Has The Archers Overshot Its Target?

I’ve been having serious doubts about The Archers.  Originally set up to inform people about farming, it has long since outgrown that first remit.  Yes, it’s a soap, but this ‘everyday story of country folk’ has always seemed to be rooted in the lives of characters who, though not actually real, appear to be real.  There was a sense of heightened reality but sensational plot-lines were well-spaced enough to give the illusion of listening to an ‘everyday country’ story.  We felt that these characters were a part of our lives, rather than some group of celebs and misfits giving us a window into their shattered existence.

The Archers has always had the ability to shock, but it never felt gratuitous or sensationalist.  Not until recently.  Nigel’s sudden death was bad enough; but it has been followed in fairly short order by Tom’s jilting of Kirsty and subsequent disappearance; Roy and Elizabeth’s affair, Jess’s pregnancy bombshell and Rob’s perfidy – and, the final straw, the road-planning threat to the very heart of Ambridge itself, Brookfield.

Any one of these story-lines would have made a fitting high-point in the narrative, but to have them all come together makes it look as though the producers are scared – scared that if they don’t keep up the level of drama, people will lose interest.

Well, I’m losing interest right now.  The series has lathered itself into such a level of soapiness that you can’t see the flesh for the froth.  Let’s have more fun stories like Susan’s hair and Jennifer’s kitchen – and fewer bombshells, please.  The Archers used to manage to be both entertaining and comforting, but it’s starting to feel like living in a war zone.

Have a listen to the Omnibus and tell me what you think:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04g6zg6

Kirk out

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3 Comments

Filed under culcha, friends and family, radio

3 responses to “Has The Archers Overshot Its Target?

  1. Pedro Carlos

    Totally agree. It has been a couple of years since I looked forward to listening to the “The Archers”. I listen to it on a Sunday morning if I think about it but often it is noise in the background. I do not watch soap operas as they are a nothingness and as you say “The Archers” has gone the same way.

  2. The rot set in with the appointment of the current editor, who I believe was previously heavily involved in that piece of adulterated dross and misery called EastEnders.

    I too yearn for the narrative of old, Tom Forest used to set the scene so well. And as for the flash harry bully running Borchester Land. It is a pity Ed didn’t lump him one. His father would have.

    • lizardyoga

      You’re so right. I didn’t realise the current editor had been involved with East Enders but that totally explains it. The whole atmosphere of the series has changed and I don’t like it at all. We need more characters like Uncle Tom: even Eddie and Jo Grundy aren’t in it much any more

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