Sunday, 1 February 2015

Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth

Lucy Morris (Phoebe Aldridge)
Phoebe has rocketed in my estimation after really doing a major hatchet job on her mum last week. Kate was pontificating to Jennifer about how trust between a mother and daughter is a precious thing and how she’d like to move into her cottage with Phoebe when the tenants leave. Kate also tells Jennifer that her marriage is over and Lucas’s parents have poisoned the children’s minds against her. Jennifer is full of sympathy but Brian, who obviously knows his daughter better, warns that they have only heard Kate’s version of the story.

It was on Thursday that Phoebe showed her claws. Kate was banging on again about moving into the cottage. “It will be great to have our own home again, won’t it?” Kate says, brightly. “Again?” asks Phoebe, in a leaden voice. Kate doesn’t pick up on the sarcasm and says “It’ll be just like the old days”. Phoebe retorts: “What old days? I was so little when you left that I can’t remember.” When Kate replies that they can create new memories, Phoebe really hits out and says that her half sister Nolly has told her everything.

Jen demonstrates that she really has rose-tinted glasses when it comes to her daughter by protesting that Nolly must be getting a distorted picture from her grandparents. Phoebe, however is adamant that Nolly is telling the truth and tells Kate “Will you tell Gran the truth or shall I?” adding nastily how Kate always says how important it is to have trust between a mother and daughter. By this time, Jennifer is completely bewildered and floundering like a beached whale. Phoebe tells her that Kate had to come back to Ambridge, as Lucas had thrown her out and forbidden her to see the children.

Kate admits to Jennifer that she had an affair (“That must be about the same time that dad had his affair” Phoebe interjects, again nastily) and Lucas was so cold that she felt lonely. “Give me a break - you had your children” says Phoebe, adding: “You don’t care, you put yourself first like you always do - all that stuff about coming back to care for me, that was all lies.” The conversation then took a turn for the worse (if you are Kate that is):

Kate: Sweetheart -
Phoe: Don’t you touch me!
Jen (still at sea): Kate loves you Phoebe
Phoe: No she doesn’t
Kate: Darling, I do - I came back for you
Phoe: You came back because you’ve nowhere else to go and I’m the only child you’ve got left, and I wish to God I wasn’t!

On this note, Phoebe storms off to her room. Kate asks Jennifer whether or not she should go and see Phoebe, saying: “She’s got a pretty low opinion of me.” Tell you what Kate, compared with my opinion of you, Phoebe’s is like Everest. Kate tells Jennifer: “I’ve made a terrible mess of things again - Phoebe despises me”. Ever the optimist, Jen says no, she’s just hurt and confused - I put it to you that wishing to God that she wasn’t Kate’s daughter indicates a certain high level of dissatisfaction and Kate is correct. Phoebe comes back in and Kate starts to thank her for coming back so that she can explain things to her, but Phoebe interrupts and tells her mother and gran that she has been on the phone to Hayley (to whom she refers as ’mum’, incidentally) and after college tomorrow, she, Phoebe, is going to see Hayley and stay with her and Kate can drive her to Birmingham. “Can you do that, at least?” she says - ouch!

The conversation in the car is stilted, to say the least, with Kate wanting to explain about South Africa and Phoebe threatening to get out of the car and hitch. Phoebe and Hayley have a touching reunion. Phoebe said that Kate had been slagging off Roy and describes her as ‘a hypocrite’ and ‘pathetic’. The talk soon turns to Roy and Hayley says he must be feeling lonely. Phoebe says he doesn’t want to see anybody and Hayley tells her that she doesn’t want to cut him out of her life. She then gently suggests that perhaps Phoebe should drop his birthday card round by hand. Let’s hope that Roy and Hayley get back together and Kate gets back to South Africa, although it is worrying that there seems to be nothing there for her, so why should she go back? Now I’ve totally depressed myself, but we’ll leave Kate motoring away from Birmingham, no doubt reflecting on King Lear’s line ‘How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!’

Sorry to have harped on so long about Phoebe, but anything that upsets Kate deserves our full attention. Elsewhere, Susan notices that Emma has something on her mind and asks what it is. Emma demonstrates a touching, albeit certainly totally misguided, judgement call when she says “If I tell you something, you’ve got to promise to keep it to yourself”. Emma, this is Susan we are talking about - her middle name isn’t ‘motorgob’ for no reason. However, Susan says unblushingly: “You can trust me - I’m the soul of discretion.” Ladies and gentlemen, that ‘whooshing’ noise you can hear is the sound of Susan’s nose rapidly growing. Emma tells her of Ed’s cash flow problems and Susan tells her daughter that she should be more like her and give her partner the occasional push, like she does Neil. “I never nag” Susan adds. There’s that ‘whooshing’ noise again.

Ed managed to sell four of his cows for around £6 k, thus giving him a bit of breathing space. Emma asks if they should postpone the wedding but he is indignant and adamant that he really wants to marry her.

At the Burns’ Night celebrations at The Bull, Adam and Charlie meet for the first time since their New Year’s Eve kiss. They find somewhere quiet to talk and the conversation is awkward, to say the least. Adam says they had both had too much to drink and NYE is when people revert to adolescence, anyway. But now they are adults again. Charlie says that he hopes ‘this silly incident’ won’t spoil their friendship and it all seems amicable enough.

On the same night, Lilian confides to Jolene that Matt has left her for good, cleaned out the bank accounts and “taken everything that wasn’t nailed down” (except the crying gypsy picture that Peggy gave them). “I don’t think I’ll ever see him again” Lilian says, tearfully. It’s Jolene I feel sorry for - she had Lilian weeping and moping all over the place when the fling with Paul was going on and now it’s all happening again. I’d get that bulk order for tissues in sharpish, Jolene. On the plus side, Lilian has agreed to sell her share of The Bull to Jolene and Kenton, whose plans are becoming ever-more elaborate.

David met Justin Eliot to see if he can stay on at Brookfield for a few months while the new robotic milking parlour is designed and built. Justin is affability itself and David later tells Joe Grundy that he was ‘charming’. Going back to the milking parlour, David reveals that this is going to cost around £400 k. Not only that, but it will cost £6 k to move the cows up north. Think about it David - can you actually afford to make this move?


  1. Once again, a brilliant review of last week's events in Ambridge. Thank you! Every Sunday I look forward to reading your witty and incisive take on The Archers.

  2. Same here!

    I'm must say I'm curious as to the story behind Matt's disappearance. Any ideas?

  3. I read somewhere else that the actor who played Matt had decided to quit necause he did not like all the changes brought in ny the new boss. Can't say I would blame him, although that does not sound too convincing. Zoe

    1. Matt may still return at some future date, though sounding oddly different than he did before ....

  4. Great summary.

    All it takes now is for Kate and Roy to get back together for Phoebe to be tipped completely over the edge.

    The scenes between Phoebe and Kate have been great recently.

    I pity Kate, however. She is no "spring chicken" any more, and her coming back to do essentially the same diploma course she has done before is sad. There is an organic, human, quality to her failure as an adult that is believable.