Monday, 5 March 2012

Ambridge Round Up- The Archers in February

Perhaps Ambridge is actually on the Isle of Wight. I pose the suggestion because in the few moments we have not been spending time with those most dysfunctional and unlikable of neurotics in Bridge Farm it has been cows week every week in this month's Archers programme.

Ruth Archer, who many listeners find wildly irritating, but doubtless is seen by The Archers producers as just the sort of feisty, tenacious young woman able to cope in today's modern and high risk farming world, has suddenly undergone an emotional melt down being twice reduced to tears over the subject of cows. Given that these willing beasts are kept in a state of almost permanent lactation until they can no longer produce a high enough yield and are summarily junked, it seems hard to believe that Ruth could become so emotional about creatures she routinely treats as mere units of production and is more usually heard shouting loudly at them or else hitting them with a stick.

However, the possible advent of Brian Aldridge's super dairy has reduced Ruth to a quivering jelly about bovine welfare. Factor in that her own Brookfield Farm is losing money hand over fist in its milk production, a rare shaft of agricultural veracity here from the script writers, and we have Ruth as simpering Victorian heroine. Can it be long before she swoons?

Over at Bridge Farm, the miracle financial renaissance of a small farm business that very nearly poisoned two young children fatally due to its lax hygiene continues unabated, only interrupted by Tony, whose voice sounds more feeble and quivering each time we hear him, finally succumbing to a heart attack- which only goes to prove that some farmers really do have hearts. Given that Tony works at least 100 hours a week and has to endure his nagging wife and children on a more or less permanent basis it may well be that he wished his attack had proved terminal. Despite having no doctors in the village, or indeed anywhere near it, Tony is already up and about again and all set to muck in with the latest Bridge Farm grand marketing campaign.

The campaign is masterminded, if that is the correct term, by the frightful know-all Tom Archer preparing to re-launch some ready meals his long suffering girlfriend has knocked up all of a sudden and which have had Borchester food critics drooling. Who packs, distributes, brands and markets this stuff on a commercial basis remains unclear.

Elsewhere another much put upon Ambridge male, Neil Carter, has been painting and decorating his dissolute father-in-law's home although brother-in-law, Gary Horrobin, one of the few of the Horrobin underclass not  yet to have found voice, does not want his room decorated for the distress losing his Star Trek wallpaper would cause him.

Presumably there has been a high degree of inbreeding in the Hororbin clan as Gary is meant to be in his mid to late thirties despite having the mental age of someone far, far younger. Perhaps rather than speak we shall just have to listen out for him strumming his banjo whilst sitting on his pa's old rocking chair. It might just drown out the sound of Ruth Archer's sobs.

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