The Archers – an everyday story of simple ever more politically correct folk

Robert Henderson

Listeners to the Archers have long remarked at the miraculous retention of an Irish accent by the bastard son of  Brian Aldridge and Siobhan Hathaway Ruairi Donovan after arriving in England at the age of 5 and living there ever since. He  has suddenly re-appeared speaking  a form of RP.  A very rare example of reality intruding into the modern Archers.

Elsewhere  the serial  has continued to be the story of ever more politically correct folk. The inhabitants of this village supposedly  set in the heart England  continue to be treated to more and more of the joy of diversity as the Ambridge demographic increasingly  resembles that of England’s  inner-cities.   The village cricket team is being coached by  Iftikar Shah,  who is of God-like visage and physique (natch)  and immediately captivates all the women and the two gays in the village who spend time swooning at the mere thought of him.  In addition the black ex-boyfriend of “dual heritage” Amy, the vicar’s daughter, is due to return at some point with a story which gains him redemption from his stereotype feckless black male situation at present.

The Albanian care worker Elona who is married to the English Darryl Makepeace. Darryl is a chippie who was “led astray” by bad influences who persuaded  him to steal  from his employer resulting in a jail sentence for receiving. He has been employed by the dodgy Matt Crawford (another disreputable English character with a prison record) who wants to pay him “off the books”. Sidesplittingly,  Elona,  insists he is placed under PAYE . A  storyline  using the same basic characters which would have been connected with  reality would be Elona having the criminal record and urging Darren to remain “off the books” so no tax was paid and benefits could be safely falsely claimed at the same time.

There are English additions to the cast, but unlike the pc approved characters, they are a white “problem family” of the type beloved of the British political class and the Daily Mail. An extra brood of Horrobins has arrived, living off benefits, coming from broken relationships and, horror of horrors, smoking.  One of the Horrobins, Tracy, is relentlessly pursuing Iftikah and another is charged with having set fire to the Brookfield barn in an arson attack to try to frighten David Archer out  of giving evidence in a criminal case involving a serious attack on his cousin Adam.   The only new  white character  who is not presented as a blot on the landscape is Rhys the barman who is Welsh .

But the biggest laugh for watchers of political correctness has come from the desire of Jamie Perk’s girlfriend to play cricket more than anything else in the world. This improbable female ambition  has resulted in the Ambridge youth team playing a local girl’s school team and losing (natch).

Gay storylines have begun to overwhelm the  programme.  Ambridge’s civil partnership couple Adam and Ian have reached a crisis in what they unblinkingly refer to as “our marriage”  , with the terminally self-regarding  Adam  threatening to move away from Ambridge after quarrelling with his step-father Brian Aldridge over how the farm is run.  After a quarrel Adam leaves the house and has what turns out to be a one-night gay stand with Pawel, one of his Polish seasonal pickers, a one-might stand  Adam regrets the next day . As things stand Pawel is hanging around like a bad smell with Adam terrified that he may spill the beans about their one-night stand.

But that is not the end of Ambridge’s politically correct  sexual liberation.  Harry, a young middleclass Englishman is a graduate who has somehow ended up as a milkman working for Mike Tucker,   heads off in a camper van for a few days at  the Edinburgh Fringe.  With him go Fallon, the daughter of the landlady of the Bull, his Scottish flatmate Jazzer and Kirsty  the barmaid from  Jaxx’s Bar.   Fallon is desperately hoping that she will be able to start a relationship with Harry during the trip.

Going through the Lake District the van breaks down and Harry takes them to the house of an old university  friend of his  named Karl  whom he has not seen for years. During the course of  the evening and the following night Harry is outed as having had a homosexual relationship with Karl before they broke because Harry is, guess what, bisexual,  while Karl is  simply homosexual and resented  Harry’s female friends.  (I am not making this up, honest!).    The four would-be  Edinburgh Fringers get into the van and begin driving off before Harry suddenly stops the van and announces that he is staying with Karl. He gives Fallon a note for Mike Tucker saying he will not returning.

The result of all these exciting new storylines is a loss of 400,000 listeners in short order as regular Archers turn off in disgust and dismay.  (

A Machiavellian explanation for this bizarre behaviour would be that the BBC is trying to surreptitiously destroy the programme.  In a way I wish I could believe that because it would at least be a rational act. Sadly, I think the producer of the Archers is doping this in the belief that if the Archers becomes a model of the politically correct fantasy world dreamt of by liberals it will become, in the favourite liberal word, relevant and much more successful.

What next? Well, here a  few  storylines  to fit the new Archers’ template which  the writers could tuck into:

– Peggy Archer outs herself as a lesbian who is hankering after the Albanian help Elona.

– Jack Woolley is revealed as Nazi war criminal Jakob Wolter,  a death camp guard at Belson  who  escaped to Britain at the end of the war and settled in Birmingham under an alias.

– The wicked  agribusiness fiend Brian Aldridge  is convicted  for the possession of  child pornography, loses everything and the Borchester Land mega-dairy plan dissolves into nothing.. Jennifer has to become a charwoman to stave off starvation.

– The beast of Ambridge turns out to be an alien from outer space intent on abducting  human specimens for  dissection.  Caroline and Oliver, the only  remaining  genuine  toffs  mysteriously  disappear.

– Helen Archer is found to be an android created by the aliens to study the local life. The android  was introduced to Ambridge  decades ago when it  was substituted for the newly born Helen.

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2 Responses to The Archers – an everyday story of simple ever more politically correct folk

  1. richard hodgkinson says:

    We could not agree more it is becoming a farce since the introduction of Easrenders influence,surely one of the most despicable programmes ever conceived.Is there anyone left at all at the BBC who is normal,I dont think so,their sole aim is to drag us all down into their world of cheap naff mediocrity

    • emma says:

      In my opinion, the introduction of these characters into the Archers is not political correctness gone wrong, but simply a reflection of England today. It shouldn’t be a big deal that there are gay people, black people, female vicars or any other minority. Why is everyone getting so offended at the introduction of these characters that are the types of people that make up our every day lives? Admittedly less so in a village than a city but by no means are they not there!! I live in a country village with gay neighbours and Indian neighbours. This is no big deal. A girl wanted to play cricket is no reason to think that political correctness has gone too far. I love cricket! Also, everybody is complaining that the BBC are being too left-wing but people don’t mention how much Rupert Murdoch affects ours views of the world with his right-wing policies projected onto the million papers that he owns.

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