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Maureen (Mo) Travis – Neil’s nemesis

Monday 30 September 2013, 18:12

Keri Davies Keri Davies Web Producer, The Archers

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Brian Hewlett (Neil Carter) Brian Hewlett (Neil Carter)

Some of Susan’s old friends are being invited to her 50th birthday party. But there’s one in particular who would definitely not be welcome

In 1993, Neil Carter was working as a feed rep for Borchester Mills. Maureen (Mo) Travis was the wife of one of his customers. Struggling farmer Geoff Travis supplemented his milk cheque by lorry driving. As Geoff  was away a lot, Neil would often be greeted by Mo on his sales visits to the farm.

Mo began to get friendly with good-natured Neil, who naively didn’t see the dangers. On 5 October she called Neil at work, claiming she was worried about their pigs. Neil called round. When Mo said how unhappy she was, Neil put a comforting arm around her shoulder – although he assured her it was just a friendly gesture.

Mo played on her daughter Becky being in the same class as Emma to develop a friendship with Neil’s wife Susan, sharing the school run. On 29 October, Neil was collecting the children from Mo’s when she kissed him. He rebuffed her, and was very uncomfortable when Susan invited the Travis family over for a Bonfire Night party.

Susan in jail

When Susan was imprisoned just before Christmas, Mo’s help with the children became essential, despite Neil’s misgivings. He and Mo were thrown together by necessity and the village started to talk.

On 23 March, as Geoff was driving in Scotland, Mo engineered a situation where Neil had to stay overnight – ostensibly at Geoff’s suggestion – so he could help with the morning milking.  A nice dinner and a bottle of wine was followed by an invitation to bed. Neil refused.

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With Susan out of the picture, Mo makes her move.

Soon out of prison, Susan found Mo cold and unfriendly. She thought it was because of her time in jail. But Mike Tucker told her about the gossip. Neil of course denied that anything had happened between.

On 4 May Susan confronted Mo, who taunted her with the revelation that Neil had spent the night at the farm. Hardened by her time in prison, angry Susan became physical and there was a scuffle.

Neil confessed to the unwise nightstop but assured Susan that, despite her implications, he hadn’t slept with Mo. Fortunately Susan believed him. Neil told Mo that he wouldn’t be calling at the farm any more.

But they couldn’t turn their backs completely. With the possibility of an assault charge hanging over Susan, she and Neil had to visit one more time. But when they called, Geoff was there. He wearily revealed that this wasn’t the first time. Mo had become obsessed with another man before.

The Carters left with their relationship fully mended.

Keri Davies is an Archers scriptwriter and web producer

Learn more about Neil, Susan and Mike– and the actors who play them – in our Who’s Who

Brian Hewlett looks back on 40 years playing Neil Carter

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