Colin Skipp (Tony Archer)
Have you noticed that Tony is turning into the Yosser Hughes character from Boys from the Blackstuff? He's wandering around Bridge Farm, getting in everybody's way, pathetically muttering "Gizza job" and "I can do that" whenever anyone picks up a piece of paper, or turns on a computer.
Tom shows him the new computer system that he has installed – another great piece of radio – and Tony has the feeling that his son feels that he (Tony) doesn't know what he's doing. As the week progresses, Tony insists on helping out with some of the milking and he takes over handling the police and insurance company when the quad bike is stolen from Bridge Farm. In reality, Tom is grateful to have some of the load taken off him; it also gives him more time to spend with Brenda, but then you can't have everything.
Things look bad between James and Leonie – their squabbling over Leonie hogging the bedclothes even drove Lilian outside on Sunday before the pubs were open, where she was probably astonished to find that it was actually light at 11am. James and Leonie continue to bicker and snipe at each other. Describing James as "such a klutz", Leonie reveals that Rentaprat only wanted to take the helicopter close to the Peregrines' nest to get a close up. Lynda would have killed him, but fortunately (?) common sense prevailed.
Personally, I hope that James and Leonie do stay together, as that way they only spoil two lives, instead of four.
While we're on the subject of conflict, things are hotting up nicely on the mega-dairy front, with both sides preparing for one last push before Tuesday's Planning Meeting. Pat approaches Ed to see if he would be willing to feature in an article for the local paper, showing the alternative to large scale dairy farming and how his methods are more humane. Can't you just picture it? I bet the cows would be wearing straw hats and sucking on a piece of grass.
Anyway, we'll never know, as Ed points out that he rents much-needed grazing land from BL and if he goes out on a limb now, some people might have long memories when it's lease renewal time. Pat is disappointed, but then it wouldn't be her who had a herd of cows in her living room in a few years, as she frantically tries to find new grazing, would it?
On the other side, Brian is ecstatic about his promotional DVD, which Rufus appears to have got written, filmed and produced during his tea break. Even Jennifer is pleased, saying that the narrator has "a lovely timbre" and she "could listen to him all day." You're supposed to be listening to the message woman, not his voice. You have to hand it to Brian, as he wants as many people as possible to see and admire the DVD, so he immediately calls David and asks if he can pop round. When he arrives, Brian is disappointed to find that Rooooth isn't there. I'm sorry, Brian, but however good your DVD is, it wouldn't change Rooooth's mind if you tied her down and played it for a century.
David is non-committal, describing it as "a slick production" and warning Brian that it's not likely to influence Rooooth. Just as Brian is leaving, she returns, having learnt from Pat about Ed's decision and Brian mentions the DVD. Rooooth immediately goes off on one, accusing BL of using its financial muscle (it's called 'business' love) and generally going berserk.
What cogent arguments and cold facts does she use to promote her corner? Well, none really, as she reverts to the old "Yes I know the cows are losing us money hand over fist and driving us to bankruptcy but we just can't get rid of them" mode of thinking when she says to Brian (and I swear you could hear the multiple exclamation marks) "This idea is just plain wrong!!!!" Beautifully argued, Rooooth. Remind me never to let you defend me in court.
A scare about the calves at Brookfield, as Pip, who has been studying the disease BVD at college, notices that they are scouring, which is one of the symptoms. David points out that there are about 13,000 other reasons why they could be doing this, but still calls Alistair in to have a look. Alistair's opinion? "There are about 13,000 reasons why, etc., etc….and here's my bill." Let's hope that Pip never studies rabies, then sees her Mum having a go at Brian, as she'll probably shoot her for being rabid.
We had a new character introduced this week; the new coach of youth cricket in the village, known to all as 'Ifty', which unfortunately I keep pairing with 'shifty' in my mind. Anyway, Ifty makes a great first impression on Vicky (but then again, which male, with the probable exception of Joe Grundy – doesn't? The woman turns to jelly every time she sees a pair of trousers, it seems).
The wind of change is blowing through Ambridge, with Natalie (Jamie's girlfriend) and some of her friends wanting to take part in cricket training. Where will it all end? Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to play in matches, which will be the end of civilisation as we know it – after all, if women are playing cricket, who's going to make the sandwiches and do the washing up?