David Troughton (Tony Archer)
Tom has returned from Hungary, bringing presents of fermented vegetable products and full of ideas for his new business. Pat invites him and Helen for supper, over which she and Tony tell their children about Justin’s £1 million offer for three and a half acres of Bridge Farm. Both Tom and Helen are flabbergasted and immediately begin planning what they could do with such a sum. It’s like Kenton spending the money that Justin offered for Brookfield before he actually paid it, all over again.
Amid all this euphoria, there is one dissenting voice - that of Tony saying that they cannot treat the land like a short-term commodity and it’s a point of principle. Tom’s attitude could be summed up as ‘stuff principle, it’s a million quid!’ Tony asks ‘what about the neighbours?’ Stuff them too. Tom tells his dad that he is just being sentimental and he goes further, saying: “Every time we try and do something with the farm and push the boundaries, you always hold us back.” He goes on: “You always say that it’s our future - shouldn’t Helen and I decide?” Fortunately Tom stops short of saying “as for the land, you’ll be under it soon” but he is not best pleased.
Tony appeals to Pat and she says that, although she has some reservations, she thinks they ought to sell. Tom is triumphant “That’s three to one!” he crows and suggests that they call Justin right away. Tony wants time to think it over and Pat says that they all need to agree. Tony digs in his heels and says “I’m sorry - I know you want it settled, but I’m not going to be rushed into anything.”
A couple of days later, Tom learns (through Susan) that Pat had a call from Justin, who wanted to know what was happening. Pat told him that they were still thinking it over and an exasperated Tom says that Justin will go elsewhere if they don’t agree soon. “Great,” Tom says, “We’re about to lose a once-in-a-lifetime deal - a million pounds - just because we don’t want to hurt dad’s feelings!” Pat protests that it’s more complicated than that, but Tom tells her that they need that money - they need those houses to be built. As luck would have it, Susan is lurking round the scullery and has overheard the exchange - no doubt because she was listening - and, when Pat and Tom have left, Susan emerges and says “well” in a satisfied tone of voice. But more of Susan later. If I were Tony, I’d be careful what I ate and drank from now on and turn all electrical appliances on while wearing rubber gloves. At the very least, I wouldn’t expect to receive a Father’s Day card next Sunday.
If Tom isn’t a happy camper, someone who is, is Freddie Pargetter (did you see what I did there?). He walked out of his maths resit and latched on to Johnny, who is on his way to the Isle of Wight Festival. Johnny was originally going to go with Amber, but she cried off, as her Gran has had a serious stroke. Freddie tells Johnny that he got the dates of his exam mixed up - it’s next week, he says - so he can go with Johnny. When the two lads get to the IOW, Freddie is beside himself with excitement and reprimands Johnny, saying: “You’re not still missing Amber, are you? You’ve got me instead.”
Considering his plans have gone from spending four nights in a two-person tent with a girl that he fancied like crazy, to spending the same time, and tent, with Freddie, Johnny takes it very well, in that he doesn’t break down and weep, nor attempts suicide. Neither does he shake his fist at the heavens, yelling “why me, God, why me?” Even at the best of times, Freddie can be irritating - what am I talking about; there’s no ‘can be’ about it; he is bloody irritating - but he appears now to have gone completely off his head. Mind you, he may have had help, as he says to Johnny “Look what I’ve got - it’s the good stuff; the best. So, one each now and we’ll head over to the dance tent.” We are not told what sort of ‘stuff’ he’s talking about, but it seems a fair guess that it’s not Smarties.
It promises to be a weekend to remember for Freddie, as he tells Johnny that his home life is a waste and there’s a whole world out there and he‘s never going home. He is also on a promise from a girl called Bonnie, who he met that day and begs Johnny to find somewhere else to sleep tonight so that he and Bonnie can have the tent to themselves. Considering that Johnny had no doubt been looking forward to something similar with Amber and is now being asked to vacate his own tent, I think it was very generous of him to agree and tell an ecstatic Freddie “The tent’s all yours, man.”
Enjoy it while you may Freddie, as four days will soon pass and then there will be a Reckoning. Elizabeth is very angry and she cannot understand how Lily can be so laid back about what her twin has done. Lily is checking up on social media and shows her mother a picture of Freddie and Johnny together, enjoying themselves. Elizabeth still reckons that she should have driven down to the IOW and dragged her son back by force. Lily said this would have been a terrible idea, and describes her brother as ‘dumb’, ‘irresponsible’ and admits that he sometimes behaves like a ten-year old, but at least he’s safe. Lizzie is annoyed because Freddie stole some money from her desk. (“But he did leave an IOU” Lily reminds her). Lily tells her to relax, as Freddie is fine. “Yes, he’s fine now, but just wait till he gets home” Elizabeth replies, darkly.
Let’s leave Freddie and - to a lesser extent, Johnny - enjoying themselves. That remark about never going home might be a smart move, Freddie. Back in Ambridge, it looked like Rex might be making headway with Anisha, as they meet up while running. There is a certain wariness as they talk, but eventually arrange to meet up at The Bull one evening. Rex rings her to confirm and she says that she’s been working late, but will have a shower and see him there in 45 minutes. Rex is then accosted by Pip, who wants to talk and invites him to walk up Lakey Hill. ’Don’t do it!’ I screamed at the radio, but the idiot goes with her and listens to her banging on about Toby. Pip beats herself up for being useless at relationships and says that even when she had the choice, she picked the wrong brother. She is immediately overcome with embarrassment and Rex says he has to go as he’s meeting someone.
As he enters The Bull, Anisha is leaving and is not best pleased as she has been waiting for half an hour. She surmises that Rex has been with Pip and walks off and leaves him. Well done, Rex! Another cock-up on the romance front. Pip rings him and apologises for what she said, saying that she hopes she didn’t mess things up for him. No Pip, he did that all by himself. Pip then asks if they are still friends? Rex says ’yes’ but if he seriously wants to be an item with Anisha, then I reckon he should ration the time he spends with Pip. And why do it anyway? All she does is talk about Toby and how she is rubbish when it comes to picking men. Live your own life, Rex and leave her to get on with hers.
Lilian got her own way over Justin’s new secretary - rather than risk him employing a younger woman and potential rival, she arranges for him to interview Anthea Jennings. This is the formidable ex-employee of AmSide and poor Justin is doomed from the moment she walks in the door. He said that he felt like she was interviewing him and, when it became obvious that she didn’t disapprove of him or the job, he felt compelled to take her on.
Justin also ran into Matt on Monday and told him that Latif Hussain had informed Justin that he had invested in the racecourse consortium that Matt represents. Justin rather pointedly (and rudely) says that he wouldn’t want Latif to get his fingers burnt and should he be worried? Matt says it was nothing to do with him and Latif negotiated directly with one of the leaders of the consortium. Indeed, Matt had told Latif that all the investment opportunities were spoken for, but Latif went ahead and did it his way. In fact, Latif had just bought Matt a drink as a ‘thank you’. Justin tells Lilian later that it all appears above board, but he will try and dig a little deeper in order to find out a bit more.
Staying with Justin, he is keeping his cards very close to his chest about the Bridge Farm land purchase - he hasn’t even told Lilian and has given Brian only the broadest hint that he has another project in mind. He and Brian meet to discuss the possible objections to the Berrow Farm pig project; Lynda has returned and has lost no time in phoning both Brian and Justin, but neither answered. Lynda has had words with Neil about how she could oppose the plan. Neil tells her that, as PC Chair, he has to remain neutral, then he tells her that her best bet is on environmental challenges. Obviously some new definition of ‘neutrality’ there.
After their meeting, Brian asks Justin for a lift home (his car’s in for servicing) and - disaster! Justin is clocked by Speedwatch at 35 mph. Even worse, it is Lynda wielding the speed camera. Justin tries to talk himself out of it, but Lynda takes full advantage, saying that she should report Justin but she could let him off with a verbal warning if, for example, they could meet to discuss the pig farm and how about in 30 minutes at the Dower House and she’ll get Kirsty to come along? Corruption among those in power is a terrible thing, isn’t it? Justin and Brian cave in and Lynda says that she’ll present them with a list of demands, concerning landscaping etc. The two women leave and Brian says that they have got off lightly and “we should try to tick all their boxes for the sake of a quiet life.”
But Justin’s life is destined to become very unquiet, due entirely to Motor Mouth Carter and her manta-ray-sized gob. Not for nothing has she been described as ‘radio Borsetshire’. Susan serves Jennifer in the shop and tells her that “there’s a very worrying rumour going around about Bridge Farm and has she heard anything?” The reason there’s a rumour going around is because Susan has started it - not only started it, but added two and two and made five, it would appear, as Jennifer goes to see Lilian and tells her that Susan told her that Justin is planning to build “a huge housing estate - at least 50 houses - on Bridge Farm land.” Lilian suggests that Susan is deluded, as Justin has said nothing to her about it. Jennifer is reassured, saying that, if there were any truth in it, Justin would be sure to have told Lilian, wouldn’t he? You - and Lilian - would like to think so, and I foresee some pointed questions being asked at the Dower House when Lilian discovers that her fiancé has been keeping her in the dark regarding his negotiations with her brother and his family.