Warning: contains spoilers if you haven’t heard Sunday’s Archers yet.
I don’t listen to The Archers on Radio 4 particularly regularly, but I was sucked in to listening to the big 60th Anniversary 30 minute special last night by the assurance that it was going to be ‘dramatic’.
Well, I suppose it might be what passes for ‘dramatic’ in Archers-land, but the denouement was so heavily signposted, I thought that I was watching an early episode of Casualty. I haven’t seen Casualty for years, but the thing that used to irritate me no end about it was the way that they would show completely new characters near the beginning doing obviously perilous things, so that you knew that they were bound to be the next customers for A&E. For example (made up examples, but you get the idea):
- Man gets into driving seat of car having drunk 10 pints of beer and 5 whisky chasers, while we see a pretty young mother taking her new baby out in a push chair for a walk: “Don’t worry, love”, she says to her husband, “we’ll be fine going out in the dark on this wet Christmas Eve night with black ice on the roads!”
- Elderly woman puts big chip pan full of oil on the gas hob, then goes to sit on the sofa while it heats up. Son says, “Don’t fall asleep on the sofa, Mum, or you’ll burn the house down!” They both laugh. She then falls asleep and burns the house down.
- “Should you be using that chainsaw, what with you only having had 2 hours sleep last night and not wearing any protective gear, and all?” “I’ll be fine.” He isn’t fine.
So when Nigel and David decided at the start of the show that they would go up on the roof in the dark, in high winds, to take a banner down, having had a few drinks, it was all too obvious what was going to happen. The only remaining ‘mystery’ was which one of them was going to fall off. They they removed all doubt by having Nigel start monologuing about his “Darling Mummy”, and how like his darling Mummy his “darling Elizabeth” was, and how lucky he had been in his life. Until now, sunshine.
He might as well have been wearing a red shirt while beaming down to an alien planet.