Patricia Greene (Jill Archer)
We begin with what was potentially the last-ever Archer family Christmas lunch at Brookfield. Jill has cooked for David, Rooooth and children, Elizabeth, Shula, Alistair and Dan and the atmosphere is emotional, with the children reminiscing about Christmases past and remembering those who are no longer with us, such as Nigel and Phil. Jill says how lucky she is to have all her family round the table, seemingly forgetting that she actually has another son, working at The Bull. If I were you Kenton, I’d check that I am still mentioned in the Will.
In what was surely a surprise to nobody, Jill had a change of mind and told David that she cannot join him and Rooooth in the frozen north and her heart belongs in Ambridge; besides, she wants to stay close to Phil “And as long as he’s buried here, it’s where I want to be”. “That’s OK, we can dig him up and take him with us” David replies. Sorry, I made that last bit up, but it might have been a solution, surely?
The Christmas spirit was much in evidence last week, although there was a, frankly, unbelievable bit of dialogue when Lilian was delivering cards and Helen asked her if she’d like a drink? “No thank you” Lilian said. I ask you – how likely is that? That would be top of my ‘Things that the characters would never say’ list, along with “This round’s on me” (Joe) and “I’m so lucky to have a brother like you” (Will). No doubt you can think up your own.
We also had the unlikely story of Emma (and later on, Fallon) not recognising P C Burns as the jolly Santa. I mean, come on – it would have to be one hell of a good disguise, wouldn’t it? As it is, he took off his helmet, donned a false white beard and a red coat and suddenly nobody seems to know who he is. Fallon seemed disappointed when PCB told her he was spending Christmas Day at The Elms refuge, but she cheered up when he told her that he and Justine weren’t together any longer and that he would be attending the opening night of Blithe Spirit, in which Fallon was appearing.
At the opening night, it resembles a farce rather than Blithe Spirit, as Susan’s dress splits and she goes into a minor meltdown, forgetting all Lynda’s stage directions and running about the stage in a tizzy. The audience, however, loved it and there is much laughter and applause and numerous curtain calls. Lynda is a bit miffed (“I feel that some of my subtle motifs weren’t appreciated” - pretentious cow) but the punters enjoyed it. And no-one more so than PCB, who had sent Fallon flowers for good luck and who came on to the stage afterwards to offer congratulations. Fallon takes him outside for some fresh air and he tells her that she was amazing and he couldn’t take his eyes off her.
Fallon says that she has missed seeing him and, by a happy coincidence, PCB has brought along some mistletoe and they kiss. Well done Harrison! I do hope they are a happy couple, although when Wayne learns that his daughter is stepping out with the copper who arrested him for dealing drugs, he may not be happy. Thinking about it, wouldn’t it be great if PCB and Fallon got married and Wayne had to give a speech, welcoming him into the family? It would almost be worth having Wayne back again to hear that – almost, but not quite.
The phrase ‘back again’ is apt this week, as we had Tony earning his money once more by playing a speaking part, rather than someone lying prone in bed, unconscious and with tubes in every orifice. He told Peggy that he heard what she said about the Will and he knows she loves him and he loves her and always will. Peggy phones Pat to tell her the good news and there is joy unconfined at Bridge Farm, though I reckon that Pat is secretly a little annoyed, as she has been at the hospital 24/7 and Tony hasn’t said a word, then his mother turns up and suddenly he speaks.
Back again too was Kate (he said, weeping). At first I had great hopes, as Phoebe was very rude to her and didn’t seem to want her there (not alone there, Pheebs). However, Phoebe changes her mind when she sees Kate wrapping a new i-Pad. Bad luck on Roy, who takes his present (a tablet) to Phoebe, who is extremely unpleasant to him and tells him to go, and take his present with him. Phoebe tells Kate that she wants things back as they were. Me too, so get on that plane back to Johannesburg sharpish, Kate.
Emma and Ed host Christmas at No. 1 The Green for what reads like the guest list from hell; apart from George and Keira, there’s Clarrie, Joe and Eddie, Susan and Neil. Be honest, wouldn’t you just go down the pub and stay there? Things are not improved when Joe and Eddie start singing carols – luckily they fall asleep (although their snores are louder and, it has to be said, more tuneful, than the carols). Unluckily they wake up again.
When Susan took George to see Santa Plod, his wish for Christmas was for it to snow. Late on Christmas Day, Ed opens the curtains and, sure enough, there is snow in the garden! Don’t get excited – PC Burns isn’t really a wizard in disguise, it’s just that Ed borrowed a foam machine from Jazzer. When they are alone, Ed asks Emma what was it she wished for earlier (I think she got the coin in the pudding or something) and Emma says she didn’t wish for anything as; ”I’ve already got everything I can wish for.” At the time of writing, I am still trying to decide whether this shows a spectacular lack of imagination on Emma’s part, or whether she is a masochist of stupendous proportions.