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BBC Radio 4

The Archers editor Vanessa Whitburn discusses the 60th anniversary storyline with listeners Nicky Hillier and Judy Crebbs.

Keri Davies is an Archers scriptwriter and web producer.

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  • Comment number 61. Posted by Brian-of-Britain

    on 5 Apr 2011 12:26

    May 12th It will be a triunph...

    Wouldn't bother trying to catch up either. Sam old same old...

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  • Comment number 60. Posted by HillBill

    on 4 Apr 2011 15:51

    Does anyone know when the RAJAR figures are due out please? I was looking for them and found this editorial. Not that anyone at The Archers will be interested, but I gave up listening to it in the new year and what was really sad was that I haven't missed it at all. Thats after about 40 years, including the time I had to listen because my Father did... I haven't passed the habit on... I did defect to Radios 6 and 7, mainly 7 when the Archers are on because I'm a sucker for a whodunnit or a decent sci-fi or classic drama. Having switched over, of course, I find I miss programmes on Radio 4 but never have time to catch up. I was even relaxed about the change to 4+ until I discovered that my favourite early hours drama slot has changed to ....The Archers...Is someone trying to drive me away?

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  • Comment number 59. Posted by zzigy

    on 27 Mar 2011 13:56

    When will an editor be employed to give the programme some integrity and consistency.

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  • Comment number 58. Posted by Savena

    on 8 Feb 2011 12:17

    This is the first time I've posted on a BBC blog. I just wanted to say "goodbye to the Archers". Like so many others I won't be listening again. I'm not leaving it. It has left me. It just isn't "an everyday story of countryfolk" any more. It's horrible.

    I can't bear the constant whining and upset any more. Even Clarrie is becoming a pain in the backside with her insecurity and jealousy about her job,and her resentment of Emma. And the the constant bickering between David and Ruth (and yes, I have picked up on the fact that it's David's guilt that's driving it but I really don't care any more) is quite simply boring and deeply unpleasant to encounter at the end of a busy day.

    I've been listening since it started. My mum switched it on when I was 5 yeas old and I haven't missed many episodes since. But I don't think this sort of affection and loyalty counts for anything any more.

    I heard a comment on Today this morning about there being moves to "renew" the Radio 4 audience (Youngsters, thank God, were twittering like mad to say leave it alone, it's alright as it is." - but I don't suppose that will make a blind bit of difference either.) So I believe that I am no longer the target audience, despite the fact that I'm planning living many more years, along with a lot of us in this ageing society.

    But the joyous thing about the Archers is that it was a National Treasure, transcending these narrow categories - but not any more.

    I think the BBC is very unwise. I think it's running scared. It's at risk of being reduced and sold off. But if it tries to defend itself by by making ridiculous changes such as those made to the Archers it will make itself indefensible.

    I do not put it too strongly when I say I am truly frightened by this possibility. The loss of one of the few decent institutions (despite it's many errors) left in this sad and sorry world would be a real loss and a deep grief. It's started with the reduction of the World Service. I don't think it's going to end there. I do hope I'm wrong.



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  • Comment number 57. Posted by Kaiho

    on 8 Feb 2011 09:45

    @56
    That makes far more sense!
    It would have been better to have stuck with the Helen phantom pregnancy but skip the baby snatching, than the charade we've had to endure! They could still have had the Helen angst, and Emma fearing it may happen after what had happened on EE.
    Too late now!

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  • Comment number 56. Posted by Pin o Chocolat

    on 8 Feb 2011 08:41

    Here's an interesting theory that some of you might have missed on the messageboard.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbarchers/NF2693940?thread=8053543

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  • Comment number 55. Posted by wasarchersfan

    on 7 Feb 2011 18:14

    I finally turned the Archers off for good after 15 years after hearing the smug, self-satisfied and patronising replies of the editor to listeners' comments on Feedback. She ignored the just criticisms of the Anniversary edition plot, blaming it on writer's creative instincts, which she said she could not control. What then is an editor for?
    In reply to listeners' criticisms she merely said she hoped they would come back, implying they would because they just couldn't keep away. Well, in our household there is now radio silence, and do you know, life is absolutely fine!

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  • Comment number 54. Posted by Sister Gnome of Wibbling Plume DefiantUntoThingy

    on 6 Feb 2011 20:06

    Breaking The Archers has broken our habit of Radio 4, far more than we would have thought. It's been interesting to us in this household how our radio habits have changed since we stopping listening to the evening episode of The Archers: we are far less likely to have the radio on after 6.30 p.m. just in the background, and once it goes off, it is now VERY unlikely for the radio to go on again until the next morning. If either of us (I'm in my 50's, and husband is nearly 70) spots something in the Radio 4 schedule, we might listen again on the internet, up to a week later, as it is very unusual for us to catch the programme by accident 'live' now.

    Instead of Radio 4, there's tiny amounts of Radio 3, lots more Radio 7 and almost permanent internet radio such as gregoriaans or musica religiosa, both of which knock spots off what Radio 3 has become over the last 10 years.

    For us, it's been a remarkable exercise in how chopping out a 10-year habit of a 14-minute programme has restructured our whole radio listening for the last 6 weeks since THAT episode. The one thing worse than the clunky death of Nigel was the salvation of the awful bullying Hellen, which shows that it was a cumulative effect that has turned us off.

    Anecdotally, most of the dozen or so people I know locally who have mentioned they listen to The Archers, I found about only since That Episode, curiously enough, and they mentioned it only to whinge about it about how let down they felt. ALL who listened to The Archers have stopped listening. Most of them go back decades in their loyalty/habit, not that I'm expecting THAT sort of comment to be taken by anyone at the BBC as representing any potential significance for viewing figures. Bah.

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  • Comment number 53. Posted by profmikejo

    on 6 Feb 2011 15:18

    I completely agree with politebirder [52]. My wife and i have stopped listening. The damage to the plots culminating in the ruinous "celebration" of The Archers 60th and the contempt that Ms Whitburn shows in her high-handed patronising comments has made the injuries worse.

    Pleased to see the comments by the head of BBC Radio on the matter though should have been made clear to the Archers producers four years ago:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/8246461/BBC-radio-chief-The-Archers-must-avoid-more-sensationalist-storylines.html

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  • Comment number 52. Posted by politebirder

    on 5 Feb 2011 20:52

    VW & GW are ignoring the thousands of listeners who are no longer listening to TA because of the decline in the writing & SLs over the last 3 years. The Nigel SL was just the last straw for many of us. It was sensationalist, soapy & revoltingly-hyped in a way which has demeaned the BBC. BUT IT IS NOT THE REASON I HAVE STOPPED LISTENING: I am sick of uneven writing, issue-driven SLs & characters being changed out of all recognition.

    TA is no longer part of my life after 50 years. Radio 4 is also becoming less & less of a "friend", despite the fact I am now retired & could listen all day. And I certainly do not want to listen to trails & similar rubbish if I do tune in.

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