Sunday 18 February 2018

The Archers 65th anniversary episode condemned as 'boring'

Producers had pledged a 'defining' episode in the world's longest-running broadcast drama
Producers had pledged a 'defining' episode in the world's longest-running broadcast drama

Fans of The Archers have criticised the highly-anticipated 65th anniversary episode, calling it "boring" and "terrible".

Listeners were expecting big things after the killing-off of much-loved character Nigel Pargetter (played by actor Graham Seed) for the BBC Radio 4's drama's 60th episode five years ago.

However many were disappointed when the instalment centred on the Archer family deciding whether dairy farming had a future at Brookfield Farm.

Anna Kenyon wrote on Twitter: "That was TERRIBLE. But in the right way. I'm glad I heard it; I'm glad I wasn't listening with anyone else."

Twitter user SpareMousie added: "This just in: 'Farm sells cows, gets other cows'. I did NOT see that one coming. #TheArchers."

In a recent interview, editor Sean O'Connor promised the anniversary show would be "defining" and "completely different", leaving many expecting the tense storyline between Archers villain Rob Titchener (Timothy Watson) and his wife Helen (Louiza Patikas) to develop.

Lisa Thompson wrote on Twitter: "I thought we were promised something completely different ?!?!?? #confused #thearchers".

Maxine Choudry added: "@BBCTheArchers one word = boring".

In fact, there was no mention of the Titcheners during the episode.

Roifield Brown tweeted: "Too much talk about the business of farming. The colour of cows & yields have no place in an anniversary show #thearchers #shouldvekilledrob" .

But one listener pointed out that talk of farming followed by Jill Archer's comforting fruitcake "doesn't get more Archers than that".

Reviewing the anniversary episode for, Gerard O'Donovan said: "Different? A little. Defining? Hardly. Disappointing? Probably, to some. Overall though it felt exactly as an episode of the Archers should - deeply traditional and mildly ground-breaking, all the more emphasised by the focus on just one family and one difficulty, and the need for all to pull together in order to succeed."

Other fans said they enjoyed the "lovely" episode.

Claire Cullingworth tweeted: "Lovely, lovely episode of the #archers - much more moving than a small dog reappearing. Loyalty, commitment and forgiveness #sorryscruff."

Marion Langford added: "I was pleased it was gentle anniversary. Shocks work best when they're not telegraphed beforehand! #thearchers."

Archers listeners will have to wait to find out more about the Titcheners' harrowing storyline.

In a recent episode, it was suggested that Rob sexually assaulted his now-pregnant spouse after getting her drunk or even drugging her.

While the narrative thread proves uncomfortable listening for some, the show has been praised for raising awareness of domestic violence.

Set in the fictional village of Ambridge, the BBC Radio 4 series began properly on January 1 1951 with the Archer family living at Brookfield Farm, where they continue to reside to this day.

The brainchild of Godfrey Baseley, who had produced Dick Barton for the BBC, it is the longest-running broadcast drama in the world.

The Archers was in its ninth year on the BBC when Coronation Street made its debut on ITV in 1960.

Press Association

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