The Archers is currently the subject of various story-lines which bid fair to leave the programme a largely Archer-free zone.
The pivotal Archer family – David and Ruth Archer – are in the process of selling Brookfield with the intent of buying a farm hundreds of miles away in the North East of England because planning permission has been given to build a road on Brookfield land.
Jill Archer is planning to move north with David and Ruth.
Pip Archer has been away from the programme for a suspiciously long time working for other farmers or finishing her agricultural studies.
Tony Archer lies critical injured in hospital after being tossed and gored by his prize bull and even if he survives is likely to be paraplegic.
Tom Archer did a runner on his wedding day and is now in Canada and seemingly out of contact with his family.
Helen Archer is living with Rob Titchener, a very obvious psychopath, and is ripe for being slaughtered in a psychotic rage, by either Titchener or his unbalanced estranged wife Jess.
Elizabeth Pargetter is in the messy aftermath of an affair with Roy Tucker, who will almost certainly sue her for wrongful dismissal after she sacked him as the manager of her events company when the affair went wrong. This will in all probability result in massive damages for Tucker which will undermine the viability of the country estate (Lower Loxley) on which the events business depends.
Debbie Aldridge has been a long-time exile in Eastern Europe.
Kate Madikane lives in South Africa with her black husband.
Peggy Woolley has just turned ninety and is obviously ripe for shuffling off this mortal coil.
This looks suspiciously like a systematic culling of the Archer family to allow the programme to be moulded to a shape more agreeable to the crazed politically correct minds of those who control the show. They doubtless think it is, as they would put it, “ a scandal in this day and age” to only have a minority of black, Asian and gay characters in the cast and desperately want to bring in far more, but find it very difficult to do so when there are so many white heterosexual characters tiresomely blocking their way.
Once the Archers have been reduced to no more than a token presence, what will the programme be like? Imagine Brookfield sold to Mr Singh and the village shop run by Mrs Patel to join the Hindu wife of the vicar who is also the local solicitor and Amy the “dual heritage” daughter of the vicar by his deceased Jamaican first wife, with Amy’s Jamaican grandmother taking the place in the storyline of Jill Archer. The ultimate dream of the programme controllers will probably be to see Ambridge with a minority of white characters to, as they would put it, “ make Ambridge look like modern England” .
The gay quotient will also be inflated. Already there is Charlie Thomas hovering over Adam Macey with the threat of a bust up with Macey’s “husband”, the chef at Grey Gables with the hilarious Ian Paisley voice. The programme makers will surely correct one of their glaring pc omissions and introduce a lesbian relationship, although it must be admitted they have been strangely coy to date about girl-on-girl action in this ever increasing tale of simple politically correct folk.
The cull of established characters may well go beyond the Archer family because the older characters generally are not to the taste of the politically correct. Apart from being all too white and heterosexual, they have be allowed to express, within limits, non-pc views with the intention that such views can be portrayed as anachronistic and soon to die out . Useful as that was at one time, the politically correct mind now sees no need for such “black hat” characters because it sees the process of reforming British attitudes as having moved to a point where no one can safely express non-pc views and they feel that characters doing so at best will seem at odds with the reality of England today.
What listeners can be certain of is that the Ambridge of the future will be very difficult to recognise as the classic English farming village it was intended to be.