“He’s late”. The Evil One seems to be withholding visitation rights from Pat and Tony. The Pyrex Kid finally arrives. Pat and Tony have plans to take Henry to a zoo, but Rob has bigged up the Grundy Elf Parade. Cruella has even made an elf costume for the little chap. Rob is also sporting an Elf T-shirt (there’s a mental image that won’t leave me soon). He makes them take Henry to the shabby Grundy-sponsored event. It’s all about control and Pat and Tony are getting a taste of what their daughter had to live with first hand.

    Meanwhile in the nick, The Half-Dark Child is wailing and Helen can’t stop him crying. Cockernee Kaz helps out and quiets Jack/Gideon down. Helen feels that she made a mess of the custody hearing and is worried about the Synthetic Child residing with Rob. Some honest-to-god-gorblimey wisdom is doled out and Kaz even suggests seeing the prison chaplin

    Anna is gardening with her Mum, Carol. The Anna story, hinted at last week begins to come out. She had a relationship with a man called Max which has finished. Just as it gets interesting, The Great Elf Migration comes past and Henry runs up. “Look at me, I’m an elf!” Anna has to hide round the back of the house and Henry meets Rob and runs off with him, much to Pat’s chagrin - “Now he’s taking over our day.” The day is a bit of a strain for Pat and Tony.

    Back to Anna and Carol, dinner is being prepared and the rest of the Anna back-story comes out over this and a posh lunch the next day. “You seem haunted somehow,” probes Carol. Anna’s relationship with Max ended when she lost a battered wife case and the poor woman ended up being murdered by her partner. “You can’t blame yourself for that.” “Can’t I?” She hasn’t taken a similar case until Helen’s. Now she’s on a crusade. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing for Helen.

    Rex and Toby are still fighting, the village shop has cancelled its order for Upper Class Eggs. Toby doesn’t care and is busy editing his egg-based “Heaven’s Gate”. Eventually, they move a lot of squawking hens, helped by Deep Pip. There’s a lot of banter and Toby tries to persuade her to do the voiceover for his new cut of the epic video. Toby bribes her with crisps, “The posh kind.”

    At the Bull, Kenton is upset that Wayne’s imaginary girlfriend, Beverly Drains, isn’t going to be free for the new menu launch.

    Adam and Brian are moving cattle about with Pip. “They’re all looking in very good shape.” The new system is going well – the beef cattle are putting on the pounds – which means pounds sterling.

    Lillian gets a call from lover-boy Justin. He wants to take her out to Wimbledon – centre court men’s quarter-finals. Spoilt girl. “It sounds wonderful, darling.” Later, she swanks it up at the Bull. Jolene is very jealous. Kenton moans on about not meeting Beverly and goes to make Wayne call her. Jolene, thinking fast, blurts out “She’s dead.” “It was very sudden – brain haemorrhage.” Kenton is admiring of Wayne’s stoicism as the stricken Bull chef has never mentioned his bereavement. Kind Kenton offers him a permanent contract, which is what Jolene wanted all along. Clever Jolene. I mourn the passing of Beverly Drains.

    Pat and Clarrie are in the dairy. Clarrie felt the Elf Migration went well. “Eddie and Joe reckon we’re going to make a fortune.” Later, Rob calls – he wants to come round and talk about Henry. Henry has had a bad day at school as someone at school told him that his mother is a murderer. Rather harshly, Rob has told the child that Helen had done something bad and is in prison until a jury decides what to do. Pat and Tony are shocked by how harsh Rob has been.

    Helen is watching the Darkling play happily. She’s started work in the prison vegetable garden. “I lose myself in there.” She sounds more like herself, sharing more of her loony life story with Gorblimey Kaz. She starts to tell Kaz about how controlling the Dark Lord was – haircuts, clothes, etc. Wise Kaz has seen it all before. “Did he want to know where you were all time time? Were you frightened of him, Helen?” This conversation further strengthens Helen – she even remembers that the cops found tracking software on her phone, moving her further from the frumpy shrew Rob was turning her into.

    “This is a disaster.” There has been a special meeting of the cricket team upstairs at the Bull and only a few turn up. Such is the state of Ambridge cricket. There’s a round-up at the bar and Richard Locke is dragged upstairs, away from Elizabeth, who has just asked him to squire her to the Food and Drink Awards. Toby isn’t there as he’s up Lakey Hill with Deep Pip, recording blakcaps singing…and maybe flirting a little? At the meeting, Alistair steps down as captain as he feels that he’s taken his eyes off the ball what with the flood and the surgery move. Adam is keen favourite to replace him, but he demurs, citing work and marital commitments. Eventually, they settle on PC ‘Carpet’ Burns – nominated without being at the meeting or even being asked.

    Back on Lakey Hill, our pair are drinking beer (which clever Toby has thoughtfully brought), watching the sunset. Toby tires some moves and is initially rebuffed “You are the most vain, arrogant, self-centred…” “And you’re irresistible.” There’s a great deal of sudden kissing. Poor Rex and (presumably in the near future) poor Pip.

    Helen calls Anna, sounding very strong. Anna offers to stand down after her performance at the custody hearing. Helen won’t hear of it.

    At the Food and Drink Awards, the ‘great and the good’ of Borchester are gathered. Justin wants everyone to have a ‘most splendid evening.’ Jennifer thinks he looks like “the Cheshire Cat.” This will be the effect of two nights of senior passion with Lillian and some corporate box tennis. Miranda turns up and is just being faintly rude to Pat when Lillian bundles her out to change her dress as she had noticed that Miranda is wearing the same frock as the mayor’s wife. She soft-soaps and flatters Miranda. “You’re very good at this, aren’t you?” “I just hope Justin feels the same way.” Later, Ian wins the Best Chef award and the Bull wins the Family Dining gong. Upper Class eggs lose (although I can’t imagine lip-locked Toby cares that much), as do Emma and Fallon. Best Artisan product is won by…Helen for Borchester Blue. This will further help bolster her resolve, restore her self-worth and help fight on. Fight on, Helen Archer.


The Week In Ambridge

The Week In Ambridge

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Welcome to my blog

I am a new listener to The Archers - my Mother started me at birth, so I have only been listening for 46 years. Apologies if I get things wrong.

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