Annabelle Dowler (Kirsty Miller)
We begin with Lynda’s attempt to get Kirsty to persuade Roy to take part in ’Calendar Girls’. He isn’t keen, but Kirsty keeps at him, telling him (rather unflatteringly): “It’s only a small part - you’d be perfect for it.” (Boom boom!). Roy agrees to go along to the audition later that night and is somewhat discomfited to find Elizabeth there.
He is even more put out when he realises that his part would be that of Elizabeth’s husband (who dies early on) and he says to Elizabeth “You know what they’ll all be thinking.” Liz says it’s harmless fun, plus it will show everyone how they have both moved on. She adds: “I’m up for it if you are.” (Boom boom!). When Lynda returns (she had been sent away by Elizabeth to get some water, so that she and Roy can have a heart to heart) she takes a loftier view, telling Roy that “This is theatre; this is Art” (and you could hear the upper case A).
Faced with this triple female offensive, Roy gives in and agrees to join the cast. I have this dream that one day, someone - anyone - will say to Lynda “I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than take part in your ridiculous Christmas extravaganza; now go away and leave me alone - I have my own Christmas to prepare for.” Sadly, it’s never likely to happen, as you could carve out of a banana someone with more backbone than the average Ambridge resident, faced with a determined Lynda. There was a frisson of the previous relationship between Roy and Liz, when she admits that she is nervous of getting her kit off for the play. Roy, rather unthinkingly, says “You’ve got nothing to be nervous about” and then both are overcome with embarrassment.
When Kirsty, Liz and Roy go for a drink later, we had a moment of farce when Kirsty says that she is looking for somewhere to live in Ambridge - perhaps someone who has a spare room? It would have to be someone who she gets along with. Any ideas, anyone? Liz says “Can you think of anyone Roy?” Kirsty adds “Yeah, can you?” After a seemingly-interminable pause, Roy says “There is my place.” Kirsty (in mock shock): “Yours?” Roy says he’s got a spare room (as if he’d only just realised it) and Kirsty says that she remembers his place and she loves it. Well, bugger me and hold the front page - who’d have thought it? Roy then joins this week’s double entendre club when he asks Kirsty: “So, how about it?”
Let’s move on to Brookfield. We’ll pass over Stir Up Sunday, as Ben was the only one of the Archers to help Jill with mixing the pudding. Jill takes this as a sign that times are changing - true, so why not save a lot of trouble and get a pudding from M&S or Waitrose (other purveyors of Christmas puddings are available)? David and Pip think that Rooooth is keeping something back and not telling the whole truth about why she is off to New Zealand. She says “OK” (actually, she says Ooooooh Kaaaay) and tells them that they (David and Pip) have their own ideas about running the farm and she doesn’t feel that she has a meaningful role on the farm. Not true! Here’s a bucket and mop and get on with cleaning the yard.
I don’t know about you, but when we learned that Rooooth is only going to New Zealand for two weeks, I was devastated - I thought she was emigrating, or at least going for six months. Later on in the week, Rooooth has lunch with Usha, who begs her “to keep in touch” and, when David drives her to the airport and she deserts him (albeit after a farewell kiss) to find her group, he urges her to keep in touch. Come on people - she’s going away for two weeks, or 14 days in old money - it’s not a one-way trip to Mars. Give the girl - indeed give you (and, also, us) - a break and remain incommunicado. Bye Rooooth; don’t rush back.
David and Pip discover problems at Brookfield when they discover two cows that have gone down with Ketosis (apparently it makes their breaths smell of pear drops). “Mum would never have let it happen.” David gives the affected cows a Drench and hopes that they can carry on with the old/new feeding system. No need to bother Rooooth with the news - let her go to New Zealand.
Clarrie, Eddie and Joe are being evicted from Grey Gables in the near future and they cannot find an affordable two-bedroom property to rent. The solution? Put Joe in a home. Joe has been the subject of complaints at Grey Gables, for wandering around in his long johns and dressing gown, so I reckon that Clarrie and Joe might find it difficult to find a home that would accept him. We’ll pass over the (abortive) attempts to find a flat and the sadness in Joe’s voice when he realises that he is destined for (at least a temporary) sojourn in a home. Personally, I feel sorry for the other residents. What will happen to Bartleby was not mentioned.
It was a mixed week for Justin Eliot - the shoot went very well (despite Will’s nightmares and sleepless nights). Indeed, Justin wasn’t the only one who enjoyed it, as Will picked up over £600 in tips - I hope he declares it to HMRC. Later on, Justin’s luck changed when he heard Jennifer talking and went to congratulate her on the lunch that she had provided and he inadvertently stumbled across a naked Lynda, rehearsing for her forthcoming photo shoot for the calendar. We learn later that he has sent Lynda a bouquet by way of apology, while many of us think that he should have sued Lynda for mental cruelty, or strange and unusual punishment, or anything.
The Rob/Helen/Bridge Farm situation becomes ever more complex. On Sunday, Helen has a dizzy spell and refuses to go home when Rob suggests it. Later on, she won’t eat the scrambled eggs that Rob has made and he asks whether she is determined to make herself ill? The next day, Rob tells her that she’s not needed at the shop and should stay in bed. She reminds him that he has a job interview at noon and Rob takes himself off to the Bridge Farm shop. Pat says that she hopes the company turns him down,
as they need him at the shop and she agrees that Helen is looking tired and pale. For heaven’s sake - when she was pregnant with Henry, Helen was exercising seven hours a day.
Rob returns home later and Helen has received a letter, giving her an appointment for a scan, a few weeks earlier than she thought. Rob says that he has arranged an earlier (private) scan as they can find out the baby’s sex earlier than they thought - and she’s not to worry about the cost. Not with the £10,000 from Peggy in the bank, she shouldn’t. We learn that Rob turned down the job, as his priorities are Helen, the new baby and the shop.
At the Hunt Ball, Justin sounds Rob out about Charlie and Rob damns him with faint praise, adding to Justin’s reservations about Charlie’s suitability as a manager. Incidentally, Rob says that Helen isn’t well enough to attend as the exertions of being at the official opening of the shop the day before have taken it out of her (more likely he has tied her to the bed). At the opening, Rob made a fulsome speech in praise of Helen and modestly played down his part in getting the shop open, saying that he doesn’t want to steal Pat and the family’s thunder. Pat has done a complete U-turn about Rob and even gives him a kiss for being such a nice person.
Back to the Hunt Ball and Rob wheedles the story from Jennifer about Adam’s indiscretion with Pawel a couple of years ago. Rob seems to have an agenda against the forthcoming wedding, asking Jen if she believes it will ever happen. She asks ‘why not?’ and then proceeds to spill the beans about Pawel. Belatedly, Jennifer realises that she’s been indiscreet and begs Rob not to tell anyone about Adam’s fall from grace. Rob (who has been plying her with drinks and compliments all evening in order to get the low-down on Adam) says triumphantly “I solemnly swear that I won’t tell a living soul.” Hands up all those who believe him - a quick count: yep, that’s no-one then.