Fans not happy with 'Archers' birthday drama
Tuesday 04 January 2011
The BBC admitted last night that it had been a "tough decision" to kill off long-running Archers character Nigel Pargetter from the 60-year-old radio soap. His death also marks the end of three decades in the part for actor Graham Seed, who was first spotted by then-Archers editor William Smethurst in 1980 while performing in a Birmingham Rep production.
Vanessa Whitburn, the programme's editor, had appeared to give the latest plot twist away yesterday morning by suggesting Nigel had died after falling from a roof in the series' 60th anniversary episode on Sunday. Whitburn, who has edited the series since 1992, told listeners of Radio 4's Today that fans would have to wait to learn Nigel's fate, saying only that it would have repercussions that would affect the fictional village of Ambridge for a decade. However, asked about Sunday's broadcast, she said: "Obviously, there's a birth and a death and that's quite iconic, I think."
Told by presenter Evan Davis that she had given the plot away, Ms Whitburn backtracked, saying: "There is a birth and a potential death – that's what I said."
The anniversary double episode, which had been billed as having a storyline which would "shake Ambridge to the core", also saw Helen Archer give birth to a baby boy, called Henry, by emergency caesarean after being diagnosed with pre-eclampsia.
Nigel fell after losing his footing while attempting to remove a New Year banner from the roof of his home, Lower Loxley. He had been encouraged to climb up there by brother-in-law David Archer. The episode ended with a blood-curdling scream as he fell, followed by the strains of the familiar signature tune. His death leaves questions about how his wife Elizabeth will manage while caring for their twins, Freddy and Lily. The BBC said the manner of his death would also leave his brother-in-law David Archer "traumatised".
Sunday's episode met with a mixed reaction from listeners, who posted comments on the Archers website, complaining that the show was not the cliff-hanger it was promised to be.
One listener wrote: "That was pants." Another said: "I thought it was supposed to 'shake Ambridge to the very core'? I have to say I am truly disappointed. Once Nigel started prancing around on the roof like a goon I stopped listening. I've been waiting for that episode for ages and I am desperately gutted!" But Ms Whitburn said it would have been "ridiculous" to have a mass killing of characters or a bomb in The Bull pub. "I said and I stick by the fact that it will shake Ambridge to the core," she told Today.
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I was a Woman Against Feminism too
- 2 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 3 The Tory donor whose firm is one of Britain’s biggest tax avoiders - with HMRC's blessing
- 4 John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
Comic-Con 2014: Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch and Game of Thrones' George RR Martin set to attend
Hercules, review: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson takes centre stage in preposterous movie
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?
George R. R. Martin responds to 13-year-old fan's 'heartfelt' letter asking for a grisly death in Game of Thrones
Watch Susan Boyle sing 'Mull Of Kintyre' at the Commonwealth Games 2014 opening ceremony
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains