The BBC Radio 4 soap The Archers has, frankly, lost its way. Gone are the great episodes where gin soaked Lillian Bellamy fooled around with her conman lover Matt Crawford (AKA ‘Tiger’) and gone even is the excitement of mundane muddler Helen Archer stabbing her then husband, Rob Titchener, after a row about a dropped tuna bake.
Yes, in lockdown, we’ve had humour in the form of Susan Carter getting sexually excitable whilst high on honey rum over the orgasmic effects of homemade chilli on her call-in radio show, but the new “boring format” of drippy monologues is just entirely lacking.
Whilst avid listeners await a return to the most important story of modern times in Ambridge, that of “Welsh bird-watching family handyman” Philip Moss being exposed as a “modern day slave master,” the show’s former scriptwriter Helen Leadbeater has now given us something else.
Coming in the form of a three-part podcast titled The Pargetter Triptych, old stalwart Nigel Pargetter – last heard of shrieking as he fell (or was he pushed?) off the roof of his ancestral pile, Lower Loxley, in 2011 while trying to untie a flapping ‘Happy New Year’ banner – has returned as a ghost.
Described as “a gem” and “much funnier than what’s currently pretending to be the real thing” by Gillian Reynolds in The Sunday Times, Nigel (played by actor Graham Seed) explores stories old and new and gives us what we’re currently missing: A bit of good cheer.
Listen to the three-part podcast ‘The Pargetter Triptych’ by clicking here.