The week begins with Lillian puffing up Liz to the Borchester Echo for her campaign for Borchester Business Woman of the Year. Lillian seems more keen on this than Liz. Dr. Locke turns up, sniffing round Liz. It’s a special Funfair. Helen is there with the Pyrex Kid, who seems un-naturally attached to a stuffed rabbit that Helen has given him for Easter. Johnny is helping him meet a piglet. Honesty. “Go for it, Henry!” “Look at that smile.” Peggy (never the best judge of character) bigs up the Evil One to Helen. “That husband of yours isn’t just a pretty face.” Helen diplomatically disagrees. Liz has been grilled by the Carl Bernstein of the Echo, quizzing her about fire and liability insurance. Helen, Pat and Peggy are having cake. “You’ve got terrible dark rings around your eyes,” notices Peggy. Helen snaps back, stressed. Richard continues to chase Liz. “If Nigel was here, he’d be having such a good time.” This might put the dampers on the good Doctor’s ardour. On the way home with Pat, Peggy notices that Helen might have been a little ‘touchy’. Pat suggests that it’s the pregnancy and her hormones are haywire. “I’m not sure we had hormones in our day.”

    Alf has left, suddenly. Nobody seems too upset. Lynda turns up at Grange Farm (when are the Sterlings coming home?) to find out who the Mystery Celebrity the Grundy’s have organized to open the Village Hall is. Eddie won’t tell her. Lynda panics and calls arch-enemy Jean Harvey as a stop-gap ‘celebrity’ to open it. Whilst on the phone, Anneka Rice turns up just in time, so Jean is dropped like used tissue. Celebrity? Really? Challege Anneka was cancelled in 1995. She makes a nice speech, though and the Grundys are chuffed with their coup.

    At the start of Lynda’s pageant, Justin Elliot, is a bag of nerves about playing the baddie. The pageant does very well, the Grundy’s do especially well. Justin is roundly booed as the evil landowner. After, Emma confesses that it was her who got in touch with La Rice via Twitter. Lillian calls Justin’s performance ‘nuanced’. Lynda snares Anneka. Alan, about to announce that the Village Hall Curtain Fund has raised £400, finds that the biscuit tin with the cash has been pinched from the vestry. And Alf has mysteriously vanished…

    Helen is about to take the Test-tube Kid to the park, and The Dark Lord lays it on very thick. “You are the most precious thing in the world to me and I love you.”

    Out with Bartley, Eddie and Joe head up the Fairbrother Brother’s chicken caravan for a good laugh. Bert defends it. “Well I think you’re mad.”

    At the shop, Pat and Rob are fussing about yoghurt. Rob wants to take Helen to a show in London for her birthday. Pat isn’t so sure about London and suggests a nice country hotel instead. Pat tries to speak to The Dark Lord about Helen and calls him an “understanding husband.” Meanwhile, Helen calls Kirsty to arrange to meet her, a meeting she neglects to tell Rob about. Later, Helen’s phone rings and Rob answers it when Helen is out of the room, running Henry’s bath. It’s the midwife who tells Rob about Helen’s change of plans about a hospital birth. Helen hadn’t told Rob about her decision. Rob is seething, but keeps it under control – just. “Well it’s a pity you didn’t discuss it with me first.” He relents Helen about her choice not to have a home birth. He exits on the line, “Darling, I’m not a monster.” Hmmm.

    Clarrie wakes up a dozing Eddie and tells him about Alf nicking the money for her purse. Eddie is disgusted. Clarrie now thinks he nicked the church money, too. “Back to his old ways,” sighs Eddie. Clarrie wants to tell the vicar. Eddie dashes off immediately to the vicarage. Good for him. “I won’t rest until I’ve paid it off.” The two of them sit in the van, deeply upset. He calls Alf and leaves a terrible message on his phone, disowning him. “I’m so ashamed, Clarrie.”

    Dan is nervous about the arrival of his girlfriend Dorothy, Shula has made roast lamb. Dorothy has brought flowers. Dorothy sound very hot (but a bit dull) and she hits it big with Shula as she offers to clear up and make tea after lunch. She even mentions the Bible. Shula, having made her mind up, offers to let her stay the night. Separate rooms, mind.

    Helen meets Kirsty and immediately starts to defend the Evil One. “Every marriage has its ups and downs.” “Did you ring the Helpline?” “There’s nothing for you to worry about.” Kirsty suggests that Helen gets in touch with Jess. Radical move. Helen isn’t so sure. Kirsty gives Helen a ‘burner’ phone with her number and the Helpline number on it. “You’re such a good friend, Kirsty.”

    Back at Blossom Hill, Rob has had to pick up the Pyrex Kid as he had a tantrum at a kid’s party. He also knows that Helen was with Kirsty - spotted at Grey Gables by someone who was at the kid’s party. The Dark Lord has also ‘disciplined’ Henry by making him throw away his Easter egg AND the fluffy rabbit. Helen is very upset. “That’s really not fair, Rob.” “You’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown.” He wants he to take the anti-depressants. “Sit down, Helen.” Rob swishes out to deal with Henry and whilst he’s out the room, Helen swipes Rob’s phone to get Jess’s number.

    Helen meets Jess! Jess still sounds bitter. Helen is curious about the parentage of Jess’s kid – even though the DNA tests proved Rob wasn’t the dad, she wants to know why Jess thought Rob was. Jess confesses that Rob did shag her (although it does sound a little rapey) whilst Rob was with Helen. She says she is now relieved that Rob isn’t Ethan’s dad. “Are you scared of him? Has he hurt you?” They compare notes – Rob has hit them both. Helen tells Jess about the Dark One making Henry bin his Easter egg and the stuffed rabbit. “To do that to a child, that’s wicked.” Jess is stunned that Helen is considering staying with him. “Get away from him Helen or he’ll crush you until there’s nothing left.”


The Week In Ambridge

The Week In Ambridge

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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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