The Archers – my view of the characters

If you’re not a fan, or have never heard of it, The Archers is a radio soap. It refers to itself as “an everyday story of country folk“. It’s on six days a week, and each episode is 12 minutes long.

Currently the storylines are a little fraught. I’ve been seething and fuming for a few weeks now, and decided I’d do a little run-down of my take on the various characters.

Jill Archer – sweet, kind, matriarch. Everybody’s favourite person. Motherly, thoughtful, unselfish.

David Archer – one of her sons. Bit thoughtless, protective of his family, I do quite like him.

Ruth Archer – his wife. Dreadful faux Geordie accent, whiny, hopeless cook.

Pip – David & Ruth’s daughter. Irritatingly perfect.

Josh and Ben – David & Ruth’s sons – barely heard from at the moment.

Heather – Ruth’s mother. Lovely, genuine Geordie accent, very old and fragile now.

Shula – one of David’s sisters. Holier than thou, runs a stables, has had a sad life. Irritating.

Elizabeth – David’s other sister. Smart, savvy, widowed young, spoiled as a child, maturing into an interesting person.

Kenton – Shula’s twin brother. Whining, self-pitying, loser. Furious that David didn’t eventually sell up and move away, because Kenton had already spent thousands of pounds based on the fact that David was selling up and moving away (something to do with shares in the farm, not quite sure what). Prat.

Jolene – Kenton’s wife. A good woman. Feisty, ex-country singer, excellent barmaid.

Fallon – Jolene’s daughter from her first marriage. Feisty, good singer, hard worker, interesting.

Harrison – Fallon’s policeman boyfriend. Handsome (apparently), from Yorkshire, good solid bloke.

Brian Aldridge – lord of the manor type. Overplayed at the moment, horrible serial philanderer, sneery and scornful of his heir apparent (Adam).

Jennifer Aldridge – Brian’s wife. Puts up with a lot, but gets her own back in various ways. Irritating high posh voice but basically a nice person.

Lilian Bellamy – Jennifer’s sister. A total pain in the neck, with a voice like a corncrake. Has dreadful taste in men and is consequently shat upon regularly. She has a son, James, who is a complete nightmare (selfish, irritatingly posh, twatty).

Kate – their daughter. An absolute pain. Overplayed as drippy hippy. Has had several children by two different fathers and also serially unfaithful.

Adam – Jennifer’s son by a previous marriage. Mostly dull but has a male partner called Ian, who is just delightful.

Debbie – Jennifer’s daughter (I’m a bit confused as to who her father is). Now “moved away” to Hungary but occasionally turns up. I think she’s great. A good peace-maker when she needs to be.

Alice – Brian & Jennifer’s younger daughter.  Interesting and quite likeable, but her mother, who is a snob, is not pleased that she married the “village blacksmith”.

Rory – Brian’s son by an extramarital relationship, who now lives with them, because his mother died of cancer. (I know, I know. It’s all a bit unlikely).

Ian – Adam’s partner. Brilliant chef at the local hotel. Cooks up a storm. Has a wonderful Irish accent and is usually very happy.

Eddie Grundy – one of the representatives of the “lower” classes. Forever trying out ways of making quick money which never work. Good stockman, has several part time jobs.

Clarrie Grundy – Eddie’s long suffering wife. Feisty, gets very angry with her stupid husband.

Joe – Eddie Grundy’s dad – an older version of Eddie, who is forever whining about his “farmer’s lung” and his dead wife Susan.

Will – Clarrie & Eddie’s son – a pain in the neck. Whiny, still not over his first wife Emma (whatever he says), a good gamekeeper.

Ed – Clarrie & Eddie’s other son – troubled teenhood, good man, now married to Emma. (Mm). Solid, hard working, but always in financial difficulties.

Susan Carter – another representative of the lower classes. Dreadful woman. Incorrigible gossip, whiny, nags her poor husband to death, is delighted her son Chris (the village blacksmith) married into “quality”.

Neil Carter – her poor husband. Good, solid man, excellent pig-man, puts up with way too much.

Chris – their son – interesting but mostly silent.

Emma – their daughter – spoiled little madam who messed the Grundy brothers about, marrying one, having his baby, then leaving him for the other. No wonder they don’t get on so well.

Peggy Woolley – contemporary of Jill Archer and another matriarch, though getting older and slightly frailer now. Irritating, right-wing, unnecessarily disapproving sometimes. Mother of Jennifer, Lilian and Tony.

Tony Archer – Peggy’s son. Old, whiny, not a well man. A “glass half-empty” man and drives me crazy.

Pat Archer – Tony’s wife. Feisty, feminist, left-wing. Good woman but occasionally irritating.

Tom – Tony & Pat’s surviving son. (John died when a tractor rolled onto him years ago). He’s a businessman through and through, but able to stand up to bullies.

Helen – Tony & Pat’s daughter. Fragile, recovered (recovering?) anorexic, also has terrible taste in men.

Rob Titchener – Helen’s husband. Lying, manipulative, sinister, frightening, bully. Hints of violence over the last week or so. Hate him with a passion. But Tom stands up to him. And Tom noticed Helen’s bruised wrist, which she lied about, saying she’d fallen. She hadn’t. It was vile Rob.

I can’t think of anybody else of note. There probably are other characters, but these are the main ones.

Phew. Feeling much better now I’ve let it all out!

1950s childhood continued

We had 45 rpm and 78 rpm records. Also 33 1/3 rpm, which were quite new.rca45 You can see that the middle could be pushed out if necessary to fit the record player. And the records could be stacked one on top of the other and would drop automatically when the last one finished playing. The arm would lift, swivel back to the start position, and wait for the next record.

There was no such thing as stereo, CDs or video recorders/players.
we recorded onto cassette tapes.
only black and white tv until I was about 12, when the first crappy colour tv came out.bwtv

This is almost exactly like the first tv I can remember .

We watched (“Watch with Mother”) The Woodentops, Andy Pandy, Bill and Ben, and, wait for it, Muffin the Mule.

We listened to Listen with Mother on the radiogram (below).radiogram

There were no games consoles, no personal computers, no printers.
We played board games or outside in the garden (not out the front, not allowed).

Early working years

Everything was typed by hand and with carbon paper (which was messy atypewriternd dirty) inserted between the sheets to make copies.

There were no photocopiers or fax machines. We used Roneo Gestetners to make more than 3 copies. That involved typing, very hard, on a wax sheet with a carbon sheet behind it, facing upwards, so you could see what you’d typed. Mistakes were corrected with special fast-drying liquid wax.sheet

Then you had to ink the drum, affix the wax sheet carefully, wrinkle free, to the drum, load the paper, and turn the drum fast and hard, by hand, until you’d made enough copies. Hard work.

Instead of fax machines, we had Telex machines. You could type the message straight in, but it was more efficient to type it onto a tape, then feed the tape through while you were actually connected.telex

This is exactly like the one I used to use. It was in the most important secretary’s office.That’s it so far folks. More if I can remember any.