Philip Molloy, Barry Farrimond, Emerald O'Hanrahan (Will, Ed and Emma Grundy)
So, has one of the longest and bitterest internecine feuds in Ambridge finally been laid to rest? I refer of course to the ill feeling between the Grundy brothers, which has been rumbling on for years - even before Ed stole Will’s wife from him which, let’s face it, wasn’t a very brotherly thing to do.
The ‘will he, won’t he?’ saga of whether or not Will would agree to be his brother’s Best Man occupied much of the airwaves last week, with Will coming under extreme pressure to do the decent thing. Nic was the first to turn the screw on her husband; on Sunday, she asks Will if she should take his best suit (what - he’s got more than one?) to the cleaners. Will is at his truculent best, saying that Ed is getting married on a Friday on purpose, just to annoy Will and that he (Will) is definitely not going to be Best Man; no sir, nohow, no way, end of - is that clear?
Nic takes the children to watch Will play cricket and Ed and Emma are there. Emma too wants Will to be Best Man and, at the match, Ed remarks to Joe that she is working too hard on trying to persuade Will. Ed tells his brother that he played a good innings, which is probably the first kind words to pass between the two for many years. A mournful Joe remarks that it’s a sad day when a brother can’t agree to be the Best Man, while Edward says (to Joe) that Will is being selfish and why can’t he put everything behind him for just one day and what will it take to persuade him?
The answer to that is ‘pressure’. On Monday Joe goes to see Will to tell him that Ed was offering Will an olive branch when he asked him, to which Will retorts that Ed was only asking for Clarrie and Emma’s sakes. “Would that be so bad?” asks Joe, before saying “So there’s no chance then?” It seems not, as Joe tells Emma later and we learn that Emma was unaware that Ed had actually asked Will in person.
Will gets a day free from nagging on Tuesday, but on Wednesday, it is back with a vengeance when Emma goes to see her ex-husband. Will immediately assumes that Ed or Joe sent her, but she says that she’s there on her own account and “it’s one day and it would mean so much to the rest of the family.” Will is still anti, saying “did you think it would be that easy?” and Emma plays the family card, saying that surely Will wouldn’t want to spoil their son George’s day, not to mention that of Clarrie, Eddie and Joe? “If you really feel we’re asking too much, we’ll respect your feelings, but if you did, it would be the icing on the wedding cake” Emma tells him.
On Thursday it’s Nic’s turn again. Will has agreed to be the Best Man (a man can only take so much) but he is still very grudging. Nic says “Your family loves you - that’s why they want you to be part of this day - it’s not a test. They deserve better.” It must have been tempting to add ‘God only knows why’ after the word ‘day’ but Nic was diplomatic. Will says he accepts the bit about the family, but he’s still not sure about Ed, to which Nic reminds him: “Ed’s part of the family too - he’s always going to be; can’t you see, Will?” She then bashed him over the head with a large dictionary, open at the page with the definition of ‘brother’ on it until he begged for mercy. Actually, she didn’t, but she should have.
So let’s cut to the chase - Will turns up at the church and relations between him and his brother are, if not exactly cordial, then at least polite and they shake hands. Ed goes into the church, while Will asks the newly-arrived Emma to take a turn round the churchyard with him. Will says he’s not sorry about what’s happened, as it has brought them all to their current state of happiness and he apologises for being pigheaded and says that he wants them to be friends. At this stage, I did wonder if someone had slipped him some mind-altering substance, but it got even more surreal as, at the Reception, Will gave a speech which had everyone laughing (except Clarrie, who was overcome with emotion). In a break with tradition, Will proposed a toast to the Groom, rather than the Bride and Ed came over and thanked him for doing a great job. If they carry on at this rate, they’ll be entering into a Civil Partnership before long.
So it was a fairytale ending, but there’s more to come. Tom gives Ed something from all at Bridge Farm - it’s a three-day honeymoon in Devon and Will and Nic will look after the kids while they are away. What with a newly-reunited family and a dream wedding, truly Emma and Ed’s cup runneth over.
Before we leave the wedding, there were some complications in the run up - for example, Fallon’s bunting is still missing, despite the efforts of PC Burns and Scotland Yard to find it. Emma has a brilliant solution - why not turn her Hen Night (which was going to be a curry meal out) into a sewing bee? The curry can be ordered in and the girls can sew a fresh load of bunting. Thank God Lilian wasn’t invited - can you imagine her reaction if she were to be given a needle and thread instead of a (very) large G&T? Anyway, those who turned up entered into the spirit of the thing and, in passing, we learned that Susan was a bit of a goer in her day and, when she married Neil, she was expecting Emma. For her part, Emma tells her Mum that she couldn’t have asked for better parents, which shows a marked lack of ambition, if you ask me.
Apart from the wedding, what else happened? The great Bird Race saw Jim’s team and Robert’s team dead heating (but not winning). Both men were obsessive, with Jim abandoning his driver, Kenton (ran out of petrol) and taking a taxi to pick up his Riley so that he could continue, and Will striking a note for sanity when he told Robert “We’re standing here at a sewage works, in the dark - why don’t we call it a day?”
Pip tells Rex Fairbrother about some land to let near Penny Hassett and, at the same time, clumsily enquires about any girlfriend that Toby might have. Rex says that he’s probably got more than one, but Pip is smitten, as Rooooth notices (it was the way she kept drooling and tripping over her tongue that gave it away). Pip admits to liking the lads, but says it’s a pity as she might not be around much longer, as she’s got a second interview for the globe-trotting Technical Manager’s job. Steady Pip - it’s a second interview, not a job offer.
There is intrigue in the village, as Jennifer is contacted by an employee at Berrow Farm, who swears he saw Rob Titchener on the night of the flood deliberately blocking up a culvert to make sure the water didn’t go near the mega-dairy. Jen and David meet the mega-dairy Deep Throat (whose name is Stefan) and listen to his story. He is adamant that it was Rob and has only decided to come forward “because somebody could have died.“ David decides to go and see Charlie, in his capacity as Flood Warden and tells him what Stefan had said (not mentioning either Stefan or Rob’s names). Charlie immediately realises that the unnamed employee must be talking about a senior member of staff, which narrows it down to Raf, Becky and Rob.
Later, Charlie calls Rob in for a chat and tells him what has happened. Rob tries to dismiss the incident (“conspiracy theories abound”) and suggests it’s surely a waste of time. Charlie, however, is of a different mind, telling Rob: “That was the culvert that I nearly drowned in”, which is a bit of a conversation stopper. Charlie says he will conduct an investigation and there’s no need for Rob to get involved and hasn’t he got things to do? Rob is distinctly unhappy and goes home, where Helen asks what’s up? He tells her of the culvert blocking and that he thinks he is in the frame for it. Helen is outraged, saying that to block the culvert was really dangerous and “What kind of person would take such a stupid risk?” Rob must be thinking it’s just one damn thing after another - just as he gets in the clear about Jess’s baby, he’s now practically accused of trying to murder (or at least accidentally kill) his boss - take care; these things don’t look good on the CV, Rob.