Jeremy Howe revealed to be new boss of The Archers

"It is an honour and privilege to be moving to Ambridge"

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BBC Radio 4’s Commissioning Editor for Drama and Fiction Jeremy Howe has been appointed as the new editor of The Archers.

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News of Howe’s new role comes four months after previous show boss Huw Kennair-Jones stood down after only a year in the role to join ITV as a drama commissioner.

Speaking today, Howe – who will begin in the post later this year – said: “Being in charge of Radio 4’s drama and fiction has been one of the best jobs in the world.

“I am thrilled to be asked to do another of the best jobs in the world, to take up the reins of The Archers and to carry on the work of my illustrious predecessors Huw Kennair-Jones, Sean O’Connor and Vanessa Whitburn.

“It is an honour and privilege to be moving to Ambridge. I just hope that my favourite country walk along the Am hasn’t been ruined by Brian’s chemical misdemeanours.”

Gwyneth Williams, controller of BBC Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra added: “Jeremy has made an outstanding contribution over many years as Radio 4’s Drama Commissioning Editor.

“It has been a privilege and pleasure to work with him and I am hugely proud of our commissions in his area.  I am delighted that he has accepted the post of editor of The Archers and I know that he will bring his wit, flair and storytelling genius to the role.

“Archers fans will be in for a treat – Jeremy is the best.”

New Archers editor Jeremy Howe (Credit: Guy Levy)
New Archers editor Jeremy Howe (Credit: Guy Levy)

The Archers – which is made for Radio 4 by BBC Radio Drama in Birmingham – has a listenership of nearly five million each week. The Abridge-set soap began in 1951 and is the longest-running continuous drama anywhere in the world.

Earlier this week, actress June Spencer – who has played Peggy Archer (later Woolley) since the first episode – hit the headlines thanks to an interview in Radio Times in which she said that actors on the drama should receive greater acknowledgement:

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“We’re anonymous voices. So, although Peggy is well known, the present generations have never heard of June Spencer.”

 Speaking about the poignant and acclaimed storyline that found Peggy mourning the death of her husband Jack, Spencer added: “It would be nice to be acknowledged, actually. Particularly when you have an emotional episode, such as Peggy’s goodbye to Jack. I worked a lot on the line where Peggy says, ‘Goodbye, my darling’.

“And, at the end, they read out who it’s been written by and who the editor is, but there’s no mention of the actress.”