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.

By Campbell Mitchell, Jan 15 2017 11:43AM

We begin the week looking for rusks. Helen is taking Jack to the Contact Centre for the first time. Tom has is own concerns, but is worried about Helen bumping into the Dark Lord.

Susan is still having trouble deciding on her family photo. Tracey has come over to help. Then she heads to the Bull to stalk Roy.

Helen arrives at the centre with Tom in tow. After Jack heads off, Tom tells Helen about the Kirsty pregnancy – and it’s his kid. As neither of Helen’s sprogs were conceived as the result of consensual sex, I’m not sure that she’s the best person to ask advice from. To be fair, Helen is as outraged by Tom’s thoughtless proposal of marriage as Kirsty was.

Meanwhile, at the Bull, Johnny is telling Roy that he has noticed how ‘different’ Tom has been. Tracey arrives and makes a beeline for Roy. Johnny runs to the bar, leaving the lovebirds together. Tracey says she wants “seconds”, but “we need to get to know each other better.” Tracey asks him back to Susan’s for lunch and that’s enough to scare him off.

Tom and Helen are leaving the centre and the Evil One materialises. He wants to give the kids presents. Helen remains strong and gets rid of him, but does take the presents.

At Susan’s lunch, the latest gossip (according to Neville Booth) is that there’s a lurker in the village. Tracey is disappointed about Roy’s exit, but thinks that he’s “shy” and that this makes him “intruiging.” She’s up for the challenge. “I’ll crack him.”

Jill is having tea with Ruth. She has spotted some distant Christmas cards, still up on top of a bookcase. Given Ruth’s housekeeping, they may not be this year’s. Jill is determined to get them down.

Deep Pip unexpectedly visits Rex. Rex is on a major economy drive and is cooking vats of lentil dahl. Pip asks about why he’s short of coin. Rex spills the beans about the allowance he (and Toby) were getting from their Father. “Hang on, your Father has been bank-rolling your business enterprises?” Hopefully, this is another nail in Toby’s coffin. She immediately calls Toby for a good nag. Also, she needs some information for the office at Brookfield and sends him to get it.

At Brookfield, Toby finds Jill precariously on top of a stool, getting down the Christmas cards. “Let me help you with those.” Jill is snooty and refuses help. Then she falls off the stool. Helpful Toby does some instant first aid. He’s almost capable. Jill moans throughout. “I’m perfectly alright now I’m sitting down.” Toby takes her to the Minor Injures Unit. Maybe this might begin the thaw…

Pip is still concerned about Rex living on endless dahl. She wants to speak to David about getting them a “little rent holiday” for Hollowtree. Rex isn’t sure.

Pip and Ruth turn up at the hospital to see Jill. Jill is made to grudgingly thank Toby.

At Bridge Farm, Helen is making a birthday afternoon tea for Pat. She talks to Tom about Kirsty again. Self-centred Helen is a little put out that Kirsty hasn’t told her about the pregnancy. Tom swears her to secrecy, but Helen decides that she wants a “catch-up” with Helen. Kirsty is also coming to Pat’s birthday tea.

Out of the blue, lover-boy Justin calls pining Lillian, all business-like. He’s in Ambridge and wants to see her to “go through my diary.”

At the tea, Pat is very happy with Kirsty, playing with Jack. Pat is taken off to see the Pyrex Kid, leaving Kirsty with Tom. It’s stilted. Very. The rest of the birthday tea goes very well and Pat makes a wee speech, thanking everyone, especially Kirsty. As Kirsty leaves, Helen grabs her and plans a lunch.

Lillian turns up to meet with Justin. Miranda is, surprisingly, there. She wants to give Lillian a “helping hand”, and thinks that she has been “taking too much on.” Hasn’t she just. Miranda has severely curtailed Justin’s future social engagements. “I know you’d see that this was the best way forward…for all of us.” It’s all so very English – polite and business-like on top and raging, bloody war underneath.

Brian meets Adam over a recording of some sheep – he’s knocked the land price down to two and a half million and is bucked. Adam doesn’t really care until Brian mentions that the money he’s saved on the land could be used to keep the herbal lays experiment going. Adam is thrilled. “I can’t wait to tell Pip the good news.”

Pip is with Toby, talking about the Fairbrother Father turning off the money faucet. She is also now concerned about her ‘investment’ in his gin business. Adam calls with the good news about the herbal lay thing. Toby uses this news to distract Pip about the money. He opens some fizz. David turns up and thanks Toby for saving Jill and also apologises for how ungracious and grumpy she was. Big man, David. It turns out, the whole Archer clan have been showering Toby with gifts – pints at the Bull, potted plants.

Helen and Kirsty meet for lunch at Grey Gables, Helen’s treat. Helen fills her in on the non-contested divorce news and how close she is to getting The Evil One out of her life completely. ‘Anyway, enough about me – what about you?’ Roy drops over for a chat at the wrong moment and the girls tease him about Tracey. At the end of lunch, Helen confesses that she knows Kirsty is pregnant. Kirsty is angry – “I just want to be left on my own.” And then she storms out.

At the Bull, Slow Freddie is hiding. He got a ‘d’ at his maths re-sit. He knows Lilly will rub it in. Johnny tries to console him and doesn’t get very far – “you’re dyslexic, I’m just thick.” Lilly turns up and scolds him. Lilly is beginning to sound exactly like Elizabeth. Elizabeth is heading to London for a wedding fare for a couple of days, and Lilly wants to organise a huge party at Lower Loxley whilst she’s away. “This will be the best party that Lower Loxeley has even seen.”

Jennifer is cooking with mopey Lillian, upset that Miranda has ruined her fun. Jennifer feels that the outcome was “horribly predictable.”

Justin drops in on the Evil One, asking for the outside contractors report he wanted. He hasn’t done it, focussing on his divorce instead. Justin makes him ring round late on a Friday afternoon.

Brian and Jennifer are hosting a drinks party, celebrating the land deal. Brian is very, very happy and expansive. Lillian appears in full war-dress and full of beans. She is on fighting form. Brian and Jennifer keep trying to remove Miranda from the room. They finally succeed, leaving our star-crossed lovers alone. “Miranda’s been watching me like a hawk.” “I thought we were finished.” “Of course not. I’ve missed you so much.” They kiss, furtively.

Rob is finally home…and bumps into Stefan. Stefan! He’s back! The flood witness! “I paid you to leave the country,” says Rob. Stefan makes The Dark Lord go to a pub. “Why are you here, Stefan?” “I’m only looking for a helping hand.” He wants more money. Rob refuses and Stefan mentions that there are some people “Justin Elliot…the Police…” that might be interested in hearing what he had to say. Blackmail is such an ugly word. At least he’s alive – I was worried that the Evil One had done him in post-flood. This could be the beginning of the end…

By Campbell Mitchell, Jan 8 2017 11:49AM

Happy New Year, loyal reader.

Jennifer finds Lillian, sitting gloomily in the dark. “I’m sorry it’s been such a horrible Christmas.” There was too much land chat, the Justin incident at the panto and Debbie has headed back to Hungary.

It’s New Year’s Eve and Tom is still reeling from the Kirsty baby bombshell. He calls her, awkwardly. Johnny has a new ‘noticeable’ shirt and wants to bring a mob back to the house after the Bells, Tom isn’t keen. At the Bull for Hogmanay, Tom, Roy and Johnny are besieged by Tracey Horribin – Roy has to keep hiding from her. Tom is worried as Kirsty isn’t there. At the Bells at the Bull, Tracey finds Roy and smothers him. Tom leaves and runs round to Kirsty. “I just wanted to make sure you were alright.” “I was fast asleep until you turned up.” Tom is very stiff.

At the Lower Loxley Ball, Lillian points out that Miranda (Mrs. Justin) left ‘Mother Goose’ early, after some pretty heavy innuendo from Kenton from the stage and street-savvy Cockernee Kaz working things out from the cheap seats and they haven’t been back to Ambridge since. Justin hasn’t been in touch, either. Self-centred Brian is worried that Miranda finding out about the Justin/Lillian affair will in some way queer his epic Land Deal. The Ball seems desultory.

Helen and Pat are preparing for the Pyrex Kid’s birthday. It’s being held at a (urine and germ soaked) soft play centre. Helen wants to boost the shop’s takings with “new initiatives”. Some cards have turned up for Henry, including one from the Dark Lord. Helen brings the cards to the play centre, unsure about what to do about Rob’s card. The party goes well and the Synthetic One has a ball. After, Helen bins the Evil One’s card.

Pip arrives back from sheep and is very frosty with Toby. She’s still upset about the mystery Brighton flit and having to play the Goose at the panto because of Toby’s no-show . Rex meets Toby to give him his share of the goose money from last year. “That’s the end of out business relationship.” Rex tells Toby that they’ve been cut off by their Father – no more bank-rolling the business ideas and no allowance – who knew the brothers were still getting pocket money. Toby heads back to an angry Pip. He then tells Pip about ‘Stu’ (an old friend in Brighton) and his bad break-up. Sounds iffy, if you ask me. “You don’t seem to realise how humiliated I was.” Pip is still skeptical and heads off grumpily to see Alice.

Adam has a meeting with Rob who is all sneery about Adam’s herbal lay experiment. Adam fights back with his lecture about soil repair. “Oh, change the record, please.” Nasty Rob. Adam twists the knife – “Christmas is so much better with small children around, don’t you think?” The Dark Lord counters with threatening to put the estate work out to tender. Nasty, nasty Rob.

Roy is being texted endlessly by Tracey and consoled by Kirsty. Tom turns up. “As you can imagine, I’ve been thinking a lot about what you’ve told me.” Tom wants her to move into One, The Green. Kirsty isn’t sure. “Children are raised all sorts of ways these days.” There’s a chaste kiss on the doorstep and Kirsty wants another scan before they go public. Unfortunately, Roy works out that Kirsty is up the duff.

Tom arrives home to find a smoke-filled kitchen with burned oven chips. Johnny and Slow Freddie were too busy playing computer games to notice the rapidly-blackening kitchen. Tom is furious.

Kirsty finds a raging Rob in the street. He raises sparks from beating his hooves on the road as some girls have lip-sticked his windscreen with something “libelous.” “Some labels are hard to remove,” says Kirsty.

In the shop, Susan is trying in interest Jim in her choices of pictures from the family photoshoot. Jim doesn’t care. Toby arrives to buy flowers and an apology card. “He should be buying those in bulk,” says Susan. He goes home to find Pip drain-clearing. He grovels and invites her to a gin-tasting in Birmingham for the night. This seems to be enough to thaw Pip somewhat.

Lizzie turns up at the Bull for a family conflab with Kenton. The Dark Lord slithers in, returning some white spirit he borrowed to remove the car graffiti ad Lizzie point-blank refuses to even be in the same room as him. Lizzie wants Kenton to take the twins round the estate roads in their new car. After the driving session, Kenton is traumatized as the twins were terrible, abusive and dangerous drivers. He recovers with Lizzie. Dr. Locke seems to have had a bit of a dalliance with Debbie over New Year, but Lizzie is philosophical about it.

At the shop, Jim closes bang on five and the Dark Lord arrives on leathery wings two minutes late. Jim refuses to serve him until the Evil One lashes his scaley tail and smoke pours from his nostrils. Jim lets him in and Rob, having got what he wanted, is still incredibly abusive, describing Jim as a “little Hitler”. Susan overhears it from the back room and throws Rob out – banning him from the shop. Word of Rob’s latest outrage quickly spreads far and wide (Susan was involved, after all). Jolene tells Alan at the Bull. Meanwhile, Helen arrives back from the solicitors. Rob is contesting the divorce and might be able to make a claim on Bridge Farm. This is going to be expensive for Helen. Back at the Bull, Lillian confides to Jolene that the affair might be over.

After learning about Rob’s latest outrage, kindly Alan heads round to see him. The Dark Lord is sitting on his throne made from the bones of previous victims and stewing – “Christmas without my sons – unbearable.” He does actually call his son “Jack”, but in spite of Alan being as placatory as possible, Rob is still angry about Jim, the girls who defaced his car, Helen, the village, the parents, life etc. Alan can see so headway – “you are putting yourself beyond help.”

Helen has come up with promotions for the shop – a New Year de-tox theme including apple and kale soup. Really? She’s even laminated some signs. This should help pay for the divorce.

Susan is pleased about Tracey and Roy. “Tracey hasn’t always made the best choices when it comes to men.” I’m not sure Roy even knows that there IS a ‘Tracey and Roy’. An enormous New Year’s snog at the Bull isn’t really a relationship in anyone’s eyes apart from Susan’s and Tracey’s.

After finding out from Helen that the Evil One is no longer going to contest the divorce – much to the relief of Helen and, no doubt the poor customers who were going to be force-fed apple and kale soup to help pay form the thing, Tom runs round for another difficult meeting with Kirsty. He has had a long think about things. He has come to the conclusion the best solution would be to get married. I don’ thtink he has really though this through. Kirsty is understandably horrified. “How on earth to you think I can trust you again?” Maybe Tom mentioning ‘marriage’ to the woman he left at the altar wasn’t the best plan after all. If anything, this brilliant idea is even worse that apple and kale soup and has mae Kirsty remember the ‘vile’ thing Tom did to her. “You need to back off – back right off. I don’t need you – I don’t need you at all.”

By Campbell Mitchell, Dec 18 2016 11:53AM

We begin with Peggy, chatting to Helen about the custody trial and how pleased she is about the outcome “It’s a wonderful Christmas present, knowing Jack only has to see his Father once a month,”and “There’s a whole week of anniversaries coming up – David and Ruth, Tony and Pat and Adam and Ian.” Some will go better than others. She also voices concerns about the land deal fracturing the family.

Brian is discussing the land deal with Justin. Justin wants things speeded up. Jennifer and Peggy turn up for a posh lunch. “Is your wife not with you this weekend?,” pipes up innocent Peggy. Brian chokes. Peggy dodders on over lunch about her will and family concerns over Brian’s enormous land deal. Brian still hasn’t spoken to Debbie. “She’s a very busy woman.” And a very expensive actress, now. After lunch, Brian is upset about Peggy’s reticence and begins mending a fence in the rain. Jennifer comes to see him, now voicing a little concern about the deal - “you can’t put a value on a happy family.”

The Pyrex Kid is with Johnny. “Johnny’s good a cricket – just like my dad,” pipes up the Synthetic One. Helen and Johnny just ride over that particular bump in the road. Johnny has been asked to model at the student fashion show by some girl he fancies called Amber. He’s growing a beard for the occasion. Or is trying to .

Susan has booked Neil a wet shave for the family picture, which is finally happening. Susan is still worried about the dress, although asking Neil about fashion isn’t always helpful. HE prefers the red fake velvet one she wore ages ago. “I gave it to charity,” snaps Susan.

David is offered two mince pies – one from Jill and one from Ruth. We don’t find out which he prefers, but we can guess. Ruth is worried about the Pip/Jill feud ruining Christmas. Meanwhile, Pip is trying to plan Christmas with Toby. Toby is upset about the fact that Pip will be paying for everything. Pip also wants to invest the five grand she made on cattle in Toby’s crackpot artisan gin project. This won’t go well. “I’m just investing in our future.” I’m not sure Toby was planning on that much of a future.

Neil is proud of his wet shave and gets Toby to stroke his chin. Kate is moaning about slaving over the costumes. She’s had a Christmas card from her Forgotten Children in Africa and is moping about the lack of kisses. Hard to imagine why her children would be so unloving towards their dedicated mother.

At the much-planned Carter family studio portrait, Susan arrives in the red dress that Neil liked. “You look more beautiful than I ever remember.” Awww.

Lynda is wound very tight about the Panto – concerns over the unfinished costumes and the casting of Kenton in the lead. “ He’s completely unmanageable.”

Emmar and Ed are discussing the photoshoot. It went very well, apparently. Emmar wants to take the kids to a professional panto with “that bloke from Eastenders.” It will be £100 for the four of them. Ed doesn’t think they can afford it. But Emmar wears him down – “no treats, no summer holiday, no trips to the seaside.” Emmar always liked the finer thngs, and marrying ex crack addict Ed has not helped her. Maybe she should have stuck with dull Will.

Brian and Jennifer are STILL discussing the land deal. Justin isn’t going to put the land on the open market until January. Debbie has finally called (off microphone) – she’s coming home for Christmas. Is Ruari going to make it home, too, or will he be left at Dotheboys Hall over the festive period?

Helen is planning a trip to see Jess, to thank her for her help at her trial. Later, at the nativity play (a little early, no?), Helen and Pat are watching the Pyrex Kid on stage and Emmar is there for Keira. Arriving late, Ed has spotted the Evil One, lurking in the foyer. After the play, Heen and Pat discuss the fact that Rob actually snuck into the hall. Pat is her usual outraged self – “I wish I could make him disappear like a pantomine baddie,” but Helen is strangely calm. She may even be feeling a tiny bit sorry for him. Don’t go there, Helen.

Helen is setting off to see Jess. Pat is fussing terribly. “I’ve packed a cheese sandwich. And an apple. And a banana. And a flapjack.” Pat wants to come, but Helen heads off with a crying Jack. It’s a bit stilted when she gets there. Helen has given Jess a card, saying “I owe you my life.” They end up sort of bonded and head off to a soft play café. Jess bumped into Cruella and Bruce recently and Bruce called her “a liar” and “a whore.” Jess hasn’t made a formal police complaint against the Evil One, either, but she has fitted a spy hole and a new lock. “Are you still scared of him?”

Susan is with Emmar at the café. Susan is very pleased with the photoshoot. Pat pops in for a cinnamon latte and is instantly set upon by Susan, hungry for gossip about Helen. Pat snaps her off. Susan harrumphs on about being told off for showing a “neighbourly interest.” Ed turns up, upset because the ram has managed to tear his scrotum. Ouch. The vet had to come, so big bill, no posh panto for the kids. Emmar is bitter and upset. It’s your bed, Emmar.

At the student fashion show, Pat asks Johnny about Amber. “How do you know about Amber?” Johnny is upset that the whole family seems to know about her. Pat wants her to come to the farm. “I haven’t even asked her out, yet.” Amber is putting Johnny in formal wear as he has a “classic physique.” It doesn’t go well – Amber has a boyfriend, it seems. Johnny storms out and is replaced by Slow Freddie at the last minute, much to Elizabeth’s delight. Pat corners Johnny after – very upset “I’m going home, Jazzer needs help with the pigs.

David and Brian discuss Christmas at the NFU annual dinner. They are both pleased to have their whole families under one roof. Not strictly true, David. Inevitably, Brian asks David about the wretched land deal. David gets all mystical and misty-eyed about standing on Lakey Hill and imagining his dad standing there - like Luke Skywalker being watched over by a glowing Obi Wan. “It’s about the land.” “Yes, it’s about the land.” This steels Brian’s resolve even further.

The next morning, David is very hung-over, moving silage. Pip chooses this moment to tell David and Ruth that she’s not coming home for Christmas and will be spending it with Toby at Rickyard. Ruth is floored. “Christmas is supposed to be the season of good will.” Pragmatic Pip suggests that no one will have a good Christmas if Toby and she come. Ruth turns on David – “do you want to drive her away?” Ruth is upset about David and Jill being so nasty to Toby.

There’s a knock on Helen’s door, a whiff of sulphur and a faint beating of leathery wings. “You.” “Hello, Helen,” breathes the Evil One. After a brief chat, it turns out that he’s brought presents for the boys. “In a small way, I want to be part of my boys’ Christmas.” He wants to apologise to Helen after his chats with the Vic. “I want to be a better man, Helen.” Foolishly, she takes the presents. Then, beaming a message from the darkest, most distant realms of Planet Mental, Rob says - “don’t say we’re over.” “Goodbye, Rob,” says Helen, firmly and hopefully, finally.

By Campbell Mitchell, Dec 11 2016 11:40AM

“Mother Goose” is drawing nearer and Kate has done some very ambitious and risqué designs for costumes. Lynda is impressed, but isn’t sure the budget will stretch ot the radical ideas. After she leaves, Brian tries to interest Kate is his multi-million pound expansion plans. Kate, typically, can see no further than her own interests. “What does this mean for the yurts?” Alica arrives, and seems very keen on Brian’s ideas.

At the Bull, Kenton has staffing problems. “Marco” is unwell. Moonshine Toby offers to plug the personnel gap and then moans on about the bad books he’s got himself into with the Archers. Surprisingly, Kenton takes him on as relief barman. This won’t end well.

Later, at Mother Goose rehearsals, Lynda tells Kenton that he’s “not getting the script off the page.” They get into a bit of a fight, Kenton wants re-writes. Toby wades in to try and help. He says he will rehearse with Kenton at the Bull and this calms La Snell down.

Kenton drives Lizzie off to try and buy a car for the twins to share. They do the BBC thing, walking about discussing cars without naming the brands. “Oh, look at that one.” Kenton lusts after an un-named soft top (MX-5? Bentley? 2CV? Who knows) until Elizabeth makes him focus. Kenton teases her about the attentions of the good doctor Locke. “It’s complicated.” After, at the Bull, Kenton appears to have bought a car for himself, even though he still owes David and Ruth money for the refurbishment. And he’s missed the latest ‘Goose’ rehearsal, putting him further in Lynda’s bad books. Elizabeth tells Kenton that Shula quite fancies Dr. Locke, too and it is this that’s putting the brakes on her giving in to the doctor’s desires. Kenton thinks that she should just “go for it.” Which is his usual answer to everything.

The Fairbrother brothers meet at the goose shed. Chilly. Toby offers to help Rex slaughter the birds in return for siting the (hopefully soon to be legal) still at Hollowtree. Toby has checked the lease and it looks like he can do what he wants on the property. Rex reluctantly agrees.

Josh is trying to tap David for money to buy a sit-on mower which he can re-sell, making a £600 profit. Careful David isn’t sure. Josh then tells him about Toby’s re-ignited gin-making plans. “He’s what??!!??” He storms round to Toby and smarmy Toby waves the lease at him, saying that he can do what he likes at Hollowtree. “You can’t terminate the lease just because you don’t like me.” “Just watch me.”

At yet another “Goose” rehearsal, Toby and Kenton perform their new scene for a skeptical Lynda. There’s lots of fart gags. “No, no, no – that is completely tasteless and vulgar. I won’t have it in a Linda Snell Production” – the gold standard of panto.

Simmering David has to concede defeat to Moonshine Toby. Ruth tries to calm him, somehow turning her New Zealand disappearance into a ‘crisis’ that they survived. She is hoping that the Fairbrothers go home for Christmas.

The Dark Lord is having his legal visit with the Half-Dark Child, on the morning of the Family Court hearing. Susan and Kirsty discuss the Toby/Linda panto feud. Susan is having a ‘Calendar Girls’ party to say goodbye to ‘naked Ambridge’. Kirsty and Helen have tea, Helen is worried about the access hearing, even though the phychological report on Rob was pretty negative. Helen is also worried as the Pyrex Kid is still referring to the Evil One as “Daddy”. Susan and Pat discuss the usual Grundy financial crisis – the turkey sales are down, thanks to Fairbrother Geese. Then Susan goes into full gossip mode, speculating about Justin and Lillian.

At the court before the hearing, Helen is nervous, waiting with Anna. The Dark Lord and Cruella are lurking about. It goes very well, Rob can only see Jack/Gideon once a month at a contact centre under professional guidance. Result. Helen is still worried about the fact that Jack will have to see the Evil One at all.

Jill and David meet for a good Toby bashing. Jill calls Toby a “worthless parasite who can’t be trusted.” David tries to calm her down and says that Ruth wants a “good old fashioned family Christmas.”

Usha is on her way to meet Anisha (the new vet) who wants to rent Murder Cottage. Rob arrives suddenly to meet the Vic. There is steam and flame coming out of Rob’s ears. His tail lashes about and he beats his little cloven hooves on the floor, enraged by the court judgement. Alan tries to calm him down, but Rob is full of raving self-pity and rage against the system and the Archers.

Anisha turns out to be Scottish, is well aware of the recent history of the place and tries (successfully) to negotiate a discount. Usha returns to a battered Alan, floored after his meeting with Rob. “There’s something missing in his brain.”

David calms down and makes up with Pip. He has come to terms with Moonshine Toby’s plans. Toby is working on his truck in the shed. Jill finds him and is very aggressive. “Leave my granddaughter alone and get off this farm.” “Sorry grandma, that’s not going to happen.”

Brian has seen his accountant and raising the millions needed to buy the land seems achievable, but Adam meets Peggy and moans on about the end of the herbal lays experiment. “We’re going to end up with a dustbowl.” Peggy is more practical. Also, no one seems to have spoken to Debbie about the land purchase.

Toby, Pip and Kenton are discussing the Panto and after Pip leaves, Toby moans on about how awful Jill is. “She always seems such a sweetie,” says a bewildered Kenton. Later, whilst Pip is cooking Toby’s dinner, Toby tells HER about how nasty Jill has been. He is thinking about heading off to his folks for Christmas. Pip is adamant that he remains.

Brian and Jennifer talk further about liquidating everything to buy the land. Jennifer wants a further financial opinion. Adam arrives, having spoken to Debbie. “You should have let me speak to her first,” growls Brian. Adam tells him that Debbie thinks that Brian is out of his mind.

By Campbell Mitchell, Dec 4 2016 11:34AM

Newly re-installed Adam is discussing his soon-to-be wedding anniversary with Jennifer. She puts the brakes on his extravagant plans, thinking that it might be a little over the top given the fragile nature of his marriage. They’re “not back to where they are.” Adam leaves just as Brian has news – he wants to buy some estate land from BL, over 300 acres. “It’s a fantastic opportunity.” It’s also going to cost 2.7 million. Jennifer isn’t convinced. He runs off to discuss it with Adam. Adam isn’t convinced, either. Brian comes away confident that he can persuade him. Jennifer drops the gossip about the Lillian/Justin affair. Brian sounds shocked. Really, Brian? Shocked by an affair? Fancy. Cunning Brain thinks that the affair might help with the land deal.

Toby “Moonshine” Fairbrother is being nagged by Pip as his illegal still is still in residence. Pip heads off to see the cows with Ruth. Ruth is worried about Pip’s relationship with Angry David. The anti-Toby faction within the Archer clan is strengthening. Pip tries to defend her flakey boyfriend. “All I want is for you to be happy, Pip.” It ends coldly and Pip calls Toby for further nagging.

Adam and Ian chat. Adam lays out his plans for a weekend away. Ian isn’t sure and wants to take things a little slower.

Susan is very excited about the family photoshoot (“at Shirelles”) and flaps away to Helen about it.

Adam and Brain walk the potential purchase land. Adam isn’t keen on the soil quality, but Brian bucks him up about how he can improve it.

Lillian and Justin rehearse their lines for the panto. Lillian tells Justin that Tony and Jennifer know about their affair. Justin doesn’t seem too surprised or upset.

Ian visits Helen. Helen is worried about the up-coming hearing about reducing the Evil One’s contact time with the Half-Dark Child. Helen asks Ian about Adam. “All relationships go through tough patches.” Don’t they just, Helen – at least Ian hasn’t stabbed Adam. Yet.

Jill and Ruth discuss the Toby still issue – the hard line anti-Toby faction. “What do you think Toby does all day?” Pip turns up and Jill immediately fires into her about the still, but Pip distracts her with good news about the fattening cattle on the herbal lay. “One thing might help – leaving Toby Fairbrother.” Subtle as a brick, Jill. The fight rears up again – Pip defends and Jill attacks. Pip storms out. “Now look what you’ve done,” moans Ruth.

Susan and Neil turn up at Shirelles – it looks closed up. She calls them and it goes straight to ansaphone. Susan is fretting – none of the rest of the family have turned up and the photographers is still closed. Neil tries to calm her down when Emmar turns up with a poorly Kiera. The photographer calls, he’s running late. They have to re-schedule for a week’s time. Susan shows Emmar her posh frock (which she is planning on returning), just as Kiera throws up all over it.

The Evil One turns up for his visit with Jack/Gideon and Helen chats with Pat - she is excited about Cockernee Kaz getting out of prison and coming to visit her after Christmas.

Linda’s Talent Show auditions haven’t gone well – Neville Booth has done something unspeakable with balls. Toby wows Linda with some juggling, until it goes wrong and he wallops her with his clubs. Later, in the Bull, Toby wants Eddie to store his still at Grundy’s Field, in return for a load of miseltoe from the orchard. It gets sticky later at rehearsal when Tom and Kirsty are cast as lovers. “Never forget – you two were made for each other,” breathes Linda.

Lizzie’s Deck the Halls is going great guns. Dr. Richard is hanging about, trying to tempt her out for a mulled wine. He gets nowhere. He then suggests helping Lizzie choose a car for the twins. Lizzie again rebuffs him – a little stronger this time. Dr. Locke is becoming a pest.

Tom gets a call from Roy – there’s a Ninties night at a club in Felbisham. They agree to go – with Jazzer in tow. Roy is nervous, Jazzer is in his element. “We’re going to have a night to remember.” They bump into Tracey Horribin, who trails round after Roy whilst Jazzer rules the dancefloor.

Adam has taken Ian out to a matinee movie – Ian can’t get the evening off and will be missing Jennifer’s lamb tagine. They sound pretty happy together. Ian heads to work and Adam to Home Farm for dinner. The land deal dominates conversation and Jenifer tries to remain neutral until Adam is driven off home by Brian’s clear-eyed zeal.

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