The Archers


The Archers

Infobox Radio Show
show_name = The Archers


imagesize = 130x130px
caption = The podcast picture of the soap
other_names =
format = Soap Opera
runtime = 15 minutes, later 12½ minutes
country = flagcountry|United Kingdom
language = English
home_station = BBC Light Programme, later BBC Home Service, now BBC Radio 4
syndicates =
television =
starring =
creator = Godfrey Baseley
writer =
director =
producer = Julie Beckett
editor = Vanessa Whitburn
executive_producer =
narrated =
record_location = BBC Birmingham
first_aired = 29 May2 June 1950 (pilot)
1 January 1951
last_aired = Present
num_series =
num_episodes = 15,492 (As of 30 May 2008)
audio_format = Stereophonic sound
opentheme = Barwick Green
endtheme =
website = [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/archers/ Archers homepage]
podcast = [http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/archers/rss.xml The Archers podcast]

"The Archers" is a British radio soap opera broadcast on the BBC's main spoken-word channel, Radio 4. Originally billed as an "everyday story of country folk",cite news
author = Jack Adrian
title = Tony Shryane Obituary
url = http://news.independent.co.uk/people/obituaries/article37242.ece
publisher = The Independent on Sunday
date = 2003-10-09
accessdate = 2008-01-06
] it is the world's longest running radio soap with more than 15,000 episodes broadcast, [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6124558.stm The Archers airs 15,000th episode] , "BBC News", 2006-11-07]

"The Archers" is the most listened to Radio 4 non-news programme, [cite web
url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2005/12_december/30/archers.shtml
title= The Archers clocks up 55 years
accessdate= 2008-01-06
date= 2005-12-30
publisher= BBC Press Office
] and holds the BBC Radio programme record for the number of times listened to over the internet, with over one million listeners. [cite news
author = Nicole Martin
title = The Archers online dwarfs Chris Moyles
url = http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/08/17/nradio217.xml
publisher = The Daily Telegraph
date = 2007-08-20
accessdate = 2007-01-06
]

Outline

"The Archers" is set in the fictional village of Ambridge in the fictional county of Borsetshire, in the real Midlands of England. Borsetshire is situated between the (in reality, contiguous) counties of Worcestershire and Warwickshire, south of Birmingham in the West Midlands. Various villages claim to be the inspiration for Ambridge: Ambridge's pub, The Bull, is modelled on The Old Bull in Inkberrow, [Compare Ambridge's [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/archers/gallery/gallery_60s_timeline.shtml?select=05 The Bull] with Inkberrow's [http://www.inkberrow.org.uk/ The Old Bull] .] whereas Hanbury's St Mary the Virgin is often used as a stand-in for Ambridge's parish church, St Stephen's. [cite web
url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/anyquestions_transcripts_20060922.shtml
title= Transcript: Any Questions? 22 September 2006
accessdate= 2008-01-06
date= 2006-09-22
publisher= BBC Radio 4
] [Compare Ambridge's [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/archers/gallery/ed_emma_will_gallery.shtml?select=10 St Stephen's] with Hanbury's [http://www.hevac-heritage.org/items_of_interest/heating/churches_&_chapels/hanbury_church/hanbury_church.htm St Mary the Virgin] .]

Other fictional villages include Penny Hassett, Loxley Barrett, Darrington, Hollerton, Edgeley, Waterley Cross and Lakey Green. The county town of Borsetshire is Borchester, and the nearest big city is the cathedral city of Felpersham. Anywhere further from Ambridge may be referred to humorously with comments such as 'that's on the other side of Felpersham!', but characters do occasionally venture further: several attended the Countryside Alliance march in London, [cite archers episode|date=2002-09-22] there have been references to the gay scene in Manchester's Canal Street, and a number of scenes have taken place abroad, with some characters resident overseas in South Africa and Hungary. Birmingham is a favourite destination for shopping.

Since Easter Sunday 1998 there have been six episodes a week from Sunday to Friday, at around 19:02 (preceded by a news bulletin). All except the Friday evening episode are repeated the following day at 14:02, and all of the week's episodes are re-run as a Sunday morning omnibus at 10:00.

Characters

Many of the storylines concern the title family, the middle-class Archers, who own and manage Brookfield Farm. The farm has been passed down the generations from the original owner Dan (now deceased) to his son Phil, currently the oldest surviving Archer, and is now co-owned by three of Phil's four children: David (who manages it with his wife Ruth), Elizabeth and Kenton. As well as other Archers families and offspring, the other main families include:
* the prosperous Aldridges, portrayed as money-driven practitioners of agribusiness. Brian, the head of the family, is a serial adulterer,
* the rich and elderly Woolleys, with Jack now badly affected by Alzheimer's disease, [cite web
url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/archers/backstage/alzheimers.shtml
title= Jack and Alzheimer's
accessdate= 2008-01-05
date= 2006-09-21
publisher= BBC Radio 4
]
* the Grundys, formerly struggling tenant farmers who were previously portrayed comically and disapprovingly, but are now seen as doggedly battling adversity,
* the urban, "nouveau riche" "incomers": pretentious and domineering, Lynda Snell is the butt of many jokes, although her sheer energy makes her a stalwart of village life. She is partnered by the long-suffering Robert,
* the perpetually struggling (and complaining) Carters,
* the widower milkman and casual farm labourer Mike Tucker who battles, sometimes successfully, depression.

Many plots involve the teen and twenties offspring of these families, so new nuclear families come into existence over time. Other distant relatives also reappear. Some characters are well known but never heard on air. Over the years, some silent characters become real, or vice-versa (for example, Mrs Antrobus, "the Dog Woman").

Topicality

Unlike some soap operas, episodes of "The Archers" portray events taking place on the date of broadcast, allowing many topical subjects to be included. Real-life events which can be readily predicted in advance are often written into the script, such as the annual Oxford Farming Conference [cite web
url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/archers/backstage/oxford_conference.shtml
title= Oxford Farming Conference
accessdate= 2008-02-17
publisher= BBC Radio 4
date= 2008-01-03
] and the FIFA World Cup. [cite archers episode|date=2006-06-27] On some occasions, scenes recorded at these events are planned and edited into episodes shortly before transmission.

More challengingly for the production team, some significant but unforeseen events require scenes to be rewritten and rerecorded at short notice, such as the death of Princess Margaret,cite web
url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/archers/backstage/princess_margaret.shtml
title= Princess Margaret Remembered
accessdate= 2008-02-17
date= 2002-02-10
publisher= BBC Radio 4
] [cite archers episode|date=2002-02-10] the World Trade Center attacks, [cite archers episode|date=2001-09-12] and the 2005 London bombings. [cite archers episode|date=2005-07-11] The events and implications of the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis required many "topical inserts" [cite archers episode|date=2001-02-22] [cite archers episode|date=2001-02-23] [cite archers episode|date=2001-02-27] [cite archers episode|date=2001-03-01] and the rewriting of several storylines. [cite web
url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/archers/backstage/drama_in_a_crisis.shtml
title= Drama in a Crisis
accessdate= 2008-02-17
publisher= BBC Radio 4
date= 2001-03-02
]

Actors

Unlike television soaps, "Archers" actors are not held on retainers, so most do other acting and can disappear if they are working on long-term projects such as films or television series. For example, Tamsin Greig who plays Debbie Aldridge, has appeared on television comedy shows such as "Green Wing" and "Black Books". As a result, Debbie manages a farm in Hungary in which her family has an interest while Greig is filming these shows, and then returns to Ambridge when Greig's commitments allow. Because of this, and by the nature of the storylines focusing on particular groups of characters, in any week the series comprises between 20 and 30 speaking characters out of a regular cast of about 60. Greig's situation is similar to that of Felicity Jones who plays Emma Carter in the series; Jones, after a period studying at Wadham College, Oxford has moved into large TV parts, such as a starring role in "Northanger Abbey".

History

Starting on Whit Monday, 29 May 1950, and continuing with five episodes through that week, [cite web
url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/archers/info/
title= BBC — Radio 4 — The Archers — Information and FAQs
accessdate= 2008-02-10
publisher= BBC Radio 4
] a pilot series created by Godfrey Baseley was broadcast to the English Midlands, as 'a farming Dick Barton'; it was decided to commission the series for a longer national run. In the pilot series the Archers' farm was not called Brookfield but Wimberton Farm.

Since 1 January 1951, five 15-minute episodes (since 1998, six 12½-minute episodes) have been transmitted across the UK each week, at first on the BBC Light Programme and subsequently on the BBC Home Service (now Radio 4). The original scriptwriters were Geoffrey Webb and Edward J. Mason, who were also working on the series "Dick Barton — Special Agent" whose popularity partly inspired "The Archers" and whose slot in the schedules it eventually took. Originally produced with collaborative input from the Ministry of Agriculture, "The Archers" was conceived as a means of disseminating information to farmers and smallholders to help increase productivity in the post-World War II years of rationing and food shortages. The programme was hugely successful; at the height of its popularity it was estimated that 60% of adult Britons were regular listeners. It was used as propaganda to reinforce notions of Englishness, and to foster and inculcate notions of rebuilding post-war Britain. The programme's educational remit, and the involvement of the government, ended in 1972 but some long-term listeners still refer to "the Min. of Ag. bit" and it is true that the dialogue often contains more references to European farming subsidies, the buying habits of large supermarkets and the difficulties of marketing organic meat, than is usual in everyday conversation.

Tony Shryane MBE was the programme's producer from 1 January 1951 to 19 January 1979. Vanessa Whitburn has been the programme's editor since 1992. Since 2007, "The Archers" has been available as a podcast. [cite web
url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/podcasts/archers/
title= BBC — Radio — Podcasts — The Archers
accessdate= 2008-02-10
publisher= BBC Radio 4
] As of 14 November 2007, it was the fifteenth most popular podcast on iTunes in the United Kingdom.

The death of Grace Archer

One of the most controversial "Archers" episodes was broadcast on 22 September 1955, the evening of the launch of the UK's first commercial television station, ITV. Phil and Grace Archer had been married just a few months earlier, and their blossoming relationship was the talk of the nation. However, searching for a story which would demonstrate some real tragedy among the increasingly unconvincing episode cliff-hangers, Godfrey Baseley had decided that Grace would have to die. It was explained to the cast as an "exercise in topicality." The scripts for the week of 19 September 1955 were both written, recorded, and broadcast on each day. On Thursday evening of that week, listeners heard Grace trying to rescue her horse, Midnight, from Brookfield stables, and the crash as a beam fell on her.cite archers episode|date=1989-05-26|number=10,000]

Whether the timing of the episode was a deliberate attempt to overshadow the opening night of the BBC's first commercial rival has been debated ever since. It was certainly planned some months in advance, but it may well be that the actual date of the death was changed during the scriptwriting stage to coincide with the start of ITV. [cite book
last = Smethurst
first = William
title = The Archers: The True Story
origyear = 1996
publisher = Michael O'Mara Books Limited
location = London
isbn = 1-85833-620-1
pages = p. 63
chapter = Dead Girls Tell No Tales
quote = Even this presupposes that the BBC realized the impact that the 'death' would have — and all the evidence is that the BBC was totally taken by surprise.
] Deliberate or not, the episode attracted widespread media attention, being reported by newspapers around the world.

The controversy inspired an episode of the television comedy programme "Hancock" (1961) that featured a fictional soap, "The Bowmans", parodying the series. On the 50th anniversary of ITV's launch, Ysanne Churchman, who played Grace, sent a congratulatory card to ITV, signed "Grace Archer".

In 1996, William Smethurst recounted a conversation with Baseley in which he reveals his real motivation for killing off Grace Archer: Churchman was encouraging the other actors to join a trade union. [cite book
last = Smethurst
first = William
title = The Archers: The True Story
origyear = 1996
publisher = Michael O'Mara Books Limited
location = London
isbn = 1-85833-620-1
pages = p. 64
chapter = Dead Girls Tell No Tales
quote = 'She was trying to get the actors to join a trade union,' he told the author of this book, in 1995, 'so I killed her off. Very few of the original actors were professionals. I'd taken them on because they were countrymen with natural country voices. But she was stirring them up and trying to get them to join the actors' union, and saying we should only employ union actors, which would have been fatal.'
]

Longevity

While "The Archers" is the longest running radio soap opera, it is not the longest running soap opera: the American soap opera "Guiding Light" started on radio in 1937 before moving to television in 1952.

The actor Norman Painting has played Phil Archer continuously since the first trial series in 1950. As a script writer, he also wrote around 1,200 complete episodes, credited as "Bruno Milna", culminating in the 10,000th episode. According to "Who's Who in The Archers 2008", [cite book
last = Davies
first = Keri
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Who's Who in "The Archers", 2008
publisher = BBC Books
year = 2007
location = Reading
pages = p. 4
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 978-1-84607-326-7
] episode 15,360 was to be broadcast on 1 January 2008. [cite archers episode|date=2008-01-01|number=15,360] Episode 15,000 was broadcast on 7 November 2006. [cite archers episode|date=2006-11-07|number=15,000]

Themes

A recurring theme has been the resentment of the working-class Grundy family towards the middle-class Archers. Labour politician Neil Kinnock in the 1980s jokingly called for "The Archers" to be retitled "The Grundys and their Oppressors". [cite book
last = Smethurst
first = William
title = The Archers: The True Story
origyear = 1996
publisher = Michael O'Mara Books Limited
location = London
isbn = 1-85833-620-1
pages = p. 198
chapter = The Rise of the House of Grundy
] The series, however, now deals with a wide range of contemporary issues including illicit affairs, drug abuse, rape, and gay marriage — inviting criticism from conservative commentators such as Peter Hitchens [Peter Hitchens (2000), "The Abolition of Britain", p262–64, Quartet (revised edition)] that the series has become a vehicle for liberal and left-wing values and agendas, with characters behaving out of character to achieve those goals. However, one of the show's charms is to make absorbing stories out of everyday, small concerns, such as the possible closure of the village shop, the loss and rediscovery of a pair of spectacles, [cite archers episode|date = 2005-06-07] competitive marmalade-making, or nonsense such as a 'spile troshing' competition, [cite archers episode|date = 2000-08-11] rather than the large-scale and improbable events that form the plots of many soap operas. However, there are some dramatic storylines, such as the rape of Kathy Perks. [cite news|last=Mahoney|first=Elisabeth|url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/apr/16/radio.tvandradioarts|title=Radio review: The Archers|publisher="The Guardian"|date=2008-04-16|accessdate=2008-04-16]

Sometimes mocked as a comfortable middle-class series with stereotypical comic yokels, the programme has nonetheless tackled many serious social issues. There have been, for instance: rural drug addiction; inter-racial relationships; direct action against GM crops; family break-ups; and civil partnerships (gay marriage). Thus, given the (allegedly) middle-class nature of "The Archers" audience (and the generally unsympathetic treatment of characters such as Sid Perks, the adulterous pub landlord, who nevertheless has forcibly expressed views on the superiority of those aspects of "traditional morality" which suit him), "The Archers" may be seen as a counterpoise to the uniformly differently inclined lower-middle-class British newspapers. For instance, it seems likely that the intense discussion in Ambridge and the "real world" about whether the term "wedding" is appropriate for a civil partnership will make the use of the term much more frequent, and perhaps even more acceptable, in Middle England.

According to some of the actors, in its early days the show was used as a conduit for announcements from the Ministry of Agriculture, one actor reading an announcement almost verbatim to another. More recently the show has reacted within a day to agricultural emergencies such as outbreaks of foot and mouth disease, which impact farmers nationwide when livestock movements are restricted.

Cameo appearances

Many famous people have made cameo appearances on the programme.
*Princess Margaret and the Duke of Westminster appeared in 1984 in connection with a fashion show to commemorate the centenary of the NSPCC.
*Dame Judi Dench made an appearance as Pru Forrest in 1989 for the 10,000th episode. Terry Wogan was featured and Esther Rantzen was responsible for the sound effects.
* Radio presenter John Peel appeared as himself in 1991. [cite news
title = Peel's life away from music
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/3956119.stm
publisher = BBC News
date = 2004-10-26
accessdate = 2008-01-05
]
*Celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh judged Ambridge's entries in the National Gardens Scheme open gardens competition in May 2003. [cite archers episode|date=2003-05-26]
*Radio presenter Chris Moyles appeared in June 2004 as a random customer — and suspected National Pub of the Year judge — in The Bull. [cite web
url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/archers/backstage/moyles_visit.shtml
title= Chris Moyles braves The Bull
accessdate= 2008-01-05
date= 2004-06-10
publisher= BBC Radio 4
] [cite archers episode|date=2004-06-14]
*Comedian and presenter Griff Rhys Jones appeared as himself in July 2004, when he was drafted into Lynda's campaign to restore the Cat and Fiddle pub. [cite archers episode|date=2004-07-14]
*Stephen Fry, although not appearing in an official episode, took part in "Victoria Wood Goes to Ambridge", a series of five mini-episodes written by Victoria Wood for Comic Relief in March 2005. Also making fleeting appearances were Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen and Liza Tarbuck. [cite web
url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/archers/red_nose_day_05/rednoseday.shtml
title= Stephen Fry "desperate no more"
accessdate= 2008-01-06
date= 2005-03-12
publisher= BBC Radio 4
]
*Zandra Rhodes played herself in an episode in September 2006 in connection with a charity fashion show. [cite web
url= http://www.thearchers.co.uk/archers/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=119&ItemID=2442&tabIndex=0
title= Introducing Ms Zandra Rhodes
accessdate= 2008-01-05
date= 2006-09-11
publisher= Archers Addicts
] [cite archers episode|date=2006-09-22]
* Robert Winston appeared as a fertility specialist consulted by Hayley and Roy Tucker in January [cite archers episode|date=2007-01-02] and February 2007. [cite archers episode|date=2007-02-07]
*Mike Gatting appeared as himself in September 2007 at the centre of a misunderstanding between Sid and Jolene Perks during the npower Village Cup final at Lord's Cricket Ground. [cite web
url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2007/09_september/07/archers.shtml
title= From The Ashes to The Archers
accessdate= 2008-01-05
date= 2007-09-07
publisher= BBC Press Office
] [cite archers episode|date=2007-09-09]
* Others who have made appearances include Britt Ekland, Humphrey Lyttelton (1956), Anneka Rice and Dame Edna Everage.

Theme tune

The theme tune of "The Archers"' is called Barwick Green and is a maypole dance from the suite "My Native Heath", written in 1924 by the Yorkshire composer Arthur Wood. An alternative arrangement, played by The Yetties, is used to introduce the Sunday omnibus. In the 1990s, having used the same recording for many years, the theme was re-recorded in stereo. The original orchestral arrangement was used, but the slightly different mixing led to many listeners considering the new version to be inferior.Fact|date=February 2008

Robert Robinson once compared the tune to "the genteel abandon of a lifelong teetotaller who has suddenly taken to drink".fact|date=May 2008 On April Fool's Day 2004 both "The Independent" and "The Today Programme" claimed that BBC executives had commissioned composer Brian Eno to record an electronic version of "Barwick Green" as a replacement for the current theme, [cite web
url= http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/tumti-tumti-tumti-tum-kerrang-ambridge-in-uproar-over-enos-newwave-theme-tune-568412.html
title= Tum-ti tum-ti tum-ti tum... kerrang. Ambridge in uproar over Eno's 'new-wave' theme tune
accessdate= 2008-02-17
date= 2004-04-01
publisher= The Independent
] [cite web
url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/reports/arts/archers_20040401.shtml
title= New Archers Theme Tune
accessdate= 2008-02-17
date= 2004-04-01
publisher= BBC Radio 4
] while comedian Billy Connolly once joked that the theme was so typically English that it should be the national anthem.

Fan clubs

Two organisations dedicated to the programme were established in the 1990s. [http://www.thearchers.co.uk/archers/DesktopDefault.aspx Archers Addicts] is the official body, run by members of the cast. [http://www.archersanarchists.com/ Archers Anarchists] was formed around the same time, objecting to the "castist" assumptions propagated by the BBC, and claiming that the characters are real.

Overseas parallels

In 1994, the BBC World Service in Afghanistan began broadcasting "Naway Kor, Naway Jwand" ("New Home, New Life"), an everyday story of country folk with built-in bits of useful information. Although the useful information was more likely to concern unexploded land mines and opium addiction than the latest modern farming techniques, the inspiration and model of "Naway Kor, Naway Jwand" was "The Archers", and the initial workshopping with Afghan writers included an "Archers" scriptwriter. [cite news
authorlink = Emma Brockes
author = Emma Brockes
title = A long way from Ambridge
url = http://www.guardian.co.uk/waronterror/story/0,1361,579231,00.html
work = The Guardian
date = 2001-10-23
accessdate = 2008-02-16
] A 1997 study found that listeners to the soap opera were significantly less likely to be injured by a mine than non-listeners. [Neil Andersson, Charles Whitaker, Aparna Swaminathan. [http://www.ciet.org/en/documents/projects_library_docs/200652984313.pdf "Afghanistan: The 1997 National Mine Awareness Evaluation", [http://www.ciet.org/en/ CIET international] 1998. [http://www.ciet.org/en/documents/projects_library_docs/2006522121941.pdf "Executive summary"] . Accessed 2006-11-17.]

In Rwanda, the BBC World Service's Kinyarwanda-Kirundi service has been broadcasting the Archers-inspired soap opera "Urunana" ("Hand in Hand") since 1999. [cite web
url= http://www.developments.org.uk/articles/health-soap-opera/
title= Country life
accessdate= 2008-02-16
author= Josephine Irene Uwamariya
coauthors= Kalisa Narcisse
work= Developments
publisher= Department for International Development
] [cite web
url= http://www.comminit.com/en/node/118365
title= Urunana Radio Soap — Rwanda
accessdate= 2008-02-16
date= 2003-08-14
publisher= The Communication Initiative Network
]

"The Archers" was also the model for the Russian radio soap opera "Dom 7, Podyezd 4" ("House 7, Entrance 4") [cite web
url= http://www.tve.org/sisters/Domsyem.html
title= Dom Syem, Podjezd Chetirie
accessdate= 2008-01-05
author= Joan Connolly
date= 2005-10-22
publisher= Television Trust for the Environment
] — on which the former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, once made a cameo appearance. [cite web
url= http://www.brandrepublic.com/login/News/97015/
title= Broadcast: Tune in to the power of the viewing public
accessdate= 2008-01-05
author= Jemimah Bailey
date= 1997-10-17
publisher= Brand Republic
]

Books and audiobooks

Reference works

The most recent Archers reference books are "Who's Who in The Archers" by Keri Davies, senior producer and scriptwriter. This has been published by BBC Books since 2003 and is updated annually for the Christmas gift-giving season. [cite web
url= http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=sr_nr_i_0?ie=UTF8&rs=&keywords=who%27s%20who%20in%20the%20archers&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Awho%27s%20who%20in%20the%20archers%2Ci%3Astripbooks
title= Search: Who's Who in The Archers
accessdate= 2008-01-06
publisher= Amazon.co.uk
]
* "The Book of The Archers" (1994) by Patricia Greene, Charles Collingwood and Hedli Niklaus ISBN 0-7181-3849-X
* "The Archers: The True Story" (1996) by William Smethurst ISBN 1-85833-620-1
* "The Archers Encyclopaedia" (2001) [published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of "The Archers"] by Joanna Toye and Adrian Flynn ISBN 0-563-53718-3
* "Who's Who in The Archers 2008" by Keri Davies ISBN 1-84607-326-X

Novelisations

* "The Archers" by Jock Gallagher
** "The Archers: To The Victor The Spoils" (1988) ISBN 0-563-20599-7
** "The Archers: Return to Ambridge" (1988) ISBN 0-563-20606-3
** "The Archers: Borchester Echoes" (1988) ISBN 0-563-20607-1
** "The Archers: Omnibus Edition" (1988) ISBN 0-563-36001-1
* "The Ambridge Chronicles" by Joanna Toye
** "The Archers 1951-1967: Family Ties" (1998) ISBN 0-563-38397-6
** "The Archers 1968-1986: Looking For Love" (1999) ISBN 0-563-55125-9
** "The Archers 1987-2000: Back to the Land" (2000) ISBN 0-563-53701-9
** "The Archers 1951-1967: Family Ties" (1998, audiobook, narrated by Miriam Margolyes) ISBN 0-563-55714-1
** "The Archers 1968-1986: Looking For Love" (1999, audiobook, narrated by Stella Gonet) ISBN 0-563-55813-X
** "The Archers 1987-2000: Back to the Land" (2000, audiobook, narrated by Stephanie Cole) ISBN 0-563-55818-0

Published audio episodes

* "Vintage Archers"
** "Vintage Archers: Volume 1" (1988) ISBN 0-563-22586-6
** "Vintage Archers: Volume 2" (1988) ISBN 0-563-22704-4
** "Vintage Archers: Volume 3" (1998) [contains several "lost episodes" which have been digitally restored] ISBN 0-563-55740-0
** "The Archers: The Wedding" Jack and Peggy tie the knot
** "Vintage Archers: Volumes 1-3" (2001) ISBN 0-563-38281-3
* "Ambridge Affairs"
** "Ambridge Affairs: Love Triangles" (2007) ISBN 1-4056-7733-3
** "Ambridge Affairs: Heartache at Home Farm" (2007) ISBN 1-4056-8785-1

Maps

In addition to books and audiobooks, purported maps of Ambridge and Borsetshire have been published. [cite book
last = Humphreys
first = John
title = Archers Addicts Official Map of Ambridge
date = 1994-09-23
publisher = Old House Books
isbn = 1873590083
] [cite web
url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/archers/wallpaper/
title= The Archers — Wallpaper
accessdate= 2008-01-06
publisher= BBC Radio 4
]

"The Archers" in popular culture

* Inspector Morse, Colin Dexter's fictional detective, was a fan of "The Archers".
* In The Goon Show episode "The Spanish Suitcase" from 1954, the studio audience is heard running from the room as the show is announced. However, the Goons lure them back by playing "emergency music": the theme tune from "The Archers". The Goons then act out a short parody of the series, ending with writer Spike Milligan proclaiming: "Easy money!"
* In 1961, Galton and Simpson parodied "The Archers" in an episode of "Hancock" entitled "The Bowmans". Tony Hancock became an actor on the show, playing an over-the-top parody of country bumpkin Walter Gabriel as Joshua Merriweather. He annoyed the actors and producers so much they killed off his character, only to have to resurrect him by discovering a long-lost twin brother, after protests from listeners.
* A sketch from "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" entitled "Hard Man's Record", which saw the first appearance of the character Alan, mentions that Alan had "a short spell as Nigel Pargetter in "The Archers", claiming that, "Someone had to do it." [ [http://www.geocities.com/mmemym/bits2/fal0096.htm "Hard Man's Record"] a sketch from "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" which references "The Archers".]
*Jeremy Clarkson in his anthology of articles, "Clarkson on Cars", lambasts "The Archers" by describing them as "...living in a farm-subsidised world and thinking postage stamps are amazing...." [cite book
last = Clarkson
first = Jeremy
authorlink = Jeremy Clarkson
title = Clarkson on Cars
date = 2004-05-27
publisher = Penguin Books
isbn = 0-14-101788-0
]
*A special episode of "Arena", broadcast on BBC Four on 1 January 2007, focused on "The Archers". It was narrated by Stephen Fry and included interviews with current actors and scriptwriters. [cite web
url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/archers.shtml
title= Arena: The Archers
accessdate= 2006-01-05
author= Emily Kennedy
year= 2006
publisher= BBC Four
]
*In an episode of British sitcom "2point4 children", when Bill and Rona are stuck at Rona's house due to the presence of a pair of snakes which would likely attack if they move, they turn the radio to "The Archers" in an attempt to escape. The attempt fails, after which Bill quips "Well, if that won't put them in a coma, nothing will".

Notes and references

External links

* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/archers Official BBC website]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbarchers/ BBC "Archers" message board] sometimes called Mustardland because of its distinctive background colour [cite web
url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/archers/backstage/message_board.shtml
title= More about Mustardland
accessdate= 2008-02-18
date= 2005-09-01
publisher= BBC Radio 4
]
* [http://www.thearchers.co.uk Archers Addicts] BBC-approved fan club
* [http://www.archersanarchists.com Archers Anarchists] "anti-castist" BBC-free fan club
* [http://www.saddicts.com Saddicts.com] independent chat site
* [http://www.paranormal.org.uk/mustardland/ Mustardland] independent alternative to the official message board
* [http://www.lowfield.co.uk/archers/ The Archers Plot Summaries] unofficial summary of each day's events (1995–present)
* [http://www.azande.demon.co.uk/archers/thechron.txt Peter Hesketh's Chronology] key events 1896–1994
* [news:uk.media.radio.archers uk.media.radio.archers] the "Archers" newsgroup (also available [http://groups.google.com/groups?group=uk.media.radio.archers via Google Groups] )
* [http://umra.wikispaces.com/ The uk.media.radio.archers FAQ] the "Archers" newsgroup wiki.


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