Charlotte Higgins discusses the latest plot twist on The Archers: the return of Evil Rob, in what feels like a zombie sequel.
Natasha has been very active this month, constantly moving around and making her presence known. She has been making demands at the tearoom, insisting that Fallon and Emma play undesirable music. She also caused trouble with Helen Archer by saying something inappropriate. Her footwear may be from a fancy designer, but it won’t be long before she upgrades to something even more expensive, driven by her desire for power and control. Natasha has also been attending Zumba class with waterproof mascara, putting up tacky artificial wisteria decorations at the tearoom’s entrance, and reminding Rebecca Price that her job is to promote advertisements, not to support the principles of a free press and local democracy by actually reporting on news. Unfortunately, the decline of the Borsetshire Echo is evident, and Ms. Price is not a good example of ethical journalism.
Grey Gables, finally edging towards its soft reopening, feels as if it might need a name change: those gables don’t feel very grey any more, what with the super-luxury spa, the ballroom with its retractable stage and the soon-to-be-opened bistro. Lily Pargetter is about to do a work experience placement there; you might more accurately call it an industrial espionage placement, owing to the drain of staff from her family pile of Lower Loxley towards those newly Gleaming Gables.
The unidentified buyer of Oliver Sterling’s 10 acres, which were sold to cover the expenses of the renovations mentioned above, has been revealed to be none other than Rob Titchener’s brother, Miles. He purchased the land on behalf of Rob and Helen’s son, Jack, following his brother’s dying wishes. This manipulative and divisive action guarantees a future filled with strained relationships between Jack and his half-brother, Henry, who is often overlooked. However, for the time being, Henry does not seem to be bothered by this.
The yearly conference of academics known as Academic Archers will be held this spring. The conference focuses on presenting research on the long-running social experiment in Ambridge, which has been ongoing for 70 years. One of the sessions at the conference is titled “It’s a ferret Ferris wheel!: Depictions of human-animal interactions and animal welfare in the Archers.” This study was particularly relevant this month as a new resident at the Laurels care home, a vicious cat named Hilda, was causing chaos by wandering the halls, intimidating other residents, and stealing food from their rooms. Hilda was ultimately kicked out of the care home and passed around various characters in the Archers in search of a new home. She seemed to take a liking to Brian Aldridge, but unfortunately, he turned out to have a severe cat allergy. Peggy’s son Tony reluctantly took in Hilda but may now be at risk of losing some fingers due to her aggressive behavior. Only time will tell if he can survive her wrath. For now, he is already injured from his encounter with Hilda.