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…