The Week in Radio: Murder must be handled with great care

I was recently told, by someone who ought to know, that The Archers is ruminating on its own greatest taboo. When, if ever, should the everyday story of country folk stage its first murder? There have, of course, been deaths aplenty in Ambridge.

We've had tragic accidents and rape, and Clive Horrobin's career of violent crime. You always know when adultery is underway in the Borchester area because the BBC trails it like a major news event. But an actual murder? Leading characters may drop like flies on TV soaps, but in Ambridge, that Platonic ideal of real life, wouldn't it be like doing in one of your neighbours? Could the listeners take it? "Yes!" I hear millions yelling, but I'd advise caution. Once Ambridge is steeped in gore there's no way back. Not to mention the tricky business of who should be eliminated. Should it be dear, conflicted Pip, with her annoying voice, forever silenced by Jude? A drive-by shooting at Grey Gables? Or Kenton in the kitchen with a carving knife?

Archers Cluedo, though a pleasant diversion, reflects on an important issue – which is trust. Like one of those Chinese vases in A History of the World in 100 Objects, radio has its own sacred artefacts, including The Archers, that have to be handled with exquisite care. Without wanting to come over all sociology lecturer, change can be a dangerous, erosive force. A murder here, a rape there, snip away at the ties that suspend disbelief.

The anxiety over change can be seen everywhere in radio right now – witness 6 Music, which now looks like being saved, or the agonising debate over whether, crazily to my mind, we junk FM radio and 100 million analogue sets in favour of a DAB standard that is not shared by the rest of the world.

At a time of great change, moral dilemmas abound, The Greed Imperative informed us. This fascinating programme, produced by Glass Mirror and presented by Catherine Cowley, who has been both a nun and a city worker, questioned whether the recent meltdown in the city was due to greed, and why indeed we cling to the idea of endless economic growth. After all, thinkers like Karl Marx envisioned a time when growth would come to an end, and we would all "hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon and discuss poetry in the evening".

According to Talitha Stevenson, a banker's ex-wife, city workers are suffering from a psychological condition. "It's a fascinating and exciting computer game and they're addicted. It's all consuming and the goalposts constantly shift. Like anorexia where you never reach the desired weight, you never make enough money." Dr Edward Skidelski, lecturer in philosophy at Exeter University, suggested we might be in need of a total moral overhaul. "Moral categories have fallen out of existence, the primary task has to be reinvigorate moral language," he says. "There have to be ideals of simple living, and the good life, which does not involve vast wealth."

If all of this left you yearning for a retro experience, then hurray for A Vision of Loveliness, this week's Book at Bedtime, by Louise Levene, which is as light as a chocolate éclair. It is the Sixties, a time of exciting change that has not yet reached Norbury, where Jane Jones lives with Aunt Doreen, a wonderful creation who serves tinned potato salad and can be "cheered up by a fresh grievance". One day Jane meets the glamorous Susie who has a flat "ankle deep in shoes" and finds herself caught up in a life of catwalks and nightclubs. But wealth and glamour are not, of course, all they seem. Perfect on period detail, the story is studded with quotes from Jane's etiquette bible, Lady Be Good, which is full of timeless gems. "Want him to think you mysterious and sophisticated? Don't whatever you do order corn on the cob!" Now that's the sort of advice that really stands the test of time.

Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Armie Hammer in the new film of ‘The Lone Ranger’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Arts and Entertainment
The audience aimed thousands of Apple’s product units at Taylor Swift throughout the show
musicReview: On stage her manner is natural, her command of space masterful
Arts and Entertainment
Channel 4 is reviving its Chris Evans-hosted Nineties hit TFI Friday

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
A Glastonbury reveller hides under an umbrella at the festival last year

Glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miles Morales is to replace Peter Parker as the new Spider-Man

comics
Arts and Entertainment
The sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, has stormed into the global record books to score the highest worldwide opening weekend in history.

film
Arts and Entertainment
Odi (Will Tudor)
tvReview: Humans, episode 2
Arts and Entertainment
Can't cope with a Port-A-loo? We've got the solution for you

FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets

Arts and Entertainment
Some zookeepers have been braver than others in the #jurassiczoo trend

Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant

Arts and Entertainment
An original Miffy illustration
art
Arts and Entertainment
Man of mystery: Ian McKellen as an ageing Sherlock Holmes
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Kitchen set: Yvette Fielding, Patricia Potter, Chesney Hawkes, Sarah Harding and Sheree Murphy
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Evans has been confirmed as the new host of Top Gear
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Top of the class: Iggy Azalea and the catchy ‘Fancy’
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map