We get up with a very bouncy Deep Pip and a lethargic Toby. She wants to re-vamp the cottage and buy a new couch. Toby has to steam-clean the still room with Josh. Toby wins out and later, Pip turns up as Josh and Toby use David’s borrowed steam-cleaner on the potential still with the offer of a late meatball lunch. After Pip leaves, Toby gets a disturbing text and runs off. Josh arrives at Pip’s – Toby has vanished without returning the steam-cleaner. “What’s he up to?” Pip is narked.

    Pat and Lillian are crowing about Pat’s no-holds-barred firt-round K.O. of Cruella. Lillian is very pleased that Pat sent her packing. Helen turns up with the Half-Dark Child and all is sweetness and light at Bridge Farm. Pat calls Kirsty to congratulate her on getting up the duff by her son during a one night stand. Nice. They are meeting up later in the week.

    A luxuriously bathing Lillian gets a call from lover-boy Justin. Miranda is going away for a few days, allowing time for some extra-marital rutting. “I can hardly wait.”

    Eventually, Toby calls Pip. The meatballs are ruined and Toby is heading to Brighton in a rush. “What’s so urgent, why can’t you tell me?”

    Susan is gossiping with Alistair about the Kirsty pregnancy. Tracey is there and thinks it must be Roy’s. Tracey is impressed with Anisha’s performance on Burns Night and Alistair hurries out. Tracey tells Susan about ‘dumping’ Roy. “Poor Roy.”

    Rex is offered tea from Anisha as he is cutting her hedge. He’s brought some of his gallons of dahl as lunch. Anisha still seems quite keen on him, she even tries to tip him for the hedge work. Starving, poor, noble Rex refuses. Anisha leaves for a meeting and Pip turns up to tell Rex about the Toby Brighton flight. “I’ve got to know the truth about Brighton.” Toby tells her that he thinks his brother is heading down to see “his mates.” “You’re still holding back.” “If you want to know more, you’ll have to ask Toby.” Mysterious.

    Anisha’s meeting is with Alistair – she wants to spend a fortune on new vet kit. “We need to invest to compete.” She wants to spend quarter of a million. Not sure Alistair has that kind of cash lying about. He’s obviously reluctant, but Anisha is convinced that this is the way forward. After a day to think about it, Anisha and Alistair go through the books, looking at the client list. Alastair has been giving discounts and has been tardy in chasing up payments, so Anisha wants to smarten things up and go hard after the late payment clients. “I still worry that we’re taking it all a bit too fast.” But eventually, Alastair agrees to go to the bank.

    Lillian and Jolene are wallowing in a mud bath at the spa. Lillian is looking forward to her tryst with lover-boy tomorrow. Lillian confides in Jolene about Justin’s imminent arrival. “Don’t you with it was more permanent?” Lillian doesn’t think so and likes the clandestine antics. This reminds Jolene about cheating whilst she and Sid were carrying on.

    Shula, out riding the next morning, sees Pip and Ruth feeding the pregnant ewes. Toby obviously hasn’t turned up and Pip is upset, but hasn’t told anyone about Toby’s Brighton flit yet. Pip is there for the birth of the first new lambs. There’s a great deal of squelchy sound effects. Pip breaks down in tears and tells Ruth all about the Toby crisis. Ruth tries to calm her down, but Pip is very, very upset. She confesses to giving Toby the five grand from the cattle sale. “I still love him, but what if gran was right about him?”

    Justin and Lillian share vintage champagne. “To us.” Luckily, there’s no repeat of the squelching effects from the lambing scene. There is a breakfast scene later with Lillian in something very skimpy. Miranda turns up suddenly and Lillian scarpers in a fur coat and her wispy silk nothing, giggling.

    Jennifer is with Helen in the shop. Business-brain Helen tries to punt her the new exotic fruit line. “Why don’t you try the kumquats? You can have the first one for free.” Waitrose must be trembling.

    Toby eventually turns up at the cottage. Pip is furious and wants to kick him out. He pleads to be allowed to explain himself. He explains about his ex – Stella. She was a drug user and cleaned up when they were dating. “I treated her badly, I messed her around. She went back on heroin.” He ran down to Brighton at Christmas because she’d OD-ed. And the same this time. Pip forgives him. “Does that mean I can stay?” “You must promise you’ll never lie to me again.”

    At playtime at school, a darkness falls over the sky and The Evil One turns up to see the Pyrex Kid. “Daddy!” He’s been doing it for some time, it seems. He’s a bit of a mess – “your hairs funny - are you growing a beard?”. He has a “surprise” planned for mummy and sounds even more deranged than usual. This doesn’t sound good…

    At the shop, Helen is with the Synthetic Child and the Half-Darkling. Pat is worried about meeting Kirsty and saying the wrong thing and upsetting her.

    Kirsty is with Kate, who is excited about Kirsty’s pregnancy, but worried about her chakra’s being out of kilter. It’s Roy’s birthday, but he doesn’t want to go out as Tracey has labelled him as ‘boring’, but is eventually persuaded. There are special ‘birthday cocktails’ at the Bull and Kate swipes through Tinder to find him a date. Pat turns up, being all friendly and helpful to congratulate her on the bairn. Kirsty is very pleased that Pat is on her side and Pat promises not to be ‘interfering’. Sure. When she leaves, in the rain, her car won’t start.

    Helen is packing the kids into the car – Henry is off on a play date. Henry says he’s left his books behind and Helen runs into the house to get them. Whilst she’s in the house, the Dark Lord turns up and tries to remove his spawn from the car seat. ‘Why can’t I come?,” pipes up the Synthetic Child. “Because I’m not your real daddy,” intones the anti-Darth. He swipes the Half-Dark Child and runs off in the rain, the Synthetic One hot on his heels. Helen comes back and finds Henry running about in the rain. “Where’s Jack?” “Daddy came and took him.” Helen is frantic. The Evil One gets Jack into his car and drives off. He’s foiled by a fallen branch and gets the car stuck as he’s trying to turn. Helen and a grumpy, hungry Henry find the stricken car. “Give me my baby.” The Dark Lord and Helen face off in the rain. “Where’s the kitchen knife now?” There’s a huge fight. Kirsty, driving Pat home, come across the warring pair, just as Rob puts Helen down. Pat realises what’s going on. “You’re trying to steal my grandchild.” Kirsty wants to call the police. Helen doesn’t want her to. “Was this your idea of revenge? Take a look at yourself – you’re pathetic.” Helen is extremely strong. “I know what you did in the flood. There’s nothing left for you here – you’re finished.” The Dark Lord wilts, the flames go out, his wee leathery wings fold up and his tail droops, dripping in the heavy rain. “If you come back, I will destroy you – now go,” say nine-foot tall Wonder Woman Helen. A defeated Rob scuttles off.

    Later, at Bridge Farm, Tom and Kirsty and Pat want to call the cops. Helen doesn’t care. “The boys are safe and Rob has gone.”


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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