About The Archers
An intense and gripping week of events unfolds in Ambridge. Listen to all the drama here.
Oliver complains to Elizabeth that he’s been allocated the scullery for the next month as a Lower Loxley guide. Elizabeth thinks it’s best he speaks to Freddie. Neil joins them – Oliver’s surprised to find Neil’s task today is even less interesting than his own – minding visitors’ belongings at the main entrance. Oliver joins Neil mid shift to complain about the more experienced volunteers getting all the plum positions. Neil reckons that Freddie was hoping to find some younger blood in his volunteer recruitment. Oliver takes matters into his own hands and arranges swaps with other volunteers so that he and Neil can lead the tour for Atherton Park later in the week. Elizabeth catches up with David while waiting for Jill. The pressure of lambing is starting to ease while Elizabeth is still seeing a lot of Lily even though she’s moved to The Stables. They’re joined by Jim who has come to apologise for his protest occupation last week. Elizabeth persuades David to accept Jim’s offer of joining him on the pub quiz team on Thursday. With no one else available from Brookfield that evening, David ropes in Elizabeth to make up the numbers for the quiz team. Justin quizzes Jim on his next strategy to protest the planned electric vehicle charging station. Jim explains he’s putting together a crack team of experts to challenge every detail of the station’s planning application. Justin says it sounds like a much more formidable plan.
Writer, Tim Stimpson Director, Kim Greengrass Editor, Jeremy Howe Brian Aldridge ….. Charles Collingwood Debbie Aldridge ….. Tamsin Greig Ben Archer ….. Ben Norris David Archer ….. Timothy Bentinck Ruth Archer ….. Felicity Finch Harrison Burns ….. James Cartwright Susan Carter ….. Charlotte Martin Justin Elliott ….. Simon Williams Clarrie Grundy ….. Heather Bell George Grundy ….. Angus Stobie Chelsea Horrobin ….. Madeleine Leslay Joy Horville ….. Jackie Lye Jim Lloyd ….. John Rowe Paul Mack ….. Joshua Riley Adam Macy ….. Andrew Wincott
George wants his eighteenth birthday party at Ambridge View. Susan thinks Grange Farm would be much more suitable, but George reckons they don’t want it there either. They chat about the new dairy window and Susan’s struggles with the mock questions. Susan thinks she’ll be fine once she’s sure of her facts. George offers to lend a hand. He fires her some questions based on the manual but soon gets bored of that. He poses some more interesting ones. Susan sees the merit in these and asks for more. George declares he needs to get home for his tea, and to persuade his mum and Ed about the party – He’s sure they’ll still say no. Suitably softened, Susan offers to put in a word. Later George gives Clarrie his dairy patter as he did with Susan, flattering Clarrie’s ability to chat about her job. The desired result is achieved when she also agrees to talk to Emma and Ed for George. Debbie admits to Adam that she jumped to the wrong conclusion over Brian and Joy. Adam thinks Brian will understand. She just needs to say sorry. But Brian’s unwilling to accept her apology. Debbie elaborates – he can’t blame her for thinking the worst, he does have form. Brian accuses Debbie of still not trusting him, and harsh words are exchanged. Debbie goes too far, implying that Brian’s affairs contributed to Jennifer’s heart condition. Instantly regretting her words, Debbie tells Adam there were things said that can’t be unsaid. She doesn’t think there’s a way of putting this right.
Harrison drops into the vet surgery and tells Paul about the spate of dog attacks on sheep. Paul promises they’ll do their bit to spread the word among their clients regarding keeping dogs on a lead. Paul knows from Denise that Harrison played Jesus in the Ambridge Mystery Plays. He asks if there are any other productions planned that he could get involved in. Harrison has to disappoint him. There’s nothing doing at the moment. However he suggests Paul might want to get involved in the Eurovision committee celebrating the event. Paul declares he loves everything Eurovision – count him in! Debbie’s slightly perturbed by the amount of decluttering Brian’s doing prior to his move. She suggests he join her for dinner at Kate’s later as he has no plans, but Brian’s happy to be on his own tonight. When Debbie calls at the shop, Joy confirms with Justin that she’s Jennifer’s daughter. Remembering how seeing her mum’s scarf upset Alice, Joy rushes past Debbie. She’s wearing it again and is keen for it not to have the same effect. Debbie’s puzzled by Joy’s evasion. Joy heads to Brian’s to return everything of Jennifer’s she bought at the bring and buy, including a brooch. Brian insists she keep it. He’s helping her with the catch when Debbie walks in and misinterprets the situation. Brian protests his innocence, but Debbie’s seen it all before, and doesn’t believe him. When Joy explains the brooch was Jennifer’s, it makes things worse. Debbie declares Brian doesn’t change. She's just grateful her mum doesn’t know.
Clarrie’s not liking the new window in the Bridge Farm dairy at all. Susan soothes her. They’ll get used to it and it will be good for business. She suggests they have a practice with the microphone, and poses Clarrie some sample questions. Clarrie gets flustered and can’t answer any of them. They swap places – Susan will show Clarrie how it’s done. However Susan doesn’t do much better at the hands of Clarrie’s questioning. Clarrie’s smug, but Susan reckons it’ll be fine when they’re doing it for real. Ruth and David have their hands full – a lamb’s had a dog bite, and Ben’s deserted his B&B duties in favour of visiting Sykesy. Things go from bad to worse when Ben returns to break the news there’s a disturbance at the entrance to the farm. It’s a demonstration against the EV charging station, led by Jim. The placards read ‘Stop the Brookfield car park’ and ‘Brookfield collusion concretes countryside’. David lays into Jim, while Ben tries in vain to mediate. David calls the police, who won’t attend unless they break the law. Jim maintains the protest is peaceful, and David notes they’re being careful not to trespass. Jim’s called the press. Ben suggests they let him have his publicity photo and then he’ll go, but David doesn’t want Brookfield’s name dragged through the mud. He moves a stack of bales between Jim’s protest spot and the farmhouse, ensuring the house is protected from view and Jim won’t get his picture. Jim promises David he hasn’t heard the last of this.
Adam welcomes Debbie, who apologises for leaving in haste after the funeral. She’s enjoyed spending some time in Scotland with her father, Roger. She’s thrown by Brian’s intention to move from Willow Cottage. Adam remarks wryly that they all are. He shows Debbie the Bridge Farm edible garden, which impresses her. Debbie’s amazed Brian agreed to a new disc drill at Home Farm. Adam admits it was him, not Brian, who gave Stella the final go ahead to purchase. They both agree they’re happy at where they find themselves, even though it’s strange not having family involved so much in the farm. The loss of her mum, and the family home, has made Debbie realise how much where you come from matters. Adam tells her he’s started looking for his birth dad. Adam reports to David that he, Kate and Alice have been to lay flowers on Jennifer’s grave for Mother’s Day. Later as David stocks up on chocolate to see him through lambing, Jim raises the EV charging station. It would add weight to their campaign if David got on board. David sighs that he’ll sign the petition but no more. Justin doesn’t think David should be hounded; the station application isn’t his responsibility. Whose is it then, challenges Jim. Justin insists it’s not unusual for companies not to make themselves obvious at this stage. Jim maintains that Brookfield is part of the problem. Justin warns David he might have trouble from Jim. Then Justin makes a call, advising the recipient he’s kept Damara’s name out of it.
Paul, Jakob and Alistair are at an escape room, Paul’s choice for his leaving event. They’re having great fun and Jakob’s a whizz at it. As they solve the riddles Jakob’s put off by both Alistair and Paul’s phones buzzing. Paul spots a missed call from his mum. They switch to airplane mode so Jakob can concentrate. They escape with minutes to spare, with Jakob disappointed there isn’t a prize. Paul’s amused. Suddenly he remembers he has to ring his mum, who gives him the same news Alistair’s heard: Lovell James are sending Denise to cover another post. Paul isn’t leaving after all. Alistair hides his disappointment not to have Denise back. The three pledge to continue their fun evening, newly dubbed a ‘we’re glad you’re not leaving’ celebration. Alistair suggests Paul could now take up Josh on his offer of the room at The Stables. Paul’s delighted and makes the call. Jakob and Alistair brace themselves for more high-octane veterinary nursing. Brian’s being shown around Blossom Hill Cottage by Usha, with a view to renting it. He has some memories of his time there with Jennifer so he knows the place. He reminisces about his marriage proposal, and his certainty that it was the right thing. The fact the cottage is a little out of the village is a selling point. He doesn’t want to burden his children with responsibility for him, though he appreciates they mean well. He confirms he’ll take the cottage. He’ll stay a while now and get a few things sorted. Home sweet home.
Susan’s looking forward to her new summer house, and is pleased for Clarrie that she’s loving the pergola. Susan’s new Bridge Farm uniform has arrived. It’s smaller than the last and she frets. Neil assures her it looks good on her. Susan reckons the new window might give them more than they bargained for, but reports later it’s been an uneventful day. Neil spots Jim has left his petition clipboard with Susan. She confirms they need to get on with the objection to the vehicle charging station. She mentions Jim’s looking for a top hat. Neil warns her Jim can be like a dog with a bone when he’s on to something. Brian’s intention to move from Willow Cottage worries Adam and Alice. Alice wonders if he’s waiting for one of them to suggest he moves in with them. When Adam asks if Alice would consider having Brian at The Nest, she mentions his penchant for an evening tipple might not be ideal. Adam understands; he’ll have a word with Ian. Later Jakob points out to Alice the benefits to children of having a grandparent living with them, which gives Alice food for thought. Jakob admits he’s dreading Paul’s leaving do tomorrow – he’s worried just what he might have organised. Later Alice tells Adam she’d like Brian to live with her after all. Adam also wants Brian; it might benefit Xander too. They agree to ask Brian to choose. Later Alice reports she’s spoken to Brian; he doesn’t want to live with either of them. As to where he’s going, it’s anybody’s guess.
Ben gets curmudgeonly Sykesy talking about his memories of Brookfield. As he warms to his subject Ben uses the moment to announce it’s his birthday, and Sykesy should join them for tea and cake in the residents’ dining room. After some obfuscation, Sykesy agrees. As Ben tries to jolly him along Jill appears with homemade cake, and the two are introduced. They have common ground as Jill remembers his name and that he worked the farms around Ambridge. Ben’s horrified when Jill asks if Sykesy’s still grumpy, but Sykesy laughs it off. He enjoys Ben’s embarrassment at his Gran’s birthday fussing, and offers enthusiastically to help cut the cake. Eddie’s under the impression Clarrie’s at work, but Neil tells him the dairy’s shut while the observation window’s being installed. They wonder what’s going on, and where their wives are. Neil calls Susan but gets no response. Later Eddie gets a text from Ned; Clarrie’s been spotted at a music festival. The men are even more puzzled, but at least it means they won’t be disturbed while they work in the garden at Grange Farm. When Clarrie gets home Eddie makes it clear he knows where she’s been. Why didn’t she tell him? Clarrie says it was payback for his own mysterious behaviour recently. Eddie shows her the reason. He and Neil have relocated Susan’s pergola to Grange Farm, while Susan’s having a new summer house. Clarrie’s delighted and touched he made this effort on his birthday. He declares Clarrie is the best birthday present he could have.
Clarrie’s attempting to fix a leaking pipe. Susan suggests escaping to a craft fair. If Eddie thinks she’s at work he’ll be none the wiser, and she can leave him a to do list. Clarrie capitulates. She has a great time, but keeps getting odd texts from Eddie asking about her colour preferences. Susan’s smugness is punctured when Neil too sends a text saying he might be late home. They note wistfully there’s a music festival on tomorrow. Clarrie arrives home to find Eddie’s to do list untouched. Why should she bake him a birthday cake when he can’t be bothered to pitch in? She tells Susan she’ll go to the music festival after all. At the Cheltenham Festival Adam and Brian happily eye up winning prospects. Brian’s grateful. This was a good idea. They’re amused that Brian was ambushed by Lavinia Rafferty, but at least she didn’t avoid him like most people do just now. Adam remarks he’s really enjoying working at Bridge Farm. Brian’s pleased to hear it. He’s really proud of what Adam’s achieving there, and of his young family. He’s been a good son, and Brian hasn’t always been the father he ought to be. Touched, Adam says if he’s thought of anyone as his dad, it’s Brian. He confesses he discovered the letter from Paddy and might try to find him. Worried he’s upset Brian he apologises, but Brian’s more taken aback at Jennifer keeping the letter than at Adam looking for Paddy. He thinks it’s sensible, assuring Adam he’s there if he needs him.
Paul’s delighted to witness his first Brookfield lamb birth. It’s his last week in Ambridge. He’ll miss the farming side of vetting very much, but Denise is due back at the practice. He’s in no hurry to go back to city life. Josh suggests he might like to consider living at The Stables. There’s still a room available in addition to the one Lily’s having, and he’s clearly reliable and clean. Paul admits it would be ideal, but he doesn’t know where he’ll be sent next. Alistair reckons Paul will be an asset wherever he works. He offers him drinks and dinner as a leaving do on Friday. Paul asks if he can organise his own do – watch this space! Clarrie grumbles to Susan. Eddie’s spending so much time helping his mate Ned, things aren’t getting done – and he just keeps telling her not to worry. Susan admits Eddie was out for a drink with Neil when he claimed to be with Ned. At that moment Helen walks in and declares the window will be done tomorrow – so they’ll need to do all the packing up tonight in readiness. Clarrie’s still not keen, but resigns herself. It’s the lesser of the evils; she’s reluctant to go home and tackle Eddie, so she might as well stay on and work. Helen tries to get her on board with the promise of new uniforms, but Clarrie’s struggling to see the silver lining. Helen adds that they’ll get two days off while the window’s being fitted. Excited Susan wonders what they’ll do?
Clarrie has a list of outstanding jobs for Eddie, who protests it’s Sunday. Irritated Clarrie’s weighed down with things to do, and still anxious about the installation of the observation window at the dairy. Later she comments to Susan that maybe she should have a word with Helen about it. Susan points out they’ve agreed the window’s a good thing, but Clarrie still has worries. Susan reckons she’s overthinking it. Reporting this back to Eddie, Clarrie’s frustrated to find he’s only half listening, in a hurry to head off to help a mate, and declaring he might be late home. Brian knows his children are trying to keep him busy. Lightly denying this, Alice is pleased Adam’s arranged a trip to Cheltenham Festival this week. Suddenly Alice is distracted by something she sees, and heads towards the shop. It’s clear she’s following Joy, but is embarrassed when Joy turns round. Brian later explains to Joy that Alice had caught a glimpse of her scarf and had briefly mistaken Joy for Jennifer. Joy’s mortified. She’s bought the scarf from a WI stall, not realising it had been Jennifer’s. Brian’s kind; he’s just glad to see it being worn. She takes it off, but Susan reassures her – she shouldn’t feel bad about it. Later Brian comforts Alice. She was clearly taken by surprise; he assures her Joy understood. They share the history of the scarf. Brian asserts memories are what matter, not the material stuff. And that’s why he intends to leave Willow Cottage.
Lily finally tells Freddie she’s moving to The Stables and begs him not to take the third room. To her relief he’s not interested. Elizabeth tells Susan she’s got a special meal planned to mark Lily’s departure. They touch on Neil becoming a Lower Loxley tour guide and Justin’s volunteering efforts. Elizabeth’s cross to discover that Freddie ignored her instructions on what to do with the controversial painting. Freddie wants to reassess their entire art collection; the previous audit clearly wasn’t thorough enough. Lily chips in her opinion but Elizabeth is clear the painting will stay on view with a redrafted text panel. Freddie wants to get rid of it but Elizabeth maintains they have a duty of care towards history. Lily suggests they keep the text panel and auction the painting for charity. Freddie thinks it’s not a bad idea. Elizabeth reminds them the trustees have to be consulted. She’s happy for Freddie to take this to them but in the meantime her word is final. Adam thanks Susan for her sensitivity around Paddy’s letter. He’s rescued it from the bin and it’s made him think about his relationships with Roger Travers-Macy and with Brian. He hasn’t told Brian about the letter, not wanting to be disloyal to him or Jennifer. Adam seeks Susan’s opinion and she’s understanding of Adam needing to know more about his roots; Neil would say without roots you can’t stand straight in the storm. Even though he’s only got a name to go on, Adam’s going to endeavour to find his father.
Ian reports to Susan his pizza van business is doing alright; he’s on his way to cater an office party while Adam sorts Jennifer’s belongings. There’s still a lot to get through. Susan’s reminded of how she couldn’t face sorting her mum’s things when she died, and she offers to help Adam with the task. Having told Freddie that one of Lower Loxley’s paintings may have a slave ship depicted in it, she’s confused to see he’s covered it with a sheet. Won’t that attract more attention? Freddie wanted her to see he’s doing something about it. He’s having the painting removed and hopes to be rid of it completely. Noluthando questions whether hiding the image away really solves the issue. Freddie appreciates this but isn’t sure what else he can do. He doesn’t want to court controversy. Noluthando suggests that controversy in a place like Lower Loxley won’t be limited to only one painting. As Susan and Adam sort through his mum’s clothes, Adam finds a letter to Jennifer that he assumes is from Brian. On closer inspection he’s astounded to see it’s from his biological father, Paddy Redmond. Curious, he can’t stop reading it. Ian reads it aloud and they both marvel at the affection in it. Adam wonders why his mum held on to it. Ian points out she may have forgotten she had it. She’d moved on with her life, as Adam has too. Adam agrees it’s in the past. He doesn’t want it to take up too much headspace, and drops the letter into the bin.
Kate admits to Noluthando she’s still not feeling fully committed to Spiritual Home. Noluthando reports she might have found a new flat share in Durban. Freddie wants to try out his revamped tour of Lower Loxley on Noluthando. He’s recruited Oliver and Neil as volunteer guides. The two set off. Helen announces to Clarrie and Susan the installation of the observation window. Both are unsure, and raise potential pitfalls. Helen’s surprised by their negativity and she plays to Susan’s previous experience as a radio presenter. This sets Susan on a roll. She suggests an intercom system so that they can interact with those looking through the new window. Helen thinks it’s a great idea while Clarrie isn’t won over. Kate’s surprised to see Brian turn up at Spiritual Home. After some stalling he reveals that he’d like to have a treatment to relieve his general physical discomfort. Kate can vouch for the benefits of massage while grieving, and books him in. After his treatment, Brian’s feeling a lot better and will be back for more. Brian declares Spiritual Home Kate’s calling. Kate decides that instead of coasting with the business for the next five years, she’s going to really make it flourish. Noluthando congratulates Freddie on an engaging tour, but he can see she’s distracted on her phone. She confesses she’s trying to do some research on one of the paintings they passed on the landing. Freddie wonders if he got some information wrong, but Noluthando says it’s more about what he might have left out.
Helen and Tony discuss the planned electric vehicle charging station. They can see both sides of the argument and agree to keep a close eye on how things progress. Helen turns the conversation to her new idea for the dairy. Inspired by Adam’s Edible Forest Garden project, Helen would like a window into the dairy so people can see how their cheese, yoghurt and ice-cream are made. Tony likes the idea and Pat and Tom have already given it the nod. Helen wants it installed as soon as possible and has found an available builder via Lilian. Tony warns her that Clarrie and Susan will need informing. Lily’s moving into The Stables at the weekend, but she’s yet to tell Elizabeth and Freddie. Later Elizabeth interrupts Lily’s phone call with Josh, and Lily quickly reveals she’s moving out. Elizabeth isn’t upset as Lily thought she’d be. Lily reveals her insecurities over her relationship with Russ and how she’s fared since they broke up. She isn’t ready to tell Freddie, which Elizabeth isn’t pleased to hear. She wants Lily to tell him as soon as possible. While Lily measures the room she’s moving into, Josh apologises for Elizabeth finding out about Lily’s house move because he had told Shula. Josh raises the option of Freddie being the third housemate again. Lily refuses, saying she’d rather accept a previous suggestion of Josh’s, which she’d previously vetoed as unsuitable. Josh thinks their options are limited and sets Lily the challenge of finding another housemate by the end of the week. Lily is insistent that Freddie is not going to follow her to The Stables.
Lily complains to Ben about living with Freddie and Ben suggests he could move to The Stables as he’s staying at Brookfield for the time being. Freddie would be out of her hair. However, Lily tracks down Josh to say she’d like to move in to The Stables herself. Over beers, Josh is cautious about agreeing to Lily moving in, but Lily convinces him. Josh also wants to rent out the third bedroom and feels like he should give Freddie first refusal on it. Lily points out she and Freddie would just argue all the time and promises to find an alternative before Freddie even gets wind of it. Ben collects the last of his things from The Stables and then mentions he’s been looking online at the resistance to the planned EV charging station. Josh warns him about going down that rabbit hole. Josh offers to keep an eye on it to save Ben the stress. Alice and Adam are relieved to hear Kate is going to stick with Spiritual Home at least for the next few years. Before they start looking through Jennifer’s things, Adam shows them the box Ian discovered yesterday. It’s full of mementos from their childhoods. The three siblings squabble over the items (apart from the set of milk teeth). Then, at the bottom of the box they find a list written by Jennifer itemising what belongs to whom. Jennifer always had the knack for resolving arguments. The only remaining problem is who will get to keep their mum’s list?
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