Amy Shindler (Brenda Tucker)
Brenda has finally had enough – after another week of being treated like a slave at work and being ignored at home by Tom, something had to give. Friday morning she rang Tom, saying she wanted to meet at lunchtime. This isn't convenient for the Ready Meals magnate, but at Brenda's insistence, he re-schedules his packed diary, cancels 427 high-powered meetings and tells Richard Branson that he'll have to wait awhile for Tom to tell him the secret of succeeding in business.
When they do meet, Brenda drops her bombshell – she can't go on like this and, despite the fact that she loves him, she thinks they should split up. Tom is staggered, saying "But we're Tom and Brenda – we're a team." No doubt he's thinking about the footballing pigs. "I can change" he says. Yeah right. But Brenda says she doesn't want him to, thereby putting herself in a minority of one against five million listeners.
Tom says he loves her (almost as much as a Ready Meal) and he'll fight for her. "We chose a place to build a house, to raise our children." He says, whereupon Brenda drops her second bombshell – she doesn't want children. Tom is stricken, as he has left a brief window in his diary on Easter Sunday 2015 for the act of procreation and has already planned a new range of Ready Meals, designed for pregnant women and who will he use for a guinea pig now? Brenda says "seeing you like this is breaking my heart" so she does the sensible thing and leaves. Pity she didn't go straight to AmSide and tell Lilian to stick her job, before quitting Ambridge and riding off into the sunset, but you can't have everything.
But hey, it's an ill wind, as shortly after Brenda goes, Tony and Pat turn up to tell Tom that they have agreed with his plan to sell the herd and re-name Bridge Farm 'Tom Archeropolis'. They don't notice that he seems a tad distracted and Tony unconsciously twists the knife when he tells his son "Hard work brings results – you've finally got everything you wanted". As his parents leave, Tom bursts into tears, presumably because they didn't buy a Ready Meal or half a pound of sausages. Look on the bright side Tom – with Brenda not around, just think how much more time you'll have to devote to your business empire, and you can always exist on Ready Meals.
Tony and Pat's decision came after a week of soul searching – Pat had a girl's night out with Kathy, who told her she needed to think about the future and had she ever considered that Tom might jump ship? (Oh, yes please!). Pat admits that her attachment to the dairy herd is irrational – what is it about Ambridge women and cows? First we had Rooooth and the Brookfield herd and now Pat is in love with the Bridge Farm bovines. Pat is eventually won over when Tony says that they have had a tough working life and it's now time to ease off a bit and leave the future of the farm to Tom and Helen – Rich seems to have been airbrushed from the scene.
There is potential conflict at Brookfield, when Rooooth's mum, Heather and Jill have both made simnel cakes, which means that everybody has to eat two lots on Easter Day to keep the peace. Pip rings up from Spencer's – his Grandmother turned up unexpectedly, which of course means that Pip can't make the Brookfield meal. When Pip does come home eventually, she is subjected to sarcasm from her parents and force fed simnel cake.
Over at Lower Loxley, Ifty turns up for his meal, bearing a bottle of rosé, to find that Freddie and Lily have been sent to the cinema, so he and Elizabeth will be dining a deux. The wine and conversation flowed freely and Elizabeth's baked salmon and roast vegetables is superb. The recipe is as follows: roast some vegetables, then bake some salmon. Serve.
Ifty says he likes the sound of Elizabeth's laugh and he likes spending time with her. "I like being with you too," she says, which Ifty takes as his cue to kiss her. Sadly, she fends him off, saying that she can't, even though she has felt more positive this evening than for a long time. "Maybe I'm not ready for more than friendship" she tells Ifty. Ifty says that he won't deny that he is disappointed, but it is all amicable, as Ifty replaces the condom in his wallet, puts his trousers back on and leaves.
The Lilian/Paul saga took an unexpected twist, as Paul starts stalking his ex-wife Celia. She is going to marry Frank - a friend of his - and Paul says he won't let her and he's trying to protect her. She tells him to bugger off as he's no longer part of her life, but he is exerting a control freak nature that we haven't seen before. It bodes ill for Lilian.
Finally, the Alice/Chris/Canada saga came to a head as the two finally spoke to each other about it. Chris said that if Alice wanted to go, he'd go with her. Alice can't believe it – "I don't deserve you" she says. "Yes you do," he replies, somewhat immodestly. As it turns out, she has decided to turn down the job as "right now we need to be together, here in Ambridge." Why, for God's sake? Wouldn't it have been a hoot if Chris had spent his convalescence booking flights and buying a house in Vancouver as a surprise? As it is, Alice gives Chris a hug, thereby setting back his recovery, but I bet he can't wait till he's better so she can thank him properly.