Joanna Brookes (Anthea Jennings)
There is a sniff of rebellion in the air in Ambridge, as no fewer than three people told Lynda to get stuffed when she tried to rope them in for the Robin Hood panto. First of all Tom said he was too busy, then Maurice declined the chance to play the title role and Anthea declined the offer of playing Maid Marian. Actually, this latter was a bit of a worry, as we learned that Anthea has form when it comes to Am Dram, as she used to appear with the Felpersham Light Operatic Society and only gave it up when her husband got jealous. Let's keep our fingers crossed that she doesn't start hankering after treading the boards again. My natural pessimism makes me think that Lynda will get her own way in the end – she usually does. Having said that, apparently the auditions on Sunday were an embarrassment with hardly anyone there, so we live in hope.
It was not a good week for Mike and Vicky – Alistair confirmed that the poorly cows were suffering from the infectious parasite (sounds like Joe Grundy, doesn't it?) neospora. Not only is it infectious, but untreatable too and, should it spread from Vicky's cows to Ed's herd, then we are looking at a cull of all the infected beasts. The possibility of losing his livelihood does little for Ed's mood, as Emma tells Lynda and he is sharp with her at home and sarcastic with Neil and Susan. Mind you, this should cheer Emma up as it gives her a new thing to be miserable about.
Speaking of being miserable, Joe continues to find fault with everything and seems on the verge of giving up. Asked whether he has been doing the exercises prescribed by the physio, he says no, adding: "I ain't never gonna get no better." Certainly his grammar isn't – I've never heard so many double negatives in seven words.
Despite Joe's assurance that he's not going to the cider micro brewery, Jim manages to persuade him to go and they are driven there by Jill. And not driven very well, either – I feel we are being set up for a 'should she be driving at her age?' storyline; either that or a tragic road accident.
Over at Bridge Farm, Pat demonstrated that she can be a nosy cow, as she is worried that Helen doesn't appear to be her usual, happy self and wants to know why. Helen tells her to leave her alone and that there's nothing wrong, but obviously there is part of "sod off and leave me alone" that Pat is incapable of understanding, as she engineers spending time with her daughter, making cheese, in the hope that she will open up to her. "When I try talking to her, the shutters just come down" Pat tells Tony. Then leave her alone woman and mind your own business!
Mind you, it probably won't be long before everybody knows about Helen and Rob, as Tom manages to put two and two together and realises that, every time he mentions Rob's name, Helen goes all sad and moody. And let's face it – if Tom can work it out, then it can't really be that difficult, can it? Tom comforts his sister with such phrases as "what were you thinking of?" and "he's a married man." She knows that Tom, you Muppet. Helen says "Don't hug me; you'll make me cry" personally, I would have replaced the word 'cry' with 'vomit', but he does hug her and yes, indeed she does cry. How long before Tom accidentally blows the gaff to Tony and Pat, I wonder?
At the stables, Darrell seems to be easing into a life of idleness; when Alistair hurries him up so that he can take him for an interview at the Job Centre, Darrell doesn't get dressed and tells Alistair that he'll re-arrange the appointment. Later on in the week, Shula tells David that Darrell is going in the right direction and that he has already changed the Job Centre appointment. That's as maybe, but he hasn't actually gone along for it yet, has he? Still, at least he didn't spend any more nights sleeping rough in the park.
The impending marriage between Kenton and Jolene moves ever closer and we learn that ex-wife Mel and daughter Meriel will be in Ambridge on Monday. Meanwhile, on Friday, we had Kenton's stag do. This consisted of an afternoon of extreme quad bike driving, with Kenton, Jamie and Jazzer daring each other to even hairier stunts. I was prepared for an accident – perhaps Jill coming round a corner and mowing them down – but they all made it to the pub (not The Bull), along with Jim and David. David has brought along Kenton's old school reports and there is much mocking of the bridegroom-to-be as they get stuck into the beers. One memorable phrase from the form tutor was: "Kenton's potential remains a mystery, due to his total lack of concentration". "It's going to be quite a wedding," says Jamie and Kenton adds "Yes it is – I think it's going to be the happiest day of my life". I wouldn't mention that to Mel, if I were you Kenton.