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!
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.
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.