Brian and Jennifer have returned from their swanky Venice holiday and sounding very relaxed…but quickly back into the fray, slagging off Kate’s yurt retreat and speculating about Lillian and Justin’s relationship after a photograph of the pair of them in the social pages of the Echo, looking ‘intimate’. “You don’t think they’re having an affair?” That’s the Aldridge’s back up to speed again, then.

    The Pyrex Kid seems to be behaving himself better for his weekend visit to Bridge Farm and Pat and Tony are pleased, but not looking forward to the hearing on Wednesday. As usual Tony is the moderating voice against hysterical Pat. Tony and Henry play cricket until the wee boy says “Why doesn’t mummy come home?”

    Richard and Alistair (two of the dullest people in Ambridge) discuss cricket (one of the dullest subjects in the world). The cricket team is turning into Dad’s Army and later in the Bull, after a defeat follwing last week’s no-show, Adam and Richard decide radical action is called for and resolve to Hold a Meeting. That will sort things out.

    After delivery of the Synthetic Child back to the clutches of the Dark Lord. Pat and Tony beat themselves up. They want to tell Henry that Helen is in prison, but (decently enough) want to speak to Rob first. Tony couldn’t this week, as Cruella was hanging around like a bad smell.

    Susan is in the shop with Joe, dissing the Bridge Farm Shop and Upper Class Eggs and sharing her years of retail wisdom. “Tabards, Joe, tabards.” She feels that this would lend an air of professionalism to the Bridge Farm outfit. Neil arrives, announcing that he’s getting out of the egg business – beaten by the Fairbrother brothers and Josh.

    Joe is trying to find things wrong with Grange Farm so the Sterlings won’t sell it. A huge sycamore is being chopped down, which upsets him a great deal. Eddie finds him crawling round the house “looking for problems.” Eddie warns his dad not to “sabourtage” anything.

    Josh is still in David’s bad books regarding the ‘theft’ of Neil’s hens to boost Upper Class Eggs. “That’s what you get for being dishonest.” Josh has to pay full market value for the hens, spending all his savings and borrowing money from Mum and Dad. Josh goes round to Neil’s later with a bottle of Scotch as a peace offering. “I thought we’d built up a really good partnership and then you do something really stupid.” Neil waxes lyrical about business, sharing his wisdom from the lofty peaks of his mighty milk, eggs and pig empire. He tries to steer Josh clear of Toby.

    Justin calls Lillian, on his way up to Ambridge for another night of what passes for passion at his age. She is tickled, “Ohhh, you lucky girl.” Adam arrives and finally someone discusses the “out” Brexit Vote – even Debbie is invoked, worried and concerned calls from Hungary, apparently. Adam still thinks he voted for the right thing, voting out. Time will tell Adam.

    Deep Pip is helping Rex move hens about, who is moaning about Toby as usual. “I don’t even know where he is today.” Films, blah, lack of interest in eggs, blah. Pip tries to buck him up by telling him that he still has the support of the Archers.

    Justin has bought strawberries from the shop and discusses farming with Adam – the Agricultural Story Editor earning his money. After, Justin takes Lillian for a posh dinner and are about to head back to the Dower House for rutting. They are caught by the Fairbrothers, out for a drink away from Ambridge. Toby immediately spots that there’s something going on. This juicy morsel of local gossip might aid Toby’s film ambitions, blackmail being what it is.

    At the child hearing, Pat and Tony are very nervous and spot the Dark Lord, using a stick to walk. “He never uses that when he’s dropping Henry off.” Helen appears by video link, looking smart with her new haircut and blouse. Anna seems slightly flustered for some reason at the start of her delivery, but firms up nicely. She’s leaning heavily on the blood relationship between the Synthetic Child and Pat and Tony. She brings up the issue of potential harm to Henry if he stays with the Evil One. Rob stirs and is silenced. Rob’s barrister does a pretty good job of dissing Helen, bringing up her treat to kill Rob and her “chequered” medical past, calling her “violent and unstable”. Rob is interviewed by the court and does a wonderful job of appearing frail and upset, “sorry, this is very difficult.” Helen does her best to respond, but begins to get upset. “My children mean everything to me.” It doesn’t end well, the Dark Lord keeps Henry to avoid “upset”. Anna heads home to a shouting match with her mother, Carol, about a broken lasagne dish. “Damn it, damn it, damn it. I think it could be happening again and this time I’ve got to stop it.” What’s happening again?

    It’s the day of Kate’s yurt retreat launch and Jennifer is busy hanging fairy lights. Kate is nowhere to be found. “I do hope she hasn’t got distracted again.” Peggy helps. Kate arrives, all grumpy and upset about the lack of support, even though Jennifer and gran seem to be doing all the work, building fires, laying out tables, stringing lights. Kate does nothing but flap.

    Deep Pip and Rex have driven a long way to pick up some cattle. Unfortunately, the farmer knows Hunky Mathew and sings his praises – he ‘saved the farm’ apparently. Pip spends the whole trip back going on about “what an amazing guy he is.” Rex is deep, deep in the Friend Zone and he knows it.

    Kate’s yurt retreat launch is going ok – there’s even local media interest. “Honestly Kate, its terrific,” enthuses Jennifer. Kate is very happy. It goes on to dawn - just. “Just you and me, Roy.” Kate and her ex sit and discuss how well Phoebe has turned up. Gracious Kate allows Roy the credit for their daughter turning out so well, after a flakey start being born at the Glastonbury Festival. No mention of Sipho and Nollie, abandoned to their fate in South Africa.

    At the Mother and Child Unit, Helen and Cockernee Kaz are in the garden. “Jack’s been a bit quiet, ain’t he?’ So is Helen, down since the bad result at the custody hearing. Jaden and Jack start crying together and Kaz has to encourage Helen to fed him. Helen tells Kaz that she was “useless” at the hearing and that she’s “lost” Henry and seeing Rob again was “the worst”. Helen spots Kaz’s self-harm scars. “Did you ever do that?” “No – there are other ways of hurting yourself,” Heen responds, darkly.

    There’s a parish council meeting to try and evict the Elves from Millennium/Aldrigde Wood. Eddie is there to try and get them moved to Elf World in Grundy Field. His move is a success and the council agree to his plans to dominate the global theme park market. Even Brian is impressed by Eddie’s skilful chicanery. “At least you know the Elves are going to a good home.” “Yes, I was so worried about that,” deadpans Brian. Eddie thinks Elf World cold be bigger that A Grundy Christmas. Let’s not get carried away, Eddie.


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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