Charlotte Higgins on The Archers: the vengeful gods of Ambridge conspire | Television & radio

I dimly remember that Newton’s third law of motion is something to do with equal and opposite forces. I’d have to check with Alice Aldridge and her engineering degree to get this right, but as applied to her own situation, I’d say that this broadly translates as: if things seem to be going pretty well, it’s only a matter of time before the gods of Ambridge retaliate with equal and opposite disaster. Just when she was six months sober and coping nicely with baby Martha, her ex, Chris, and her best friend, Amy, had a one-night stand – heralded by the immortal morning-after line, “Can you pass my bra?” When Alice finds out, she’ll relapse, mark my words, and the divorce will get ugly, and it’ll go to court, and Chris will get a massive chunk of Home Farm, and the Fall of the House of Aldridge will be complete.

Oh Alice. You should leave Ambridge. Still, one should be careful what one wishes for. Phoebe’s off, having got herself a job in the Highlands, something to do with microalgae. Perhaps she could go and visit the terrifying institution in which her great-grandfather Jack Archer drank himself to death back in the 1970s.

And Kirsty. Kirsty! The woman who is obviously the person made to replace Phoebe at the rewilding project has got a job in a hotel in Plovdiv, of all places. It was European capital of culture in 2019, she pointed out to her pals, with no great conviction. Sure, it’s got a Roman amphitheater, a view on to the Rhodope mountains, and you can get a beer for a quid. Sounds lovely. But, Kirsty: please don’t move to Bulgaria!

There was social speed-dating in the Bull for Valentine’s. Suggested topics of conversation, terrifyingly, included: What makes you sad? What is your favorite number? The idea of ​​sitting down doing enforced chatting with any of them, frankly, is gruesome. Still, it’s hard not to retain a soft spot for the increasingly mellow Jim, who has been noticing that Chelsea Horrobin, despite outward appearances, is made from true gold all the way through.

Housing update, should you wish to refresh your spreadsheet: Alice is back in the Nest, Stella’s off to the Bungalow and Rex has bought a narrowboat, which he’s moored on the Am. Chris has resolutely declined Brian Aldridge’s offer to move into the Hobbit, one of the Home Farm holiday cottages, presumably on aesthetic grounds (stupid name for a cottage).

Meanwhile Justin has got it in for Berrow Farm. Someone did suggest the pigs might like to start a revolution. That would be a good plot twist. Four legs good and all that.

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