Will Howard (Dan Hebden Lloyd)
I thought the army was cutting down on recruitment, but it would appear not, judging by the breakneck speed at which Daniel’s application is progressing. It’s all a bit much for mum Shula who, at the beginning of the week, tries to persuade Dan to go to university, get a degree and then see if he wants to join the army.
Alistair is on Shula’s side and both are stunned when Dan reveals that he has already been to a Selection Board. Never mind - Alistair reminds Shula that Dan had juvenile arthritis and he might fail on medical grounds. Afraid not - Dan told the Selection Board about his medical history and he has already passed the medical. Oh and by the way, he’s off to Sandhurst on Tuesday for a pre-commissioning course. “I really want to do this mum and I’d really like your blessing” he says. Not much chance of that, I’d say.
At the end of the week, Dan takes Shula for a pub lunch to talk about it. He describes being at Sandhurst as ‘wicked’ and ‘really special’ and depresses his mum even more when he tells her that he passed the fitness tests and is going to be an officer. We learn too that he has been accepted by the Tank Regiment and next week he is going to see the Royal Hussars. At this rate he’ll be a Lieutenant Colonel by Easter. Shula makes one last attempt to get him to postpone his decision, pointing out the potential dangers, to which Daniel replies that his real father Mark was a safe, respectable solicitor and he died in an accident on a quiet country road. Jolene’s comment “You must be really proud of him, Shula” does little to reassure her.
Over at Brookfield, David and Rooooth are debating whether to invite Jill to move in permanently - this is while they are demolishing her home-cooked peanut butter biscuits and real coffee. Jill has been saying that she ought to get out from under their feet and go back to Glebe Cottage and Rooooth and David wonder what her reaction might be; would she think that they thought that she couldn’t cope? Rooooth is worried that Jill might think they are exploiting her and David agrees, absent-mindedly reaching for another biscuit and clicking his fingers for a coffee refill. They needn’t have worried, as Jill says she would be delighted to move in if they really want her, so David goes off to make the cupboard under the stairs a bit more comfortable for her and sets her alarm for 5.30 am so she can get breakfast on the go.
Things are not going smoothly for Tom and Kirsty’s wedding - we have already had the cock-up over the invitations and on Monday Kirsty tells Tom that their photographer has got a better offer - a job on a cruise ship - and can’t do their wedding. Tom wonders where they will find someone at such short notice and, speaking of the wedding, says “This is a disaster”, which is what so many of us have been telling Kirsty for weeks. The pressure is getting to Tom and he has a row with Tony about work on the farm. Tony tells Pat that Tom behaved totally unreasonably (surely not?) and, when Pat confronts her son, he says “I suppose I did fly off the handle” (surely not?). Kirsty and Tom go to view the plot where their house will eventually be and, the way things have been going, I was anticipating an earthquake, but nothing happened and they have been given a moving-in date of 14th August. Time’s running out Kirsty, if you’re planning to do the same.
A major story of the week was the Extraordinary General Meeting of Borsetshire Land, attended by Justin Elliot, CEO of Venture Capitalists Damara, which is the majority shareholder in BL. The meeting is chaired by Annabelle and Justin says that BL has been under-performing, which made it a sitting duck for Damara’s take-over. Brian defends his record, pointing out the success of the market and the mega-dairy. Justin’s response is that these should only have been the start - the market should have developed into a full-fledged business park and why is there only one anaerobic digester on the dairy complex, when if they had more, they could import other people’s slurry (or whatever) and make more money.
The EGM ends with the election of a new Chair for BL. Brian puts his name forward, as does Gerry Moreton, but the new Chair is Annabelle (or ‘Justin’s puppet’ as perhaps we ought to call her from now on). There was an amusing counterpoint to this story, as the scene of the action kept cutting from the BL boardroom to the open air, where Will had invited Chris to join him on his rounds, during which time Will persuades Chris to take on the role of Jesus in the Passion Play. Will has set a number of squirrel traps and one has captured a ‘rat with a bushy tail’ as Will describes it. The parallel between the captured rodent and Brian is evident, when Will says the squirrel enters the trap confidently, not knowing that he is going to be well and truly stitched up. Fortunately, the parallel isn’t that exact, as Will despatches the squirrel by hitting it with a priest, whereas Brian is just encouraged to consider his position and think about whether he will remain on the BL board.
After the EGM, we have further evidence that Brian didn’t marry Jennifer for her intellect, as he comes home and heads straight for the whisky. Jennifer protests that it’s a bit early and he says “I’ve just had one of the worst days of my life.” Jen’s reply? “Didn’t it go well?” proving that not only is she not the sharpest knife in the drawer, she’s not even the sharpest teaspoon.