Tim Bentinck (David Archer)
OK, David and Rooooth have been going through a hard time, what with the potential Route B, falling milk prices and the Heather situation, but you’d think he might have thought that it would have been politic to let his siblings know that they were considering possibly selling up and therefore getting Brookfield Farm valued - especially as said siblings have a financial interest in the farm.
In the end it was Jill who suggested a family conference (one which she elected to be absent from) and their reaction varied from surprise (Liz and Shula) to the mercenary (“When would I see my share?” - Kenton). David and Rooooth go ahead and get Rodways to value the farm and Graham Ryder turns up. Jill cannot bear to be there and she has arranged to take Carol Tregorran to see Peggy.
Graham walks the farm with David and Rooth and he suggests that, in case Route B is adopted, they split the land into two - one parcel either side of the proposed road and sell the farmhouse as a separate lot, along with a few acres. There is much maudlin talk from Dave about how Phil bought these acres from Meadow Farm (later we find out it cost him £1,750 per acre). When pressed, Graham reckons the package could be worth £4.5 million, which depresses Dave, who was hoping for nearer £5 mill. Later on, David depresses Rooooth when she finds him investigating the cost of moving the dairy herd up north. He tells her that it might not be worthwhile staying in dairy and this goes down like a lead balloon with Rooooth, who, as we have explored before in this blog, seems to value her cows above her children (none of who, incidentally seem to have been told about the possible move north). We also have the reaction of Jill, whose reaction to the move varies from ‘yes, I’ll go’ to ‘no, I couldn’t leave Ambridge’ to ‘Shula and Liz have both said I can live with them’ to ‘But what would David say if I didn’t go?’ to ‘If Brookfield were to be sold I don’t know if I could stay.’ That’s that cleared up then.
Let’s move on to the Roy/Hayley/Elizabeth situation. As predicted last week, Phoebe is not best chuffed when she returns home to find that Hayley has left, taking Abbie with her. Calling her father Roy “A lying, cheating, pathetic loser” (come on Phoebe, Don’t mince your words!) she goes off to stay with Grandma Jennifer, who, on being told the whole story, says that she can stay as long as she likes. The following day, Jen and Brian talk about Phoebe’s situation and Jen says that she has experience of just such a betrayal - Brian makes a timely exit.
After the family conference, Elizabeth confides in Shula about her and Roy. Shula is sympathetic and remembers that, when she walked into the shop that morning, Susan was talking to a customer and clammed up when Shula walked in. “If Susan knows, it will be all round the village” Liz says. Liz, love, if Susan knows, it will be on News at 10 before you can blink.
Moving on to the end of the week, Roy turns up at Home Farm to see his daughter and Phoebe says “If Dad wants to talk, it’s fine by me.” A touching reconciliation scene? Not quite as, when Roy turns up and says that he’s done a terrible thing and let everybody down, Phoebe says “Why are you here?” Roy asks her to come home and she replies “You should have thought of that before you started screwing around with your boss - that middle-aged tart.” She also tells him (three times) that she hates him and that she’s not coming home, not now, not ever. Remove the ‘Welcome Home’ sign Roy.
Now we have to explain why Phoebe deserves to be torn apart by wild horses. Last week we had the ecstasy of there being no Christmas extravaganza in Ambridge this year, while this week we had Jennifer and Phoebe in the shop, with Lynda rather unsubtly quizzing Phoebe about why she wasn’t at college. Jen quickly changed the subject - she had noticed that Lynda had put her name down for auditions for the FLOS Ayckbourn production and how had she got on? A disgusted Lynda said that they had offered her the job of prompter and she has decided to direct and star in her own production for Ambridge’s Christmas show.
Phoebe thought this was a great idea, mentioning (among others) Woody Allen as examples. If this goes ahead, I warned the writers last week that my revenge would be terrible - I may have to beat them to death with Phoebe’s corpse. Of course, if this is to be a one-woman show, then presumably Robert Snell would be the only person in the audience. It could also persuade Jill that perhaps she could leave Ambridge after all.
Going back to the David/Rooooth moving north saga, I had a response from a reader who suggested that the Prudhoe Tourist Board might have paid good money for this story line and could this be another Duchy Originals scandal? He, or she goes on: “Incidentally, are Archers allowed to live in a place that can actually be found on any atlas? Ambridge is well known to exist in a parallel universe (where they alone get torrential rain in the driest-ever September, for instance). In fact - can you even get to Northumberland from AmbridgeSpace?” An interesting point - should Mike and Vicky move to Birmingham, will we never hear from them again? And perhaps they could take Will, Fred, Wayne, James, Leonie, Lynda - add your own non-favourites - with them.