The BBC has announced that The Archers is set to undergo some changes in the coming months, as the coronavirus pandemic hits production on the long-running drama.
The BBC Radio 4 series — which is the world’s longest-running continuous drama — currently has enough episodes recorded to keep listeners entertained until the end of April, but from then on some changes will come into effect.
While these future episodes will still focus on events in Ambridge, each episode will feature fewer characters, who “will be sharing more of their private thoughts with the listener.”
There will also be fewer broadcasts per week, with new episodes airing from Monday to Thursday at the usual time of 7pm and a shorter omnibus edition on Sundays.
The episodes will be recorded using ‘home studios’, with the cast recording ‘down the line’, connected to directors and crew, according to the BBC.
Meanwhile, from May onwards the coronavirus pandemic will be referenced within the scripts, “in a way that the programme’s many loyal listeners might expect.”
Jeremy Howe, editor of The Archers, said, “for nearly 70 years Ambridge has been a haven for our audience, and so it continues to be.
“Whilst Coronavirus might be coming to Borsetshire, listeners can still expect The Archers to be an escape, and the residents to be bickering and as playful and witty as ever.
“We want this new approach to The Archers to still be a picture of the way we live now in rural England that it has always been.
“However, these are unprecedented times and the team has worked tirelessly to make sure we can continue to visit Ambridge.
“I am enormously grateful to the production team, the cast and the crew for all their magnificent efforts and creativity.
“The Archers will sound different and will be simpler, but I think keeping the show running and giving us all an opportunity to hear from beloved characters will be a treat loyal listeners will want and need.”