We’re back friends! It seems apt that I am starting these weekly recaps after a 3 week hiatus from beloved Ambridge. My interest is at an all time high, I’ve missed them all terribly. Maybe not all of them, definitely less Philip than the others. In general I’m not a massive fan of shady Welshmen, especially those who are responsible for poor darling Lyndie (Lyndy?! – someone tell La Snell about my blog so she can give me the correct spelling), being so hurt. Those burns will heal, but will she ever be the same inside again? Only time will tell – or maybe we’ll be getting a 12 minute monologue about it soon…..
Monday started our new socially distanced episodes. We were prepared for this. Before the god awful repeat weeks they told us that for the foreseeable, during the pandemic, we would be receiving episodes with smaller casts, giving us a more introspective look at their lives. I was ready. What I was NOT prepared for was the fact that Covid-19 is now in Ambridge. I could have sworn that they said they were going to not be including it. But here we are, having to hear about how Jill survived the war, so she’ll definitely survive this….. hate to be the Debbie downer day one, but I’m pretty sure Jill would have been issued a gas mask back in the day, now getting any form of PPE is as complicated as Kate’s relationship with her children, but I digress.
Some spark at the BBC thought that after 21 days of no new content, David Archer should be the primary character of our first episode back. That person is a fool. I would have preferred to have listened to the entire 260 mile Cummings roadtrip Soundcloud playlist as opposed to 12 minutes of David whining about lasagna and his relationship with Josh. Snooze snooze snooze. Is this storyline going to become a thing? Surely we should have broached this when Josh was arrested t’other day, not all of a sudden up a hill whilst walking the dog.
Tuesday: I was so hopeful yesterday was a blip, an easing in to more interesting stories. I was wrong. Today we got Harrison and Tracy and the presumably meant to be comical storyline of who will be captain of the Ambridge cricket team. The only thing comical here is the fact that they think there will be cricket season this year. Tracy is doing some sort of vlog to the village, with her points on why she should be made captain of the team. Harrison gets wind of it, and starts prepping his own manifesto. Still no mention of Covid by name, various references to being bored at home, but frankly if you’d just tuned in you could have maybe thought Tracy was stuck inside because she had an ankle bracelet….when are they going to stop being vague and use the term corona virus?! At this point in the episode my toddler opened a sharpie. Old me would have allowed him to color in a wall or two, because I wouldn’t want to miss the comings and goings. New me actually went to save my house from the permanent marker. I didn’t even bother to catch up on the end of the episode. They’d really better start getting their act together fast. There is so much they could be writing about. I want to know how Lyndy is managing to get her PT with the new social distancing rules. I NEED to know how Phil is feeding his slaves in their caravan. At this point I’d even take 12 minutes of whining from Lillian about how the pub had to close.
Wednesday, over the hump, but sadly not over the slump. Probably the most exciting part of this episode was the fact that in a SCANDALOUS move, todays episode had three characters instead of two. Not any characters we want though, and not anyone new. Tracy and Harrison from yesterday, still prattling on about the cricket, and Josh. Who is making major life changes, whilst talking to himself, whilst farming, whilst living through a pandemic. None of these details are interesting or relevant, much like the episode. There are a few phone calls made to some Ambridge residents. Although as we can only hear the side of the conversation from one of our motley trio none of them are that exciting or move the storyline forward. We do discover though that Harrison commanders incident room 3 to make personal calls whilst he’s at work. I presume the police are simply not bothering to police anymore, no point breaking up a gathering. All those folks are probably getting refunds anyway. #thankscummings.
The only good thing about this new pandemic is that we do seem to be speeding through the rubbish. PC (pre Covid) the captain of the cricket team storyline would have been drawn out forever. There would have been door to door campaigning, probably arguments over who stuck up posters in the pub windows. DC (during Covid) we have a poorly organized zoom from Tracy, and a phone call from Harrison to Roy. Mere minutes after this whole competition to be captain started: we have a winner. Congratulations Tracy. I’d say well deserved, but frankly it wasn’t. We also discover that Trace has managed to get a sponsor, in the form of Vince Casey, our local geezer. Apparently he wants red uniforms with “Casey Meats” in large font. I presume he’ll be demanding a refund once the Archers get the memo that there is a pandemic, and no one will be playing cricket to wear these.
I didn’t even need Thursday’s episode to start to know I’d hate it. As soon as the Radio 4 announcer said “and now to the Archers, where Josh is having cold feet”, my heart sank. More Josh. They could have salvaged something if Josh had been going to deliver eggs to someone new, but no. Character two today was David. Snoozefest. The entire episode was David talking to himself about a conversation he’d had with Josh, and Josh talking to himself about a conversation he had with David. THIS IS 2020. On Saturday the first privately funded space launch is taking off. Whole orchestras are performing together, over Zoom, due to social distancing. The technology is out there people. Why does Radio 4 insist on giving us conversations about conversations, and not just freaking edit it so that we are hearing them have the actual conversation?!
I’m going to be zipping through the actual contents of their conversation, as frankly it wasn’t that riveting. Josh chortles to himself about how he should call Tracy to congratulate her on winning the captaincy. “Thats 20 minutes of my life I’ll never get back” he muses. Yes Josh, that’s exactly how I feel about this episode.We then get a completely cringy moment where they both comment on jokes David made about his music taste. Josh says they’re called Dire Straits for a reason, and David turns Sultans of Swing into Sultans of Silage. Good one David. Are the writers of this show ok? Has anyone been over to check on them from a socially acceptable distance? As the episodes go on I’m actively worried they’re sobbing into empty vodka bottles whilst googling “puns about music from the ’70s.” This whole tragic musical joke segment was a Segway into the equally tragic storyline that David is reviving his old musical act. Apparently he’s hoping to perform at the Bull once it reopens, and at weddings he hosts. I don’t know a lot about Vince Casey’s daughter David, but she strikes me as the kind of gal who will make Daddy pay for 3 members of S Club 7 to perform rather than you, but I could be wrong. Maybe Kirsty will hire him, until she realizes she’s engaged to Ambridge’s version of Joshua John Ward and hopefully calls the whole thing off. Roy’s waiting for you Kirsty.
I digress. Back to musings from D and J. Yesterday, or Tuesday, or whatever, Josh was upset that his siblings had family names and he didn’t. Today we discover that David referred to Josh as “junior me” which got shorted to JM so they chose Joshua Matthew to match the initials. Are they expecting us to believe that Ruth birthed the baby, and didn’t name it for long enough for this nickname to stick; then they called him Josh? Yeah ok. This is as believable as Tracy thinking fags and vodka were essentials yesterday. Speaking of Ruth we get the follow up none of us asked for on the lasagna. She asked David for his honest opinion. He said it wasn’t her best. I can’t believe I’m even typing this rubbish. How far we have sunk when the lasagna gets a follow up. That’s it for Thursday folks. One episode to go this week, and then hopefully next week we have a new cast of characters. Maybe the Grundys? Things are so bleak I’d actively enjoy a weeks worth of Emma and Ed consummating the cancelling of their divorce. A girl can dream.
And so our first week back ends here. With the discovery there is no episode on Sundays at the moment. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when I turned on the radio. Seems like a fitting end to the week in someways, a week riddled with the theme of my disappointment. I’m still holding out though. This week could be a blip, growing pains, just a huge error in judgement from the producers. Next week could be fantastic, if we’re doing four characters a week my dream team for June 1st is Roy, Gavin, Kirsty and Philip. In my fantasy Archers Gavin, Kirsty and Philip are all cooped up together self isolating and Gavin is being bullied by his Dad to look after Blake. Kirsty will then get suspicious of why Gav keeps going out for essentials, and the truth will out…..
I’d love to hear what you think of this new socially distanced show, let me know in the comments!