Perditia Avery (Kate Madikane)
It occurred to me that there are a number of characters that have been absent from the airwaves for some time. I know that the Rob/Helen storyline has been taking up a lot of time over what feels like the last decade, but can’t be more than a year or so, but is it fair to ruthlessly toss other, older established, characters aside like so many spent matches? On the other hand, of course, sometimes it’s not bad news when a character disappears (and yes, Kate, I am talking about you.)
Kate is occasionally referred to by other characters; usually in conjunction with some disparaging remark about yurts, or hippies, which I assume is just the writers’ nasty way of telling us ‘yes, you may not have heard much from her recently, but she’s still around and we can bring her back in a heartbeat.’ Much the same is true for Wayne, who’s current, non-speaking presence in the kitchen at The Bull appears to be growing in significance, especially now he’s up for a food award.
However, when it comes to long-term absenteeism, the number one contender for top spot has to be Darrell. After his difficulties in getting work and the involvement with the dog fight organisers, he was rescued by Shula and (reluctantly) Alistair and took up residence in a converted camper van at the Stables, after which he – well, to be blunt, he vanished without trace. Not only do we never hear from him, but no-one ever speaks of him. It’s as if he never existed.
Perhaps it’s something in the air at The Stables, as Alistair appears to have joined the awol list. Yes, he’s talked about a lot (as in ‘Alistair’s in the top field seeing to a difficult calving’) or people are waving him goodbye as he drives off, but in recent months we have heard more sound from his car than from him.
I appreciate that some people are introduced for a specific story, after which they are disposed of, and one such is Iftikar. Originally brought in to coach cricket and to try and drum some basic mathematics into Freddie’s thick bonce, he almost kissed Elizabeth and was politely rejected. He then sank from sight like a stone. Perhaps the Ambridge cricket team thought he wasn’t needed any longer, as they won the league last year, thanks to the cheating of Rob Titchener.
Of course, Iftikar was – in her fevered, self-delusional imagination anyway – the love interest of Tracy, and she is another one who hasn’t made an appearance recently. She was mentioned last week when we heard the story of how she and sister Susan were fighting over Sabrina’s track suit bottoms at the Jumble Trail, so we know she is still around, but fortunately she and her two brats have been mercifully silent for quite some time now. Long may it continue.
Not so long ago, I would have cheerfully paid for Will Grundy to take a long holiday somewhere remote, but then he was nice to his brother - even acting as his Best Man – and we saw another, hitherto unsuspected, side to him. The shock must have been too much, as he too appears to have vanished from the face of the earth; or at least Borsetshire. Not only that, but he appears to have taken his wife Nic with him. Again, Brian mentioned Will last week, so we presume he and she will come back at some stage.
Can it be just over three years ago that Alice and Christopher were agonising about whether she should take the job she had been offered in Canada and desert Ambridge? As we know, they didn’t go, but to be honest, they might as well have done for all the exposure that they have been getting. The other Chris (Christine Barford) seems to drift in and out, sometimes not appearing for weeks at a time. She may be living with Peggy, but I bet Peggy hardly realises the fact, so unobtrusive is Chris.
Also conspicuous by their absences are Kathy and Jamie. You could tell when Jamie was around, as you would nearly always hear a massive sigh before he spoke – at least before he discovered the joys of lumberjacking. Since he became enamoured of the chainsaw, the incidence of sighing decreased markedly, but now he features not at all and the mantle of super-sigher has been handed over to Rooooth, who did go away to New Zealand, but came back pretty sharpish. Kathy, we know, is running the Health Club at Grey Gables, but very unobtrusively and doesn’t appear to get involved in village activities such as the Jumble Trail, nor does she ever seem to go to the shop or the pub. Mind you, given her previous relationship with Kenton, this latter seems unlikely. Jamie was Kenton’s Best man when he married Jolene, so you’d think he’d go into the pub occasionally, if only to cadge the odd pint every now and then.
Of course, some people go and we know where they are – Caroline and Oliver are on extended holiday in Italy, although I don’t think I’d rest easy, knowing that the Grundys are residing in my house. They’ll probably be back when they’ve plucked up the courage to see what’s happened to the place. And Mike, Vicky and Bethany have moved to Birmingham and, considering it’s just down the road, they never seem to come back to see friends or family.
People are dropping below the radar all the time and no doubt you can think of other examples of absentees. I just wish we could be told whether these absences are permanent or not – just imagine the bliss of knowing, for instance, that you’d never have to hear from Kate ever again.