Tom Graham (Tom Archer)
No doubt about the main story of last week, but more of Chris Carter later.
Let's start off by celebrating the fact that Tom ('have a signed photograph') Archer was told some unpleasant, but totally accurate, home truths by both his mother and his girlfriend. His week began badly when his clattering round the kitchen woke up Brenda, who had been hoping for a lie-in. Tom was sulking about having to do early morning milking, as he could make better use of the time. Running the UK economy or solving the Eurozone crisis, no doubt.
"You can't blame me for feeling hacked off" he tells Brenda. Wrong! Brenda tells him to "grow up and get over it" and goes back to bed, leaving him hurt and still sulking. Later on he apologises and says he will have to sort things out with mother Pat, as she's giving him the silent treatment. Brenda counsels warning, telling him "give it some thought – don't just go wading in." As if!
Early next day, Pat finds Tom preparing veg boxes, which makes her immediately suspicious. Instead of just getting on with it, Tom has to tell her that they are doing it wrong and people really want more exotic veg. Pat disagrees and the temperature drops another few degrees. Someone should tell Tom the old adage that 'when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging' as later on he goes to have it out with Pat again, telling her "people" (by which he means Tom Archer) "think our veg boxes are dull." "Have you had any complaints?" Pat snaps at him "Well – no" he admits, prompting her to say "Until you do, this subject is closed."
If the week started badly for Tom, it finished even worse. Brenda rang him, moaning that she has to work late as Lilian has dumped all her work on her. Tom promises to get supper and, when Brenda comes home, he has put a frozen pizza in the oven. Bren is not happy and, when Tom starts banging on about his parents again, she loses it, telling him "as far as you're concerned, the future is about Tom Archer, not Helen, not Pat or Tony" and she suggests that Tom apologises to his parents. A stunned Tom asks wonderingly "Is that what you think of me?" and five million listeners nod and say "Too bloody right!"
And so to Chris, whose week was even worse. On Sunday, he takes Alice to the airport for her flight to Canada and the job interview and the atmosphere between them is strained, to say the least. He leaves her at the gate, turning away with a perfunctory "bye then". The next night, Chris goes out and gets really drunk – we are led to believe that it is because Alice has gone, but personally I reckon it was because Tom was there and who wouldn't take refuge in alcohol in that case?
Next day Chris was hungover and, when treating a horse at the stables, he received a kick in the chest from said animal, resulting in a trip to hospital by air ambulance. Poor Chris is not a well bunny – fluid in the abdomen, partly detached ribcage, later on we learn that his bowel is ruptured and he is on a ventilator in intensive care. All in all, I think it's fair to say that he won't be turning out for Ambridge Wanderers for the rest of the season.
Back at the stables, Shula is distraught and comforted by Alistair. Shula is also worried about Freddie, who witnessed the incident, saying "Poor Freddie was traumatised." Poor Freddie? I dare say Chris was somewhat taken aback too. Later on in the week we learn that Freddie feels responsible, as he dropped a tray and shouted, just before the horse struck and he thinks he spooked the animal. Iftikar reassures him that it was a tragic accident and not his fault, taking his mind off things by getting him to convert hands (as in measuring horses) to centimetres and to work out in Newtons the force needed to detach someone's ribcage with one kick.
The Carter and Aldridge families gather at Chris's bedside and we learn that Alan turned up one day. Lucky Chris didn't wake up – imagine coming out of a coma and seeing a priest standing over you! Brian managed to get in touch with Alice in Canada, who immediately had hysterics and arranged a flight home via Seattle and Amsterdam. A convoluted itinerary to be sure, but at least she had an eight-hour stopover in Amsterdam, so she could stock up with wacky baccy if she wanted.
The week ended with a tearful Alice telling Chris that she hated how they parted, but she's back now and Chris just has to get better "You just have to", she says, sobbing. I fear we are in for many more tearful moments and that we have a long vigil in front of us.