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September 6, 2020

THE Archers, once a no-nonsense tale of everyday farming folk which cheered up the nation, has disappeared so far up its own fundament that nobody can any longer smell excreta – animal, human or alien.
Perhaps the BBC Radio Four scriptwriters experienced loss of smell and taste ahead of the COVID-19 outbreak – about five years ahead of it.
The character monologues during COVID-19 were barely disguised government propaganda in desperately boring and inane lines said by the characters to themselves, seemingly blissfully unaware of the fact that the only people who would ever listen to them was themselves.
Now Ambridge seems to have been conquered by a small platoon of Welsh ne’er-do-wells with broad accents which completely jar in the verdant and luxurious rolling green acres of middle-class middle England.
Ambridge sounds more like Ammanford these days with a pair of chippy father and son builders bringing some “authenticity” and “edge” after an explosion at Grey Gables, for which they are currently being sued.
I had always assumed that Welsh people like me would be barred from Ambridge on perfectly understandable grounds which I had accepted perfectly happily if not even enthusiastically.
I was content to let dim-witted rustic yokels and village idiots like Eddie Grundy and offensive bigots like Brian Aldridge along with a broad range of stereotypical farming families who grow to sound more like the animals they tend by the day to keep the home fires burning in Borsetshire with outsiders made unwelcome by the tribal chiefs, movers and shakers.
New BBC director general Tim Davie needs to think seriously about The Archers, one of our oldest and most cherished broadcasting institutions specifically designed to provide light relief and boost morale in a gentler age while reflecting back at the comfortable country set many of the issues they face every day.
Presently, it is reflecting back much more about metropolitan, digital-speed city life among the sensibly sourced organic granola at Waitrose chattering classes than it is about country life down on the farm.
We need more real muck in the muck-spreading with angry, smelly pigs, crunchy honey-coated crackling, dangerous snappy snouts rather than nouts and an immediate end to the dull, dreary, insipid prize porkers which are lazily accepted as condescending and patronising storylines by writers with no sense of smell or taste.
And it needs to happen soon or The Archers will have had its bacon.

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