The quiet village of Ambridge has had its share of exciting events that have had people talking in the streets, on social media, calling in and in private conversations. Here are some of the episodes that have had tongues wagging over the decades. You can access them online. Enjoy!
The week preceding the ruling on Helen’s case comprised a lot of deliberation and anxiety. For one, the listeners tuned in without fail, hoping that the waiting would soon come to an end, which it did during a 60-minute special.
On the other hand, there was a panel that was quite divided on whether Helen had acted in self-defence and whether Rob had deserved what happened and if he was abusive as stated by the defence. She was able to walk away free as millions of listeners celebrated her release. This episode served as a way of highlighting domestic violence, coercion and other forms of abuse in families.
While it is true that people in Ambridge have almost seen it, all ranging from a female vicar all the way to shower sex, the audience was not quite expecting a gay wedding. Adam Macy and Ian Craig had been through some incidences before their decision to walk down the aisle, two years after their first kiss. The farmer and the chef wed in Lower Loxley, having battled family drama and coming out jitters.
The wedding took place a year after Britain gave recognition to same-sex marriages and listeners were quite happy with the direction of the show. Though not everyone gave their approval on the matter, most people quoted that if the show had aired back in the twentieth century, people would have had an easier time in coming out.
Helen’s custody battle with Rob was one that fans closely followed. Upon her release, Judge Loomis ruled that Rob was mentally unstable and was thus not fit to care for their children. Given that Henry was not Rob’s biological son, the judge did not award Rob visitation rights.
However, Rob got the right to visit Jack under supervision for four hours each week. Helen and her parents were quite overjoyed on hearing the ruling while Rob grunted in the background.
Shula went through a difficult time trying to get pregnant while she was married to Mark. At the time, she sought different methods, even considering IVF in the process. Her sister got pregnant during this challenging time, and since her boyfriend was not willing to take up the responsibility, Shula stepped in and offered to care for the child.
Unfortunately, her sister would have none of it, and she went ahead to procure an abortion. Devastated, Shula forged on and finally got pregnant. Unfortunately, Mark did not get to share in the good news as he passed away before Shula knew she was expectant.
1984 was the first time that a royal family member took part in a BBC drama, and it all took place thanks to Princess Margaret. The princess came in to play herself as a surprise guest. The show featured a fundraising fashion show in Ambridge where part of the cast was present. Her visit paved the way for other royal appearances including that of the Duchess of Cornwall as the show marked its six decades on the air.
Janet Fisher joined the Archers in the nineties as a female vicar when three local parishes merged in Ambridge. Though most people were welcome to the change, Peggy Woolley was not, something she showed by refusing to attend the service and opting to worship in Borchester.
Peggy, being a traditionalist, lives by a strict moral code and she is open to church as long as the vicar is not a woman. Janet was later to find out that there was much more to deal with in the farm than non-attendance, owing to her run-ins with rumourmongers later on during her stay.
Though there were many mixed reactions following the announcement that Ruth had breast cancer, one thing was evident. The soap had touched on an area that many people have been through but have not had the chance to share their story. Women go through health problems such as infertility, hysterectomies and other processes which affect not only their lives but those of others. This episode created a forum for people to talk about such issues and a great debate came out of the episodes that followed.
When the Grundys family finally moved back to their original home, fans were quite happy. This excitement stemmed from the many challenges that the family had endured in its journey back home. It all started with a bankruptcy scandal that saw Joe kill his son’s ferrets.
The family then moved into a caravan before leasing a cottage as they were determined to live in Ambridge. Their move back home was thus seen as a triumph over their troubles, thus giving listeners hope in whatever they may be going through in their lives.
Listeners were aware that River Am’s levels had been on the rise, but they could not have prepared for what happened when the river’s banks burst during a karaoke night. The damage that ensued upon the tragedy was devastating, and it took the residents a while to put their lives together. Freda Fry died during the disaster, and this episode served as a means to educate people on true stories that bear similar tales.
When John died in a tractor accident, listeners were taken back, as were his parents. It was thus a welcome surprise when Pat and Tony learned that John had fathered a son before his demise. Though Helen and Tom took some time to warm up to the idea of him, Johnny served as a great addition to the family.