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Is The Archers going to get 'darker and bigger? No.

Wednesday 6 June 2012, 10:51

John Yorke John Yorke Controller Drama Production

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Vanessa Whitburn and John Yorke

Has recent press coverage made you worried that The Archers is going to take a lurch into EastEnders territority? Well, worry not, because it isn't. Acting Archers editor John Yorke explains the truth about this story.

A few months ago I was asked by a national newspaper if EastEnders would ever consider doing a live stage musical. I answered with a categorical 'No'. Two weeks later, I was slightly taken aback to read: 'EastEnders to stage musical'.

Perhaps I shouldn't have been shocked then to read a flurry of headlines yesterday, cataloging my plans to smash up Ambridge like some bloated property developer and turn it into Albert Square...

It's a great story - but it isn't true. The source was a fairly innocuous interview with Radio Times about what's coming up on the show.

A few months ago, Radio 4 had very kindly asked me if I'd consider looking after the programme for four months while its long standing editor Vanessa Whitburn was away. I agreed straight away - on one condition - that it stayed exactly as it was and that I didn't have to change anything.

The Archers has been in my family for three generations. It's as perfect as long running drama gets; why would I want to change a hair? Apart from anything else my Mum would probably kill me.

The comment that was picked up was very clearly a specific reference to one storyline - the intimidation of Ruth and David. Ironically, this story was planned long before I joined the show.

It is dark but in the very best traditions of a programme not scared to kill its leading lady in a barn fire, and it fits snugly I hope alongside everything Ambridge does best.

Joe's ferrets, Lynda's hay-fever and cliffhangers built on whether Clarrie will finish her jubilee cake in time; all will remain and I hope live for as long as The Archers draws breath.

John Yorke is the acting editor of The Archers

Picture shows Archers editor Vanessa Whitburn and acting editor John Yorke. Vanessa returns in July after a period of long service leave

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