Thursday, April 15, 2021

Observing Ambridge

Whilst one ‘Observer’ reader suggests Alan Bennett writes the monologues that have replaced normal episodes of ‘The Archers,’ another demands a return to standard broadcasts about Ambridge life

Whilst we joined those royally unimpressed when BBC Radio 4 “ran out of episodes” of The Archers due to the coronavirus lockdown back at the start of May, the radio soap’s return recently as a series of monologues has left Observer readers anything but delighted.

 

In a letter to the Observer this morning, one Ursula Hutchinson [on-the-ball listeners may remember Ambridge’s resident villain Rob Titchener’s meddling mother was also called Ursula] of Newport on the Covid-19 app friendly Isle of Wight, plainly inspired by his brilliantly straight-to-the-point Talking Heads series, suggested Alan Bennett be brought in. She remarked:

                                  

If ‘The Archers’ monologues are to go on, they need to ask Alan Bennett to write them. We’ve just endured a week of Tony’s haircut. Please!

Ursula Hutchinson

Newport, Isle of Wight

 

Last Sunday, another ‘Archers Addict,’ Mary Evans of Heathfield, East Sussex got even more het up. In her letter, the “enthusiast” declared the new format “totally dull and frankly not worth giving up 15 minutes of your life for, however much time you have to spare at the moment.” She vented:

 

How I agree with Miranda Sawyer regarding the new format of ‘The Archers’ (Radio review): totally dull and frankly not worth giving up 15 minutes of your life for, however much time you have to spare at the moment. I acknowledge the difficulties of broadcasting but the archive episodes were much more worthwhile, even though I took issue with the gloomy choice – Kirsty being stood up at the altar, the Grundys being evicted, the floods.

 

My fellow enthusiasts and I will be putting ‘The Archers’ on hold until they drop this boring format. Surely as it’s radio it must be technically possible to cobble together something like the original. I fear they may lose fans who will be disinclined to return.

Mary Evans

Heathfield, East Sussex

 

We join both Evans and Hutchinson in their lament, but The Archers scriptwriters have thus far provided one lockdown highlight: An episode where the village gossip Susan Carter – high on ‘honey rum,’ as one would be after desperately raiding the dregs of the lockdown drinks cupboard – referenced sexual antics for those in their later years after getting spiced up on homemade chilli.

 

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Observing Ambridge – Revived ‘The Archers’ fails to impress – Whilst one ‘Observer’ reader suggests Alan Bennett writes the monologues that have replaced normal episodes of ‘The Archers,’ another demands a return to standard broadcasts about Ambridge life.
‘The Archers’ – set in the fictional village of Ambridge – first aired on BBC on 29th May 1950. It is the world’s longest running drama and thus attracts both accolade and criticism in equal measure from its somewhat dedicated audience.
In this legendary episode, Helen Titchener stabbed her husband Rob after he criticised her tuna bake.
‘Country Channel.TV’ went behind the scenes with the cast of ‘The Archers’ in January 2010. One character, Phil Archer, made the ‘Guinness World Records’ for being the longest serving actor in a single soap opera – Norman Painting played him from 1950 until his death on 29th October 2009.
The second part of the behind the scenes tour of the radio soap inspired by life in a village in rural England. It was originally billed as “an everyday story of country folk,” but is now described (more suitably for the ‘woke’ generation we sadly live in) as “a contemporary drama in a rural setting.”
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Matthew Steeples
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Matthew Steeples is a writer and marketing consultant. He conceived The Steeple Times as a media arena to fill the void between the Mail Online, The Huffington Post and such organs as the New York Social Diary in 2012.

3 COMMENTS

  1. No farmers milking cows anymore. Not much to say about oilseed rape. You can’t talk about a harvest because a mega-combine does it in a day. Hard to find a real farm making scrumpy, although the Duck knows one or two (you can’t drink a pint of the stuff and expect to be remotely capable afterwards).
    Your ploughman speaks Polish or Latvian, and no sign of Buttercup Joe. A recipe for boring.

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