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The Archers 60th anniversary live

Steve Bowbrick Steve Bowbrick | 09:30 AM, Sunday, 2 January 2011

Bill Payne and Ned Larkin, Bob Arnold as Tom Forrest, Hilary Newcombe as Polly Perks, Denis Folwell as Jack Archer, Chris Gittins as Walter Gabriel and Alan Devereux as Sid Perks. The Bull, Ambridge, a game of crib watched by the Landlord and Polly.

Spend the big day with us here on the Archers Blog. We'll be publishing your tweets and comments about the big anniversary storylines and sharing pictures and stories from the history of the drama all day until the end of this evening's special double episode. We'll also keep you up-to-date with the schedule of archive programmes on Radio 7 all day.

  • The picture is from The Archers Archive. The caption reads: "Bill Payne and Ned Larkin, Bob Arnold as Tom Forrest, Hilary Newcombe as Polly Perks, Denis Folwell as Jack Archer, Chris Gittins as Walter Gabriel and Alan Devereux as Sid Perks. The Bull, Ambridge, a game of crib watched by the Landlord and Polly."


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  • Comment number 1.

    Tony/tractor? Action replay?

  • Comment number 2.

    60th anniversary episode - I think Owen is released from prison and attacks Kathy but is disturbed by Kenton who is seriously injured / killed in the ensuing fight. Helen is so shocked she loses her baby.

  • Comment number 3.

    Can I bring a note of sombreness to this. Today is the 40th anniversary of the Ibrox disaster when 66 people died, so no flippant comments about people being crushed to death please...

    Other than that what about a return for Sam...

  • Comment number 4.

    Today is just the greatest new year present ever!! Thank you BBC!! Archer's classic episodes on Radio 7 in the run-up to tonight's double episode.

    So pleased that I'm working on my computer all day and can listen.

  • Comment number 5.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] believes that Grace Archer never died in the fire and it was all a conspiracy. Tonight, she returns to reclaim Brookfield. As Jill Archer was never legally married there are monster implications for all the Ex- Archers David, Kenton Shula etc. and as from tomorrow the series will be wound down and called 'The Jones' - The everyday Story of Illegitimate Countryfolk'!

  • Comment number 6.

    I believe that Grace Archer never died in the fire and it was all a conspiracy. Tonight, she returns to reclaim Brookfield. As Jill Archer was never legally married there are monster implications for all the Ex- Archers David, Kenton Shula etc. and as from tomorrow the series will be wound down and called 'The Jones' - The everyday Story of Illegitimate Countryfolk'!

  • Comment number 7.

    Really enjoying listening to the repeats & looking for ward to tonight's programme.
    I think Harry is undergoing or has undergone sexual realignment.
    The Grundy boys have a massive set to and someone ????? is fatally injured - maybe Clarrie or Nic get caught in the crossfire.
    Helen goes into labour and all is not well.
    Vicky announces she's pregnant.
    I'm spoilt for choice really.

  • Comment number 8.

    Really enjoying the whole day of The Archers on Radio 7, best Christmas present possible!

    My theories for tonight:
    Fire at Lower Loxley
    Clive Horrobin returns
    Jill confesses an affair with Joe Grundy and that David is really a Grundy
    Jazzer wins the Euro lottery

  • Comment number 9.

    I think that since Helen has been getting madder and madder recently, it is most likely to involve her - I think she will attack and kill Tony.

  • Comment number 10.

    All this speculation is so exciting. I'm going out tonight so will have to record it but I'm hoping that: 1, Helen reveals that the father of her unborn baby is Joe Grundy who has been selling his bodily fluids to raise money, 2, Adam reveals that he and Ian are pregnant (a la Elton John), and 3, the ghost of Nigel's mother comes back to haunt Lizzie for wearing her brooch. Apart from that, I think something will happen in the Bull, to do with Jolene leaving the chip pan on when she takes too many sleeping pills...... watch this space! Dum de dum de dum de dum.

  • Comment number 11.

    SATTC - Is this the long awaited "omnibus edition" where the entire cast disappear over a cliff in an omnibus? If so I look forward to meeting up with my old friends Dick Barton and Jock again.

  • Comment number 12.

    There has been so much about helen and baby in the past weeks. So, the baby is born today, but because of a mistake at the clinic, the child turns out to be of mixed race. Pat. Tony, Helen all have to come to terms with this over the following years.

  • Comment number 13.

    i think tony or someone will be run over by a tractor.
    I also have to agree with people saying that some thing is going to happen helen or the baby. I been paying close interest to this story line as my wife is pregnant and due in jan.

  • Comment number 14.

    Here it comes...

  • Comment number 15.

    No, no, I can't bear it. Dear, dear Nigel. Poor David. Oh how dreadful. More wine now.

  • Comment number 16.

    Was that it?
    What a let down....

  • Comment number 17.

    Oh, no! That's the end of a rather wonderful era.

  • Comment number 18.

    Pathetic in every respect. Time to bring the whole thing to a permanent close.

  • Comment number 19.

    Now Lizzie will blame David

  • Comment number 20.

    As soon as the banner on the roof was mentioned by Nigel it was clear one of them would fall. Then Nigel goes on and on about his childhood so we knew it was to be him killed off. But I didn't hear the thump of the body on the ground so perhaps he survives? Shame Helen did.

  • Comment number 21.

    So how high is the roof..?

  • Comment number 22.

    O, dear, could not actually listen to the last four minutes, too much tension. After Mark died I could not listen for a month, now this. It is meant to be soothing and easy, this programme that I have listed to for years. Too sad..

  • Comment number 23.

    Poor Nigel! Just when he and Lizzie were so loved-up. I liked all the red herrings down the pathway to tragedy...Tony and the tractor at the end of last week, the dash to hospital when you thought Tony would crash and then the emergency baby delivery.

    But in the end it was all Kenton Archer's fault.....

  • Comment number 24.

    Death of Nigel pathetic? Not at all. Better than a lot of unbelievable drama and tragedy. I don't know why we have to celebrate these great moments with deaths at all.

  • Comment number 25.

    Nigel was a bit annoying, but to have him die falling from his roof (and I assume he is dead though I guess we'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out for sure!) but I think I would have preferred David to die, personally - sorry, he's a right moaner!!
    @PostMeridiem Why on earth waste time blogging if you don't like the Archers -

  • Comment number 26.

    I am furious. Get rid of a popular character and just have some drama around an unpopular one. And Tony sees the error of his ways, even though he was right about the pregnancy all along.

    Why is it so important to keep the irritants?

  • Comment number 27.

    Well, it aint over yet. Nigel could survive the fall and David could fall off and die.

  • Comment number 28.

    Please please do not kill Nigel off I remember him and Elizabeth getting together. I know he can be wimpish sometimes but the Archers need him

  • Comment number 29.

    Was that Nigel or David...or both????

  • Comment number 30.

    That was a bit of a let down I am afraid. Nigel and David's acting was not up to standard. But I suppose it is to late to moan about that. It did become a bit predictable. Roll on next week.

  • Comment number 31.

    Regarding Septic's comment, I thought this epsiode was well done. This is The Archers not CSI or EastEnders but there was so much 'hype' that once Helen, Tony and Tom were safe it had to be 'the Happy New Year' banner.

    IfI was the producer, I'd have hinted at an enormous shock then made a completely run-of-the-mill episode.

  • Comment number 32.

    Only the Archers can do it this way. 'Ups and Downs' all in one episode. However, not as dramatic as the night Grace died, but ... lets wait and see what happens now!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Actually not so much of a cliffhanger, it has been building up to a storyline involving Nigetl.

  • Comment number 34.

    Bit of an anti-climax... Unless Nigel landed ON Lizzie?

  • Comment number 35.

    Oh I am so disappointed! Is that as good as it gets for radio drama? and for a 60th edition that could be replayed? How ridiculous! Where were all the other characters? It was supposed to be an anniversary...I really appeal to the writers - what were you thinking of? Surely you've had time enough to prepare and consider a truly outstanding episode that will stand the test of time in the way The Archers has...a sad day for British radio drama.

  • Comment number 36.

    Anyway if Nigel is dead, Elizabeth ("I'll scweam and scweam until I'm sick") will definitely blame David, and try and sue him for every penny. Pity Nige didn't oblige by falling on her.

  • Comment number 37.

    Sorry but it was a bit obvious. However shall really miss Nigel (if indeed he is dead). Could the implications of this be that Elizabeth has a heart attack and then Freddie and Lily are brought up by David and Ruth.

  • Comment number 38.

    I wish it hadn't been Nigel, but thought he was getting more than usual storylines of late.... poor Lilly'n'Freddy poor Lizzy, that brooch will take on a new meaning now....

    And poor David, the guilt will be difficult to live with methinks, and Lizzy will blame him forever now, their relationship has always been a little erm... difficult it will now be impossible and probably irreparable.

    not exactly SATTC though - that was more of a wind up than a build up.


  • Comment number 39.

    I was 'expecting' the Helen storyline and am glad father and daughter are reunited. And my family think I have lost it for shouting at the radio for David and Nigel 'DON'T DO IT- IT IS ANNIVERSARY ADDITION!!' I love the Archers!!

  • Comment number 40.

    Maybe he's left everything to a lover we had no idea about...

  • Comment number 41.

    Not sure how repercussions of Nigel dropping off the roof will rebound through Ambridge for the next 10 years...terrible shame to see him go though - if he has gone of course...

  • Comment number 42.

    Poor poor Nigel do hope he survives. What would we do without Mr Snowy?? Can't wait for the next episode!

  • Comment number 43.

    Great stuff! Lots of teases and a few red herrings (thought Tom was going to crash on the way home at one point). Been listening for ten years and was very excited tonight!

  • Comment number 44.

    No - not Nigel, the only really nice person, with no hidden agenda. Life and Fiction need the nice people!

  • Comment number 45.

    Do so agree with some of the comments! one could almost misquote Oscar Wilde if Nigel dies "for one daughter to lose a husband is misfortune, for the other to lose a husband is careless!!!"

  • Comment number 46.

    @doctorjeff... Don't think David can die falling off: the next episode will take place on Monday, remember, not carry on from the moment it finished... Maybe he'll get stuck and not be found, though...

  • Comment number 47.

    Poor Nigel.Not dead but permantly disabled ????

  • Comment number 48.

    Poor Nigel - never listen to a man that shoots badgers.

  • Comment number 49.

    I think Henry John would have been nicer.

    I can't believe Nigel has died - two sisters losing husbands in accidents - perhaps he will be a bit poorly for a while or at worst unable to walk?

  • Comment number 50.

    What a let down! Take one cheerful, productive and happy character and wipe him out why don't you. Oh the tragic women of Ambridge - but at least they are still alive.

  • Comment number 51.

    Family sitting round the radio all expectant and then?....Well not much of anything really, considering that the episode was billed as 'Will change Ambridge for ever'! Not a total waste of half an hour but almost.

  • Comment number 52.

    I foresee an endless search for spinal injury miracle cures.

  • Comment number 53.

    Very disappointed. Contrived and obvious what was going to happen.

  • Comment number 54.

    So we're offered a Buddhist theme. One (hooray) Henry dies and another is born. Also pure alchemy - the marriage of the masculine and feminine principles- after Nigel's triumph as the dame in the panto something like this was inevitable.

  • Comment number 55.

    So that's where Titcombe's spanner went

  • Comment number 56.

    Bit poorly!!. Time lines are real time in the Archers. At best Paralysed and Severe Brain Damage. In COMA for months. I suspect Death.

  • Comment number 57.

    Had a feeling there would be a fall from the roof, following Kenton and Nigel going up there to put the banner up...but will there be a death, perhaps he'll survive but break his back/neck?

  • Comment number 58.

    @katiejane1957 ... I think there's got to be a chance of Lizzie dying too... But then I'd put my money on Jill getting the kids: we've been fed mini-sub-plots about schools and difference of opinion about how the twins should be brought up...

  • Comment number 59.

    and why didn't any of those livestock farmers know anything about pre-eclampsia?

  • Comment number 60.

    Very Archers accident but episode totally over hyped for long-term listeners. I suppose killing off whinging Helen was too obvious and too much to ask. Nigel dead. Elizebeth blames David for persuading Nigel to go up and never speaks to him again. But hey all might not be lost. what about Helen will get a fatal dose of MRSA and stop annoying us all. A long shot I know but I live in hope.

  • Comment number 61.

    @Stewart_M he'd be the latest occupant of the 'Nelson Gabriel' slot.

  • Comment number 62.

    I've had a lovely day - sobbing along with the Grundy's being evicted - etc. etc. ... but, what an anticlimax! Was fun though - all the red herrings - but, much as we love Nigel, the archers will definitely be just the same next week - not changed for ever!

  • Comment number 63.

    That was a complete cop out and not worthy of the Archers. More worthy of the kind of rubbish that passes for TV Soap on eastenders. Shaken to the core, more like a small shiver. Get a grip The Archers is better than the rubbish we have been served up tonight.

  • Comment number 64.

    I think Nigel will survive but probably be in a wheelchair .......its all part of the politically correct requirements for programme ......we have Adam and Ian, Helen who is now a single mother by AI, Usha Gupta, and now someone with a disability.........a full set!

  • Comment number 65.

    Fabulous storyline, both exciting and poignant. Who but the most flint-hearted was not moved by Tony's lines on becoming a grandfather? Sorry to lose Nigel, but look forward to the schism it will cause in the family and the inevitable burden of death duties. But then...maybe he's not dead and David will save him and sacrifice himself? Looking forward immensely to tomorrow's episode.

  • Comment number 66.

    Oh, so Acorn Antiques!!! Ruth's comment after the birth of the baby of "Ah, it's all ended happily" (or words to that effect) whilst Nigel and David were climbing the rickety steps to the roof....priceless! I don't think Nigel's croaked, although the blood curdling scream may prove otherwise! Can't wait for 7pm tomorrow.

  • Comment number 67.

    This from wikipedia:
    "Recently, Nigel has been concerned about the environment, and is trying to become "green". He has also taken an interest in his family history, particularly in his late Uncle Rupert. Nigel died during the 60th Anniversary broadcast on Sunday 2nd January 2010 in a 30 minute broadcast. He died in an accident from the roof top of Lower Loxely Hall whilst helping David Archer remove a banner, slipping and falling to his death."

  • Comment number 68.

    If he is dead then it opens up storylines for years,

    the demise of LoLo
    Lizzy wanting her share of Brookfield for her children
    F&L not getting to go to the posh school
    Guilt stricken David
    David and Lizzie at war

    If he is seriously injured then there are plenty of stories for future years.

  • Comment number 69.

    Ooh, a pregnant woman has a baby and somebody dies in a soap opera. Not sure the episode lived up to its hype, but, as one listener has already commented, we don't know the full extent of the flagpole drama until tomorrow's episode. Perhaps he is left hanging, too high to reach, until he dies a slow and painful death, but still is left hanging because the government cuts mean they can't afford to send out a crane to fetch down the body. Now THAT would hang over Ambridge for quite some time.

  • Comment number 70.

    It was soooh obvious it was going to be the banner and Nigel, since the banner was mentioned in yesterday's programme...and how many times tonight..The audience is middle England and reasonably intelligent. I think Nigel should have knocked a loose stone off the parapet, which would have crushed Jazar (spelling) as he kissd Fellon whilst they went out for a smoke...having stayed to help clean up the New Year's Day party. Fellon could have been blinded as well...much more unexpected.

  • Comment number 71.

    What a dreadful episode. It was obvious what was going to happen as soon as they decided to go up on the roof. It was out of character too for David to do that, Kenton maybe but David would not have ventured up on the roof, he is too careful.
    Is that really the best the writers can manage?
    But what really annoys me is that the BBC feel that they have to mark the occasion by some major disaster - unnecessary I think.I feel that most listeners will be depressed by the whole thing - sorry BBC, a miss I am afraid.
    Now we have weeks of depression ahead of us listening to the ramifications - that is if I can be persuaded to listen to a programme that has metamorphosed into 'Eastenders'

  • Comment number 72.

    You cant kill off Nigel - I enjoy him so much - and would much rather lose Lizzie or Helen

    I cant bear the idea of the Archers without him, or the family feud that you are obviously now planning

  • Comment number 73.

    I'm presuming Nigel is dead, but if there is any way that he can be brought back, even if stupidly contrived, I would be far happier. Most soaps are so lacking in honest, noble, decent, fair-minded, thoughtful, caring, loving individuals like Nigel who might actually inspire listeners, and certainly warm our hearts - and may even provide a positive role model to youngsters listening. So what do you do, you kill off one of the best-ever characters! It really is very tragic. I know it's only a radio show, but the entertainment media is important in shaping the mood and attitudes of the nation. Imagine how much of a better place the UK would be without the doom, gloom, violence and endorsement of bad behaviours and attitudes that is Eastenders! I guess it is too late to bring Nigel back, but please BBC, can you please give us more happy and honourable characters in your soaps - and then let them live!

  • Comment number 74.

    Well done, Ms Whitburn - a very 'Archers' bombshell. So, will David go crazy with guilt? Will Elizabeth ever stop blaming Kenton? Did Nigel have life insurance, and will they pay out? What's in store when we discover the contents of the will? Will Lower Loxley stay in the family, or be converted into luxury apartments bringing one era to an end but introducing a whole new (and nouveau) cast of characters? Well done Archers, and vale Nigel. You will be missed.

  • Comment number 75.

    @JMR76 Schism?! The sort of conflicts that create generation-spanning feuds in real life last for about 6 weeks in the Archers. They'll all've kissed and made up by Easter.

  • Comment number 76.

    Not sure why The Archers feel the need to compete in the hackneyed soap misery stakes. Why does an anniversary need to 'spiced up' with something horrible and depressing? Rather than Nigel, I think the producer should get the chop.

  • Comment number 77.

    Poor Henry! Imagine having Helen for a mother?!? Surely a case for the child protection authorities

  • Comment number 78.

    SO disappointed that the Beeb succumbed to the obvious 'we have to kill off someone' ploy to mark 60 years. Why lose lovely Nigel? Why not just have a happy storyline for a change? Goodness knows, 2010 has been depressing enough as it is.

    And why do so many vocal Archers bloggers, tweeters and message board commentators appear to dislike just about every character, every plot, every script and the director?

  • Comment number 79.

    When Tony said the baby looks like a Henry our whole family cracked up laughing. Does the baby have a long nose, four wheels, bright colours and suck up dirt?! (Maybe its a hoover)! Also wasn't Nigel holding the end of the banner so he could paraglide down and be perfectly fine.

  • Comment number 80.

    Could Nigel have taken David with him, attached by the banner. Not so much a cliff-hanger...........

  • Comment number 81.

    David untied his end of the banner and we heard the scream as Nigel went down. If David was hanging onto the banner with Nigel dangling on the end he wouldn't have shouted the way he did.

  • Comment number 82.

    If Nigel has gone, I predict Lizzie and the indulged Freddie and Lily will end up living next to the Horrobins ,having lost the Pargetter family fortune to Death Duties and Borchester Green will be the only option... Good episode -opens up some hefty story lines..I don't mind if you don't use mine..:-)

  • Comment number 83.

    I like QuicyMD's comments - though I doubt they will happen. Might be Lizzie beating David round the head though!

  • Comment number 84.

    well done archers, I really enjoyed the possible demise of helen as she was really beginning to get to me, and the possibility of her dad going with her in a huge guilt fest, but instead you get rid of an impossible figure, nigel, isn't he the latest in a long line of impossible figures. he is a complete anachronism and it's time he went, who could bare to play it for any longer, and now his kids now won't have to suffer the bullying endemic in the public school system - HOORAH!

  • Comment number 85.

    Awful to loose such a brilliant character as Nigel - if indeed he is lost. I will miss him greatly
    And - indeed it does open up a plethora of great story lines.
    And / But also - perhaps the actor just wanted to leave the series to go on to other things ? And so Nigel drew the short straw for the Anniversary Spice - so to speak ?

  • Comment number 86.

    The episode was completely spoilt for me by the spoiler posted on the front of The Archers Messageboard which duplicated a thread title 'Nigel not in the cast list'. It's still there now, last time I looked. I would like an answer from Ms. Whitburn as to how this was allowed to happen.

  • Comment number 87.

    Well it was obvious something was going to happen to Nigel with his panto triumph and endless presents and special moments with Lizzie, however I don't think he's a gonner. I think he's wheelchair bound and that will haunt David forever. Lizzie will be even more unbearable as this will complicate the arrangements over Freddielilys schooling. Lower Loxley will have to be completely adapted for him and Lizzie will discover that under the new government/coalition grants to help them have been cut totally. Eddie will be brought in to install a Wallace and Grommit style system for Nigel to get out of bed in the morning.

  • Comment number 88.

    I shared the consensus "what a cop-out" view... until I read Paragirl's comment. I shall feel slightly cheered if both Nigel and David fell off - Nigel is harmless, but David can be a right pain. Plus we get to test Felicity Finch's acting talents to the max... can she manage to make the ubiquitous "Oh no..." sound real under such traumatic circumstances?

  • Comment number 89.

    Nigel is in Radio Times Cast list.

  • Comment number 90.

    I enjoyed it! And I heard the episode when Grace met her maker and have listened ever since. I really hope its not the end of Nigel. Wheelchair??perhaps Why Henry Ian keep the interest going

  • Comment number 91.

    Well I for one thought it was a sad yet fantastic episode...and I do not for one moment believe that is it...we don't know for sure Nigel has bought it, Helen still isn't out of the woods and may still pop off at any moment leaving ma and pa to bring up little Henry Ian (who we have no idea for sure is fit and healthy), and Jolene has, rather suspiciously, made it through her first Christmas, alone...I think there may be more to come..in only the prefct way that The Archers can do it...with a wee bit of style, thought and time!

  • Comment number 92.

    Well, what can one say? How about that the script writers should have been pushed off the roof whilst holding Helen's hand? Nigel was (and I hope is) a gem, Helen is simply annoying. I do hope that Nigel survives as to 'kill off' such a positive personality goes against the grain when Helen was a nuch more suitable candidate for early death.

  • Comment number 93.

    I really thought it would be something disastrous happening to Nigel and Lizzie because the scriptwriters have been pushing and pushing their idyllically happy marriage. So something awful had to happen. Shame it was so predictable. I hope he lives!

  • Comment number 94.

    I am a listener of a mere 51 years. I am so sad, I really enjoyed Nigel's character. Why a tragedy, did we need it? Not a lot makes me cry, but I did.

  • Comment number 95.

    I like the comment about being politically correct posted by johnrh as it is so true nowadays.

  • Comment number 96.

    A little surprising but at least Helen and the baby are safe; please don't kill off either David or Nigel.

  • Comment number 97.

    Well done. Why do most people assume Nigel is dead? It was about time the Archers had a prominent disabled character, so this could be it. We will still have plenty of room for blaming David, Kenton, fighting over Brookfield, Freddie and Lily's education, insurance cover etc etc etc. I had guessed it was going to be Nigel as we'd heard a lot of him in the past few weeks, along with all the lovey dovey stuff with Elizabeth and his triumph in the panto. Helen had to have a healthy baby and all be OK. We couldn't have Pat and Tony going through serious trauma with another of their children. Thoroughly enjoyed the programming on BBC7 today as I caught up with all the Christmas emails. Congrats.

  • Comment number 98.


  • Comment number 99.

    This is more than a bit contrived, isn't it? It was SO obvious one of them was going to fall. Not even dozy Nigel would be likely to climb around on a steep frosty roof in the middle of the night, even if Lizzy did want the thing down. Really!!!

  • Comment number 100.

    On mbs, both tonight's apparent 'shocks' were widely predicted literally weeks ago. The epi creaked with the most unlikely coincidences / happenstances. And many MLers have been deeply unhappy about the relentless way in which the whole Helen / baby SL has been driven, including the cosying up with Woman's Hour, thus depriving the outcome of the whole SL of credibility and/or tension. It HAD to be successful given how much was invested in it by both programmes.

    This 60th epi has starkly revealed for me sad lapses in editorial judgement.


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