Archives for July 2012

Lilian - you're so wicked!" - listener discussions to 25 July 2012

Tayler Cresswell Tayler Cresswell | 13:07 UK time, Friday, 27 July 2012

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"Wicked" Lilian's plot to buy Ruairi his stone dog elicited a smile - but listeners are pretty sure Jennifer won't appreciate this "early Grundy" masterpiece. There were reports of an unsettling new feeling among many, namely sympathy for Emma Grundy. Almost everyone thinks she should stick to her guns about naming Keith as the Brookfield firestarter. Over at The Bull, Fallon's planning a holiday with Harry. Listeners suspect romance is in the air but has she picked the right man? One thing they are sure about - Brian won't get far backing Adam into a corner. Adam should tell Debbie and Brian "where to stick it" And in Ambridge Extra, they've enjoyed Phoebe giving some home truths to the deliciously awful Kate - but has Phoebe put her own life in danger?

Here's my pick of listener discussions on The Archers message board, Twitter and Facebook between 19-25 July 2012


Listeners are delighted that Lilian's helping Ruairi to purchase one of Eddie's statues - and not just because it will make the lad happy...
Lillian - you're so wicked! #perfectaunt #thearchers (@maudie43 on Twitter)
I'm just loving Ruarhi - him and Lillian are a great double act! Bring it on.#TheArchers (@LookingIntoArt on Twitter)
I love that Lilian is winding JD up... (Charley Farley on the message board)
What a marvellous surrogate auntie Lilian is. Could she get together with Jim and put a little more anarchy into the lives of the children of Ambridge? When Lilian is stuck in The Laurels eventually, Ruairi will be passing her 20 Player's Weights untipped and a bottle of gin through the window. (snarklehound on the message board)
[Brian and Jenny] are being very short sighted: an early Grundy? Be worth a fortune by the time Ruari's 25. Perhaps Fagash has spotted that. (march51 on the message board)
Join the conversation in the £35 a fortune thread on the message board


Poor Emma - listeners think she should stick to her guns. They think her mum should be more supportive, and as for her "pitbull" aunt Tracy, has she got another motive for haranguing Emma?
Tracy has either crossed or is perilously close to crossing the line into witness intimidation/tampering hasn't she? (Alice Shan on the message board)
Now, why is Tracy so vehemently sure it wasn't Uncle Keith? Maybe because she knows who it really was??? (Tina Hackett on Facebook)
Emmurr, you stick to your story and I will like you for The First Time In My Life. Otherwise you're on your own, lady. #TheArchers (@Wimblebear on Twitter)
I quite like her at the moment. This is a new feeling and I don't know quite what to make of it. Obviously I want it to clear off as soon as possible. (beligerent_londoner101 on the message board)
Susan was a disgrace. Has she learned nothing from getting banged up for protecting her waste-of-space brother? Stand by your guns, girl. You've got (all of?) MustardLand [the message board] rooting for you (well, me at least) (NewEssexWoman on the message board)
I hope that at least Ed stands by her and gives her some support over this. And Tracey needs a sharp shove in the back as she's walking past the slurry pool. (charmingAnnielynn on the message board)
STAY TRUE EMMA, YOU CAN DO THIS EVEN THOUGH YOU'VE NEVER DONE ANYTHING DECENT IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE. @BBCTheArchers#thearchers (@phoebeheveron on Twitter)
Lend Emma your support in the GOOD FOR EMMA and Emma threads on the message board


As Fallon plans her road trip with Harry, listeners wonder if he's the right man for her? Or should she get together with Jazzer? Or perhaps Ed's her man? In any case, they're pleased to see her back in Ambridge.
Harry and Fallon sitting up a tree K.I.S.S.I.N.G. GET ON WITH IT !!! #thearchers (@kobeltboy on Twitter)
By the end of the trip they will be an item. Fallon has the charms of her ma. (binocular on the message board)
Fallon has always had carap taste in men - Terrible Tom, Excruciating Ed, Revolting Rhys, Flitting Finn, now HorrendouslyBoring Harry. She needs Jolly Jazzer! (Dinah Shore on the message board)
I really wish Fallon would see the light- life with Jazzer far more fun than with Harry. And he can sing. #thearchers (@HelenJaneGrady on Twitter)
Fallon. Lovely Fallon. Still hoping she'll get back together with lovely Ed. Dream couple. #thearchers (@fairy_with_hair on Twitter)
Give Fallon the benefit of your advice in the Fallon fancies Harry thread on the message board


Brian's given Adam an ultimatum over supplying the mega dairy. Will he cave in? Or should Adam set up a rival business and tell Brian and Debbie "where to stick it"?
#thearchers Oh goody Brian has upset sulky Adam. Things are looking up! (@johnjohn21 on Twitter)
Ooh...Debbie this and Debbie that..think Adam might have a point you know Brian...#thearchers... (@babyniss on Twitter)
Tell Debbie exactly where to stick it and leave them to it. Brian is an idiot, risking everything on this ill starred venture. Can't understand why Jennifer hasn't been stronger on this. (teddyandgypsy on the message board)
Debbie has spent a couple of minutes away from her very demanding role in Hungary to do a spreadsheet, which indicates Adam has to go! (Earldunda on the message board)
As regards capital, then as of now does he have any at all? ... I would understand why he might withdraw, but basically he would have to do it wearing only the clothes that he stands up in, and his farming CV. (BlackSheepBoy on the message board)
#thearchers Gosh - Ian is starting to sound like he's losing patience. Does he have shares? (@SteveBrooks13 on Twitter)
Way to go, Adam! Now let Brian stew all week, with luck the BL board will ambush him on Friday, and there will be no mega dairy! (Poorgrass on the message board)
Have your say on the message board thread: Stand your ground Adam!


In Ambridge Extra, listeners are delighted to hear that Phoebe's finally seeing the true Kate, but her rash decision to flag down a taxi has them on the edge of their seats - will she make it to Mandisa's house?
@BBCTheArchers Phoebe got ATTITUDE! Love it! #AmbridgeExtra (@crocstar on Twitter)
I'm so pleased Phoebe is getting to see Kate's true colours and relieved to see she doesn't share them. Hayley must take some credit for that I think. (Dailyfix on the message board)
I loved the bit when she said 'Hayley was right, you are selfish' Yes, Yes, Yes !!! (fabsupergran on the message board)
Please let that actually be a taxi, or maybe help!? #AmbridgeExtra #TheArchers (@PaulHuntley1 on Twitter)
Oh Phoebe, you silly girl. #AmbridgeExtra (@Neiley83 on Twitter)
Young white girl in Jo'berg on the streets alone? OMG #ambridgeextra She's a shallow grave candidate I reckon.. (Rather good!) (@alsdouble on Twitter)
Join the debate on the Ambridge Extra topic on the message board.


Tayler Cresswell is host of The Archers message board.

"#thearchers is talking about SEX. I need GIN!" - listener discussions to 18 July 2012

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Keri Davies Keri Davies | 09:43 UK time, Tuesday, 24 July 2012

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Twitter quote

Lynda's cosy chat with Vicky about "relations" and the menopause divided listeners with some jamming their fingers in their ears and shouting "la-la-la!" Others applauded the airing of a subject that isn't often discussed in the media.

Ruairi's quest to buy one of Eddie's statues had many hoping his "millionaire parents", Brian and Jennifer, would treat him to it. If not, listeners have promised to chip in and help raise the money.

Kate's back to selfish form this week in Ambridge Extra and listeners sagely nod their heads - they saw this one coming. Poor Phoebe.

But first to Brookfield last Thursday where we awaited the outcome of the fire in the barn...

Here's my pick of listener discussions on The Archers message board, Twitter and Facebook between 11-18 July 2012.


As Thursday evening drew near, listeners reported racing home, escaping from the family or stopping work to hear what happened next at Brookfield Farm...

Can't go out tonight until I have heard #thearchers. Have been on tenderhooks all day (@shimmy41 on Twitter)

Desperate race to see if I can get the kids to bed before #thearchers. My grim determination is even frightening me... (@jaykaybee on Twitter)

Actual proper butterflies in my tum! #thearchers (@fairy_with_hair on Twitter)

If any customers order food in the next 12 mins there may be a wait. #thearchers (@cheffyalan on Twitter)


Listeners were relieved to hear that the children and Gina, the pregnant cow, were safe but some were disappointed that there were no "juicy deaths."

Thank goodness the calf was alright! (Rachel Matthews on Facebook)

Pathetically short period of worry for Josh and George there. But secretly just relieved! #thearchers (@archelina on Twitter)

Nobody dead? ...I thought the way they were ramping up the tension at least one person would end up with third degree burns? (Angela Stepney on the message board)

All started Hammer House of Horror and within minutes it was just Five Go to Arsonist's Barn (borchesterbouncer on the message board)

Gutted (Dusty Substances on the message board)

Those Victorians wouldn't have been so lily livered: Little Nell died... (Arrow-shower on the message board)

Read the reactions in the Gutted and Nobody dead threads on the message board.


Emma Grundy thinks she knows who the fire-starter was. Was her call to Crimestoppers a wise move? Most think so considering her mum went to prison for harbouring her brother Clive. But was Emma right? Did uncle Keith really torch the farm?

I think Emma is wise to remain anonymous. She owes her mother's strange family nothing - her children were at risk. I don't know how anyone could be in any doubt about her love for George after Wednesday and Thursday (StargazerwithOscar on the message board)

Oooo, is it Keith? #thearchers (@kenningtonkitty on Twitter)

Talk about give a dog a bad name! Let's all lay off Keith until some firm evidence is produced! (mike on the message board)

Oh Emma, what have you done. #FreeTheHorrobinOne #TheArchers (@Airscaper on Twitter)

Add your thoughts to the Emma, tell Susan your suspicions and the Keith Horrobin is innocent OK threads on the message board.


Elizabeth's visit to Brookfield on Tuesday surprised listeners and many suspected her motives.

Elizabeth must have stepped out of the front door this morning and tripped over her conscience. #thearchers (@TheVintageYear on Twitter)

What does SHE want? Is Brookfield still part of her inheritance? just checking what has been lost? #thearchers (@HelenHaneGrady on Twitter)

I think that was the closest to 'Sorry' we are going to get. (returnmigration on the message board)

The lovely Liz has been plotting in her lair; what she's going to do is lure David's
kids into Lower Loxley, and push them all off the roof! That'll show David.
(Gerry Hatrick on the message board)

Elizabeth revisiting the scene of the crime...? They say that's how you can tell. #TheArchers (@HemmingwayDM on Twitter)

Are Elizabeth's intentions honourable? Have your say in the What is this strange being thread on the message board.


Young Ruairi's back from boarding school and wants to buy one of Eddie's statues in memory of the late Fly, the Home Farm sheepdog. With a new actor in the role, there was plenty of discussion about the fact that he's lost his Irish accent since he went away to school.

Not a vestige of an Irish accent. I wonder if the public school is beating it out of him... Siobhan must be turning in her grave (West Linda on Facebook)

I agree, buy him the dog. I had a tear in my eye when he said it looked like Fly, especially the wonky ears bit. (Eileen on the message board)

I'll put in a couple of quid. He should have the ornament and a real dog. What a father! Rory, ring Childline at once and tell them about being made to drag heavy boxes around to get a few pence from your millionaire parents... and no treats planned other than a boring old fishing trip which will have to be postponed.... (abzacois on the message board)

Join the conversation in the Chip off the old block thread on the message board.


As Vicky tries to find out what's ailing her, she confides in Lynda Snell. Their chat was seen as both "magnificent" and a bit "euwwww"

oh christ #thearchers is talking about SEX I need GIN. GIN! (@aidanskinner on Twitter)

Bucking the trend, I thought Lynda and Vicki's conversation was rather nice, it was supportive of a friend in need. (@CelloSuze on Twitter)

I don't understand the squeamishness at all. Lynda was wonderful as ever, when drawn into the role of confidante. And I hope, hope, hope that Vicky is pregnant. (old cath on the message board)

She isn't up the duff is she. Don't think I could deal with #babbyvickywiccy #thearchers (@gothiron on Twitter)

Call me prurient or even just plain nosy, but I'm delighted to hear about what goes on behind closed doors with couples in Ambridge. (Elasticwoman on the message board)

Ukk or applause? Add your thoughts to the Ukk menopause talk and Anyone interested in Vicky's... threads on the message board.


In Ambridge Extra, over in Johannesburg Kate's affair with Johan hasn't surprised anyone - this is Kate, after all...

Kate hasn't changed one bit! #selfish #AmbridgeExtra (@pollypanad on Twitter)

At last Kate has met someone as self-centred and blind to other people's feelings as she is herself! (@AnneLiddon on Twitter)

Listening to Kate rushing off and leaving Phoebe in a busy shopping centre. Gawd, they deserve each other! (ermintrude on the message board)

If Lucas finds out (how can he not?) my bet's on him giving Kate her marching orders, whereupon Pheebs AND Kate will be winging back to Ambridge a wee bit faster than Roy is expecting... and then it'll be round to Brine and Jenni's for some cheque book therapy! (BanquetBangersBaroness on the message board)

Poor Feebz on #AmbridgeExtra, finally getting to see the true cut of Kate's jib. (@LFischmann on Twitter)

Join the conversation in the Ambridge Extra topic on the message board.

Tayler Cresswell is host of The Archers message board.

Community Games - in Ambridge and elsewhere

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Keri Davies Keri Davies | 14:58 UK time, Friday, 20 July 2012

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Ring toss

As Ambridge prepares for its first ever Community Games, we asked the national Community Games Ambassador, David Moorcroft OBE (pictured, right), to write about the programme of similar events across the UK.

Community Games provide great opportunity to bring communities together to take part in sporting and cultural activities inspired by, and in celebration of, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It is a national movement with more than 1,000 events planned so far this year alone. The Community Games programme aims to capture the core values of the Olympic and Paralympic movements, and these are reflected in the range of events being held.

Like the original Wenlock Olympian Games (see below) they include opening and closing ceremonies and a mixture of sporting and cultural activities, just as Lynda Snell and Kenton Archer are planning.

It's up to the communities to organise their games in a way that works for them and celebrates the uniqueness of their local area. This is from the setting - with activities taking place in a park or inside a community centre - to the type of activities being run.

Some communities are focusing on contests to give the event a competitive element. Others might focus on giving people the opportunity to try something new, from archery to climbing. Whatever the focus of the Community Games, it's about providing an opportunity for everyone in the community to participate.

The programme aims to bring communities together, giving them the confidence and skills to organise activities, leaving a legacy far beyond the end of 2012.

Community Games can be organised by absolutely anyone. If you'd like to find out more about organising your own Games please go to www.communitygames.org.uk


The genesis of the Games

The programme was inspired by the unique heritage of the Wenlock Olympian Games in Shropshire. Held annually since 1850, they were the inspiration behind the modern Olympic and Paralympic movement.

Founded by Dr William Penny Brookes in 1850, the Games were established to "promote the moral, physical and intellectual improvement of the inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood by the encouragement of outdoor recreation and by the award of prizes annually at public meetings for skill in athletic exercises."

In 1890, a young Pierre de Coubertin came to stay with octogenarian Brookes. The agenda was physical education. Coubertin heard about Brookes' ideas and achievements, saw the Wenlock Olympian Games and was inspired to revive the Ancient Olympics.

Sadly, Brookes died in 1895, just four months before Coubertin's International Olympics (modelled on Brookes' Olympian ideals) were staged in Athens.

David Moorcroft OBE represented Britain in three Olympic Games as a middle and long distance runner. He held the world 5000 metre record for three years.

Keri Davies is an Archers (and Ambridge Extra) scriptwriter and web producer. As it happens he wrote the episode featuring the Ambridge Community Games. Do listen on Sunday 29 July.

Rain = late harvest = cuts + re-recording

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Steve Peacock | 10:45 UK time, Friday, 20 July 2012

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wet grass

Never mind the barn burning down or strife among the Horrobins ... what about the real crisis in Ambridge?

The winter barley isn't ripe and the fields are waterlogged.

Like most of the arable farmers in the country, the good folk of Ambridge have been in varying states of despair about the grain harvest.

By now, combines would normally be rattling about all over the place, grain trailers would be hitched to tractors and Adam would be making inroads into the winter barley.

As far as I can discover, hardly anyone in the country has started combining yet, although a few brave souls took the plunge on Sunday (July 15). They soon took refuge in the tractor shed again.

Harvest is going to be later than most people can remember. It's not just that heavy machinery will make such a mess of the sodden ground, it's that there hasn't been enough sunshine and warmth to ripen the crops.

Annoying for farmers. Spare a thought, too, for the Archers production team. We write and record the episodes you hear a long time in advance (on Monday, for instance, we were discussing the stories that will run from mid-September).

And while I have many talents, long-range weather forecasting is not among them. So we've been busy. Combine harvester sound effects - goodbye. Scenes in a field of cut barley - begone. Last week we had to re-write and re-record nine scenes and make cuts in many others.

Remember that scene on Monday when David drove a trailer full of sheep into a ditch? Up until Friday it was a trailer full of grain. And there were plenty more like that.

It's playing havoc with our budgets, so you can imagine how happy we were to hear the news that the sun is going to shine next week. Maybe harvest will start in Ambridge in August? Watch this space.

Steve Peacock is The Archers' agricultural advisor.

"They will probably arrest Vicky"- listener discussions to 11 July 2012

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Tayler Cresswell Tayler Cresswell | 13:58 UK time, Thursday, 19 July 2012

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Twitter quote

As Kenton drove Ruth up to her mum's to pick up the children, there was some praise for his calm, level-headedness in the light of the growing terror at Brookfield. And after Wednesday's fire, listeners turned detective to work out who'd done it.

There's some sympathy for "poor Hayley", having to deal with "selfish Kate" and with a husband with no backbone.

Darrell needs to watch out, according to listeners. Matt's dodgy dealings have some wondering just how bad he really is.

And over in Ambridge Extra, they're wondering if Kate be back in Ambridge before long. Or will Phoebe return with some "extra baggage"?

Here's my pick of listener discussions on The Archers message board, Twitter and Facebook between 5-11 July 2012.


Well done Kenton for keeping calm in the face of rising terror at Brookfield. But he's not always been so sensible - particularly when it comes to the lack of contact with his daughter Meriel over in New Zealand.

Ed & Kenton. Who would have thought that they'd be the most sensible pair in Ambridge!!! #thearchers (@Bethan1967 on Twitter)

The only person in this whole sorry episode who manages to take a balanced view.
I've always liked Kenton, and this demonstrates his very caring nature.
(NewEssexWoman on the message board)

Kenton is the sort of bloke (as he would put it) who is very sensible at major crises in other people's lives. The bit he hasn't got the hang of is introducing this skill to his own. (Jacks Parakeet on the message board)

Kenton - 'care'? He hasn't seen his only child for years. When she was here, he dumped her on Kathy. (locki on the message board)

Good guy or bad lot? Share your views in the Kenton thread on the message board.


As the last of the embers glowed in Brookfield's barn on Wednesday night, listeners wondered who was behind the fire...

The voice sounded young to me. And quite shocked at the speed it took hold... I don't know why, but the first name I thought of was Jamie. (ladymarmalade on the message board)

I don't think it was a kid, Emma saw someone running away from the scene and called after them, sounds like she had a hint of recognition in her voice? (whistlinggnome on the message board)

I think Elizabeth is a possibility. (mike on the message board)

#thearchers well my money is on Daryl for the arsonist/threatening man. suddenly got money/nervous/ secretive. Knew the kids weren't there. (@Shoegalsedgwick on Twitter)

Obviously it's the ghost of Nigel.... Perhaps he was wearing his Dame outfit. In which case they will probably arrest Vicky (if my vision of Vicky's fashion sense is right). (Sidney-rabbit on the message board)

I think it's a Horrobin. No other reason for Keith suddenly sucking up to the village gossip. (Rachael2001 on the message board)

Air your suspicions in the Who do you think lit the fire? thread.

For reaction to Wednesday night's episode, see "Farmageddon" - listeners react on the blog.


It's been a sad week for Hayley. Her big plans for Phoebe's return were ruined after a call from Kate. There have been many discussions about their parenting styles (dull and dependable vs exciting and risky?) and whether Roy should have insisted on Phoebe coming home as planned. It seems the only consensus is that Kate is someone listeners love to hate...

Oh! That was so sad! Poor, poor Hayley. That child is going to break her heart... It will end in tears and not Kate's I dare say. (Skyebird on the message board)

Yes, that self righteous I'm in charge voice and Phoebe's sounding quite a lot like her. (mademoisellecompost on the message board)

Kate did not want to "keep her child." She positively threw her away. She is a very poor excuse for a parent, and should not go near a child. Hayley has given Feebs more parenting than Roy and Kate put together. (Dinah Shore on the message board)

Mind you, a choice between Hayley and Roy or Kate. That's like choosing between food poisoning or root canal work. (Stephen Āh Burroughs on Facebook)

I do so 'love to hate' when it comes to Kate but if 'Feebs' turns out like her mum then reluctantly I'll just have to 'share my love' between them! (Mizzle Snow n Whine on the message board)

Back on FULL insufferable form! I would almost say, 'Yippeee!' (mountetna2 on the message board)

I don't think Kate was deliberately rubbing it in to Roy and Hayley - she just didn't consider their feelings at all. (Elasticwoman on the message board)

Join the debate in the Poor Hayley! and I would like to kill Kate threads.


Don't do it Darrell! Matt's "dodgy deals" have some wondering how low Matt would stoop when it comes to business. And what will happen when Lilian finds out?

Daryl...please find yourself another job - you don't deserve to go back to HMP Borchester #thearchers (@Mistress_Fiona on Twitter)

I wonder if we're seeing the "real Matt" here. Shorn of all the property deals and the high-flying boardroom glamour, deep down in the core, Matt is simply a nasty piece of work. Perhaps Lillian will eventually see him for what he is, too. (Cuddly Giant Squid on the message board)

He's always been a bully, so I don't find that part hard to believe. I do find it surprising that he'd take the risk of doing anything dodgy given that he's got a record. Surely it's not worth the risk to him to go back to prison. (JustJanie - Fairweather Jogger on the message board)

Lil will find out at some stage. But will she do her Tammy Wynette routine? Again? (Froginasock on the message board)

Add your thoughts to the What's going on with Matt? thread on the message board.


Over in Johannesburg, Kate's affair with Johan in Ambridge Extra has raised a few eyebrows and many wonder if Kate will turn up in Ambridge before long. However, some think it'll be Phoebe coming home with some "extra baggage".

Good old Kate, she never lets you down. No wait, she ALWAYS lets you down. #AmbridgeExtra Loving it so far! (@TheBloopster on Twitter)

I'm enjoying juxtaposing the characters in Melville with the characters in Ambridge. And, so, to my mind, in this latest episode Delia is the new Jennifer: Successful dinner parties, makes a good pudding, is crafty, dresses for an occasion and thinks her son is marvellous. (orson cartier on the message board)

Sounds like Johann may be more the Brian type though... wonder if that's the subliminal attraction? (ermintrude on the message board)

I really like how they are experimenting with Ambridge extra first the thought streaming and now SA I really look forward to the episodes. The characters in SA are developing nicely and I really am pleased that Kate has not changed her horrid "gives Helen a run for self centredness" personality one iota. (Dailyfix on the message board)

Aren't Brian & Jennifer going to be surprised when Kate and the kids turn up expecting to be housed? (@SteveBrooks13 on Twitter)

What's the odds on Phoebe coming home with extra baggage that pops out in 9 months time? #ambridgeextra (@shepherd_999 on Twitter)

Join the Ambridge Extra discussion on the message board.


Tayler Cresswell is host of The Archers message board.

The Archers website is changing

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Keri Davies Keri Davies | 12:24 UK time, Wednesday, 11 July 2012

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New homepage - upper

The Archers website will shortly be undergoing some significant changes, to bring it in line with many other BBC programme sites.

Before I explain the changes, let me emphasise that they do not affect this blog or the message board, which will look and work just the same. You will also still be able to:

  • listen to programmes online both through iPlayer and by download (podcast)
  • read episode synopses
  • check details of major characters and the actors who play them
  • read information about the programme

However, some facilities will be temporarily suspended, most notably:

  • the map of Ambridge
  • our timeline and past storylines
  • the weekly vote
  • the quiz


Ambridge Ups and Downs, our light-hearted summary of recent events, will continue as a weekly blog post.


Why?

The main reason is behind the scenes, and concerns the systems that we use to maintain and update the site. We've been very fortunate up to now, in that the The Archers has had its own bespoke website. But this means that we have been working with tools that only we use, which is complicated and expensive in terms of technical support.

Following the 2010 freeze in the BBC's licence fee, there is considerable pressure on expenditure, particularly in online areas. So by moving to standard systems that are used across the whole BBC, we can rely on quicker and more knowledgeable technical support, and benefit from developments elsewhere in the Corporation.


The new look

You can see the main view of the homepage at the top of this blog post. You'll notice we've retained our logo, the countryside images and the colour scheme - particularly the much-loved mustard yellow. As with the existing site, the emphasis is on catching up with recent episodes.

There are links to the blog (and Who's Who), and a panel in which we can promote and link to other features - in this case some of the audio connected with our 60th anniversary.

Message board users can be reassured that there will be a permanent link to the board in a navigation bar at the top of every page.


This is what it looks like further down the homepage.

Further down the homepage


Here you'll find the opportunity to hear clips related to the programme, plus links to photo galleries and other ways to discuss The Archers.


Who's Who

We have a new Who's Who index page which, as in the current site, lists characters alphabetically by forename.

New character index page


And here's what our new character pages will look like.

New character page


These contain all the information held on our current character pages. Because of the large number of Archers characters, the new site will launch with the emphasis on those who are involved with existing storylines (about 40). I'll be adding to these over the months and hope to build up to a pretty comprehensive listing of both speaking and silent characters.

One facility we haven't been able to incorporate in the new designs is the option to turn off the images in our Who's Who section. It simply isn't offered by the new set-up. If you are one of the listeners who preferred not to see pictures of the characters I can only apologise. Sadly when money is tight we have to make compromises, and this is one of them.


Future additions

As I said at the start of this post, we have had to withdraw some features for the time being. The weekly vote should return fairly soon. And work is underway to make the 'engine' which drives our quiz compatible with the new set-up.

The map and timeline are more complex, but we know how interesting and useful people find them and we're energetically exploring ways in which we can offer these features in the future.

I'm sure you'll have comments and questions about the new site, which I'll do my best to answer.

Keri Davies is an Archers (and Ambridge Extra) scriptwriter and web producer.

'Farmageddon' - listeners react

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Tayler Cresswell Tayler Cresswell | 15:00 UK time, Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Comments

Twitter quote

If you're saving yourself for the omnibus, look away now...

Last night's episode of The Archers elicited more than the usual number of tweets and posts from listeners who recounted their reactions as the episode unfolded.

Many were shocked, anxious, thrilled... plenty said they needed a stiff drink afterwards. For quite a few it brought back memories of Grace Archer's death in a stable fire back in 1955, and there were references to the first ITV broadcast on the same night (Grace's death was thought to be a BBC plot to scupper ITV's launch).

Some said that they didn't like the anguish and felt that the storyline had gone too far in putting children and animals in danger. They felt that Josh and George wouldn't have been allowed out at night. A handful said it was too sensational and they were switching off.

So who did it? Listeners suspect Clive, Keith, young George, the badgers and Elizabeth...

Here's my pick of listener discussions on The Archers message board, Twitter and Facebook on the night of 11 June 2012.


As 7.02pm drew closer...

Radio up, cats out, family warned.... (Di Sprake on Facebook)

Really looking forward to #farmageddon tonight. #TheArchers (@tess_hs on Twitter)

Can't wait for #thearchers tonite. Funny, railed against it going darker, yet sucked in by this storyline. We all needed a break from Amy. (@ukdannim on Twitter)

My heart's in my mouth. Can't speak #thearchers #brookfieldsiege (@quilterin24 on Twitter)

Actually rushed home for #thearchers must know what happens! (@Sian_Mererid on Twitter)

@ThatJoelfella will you hold my hand? #terroratbrookfield #thearchers (@ruggerlad on Twitter)

And after 7.15pm...

Blimey! #thearchers is pretty exciting tonight! (@marzillik on Twitter)

I feel sick. I'm in tears. #theArchers #archergeddon #farmgate #SATTC (@pollypanad on Twitter)

#TheArchers Oh my...... That's pretty traumatic........ Exhausted..... (@marthassister2 on Twitter)

#thearchers WHOA... just... WHOA... am actually trembling. (@gothicangel85 on Twitter)

We're standing in the kitchen round the radio like it's 1956 (@ALPietroni on Twitter)

Well that was pretty blooming excellent! Well done ALL involved! #TheArchers #EvenTheCowSoundEffect (@Wimblebear on Twitter)

Dear gods... I'm sat here in tears... damn your 12 minute instalments #TheArchers #farmageddon #SATTC (@allthisandless on Twitter)

So traumatised by tonight's episode that I now have hiccups #thearchers (@stray_hamster on Twitter)

Has ITV started a new channel tonight? #thearchers (@skywoman on Twitter)

Elizabeth's going to have a field day blaming David after tonight #thearchers (@chriscb on Twitter)

I think Emmer holds the key to this - who did she see? I wonder if it was a relation? #thearchers (@gingabeans on Twitter)

Just googling to confirm that badgers do have opposable thumbs and can light a match #thearchers (@helencyb on Twitter)

This is not what I want from the Archers. Anything regarding kids and animals getting hurt should be off limits. There are loads of dramas that provide all that sort of stuff and I don't watch or listen to them. (teddyandgypsy on the message board)

I've got to say I was really moved by the ending of this episode - both mum's screaming for their children... I can't believe they would kill either of them though.  At least I hope not. Okay, I've not been too enamoured by the rest of the storyline, but there was a really good build-up in tonight's episode, with loads of nice little ordinary details, and then the huge conflagration at the end. (Mieteka on the message board)

I actually think that was more dramatic and emotional than the 60th anniversary episode! I am SHOCKED. And a bit upset by now. But it was AMAZING though wasn't it?! (Alex Holden on Facebook) 

Brilliant acting, completely suspended disbelief. The Archers is great at the big story lines. (Rosemary Forrest on Facebook)

Most stressful episode of #thearchers ever? All this 'jeopardy' makes me yearn for a story-line about a spoiled batch of jam... (@Luke_Bowyer on Twitter)

Ok...It was well done, but personally I've loved The Archers for so long because it delivers a slice of REAL life. This isn't the 'real life' I want to hear about when I'm in unwinding mode. Sorry, I know things need to keep evolving but some things are a sacred institution. Keep The Archers cosy and safe! :-) (Lucie Fowler on Facebook)

I truly hate what the BBC has done with the sensational 'modernization' and ruination of the Archers regarding the awful OTT plotline terrorizing of Ruth and David, their children and others. Tonight's episode was truly bizarre and hateful and is just NOT the Archers, the BBC should take into account that many regular listeners might be elderly or living alone and will find it very upsetting.  (Julia Blaxill on Facebook)
If anything happens to Gina the cow in that barn then I am an ex listener. (Christine Wilson on Facebook)

I feel disappointed reading posts about ppl saying they won't listen anymore & seeming to want to control the storylines. I enjoy exploring how a situation like that could be handled while I know it's fiction & also when things like Nigel's and Phil's deaths happened I identified with the characters' grief reactions having gone through bereavement myself, as we all must at some time. I'd think less of The Archers if it was all soft and cosy and nothing bad ever happened, but I would also think less of it if bad stuff constantly happened with characters always screaming & shouting like in TV soaps, which I actually find distressing. (Lexi Hibberd on Facebook)

@ruggerlad You can let go of my hand now. #thearchers (@ThatJoelfella on Twitter)


Tayler Cresswell is host of The Archers message board.

Ruth's "putting the boot in" - listener discussions to 4 July 2012

Post categories:

Tayler Cresswell Tayler Cresswell | 14:33 UK time, Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Comments

Twitter quote

Listeners put themselves in David's shoes as terror grips Brookfield Farm, and Elizabeth is berated for "twisting the knife". Many suspect that Keith Horrobin is behind the threats...

As Roy and Hayley plan for Phoebe's homecoming, Vicky puts her "size tens in it again". Listeners debate whether she's malicious or harmless.

And Ambridge Extra is back, but what's happened to feisty Kate?


Here's my pick of listener discussions on The Archers message board, Twitter and Facebook between 28 June - 4 July 2012.


As terror grips Brookfield Farm, listeners offer ample advice to David and Ruth - don't give in to the terrorists! Mobilise support in the village! But some wonder, if they were in David's shoes, how they would really react...

OMG THE ARCHERS IS TERRIFYING TONIGHT (@chickenprincess on Twitter)

My father was a Crown Prosecutor so every fibre tells me that he has no option but to testify but a friend tells me that I only think that because I haven't had children. I hope that isn't the case. I really don't think I could or would want to let that sort of person go unpunished. (Ginslinger Redux)

I would like to think that IRL I would stand up and be counted. People are however often pretty cowardly. Just look at how people slide off without giving their names as witnesses when approached after an incident. And yet, they would be the first to be indignant if they were let down by these sort of attitudes (mazaroo)

I was disappointed that even Ian was suggesting that David should back down. Why has nobody said "let's get the whole village on high alert and make sure we all report any suspicious characters to the police"? (Sixties_Relic)

The ironic thing is that while the 'baddies' are doing nasty physical things to get David to retract, Ruth is doing nasty emotional things to the same end. The baddies beat Adam up. Ruth is also beating him up but the violence consists of moral blows... putting the boot him when he's already down. (Polly Glot)

If those pesky criminals don't bump off David and Ruth soon I might have to do it myself (@nightwriteruk on Twitter)

Should David give evidence? Have your say on the message board.


There were harsh words for Elizabeth after her pointed remarks about David on Monday - and not just from Jill...

Twist the knife Elizabeth, why don't you? You washed your hands of David, now you have no right to pass judgement. (@MsAlliance on Twitter)

Have always thought that Elizabeth has been spoilt all her life firstly by her parents and then by Nigel. She is a nasty piece of work if you ask me and anyone who stands up to her is great in my book! Well done the Jill! (fabsupergran)

Ah ha ha ha ha ha HA! Don't mess with someone's mum, Elizabeth. Even when she's you mum as well (@thearchersfan on Twitter)

I particularly enjoy Jill's transition through Phil's death into the family matriarch who addresses family issues without fear. More of it I hope (RobinAFromSway)

Add your reaction on the Gracious me! thread on the message board.


Keith Horrobin's cosy chat with Joe in The Bull on Tuesday had some wondering whether Keith was behind the threats to David and Ruth - after all he has his daughter's wedding to pay for. But is this another red herring? Would the scriptwriters really put Susan through all that again? And what would Jennifer say?

Is Keith the baddie?? (@ruralraconteur on Twitter)

Am I too cynical? I think Emma will be safe, as surely Uncle Keith is part of "the gang". (@austenonly on Twitter)

Could be. He reacted to hearing that Emma was staying at her parents'. (typewright)

A little bit of blackmail, wedding paid for, simples. (Purple_Hay)

But maybe Keith knows who is responsible .. or it's a red herring (JustPresidentBunny_Socialist)

This could all have very embarrassing consequences for Jenny. When introducing Susan to her posh mates she will be able to say, "This is Susan, the mother of my daughter's husband. Of course our families have shared a lot over the years. One of our other children was once held hostage by one of Susan's brothers and the other brother was part of a gang that nearly killed my son". (Purbeck)

Air your suspicions in the message board thread: It's Uncle Keith!


As plans for Phoebe's homecoming shape up, Vicky suggests they have a big family holiday. Brenda wasn't the only one who thought it was wrong for her to say that Mike would pay for it all - this prompted a debate about who was worse: Brenda or Vicky?

Vicki's put her size tens in it again.... #thearchers (@potterwigham on Twitter)

Vicky had no business being so cavalier with Mike's money when he wasn't even there. (Auntie Molly)

Brenda acts with malice aforethought whereas Vicky is mostly harmless so Brenda is definitely the least pleasant of the two. (Polly Tunnel)

Personally, I perceive far more malice in Vicky. Thinly disguised by a layer of syrup. (Dora Pandle)

However gallumphing Vicki may be, she and Mike do actually seem to be happy together, which is the main thing. Brenda would have preferred her father to have remained lonely and miserable - like her. (Kentish_Woman)

Take sides in the Vicky v Brenda debate on the message board.


Ambridge Extra is back on Radio 4 Extra and Kate's relationship with Lucas has been under the microscope...

oooohhh that was a good first episode #ambridgeextra (@ruggerlad on Twitter)

Oh feisty Kate, why oh why are you running around picking Lucas's dirty pants off the floor? (@louisebolotin on Twitter)

Kate sounded cowed and nervous. Not like her bumptious self! But it's NOT a good change, whatever one thinks about Kate. This is not a marriage where Lukas treats his wife as an equal. (Redbookish)

Personally I thought Kate was being her usual selfish self - her career before his, and no doubt when he puts his foot down she'll be off running back to Mummy dahling.... (Poorgrass)

Kate was also thinking about the lives of their two children, which Lucas didn't seem to be. It was entirely about him, as far as I could see, and he was king in that household. (Lakey_Hill)

Join the conversation - and catch up with all the goings on in Ambridge Extra - on the message board


Tayler Cresswell is host of The Archers message board.

"Kapow! Biff! Ooff!" - listener discussions to 27 June 2012

Post categories:

Tayler Cresswell Tayler Cresswell | 16:36 UK time, Friday, 6 July 2012

Comments

Twitter quote

In the aftermath of the Brookfield stampede, listeners debate the rights and wrongs of sending the children away, and there's some speculation about Pip's mystery caller. As David tussles with Adam in the grain store, was it simply a case of mistaken identity?

Still, Brian and Jennifer seem to be looking out for Adam. And Jenny's offer of cheese for lunch has elicited a surprising amount of cheesy conversation.

As Hayley and Vicky plan Phoebe's room make-over, listeners warn that Phoebe won't thank them for their efforts.

Young Natalie has some new fans after she puts cricket ahead of cake-making, and listeners look forward to the return of Ambridge Extra...

Here's my pick of listener discussions on The Archers message board, Twitter and Facebook between 21-27 June 2012


Brookfield's woes have some wondering if the storyline is too dark for The Archers. Ruth and David aren't the only ones at odds over how to deal with the threats, and after Pip's threatening phone call, there's some debate about who was on the other end of the line...

Was anyone else surprised that Mr Pullen sounded so young on the phone? #thearchers (@40lucyjordan on Twitter)

Nah, it's Keith who got the number from Emmurr. (AlexInglenook)

Bloody Hell, even I feel a bit sorry for Pip... #thearchers (@PeterD1815 on Twitter)

Wasn't it Spencer's brother who turned out to be the nasty bit of work who led Jamie astray - if so an obvious candidate for the phone number jacking. (RobinAFromSway)

Ruth, what if Spencer is the Brookfield Terrorist, eh? You've sent Peep straight to him! #TheArchers(@Wimblebear on Twitter)

Ruth has no backbone. When the going gets tough, she folds like a cheap suit. #thearchers (@willemharvey on Twitter)

I'm 100% behind Ruth. If my daughter was at risk I'd do exactly the same thing. #thearchers #childrenatrisk (@quilterin24 on Twitter)

If the gang did kidnap Pip how long would they be able to withstand holding her? Being lectured on how they could improve their kidnapping operation and how they should diversify their gang activities will prove very difficult. As TA listeners we are all too aware how excruciating it is.  (Hybro)

So David bottles it and backs down. What happens then? His guilt complex was bad enough after the Nigel business but this time he'd blame Ruth. Hmm, could be a strained silence in the old place eh? (march51)

Add your thoughts to the Let's get this right and the Pigheaded and self-righteous threads on the message board.


Poor Adam can't get a break as David mistakes him for an intruder in the grain store...

Kapow! Biff! Ooff! #tussleinthegrainstore #thearchers (@MeAndMissMcGee on Twitter)
Another assault on Adam - he's jinxed. (@SteveBrooks13 on Twitter)
That's TWICE you've cocked up killing him now, David. Contract out next time; you're losing your mojo. #thearchers (@Mudkipstoat23 on Twitter)


On the plus side, Jennifer has some lovely Italian cheese for Adam, leaving some listeners wondering whether Tuesday's episode of The Archers was sponsored by the Cheese Marketing Board...

Cheese cheese cheese #thearchers Jennifer takes nagging to a new level. (@boorach2 on Twitter)

Was this episode sponsored by the Cheese Marketing Board (Subliminal Advertising Division)? (Vicky S)

For the love of god Jenny, I will eat the nice Italian cheese if no one else will! (@GoodEggFoodie on Twitter)

I thought it was one of the most hilarious few minutes of radio I've ever heard. #thearchers  #cheesegate (@Odoreida on Twitter)

The cheese was the best bit. Very well done I thought. I must buy some cheese. (Nelson_G)

I thought it was totally marvellous. Anything that can have me falling about laughing at half past bluddy midnight when I'd just finished a 16 hour day can't be bad. I could hear Charles C's amusement as he acted it. And I personally love cheese. It was the cheese lovers scene to cut out and keep (Dusty Substances)

Here's your chance to talk about cheese on the Mmmm Cheese thread.


Hayley thinks Phoebe's room could do with a makeover - but listeners agree that this is a "terrible idea". Even worse is taking advice from Vicky...

I knew Vicky was spiteful, but the vandalism she's planning for Phoebe's room sounds cruel even by her standards. #changingrooms #thearchers (@jonreed on Twitter)

Vickoi's taste in furnishings is living up to my expectations #thearchers (@parmavi0lets on Twitter)

If Hayley thinks she will win Pheebs back with this then she is more stupid than I previously thought, and that was pretty stupid. One of the best things about coming home is that it is unchanged. (wildforces)

I am surprised that Hayley is even thinking of it. She is usually so sensible and thoughtful. (Brief_felicity)

Phoebe will have been finding more about the teenage faux feminist hippy Kate and will be aping her and will not like whatever Hayley/Vicky choose. (careen)

Read more on the message board: No Hayloi. Think again.


Jamie's girlfriend Natalie has a few new fans after eschewing cake-baking in favour of cricket.

"We weren't all born to bake sponges" Go Natalie! #thearchers (@PlaceFarm on Twitter)

I thought baking sponges was on the curriculum for the Ambridge Incomers Exam. #thearchers (@TheVintageYear on Twitter)

#thearchers is a hotbed of gender politics today. Keep expecting Germaine Greer to pop into The Bull for a pint of best. (@yokelbear on Twitter)


And finally, listeners speculate on what Ambridge Extra would reveal about Phoebe's time in South Africa...

Yes! We wanted South Africa didn't we! #excited#AmbridgeExtra #theArchers (@pollypanad on Twitter)

BRILLIANT! Can Hardly Wait! :-) (Ray Sterling on Facebook)

Oh Joy. TAX is back. Starts next Tuesday and I just mention it on here cos for the first episode it says 'Phoebe develops her first crush' (toffee)

Maybe Phoebs is not coming home???? (West Linda on Facebook)

Join the Ambridge Extra discussion on the message board.


Tayler Cresswell is host of The Archers message board.

Ambridge Extra goes globetrotting

Post categories:

Keri Davies Keri Davies | 13:26 UK time, Monday, 2 July 2012

Comments

Gbemisola Ikumelo plays Mandisa

The next series of The Archers' spin-off Ambridge Extra starts on Tuesday 3 July. And this time it will take listeners a long, long way from Ambridge.

The first bit is set in South Africa, where Phoebe Aldridge has spent the best part of a year living with her mother Kate. Phoebe's had a pretty good time in Johannesburg up to now. But when Kate's around, nothing runs smoothly for ever.


The characters

As well as Kate and Phoebe you'll meet:

  • Lucas: Kate's husband, a radio journalist whose career aspirations start to cause friction at home.
  • Delia: Kate's mother-in-law makes and sells ceramics, and keeps a close eye on her son's family.
  • Michael: Kate's father-in-law. Retired headteacher, now lecturing in education.
  • Johan: A university colleague of Michael's, and an adviser to the women's crisis centre where Kate works.
  • Mandisa: (pictured above) Phoebe's school friend.
  • Milton: Mandisa's sister's boyfriend, who turns Phoebe's head.


Schedule

You can hear Ambridge Extra on BBC Radio 4 Extra:

Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2.15pm.

Omnibus edition: Sundays at 11.15am and 7.15pm

(and for night owls on Mondays at 2.15am)

You can also get it on BBC iPlayer, or as a free download (podcast).


Photo gallery

View a selection of cast photos, in and out of studio.

Sharp-eyed listeners might notice that Johan is played by William Gaminara. In the 1990s, William played Dr Richard Locke, Usha's boyfriend who had an affair with Shula. He's probably now best known for his role as Professor Leo Dalton in Silent Witness.


Later in the series

We'll return to Ambridge briefly before embarking on a bit of a road trip. And the final part of the series will follow Kenton and Jolene on their visit to New Zealand. But more of that in due course.

NB: An earlier version of this blog post incorrectly listed Milton as Mandisa's brother. Please accept my apologies for the error.

Keri Davies is an Archers (and Ambridge Extra) scriptwriter and web producer.

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