John Anthony Archer aka Gideon Robert Titchener
I sometimes think that Peggy hasn’t quite grasped the situation that exists between Rob and the Bridge Farm Archers - she and Tony come back from seeing Helen and Jack and Peggy says that she will get some extra photos run off, as Rob and Ursula will want to see them. Pat is not keen, but Peggy says they are Jack’s father and grandmother and they shouldn’t be cut out of Jack’s life. Pat replies with spirit that “they are trying to cut us out of Henry’s life” but Peggy says that “our priorities should be the children.”
True to her word, Peggy takes some snaps to Rob and Ursula - she has even had one framed, bless her - and all is going swimmingly until she says that, despite the difficult birth, Jack came out healthy. “Sorry, who?” asks Rob and, when Peggy tells her what Helen has named the baby, Rob goes spare, saying that that is not his name. Rob’s mood is not improved when Peggy says that Helen has already registered the birth and, practically foaming at the mouth, he rants: “Gideon is my child and if she thinks that he’ll have anything to do with the Archer family, she can think again! That insufferable woman!” Peggy thinks she should leave, as Rob screams that Helen will be hearing from his solicitor.
Later on, a shaken Peggy tells Lilian that she thought she was doing a good thing, but “Rob was absolutely furious - I’ve never seen him like that; he’s usually so charming.” “He’s not a man I’d like to get on the wrong side of” Lilian says. “I feel terrible - I’ve made a bad situation even worse” Peggy states. Spot on, Peggy - you certainly have. Didn’t you pick up on all the talk since the stabbing about Rob being devious and manipulative?
Meanwhile, Rob has been told that Helen was within her rights to register the birth but the solicitor is looking into whether they can get Gideon’s proper name registered. “It will be easier when I’ve got full custody” he tells Ursula, adding that he’s going to travel north and see his son.
The week didn’t start that well for Rob. Johnny and Tom decide to go in for the single wicket competition and, when they turn up, they learn that Rob will be doing the commentary. Tom is disgusted, but organiser Kenton says how could he refuse when Rob offered? Besides, many people in Ambridge think that Rob is a hero. Rob gets Tom’s back up even more by reminding him that today is a Monday and the Archer family are only allowed to have contact with Henry on Sundays, so can he make sure that no-one from the family approaches Henry today please? To add insult to injury, Rob wishes Johnny luck in the competition, pointedly ignoring Tom.
However, what goes around, comes around, as Johnny narrowly defeats Tom in the final. The trophy is usually presented by Shula, but she can’t make it (presumably she’s down at Sandhurst again) so Rob steps in. He tells the crowd that he can take some of the credit for Johnny’s performance, as he coached him last summer. When accepting the trophy, Johnny deliberately ignores Rob’s outstretched hand and calls Tom up to share the stage with him, saying that he could never have done it without the support of the family at Bridge Farm. “Just look at Rob’s face!” Pat says, gleefully.
Lynda celebrated her birthday on Sunday - at 69, surely she must be slowing down soon? Please? - and Robert brings her breakfast in bed. The couple spend the afternoon exploring the Jumble Trail around the village and Jennifer rather unthinkingly says that it’s nice to see the younger generation organising things in the village. Lynda gives a sniff worthy of a B-list celebrity at a free cocaine party and, in a dangerous voice, says “Meaning?” Lynda then points out that she has so much to do to organise her garden opening (“an official charity event”). “Don’t let me stop you” Jennifer replies, brightly and Robert has to step in as peacemaker, saying soothingly that he’s sure that there’s room for lots of events and it’s nice to see them supported.
The Grundys are facing having to move out of Grange Farm - Oliver and Caroline are threatening to come back from Italy and, rather unreasonably, they want their house back. Mind you, what with the cattle roaming around and the pigs, not to mention the cider club being transferred to the premises and a large crack appearing in the kitchen wall, the chances are that they won’t recognise the place. The crack in the wall is causing Eddie grief - he fills it, but it’s the wrong colour. Clarrie tells him to paint it properly. He does so, but the texture is wrong. Do it again, Eddie. This time Clarrie goes demented, as, rather than spend out on textured paint, Eddie mixes flour with cheap emulsion and the results are what you might have expected. Clarrie goes even more mental, worrying about what Oliver and Caroline will say. Tell you what Clarrie, why not nail Eddie to the wall over the crack - that will hide it.
To be honest, I find Eddie’s behaviour bordering on the farcical - surely nobody can be so consistently thick and still be alive? Everything he touches turns to ashes and yet, as a shining example of the triumph of hope over experience, he comes up with a string of stupid ideas, each one marginally more ridiculous than the last. The latest one concerns the elves in the Millennium Wood. Brian, who is annoyed that the visitors might be disturbing the pheasants, has commissioned Patrick from the Borsetshire Wildlife Trust to undertake a survey into the effects of visitors on the bio-diversity in the wood. At his party later in the week to celebrate his 40th wedding anniversary, Brian reveals that the report will highlight the negative effect of the increasing crowds. Do you reckon that the BWT will shortly be in receipt of a substantial, but probably anonymous, donation, or am I being overly cynical?
But back to Eddie, who has learned of Brian’s disaffection and tells Joe that, if Brian has his way and the elves are history, then “what might be bad for Mr Elf might be good for Mr Grundy.“ “What you talking about?” asks Joe, which, to be fair, must be something that Eddie hears pretty often. In answer, Eddie says (in tones that Dr Martin Luther King Jr used in his ‘I had a dream’ speech) that he has a vision - in his mind he has seen a sign saying ‘ElfWorld’. They can re-home the elves in a corner of Grundy’s Field and charge people to park, ask people to donate towards the elves’ upkeep (Eddie, they aren’t real, mate) and sell them elvish tat. Sorry. Did I say ‘tat‘? I meant ‘souvenirs’.
We know that the enterprise will almost certainly go tits up, when Joe gives it his endorsement “I hates to say this Eddie, but you could be on to something.” Eddie’s imagination is running away with him - they could have their own t-shirts, sweat shirts, bags, pens - the world is their mollusc of choice - and Joe reveals that he is ready for a home with padded walls when he says “It’ll be like Disneyland - a bit smaller and not so many mice.” That remark is wrong on so many levels - not only will it be minuscule, rather than ‘a bit smaller’ but I’m willing to bet that there’ll be a lot more mice than at Disneyland. Eddie says that they need to get in quick before some large entrepreneur does and he reminds Joe that Dolly Parton started in a shack and now she owns Dollywood. “It’s a licence to print money” Eddie tells his dad, which is surely the kiss of death. I think we should ask Eddie ‘What has Dolly Parton got two of that you are one of?’
Let’s turn from the ridiculous to the tedious. Yes, it’s Helen and Rob again. Helen is talking to her Barrister, Anna, and, for once, she is talking meaningfully to her Brief. No longer is it ‘I can’t remember’ or ‘Does it matter?’ as she tells Anna how Rob punished Henry for some insignificant incident by making him bin his cuddly toy and his Easter egg. He wouldn’t let Helen go upstairs to comfort him. Anna pounces: “Would he often tell you not to do things?” Have we got the beginnings of a Defence case here at last?
Helen is distracted when Anna tells her that Rob has applied to see Jack (or Gideon). “No! No!” she replies. Anna says that he cannot see Jack without Helen’s permission - something that she is reluctant to grant. Anna points out that, as the child’s father, Rob has rights and, if Helen refuses access, it might not look very good if Rob were to go to court (as if!).
Let’s return to the Grundys. Will (welcome back) has a solution to the potential homelessness problems of his parents and grandfather - they can move into No.1 The Green. Sadly, there will be no room for Ed, Emma and children and Will doesn’t want to reopen old wounds with his brother and, frankly, I wouldn’t want to see that either. Let’s hope that Will and Clarrie can persuade Ed that the offer is in no way a snub. When talking at the 40th Wedding Anniversary party, Lilian mentions Will’s offer, saying that Ed and Emma will have to find somewhere else. Fallon remarks that “Susan’s not going to like the sound of that.” I don’t suppose that Ed and Emma will exactly be doing handsprings either, Emma.
So let’s end with the 40 W/A party, catered for by Fallon and Emma. There are only around 50 or 60 guests, so it should be a piece of cake. Talking of cake (did you see what I did there?) Ian has volunteered to make a Red Velvet Cake. He is exploring recipes with Adam and reveals that he is hoping to use beetroot to get the red colour and different texture (sounds revolting - can’t he get hold of any blood, for heaven’s sake?). Actually, Adam had a difficult moment when Ian asked him if he ever heard from Pawel nowadays (the new lot of fruit pickers have just been ensconced in the caravans.) Adam passes it off, but why did Ian ask? “Somebody mentioned his name” the chef replied.
But back to the party. Brian pays tribute to his wife of four decades, saying that they have had their ups and downs and the downs were mostly down to him. Fortunately, the biggest down is safely at boarding school, so there is no Ruiari-shaped elephant in the room. Brian also announces that his present to Jennifer is a trip to Venice on the Orient Express. “And I only bought him a case of whisky!” is Jennifer’s answer. Justin proposes a toast to the happy couple.
Lilian has had her hair coloured and cut and manages to escape from Martyn Gibson’s boring conversation about golf. Justin takes her to one side and explains that his relationship with his wife Miranda is “more of a practical arrangement” and Lilian is more of a kindred spirit than Miranda could ever be. Would Lilian be agreeable to an ‘arrangement’? “Are you asking me to be your mistress?” asks a totally-unshocked Lilian. Justin says we shouldn’t get hung up on vocabulary and it’s not a word he’d use. Too right - there are myriad synonyms - floozie, slapper, tart - just pick one that you’re comfortable with, Lilian. Although admittedly she hadn’t said ‘yes’ when the episode ended, what‘s the betting she will?