Surely the reason most people listen to the Archers is for its reassurance of a world where disaster is an Eddie Grundy money-making scheme and shocking is a single woman of independent means electing to have a baby on her own; not for tram crashes, hostage situations, explosions, murders, and the sorts of things that only happen to common people in fictional urban postcodes.
Vanessa Whitburn drops a few (ok hardly any) hints in the Observer today, and admits that she is nervous about the audience reaction. If even she’s nervous, this does little to calm MM.
The BBC Ambridge message board is awash with speculation, covering every possibility, from Tom being the unwitting sperm donor for Helen’s baby, to a huge fire at Lower Loxley wiping out the whole Ambridge clan.
There are several possible Caine and Abel scenarios shaping up: Ed v Will (either Ed pecked to death by Will’s trained killer pheasants or Will trampled by stampeding cows – if cows can stampede), or Lily v Freddie (Lily bashes in Freddie’s skull with an ice skate for his substandard numeracy skills ruining her Christmas holiday and jealousy at his being the toast of the xmas panto – it’s always the quiet swotty ones).
And numerous potential affairs: Ed and Nic (how can her outstanding performance at the turkey plucking fail to have turned his head?), Jolene and Kenton (all those romantic trips to the cash and carry, and the neatness of Cathy twice losing her man to Jolene), Jazza and Harry (why else would Harry be put up with so much from Jazza), Ian and Helen (the gay man is ‘cured’ and the single mum is single no more – the Daily Mail rejoices), Debbie and Clive Horrobin (it has been hinted that Debbie has a secret boyfriend or girlfriend she doesn’t want to bring home), Bartleby and Spearmint (another class clash sent to try Jennifer Aldridge).
Other possibilities shaping up:
Susan Carter is revealed to have accidentally poisoned the entire Aldridge family at her xmas eve ‘drinks and nibbles’ party with a tray of dodgy prawn vol au vents, though until now everyone has blamed Ambridge Organics’ unpasturised cheeses, and in particular its newest employee, Vicky, who has been found drowned in a vat of yogurt.
Clarrie has in fact been faking her broken wrist as an elaborate cover for a meticulously planned Agatha Christie-style serial killing of the hopeless male Grundys, frustrated by one to many scams.
Harry (whose presence in Ambridge has never really been clear) reveals he is in fact yet another of Brian’s illegitimate children, come to claim his birthright, but not before staging a NYE lock in at the Bull then wiping out the whole of Ambridge by forcing them to drink Joe Grundy’s home brewed cider.
Or alternatively Jack Woolley might just pass away quietly in the Alzheimer’s home. That would probably be enough to ‘shock Ambridge to the core’.