The Archers’ stars on being a part of radio drama’s first lesbian couple
"They find farming funny and each other so entertaining."
Romance is well and truly in the air over at Ambridge, and Radio Times magazine took a trip to meet several of The Archers cast whose characters are deeply in love.
First up is Pip Archer, played by Daisy Badger (33), who works on the family farm, Brookfield, on The Archers.
She used to be with Toby Fairbrother, the father of her child, Rosie, but she's since found romance with Stella Pryor.
Stella, played by Lucy Speed (47), is the manager of Home Farm. Together, Stella and Pip form the first lesbian couple on the Radio 4 drama.
What has brought Stella and Pip together?
Lucy: On an everyday level, it’s because they’re both career farmers. Their shared commitment is important. Their timings fit.
Daisy: They find farming funny and each other so entertaining.
How would you describe Stella?
Lucy: She’s quite calm – not overly emotional. She’s not to be messed with work-wise. As a female in a male-driven environment, she’s put romance on the back burner.
Pip is at a different stage in her life, isn’t she?
Daisy: Pip was on the cusp of embracing her own independence. Now that Toby’s moved on, it feels like the start of a new life.
Does a same-sex relationship appear to be a natural progression for both characters?
Daisy: Absolutely. It seems obvious and normal, the stuff that’s been happening between Pip and Stella. Nobody is trying too hard with it.
Lucy: Yes. Stella is grown-up enough to say to herself, "Look, don’t overthink it and just go with it." But also, I think she’s had same-sex relationships in the past. As a female, you reach a certain stage in life where you go, "Everything can change."
It’s the first lesbian relationship in The Archers. Is that an exciting thing to be part of?
Lucy: It is for me!
Daisy: It should have happened sooner! Well, maybe not should have…
Lucy: I have an 11-year-old daughter. And what I’ve noticed is that young people are in this lovely space where they’re allowed to choose and be free, and learn about their sexuality. That’s something I really embrace. What I’ve enjoyed about this storyline is that it hasn’t been a big coming out.
Daisy: To me the question of Pip’s sexuality is more a matter of, "Well, we’ll figure that bit out later." That’s really nice. It’s just about the connection between her and Stella.
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Lucy, you were in EastEnders on and off for a decade. How does The Archers compare?
Lucy: The Archers is obviously different, but what’s the same is the sense of family in the cast, where the comedy is brilliant, the support is brilliant, and you get to know each other’s lives. But on radio it’s totally anonymous, no pressure. Nobody goes, "Oh, she looks rough this morning." It’s a real playground for actors.
Daisy: It’s brilliant. It’s the first time I’ve really looked forward to going into the studio.
The Archers is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 7pm Sundays to Fridays, with an Omnibus edition on Sundays at 10am, and is available to listen on BBC Sounds.
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