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From yokels to wokels in Ambridge-on-Thames


THE BBC has decided to temporarily suspend some recordings of The Archers, the everyday storyboard for cosmopolitan country folk.

What direction will it take over the coronavirus?

You wanna go down Memory Lane, according to one current strategy. 

But will the Young Turks of BBC social engineering have the patience to take the scenic route? I doubt it.

How can The Archers it be described as a modern-day account of Brexit Britain when nobody in Ambridge seems to know a social distance from a sheep dip?

Mind you don’t step in my safe space there, you Pargeters!

I’d bet the new Borchester Indoor Pig Farm that right now, as we sit here chewing the cud, some BBC Owen Jones clone is seizing the opportunity to re-brand The Archers. This fiend in human form will want to hijack another national icon and plant the flag of the Condescenti Movement in the highest field.

Under normal circumstances, the BBC’s first choice for any modernisation would be Russell T Davies, or someone equally ‘russellty’. But the Ambridge agrarian-economy has been industrialised enough. They won’t welcome any more heavy-handed symbolism machines. And there’ll be no room for the sheople. 

People forget that the BBC has invested heavily in character-stock. This is a select public school-educated human herd that’s been bred to dispense homilies to the population of Britain.

The choice of Lewis Goodall, Policy Editor of BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Newsnight, wouldn’t surprise me. Folk wisdom says that farming comes easy to anyone whose plough is a keyboard and is never less than a thousand yards from a field.

Like all BBC types, Goodall will regard people outside London as a bunch of countryfiles. They need educating and that’s exactly what a soap opera was intended for. It immerses them in the sheep dip of storylines and cleanses them with a social message.

Like any new manager, Lewis will want to bring in his own trusted characters who reflect his metropolitan view of the countryside. These roustabouts – the Goodall Boys – will paint the town of Ambridge red. And let’s not forget the Goodall Girls. They’ll have to paint the town twice as red just to get equal recognition.

In one storyline, Emily Makespeech, who runs the Ambridge Comedy Club, is invited to London (fancy!) and asked to go on Newsnight. She is totally starstruck, but nevertheless she tells presenter Evan Davis that there has been a terrible failure by the Tory government and it’s time Keir Starmer was given a chance to show what he can do.

Then there’s Dr Tweetalot, who works as an anaesthetist at Ambridge General Hospital. In line with Goodall Boy’s policies, Dr Tweetalot will have a news narrative that’s designed to ‘hold this government to account’. 

In Dr Tweetalot’s storylines, she is forced to remove her own make up after appearing on BBC Question Time. The lack of face cream and hand wash is a savage indictment of this government’s failure to plan for the Covid crisis, Pip Archer tells her when Dr Tweetalot pops into Brookfield Farm to deliver an emergency basket of emotional currencies.

For comic relief, Jez Misery, the reactionary from nearby Clarkson Farm in The Cotswolds, will deliberately flout the social distancing rules. ‘It’s all nonsense,’ he says, as he loads ten boxes of Andrex into his Porsche.

Can you guess what’s going to happen to Jeremy next? You’ll have to tune in and find out.

Cue the music … 

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Nick Booth
Nick Booth
Nick Booth is a freelance writer.

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