Tim Bentinck (David Archer)
It was a week when everybody seemed to give David a hard time. The poor sod only dropped into the village shop to pick up a farming magazine and he was subjected to a lecture from Jim about principles, or the lack thereof. Jim said that he thought David was a man of principle but now he knows that his principles can be bought. Instead of telling him to mind his own business, David tries to explain that, if the road bisects Brookfield, he won’t be able to farm the way he wants and he is only doing what is best for his family’s future.
Jim, who has obviously never heard the phrase ‘the customer is king’, then says that he believes David could have got £5 million for the farm. This time David does tell him that it’s none of his business and leaves. What is it with these people? If David has to sell - and no-one has questioned the rightness of the decision, assuming Route B is chosen - why shouldn’t he get the best price he can? OK, if Justin Eliot was offering a few thousand more than, say, Brian, then David might well have taken the lower offer. An extra £2.5 million is a different kettle of fish, however, and how many of David’s detractors (with the possible exception of Jennifer, who thinks money grows on trees) would have turned it down?
As if he hasn’t had his ear bent enough, David turns up at the SAVE meeting at Lynda’s house, much to Jennifer’s surprise, who has a go at him. David, who must have been wondering why he bothered, says he wouldn’t be there if he had given up the fight over Route B. There are developments; Jim has been invited to a party by the Borsetshire Local Enterprise Partnership and he suggests that he goes, as Justin Eliot will be there and Jim (who is unknown to Justin) can mingle and “find out more about the wider plan”. He will take Carol (also not known to Justin) as back up.
There is a ray of hope on the horizon, as Jim has asked the Council for the minutes of their meetings concerning traffic density, but they are dragging their feet. Usha has told Jim that the Council has an obligation to supply the data under the Freedom of Information Act and he tells Lynda. The pair of them get a bit carried away, talking about whipping up ‘a storm of protest’ and informing the nationals of what’s happening. “We can take it all the way to Number 10!” Lynda cries. I’m sure David Cameron would be delighted.
Lynda has problems of her own - Caroline has pulled out of Blithe Spirit and, later in the week, Helen (who is playing one of the major roles) also pulls out. Lynda doesn’t actually say “So your father is in hospital, hovering between life and death - you can’t help him, so you might as well do the play” but she does her best to change Helen’s mind. It seems that Blithe Spirit is doomed (things aren’t helped by Lynda’s ponderous press releases, imbuing the play with various pretentious sub-texts) but towards the end of the week, Lynda persuades Carol Tregorran to take on the part abandoned by Caroline, so the play might yet be saved, sadly.
While on the subject of Carol, she gave Pat a sleeping draught (which was really effective) and Jill complained of chronic indigestion, so presumably she’ll also get one of Carol’s home-made remedies. I hope for their sakes that there isn’t a branch of Boots or Superdrug in or near Ambridge; they’ll be out of business before long. I’m still waiting to see if Carol’s patients fall ill.
David’s decision to sell has implications for other farms in the area, as Brian points out. After telling Adam that they have both been invited to a farmers’ shoot by Justin Eliot - it’s not that exclusive, as Ed Grundy is also an invitee - Brian tells Adam and Jennifer that they should seriously consider what he calls ‘The Armageddon Solution’. This involves selling all the machinery, making full-time employees Jeff and Andy redundant and contracting out the arable work. This doesn’t go down a storm with Adam, especially as the arable takes up a big chunk of his working time, and he is even more angry when Brian tells him that he has spoken to Debbie, who agrees it is the only viable answer. It’s the fait accompli of the mega-dairy all over again as Adam flounces out, telling Brian to tell Justin to stuff his shoot.
There is better news on the Tony front, as he is off the ventilator by the end of the week. On Thursday Pat is saying “Please God, don’t let him die” and that she couldn’t face life without him. On Friday, Pat and Helen are at his bedside - it’s Pat and Tony’s Ruby Wedding Anniversary the next day - and Pat tells her husband that she bought a special bottle of champagne to celebrate, but she will wait until he comes home. Suddenly she exclaims “Oh Tony!” and excitedly tells Helen that he squeezed her hand; presumably trying to tell her he’d like the champagne now.
The Grundys’ turkey extravaganza plumbed new depths, with Eddie dressed as Henry VIII and Joe forgetting his lines. Still, people are clapping rather than asking for their money back. Carol reads from “A Christmas Carol” - easier than writing original dialogue, I suppose.
Finally, I have a solution to the Justin Eliot problem; he has invited all the farmers (most of who he has seriously pissed off recently) to a shoot. What an opportunity for his pellet-ridden body to be found slumped at his peg, ostensibly the result of a tragic accident. The only trouble is that everybody there would be a red-hot suspect.