The Archers was once billed as “an everyday story of country folk”, and that was how people liked it. A chat about crops in the milking parlour, a quiet pint in The Bull. Yes, there was the occasional affair and a bit of foot-and-mouth but basically it was soothingly undramatic stuff.
These days, Radio 4 describes the show as “contemporary drama in a rural setting”. That change shouldn’t necessarily ring alarm bells among fans, but recent developments do suggest The Archers is heading in a very different direction – and some people are not happy about it.
A trail for tomorrow’s episode, aired this morning on the Today programme, involved a threatening phone call to David Archer, who is set to testify in the case of the assault that left Adam Macy in a coma.
Backed by menacing chords, David was told “You’re not going to give evidence, OK? Do you love your family? Because if you do you’re going to do exactly what I say.”
“The terror at Brookfield Farm escalates” boomed the narrator (and, no, the promo didn’t end with the upbeat tra-la-la theme tune – that would have spoiled the mood).
Back in the studio, James Naughtie asked his co-presenter “You think that’s a bit too scary don’t you?” to which John Humphrys replied “Yes. The Archers should be like real life – but more boring.”
Listen to the trailer here. What do you think – is John Humphrys right? Is The Archers becoming too dramatic? Vote below to let us know…
Cult TV fan and Sherlock Holmes expert (who knew that would come in handy?) 2012 MasterChef champion (against some other people who write words for a living). Also loves River Monsters and Homes Under the Hammer.