In response to David Keighley’s BBC Watch: Helen hasn’t just stabbed loathsome Rob. She has killed The Archers, Laurence Hodge wrote:
I started listening to The Archers by accident in 1978 while living in France. When the 198m frequency was reallocated to Radio 4 from Radio 2, I discovered this comfortable 15 minute slot after the 19:00 news bulletin.
David Keighley is spot on in identifying the great watershed.
The advent of Vanessa Whitburn was the beginning of the end. The Archers became her vehicle for “exploring” (= banging remorselessly on about) “issues” (= things that the BBC bien pensants think deserve raising in the collective consciousness) beginning with Julia Pargeter’s drinking, Helen Archer’s eating disorder, Jack Woolley’s dementia and lots more of the same against a backdrop of unnecessarily obtrusive gayness or improbable sex in the shower.
Nigel Pargeter, poor sap, wanted to send his children to a private school so Vanessa Whitburn threw him off the roof of his house. In the weeks and months that followed every episode consisted of his widow screaming and there’s only so much of this a body can take.
I’ve been ‘clean’ for some time now but last May, the Daily Mail reported that: “earlier this year the head of the BBC, Tony Hall, signalled a move to take the show back to its roots”.
I must have missed the vintage episode in which Walter Gabriel cut off Captain’s head and left the bleeding remains in the Country Park.