Archers anniversary plot revealed

Ruth Archer (aka Felicity Finch) shows the BBC's David Sillito how to make the sounds of The Archers

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BBC Radio 4's drama The Archers has marked its 60th anniversary with a special double episode.

The storyline had been shrouded in secrecy, with listeners only told in advance that it would "shake Ambridge to the core".

The drama unfolded during a new year's party hosted in the fictional village by Nigel Pargetter and wife Elizabeth.

But it ended with Nigel falling off the roof of Lower Loxley Hall while trying to untie a banner.

The show's five million listeners also heard Helen Archer be rushed to hospital to have her baby delivered six weeks early.

The show's makers have promised further drama in Monday's broadcast.

Series editor Vanessa Whitburn said the repercussions would be felt in the show for a decade.

Events would "have a profound impact on Ambridge and central characters", she added.

The radio drama's strategy of secrecy was in contrast to the tactics of TV soaps, whose storylines are regularly released in advance.

On Twitter, the term "sattc" - shorthand for "shake Ambridge to the core" - was one of the most popular trending topics on Sunday.

Shaken or not?

After the episode was aired, some fans expressed their relief that the rural drama had not resorted to the kinds of disasters seen in TV soaps.

But others complained that they had not been "shaken to the core".

One listener, Louise Hector, wrote on Twitter: "So - where was the tram crash? The gun rampage? The plane falling out of the sky? I don't feel shaken to the core."

But another, Adam Smith, wrote: "I am so glad that #sattc wasn't an explosion or an earthquake or something. That would have been so anti-Archers."

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