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Anniversary episode - media coverage

Keri Davies Keri Davies | 09:59 AM, Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Coverage of the 60th anniversary episode in The Guardian

As you might expect, there's been strong press and media reaction to our 60th anniversary storyline. Here is a selection:

BBC News
Report Including a video tour of The Archers studio.

Daily Express
Report and review by Simon Edge
'...after an emergency caesarean section, mother and baby turned out fine. A nation wept...'

Daily Mail
Including a review by A N Wilson
'...The half-hour extended episode of the world's longest-running soap opera was a masterpiece of suspense...'

The Guardian
Article by Elizabeth Mahoney
'...it did include storylines that will slow-burn marvellously through village life...'

Report about reaction on Twitter

The Telegraph
The Telegraph had several stories:

Listener reaction

Profile of Nigel Pargetter

Review by Gillian Reynolds

Most shocking Archers storylines

Keri Davies is an Archers scriptwriter and web producer

  • Picture shows the story from today's Guardian newspaper
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  • Comment number 1.

    What next? An Ambridge whip round to present Lizzie with a year's membership of Match.com at the funeral?

    It is beyond me why the producers decided it was a good idea to dispatch one of the best reasons for listening to The Archers. Are they mad?

    Why couldn't Tom fall into his sausage machine? Or Jazzer fall into a big vortex somewhere? Or Helen elope with the sperm donor father of her baby?

    Sorry, I'll stop ruining future storylines now.

    It seems like all aspects of human decency need to be eradicated in the society which we now inhabit. I for one feel very sad.

  • Comment number 2.

    So, no real mention of all the overwhelmingly negative comments about the demise of Nigel... the whole LOT of negative comments about the offending episode.. No surprise there then. Obviously such comments are the wrong sort of listener again. A real shame Mr Davies.

  • Comment number 3.

    Because that's what it's all about, isn't it? Media coverage. Bah!

  • Comment number 4.

    An expertly edited selection of critics' comments cannot disguise the fact that this was a damp squib after all the hype. One of the very few wholly likeable characters in the programme is killed off for no good reason, other than possibly the BBC's traditional left wing bias against inherited wealth. With so many truly ghastly creations to bump off why kill someone who is universally popular?

    It was over-hyped sensationalism and the idea that the repercussions of one man falling off a roof is going to last a decade, as Vanessa Whitburn claims, clearly preposterous unless fatherless Lily and Freddie decide to kill off stupid uncle David as part of their 21st birthday celebrations.

  • Comment number 5.

    This was no accident! Nigel was murdered in cold blood by the series editor.

    Reading the comments, many listeners will be switching off in future. A spectacular own-goal by the BBC.

    Is it too late for the DG to step in and reverse this appalling state of affairs?

    A good suggestion here.... The Archers - Alternative ending


  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    Oh, Mr Keri.

    All publicity is not good publicity.

    Poor old Ambridge, sadly relocated to Albert Square, near Weatherfield.

  • Comment number 8.

    I think the Beeb missed a good opportunity. Nigel could have survived but paralysed.

    That way there would have been handy explanations of how to convert homes for wheelchairs and how to apply for grants, etc. (the sort of thing The Archers does so well), while at the same time keeping my favourite character going.

    Grieving in Paris, I'll miss you Nigel!

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    I am grieving,it is awful. Who cares about ratings and all this media rubbish, when you hear 'other media' mention The Archers e.g. on Radio 5 this morning for example, NONE OF THEM ACTUALLY LISTEN TO IT!!!!!!!! It is only us, the TRUE fans who know and care and we did not want this stupid dramatic death during the Christmas season just when we were all so happy about Helen and Tony patching things up. People die for sure but in a small village like Ambridge dramatic deaths are VERY RARE. We don't want family feuds, we don't want the unrealistic storylines of other rubbish TV soaps. I have been bragging to my friends for years about how true-to-life TA is and how it is warming and familiar like ones own life.....Please, writers, stop all this nonsense now, if you want to write drivel hand in your notice and write it somewhere else. We don't want it in Ambridge. I had a vain hope that Nigel had survived which was completely feasible, people have survived far more horific accidents and made full recoveries. Don't the writers even bother to read what us REAL FANS think and then act on it, NO!!!!! all they are concerned about is their own TV profiles and media coverage with photos etc. Again, if you want all that nonsense go and work in TV and stay away from Radio; us Radio listeners have to use our imaginations more, shame the writers don't understand their own vital listening audience.....please, please resign and move on, we could write better scripts.

  • Comment number 11.

    >the attempts to cover-up the reaction and opinions of many loyal listeners begins to taste like the dictatorial attempts to silence the masses witnessed in Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia.

    That is a wholly unjustified accusation. This is a summary of media coverage, not an attempt to summarise listener reaction. Tayler does this in regular posts to this blog, one of which will be appearing in due course.

    If we were trying to cover things up, I would hardly have linked to the message board, would I?

  • Comment number 12.

    Congratulations to Vaness Whitburn on celebrating 60 years of The Archers by wiping out one of its best characters. The Archers is not a TV soap, it does not have to emulate them How nice it would have been to celebrate this anniversary just good news. It was not even good drama.

  • Comment number 13.

    Freedom of Speech - Remember we have it in this country.If you read the other comments you will find we are all likeminded so stop your high handed Censorship,

    I have listened to the Archers since day 1, but of late they seem obsessed with death. Phil Archer was normal process of time and factual. But Sid? - and now Nigel? - the listeners to Radio 4 and The Archers get enough of hearing about some young soldiers dying out there in Iraq & Afghanistan we don't want to be constantly bombarded with death just to make up a fictional story line. Who I wonder is the Narcissist in the team? What a morbid outlook on life. Needless to say, I will after all the years not be turning the Archers on again. Nigel/Graham I have enjoyed following you, I was hoping the story would have been more constructive with you being caught up on something and maybe only suffered a broken arm or leg, but that, I suppose, would have been a bit of a stretch for the mentality/imagination of the ‘script writers’?? Anyway, thanks for the years of pleasure you have given and good luck for the future.

  • Comment number 14.

    Poor Nigel - have you died in vain? Perhaps not. After all, every good stately home needs resident ghost to haunt its corridors, so maybe we will hear from you again. What do say Ms Whitburn?

  • Comment number 15.

    Yet another relatively young person meets an untimely end! I have always been impressed by the realism of The Archers but, even spread over 60 years, the rate of early death among such a small group of people is ridiculous: Siobhan, Greg, John, Mark, Polly Perks, Janet Tregorran, Richard Grenville, Grace Fairbrother, Lilian's first husband, Nick. And what is the probability of Jill Archer losing both her sons-in-law due to freak accidents?
    This plot development was clumsy and unoriginal. It also represented a missed opportunity. Had Nigel been injured, rather than killed, an interesting storyline showing how people meet the challenges of disability and adversity might have resulted.

  • Comment number 16.

    I agree that Nigel could have been badly injured and it would have made a good story line of how the family cope with him being disabled. Nigel was one the really nice characters in Ambridge and will be very sadly missed. There are so many others we would all have gladly seen the back off.

    I also think that Vanessa Whitburn should be made to go as editor, she has been in the job far too long. Her comments on yesterday's Today programme made waiting for the evening episode a waste of time.

  • Comment number 17.

    We had the start of chemistry lessons delayed so we could listen to the archers. Back then it had the random length intro music and Nigel was yet to come on the scene.

    And over the years my depth of listening has waxed and waned. But the 60th episode, has I think left such a bitter taste in the mouth that it is no longer worth the effort on my part.

    For years you invest your time and imagination living alongside characters and events, building familiarity. Liking and loathing for some of them. And then in the name of doing something...the best "green" and eccentric member of the cast is dispatched with such coldness and for what? Ratings wars, a few headlines, to do something for a 60th, or more likely because of a fear of being different and assimilating to the popular and lowest of the soaps.

    It is not requisite that to mark decades of longevity mean you need to have cull. It is not helpful, realistic or in any way connected to the portrayal of life in any rural village. Ambridge already has a high mortality rate through accidents.

    Cleaver and ground breaking would have been to place the character in a wheel chair, to then have him use his energies to illuminate and pathfind his way around the disability issues that many face but few are shown with in the media.

    To swap the bike for the 4 wheels would have been dramatic, intelligent and allowed us to still have some of the more interesting characters in our daily listening.

    The usual today spoiler and the produces slip and then very poor cover-up...we are not stupid and we did hear it clearly the first time, just add to the bitter taste that spoil what was a favourite in the day.

    I for one will have had the 60th anniversary marked as a sad time then old friends departed and 15 minutes has been freed up in my day.

  • Comment number 18.

    I've been fascinated by the negative response to the SATTC, both as a long-time Archers' listener and and as a novelist who is constantly staring out of the window wondering what to do with characters.

    I wrapped David Aaronovitch over the knuckles on Twitter for suggesting that Nigel was safe on Sunday morning. Of course Nigel was the very man to go. And the reason is consequences. With the death of Nigel, will Lizzie be able to keep Lower Loxley going? Is there any chance that Freddy will pass the exam to the cathedreal school after this trauma? (wouldn't have thought so, and gasp, a Pargetter has to go to the local comp). Bad blood unto the next generation between David and Lizzie. Does she demand her share of the Brookfield inheritance? How will that be released? Does Matt step in and buy Lower Loxley, the upstart jailbird becoming lord of the manor? Will David's deccades of sneering at Kenton for being an irresponsible layabout come home to roost when David's irresposibility has led to his brother-in-law's death?

    Bring it all on, I say. Great job, and a sattc indeed.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 19.

    God almighty, rapped not wrapped. Bloody predictive text.

  • Comment number 20.

    It seems that many listeners would have preferred Helen to have passed away.Of course a soap needs one or two unpleasant characters to sustain it so I have no complaint about her survival. What I do find incredible in the storyline is that although Helen IS obnoxious, nobody in Ambridge seems to realise it'

  • Comment number 21.

    It has taken an event like this to spur me into signing up for the blog. I am so sad. I am not exaggerating too much when I say it spoiled my New Year and also spoiled the Archers for me. I have been listening for years. I will miss Nigel. He was my favourite character. I also think that the repercussions, which will last for years, will be horrible. David and Elizabeth's lives will never be the same again. What a shame all this can't be reverted. After all, now that the Archers has stooped to TV soap levels, why not bring him back to life as per 'Ricky' in East Enders etc etc.
    Killing Nigel was a cheap thrill ..... but, a bit like devaluing the pound or putting cheap sprinkles onto a good cake to try to draw attention to it, it won't work or last long or have much effect to those who know what they really want.
    I hate the idea of criticizing the BBC (best TV and radio in the world) but this is the first time I have been drawn to doing this myself.
    Once again, so sad.

  • Comment number 22.

    Shame that the inept VW has so far (as far as I am aware) failed to respond to the massive negative reaction to the whole SATTC fiasco.
    In the days when public servants had honour she would have been expected to resign faced with such a reaction. What can we expect??

    Very valid pint from many on the introduction of a physically restricted charscter in a wheelchair.

    However in 'proper' FA flavour why no bonfire of the vanities & the removal of unloved female characters - Lizzy Helen Linda Vicky - Nigel being the 4th ? male character to disappear for an invented storyline.

  • Comment number 23.

    Why are they taking so long to moderate missives (3 hours so far) - is it because the truth hurts - nowt rude said - bar that VW deserves to be called Mrs Potato Head and to lose her job - the 60th anniversary episode could have been the greatest ever - instead it was the saddest for its ineptitude and its paucity of quality. A disgrace.

  • Comment number 24.

    # 19 LindaSGrant

    "Bloody predictive text"

    The whole script was an example of predictive text! Once they started talking of going up onto the windy roof in the dark, you could see it coming.

    It wasn't just a bad decision to kill off a favourite character - it was clumsily done.

  • Comment number 25.

    Ah DistantTraveller suggest you don't read any of Linda Grant's books then.

  • Comment number 26.

    Clearly VW has been in the job too long. She has lost sight of fidelity to the character of the characters. Sensible David would absolutely never suggest going on a roof 'tonight is better for me than tomorrow' in the dark and frost and similarly Nigel, again eminently sensible father and husband, would never run that sort of risk in the dark, etc. That is what really annoyed me - they were plucked completely out of character to suit some knee-jerk bizarre reason to get rid of Nigel - of all characters.

  • Comment number 27.

    I'm still reeling from the loss of Nigel. Like many contributors to this site, I cannot believe that such a well rounded, well loved character could be taken away. It's East Enderesk and banal. This unnecessary storyline undermines all of the things that are simple and good about the Archers; the things that keep us listening year after year. True Archers fans don't need shock and senseless story lines - we want clever little side plots, interesting intrigues and the odd guffaw. Nigel was a great character so why kill him off? My first thought was that perhaps I won’t bother listening anymore – after all, I don’t like sensationalist soaps. Too late to pretend it was all a bad dream I suppose?

  • Comment number 28.

    I was most disappointed with the 60th anniversary programme. It was telegraphed right from the opening with David and Nigel discussing the removal of the roof banner, that this was to be 'the disaster'. I really liked the character Nigel and felt that this gave a real balance to the programme to counter the rough and ready Grundy's whose characters I also like. I am really fed up with the writers pushing their left wing trendy ideas onto us - how many village families would welcome a new baby being born to a single mother (her deliberate choice)in the way the programme has shown. I'm afraid after a lifetime of listening I have had enough & no longer wish to hear about the trendy goings on in Ambridge.

  • Comment number 29.

    Watching Arena last night, (ie the documentary about the Archers) made me see just how unassuming and gentle the previous female predecessor of VW was ... so much more humble ..... and now it becomes clear to me how VW just has to make her mark. OK, we can't assume it was her idea to bump off Nigel; in such a nasty way, but I assume she has the final say.
    I agree she should leave the job, and hand it over to someone with more enduring confidence and who doesn't feel the need to be so outrageous to keep viewers.

  • Comment number 30.

    We are all in agreement apart from Linda Grant, that surely says something does it not?
    It ruined my New Year too and I have been harping on about it to friends who've never even listened to The Archers. What on earth was the BBC thinking allowing this storyline to go ahead, why do they need to 'Shake Ambridge to the Core'????? NOBODY who has not listened before will become a new listener and if the script turns into some awful Eastenders style family fued dross with nobody being faithfull to their partners, then existing listeners will switch off.

    If I had a New Year wish it would be for all of us to DEMAND that the 61st episode be re-written and to keep Nigel alive. I know the actor has just signed up for a play but he can still do that while Nigel recovers in hospital. My Mother had a terrible accident with head injuries 22 years ago and had to go through all sorts of nuerology treatment before making an almost full recovery; it took months and she could hardly speak so Nigel needent have to actually appear in any episodes until he has recovered/finished his play...

    The blood-curdling scream 'shocked me to the core'; I keep listening to it and burst into tears the first time I heard it. Very, very well done, you could really gauge the height of the roof in the resonance of that scream, it was brilliantly done with the sounds of the loose roof slates and the slipping of the feet.

    Nigel need not have died! PLEASE, PLEASE RE-WRITE THE 61ST EPISODE!!!!!! Now THAT would cause media coverage: 'Longest running soap in the World has special anniversary episdoe re-written on demand of angry fans'.

  • Comment number 31.

    I feel very frustrated at the refusal of the BBC to acknowledge the sense of outrage listeners have recorded at the poor 60th episode and the death of a character who would have developed into the next generation of oldie to replace Joe Grundy, Phil and Jack.
    I have listened for nearly 40 years and never signed up for the blog till now . The story line was far fetched ( although I accept that sense is not common). What are the odds of two sisters both being widowed in tragic accidents? David has been involved in two other Health and safety major accidents so why him again? Kenton would have made more sense. I also agree that Nigel becoming disabled would have been a good storyline. Archer feuds are now boring so bye bye archers thanks for the memories unless we get a different ending for omnibus edition with the BBC accepting this has been an abject failure.

  • Comment number 32.

    completely agree with all the comments re Nigel's death being a) unnecessary b) sad because he was a really good character c) and most of all UNINTERESTING. the archers has recently done death in spades. this is not going to change ambridge forever whereas if he had survived with severe disabiliites it really would have done. What uninspired scriptwriters you have.

  • Comment number 33.

    I have listened to the Archers from the sart and never felt so depressed. It is meant to be a relaxing 15 minutes eachday, known in the family as 'mums' or 'grannys' quiet time. But no more I no longer want to listen. It can only get even more depressing.

  • Comment number 34.

    Nigel's exit was well written and well performed, and many listeners may have felt 'purged with pity and terror' when they heard the scream----but oh dear! The real life news that came later, that it wasn't Graham Seed's decision to leave the show, has changed everything for me (and I suspect for many others.) All pleasure in the drama has evaporated--how could an actor who'd appeared in the show for nigh on 27 years be so callously dumped! And at such short notice too.

  • Comment number 35.

    What a brilliant idea Rebecca Gibralter .......

    LET'S ALL DEMAND A RE-WRITE !!!!!!!!!!!!

    That would really show the BBC in a good light (show that they really listen to viewers!) and make us all happy too !!

    Of course the logistics would be difficult as we already have subsequent episodes, but it would make Archers history !

    Bring it on !!

    Let's demand a vote !!!

  • Comment number 36.

    With the greatest respect to Keri [post 11], when writing post 5, I was not referring to the editors of this Blog, but rather to the Series Editor, who has clearly indicated in a number of places over the last 48 hours that she has little regard for the utterances of probably the most significant band of Archers followers; those of us who still post on the Archers Message Boards. I have the utmost respect for Keri and Tayler - they do an excellent job.

    It is the Series Editor with whom I take issue - and, judging from the DTA message board, I am not alone [although it would seem clear that the Series Editor has little regard for that ever-faithful element of the audience perpared to go to the trouble to post there!].

    Again, I apologise if I did not make myself clear, or if I have offended Keri or Tayler. Such was never my intention.

  • Comment number 37.

    It was not well written - please go back to JA's death, JW in the cellar of the Bull they were well written episodes and acted - this was drivel - this was an exercise in self promotion for the editorial team.

    Few better plot lines from the muddled brain of an inadequate accountant
    Nigel falls with consequent disability
    Helen's baby born disabled with consequence on her as single working mother and only one set of grandparents to help (working as well) oh and fact that no body likes her forcing her to change approach to life
    Ian converts to heterosexuality and announces he is the father of Henry - stupid but is still better (accept is not like switching to Talk Talk)
    John Nettles moves to the village and everyone starts getting nervous
    Brian leaves Jennifer at last and sets up home in a caravan - Jennifer discovers that being a snob dont pay the rent
    Editorial and writing team stop reading eastenders plot summaries for inspiration and look at what is happening in real life. - perhaps a few snow related episodes
    Editor of radio soap visits the village but contracts tetanus from a bite from Bartelby and dies a horrible death with the only pain killer available the knowledge that the moronic drivel from her scriptwriters pens is worse

  • Comment number 38.

    I also think that disabling Nigel rather than killing him would have been SO much more satisfactory and we could have learnt all about him and the family coping with his disability and wheelchair etc.with his typical good humour he would have been a lesson for us all. What a waste losing Nigel as he was the most human, funny character. I feel as a very longstanding listener that there were many other characters who would not have been missed.

  • Comment number 39.


    I have admired your work as Host of the MessageBoards and as a scriptwriter and so am disapointed by your reaction to the criticism above. In reviewing the reviews you have selectively chosen comments which are positive about the episode. You could equally well have quoted as below.

    Daily Express

    "It did not have the raw emotion of Phil's death"

    Daily Mail

    A N Wilson wrote "the story editor has succumbed to the political temptation to wipe the upper classes off the map"

    The Guardian

    "the episode felt a bit hammy, and the decision to go on the roof was just silly."

    You are right that you need not have posted links to any of them but since you did and chose to highlight only positive comments you were indeed trying to manage the news.

    Will anyone from the BBC stand up and admit that they have made a mistake?

  • Comment number 40.

    # 35 OooohArrrr12

    "LET'S ALL DEMAND A RE-WRITE !!!!!!!!!!!!"

    It's an idea! Perhaps listeners could phone in and vote for who they want to go?

    Maybe Ant and Dec could officiate.

    Vanessa Whitburn - it could be you.....

  • Comment number 41.

    Vanessa Whitburn - you are the weakest link

  • Comment number 42.

    we could have a Dallas style rewrite with Lizzie waking up from a horrid dream - it's no more far fetched than the script we were given.

    Either that or back to the wheel chair or head injury scenario not too late for a rewrite for Sunday.

  • Comment number 43.

    I can't claim fame for the re-write idea; it was Rebecca Gibralter, post No 30. It's such a great idea Rebecca. If they did it for us it would show just how passionate we all are as listeners !!

  • Comment number 44.

    Silence from moderators on the VW resigning question - spin that to say they are thinking it over!!
    Fingers crossed but me thinks honour does not dwell at TA anymore!

  • Comment number 45.

    Come on gang! In the true spirit of Nigel let's all DEMAND a re-write before the omnibus edition. Don't do an 'it was all a dream' thing, that is silly, just a good old fashioned people-powered democratic decision from the only people who are affected or care and that is US THE ACTUAL LISTENERS. We could make radio history.

    By the way, the fact that Graham Seed the actor who plays Nigel was only 'TOLD' about this in November this year is dreadful. I love Nigel, his voice is beautiful and charming and so unusual, he is a romantic, he is green, he makes wine, he likes a bit of a tipple and got banned from driving and he saved Lizzie from that awful Cameron bloke.


    Come on Keri, make history and organise this re-write now. I want to grow old with Nigel, he's the only grown up who refers to his mother as 'Mummy' and despite the dumbed-down, leftie-trendy style of the script writers, characters like Nigel DO exist today.


  • Comment number 46.

    I am deeply disappointed with the killing off of Nigel, the potential for great storylines has been lost with such a popular character being written out. I feel the people responsible for this storyline have made a very big mistake.

  • Comment number 47.

    YES YES YES !!!!



  • Comment number 48.

    On the messageboard yesterday there was a whole strand in which Vanessa had promised to 'reply to our questions'. We are still waiting for our personal replies (and maybe apologies!) but the strand has been taken down. Didnt Vanessa like our questions? Do we just sit and comment in anonline playpen having our website hits counted as "success" while you lot sit there in splendour not having to defend yourselves?. Very many of us are upset about this decision and I think we'd really appreciate it if the writers and Vanessa had the courage and courtesy to defend it. I am 48,Oxbridge educated and fully aware that Nigel Pargeter is not a real person but both I and three of my friends were genuinely in tears over Nigel's being written out. Its not just one night, nigel will never appear again and we will never hear him. It was a cruel decision which to us indicates that you dont fully understand what this "brand" means to listeners. I do think its time one of you said something; and not in a smug way. If so many listeners really dont enjoy or like a storyline and many like myself have gone on line for the first time to say so then isnt that wrong? And where do we go from here to make our views heard?

  • Comment number 49.

    I have just emailed the PM program and told them about this blog and how HOT it is all getting over here. THE TRUTH WILL OUT!!!!!!

    It would be much better to bring Nigel back with disabilities and still keep his positive character and it would certainly ground Elizabeth a lot more; finally make a woman out of her. The writers would have to do a lot of disability related research though...............

  • Comment number 50.

    It has been done before in Dallas remember?
    Dallas scriptwriters created a storyline which featured Pam waking up to find Bobby in the shower (in the May 1986 cliffhanger episode) - with the realization that the storylines of the preceding season, including the accident, were nothing more than a lengthy dream sequence (thus invalidating the entire 1985-1986 season of the show).Wikipedia

    BRING BACK NIGEL. Poor Lizzy could wake up a little hung over after partaking of too much fizz, open the curtains and see Nigel, shirt undone to the waist, wading through the lake, a rose in his teeth...
    Now that is much more Radio 4 and much less Eastenders...

  • Comment number 51.

    Why oh why have they done away with Nigel??
    Such a well loved character who had a wicked sense of humour.Why didn't they get rid of boring old Peggy or winghing Susan ???? Anybody but Nigel.
    Do what they did with Dallas and let Elizabeth wake up and find its been a horrible dream, because thats what it is for all us Archers fans !!!!!!!

  • Comment number 52.

    Just found on Facebook a "Vanessa Whitburn resign as editor of The Archers" page.
    I've liked the page.

  • Comment number 53.

    Good 60th and I've seen 'em all {lived near Mr Bazeley} and I'm a real Brummie.|Good babby for the celebration but, plea revise your bumping list to 1)Jim 2)Deeeevid 3)Kenton

    I'm 80 years ol;d

  • Comment number 54.

    I've lost a favourite character. My new year experiences are now further saddened and will be for years to come. David will be scarred and his relationship with his sister further damaged. Misery all round. And for no good dramatic reason. The action was random, not plot or character driven, to satisfy an extraneous requirement - an anniversary! Since when did anniversaries demand tragedy? I cannot bear to listen this week. I am going abroad next week. I shall come back cured of my Archers' habit and I shall not bother to listen again. I need more comfort, inspiration and cheer whilst doing the washing up.

  • Comment number 55.

    What a total faux pas!

    This was meant to be a 60th year celebration, talked about for 10 years.
    Instead the current editor, VW, will go down in infamy, like the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, remembered for her cynical desire to achieve media celebrity rather than retaining an audience. I will turn my radio off tonight at 7:00pm

    I never thought I would say it, but bring on Rupert Murdoch, the BBC has lost its way!

  • Comment number 56.

    Alex Charles, it WILL be talked about for 10 years if we all pull together and insist on the RE-WRITE!!!!!!!!!

    Keri, where are you?????? Re-writing the script hopefully........


  • Comment number 57.

    As a dedicated Archers fan (53 years old and a listener for 30 of them), I was saddened to see the Archers succumbing to the senseless killing plots of Eastenders and Coronation Street. Why waste a good character and stretch credulity with 2 sisters being widowed at a very early age? No, you can't please all of the people all of the time, it can't be changed, it isn't life threatening in the world scheme of things - but it wasn't necessary.

  • Comment number 58.

    Douglas Parrish, I have followed your lead and gone onto that ever-growing Facebook page and clicked on 'like'.

  • Comment number 59.

    Another person who has registered just to express utter disappointment.
    Does Vanessa listen to her programme? David and Nigel act completely out of character simply for the purposes of a rotten storyline. My favourite character is killed and a popular actor peremptorily dismissed. One of the very few solidly happy Ambridge marriages cut short. The whole thing flagged up in the most obvious fashion - as soon as Nigel mentioned the banner it was obvious what would happen. Listened yesterday in the hope it was some sort of bluff - he was caught on a parapet? disabled? - only for more of the same, Shula suddenly transformed into a drama queen who has to tell everyone in person (why?)and David amnesiac about why they were on the roof uh, remember the man or mouse line, or the now we're up here never mind if it's icy? Yes, rewrite, yes, find Vanessa a better outlet for her (?)talents.

  • Comment number 60.

  • Comment number 61.

    What an error! We'd been promised a 'celebration' of 60 years? In whose world is death a clebration? The one, really good character, and they've killed him off. Who thought this would be a good idea? I luckily heard about it on the news, so I didn't bother to listen to the repeat. I avoid all TV soaps because they're written for melodrama. Now it seems The Archers has joined them. I'm opting out so won't be listening again, as it's unfortunately become a farce.
    I'm so sorry for the cast who have had their programme ruined, and for the actor who has lost his job purely at the whim of the producers to enhance listening figures. Shame on them to stoop so low.

  • Comment number 62.

    I am sorry that this character was killed off. I would have preferred many others to have gone rather than this choice. I can,t help thinking of a real life person "Rod Hull" (creator of Emu) who who died in a very similar circumstance. Long may they both be remembered.

  • Comment number 63.

    I agree with Mary. This is a wake not a celebration. If we choose to stay listening we're in for weeks if not months of gloom and misery. And we have to suffer the sanctimonious David!Thanks very much you editors. We lose one of the most lively and distinctive characters (and voices)in a nauseating attempt to be sensational. And who replaces Nigel? Henry Ian Archer who can hardly gurgle. The whole thing backfired. If Nigel had to fall then he surely he could have been rehabilitated or lived his disability in a creative storyline- to my knowledge there are no disabled characters in the programme. I have been listening for over four decades, and I'm close to saying that my loyalty has been tested enough.

  • Comment number 64.

    Why can't we make radio history. Bring Nigel back. Like so many other people, I don't want to listen to The Archers if this is a taste of its future

  • Comment number 65.

    Why did Nigel die? He was my favourite character - always so cheerful. I have loved him since he courted Shula.

  • Comment number 66.

    I have registered my disapproval and disappointment here, on FB and 'Feedback'..anyone suggest any where else? I am angry, upset and frankly amazed that the production team can think killing Nigel is an appropriate celebration of 60 years on air. Shame on you VW, resign now

  • Comment number 67.

    #42 Healthylady

    "we could have a Dallas style rewrite with Lizzie waking up from a horrid dream - it's no more far fetched than the script we were given."

    Or how about Nigel wakes up in 1973.... and teams up with DCI Hunt

  • Comment number 68.

    I have been listening to the Archers all my life. Tonight I too switched off rather than face the trumped up misery wrought by Nigel's pointless demise and I will not listen again. Ms Whitburn has failed to understand that what Archers fans love is the closeness of the family and the delight of Nigel's character: in one crass, cliched ("are you a man or a mouse?" for goodness sake) fell swoop she has removed both of these from us. I also heartily agree with Trevor (313). It is, after all, only a story, albeit a very important one, and can be rewritten. I thought Graham Seed was splendid on the radio and television today, hiding with dignity his true feelings. To axe him when he didn't want to go, indeed thought, as we did, he would be with the Archers till old age, was nothing short of disgraceful and he was sacrificed on an altar of shame.

  • Comment number 69.

    Has somebody entirely taken leave of their senses? Does someone genuinely believe that we want 2 children to lose their father for the sake of some sensationalism? If we wanted that we'd watch Eastenders. I think that someone in question knows the answer. After being an Archers listener for the best part of 30 years (not counting years as a child) I have turned the radio off. I'm in denial.

    A fact strikes me. The Archers does not belong to the writer or writers. It belongs to us - the listeners. It is our family and our village. Nigel is one of our most companiable and loved friends.

    I have a solution. The very strongest people can recognise it when they make a mistake. Re-play an edited 15 min Sunday episode and edit out the last few minutes. It wil make radio history but it is possible. We will believe it.

  • Comment number 70.

    I notice you didn't include The Independent's review by Jane Thynne, which was quite critical. In my opinion, there did indeed appear to be an attempt by the BBC to gloss over negative reaction from listeners. That's understandable, but what is completely incomprehensible is why the BBC and the Archers production team ever thought we'd all love the idea of Nigel's demise. Bonkers.

  • Comment number 71.

    I believe...Come on everyone...believe

  • Comment number 72.

    I am still just as cross tonight about this stupid, needless editorial decision to kill off one of the most popular characters - Nigel. I find myself listening with a stony heart and dry eyes because the storyline is just so unbelievable. Can someone explain exactly how this decision is meant to increase the audience?

    Furthermore, it seems that the actor was sacked because he was too successful or too 'popular' as Vanessa Whitburn put it to Graham Seed in her telephone call advising him of his removal. It is very, very sad.

  • Comment number 73.

    After 40 years listening to the Archers, I find myself totally alienated and disinterested. The contrived story line of the big event was a farce, and the oportunity to have a disabled person in Ambridge to raise 'awareness' missed. Comments on the blog say it all and Nigel's demise trivialised into a ring tone!!!!
    The BBC have lost the plot and many Radio 4 listeners. I will not be making a big effort to listen in future.

  • Comment number 74.

    Simply appalled by the decision to kill off Nigel. This was spectacle for the sake of sensation, and the sensation was ghastly. I agree with everyone who has demanded a re-write. The only excuse would have been that Graham Seed wished to leave the show. Since he didn't, this is unforgivable.

  • Comment number 75.

    @18 - most of that and much more could have been achieved by having Nigel crippled in a wheelchair instead. As I've said in other threads, the outright killing off of the character instead smacks of vindictiveness and internal feuding, rather than any positive attempt to develop new plot lines.

  • Comment number 76.

    I think Nigel's death was a real failure of the Archers scriptwriters and a signal that they are losing touch with their audience. The Archers is not meant to be like other soaps full of woe and misery; do they not think there has been enough death in Ambridge recently? His death may have caused a stir but his life would have led to many more fabulous episodes. Nigel was one of the nicest characters in Ambridge, it is a sad loss to us all that he has gone. I wish him well in his future career.

  • Comment number 77.

    why? why? WHY.....

  • Comment number 78.

    I agree with comment number 67 it could just be a big bad dream....c'mon! C'mon Venessa. Re-write, re-write, re-write.

  • Comment number 79.

    Another voice to add to the many.
    As a life-long Archers listener I consider this episode to be an insult to fans. We don't need sensationalism, and as others have pointed out it was poorly and clumsily written. The storylines featuring Nigel were always among the most entertaining. The writers have now robbed themselves (and us) of the possibilities offered by following this character as he developed into interesting older age.
    I'll probably be another one who gains an extra 15 minutes a day by not tuning in in future.

  • Comment number 80.

    Such a disappointment to know that the editorial drivers consider that a "specatacular" was essential just because it was the 60th anniversary. I haven't yet reached my 60th aniversary but I suspect, like my 50th and my 40th it will be an ordinary day; indeed much like the "59 and 364"th.
    I was pretty much dreading the episode; it had been trailed as a "biggy" - I just thought Oh why? What kind of nonsense will it be?
    I'm not saying that The Archers should be like Groundhog Day - but it's close. Helen didn't need to actually have pre-eclampsia and then a cesaerain the fact that she might have would have been enough and Nigel didn't need to actually slip...
    In real life neither would have happened - Helen would have been examined and would have been fine while Lizzie would have discovered that Nigel had been on the roof and would have been furious at his stupidity - blamed David and re-curdled the bad blood...
    If storylines are going to be whipped down the road of sensationalism just for the sake of it - what's the point in listening? Might as well go for Coronation Street or Eastenders of even Emmerdale...
    Take it from one who spent large chunks of his childhood at the far end of the real Edgeley a serious storyline was going over your welly tops in the mud by Bateman's pit or maybe the farrier dropped a nail and somebody got a puncture in their bike. Nobody got sucked into quicksands and disappeared for ever and neither were they thrown from their bike by the puncture to end up quadriplegic despite the dramatic helicopter rescue and rush to hospital...
    So disappointing and so unnecessary...
    So where to get good, credible storylines? "Well I think the answer lies in the soil..."

  • Comment number 81.

    "Your complaint is important to us. The BBC Trust ensures BBC programmes are high quality. If you have a complaint please use this process.
    Sir Michael Lyons, Chairman of the BBC Trust"

    Sorry if this is repetition, everybody, but www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/homepage (then click on the 'Make a Complaint' link top left of the page) is another place to make feelings felt. Perhaps a slightly greater chance that someone might notice.....

  • Comment number 82.

    It has taken this appalling event to inspire me, to respond to a blog. I listened to the Archers as a small child and since 1984 every episode. I agree with comments 1-78! If I wanted this unreal soap style misery I would watch Eastenders or the like. At least I can gain 15 minutes a day as, like many committed Archers listeners I will vote with my feet/ears and listen no longer. Nikki G

  • Comment number 83.

    I have complained. Being typically british I never complain but somethings are too important
    Please join me
    www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/homepage (then click on the 'Make a Complaint' link top left of the page

  • Comment number 84.

    Are the BBC are mad! Just bring Nigel back.

  • Comment number 85.

    You may or may not have liked Nigel, but at least he was a 'character', who over time would have aged into a great old boy.

    Killing him off is not what any listener of the the Archers wanted.

    So if the idea was to attract new listeners, how does killing a character that they wouldn't have know achieve that ?

  • Comment number 86.

    Come on VW please do the decent thing and apologise - 'Woman or Mouse?

  • Comment number 87.

    Why oh why do we have to have doom and gloom to 'celebrate' the longevity of our much loved programme? After a lifetime of listening to the Archers i think this is the end of my allegiance to it. I am angry that the writers could kill off such an interesting character. There are plenty of others who could have gone OR we could have something nice happening. I cannot face all the problems in the family that are going to come from this. Poor Graham Seed having to leave the character that he loved so much and did so well.
    please leave our Archers as it was.

  • Comment number 88.

    Could somebody please explain to this confused Ozzie listener how Nigel and David got on the roof when it should, by rights, have been knee deep in snow? The rest of the UK seemed to be having enough of it so why not rural Borsetshire? After all those trailers, I had at least have thought that the script writers could have had Tony digging his way through the stuff in order to deliver Helen's baby and give us all a feel-good ending! Killing off dear old Nigel will only result in having wingeing Lizzie annoying us for months to come.

  • Comment number 89.

    And while we're about it, bring back the Radio 4 UK Theme.....

  • Comment number 90.

    Death itself is not dramatic, the manner of death on the other hand can be. Nigel's death gave TA a moment of drama, wrapped up in melodrama, simply to 'make an impact'. There could have been several other deaths, far more natural, far more dramatic, that could have sattc for years to come and there could have been acts of spontaneity, of joy and celebration that could easily have had the same impact with the same strength of story line residue.

    The lack of imagination shown here is risible and IMHO cheap and tawdry. The 60th, Graham Seed and TA per se, all deserved better.

  • Comment number 91.

    Overblown hype has stopped us from celebrating a birth and the reconciliation of a family and grieving the loss of Nigel. What an awful mistake.

  • Comment number 92.

    I've been listening to the Archers since before I was born (my Mum is a fan and my kids recognized the music from womb-exposure too!). Now living in the USA, The Archers has been a wonderful, upbeat, quirky yet rather believable link with my former rural UK life. There were so many creative, engaging, quirky or interesting ways that the 60th anniversary could have been marked in a memorable, newsworthy way that would have enlisted new fans. How depressingly unoriginal, out of character, hammy and downright pointless it was to dispatch Nigel. I can't imagine this plotline will do anything more than generate fleeting headlines and a depressing aftermath (that I really don't care to follow). The only way to possibly redeem this fiasco (and the loyalty of fans like me!) is to do something mad and radical like BRING BACK NIGEL. Come on VW and writing team, you can do so much better. Turn this thing around, get tons more headlines, win back your fans (truly 'shaking them to the core', rather than just depressing them) - and perhaps even make some new ones.


  • Comment number 93.

    hear! HEAR!

  • Comment number 94.

    Here is a link to the Facebook page 'bring back Nigel Pargetter'


  • Comment number 95.

    I feel a personal sense of loss. Not only for Nigel, who was one of the most entertaining characters, but for The Archers as a whole.

    The 60th Anniversary episode was poorly written, unbelievable (David would NOT have done that) sensationalist and a waste of a wonderful character. As a result we apparently have ten years of miserable repercussions to come. What joy.

  • Comment number 96.

    Hi Viva Diva, I have followed the link and complained on the BBC website plus I have ticked the box which requests a reply from them.

    Where is Keri, we have not heard from him for a while and it was only when the words Nazi and Soviet Russia were mentioned that he dared venture onto this page to have a go at us!

    Never before have I seen a blog page with so much activity where EVERYONE is in agreement. Script writers, please at least do the decent thing and give us YOUR feedback.

  • Comment number 97.

    Ms Davies you sound a little defensive. How nice it would be if producers would admit that they have made mistakes when faced with overwelming evidence from genuine fans. I don't care what the media thinks - they don't listen to the Archers. The humble listener is the one that decides to listen, or not.

  • Comment number 98.

    So even the media coverage linked here seems to demonstrate that most listeners found the SATTC epi underwhelming and pointless. Great job, Ms Whitburn.

    I'm a youngish listener who has only been a fan for a few years. My husband has listened since he was a child. Both of us feel very disappointed and agree with the notion that VW has "broken" The Archers. What a waste.

  • Comment number 99.

    OK it's only a story. But I always enjoy the Archers more when Nigel has a story line, not least because of Graham's characterisation. I gave up on TV soaps years ago - far too miserable. Please don't let the Archers go this way. With all good wishes to Graham for the future.

  • Comment number 100.

    I have enjoyed the Archers. I know it is an artificial community but I have taken an interest in it for years. I like the connection with farming - for example the recent story about how the profile of grasses in stolen hay could identify the source was excellent. I have appreciated the times when grief, loss and emotional upheavals were handled well.
    I hoped the SATTC story would be much more grown-up than transpired, such as "a new high-speed train route is proposed through Ambridge". This kind of story could have involved us all, and been interesting. Instead we heard grief used for a dramatic effect in a shallow way.
    Did the series really need a third death of a husband in recent times, and this time also a father of young children? I listened to the follow-up episode hoping that I could understand why the editor had thought this was a good story. Shula said Elizabeth handled telling the children very well, but then she couldn't recall what Elizabeth had said to them. This showed that one justification for this kind of heart-wrenching story, namely that some people learn from it how to handle difficult situations (like those who benefit from hearing how Peggy deals with Jack's condition), does not apply in this case.
    I did enjoy the Archers, but now I know the stories have to be manipulated to give the editor a big impact, rather than to reflect careful and thoughtful creativity, I will no longer listen.
    Please will someone in the BBC create a new series to replace the Archers?


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