The Archers to air classic episodes amid coronavirus delays

The Radio 4 drama is delving into its archives as production slows

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Following the form of TV soaps, long-running radio drama The Archers is set to replace new episodes with instalments from its archives.

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In May, BBC Radio 4 will broadcast three themed weeks of old episodes as production on the soap slows considerably due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Archers is currently working to produce new episodes with a “simpler format”, with the cast recording their lines from home. However, as Jeremy Howe, Editor of The Archers, has said, adapting to the new style of working is “taking a little longer than anticipated”.

Despite the delay in production, the soap still expects to air new episodes from 25th May onwards.

“We know our listeners tune in to The Archers for many different reasons, not simply entertainment but escape sm and companionship too,” Howe said in a statement.

“We’re working tirelessly in challenging circumstances on writing and producing new episodes in a different, simpler format with cast recording in their homes, but with that work taking a little longer than anticipated, we want listeners to be able to continue visiting Ambridge.”

The first week of archived episodes will take listeners back to important moments in the lives of the Ambridge residents, including four weddings. Radio 4 says the second week of repeats will focus on “key developments for a number of characters in relation to the homes and farms that mean so much to them”.

And the last week of archive episodes will delve into significant annual traditions in ‘The Ambridge Calendar,’ such as Stir Up Sunday and the annual Flower and Produce show.

The move comes after TV soaps, including Hollyoaks, EastEnders and Coronation Street have curbed the number of episodes aired each week in order to stretch out pre-filmed material.

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The Archers airs Sundays to Thursdays at 7pm on BBC Radio 4 with repeats the following day at 2pm