Will Howard (Dan Hebden Lloyd)
Dan, or to give him his full title, Captain Daniel Hebden-Lloyd of the Tank Regiment, (yes, he has been promoted) is a very confused young man - he cannot understand why his mother is acting the way she is, which puts him on a par with Alistair. Shula tries to explain, but Dan says that she doesn’t care who she hurts, but Shula denies this and says “I found you a good father, didn’t I?”
Dan is not impressed by this answer and wonders if his whole childhood was a lie and tells his mother ”I’m going to spend some time with the father that you very kindly found for me.” He sets off for the cricket pavilion, which is where Alistair is redecorating, chiefly to get away from Jim and Jazzer. The two talk and Alistair reassures him that he was both wanted and loved and he (Alistair) will always be Daniel’s dad. Dan says he never doubted it and the two hug.
Alistair invites Dan back to Greenacres for lunch, but he refuses. Alistair says that he can listen to Jim playing the piano, plus they are giving Jazzer a mock interview in the afternoon, by which we can only assume that he was trying to put his son off coming. For his part, Dan says that he needs to ring Dorothy and he’s going for a walk up Lakey Hill - “a good place to think.”
It seems that Daniel is seeking enlightenment from the whole Archer clan, as he has a discussion with uncle Kenton, telling him that, had the roles been reversed, Alistair would never have treated Shula the way she is treating him. Kenton realises that Dan is heaping all the blame on his mother and says that there was a time when Shula could have walked out on Alistair and nobody would have blamed her. Instead, she stayed and supported him. Dan has no idea what he is talking about and so Kenton tells him the saga of Alistair’s gambling problem and the lengths that he and Shula went to in order to clear the debt.
This gives Dan something to think about and he goes to see Elizabeth for more advice. They talk about Mark (Dan’s natural father) and Lizzie assures him that Shula never compared her two husbands and she genuinely loved Alistair once. Lizzie urges Dan to think before he does anything and he decides that he needs to go and see Dorothy - he needs to be sure that they still love each other.
At the end of the week, Dan returns to the Stables and has a heart-to-heart with his mother. He understands that she doesn’t love Alistair any more but he cannot get his head round how she is treating Alistair. She’s sorry, but she doesn’t know what else to do. Dan is taken aback. “Seriously? Aren’t you supposed to be a Christian? Doesn’t that give you a clue? You’re being cruel Mum, cruel and unfeeling - you may not still love Dad, but I do.” Shula still protests that she doesn’t know what to do and Dan tells her “If you want to put things right between us, then start treating Dad the way he deserves.”
So much for Daniel. Earlier we spoke about Jazzer preparing for an interview. This is for a job at the new pig unit at Berrow Farm and the interviewing panel consists of Justin, Neil and Adam. Justin is surprised to see Jazzer’s name on the list of candidates, but Neil points out that they are trying to keep locals onside and, if Jazzer were not included, there could be lots of grief from locals; not least from Jazzer himself.
At first sight, Adam is a strange choice for the panel, as he was vehemently opposed to the mega dairy plan at Berrow and presumably he is not a fan of intensive, indoor farming for pigs. Plus, his experience lies in arable and cattle, so what is he doing on the panel? Justin explains to Neil that Adam has great experience of employing teams of workers and he farms Estate land and grows maize that goes to feed the pigs.
And so to the interview. Jazzer is keen and arrives on a Bridge Farm quad bike, dressed in his overalls. His interview technique is, if we are being charitable, very individual and his answers to questions highly original. Examples: ‘Are you a team player?’ ‘Depends whether it’s Celtic or Rangers’ and ‘What do you consider your main weakness?’ ‘Either whisky or women.’ Justin thanks him for coming and Jazzer’s application is in the bin almost before he is through the door.
But there is method in Jazzer’s madness; the following day, Tom goes down to see Jazzer (on one of his frequent trips to tell his pigman that he is too tied up with managerial and decision-making problems to help him with the pigs - see you tomorrow with the same message) and asks how did the interview go? Jazzer tells him that Berrow Farm as good as offered him the job and he is considering it. Tom realises that, if Jazzer leaves, then the pig work will devolve upon him and begins negotiations to keep Jazzer at Bridge Farm. Jazzer manages to screw another £2 an hour out of Tom, who insists that Jazzer will have to take on more responsibility. Jazzer says ‘no thanks’ and Tom reluctantly agrees, whereupon the Scotsman says he’ll think about Tom’s offer. Tom obviously realises that he might end up with no-one to delegate to.
Next day, Jazz seeks out Neil, who is trying to think of a diplomatic way of telling him that he didn’t get the job, however, they will keep his application on file for later. Jazzer is unconcerned. “Bin it” he tells Neil, adding that he’s surprised he even got an interview and that he prefers working in the open air. “Then why did you apply?” Neil asks, mystified. “That would be telling” answers Jazzer and offers to buy Neil a pint. You Machiavellian little devil, Jazzer!
The situation at Grange Farm is getting on my nerves and last week Will had another go at Emma, suggesting that the way she told Jake off over the broken laptop (which she didn’t tell Will about) has caused Jake to want to spend more time with Dad Andrew and less with Will. To be honest, I can sympathise with Jake over this, as Will’s idea of fun seems to be visiting Nic at the burial ground practically every day and taking umbrage at everything that anybody says to him.
To be honest, I think the best thing for everybody would be if Will pitched a tent at the burial ground and lived there permanently with Mia and Poppy (presumably Jake would pass on the chance). One person who understands how Jake is feeling is Emma who, after Will had a go at her, tells Clarrie that she wishes that she had somewhere else to go other than Grange Farm.
Over at Home Farm, Kate tells Adam how thrilled she is that he is in control of the farm, as she has some radical ideas for improvements. For ‘radical’ read ‘deranged’ as she wants to get rid of the livestock - all of it. Her rationale is that lots of people are turning Vegan. Adam is both amazed and frustrated. “We’re a farm, Kate” he explains to her, adding that, as far as he’s concerned, grazing animals are a vital part of the farm “and I couldn’t possibly recommend such a drastic change.” Kate flounces off, but not before saying “What’s the point of you taking over if you’re going to do the same things as Dad?” Get back to cleansing your yurts Kate and leave farming to those who understand the commercial realities of the business.
Speaking of Brian, he is still being mysterious, hunched over his laptop in the pub. As Ruairi has returned to school, Jennifer is frantically trying to find things to keep him occupied. One of these is playing golf and he has a round with Justin, the day of the Berrow interviews. Brian is despondent, as Martyn Gibson has achieved his ambition to become Chair of BL, although Brian reckons he’ll be out of the job by Christmas. Actually, Brian says that he has been working on something that he would like to discuss with somebody, but he cannot trust the family. Justin offers his services as a listening ear.
We are not privy to the conversation, but Justin says that he’s sorry to hear that things have got so bad, but he thinks that Brian is taking exactly the right course of action. Brian’s response is that it won’t be popular with the family and Justin says that it’s very courageous. Brian makes him swear that he won’t tell anybody - not even Lilian. Such suspense!
Suspense is also rife over at Bridge Farm, where a nervous Helen is awaiting the arrival of Sheila Dillon, of Food Programme fame, who is coming to inspect the cheese-making operation, as it has been nominated in the national finals of the Food and Farming Awards. Surely, with Radio 4 nepotism, Helen will be a shoo-in? However, Helen is on edge (Susan tells Clarrie that she is cleaning the dairy with a toothbrush) and with good reason - she is petrified that Olwen’s big mouth will somehow queer her pitch. Helen doesn’t actually ask Pat to nail up Olwen’s door, but she does ask her to keep their (in Helen’s opinion) unwelcome guest out of the way while Sheila is around.
This works very well at first, but later, Pat and Olwen are in the shop, choosing organic ingredients for lunch, when Helen and Sheila walk in. Olwen is astonished at the high prices and, when introduced to Sheila, tells her that the Food Programme should concern itself with big issues and concentrate on the inequitable prices of organic foods, rather than the taste of cheese.
Pat drags Olwen away and the latter can obviously feel the daggers that Helen is mentally throwing her way, as she asks Pat “Did I go too far?” (Yes) and “Should I go back and apologise?” (No). Pat offers to go back and check that everything is OK - it is; Sheila has told Helen that she has heard worse - and Olwen says that “I need to go for a very long walk.”
No doubt, if she were there, Helen would add ‘Yes - off a very short pier’. When Sheila has gone, an agitated Helen tells her mum “If that woman has cost me the award…” She also adds that Olwen is impossible to live with. Pat then finds a note from Olwen - she has left, feeling that the family will feel more comfortable with her gone. Before Helen can say ‘thank Christ for that’ Pat says that she is going to find her again and “Society may have failed Olwen every step of the way, but I’m damned if we’re going to!” I was waiting for Helen to say ‘What do you mean we?’ but the episode ended.