This Week in The Archers – Week Ending 20 June 2014

The start of the week finds us up at Bridge Farm, and the World Cup and Fathers Day has Tony feeling down again, and thinking about Tom. That’s not the worst Fathers Day experience in Ambridge though, as down at Blossom Hill Cottage Helen has got Rob a Fathers Day card on Henry’s behalf. Maybe I’m the only one who considered that in the slightest bit creepy. Its certainly more than Tony will be getting from Tom. But at least Helen is planning to show her face up at Bridge Farm, and Pat warns Tony to be on his best behaviour. Pat reminds Tony that Rob is en route to becoming their son-in-law – despite there being no progress on the divorce front for Rob.

Maybe we’re all wrongly thinking that Rob is a devious sod, just out to use Helen to get what he really wants. Or that maybe we’re right. Rather than the acceptance Helen is seeing, its all grin and bear it for Pat and Tony. Rob definitely seems to be progressing his plans though. He’s countermanding Helen more and more where Henry is concerned and now he’s making decisions for her over the shop? “Oh, isn’t he fantastic” Helen opines. Just get your heads out of the clouds woman! It looks to me Rob is looking to force Helen away from the shop and into virtual captivity at home. Pretty clear he’s got no intention of going anywhere near an agency. Just who does he have in mind to fill the void at the shop?

Harrison is still on the case, and its got nothing to do with the detection of crime. He’s at the Bull for the World Cup it seems, but he’s just managed to catch Fallon at a low point. Just what does she have to show for her 30 years on the planet? At least the World Cup keeps Harrison at the Bull and it rather sounds like Fallon’s defences are beginning to crumble at last.

But Fallon isn’t the only one with a birthday this week. Birthday greetings are ringing out for Ruth up at Brookfield. Naturally it has her indulging in one of her “Oh, how lucky we are” moments. Its a welcome diversion from all her woes for Ruth, and its taken her mind right off route B. Until David goes and loudly reminds her. Talking with his foot in his mouth is a change from talking with food in his mouth, I’ll grant you. Its certainly all he’s thinking about just now, and it’s not escaping his notice I suspect, that the village isn’t universally up in arms with the road proposals.

David’s new arch-nemesis Charlie Thomas is certainly busy, and he’s got Debbie (and Brian by extension) firmly in his sights. Can Brian fight Debbie’s corner? It seems that he might but its looking increasingly unlikely that he can count on full support from Adam. Adam has been nicely talked round by Charlie, although you do wonder if there’s ulterior motives at work for Charlie on the Adam front. Its all a welcome change of focus for Brian with the disaster that is the Home Farm kitchen. Brian and Jennifer are given a surprise by the appearance of a wounded Buddy at Home Farm. Oddly enough, he sounds like a complete chancer, and comes bearing the news that something else is in the wrong place. Just when will Brian decide enough is enough? And as for Buddy’s “painkillers”, will PC Burns be paying an official call to Home Farm in the near future? The saga – and it is a saga – over the kitchen really is getting ridiculous though.

It seemed that Brian’s week couldn’t get any worse. That was until he attended the next BL board meeting that is. Charlie’s devastating report concerning Home Farm’s activities is a dagger to Brian’s heart and Annabelle is in no mood to support her former chum. Will Brian be forced out, a last potentially opposing voice to Justin Elliot? Charlie is certainly on fire, but his Olde Worlde farming anecdotes did seem to be stretching things a little too far. That’s not the end of the bad news for Brian, and he’s in for more shocks. Another AD unit AND a solar farm. Brian is finally horrified at the approach BL is taking, but what Justin Elliot wants, Justin Elliot gets? Its all fired up Brian though at last, and he’s soon doing the rounds looking for opposition to BL. Or could it be he’s just looking for a free lunch? Or any lunch at all it seems. Brian is on the search for allies though. Will he manage to pull together a grand coalition to put an end to Demara’s grand plans? Its all going horribly wrong for Brian, and even hopes of lunch at the golf club with Matt are cruelly dashed. Its a wretched end to the week for Brian after he’d had been so smartly brushed off by Annabelle.

There’s a bit of light relief during the week with the Borsetshire Show with Freddie, Pretzel, Lizzie, Ed, Jazzer and Tony all heading for the show. Ed and Jazzer are soundly beaten with their shearing efforts although Jazzer has his moment in the sun with a narrow win over Ed, and there’s some measure of success, although the news that Berrow Farm land a prize hardly goes down well. At least it was a worthwhile trip for Tony, who may have sourced his sought after bull. His efforts to show Tom and Peggy seem to be going nicely at last. But will the day be remembered for Hayley giving Roy ideas? Was it wise to point out to Roy that Lizzie is attractive, and that she deserves to have a bit of fun? Just make sure she has a good time? You could regret that unwise advice!

Peggy’s troubles with her increasing feelings of loneliness hit another low in the middle of the week though and it was fairly easy to see what was coming with Peggy being reduced to one cat. Despite being surrounded by family and friends, she’s finally finding the loss of Jack to be overwhelming. To be fair on the scriptwriters, they tend to do these tender moments so well.

Charlie rudely interrupts David and Ruth’s evening out at the Bull – you can’t fault his determination. Naturally, he gets short shrift from the both of them, but that’s not going to deter him but he’s going to find it a bit harder than that to talk David and Ruth round. He certainly talks a good game, but just not good enough. It does sound to me that Charlie is just doing the rounds to gauge opinion to Demara’s plans for Ambridge. Maybe he is or isn’t “Justin Elliot” but for someone who has nothing to do with the road, its seems he’s in an awfully good position to talk about it.

Festival time finally arrives for Lizzie and Roy. Would Roy follow Hayley’s instructions to the letter and show Lizzie a good time? He certainly was pulling out all stops for her. You’d have thought that Lizzie would be smart enough to give Roy a wide berth, but she’s getting over Nigel at last and does appear to be thinking about really moving on. But day two of the festival has a cracking end to it. Lizzie is completely overcome with the idea of a festival and is loving her time away. She’s anticipating a more surpises, and a big bang to end the night. Well, she was certainly right on those fronts. It was quite a nauseous and to the week, with Lizzie and Roy ending up in a passionate embrace. Well, Hayley ordered Roy to make sure he showed Lizzie a good time. Just be careful what you wish for.


Week Ending 13 June 2014.

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This Week in The Archers – Week Ending 13 June 2014

The big weekend arrives in Ambridge at last. It might well be the single wicket contest, but is the return of the prodigal son for Shula. Although she’s not all that pleased to hear how much Dan is loving his time at Sandhust. It doesn’t help that the rest of the family can see such a positive change in Dan – for the better. But it’s a good weekend for Dan as he wins the single wicket, and gives Shula the proud moment of handing over the Mark Hebden trophy to Mark’s son. But Dan is obviously getting sharper observation skills, although its not that hard to see Shula is troubled.
Dan couldn’t miss her ongoing concern over his career choice, but is there trouble over Alistair’s “networking” on the Friday?

But the real competition is over Open Farm Sunday. Its business as usual up at Brookfield, but after a bit of inspired thinking from Charlie Thomas, Berrow Farm – much to Rob’s unhappiness – has their own open day. Naturally with Pip back for the weekend (thankfully silent) and Jill on hand with her baking prowess, it all goes superbly for them. The Echo is on hand to see it all, and it couldn’t have gone better. More than can be said for the mega dairy. The positive PR that Charlie was desperate for went out the window with the Echo now on hand to see a dead calf. Its maybe what farming is all about, but its not image Charlie was looking for. Advantage Brookfield there I suspect.

Fresh from the Open Farm Sunday triumph, Jill is as busy as ever looking after her still dependent brood of Archers. Its Nigel’s birthday, and Lizzie is down, but never fear, Jill I on hand. But it’s the bigger picture for her family that’s concerning Jill the most. Route B worries are becoming all –consuming for Jill, and it was inevitable that the Brookfield Archers would make the opposition to the road personal. It affect them most after all. But almost making the campaign a “Save Brookfield” campaign is risky strategy. It would seem that not everyone in the village is militantly opposed to it. You only need to look to Home Farm (predictably) and the Dower House for evidence of that.

Lizzie is generally supportive of course, but she has her own concerns. Roy is still buzzing about their upcoming trip to Greenbury Fields, but Lizzie is having second thoughts about it all, although its maybe a welcome diversion from her melancholy thoughts over Nigel. That’s no concern of Shula, who is still bending ears over Dan’s army career. It does get Lizzie thinking about Freddie, and whether or not he’s ready to be the man of the house. Is Lizzie thinking on moving on? Should Roy look out for himself under the canvas with Lizzie? I wonder if there have been any behind the scenes “discussion” between Roy and Hayley over Roy’s away day(s) with Lizzie?

Speaking of away days, its all go for Adam. After an invitation from Charlie, he’s got Brian at him to go to the cereals show thing. Choices, choices for Adam. Well, he’s coming round to Charlie, and its Brian who gets knocked back. Might Brian have been a gooseberry? At least it would have got Brian away from the Home Farm kitchen. Its one delay after another for Jennifer and her Albion. Hasn’t she twigged she’s dealing with a cowboy? We don’t have an Albion at home, but it did take less than a week to install, but Jennifer’s kitchen saga is just running and running. Just how will Brian’s heart cope when he finally twigs they’re being had?

Naturally this week, Helen is full of it after having been presented with an engagement ring. She’s completely infatuated and the more it goes on, the worse its going to be for her when it all goes pear-shaped. Peggy is delighted for her of course, reflecting on her own choices. I suspect that Helen getting a “second chance” is about it as far as similarities between herself and Peggy goes. Despite her advancing years, Peggy still can’t stop worrying about her offspring, unlike Helen it seems. But it’s a tough time for Peggy, who is feeling Tom’s absence keenly – just when she is being reminded of Jack’s departure. Its all getting a bit much for Peggy and she’s finding loneliness a little hard to handle, although Fallon shows up in the nick of time to lift her spirits, but maybe its time for Tony to make his peace with Peggy. Pat is hoping that Tom will reappear – something that would really lift Peggy – but Tony is the voice of reason there for a change. There are big decisions to be made on the pigs with Neil being at risk of feeling the fallout. Neil – with his vested interest of course – manages to talk Tony round to keeping the pigs, for the short term at least. At least Tony is managing to make sensible decisions (for once) but he’s being a big blinkered on the fact that only he (or Tom) can manage the pigs. Maybe putting that responsibility Jazzer’s way is going to far, although he’ll be delighted to see his girls back.

But Peggy does get a little fired up over Route B discussions with Jill, much to Jill’s annoyance. Peggy is being a realist over that at least, and with Brookfield making it all about them, there is no surprise Peggy can’t see the campaign having any impact at all. Jill is having none of it though, but trying to see Justin Ellliot? Good luck with that. First port of call for that is JE’s man on the ground Charlie Thomas. Its hard work for Jill, but at least Charlie gives her a fair hearing and at least promises to take her concerns to Justin, but she can forget the face-to-face meeting. Which raises in interesting question for me. No one had met Justin Elliot before the BL board meeting that saw Brian deposed.
Charlie is going all-out to get to know the key players in Ambridge, and takes on board what he hears. Could it be that Charlie Thomas is aka Justin Elliot?

At least with Charlie’s trip away with Adam, Rob is allowed a bit of peace up at Berrow Farm. But why waste a de facto day off with work, when you could poison Helen’s mind and make sure she never has a reconciliation with Kirsty. Rob is persistent in blaming Kirsty for everything that’s gone wrong at Ambridge Organics. Its turned out to be a good day for Rob with Berrow Farm’s Open Farm Sunday not making good reading in the Echo. Just who will Charlie hold responsible? That can wait for Charlie, who is in his element educating Adam to the future of farming. Adam is coming round to Charlie’s way of thinking, but is that what Charlie is really after? He’s slick, and knows how to butter up Adam. Servicing half of Borsetshire? Just what are you after Charlie? Remember Ian? Adam is being completely won over by Charlie, and is signing his praises to Brian. I wonder of Adam is being groomed by Charlie to take full command at Home Farm with Brian and Debbie getting the elbow?

Charlie’s week doesn’t end to well though as he continues getting it in the neck from the Archers. After seeing the Echo – then being reminded of it
(smugly) by David, he’s in no mood for any of it. Rob seems to have escaped the bulk of his ire. But Rob picks a bad time to try and escape to pick up Henry. Charlie isn’t impressed, and it was interesting to hear that Rob is in full agreement with Charlie’s views on the Archers. Oh Helen, you really have no idea of the contempt Rob seems to hold your family in. Rob is playing the long game nicely, and now his attention has turned to Henry.
Just what did he tell Helen in her absence? You can be sure it was nothing about her needing to hold on for a delivery at the shop. Henry’s reaction to her appearance was frosty to say the least. With Rob seemingly turning Henry against Helen, are his plans gathering pace at last? Look out Helen!

Week Ending 6 June

This Week in The Archers – Week Ending 30 May 2014

Peggy hears the news about Tom at last, and it hasn’t gone down well. It a stunning piece of irony, she points the finger at Tony about not telling her. Is that a case of the pot calling the kettle black Peggy? Well, you’ve played your part in Tom heading off as much as any of the Bridge Farm Archers have. At least Peggy got a chance to see Tom on his way to Canada, a bit more than Pat & Tony got. Now they must realise what they’ve all done. It does all seem quite strange that a man so focussed and dedicated carried on being John for so long if he hated it so much. Well, Rob hasn’t helped all that much, and Peggy’s suggestion that Rob be involved in any discussion over the future of Tom’s pigs will never go well with Tony.

Peggy does play an ace card though. Who’s business was in the first place? Oh yes, John’s. Another memory of John that Pat isn’t willing to let go easily. Will she and Peggy manage to talk Tony round and give Pat a straw to clutch at – that Tom will ever come back? Helen is being wrapped around Rob’s fingers. His suggestion of seeing Peggy is nothing to do with easing her concerns. Its all about what’s good for Rob. He’s got her upping her game with Henry’s childcare – the TV and a pile of cushions! But that aside, we have a family meeting! Just why is Helen surprised at Tony excluding Rob. He may be Helen’s partner, but just what does he have to do with the Bridge Farm business? It may be his goal to get his hands on it, but for now, its none of his concern. Its not at all unreasonable for Rob to be excluded but naturally Peggy backs Helen if it means backing against Tony. It almost sounded like Peggy, Helen and Rob are cooking it all up. Keeping secrets from Tony? Well, let’s start with Rob – he gets rid of Tom but Helen and Peggy think its wonderful and lovely. Helen is completely way off target. He’s done it simply because he wanted Tom out of the way. Then there’s the planned wedding. Despite the fact that Rob is still already married. I wonder if he’ll bother with the divorce at all?

Peggy should be careful with keeping secrets from Tony. She’s doing her best to build bridges, and her offer of money to Tony is generous. Maybe though his refusal of her offer may well antagonise Peggy to the point where she throws her lot in with Rob and Helen. It was a smart tactical move by Tony to exclude her and Rob from the meeting on Friday. Two against one? Without Rob and Peggy to support her and argue her corner, either Helen will just cave in, or will agree to nothing.

It’s a busy time again at Brookfield, and its lambs off to market and Shula is on hand to help David. Of course, Shula had an ulterior motive for turning up – the new road. Shula and David (and Lynda) are agitating to get opposition going. Charlie is being pointed at as being a man in the know. Brian and Charlie certainly seem to know more than they’re letting on. The road plan certainly has the potential to open up the usual divisions in Ambridge. Will Ruth be able to see Brian as anything other than the villain? David and Shula are doing all they can to mobilise the village, but for the rest life goes on much to Shula’s annoyance. How dare Lizze put her business first! But that won’t stop David, Shula and particularly Lynda. Lynda won’t even let her birthday preparations get in the way. She’s done her research and she’s firmly behind Penny Hassett getting the dubious honour of getting the new road. David, rather foolishly just takes her word as gospel. As long as its nowhere near Brookfield, right?

Lynda was right in her element, and she managed to get her way so the village to see the road maps, and it always seemed rather inevitable that the new road would blunder its way through Ambridge. But to David – and Ruth’s – horror, it would seem that the road goes right through Brookfield. Well, that’ll teach them for being so smug about Penny Hassett’s seeming misfortune. But Ruth really needs to chat to Kirsty about despairing wails. They’re definitely fearing the worst over it all at Brookfield. Oddly enough, Brian isn’t at all concerned. What’s losing a bit of field when it means cash – and a lot of it – right into his hand. Will Ruth ever believe he knows nothing about it? She’s always ready to believe the worst in Brian. Jennifer may get involved in the protesting, but Brian will never upset BL’s applecart.

Just when there’s a bit of controversy in the air that could land the lucky few right in a pile of cash, Matt returns to our airwaves. Whenever there’s a chance to feather his nest, Matt is always on the case. Brian isn’t giving much away to Matt, but there’s no chance Matt will believe Brian knows nothing. Matt can’t resist tweeking Brian’s nose over their kitchen debacle. Right on top of the kitchen being flooded thanks to the rogue sink, Buddy has had a little accident. Or has he? It seems pretty clear now that karma has come round to bite Jennifer for her crowing over her new kitchen. Its going from crisis to disaster, and you have to worry if she’s being well conned by Kingsley. Will she have the nerve to admit it and pass the news on to Brian?

Fallon is busier than ever. Once the woman who had her hands full helping run the Bull and her music, suddenly she’s become the community spirited, party planner. It seems there are complete changes of character all round. No doubt it won’t be long before she’s letting PC Burns get his feet right under her table. Plans of mice & men though don’t always go to plan, and Lizzie has finally put her foot down over Roy’s plans for them to camp out at Greenbury Fields Festival. Really Roy, don’t you know Lizzie at all? Roy is hardly covering himself in glory over Loxfest. To be honest, I can’t help feeling that Roy comes across as being completely gormless. I suspect Lizzie isn’t overly bothered about the “festival experience” – just show her the money!

Charlie is still keeping the pressure on, on behalf of BL. Adam’s stellar performance over his maize has meant Charlie’s eye turned towards Rob, and Adam has found that quite easy to take. But now his roving eye has turned to the truculent Will Grundy, who really believes he is Lord of his own little manor with regards to the shoot. He can’t take any suggestion on board unless it comes from himself. But refusing a suggestion from Charlie is risky business. At least it’ll all make him happy, as it will be something to moan about. Its what he does best and he’ll get no support from Brian. Brian is a man who sees the bottom line, and if Charlie can lift that bottom line, Brian will be happy. Will better get used to it.

Lynda has a lovely end to the week. She may well be one of Ambridge’s more abrasive characters, but for me, her heart is always in the right place, and the village is lucky they’ve got at least one person who is so community minded. She’s a great one from Brookfield to have on site for the battles over “Route B” But for now, its her moment in the sun, as Robert pulls out the stops with an Alice in Wonderland garden party for her birthday. Leonie puts in a surprise appearance, much to Lynda’s delight. They may have had their moments, but they bonded over the pregnancy, with Lynda giving Leonie the courage and strength to plough on. She ended the week in the company of family and friends, and it was a timely reminder how highly regarded she is in Ambridge.

But again, the week ends at Bridge Farm, with their Council of War following Tom’s doing a runner. Helen is in no mood to be objective, and is now actively pushing Rob’s agenda. She’s so wrapped around his finger, she’ll believe anything he pushes at her. Even is layman’s view of going non-organic with the pigs topped Tony quoting the Soil Association regs chapter and verse. Helen was completely blind to that, so much is she under Rob’s thumb. Tony did come up with the goods over Rob. Helen doesn’t know him at all, despite her protests to the contrary. She is backing him over the non-organic route, and even thinks he’s the most thoughtful man ever, helping Tom get his Canadian interview. That little shocker didn’t really sit well with Pat and Tony. Helen doesn’t see how Rob’s nicely rid Helen of her support network – and how he’s piling the stress on Tony. His plan is going superbly. Isolate Helen, get rid of Tom, push Tony into a heart attack then get his hands on Bridge Farm. There’s no way in my mind he’s got any intention of living happily ever after with Helen. Is it Bridge Farm he wants, or is it more sinister. He’s carefully developed a father/son relationship with Henry. Is he thinking, push Helen into mental instability then ride off into the sunset with Jess and Henry? What a mess Helen.

Week Ending 23 May.

This Week in The Archers – Week Ending 9 May 2014

Its D-day for Shula as its time for Dan to head off to Sandhurst. Dan is full steam ahead and can’t wait to get going but for Shula, its like seeing him off at his first day at primary school. Dan is happy enough – female recruits, so not all is bad. At least not for Dan. Its a tough time for poor old Shula. Can’t she take Darryl back to fill the void? Inevitably it all ends in tears for Shula. No such concerns for Alistair though on the surface. Shula feels slightly miffed that Alistair isn’t mentioning Dan at all, but he might just be trying to shut it out Shula so he can deal with Dan’s decision privately?

Over at Bridge Farm, Pat is frantic. Tony naturally feels the need to put all the blame on Pat and Peggy. Let’s just ignore the fact that Tony went blundering in, with both feet stuck in his mouth. At least Pat is able to look at the possibility that Tom has a point but Tony just can’t take any dig at his precious John. Nor will he acknowledge the possibility that Tom may have mental health issues. Pat on the other hand has no such problem. But can’t Pat think at all straight. Its unlikely that Tom would turn to Brenda – have you thought about Rich at all? Another character who seems to have made a fleeting appearance before vanishing without a trace. Incredible though that Tony has taken aim at Pat to Roy & Jazzer. Doesn’t know what he can do? I suspect he’s done enough already.

Helen is fairly optimistic though that Kirsty will sail straight back into Ambridge Organics. Everything is Tom’s fault though with Tony, and his continuing rants are starting to become dull. He’s putting the pressure on himself, and it would be no real surprise if he were to be hit by another heart attack. Will he ever accept responsibility for his role in Tom’s disappearance. Of course its PC Burns who’s now on the case. At least Pat is doing what she can to find Tom, but incredibly Tony can only think of the business. He is being beyond ridiculous. How Helen can tell Pat she can’t blame Tony is anyone’s guess. Well, Tony has even better news than Tom’s whereabouts – his cows are alright! Well, take that Tom!

There’s a lighter side to Ambridge at the moment though, and its May Day for the village, but not after a little disaster with Ian’s sous chef! Its all hands on the pump, and not even Emma’s moaning face can bring the festivities down. Still, Ian is out of the picture for judging the contest, and there’s the little matter of getting Lynda to the show on time. Who else would step in the breach and rescue it all but PC Burns? It all went well for the village, but Lynda lurched from crisis to disaster. Poor old Lynda having her good name sullied by Emma. Still, its not Lynda that PC Burns has his eyes on. Not with Fallon about. What a coincidence though that Fallon is a winner with PC Burns giving out the prizes. Maybe Nic’s win didn’t go down so well with Emma, but Clarrie’s surprise win over Christine put Clarrie and Emma in a good mood. Shame we couldn’t say the same for Fallon. He grumpy mood where PC Burns is concerned hasn’t gone un-noticed, and its up to Lynda to give her fair warning that Harrison Burns won’t be single for long.

Adam is on the scrounge for workers as the pressure builds from Charlie. Thankfully for Adam, David steps into the breach in Pip’s absence. Poor Adam can’t even get a cup of coffee with Jennifer’s ongoing kitchen renovations getting in the way. Well, they would be ongoing if the fitters would only turn up.. Finally though, all things come to he – or she – who waits. The builders’ arrival may have delighted Jennifer, but its not meeting with Brian’s approval. Never mind Brian, you can always try to flog Jennifer’s old cabinets. Her desperation to look generous is certainly raising hackles around the village. First she managed to offend Susan, then she puts Pat down rather nicely.

Jennifer’s little visit to Bridge Farm really was vintage Jennifer though. It would seem that her definition of “nightmare” is very different from Pat’s. Tom has disappeared, but having her kitchen upside down, and unwanted old units on her hands is a DISASTER! It wasn’t enough to ignore Pat’s distress over Tom’s vanishing act. No, just go right into the story of Kate’s disappearance and the identification of a body didn’t do that much for Pat’s state of mind.

Jennifer isn’t the only one with unfulfilled plans. Over at Lower Loxley, Loxfest is starting to grow arms and legs, although looking at booking bands for an August bank holiday bash in May might not be any kind of planning from Roy at all. Its all together possible that its a shade late. Thankfully for Roy , Lizzie doesn’t have a clue either. I’m not altogether sure that taking Lizzie to a festival will actually further her understanding at all. But not all is lost. If the big boys aren’t available Roy’s little suggestion to Jolene looks like it will have her don her waistcoat in anger at last. Will we actually get to her Jolene warbling?

Poor Adam is still under increasing pressure from Charlie. His working all hours isn’t impressing Adam’s new boss, and he needn’t look to Brian for any support, despite David being right in Adam’s corner. Brian isn’t in a particularly helpful mood though. You wonder if he know a lot more than he’s letting on on the little matter of the big road
story. It would almost seem like Brian has his finger still well and truly in BL’s pie. Maybe the thought of his new bosses bringing home even greater amounts of bacon has Brian backing them against the village (again) and Adam. His dismissal of Adam’s concerns over Charlie’s cracking of the whip didn’t please Adam, and you wonder just how longer Adam will keep it all in.

Adam isn’t the only one feeling the pressure as Eddie is running from pillar to post over Clarrie’s party. Its looking like Clarrie isn’t overly thrilled with the thought of her party, although it seems its more the clock clicking over from 59 to 60 that’s bothering her most. Clarrie loves a party though, and Eddie knows her fairly well. Clarrie will love being centre of attention again after her stunning success in the May Day cake contest – even though she was driven from the Echo’s front pages by Tilly Button!

But the week ends (predictably) and Bridge Farm. Tony is on a high after the news on his cows. First he’s off the hook over the threat of TB being removed – the only disappointment for Tony being Tom’s absence so he couldn’t shove it down his throat – but we have calf number one. Tony is on cloud nine and just can’t share Pat’s concern. You’d almost think that Tony is trying to convince himself more than he’s trying to convince Pat that Tom will be fine. Still, Pat gets all the reassurance she needs when Tom is finally in touch. But with Tony around, her euphoria was never going to last long. Tony – no surprises – sees it as another opportunity to let rip over Tom. I’m surprised he isn’t saying that its just Tom staying away to spite him..When Tom finally reappears, no doubt it will be to a raging Tony. Again.

Week Ending 2 May 2014

The Wedding that Never Was

It was meant to be the wedding of the year. Another on of the Archers was
due to marry, this time it was Tom who was due to make another Mrs Archer,
this time Kirsty being the “lucky” girl. It seemed like Kirsty had never
really gotten over Tom after their first break up – well, when Tom went
behind her back with a supermarket buyer. She caught Tom at the right time
from his break up with Brenda. Even that far back, Kirsty should have had
alarm bells ringing. Tom was right on the rebound from Brenda, and his
desire to immediately jump back into bed with Kirsty should have been a
warning, but she saw it as her chance to become an entitled Archer, so
maybe she chose to ignore the warning.

From her side alone, the wedding did seem like a dead cert, although her
humming over the wedding dress did seem like she wasn’t absolutely certain
it was the right thing to do. Was her subconscious telling her that she was
about to make a titanic mistake? Tom seemed to be making all the right
noises, but as we all know, there is one person that Tom loves beyond all
others – Tom himself. Memory of their first break up might have been
another warning that Tom will just put himself first, irrespective of the
cost to others. His current fight with Tony over the direction of Bridge
Farm and their business was indicative of that. To hear Tom complain to
Tony that he would listen to no one, and would make unilateral decisions
was a big case of the pot calling the kettle black.

But as far as the wedding goes, it did seem a while back that Tom wasn’t
really thinking straight. For a man obsessed with his business and
controlling costs, he went all out on an expensive vanity project wedding.
Money was suddenly no object (thanks to Peggy again) but coming at a time
where there was a threat to his business thanks to potential TB at Bridge
Farm through Tony’s cows, spending thousands at such a time where there was
potential threats to his business seemed incredibly foolhardy. I’m
surprised Tom didn’t come out and say it and at least suggest to Kirsty
they control wedding costs. But no, he went and involved Alice. That’s just
going to have the opposite effect on cost. And then there was the bespoke
house, bought in a fit of pique over Tony’s direction for Bridge Farm. Tag
on a 2-week holiday to Costa Rica, and it was getting an expensive bit of
business that had the potential to drag Bridge Farm under if TB took hold
in the cows and pigs.

But all through it was Kirsty’s excitement. But it was an excitement that
Tom just never seemed to share. It seemed like weeks ago I thought it had
the air of a wedding doomed never to happen. Every time Kirsty got excited,
or had plans to discuss, Tom was almost dismissive. “Do what you think is
best” seemed his stock response to Kirsty. There were the countless chats
with Kenton, Roy, Rob etc, each of them giving him wedding/marriage
disaster stories. There was very little positivity coming his way that may
have encouraged to get him over those doubts. But it was his chat with Tony
just 2 days before the event that, for me, clinched the deal for Tom. Tony
made it clear that he and Pat more-or-less see Tom as John born again, and
not Tom himself. It seemed to remind Tom of how he’d been expected to fill
the role that John vacated just to please Tony and Pat.

After that little chat, all Tom needed was someone to support his need to
call the wedding off. Who else would Tom turn to when things were going
pear-shaped? Peggy of course. Peggy sees Tom as her Golden Child, and he
can do no wrong. She’s unstintingly supportive of him, and that gives her a
great power over Tom. His now convenient excuse that he was being made to
feel like John come again, and that he’d forgotten who Tom really was, was
laid out to Peggy. Unsurprisingly, what Tom wanted (her approval to knock
it on the head), Tom got. Maybe the marriage would have been a sham, but
did Peggy really think of Kirsty at all? Tom’s reasons for not going
through with the wedding had nothing to do with Kirsty, it was all about
himself as usual. And Peggy backed him up, as usual. If it had been about
Kirsty, he might have taken Peggy’s advice and told her before it was all
too late. Waiting until Kirsty had been paraded through Ambridge, and had
arrived at the church? That’s just about Tom.

Predictably, Kirsty was distraught when her cherished dream of becoming an
Archer had been cruelly taken away from her at the last second. Her howl of
anguish was so full of pain, in contrast to Tom’s crocodile tears. That was
bad enough, but the aftermath should be interesting. What will Tony think
of Peggy telling Tom to stop the wedding? It may well have just been Peggy
being supportive of Tom, but a suggestion from Peggy is as good as telling
as far as Tom is concerned. She slapped Tony down with her will, and now
she’s stopped the wedding of his only son? More friction coming there.

And how will Tom now react? He’s at an all time low. Maybe he did love
Kirsty, and finally ending it for good may well devastate him. But memories
of John, and how he’s been expected to fill the gap he left leaving Tom in
the midst of an identity crisis could well send him over the edge. Will he
become suicidal? Tom does think a lot of himself maybe for that, but who he
thought he was has been ripped away from him. Tony might well take the
responsibility for that. He lost John, and Tom being Tom wasn’t enough for
him and Pat. Peggy may well have something to say about that.

And then there’s Helen’s relationship with Kirsty. Helen has always been
close to Tom but how will she react after seeing him betray one of her
closest friends in such a publicly cruel way? Kirsty’s open disapproval of
Helen’s relationship with Rob Titchner did create some friction between
them. Kirsty’s continual reminding of Helen that Rob had gone behind the
back of his wife fell on deaf ears for Helen, but now her own brother has
done something even more cruel to Kirsty. Will it be the breaking point for
their relationship. All we need is for Brenda to make one more appearance
to tell them all, “I told you so.”

I suppose the wedding being called off was a slight surprise despite all
the omens – the late wedding dress catastrophe not least amongst them. But
we’ve seen in the past where we’ve expected a sad end to a storyline, only
for things to go on as normal with a tame ending. It would have surprised
no one if Tom had put doubts behind him and went through with it out of a
sense of duty to Kirsty, Tony and Pat. Ultimately though its come as no
real shock that Tom put himself first. I suppose you have to protect
yourself, as if you don’t then no one else will, but his story line has the
potential to run and run.

This Week in The Archers – Week Ending 18 April 2014

The week starts in chaos at St Stephens, with a guest appearance from Coco the Donkey. Its certainly not Belinda, and it tells. Shula’s world is a haze of donkeys and horses. All first world problems! Coco certainly has taken centre stage on Palm Sunday! Easter certainly is in full swing, and its fired up Kenton, but perhaps Alan may well remind Kenton of the money lenders being kicked out of the temple when he hears of his plans to sell hot crossed buns at the celebrations on Lakey Hill.

Jill is settling in for good at Brookfield. Back where she belongs, in front of her beloved Aga. Indeed its like she has never been away. Glebe is just a collection of bricks and won’t take away her memories of Phil, but it hasn’t sat well with Elizabeth although what it has to do with her is anyone’s guess. Is she miffed at missing out on a free housekeeper? Lizzie didn’t quite come out and say it, but it looks fairly obvious. She could have asked – but why she was surprised is anyone’s guess. Lizzie gets right to the point though – Ruth is dire in the kitchen, and it was a no-brainer on Ruth’s part to get Jill back to Brookfield. Amazingly, its Kenton who helps Lizzie see it all clearly. Jill is back where she belongs, and she’s happy. Its given a sense of closure at last from Phil’s death. Kenton’s sage advice has ensured peace continues within the Archers clan.

Having Jill on hand though doesn’t take much time to bear fruit. Its an afternoon off for Ruth and David. Its back to Utopia for the Brookfield Archers. Is Ruth sure she’s happy having Jill around? Anything that gets Ruth away from their Aga can only be a good thing! It does seem incredible than just having Jill in the kitchen that David and Ruth have gone from being full on, unable to cope to having so much time on their hands. Just what will they do with all that time? Is Ruth going to have second thoughts about another baby?

Shula is still fighting to keep Dan from an Army life, even though practically everyone else is supportive of Dan. Mind you, if it was their son, they’d all think differently. Naturally all she can focus on is deployment to war zones. Has she looked at the humanitarian efforts that the Armed Forces are involved in? Making that difference is more Christian than anything Shula will become involved in. Jennifer is hardly much help for Shula. I don’t suppose anyone can understand how Shula feels but “You’re son is off to war zones, but look at my tiles brochure!” Shula needs to support Dan’s choices rather than risk alienating him. He needs to live the life he needs to, not the life Shula and Alistair do. Shula manages to stick to the plan on talking to Dan – oh wait, she didn’t, most predictably.

Wedding countdown continues but Tom has no chance to make them a priority. He’s getting good news on the business front, but its hardly good news for Tony. The explosive atmosphere at Bridge Farm really is getting beyond dull. In all seriousness, will Tony’s heart cope? Its all consuming for Tom right now and the wedding plans aren’t on his radar at all. Kirsty is full of excitement – but it never seems that they can be excited at the same time. It actually is starting to look like it might happen after all. All of Tom’s sausage and wedding plans have landed Tony right in it – he’s going to have to take Susan up the poly tunnel. The mind boggles. New Tony is certainly sounding more and more like Old Tony! At least Pat is making all the right noises over the wedding and mending the bridges Tony is tearing down. Pat is certainly putting the hours in to make it all right for Kirsty. Alice of course has had her imagination well and truly fired up, at its fill steam ahead. Still, in the back of the mind, it seems like its been no time at all since Tom and Brenda split. Are they sure its time? With Alice and Helen on hand, will Kirsty have any other option than going through with it all? But Joe’s skylarks are flying, and its all putting Brenda’s mind at rest. Will Joe’s weather lore save the day? At least Tom says the right things at times, but its Peggy’s seal of approval that does it for Kirsty. She’s ready to become the latest Mrs Archer.

Over at Home Farm, its not just Brian who’s getting bad news. Adam is in for a big shock when the new man at BL arrives. Charlie Thomas doesn’t exactly sound like Adam’s ideal working partner. He’s certainly been out of the loop with Charlie and Debbie but it looks like the winds of change of blowing through Home Farm and Adam isn’t happy. The battle has been joined, and Adam and Brian are ready to team up. Neither are happy and its either time to focus on Home Farm or fight their corner with BL and Justin. Its strategy time for Adam with Charlie, but the important strategy has been laid down by Brian. Definitely game on. Come on Brian! Charlie is full of ideas, and Adam isn’t liking them although Charlie is saying all the right things to get Adam onside. Will Adam enjoying putting Rob on the spot? I doubt he’ll be in the mood for Jennifer’s kitchen replacement woes. Brian is right though – its time to keep onside just now, and Home Farm’s future is at stake. Brian is looking at the long game – all things come to he who waits. Adam is feeling the pressure from Charlie. Will he maintain his laid back approach he’s shown over Helen and Rob, or will he go like Ian? There’s no rest for Adam though and his relationship with Charlie look set for troubled waters.

Easter time is coming to the Bull though, and Kenton can’t wait to reward Jolene to sticking to her Lent promise. Kenton’s nature is such that its impossible not to get wound up with him from time to time, but his heart is in the right place – although not as far as hot cross buns are concerned. Fallon saves the day though! But Fallon’s criminal record may be extended – but oddly enough she’s been “caught” by PC Burns. What a coincidence! The most inevitable coupling in Ambridge we’ve seen so far this year. PC Burns has done his ground work though, and knows just what to say to get Fallon on side. I wonder how she’ll get the plant stand back to Ambridge? With PC Burns being on hand?

The week ends with the big day for Ambridge and St Stephens with the Passion Play at hand at last. Chris “Jesus” Carter is ready for his big day. Will all the womenfolk of Ambridge be on hand to ogle Chris, and will Jazzer complete a miracle and get it on with Aleisha? Jazzer manages to surprise them all with his efforts, even though he’s had ulterior motives. Jazzer might not be community spirited in the way Lynda is, but he does his thing for Ambridge in his own way. Chris and Jazzer put on a show though, and the Passion Play is a huge success but not for Jazz as Dan beats him to the punch over Aleisha.

Shula though just can’t help herself. Why wait for the “right moment” though? Support Dan, or alienate him. Its your choice.

Week Ending 11 April 2014

This Week in The Archers – Week Ending 4 April 2014

Yet another week starts at Brookfield, and its a sad start to the week with Saint Jill being hard at work to make sure that Ruth was getting her rest after the tragedy of losing her baby on the Friday. It brought back a lot of sad memories for your correspondent after my OH had lost a baby, coincidently on a Friday, back in 2004. But its a tough time at Brookfield, and naturally David is blaming himself. “Things just happen for a reason” isn’t much comfort at all. But Ruth’s baby news soon gets around, but its not the news Ruth was looking on passing on. Ruth tried to be philosophical about it all. No difference from when she had no idea she was pregnant Ruth says, but the loss of hope and a possibility is a grievous wound. David can’t sit back and let Ruth get through it herself and does take a bit of a risk by getting Heather on the scene. Every girl needs her mum David? David manages to keep the surprise and it seems that its just what Ruth needed. Heather points out what a grievous loss a miscarriage is. There’s sage advice all round from the Archer matriarchs. How can Ruth possibly go wrong?

Heather has Jill on her mind too. She knows Ruth needs Jill around, and goes about persuading her that maybe a return to Glebe with all the loneliness it brings maybe isn’t exactly what she needs just now. The idea is there in Jill’s mind now, but incredibly a permanent return to Brookfield is late in coming to David and Ruth. Its the perfect solution. Will Jill go for it? You know she will.

Its happier times for the latest Archer to be. Kirsty is full of wedding plans, but is the image of her happy life with the Sausage King showing signs of unravelling. Kirsty is ploughing ahead, but with Tom full of worry over the possibility of TB in his pigs, could his empire come crashing to the ground leaving Tom with absolutely nothing except huge debt from paying for Kirsty’s dream wedding? Surely even Peggy’s cheque book might be put away. Will Tom plan for the worst by postponing their wedding? To be honest, the wedding storyline seems to be on the verge of exploding at anytime. Neither Kirsty or Tom seems overly excited really. Brenda’s reappearance has reminded Tom too sharply of what he has lost. At least Tom managed to help out Kenton in yet another tiff between him and Jolene. But that was just the start of the mystery over Kenton’s impromptu trip to Wales. The mishaps don’t end there though. There’s a problem with Tom & Kirsty’s wedding invitations. Is it an omen for the wedding that should never happen?

Solving the mystery fires Kenton up, and the discovery that Rob was behind his trip to Wales fires his imagination. At least someone did at least spot that Rob’s spiking of the drinks was incredibly dangerous. He didn’t know Kenton too well though, did he? The “Lord of Mis-rule” was never going to let that one past, but his April Fool on a furious Rob landed him in hotter water than he’d planned. Rob calls the police, but what a coincidence that its PC Burns who turns up to investigate. The little tit for tat pranks perpetrated by Rob & Kenton certainly blew up, but how about that, it brings PC Burns into Fallon’s company again. How about that indeed. Nor did it take long for Fallon & PC Burns to trade hard luck love life stories. Well, Fallon (still) has PC Burns’ number, just in case! Fallon isn’t the only one with her eyes on a man. Rhys’ replacement is on hand, and its not sitting well with Kenton. Will his jealousy cause yet more contention between him and Jolene?

Tom and Kirsty aren’t the only ones who have the potential to have their plans disrupted though. Jennifer has sorted herself time away without Brian, and Brian is ploughing ahead with all his plans. Adam and Rob deliver him good news on their various reports. Its all so rosy for Brian. Jennifer is getting her kitchen from Kingsley, and her holiday, and Brian is enjoying the sound of money. The happy mood didn’t extend to Adam and Rob though, who had an awkward little chat. Maybe Adam isn’t quite as laid back about Rob’s relationship with Helen that he’s painting to Ian. But Brian’s happiness was short lived. Annabel delivers a shock to Brian with news of a takeover of BL. Brian’s favourite toy, and his local position of power and influence is under threat. Annabel suggest – wisely (according to Jennifer) that Brian accept their offer and land himself a tidy profit on his investment. But this time the prospect of a tidy sum coming his way doesn’t deter Brian. He’s ready for the fight!

Lynda is on Neil’s case over May Day, but Neil makes the mistake of drawing Lynda’s attention to the Passion Play. Lynda doesn’t take it too well that she’s not directly involved in a village production – even worse, one that’s moving along nice. But at least Lynda was able to look on with a smug eye when the rehearsal at getting the cross up went pear-shaped. Jazzer was, as usual, no help at all with the lovely Aleisha to be attended to, and its Jesus who has to bear the brunt of it. Well, if they had only listened to Lynda. It did provide a shade of humour from Brian, who sagely suggested to Jennifer that Jesus should have been able to heal himself! Chris tries to come to the rescue by suggesting Jazzer as Jesus. Neil is completely aghast, and ultimately Chris wishes he’d kept his mouth shut as Neil lands him in the role of Jesus nicely.

There’s some mystery round at the Stables. Its not escaped Shula’s notice that Dan has suddenly become obsessive with his fitness. Then there’s all the new clothes, trips into Felpersham. Jill has noticed too. Unfortunately, Jill’s noticing coincided with Shula being taken back in time to her own tragedies. At least she might be able to support Ruth – in a way that only Shula can. Shula will probably be flush with success with Darrel completing a miracle recovery from a complex mental health issue by moving into a flat. Miracle worker Shula has done it again, and is no doubt best placed to help with the trauma miscarriage brings. But for a change, its not Brookfield where the week ends, its with Shula. The mystery over Dan’s obsession with fitness finally comes out. Dan shocks Shula & Alistair with his plans to ditch his university study, and put aside a career in law. Well, that would really interfere with a soldier’s life. Never mind Shula, a stint at Sandhurst will see your son join the officer classes. Just what you want, right?

Week Ending 28 March 2014