Monday, 17 April 2017

I’d Take Matt’s Money And Run, Lilian

Kim Durham (Matt Crawford)

Lilian soon got over the shock of Matt Crawford’s return - in fact, she smacked him in the face, giving him a black eye, as we learn from Justin as he takes her scrambled egg and smoked salmon in bed on Sunday. Tony rings his sister - he has heard that Matt is staying at Grey Gables, which she knows, as Matt has invited her for afternoon tea.

She goes to see him, taking Justin along for support, although he leaves them alone to talk. Lilian remarks that Matt seems to be doing very nicely on her money and he replies that he wants to apologise “from the bottom of my heart” (“What heart?” - Lilian). We learn that Matt is one of a consortium, building a racecourse in Costa Rica and he is in the UK to look up his old racing contacts. To demonstrate the sincerity of his intentions, he gives Lilian a cheque as a first instalment of what he owes her. Lilian goes back to Justin, wondering if the cheque will bounce and tells him that she thinks Matt will be on his way back to Costa Rica soon.

But not just yet - there is ample time for Matt to needle and upset people and he begins with Brian on the golf course. Matt and his playing partner are behind Brian and Justin and Matt makes disparaging remarks about Brian’s golf and insinuates that the Home Farm purchase of land from Damara might be less than kosher. Brian’s response? He calls Matt ‘a poisonous little low-life.’ Come on Brian - don’t mince your words; say what you mean.

If Matt is offended by this, it doesn’t show as, in the bar afterwards, Brian and Justin are surprised when the waiter brings over a bottle of wine as a present from Matt. Justin is coolness personified - he’s got Lilian and Matt hasn’t - and professes himself surprised, as he thought that Matt would be a more impressive personality, from all he’s heard. Justin also describes the wine as rubbish.

Later in the week, Matt is in the shop and Susan takes great delight in telling him about Justin’s embarrassing proposal to Lilian in The Bull. Matt runs into Lilian and he reminds her that she had an affair with him and then got fed up with him, and the same will happen with Justin. Lilian tears up Matt’s cheque and says that the sooner he is gone, the better. “Not for me, pusscat, not for me.” He replies.

You were a bit hasty, there Lilian - when you think about it, it’s your own money that you turned down. Whatever, it seems to have made Lilian’s mind up, as she knocks on Justin’s door - she has a question to ask him, which is “do you still want to marry me?” A surprised Justin replies “of course”, upon which Lilian kneels down and asks him to marry her. Even more surprised, Justin says ‘yes’ but why the sudden change of heart? Lilian explains that Matt coming back reminds her of the hell that he put her through and being with Justin makes her know what it is to be truly loved and she doesn’t want it to end. A triumphant Justin bellows “Name the day, Lilian, name the day!” It might be expedient to get the divorce over first, Justin.

Last week we saw Ed put his foot down, forbidding Emma to take the night shift job at the chicken factory. She went anyway and, on Tuesday, she is having a lie-in as she’s knackered after her first shift. Emma thanks Clarrie for looking after the kids and says that this lie-in is a one-off. Ed comes in from looking after the rams and the atmosphere is very strained, as he is not happy. The couple bicker and Clarrie intervenes, telling her son to be more supportive. Instead, Ed asks Emma why is she doing this? For the money, you muppet. “We were getting by” he whines, “No we weren’t” she says and goes to look after the children.

Clarrie tells Ed off and says “If you won’t support her, I will.” Ed protests that he can support his family. “But not your wife?” Clarrie asks. She continues: “Emma wants to contribute as much as you - is that so hard to understand?” Apparently not, as Ed seeks Emma out to apologise for his attitude, but he cannot bear to think of her working in the factory. Emma says that she knows how hard Ed works to put bread on the table, but she’d like a little jam every now and then. Take the trampoline as an example - the kids both love it and George told her that it’s an even better present than Will’s quad bike at Christmas - while only he can ride the quad, he can invite his friends and Keira to join him in the fun on the trampoline. The two kiss and make up and, as Emma tells dad Neil later, everything is now OK between them.

Neil mentions Harrison Burns’ cunning plan to smooth over the ill feeling concerning his attitude towards older women wanting to play cricket. The answer is to have an evening of open audition nets, when anyone can come along and play. He goes to tell Usha personally and, while she appreciates the U-turn, she is evasive about whether or not she will be there. A baffled PCB leaves and Alan asks his wife what was that all about? It seems that Usha has realised that she isn’t very good and she would be mortified if she was playing and let the side down. I wouldn’t worry too much about that Usha, as the chances of you getting into the team are vanishingly small. Alan tells her that, if she bails out now, the other women will feel let down. Usha still refuses to commit and changes the subject - Alan is working too hard and he needs a holiday.

It seems that Usha is not alone in her attitude, as Susan tells Neil that, now the battle has been won, there’s no point in her continuing the fight. In the pub, PCB tells Kenton that he doesn’t understand what’s happening. Kenton says that perhaps the women are playing hard to get. “Oops! I’m not allowed to say that, am I?” Kenton adds, before telling PCB that things will be all right on the night. “If it isn’t, then Ambridge cricket team had better start looking for another captain” PCB tells Kenton, adding, to himself “I can’t take much more of this.”

Worry not, Harrison! The more senior ladies do turn up, including Usha and Susan, with the latter saying that she has only come to watch. Susan tells Usha that she’s sure that Usha will be an inspiration but, as she watches her play, Susan confides to PCB “She’s terrible - no wonder you didn’t want her on the squad.” Usha seems to have realised just how bad she is, as she comes off and tells PCB that she knows she has no chance of making the team. PCB says that Usha is very good at encouraging others and asks her to take on the role of Inspirational Coach, which she accepts. Susan, meanwhile, decides to have a go herself and she proves to be a more than useful player and the find of the night. Hopefully this story has reached the end and we’ll have to see how many females make the team in the coming season.

We turn now to the farms affected by the IBR virus. When things don’t go for you in Ambridge, you can really think that somebody up there doesn’t like you. Pip takes the tractor out one morning and soon comes running back, in a state - the tractor has seized up. David calls out the mechanic and the machine has to be taken away. Normally in this situation, he would borrow a tractor from Home Farm but, as things stand at the moment, they probably wouldn’t give him the drippings off their nose, never mind a tractor.
Later on we learn that the tractor will be away for at least a week and they will have to hire a replacement machine. Oh yes - the repair will cost them £18,000.

David’s mood is not improved when he learns that the damage was caused because of an oil leak and he beats himself up, as this is basic, everyday maintenance which should have been picked up on. David also blames himself for not noticing that the new batch of cows hadn’t been tested for IBR. Rooooth says that, with all that’s been going on, they have just taken their eye off the ball, However, David wonders what Tony and Tom will say when they find out what’s happened - it’s yet another example that he isn’t the farmer that Phil was. “I’m beginning to think that they may be right” says a despondent David.

Over at Bridge Farm, Tony and Tom are having a difference of opinion - Tony is keen not to precipitate a rift in the family, while Tom is all for going to Brookfield and demanding compensation at gunpoint. The two are inspecting the Anguses and they don’t look good - Alistair will have to come out again. Tom calls it a disaster and wants Brookfield to pay their escalating costs. As for not causing a rift in the family, Tom says it’s way too late for that - and that was before Rooooth’s snide remarks about e.coli. Still, he muses, there might be a way to get Brookfield to pay up.

A day or so later, Tom tells his dad that he has updated the Bridge Farm website and Tony is grateful. The Friday episode opens with an incandescent David shouting at Pip that a friend who attended an NFU meeting told him that Tom was telling people that Brookfield was responsible for blighting the Angus herd. Not only that, but there are derogatory articles on the Bridge Farm website. David says he is going over there “to give Tom a very large piece of my mind!” Pip begs him to wait until he has calmed down. “I don’t want to calm down - we’re going to have this out once and for all!”

Over at Bridge Farm, Tony and Tom are discussing Pat’s plan for a family lunch on Sunday for Helen’s birthday when David turns up, yelling and waving his arms like a man demented (or so we assume). Tony knows nothing of Tom’s comments at the NFU meeting, neither has he read the articles on the website. An unrepentant Tom points out that the article was just a general piece about bio security and doesn’t mention Brookfield by name. David, however, points out that the article immediately following, under the heading ’Breaking News’ states that, with immediate effect, Bridge Farm will not be buying any meat from Brookfield and the implication is obvious.

David leaves, still fuming, and Tony tells Tom “We’re not likely to get any compensation now, are we?” Back at Brookfield, David says that two can play at that game and we can blog about e.coli. Rooooth and Pip both say ‘no’ and Pip confesses about the cows getting out and mixing with the Bridge Farm and Home Farm cattle, because she forgot to fix a fence. A stunned David whispers “Oh my God” and a distraught Pip says: “This IBR and the hideous mess we are all in - it’s all my fault.” Will you go and tell Tom, Pip, or shall we ask David if he’d mind doing it?


  1. Is it me or has the Archers finally transformed into Eastenders in the countryside? Everyone falling out with everyone else. And of course Matt has returned to stir up even more unhappiness. Then in three or four years time Rob Titchener will return because despite trying to kidnap a child and everything else, and going to the USA with the police expressing an 'interest' him but not making any attempt to extradite him, nobody is doing anything to bring him to any sort of justice.
    When Nigel died in the most ludicrous way I gave up the Archers vowing never to return but I did about two years back. I used to listen to the Archers to get away from real life, it was like a port in the storm of life. Now it's like taking a weekend break in a youth detention centre. So today Sunday 23rd I have had enough.
    Goodbye...never to return, unlike Matt and Rob.

  2. I agree with you. I started listening many years ago and loved it precisely because it was an escape and if anything was going to happen you knew weeks before it was coming. It is too sensationalised now and I too will be giving it a miss.