message board have been discussing feisty Lily Pargetter - is she turning out to be "just like her mother"?

I really cannot stand Lily. There. Glad that's out in the open. (Fi of little faith)

Lily shows great promise as a character. I like her feisty refusal to be a charming, sweet, sickly, gurlie little gurl. Go for it 'em what you're made of. (Doodlysquat)

Tell us what you think in the I really cannot stand Lily thread on the message board.

Did Clarrie Grundy mean Emma when she talked about a "scarlet woman"? And if Clarrie continues to cold shoulder her son's girlfriend, will she soon forfeit seeing her grandchildren?

Loved that little 'dig' by Clarrie, and the dawning on Emma of what she was saying. I don't like Clarrie anyway these days - and haven't not since she took Ed's side against Will. She has quite a nasty streak. (Bette)

Why DOES Emma bother with her? (SredniVashtar07)

Do you think Emma is a Scarlet Woman?

There have been a couple of interesting discussions on the message board about farming, lambing and the planning of the new market

I am not a farmer but reading what others have said here who do know what they are talking about, it's a miracle that Ruth is still standing.. David needs shooting. It might not help the manning situation at Brookfield short term but at least the way would be clear for her to employ some proper workers on the farm. (pollyanna)

Find out more in the Not in the loop... and lambing tailing off already??? threads.

Tayler Cresswell is host of The Archers message board.

"You GO GIRL!" - Listener discussions from 24 to 27 Feb 2011

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Tayler Cresswell Tayler Cresswell | 10:17 UK time, Tuesday, 8 March 2011


#thearchers - go on Lillian - give weasly Matt what for - from @annsusanballard on Twitter

Friday's episode got everyone talking - as one poster put it, "That was more like it - Matt caught going behind Lil's back, Lil tearing him off a strip. Emma's jealousy. Radio [Susan Carter] and Emma speculating on David's letter about the inquest" (typewrite). There was also more despair on the message board at Helen and Henry Archer and support for a beleaguered Ruth Archer!

Here's my pick of listener discussions on the message board and Twitter between Thursday 24 and Sunday 27 February 2011...

"What about YOUR WIFE, David?" (mountetna2). With the inquest looming and Ruth Archer just about coping without her husband on the farm, some wonder if a Ruth/David divorce is on the cards?

#thearchers - David Archer - don't be a doormat! (@Fearlessguider on Twitter)

Although I have never liked Ruth I now find her attitude to Elizabeth absolutely despicable. How can she be so selfish and self centred and clearly resent every minute that David spends with his newly widowed sister. (Mrsdielle)

Shortly it will be two months of full-time (at least) support from David to Elizabeth... it's just as well Ruth speaks up. So far she's had 12 roses, one hug, and possibly a tin of shortbread from Scotland to show for it. (LarryLambLeeds)

I wonder if Ruth finds it hard to say her piece because she doesn't really like Elizabeth. Possibly the feeling is mutual... Suspect the inheritance rumpus lingers like a volcano ready to explode. Hope so anyway! I am so nasty! (GreenBrownBear)

Read more in the What about YOUR WIFE, David? and the Ruth threads on the message board.

Lilian's Bellamy's fury at Matt Crawford on Friday had many cheering on Twitter and the message board.

I enjoyed this episode too especially the fabulous Lilian telling Matt where he gets off! You GO GIRL!! (Furious Scarlett)

Hehehe! Matt on the wrong end of Lillian's tongue! He really does live dangerously!! Lillian is great when fired up! #thearchers #archers (@sweynh on Twitter)

And after Emma Grundy admitted to reading David's post, most think she is turning out to be just like her mother...

Like mother like daughter... See Ed you should have stayed with Fallon....... (esmeandsebastiansgrannynic)

Best bit of dialogue we've had in months: Soosan " You shouldn't have read it though............. what did it say?" Classic. (TheRealSportyGirl)

Follow the discussions on the That was more like it and Radio 2? threads.

Whilst Clarrie Grundy comes in for some stick for playing Emma off against Will's "goody two-shoes" girlfriend Nic Hanson, Emma is criticised for being self-centred. Emerald O'Hanrahan (who plays Emma) has been praised for her acting - as someone put it, she is "fitting into the part seamlessly now".

Emma is perfectly well-balanced. An ENORMOUS chip on each shoulder #thearchers (@dransfim on Twitter)

Clarrie's 'little treasure' speech - it was brilliant, wasn't it? - leads me to believe she is comparing the two women without considering their different circumstances. I'm trying to be fair, but I don't want Clarrie to suddenly start seeing Emma's point of view. How dull that would be! (JustJanie - jogging through the Snow)

Read more about Emma's Nose... on the message board.

It seems that little Henry Archer is making some reach for the off switch. Poor Kirsty Miller got plenty of sympathy on Sunday after she was left holding the baby...

... And her Mr magical cootchee wootchee babe in his "Moses Basket". I am sick to death with hearing about that bluddy thing. (Ms Mumbo-Jumbo)

Helen's transformation is really getting on my wick, her saintly tolerance is not working for me or even ringing true. C'mon, does this really happen? ... And shut the heck up Henry, Shut up. (Basia)

I know there's been a lot of complaints about excessive baby worship on TA recently (which I agree with), but last night's episode was different. Kirsty wasn't doing much worshipping, and Helen seemed to me to add evidence to my suspicion that she has converted her obsession with her weight and the cleanliness of her flat to an obsession with her son. (flameofthewest)

Take your pick of the many Helen and Henry threads on the message board:
Every day in every way I hate her more and more
The way Helen talks to Henry
Baby bore
She's made her bed, and she can lie in it...

Alternatively, if you're a fan of Henry, sign up to the Friends Of Ickle Henry (FOIH) group.

And finally, there's a long thread about the book club where, among other things, they discuss what kind of reader the characters might be.

I'd put Ruth in the 'just too busy' group. I see Helen as more of a 'self improvement' reader rather than a murder mystery type person. (Nelson_G)

One suspects that the latest bonk-buster is more Emma's literary diet than some posh book "everyone is talking about". (returnimmigration)

Read all about it on the message board.

Tayler Cresswell is host of The Archers message board.

Brian and Siobhan voted most potent Archers memory

Post categories:

Keri Davies Keri Davies | 13:21 UK time, Monday, 7 March 2011


Charles Collingwood (Brian Aldridge)

We asked you to vote on what you thought was the most potent Archers memory, and the results are now in.

Listeners voted on a shortlist of eight stories and iconic moments, selected by Archers editor Vanessa Whitburn. The winner by a very clear margin (30.4 per cent of the votes) was the affair between Brian Aldridge and Siobhan Hathaway.

Second, with 13.8 per cent, was the Ed / Emma / Will Grundy love triangle.

Keri Davies is an Archers scriptwriter and web producer.

What I learned about The Archers

Post categories:

Keri Davies Keri Davies | 12:03 UK time, Saturday, 5 March 2011


Archers scriptwriter Simon Frith spent much of last year working through 60 years of Archers storylines while researching the book The Archers Archives, which was published to mark our 60th anniversary. We asked Simon what had surprised him about his travels in Ambridge's past.

For many UK baby boomers like myself, The Archers was as much as a part of our childhood as The Beano and sherbet fountains. It was just there, a constant and reliable background, with familiar domestic rituals organised around the twice-daily theme tune.

But it's the cosy domestic scenes rather than the big stories that seem to have stuck in my mind - Dan and Doris fretting over their family and livestock, Walter Gabriel's dogged courtship of the disapproving Mrs P. So when I came to do my detailed research of these first decades it came as something of a revelation to discover just how much I'd missed.

A quick look at Ambridge's crime statistics in the 1950s and 60s illustrates what a surprisingly lively place it was during those early years. The fifties began with a violent brawl outside the Bull which resulted in the death of village ne'er-do-well turned industrial saboteur Bill Slater.

The following years saw two more serious bouts of fisticuffs, two cases of gang violence (during one of which a leather-jacketed biker was bitten by Walter Gabriel's dog Butch), several cases of arson and petty vandalism, and one attempted blackmail.

If the village policeman wasn't already busy enough, in 1957 he had a more serious case on his hands when keeper Tom Forrest was arrested for killing poacher Bob Larkin and was lucky to escape a manslaughter charge.

Colourful characters

The village also played host to a number of colourful characters with mysterious pasts, who popped up from time to time. Thriller writer Mike Daley turned out to be an ex-wartime hero with links to the secret service. Valerie Grayson (later to become Mrs Valerie Woolley) was also a former secret agent, posing as his fiancée.

Then there was Charles Grenville's nosey housekeeper Madame Garonne, whom the Borchester Echo exposed as an international diamond smuggler. And perhaps rather more harmless, the eccentric Lady Hyleberrow who befriended Christine and threatened to take her away to Ethiopia.

Also surprising were some of the domestic details that came to light. Other long-standing listeners may remember that the first Dan Archer, played by Harry Oakes, made use of his fine bass-baritone voice to sing duets with Doris for the entertainment of their guests - including, on one occasion, Phil's girlfriend Grace Fairbrother. Not to be outdone, Walter Gabriel would liven up any party with a tune on his euphonium, while it was Tom Forrest's early weakness for custard creams that contributed to him becoming stout in his later years.


But apart from these intriguing odds and ends, what came through above all was a strong and reassuring sense of continuity between the programme as it was then, and as it is now. While it's true that by comparison current storylines are firmly grounded in reality, and often grittier, there's still the sense of lives being lived out in real time and of the generations moving on in step with the slowly evolving routine of farming and village life.

As Dan and Doris fretted about the love-lives of their children back in the fifties, so Phil and Jill in turn worried about Shula and Elizabeth's various unsuitable boyfriends twenty-five years later. And now at the start of a new century we've seen David and Ruth agonising over Pip's disastrous affair with the flaky Jude.

Peggy - who was heard in the very first episode as the young, long-suffering wife of the family black sheep - has watched her son Tony mature from a reckless youth in a sports car into a proudly doting grandfather, while she herself has survived many trials over two marriages to become the undisputed family matriarch.

Only "The Archers" could achieve this kind of continuous and constantly engaging story-telling over such a time-scale. Doubtless it's part of the secret that's kept a loyal audience listening over the last 60 years, and - we'd like to assume - will continue to do so well into the future.

Simon Frith is an Archers scriptwriter and co-author (with Chris Arnot) of The Archers Archives.

  • Picture shows Simon Frith
  • Discover 60 years of Archers storylines with our timeline, which includes archive images and audio clips
  • Or browse the storylines in more detail in our Six Diamond Decades articles

Timothy Bentinck (David Archer) interviewed

Post categories:

Keri Davies Keri Davies | 15:43 UK time, Wednesday, 2 March 2011


Timothy Bentinck (David Archer) at the wheel of a tractor

Timothy Bentinck (David Archer) is interviewed by literary website Vulpes Libris.

The conversation covers a lot of ground, from his formative years to his adult cultural and creative life.

'...I lived in the country and spent my playtime on my bike on the local common building camps out of branches and bracken and shooting at my friends with cap guns. Came in handy when I recently played the lead in a British Western...'

Naturally he discusses his favourite books and his life as an actor, but also his work as a computer programmer, writer and musican and how they came together in his one-man show.

Keri Davies is an Archers scriptwriter and web producer.

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