BBC Radio 4

The art of the 'omnicut'

Writer, The Archers

Tagged with:

Archers scriptwriter Mary Cutler offers a postscript to her previous blog post.

For many years the Archers Omnibus was only sixty minutes, which mean that every nightly episode had to contain one scene which could be cut for the Omnibus. The challenge for the writer was to write a scene that was good enough to broadcast at night, but wouldn't be missed if it wasn't in the Omnibus.

Basically this meant it couldn't have any plot not repeated elsewhere. We used to go for humour and charm and character in those scenes which made us rather sad when they were cut. There was also the technical problem that cutting one scene meant two scenes were next to each other that hadn't been before, so you had to be careful they didn't have the same people in them, in case they seemed to have got from one end of the village to the other at the speed of light.

You had to be extra careful about this - and this is still true - when thinking about Monday's last scene being next to Tuesdays first scene in the Omnibus (or second scene, if it happened that your first scene was the 'omnicut'). It was a relief when we got both a Sunday episode and an Omnibus long enough to fit them all in.

I needed to do it again when we had the extra quarter of an hour for the Anniversary episode. But, as I have indicated, I think the omnicut scenes contain some good stuff. So if you want to listen to an uncut Omnibus of this week, the full 90 minute version will here on The Archers website.

Mary Cutler is the longest serving Archers scriptwriter. She wrote the 60th anniversary episode, and the subsequent week's episodes.

  • The full 90 minute Omnibus will be available via The Archers homepage from 11.15am on Sunday 9 January

Tagged with:


More Posts