The Mothers of Ambridge
Mothering Sunday is on its way and we thought we’d cast our eye over the matriarchs in The Archers to get an overview of their differing mothering styles.
Queen of the matriarchs, Jill truly is the mothership. She’s weathered Elizabeths’s teenage meltdowns, David’s indecision and rows with flaky Kenton, and Shula’s marital turbulence. Never without a lemon drizzle cake stashed about her person, she dispenses sensible advice, love, pie and constructive criticism with modest sagacity. She is, however, ferocious toward anyone she feels may be threatening The Family…this makes her the Mafia Mama of Ambridge. Cross her at your peril.
Most likely to say: Tea’s ready!
Least likely to say: There’s nothing in the oven – I’m off out.
Kate leaves children behind as she is seized by a new enthusiasm. Phoebe, fathered by Roy Tucker in Kate’s own version of Class War designed to infuriate her snobbish parents, is still in Ambridge before heading off to Oxford and has a healthy disrespect for her immature mother’s self-indulgence. Noluthando and Sipho, the children Kate had in South Africa with her ex-husband Lucas, no longer speaks to her. Unreliable and yet desperate to be Phoebe’s best friend, Kate genuinely feels she is an earth mother. Those who know her well wouldn’t leave her in charge of a pot plant.
Most likely to say: Would it help if I gave you examples from my own sex life?
Least likely to say: It’s not about me.
Clarrie Grundy has been long-suffering, tired and exasperated for over 40 years now. Clarrie is the lone voice of female reason in a house full of males, from entrepreneurial Eddie, to father in law Joe and his farmer’s lung, to ‘er boys, the squabbling Edward and William. Edward’s been homeless and a drug addict, William has fought with his brother for a decade, Edward then had an affair with his sister in law who he then married (awkward). Forgiving, warm and permanently shattered, Clarrie’s the definition of unconditional maternal love.
Most likely to say: It breaks my heart to see you boys fighting.
Least likely to say: No.
A high class, high maintenance woman, Jennifer is intensely proud of her children (Adam, Debbie, Kate and Alice) as they represent her own unfulfilled ambition. She’s the family optimist and counterbalances grumpy Brian when he loses his patience with his two main irritants, Adam and Kate. Jennifer prizes harmony above all things and cannot bear ‘scenes’. A soothing, sunny presence.
Most likely to say: Don’t worry, I’ll speak to your father and get you a cheque.
Least likely to say: I don’t care if you marry a blacksmith, so long as you’re happy.
Jolene and her daughter Fallon (fathered by dissolute baker Wayne) have a great relationship. Warm, open and honest, Jolene’s a country and western woman who stands by her daughter before she stands by her man. She gave Fallon sensible, realistic counsel when she dabbled with drugs as a teen and has guided her through several disastrous relationships.
Most likely to say: It’ll all come right in the end, darlin’.
Least likely to say: What will people say?
Snobbery runs through Susan like raspberries in a Bridge Farm ice cream. Her son Christopher made her the happiest woman in Borsetshire by marrying AN ALDRIDGE, no less, which means Susan spent many months trying to foster a close relationship with Brian and Jennifer (“We’re family now, Jennifer!”) much to the Aldridges’ horror. Daughter Emma slightly let down the doyenne of Ambridge View by engaging in a love life involving both Grundy boys but has since settled down. House-proud Susan loves both her children but her high expectations for them have become a family joke.