Charlotte Higgins on The Archers: it’s party time in the cider shed!

·3 min read
<span>Photograph: Eloy Alonso/EPA</span>
Photograph: Eloy Alonso/EPA

At the big vow-renewal bash, the vicar ended up being filmed drunk in a limo. Pity for everyone the sinister country house hotel Grey Gables didn’t get trashed


‘Are you suggesting,” said Oliver, the owner of Grey Gables, “that Kathy isn’t doing her job properly?” If I may interject, Oliver, that is very much what we have all been thinking for rather a long time. Kathy Perks, supposedly the general manager of the country house hotel, has not been heard to speak since 2015 – not even when an explosion hit the kitchens last year almost carrying off the unfortunate Linda, Blake and Freddie Pargetter. So prolonged and weird is her silence, I can only suppose she’s actually dead and haunting the corridors like the ghastly bloodstained apparitions in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (probably accompanied by the terrifying shade of Caroline Bone).

In fact the whole of Grey Gables has a sinister, Overlook Hotel vibe, or the Midlands version thereof. As Mia Grundy said, “the ballroom’s not exactly cosy, is it?” I bet the dining room is one of those awful tomb-like places with high-backed chairs, starched and folded napkins and no conversation. Ian Craig’s main courses probably come out under domes; no wonder Les Soeurs Heureuses is the go-to for fine dining these days. I had hopes that the Grundys’ proposed vow-renewal bash in the ballroom would finish the work the explosion started, trashing the entire place so entirely – with the help of Baggy, Snatch and a few barrels of home-brew – that the whole thing would have to be sold, refurbished and hauled out of the 1980s. As Mia so rightly put it, “That place is so … retro.” Sadly, the ballroom is safe for now, since the Grundys relocated their ceremony to the cider shed. The only casualty of the affair in the event was the vicar, Alan, cruelly videoed by that monkey George Grundy while pissed in the back of the village limousine.

Adam, thank god, has finally stopped his endless whinging now that he’s not trying to run the family farm. He’s as happy as anything toiling in Tony and Pat’s organic fields without a care in the world, a one-man answer to the Brexit agricultural labour crisis.

In other cheering news, Chelsea Horrobin has become a cross between Gok Wan, the village psychotherapist, and the Christmas fairy. When she’s not giving Lynda Snell a fabulous new haircut (20 years off her, ready for her MBE investiture at Windsor Castle), she’s coaxing Blake into allowing the scales to fall off his eyes in relation to Philip Moss, his evil ex-slavemaster, whom he’s finally conceded was not such a very kind man, after all. The triumph of the Horrobins is almost complete, now that her mum Tracy is practically the Queen of Ambridge and the Aldridges have been so terribly reduced. The Borsetshire class struggle continues.

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