January

Friday 1st January, 2021

Kenton is on top of things, Kirsty is under arrest.

David offers Kenton a beer crate to stand on for his announcements: it's the only thing Jolene had available. They're both glad to see the back of 2020. They also both praise Peggy's poetry reading last night. Kenton teases David about whether Vince Casey will be on his quiz team.

Kenton announces the start of the Round Ambridge Quiz in a couple of minutes. He wants to say a few words first. He knows its been a difficult year, but everyone in Ambridge has helped each other and pulled together; he talks of Ambridge family, and community, while David heckles. Ambridge is always there and always will be, says Kenton. (Authors' Message in a florid scriptiform is what that is.) He wants to thank all of them for being part of it. He quotes Dan as saying "A happy New Year to all." Lynda is to launch the proceedings as a Special Guest.

Lynda stammers, and wants to make a short announcement first. She has received an official letter: it said she's being given an MBE. She was nominated by the community, her friends. She's so grateful, and can only say thank you. (Cheers and applause.) And now let the quiz commence: villagers set off with their quiz sheets to answer questions about Ambridge landmarks.

Kirsty definitely saw a tear in Roy's eye. They both knew Lynda had been nominated but said nothing. They're looking for a date on the bridge; perhaps Phoebe's found it. Kirsty isn't ready to see Lynda yet, knowing what she knows about the true cause of Lynda's injuries, so they'll congratulate her later. Kirsty has been cheered by Kenton saying what he did about family; she thanks Roy for everything and says she and he are family.

Tracy finds Jazzer while looking for Brad and Chelsea. She's pleased about Lynda. They speak of a trick question about the phone box. Then they both back off from the kiss last night and claim not to have enjoyed it: they'll just stay as mates.

Chris and Alice have dropped out; Roy and Kirsty are talking about this while following up another quiz clue when DC Tanners turns up. Kirsty tries to advise her about how to find the lads, and Tanners is short with her about not teaching her how to do her job, then arrests Kirsty for involvement in human trafficking. Roy and Kirsty protest but Tanners is implacable.

Lynda is educating Tracy about the Lawson-Hope bench; Tracy wishes she could give Lynda a hug as she congratulates her on her MBE. They have a misunderstanding about Lynda planning a quick bob for the ceremony, which Tracy thinks is a haircut. Lynda says she was sorry to hear about Roman – and then they notice the disturbance as Kirsty is put into the police car.

Roy is arguing the toss, and is threatened with arrest for obstruction. David arrives at the run wanting to know what's going on; Roy tells him that Kirsty has been arrested for involvement in human trafficking. Kenton arrives too, and they both hear as Roy blames Philip Moss for slaving before hurrying off to go to the police station. They're not sure what to think about it: surely not Philip Moss and the lads he had working for him?

Characters: Kenton, David, Lynda, Kirsty, Roy, Tracy, Jazzer, DC Tanners
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Keri Davies & Sarah McDonald-Hughes
Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe
Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 4th January, 2021

Over-reaction is rife.

David feels terrible and couldn't sleep because he employed Philip Moss. He and Ruth can't believe something like this happened on their farm: their milking parlour and barn extension were built using slave labour. Ruth isn't sure she really does believe it; they've arrested Kirsty too, and there is no way she would have been involved in slavery, surely? Neither Ruth nor David actually talked to the lads except to take them cups of tea, which were refused. They now feel that they should have done something to help them even though they had no reason to know there was anything the matter.

Justin couldn't sleep, and has been going through Philip Moss's quotes and invoices. His reason for worry is far more cogent than David's: he's had an ominous text from Martyn Gibson. He knows that because he's the one who dealt with Moss, the buck stops with him. Lilian thinks it is very unfair, and her fault for inviting Moss to work for them in their house: she can't stop thinking about those poor boys. Martyn rings and has evidently been whipping up feeling against Justin among the board. Justin makes various sensible suggestions for damage mitigation, including the fact that they did not employ slave labour; they employed a man who subcontracted to slave labour. Martyn is clearly out for blood, and tells him the board is unanimous that the allegations must be taken seriously. Justin starts being defensive. Martyn says Berrow is a hot coal and they have to make a big gesture with a convincing narrative in order to placate the supermarkets they supply.

David is still beating his breast. Moss gave David mates' rates and David didn't query it. He's feeling guilty about not having spotted that it must have been exploitation: he knew about that from his NFU training. Ruth makes excuses for him, pointing out that was about foreign farm labourers, not local lads. David asks despairingly how they could have failed to see what Moss was. Because he sold himself as a big softie, replies Ruth, with his daft Christmas jumpers and light shows. The fate of Colston's statue in Bristol has made David think of Philip, the philanthropist and the monster. David drank with Philip and recommended his work; he no longer knows who can be trusted. He feels that they ought to raze the milking parlour and the barn to the ground; Ruth does not.

Martyn is still banging on at Justin. He tells Justin that if he cut any corners he needs to admit it now, then drops his bombshell: Neil has told him that Moss's low price got even better after the explosion, and must have been below cost. Justin explains that when Gavin came and begged him to let them keep the job, he saw an opportunity to get a discount while helping Moss rebuild his reputation. Justin doesn't remember the BL board complaining at the time! Martyn keeps on: they need to distance themselves and they need to be decisive. He clearly plans to require Justin to resign from his position.

Ruth is making egg sandwiches using Jill's home-made bread, and trying to take David's mind off things. Jill will join them for the meal. Jill is worried about Kirsty: there's still no news of her. Pip says the young Hereford stock can stay where they are. David, who is not really listening, is trying to work out what to do for the best; he wouldn't feel right hiring the barn out. Ruth wants to know whether they should just cancel all their bookings, then, and suggests that instead, they should support a charity that helps slaves. David says that seems like an empty gesture. He feels that he's knee deep in slurry. They should issue a statement distancing themselves from Philip now, even before they know what may happen, so that it doesn't look as if they are covering up for a crime. Ruth says they are not covering up a crime, and they should wait until the know all the facts.

Lilian trying to distract Justin with suggestions of a gin or a walk before lunch is not helping Justin: he has work to do. He has been sacked; or rather, he has voluntarily stepped down. Apparently the board now thinks Brian might make a better figurehead for Borchester Land, and Brian was delighted by the suggestion; he is to be remodelled as an eco-warrior, in charge of the rewilding project. Lilian is wildly indignant: what, the man who polluted the Am? How dare they get rid of Justin in this way. Justin points out that he would have done the same thing if he had been in Martyn's position.

Characters: David, Ruth, Justin, Lilian, Martyn
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Sarah Hehir & Caroline Harrington
Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe
Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 5th January, 2021

Kirsty puts the record straight for Lynda as others come under scrutiny.

Lynda is preparing to take Monty for a walk but can't find one of her gloves. Robert is muttering angrily about Philip Moss and she wants not to think about that, if Robert doesn't mind, just enjoy some fresh air and post her correspondence. She quite reasonably says she has no idea what Philip might be charged with. Kirsty arrives to see them and apologises for interrupting them when they are about to go out; Lynda sends Robert off with Monty and offers Kirsty tea.

Neil is being interviewed by DC Tanners about Philip Moss. She says that surely people must have noticed how Moss undercut the opposition, and that she thinks it's shocking what people will ignore if the price is right. There have been varying degrees of complicity across the county and she wants to know exactly what Neil did and didn't know.

Lynda says she is relieved to see Kirsty: they'd had no idea what had happened since she was arrested. Kirsty doesn't really know exactly what did happen when she was arrested; it was all a bit of a blur. They took away her purse and phone and locked her in a cell, and finally when a solicitor turned up they questioned her and released her 'under investigation'. She had no idea what had been going on, but the police clearly think she had. Lynda asks about Philip; apparently he's saying nothing and his bail conditions forbid him from contacting Kirsty. She had to come to see Lynda to tell her what had been going on before it reached her at third hand; she had to put the record straight because of the way Lynda was lied to by Philip. Lynda is confused at first, then remembers that he took full responsibility for Blake, and said Lynda deserved the truth. Kirsty says it was all a pack of lies: he made out he was protecting Blake, but Blake had no money so he couldn't have bought the petrol; it was all Philip. Lynda realises that Philip was lying – all his words, all that false sincerity, she says unhappily. She often thought of that poor young man, lying in his hospital bed, when all the time he was afraid to tell anyone the truth. Kirsty can't get over letting Philip share her bed, and even marrying him; she starts to sob and tells Lynda that she's so, so sorry.

Neil tells DC Tanners that he manages the pigs, not the company. Did he ever talk about the work Moss had been doing? He supposes that he must have done, when Philip asked him questions about specific things, but he wasn't involved in decisions about the overall work or contract. She asks about the playground, and Neil says it was his daughter Emma's idea but that she didn't deal directly with Gavin and Philip: Neil did. He thought that they were doing it for the benefit of the community when they did the work at cost price. If he'd known what was going on Neil would never have employed him to work on a children's playground, he says in disgust; he just thought Moss was giving them a good price because he knew them. He says he knew nothing about the bell tower quote being an extremely low price, even though as a churchwarden he would have seen all the quotes for the job. He is now being questioned closely: why didn't he ask any questions? Did he never wonder how Philip's low quotes and his extravagant lifestyle could match? No, he didn't: it never crossed his mind.

Lynda is consoling Kirsty; she says that things will get better and she will come through this because, like Lynda, she is a survivor. Neither of them is about to let Philip Moss take anything more away from them, says Lynda firmly.

Robert meets Neil and realises that he is looking dreadful. He is concerned and asks what is wrong, and Neil tells him the police have been round. This shocks Robert. Neil feels he is under suspicion, that he's being accused of something, because he failed to spot anything was wrong with what Moss was doing. Being questioned like that made him remember the way Susan was treated when she had her trouble with the police. He was honest and told the police everything he knew and how it had struck him, but he got the distinct feeling DC Tanners didn't believe him.

Characters: Lynda, Robert, Kirsty, Neil, DC Tanners
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Sarah Hehir & Caroline Harrington
Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe
Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 6th January, 2021

Alan, Emma and Lynda all have ideas.

Lynda is enjoying a fine day. She and Robert are on Lakey Hill with a view of Brookfield and her own house. Lynda is trying to make Robert turn the other cheek about Philip Moss, but he is indignant on behalf of Neil, and can't understand her being able to forgive. She is unhappy that he can't share her simple enjoyment of the day, and tells him he mustn't let Philip Moss dictate his life. She says that she has been able to shake off bitterness and negativity thanks to him and their friends and neighbours. What has Philip Moss to look forward to? Nothing. He has none of the benefits Robert and Lynda enjoy; they are the winners. She begs Robert to let it go, and he agrees to do his best.

Clarrie is baking pains au chocolat, though she has had to use non-standard ingredients so they won't be authentic. Everyone is being sweet to her about the renewal of vows, even Jake. Emma tells her she has the hen night planned out, as a joke. She keeps on trying to tell Emma that it won't be a large do, and anyway nothing can happen until things are back to normal. Forty years merits confetti and fireworks, says Emma.

Alan finds Lynda resting her legs while Robert goes to get a closer look at some redwings. He congratulates Lynda on her MBE, and tells her that he is planning a special service tomorrow. The villagers need to be helped in this time of trouble, and he thinks the community should get together on line. Lynda will think about joining them; she agrees it is a very good idea, and everyone needs to pull together.

Emma and Clarrie are looking at Clarrie and Eddie's wedding photos. They went to Torremolinos on their honeymoon, and although it was at a cheap hotel a long way from the beach, they really only cared about having a nice big bed. Emma wants to know where they are going for their second honeymoon. Clarrie tries again to tell her they won't be having one; anyway, they already had a second honeymoon when William paid for them to go back to Torremolinos when he got the money from Aunt Hilda. Emma asks where she would go if she could go anywhere, and Clarrie unhesitatingly plumps for Paris. She loved going to Meyruelle, and after they got back from that visit Eddie picked up a guide book to Paris at a car boot sale, with pictures of bicycles and cobbled streets and women who looked like Audrey Hepburn with baguettes under their arms, which she still has. She would love to sit in a cafe eating gateaux, so romantic. Emma is quiet, then says Clarrie has given her an idea.

Robert is excited about the redwings, and managed to get very close to them and take a couple of photos. Lynda is sympathetic and enthusiastic. Because of the redwings, he's decided that Lynda is right and the village is more important than Philip Moss. She tells him about Alan's service plans. She'd love to do something to help the village. This community has made her feel loved and appreciated, and she feels that the favour ought to be returned. She wants to celebrate the village, and whatever she does must be special. She will soon be Lynda Snell MBE, and great things will be expected.

Characters: Lynda, Robert, Clarrie, Emma, Alan
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Sarah Hehir & Caroline Harrington
Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe
Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 7th January, 2021

Guilty feelings continue to spread and be spread.

Helen has returned to Ambridge and is asking Roy for information about what has been happening. Kirsty is not answering her phone, and it's so not like her. Helen is afraid she said something wrong praising Philip fulsomely as she did on the day of the wedding. She should have seen through him, but she was taken in. Roy tells her that they all were. She plans to go to see Kirsty immediately, but Roy informs her that Kirsty's not in: she's gone litter-picking.

Shula wants to know if there's anything she can to do to help Alan. He has had an interview with the bishop, who was understanding and supportive about his having employed Philip to do the church repairs. The diocese said he could get a local builder in for a small job, and no blame should attach to anyone. She feels guilty about not having realised what was going on; she thought she and Philip were friends. She drops the information about Gavin's gambling, which causes Alan to think a bit. Alan gives her a pep-talk about being a vicar not meaning you know everything. She has been doing research, and now knows that modern slavery hides in plain sight and is not all about people from overseas.

Roy locates Kirsty litter-picking; she's on her second bag and is angry about the quantity there is. Roy tells her that he bumped into Helen and Helen was worried about her, but Kirsty says she can't face her yet. No, Helen has done nothing to upset her; she's just embarrassed because of so easily having seen through Rob and being convinced she could spot a villain, then falling for the first plausible con-man who came her own way. Roy points out that Helen of all people would understand it. But Kirsty doesn't want to lumber Helen with her troubles, after all Helen has been through.

Alan gives a sermon via the medium of the Internet. We've all been affected, he says, and many of us may have feelings of guilt and be unable to forgive ourselves. We must all learn from our mistakes and not overlook people. When we are tempted by a bargain we must stop to think – why is it so cheap? Who is really paying the price? There are 136,000 enslaved people in this country, more than live in, say, Worcester or Gloucester. They are the people paying the price for our bargains. Let us all try to notice them, and remember them in our prayers. Let us also pray for the sinners, that they may be enlightened. (At this point tonstant listener fwowed up. Boak)

Kirsty is apologising to Helen ('I'm so, so sorry') and Helen says she is the one who should be apologising. They agree not to talk about Philip any more. Helen says she will be there for Kirsty, just give her a call and she'll be straight over, and also offers her space at Bridge Farm. That reminds Kirsty about the house, which the police have sealed off while they work out how much was bought with the proceeds of crime; Helen offers to help her collect her stuff. Kirsty then offers Helen the house if she still wants to buy it, though quite how Kirsty is able to do this is unclear. Helen says she hasn't really thought about it recently.

Shula congratulates Alan; she says he was inspiring and reassuring at the same time. And so many people joined in! You can always rely on Ambridge folk to pull together, says Alan smugly. Shula wasn't sure how they felt about praying for the perpetrator.... Her phone rings: it's Philip. Alan says it's up to her if she answers. She tries repeatedly to get him to tell her what to do, saying that she's not ready for this. Alan declines to give her advice, and makes it clear she has to decide for herself. The decision is taken off her hands when Philip rings off before she has got her nerve together, and she is left anxiously aware that he is sure to try again.

Characters: Helen, Roy, Shula, Alan, Kirsty
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Sarah Hehir & Caroline Harrington
Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe
Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 11th January, 2021

Burns catches Brian, who reckons Karma has caught Kirsty.

Helen rings Kirsty, who is picking up her stuff at Beechwood; it’s taken longer than she expected. Helen wants to know what it’s like being there. Kirsty says it’s strange; things have been moved about, and the laptops and tablet are gone because the police have taken them. Helen offers to come over but Kirsty is about to go, so Helen says she’ll come over to Willow in about twenty minutes.

Sergeant Burns has caught Brian doing 37mph in a 30mph limit. He is being very formal and Brian understandably finds him exasperating. He is put through the whole performance, with Burns demanding his name, address, licence, and to know where he was going.

Kirsty has a craving for chocolate chip cookies. Jim talks with her about the Echo crossword. He’s glad she has finally come into the shop: she explains that she checked who was behind the counter first because she wasn’t ready for Susan. ‘Which of us can ever truly say we’re ready for Susan?’ asks Jim. She also buys aspirin. Jim tells her that nobody blames her for what happened, but apparently Sabrina gave her a filthy look; Jim reassures her that nobody who counts blames her. She castigates herself as an idiot. Jim is glad to be told that Philip isn’t around. Then Brian comes in and has a go at her.

Harrison tells Fallon he is going to recommend that Brian is offered a course. Fallon is not impressed by his general demeanour and calls him ‘Sergeant’. He’s being sensitive about perhaps being a soft touch; Fallon says he isn’t soft, he is approachable.

Jim tears Brian off a strip, but Brian is not repentant. He is angry with Kirsty for her behaviour over the pollution, and he is not prepared to offer her sympathy and calls her a hypocrite. Jim is clearly not happy about Brian’s tone, and after Kirsty has fled tries to make him apologetic. Brian doesn’t back down: Kirsty did her best to ruin his life and didn’t care about his feelings then, and he doesn’t care about her feelings now.

Harrison tells Fallon that he is not part of the investigation into the Mosses because he was taken in by them, and DCI Pemberton doesn’t want him on it. He feels terrible about the boys he failed to save. Fallon tries to comfort him: don’t beat yourself up, she says, people much closer to them were deceived too. He won’t be cutting anyone in Ambridge any slack any more, says Harrison.

Telling Helen about her experience back at Beechwood, Kirsty says that in each room she would see something more that made her feel strange: prints she and Philip found, the kitchen table they argued about. But Philip’s work-boots were in place as if he were going to step into them, and the wardrobe smelled of him. She just wants to be shot of it all, give it away and go. Helen tells her that she ought at least to get back the large amount of money she put into it. Kirsty then drops Brian in it with Helen; Helen is outraged. He has no right to talk to her like that, says Helen, but Kirsty knows that he was right and she is a hypocrite. She went to the yard and saw the lads often enough, so she ought to have noticed what was happening. Jim said she was as much a victim as the boys, but she had choices and the lads had none. Brian was right to say they were the real victims, and if Kirsty wants to live with herself she has got to do something to put that right.

Characters: Kirsty, Helen, Harrison, Brian, Jim
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Adrian Flynn and Katie Hims
Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe
Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 12th January, 2021

Rex does something the Archers are going to regret.

Josh turns up to ask Rex to help mend a shed roof, but Rex is about to go and look at a farm, and is not interested. Rex then talks about slave labour, and Josh takes exception. He says the lads seemed ok, and Rex tells him that Archers can't own up to their mistakes. Rex launches in, calling to mind every time Josh has ever done anything wrong; Josh says something about having thought it was water under the bridge, and Rex explodes: blood under the bridge, more like. Josh asks in bewilderment whether that is even a actual phrase, and Rex admits he has no idea whether it is or not, then leaves.

Jazzer is in the Bull waiting for a steak and kidney pie, and his motorbike is blocking Tracy's car in. She demands that he move it, and he tells her she has to ask nicely for him to move it, and he won't until she does ask him nicely. They have a manufactured row, about the noise each makes, and about Jazzer's creepy fondness for Webster, the bedroom spider.

At the visit to the council farm Rex says the house is nothing special, ugly and boxy-looking, and embarks on an indignant monologue about inherited land and the Brookfield Archers having no guilt; Toby tells him to stop banging on about being evicted. Toby assumes he will be involved if Rex gets the farm: it's their great chance. Rex says no, Toby, it's not our chance; it's mine.

The row in the Bull was a fake to put people off the scent, and Tracy and Jazzer congratulate each other, but soon start to disagree for real. Jazzer tells her she is old enough to be his mother. Then she taunts him about Jade, and compares his love-life unfavourably to hers with Roman, and Jazzer is rude back, eventually telling her that the rapidly-cooling pie in the pub is warmer than her.

Rex is doing 'nothing', and ignoring Toby in favour of hunching over his phone, which Toby then snatches and sees the message Rex was writing about Brookfield using slave labour. Toby is horrified and defends Rosie's relations, but Rex tells him he is too involved and can't see them straight. Then Rex promises not to post the smear, and immediately his phone is handed back, posts it.

Tracy has come to Greenacres at ten at night to continue the argument, and she and Jazzer carry on where they had left off earlier. They agree that they really wind each other up. But she accepts Jazzer's invitation to go in anyway because they need to sort it out once and for all.

Josh has come round to bring Rex some beers. He wants to apologise for everything. Toby has told him about the council farm, and Josh tries to butter Rex up about how he is sure Rex will get it, and Rex is a brilliant farmer. Then he says he feels really bad that Rex and Toby have to leave Hollowtree, and how Ruth and David and Pip feel the same: the Fairbrothers are like family. He explains that Ruth and David are actually devastated about the slaves: he saw Ruth in tears over a broken plate earlier. Rex knows they are good people, says Josh; Rex does know that, doesn't he? Yes, Rex says, he does.

Characters: Josh, Rex, Jazzer, Tracy, Toby,
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Adrian Flynn and Katie Hims
Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe
Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 13th January, 2021

Jazzer is caught out, and Neil feels as though he has been.

Jazzer wakes up to Tracy's alarm, which doesn't please him. She's late in leaving, having stayed the night by accident, and now Jim will be up and encounter her on her way out. She fell asleep, which she claims not to have planned, and now they'll be the talk of Ambridge. She doesn't want it to happen again and nor does Jazzer. Usually Jim goes for a walk at this time of day, so Tracy should be able to escape once he goes out. Unfortunately for this plan, the weather is awful today and he's not planning to take his constitutional: he knocks on the bedroom door to see whether Jazzer would like bacon for breakfast, but agrees to make pancakes instead. He also declines to go to the shop for maple syrup, which Jazzer suggests in another attempt to get him out of the way. The two captives joust a bit about their mutual intentions, and Tracy decides Jazzer is 'quite funny'.

Neil is on the phone to Brian about the representative of the processor who buys the Berrow pigs, who will be arriving shortly at all of ten minutes' notice. Also, Neil thinks one of the pigs has blue ear, and Alistair is too busy to get there straight away. A calming Brian will be right with him.

Jazzer has been bolting his pancakes with sugar and lemon. Jim asks him to make some coffee. Jazzer claims the weather is improving, but Jim is sure he doesn't want to go out; he doesn't want pneumonia, particularly not at present. Settling to his crossword, Jim asks who was at the door last night: a nocturnal charity collector, allegedly. He eventually takes pity and does go for his walk, but clearly knows what has been going on.

Neil is unhappy that the auditor is asking endless questions, and is now going through all the paperwork: employment, health and safety and the rest. Neil is in a terrible state thinking about the lads and feeling as if he is being accused about them; he didn't sleep last night for worry, and what if Berrow folds and he loses his job? Brian calms him down, then asks whether Neil can tell him anything he should know about Justin: anything he's been up to at Berrow that hasn't been right, for instance? Neil fails to understand what Brian is after, and unhappily protests that everything has been completely above board.

Tracy rings Jazzer; she escaped out of the window and over the garden wall. She felt like something out of an action adventure story. Both go on asserting that last night was a one-off.

Brian asks after the pig with blue ear; Neil reports that Alistair says it's just a cough but the pig must still be kept isolated for a few days. The auditor is going through the health records now, and Neil has to go in and see him. Neil thinks he is on the spot, because of the playground. Brian goes on reassuring him, and tells him to keep his mind on Berrow and ignore any other problems for the time being: nobody would have refused someone offering to help the community free of charge.

Jim asks who Jazzer's mystery woman is, and apologises for not having taken the hint earlier. He went out in the end because he didn't want to embarrass Jazzer, and he now wants to know why Jazzer didn't bring his lady friend to breakfast. Jazzer is acutely uncomfortable at the questioning and says it wasn't like that, but manages not to let out who it actually was in spite of describing her in rather more glowing terms than perhaps he intended to. Jim thinks Jazzer looks dejected, which is hotly denied. Jim points out that ignoring social distancing for the sake of true love would be one thing, but for a one-night stand another; Jazzer continues to insist it was a one-off. Jim mutters that 'methinks the lady doth protest too much', then reminds Jazzer that he wants more from a relationship than a one-night stand, to which Jazzer agrees but says again that this one is not the one. Jim asks if he is perfectly sure about that.

Characters: Jazzer, Tracy, Neil, Brian, Jim
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Adrian Flynn and Katie Hims
Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe
Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 14th January, 2021

Kirsty seeks the horses and Jim finds a scapegoat.

Alistair finds Philip outside Greenacres and is shocked that he is is in Ambridge when Alistair thought that he was supposed to keep away from the village. Philip explains that he has to keep away from Kirsty, and is not allowed to go to his house, but he just wants to talk to Alistair for a few minutes. He starts to deny that the lads were slaves, saying they wanted to work for him. Alistair finds that hard to credit, and is fed up with lies; he has been unhappy about being taken in about the gambling addiction and trying to help Gavin as a result of them. Philip starts to say that there is far more to Gavin's troubles than gambling, all stemming from the time after Philip's divorce, and he is worried that Gavin might harm himself. He only wants five minutes. Alistair reluctantly lets him in.

Kirsty is visiting Helen at the dairy office; she came over to see Pat, who has gone into Borchester, but Helen will probably do. She asks about the work in the homeless shelter that Pat and Helen used to do, then says she is thinking of volunteering there. Helen disapproves and tells her she ought to worry about herself and not take on the ills of the world, then tries to put her off with warnings about having to have official checks, then redirects her to Alan.

Philip explains to Alistair that he is lodging somewhere insalubrious and his razor has been stolen, which is why he looks like a tramp. He starts to tell his story, saying that Gavin lied to Kirsty about the lads who worked for him. Alistair asks point-blank whether they were in fact slaves and Philip denies it, claiming to have paid them, or at least, paid for the flat and food. Alistair notes that means they got no money. Philip is desperate to see Kirsty and explain things to her, which Alistair refuses to arrange for him. Just as he has asked Philip to leave, Jim appears and expresses surprise to see him. Philip says he just wanted to tell Alistair his side of things, and Jim, saying that he would like to hear that, invites him back in and offers him a cup of tea.

Kirsty has left a message with Usha for Alan, who has a funeral in Loxley Barrett. Helen again tries to talk her out of the idea of volunteering in the homeless shelter. Kirsty has seen and talked with people sleeping rough in Borchester, and is using a photo of the boys in the background of a picture of Philip to look for them. Helen now wants her to give it up and tells her that she is not thinking straight: that might have been dangerous! Kirsty indignantly tells her than sleeping rough doesn't mean people are criminals. In any case, Kirsty has become determined that if she works for the homeless shelter and gains the trust of the people there, she might find the missing Blake, Jordan and Kenzie.

With sensitive prompting from Jim, Philip tells Jim all about it. He started by helping homeless men in Merthyr Tydfil, he says, and Jim questions sympathetically. When did Blake start working for him? Ages ago, and it was at Blake's instigation: he walked past a site again and again until Philip let him do some odd jobs, easing him in gently with no dangerous stuff like scaffolding-work. When the job was finished and Philip asked where he could find Blake if he needed him again, Blake said he was sleeping rough, so Philip let him sleep in the shed in the yard. Then he found two more rough sleepers who were happy to work for him for food and lodging, so he found a better place for them all to stay. Jim says he'd really like to hear their side, but Philip says he doesn't know where they are now. Jim is suddenly less than friendly: because you were a weak and helpless character you recognised a vulnerable young man, and took advantage of him, he says angrily. He goes on to say that Philip disgusts him; he took appalling advantage of the young men, he destroyed his wife – understandably enough, at this point Philip leaves, with Jim shouting after him, then saying viciously that he hopes Philip will be trapped in a living hell. Alistair is concerned and asks whether Jim is all right, and Jim quietly reassures him: he was telling Philip what he'd wanted to tell his abuser seventy years ago and has been saving up ever since, and if even one word struck home, then yes, he's perfectly all right.

Characters: Philip, Alistair, Kirsty, Helen, Philip
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Adrian Flynn and Katie Hims
Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe
Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 18th January, 2021

Pigeons come home to roost for Ruth and Helen.

David is planning to borrow a chainsaw from Brian to cut up a fallen tree when Ruth arrives to tell him that the May Bank Holiday wedding booking has been cancelled. The groom rang after he and his bride read a review on the internet revealing the slave labour that went into the barn alterations. Ruth told the groom the truth, that they had been taken in by a crook, but he still cancelled, saying it would spoil their day to be married in a place 'built by people whose human rights had been abused'. The even worse news, says Ruth, is that although the review has been deleted from the original website, it's been copied all over social media. Is this how Brookfield will be seen from now on?

A dog is barking at Kirsty, and Lee pops up to rescue her; the guy who owns it is living on the street and she got too close, but has not been bitten. He asks whether Philip has been in touch, and then talks about his job and Long Covid. He tries to talk her out of her search for Blake, Jordan and Kenzie on safety grounds, and says that he thinks she might be overdoing it, but when challenged to tell her what he suggests, doesn't know how else she could find the trio. She brushes him off and goes on her way.

Ruth sees the vicious review; David says it's a smear campaign, but Ruth points out it's all true. They will now suffer reputational damage, just as Home Farm did. Ruth isn't keen on replying, in case it makes matters worse, and suggests getting the kids to help, and also ringing their clients to talk to them about what really happened before they see the piece.

Lee rings Helen, and they agree that Kirsty is doing something dangerous. Lee says she is fixated, and Helen says she wishes she knew how to help her. They pass swiftly on to regretting that the house sale is up in the air, though Helen is not sure she would want to live in a place which had been bought with the proceeds of abuse; Lee suggests she ought to keep looking for somewhere bigger for her and the boys. He has to go, and she says she will try to have a word with Kirsty.

Ruth brings coffee for David; Brian's chainsaw is huge and will get the fallen tree dealt with in no time. Josh has offered to assist with the tree-removal but can't really help about the review, saying they just have to hope it won't come up too much if anyone searches Brookfield; Brian advised the same masterly inaction. Brian also suggested that the phrasing in the review sounds like someone who knows them, and Ruth sees his point about how precise it is, with such details as who did the tiling in the kitchen. If it is someone who knows them and bears a grudge, they need to be prepared for more of the same.

Helen is on the phone with Kirsty, who is not going to back down from her search. She knows the lads have been sold, and she needs to find them; Helen says she should leave it to the police, who can question Philip, but Kirsty is well aware there is no way Philip would let the police know anything. Helen asks whether she has got her job at Grey Gables back, which throws Kirsty somewhat, but Helen points out she needs a job, an income, a home, and distraction, which will help her get over the shock she has suffered. Kirsty doesn't see that being distracted from doing what she needs to do is likely to help her. Helen tells her that she doesn't need to feel guilty about looking out for herself. Kirsty says all she is doing is talking to people on the street, and when Helen says it's not safe doing it on her own, Kirsty challenges her to help, then as Helen stammers excuses reminds Helen how she was her friend over Rob. Helen says she rang because she is trying to be a good friend, and she doesn't think scouring the streets is worth doing; Kirsty tells her to leave her to get on with it if she isn't going to help, and hangs up on her.

Characters: David, Ruth, Kirsty, Lee, Helen
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Liz John and Adrian Flynn
Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe
Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 19th January, 2021

Shula gets a phone call and Rex gets a dressing-down.

Pip offers to take over from David spreading straw; she has to do something or she will start punching the walls. She quotes the review, and wonders how anyone would put that up on line. David asks her not to get him started again. They agree that it has to be someone who knows the barn well, and she suddenly thinks of Vince perhaps having talked about it to someone. David thinks not, then goes on trying to work out who it is: someone close to them. He even wonders whether Toby might have shot his mouth off, then admits that he's being unfair, but he has given Pip a horrible thought.

Alice's horse Banjo needs his exercise, and since Alice can't do it Shula has gone out on him. She and Alistair are both relieved that what was wrong with him was a gastric ulcer, not kissing spines. While she was out, Kirsty nearly drove into them; Alistair is not surprised she was preoccupied. Shula asks if Jim has been all right since Philip went round; Alistair wishes he had thumped Philip rather than letting him in.

David has gone to confront Rex about the review. Rex admits to it freely as soon as David arrives; he asserts that he believed it when he posted it. He is apologetic, and says it started to feel wrong as soon as he pressed send, and took it down almost at once, not realising that it would be screen-shot so quickly. David didn't want to believe it was him, and says that it was incredibly ungrateful after all the Archers have done for the Fairbrothers. Rex says it is what it is, and he can't take it back. David lectures him about trust between farmers, and tells him he ought not to have taken the tenancy being ended so personally.

Philip rings Shula and tells her he's at the end of his rope. He is calling from prison, on remand, having been re-arrested. Shula says there is nothing she can do for him, but he tells her he can't get bail and he can't survive being in prison, and there is no-one he can talk to there. He needs someone he knows. Shula says he has chosen the wrong person. He says he helped Shula when her marriage was failing, and seems to feel that she owes him something for that. He then tells her that Gavin has handed himself in and is telling a pack of lies, and he needs to talk to Gavin to convince him how wrong he is. Shula is glad he is being kept from convincing Gavin of his truth. Philip says bitterly that he would be better off dead.

Rex is telling David what his reasons were, while David defends himself and his inactions and tries to convince Rex that he really does care. He now wishes that he'd talked to the lads and found out what was going on, but also that Rex had talked to him before sounding off so publicly. Rex is apologetic. David does a bit of wallowing in guilt, then says that they can leave it at that. He offers to give Rex advice about his council farm tenancy application if he wants.

Shula tells Alistair that Philip has just rung, to which Alistair replies that he hopes she gave him short shrift as he should have done himself. She tells him that Philip's been charged and Gavin has handed himself in and come clean about the whole business. Philip is in a terrible state and wants Shula to visit. Alistair has to go off to an unhappy alpaca, leaving her to work things out alone.

Pip has sorted out a faulty ballcock. The returning David tells her that he gave Rex both barrels, then stops Pip from going over to do the same: she is still fuming. He says that anyway, Rex was right and he ought to have realised the quote was unrealistically low. Pip really doesn't get it: David hated the Fairbrothers before, and now he is being zen about what Rex did. It was so underhand! David says that they both messed up, but Pip thinks what Rex has done deliberately is far worse than what they did in ignorance, and as far as she is concerned that is not the end of it.

Characters: Pip, David, Shula, Alistair, Rex, Philip
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Liz John and Adrian Flynn
Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe
Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 20th January, 2021

Pip is out of sorts, and Vince and Elizabeth are sozzled.

Elizabeth likes the most recent Lower Loxley art exhibition of graffiti-style pieces, but only twenty-three people came to it. Russ is sure the next exhibition will be a much larger success; just one artist, based in Stoke, rather than three or four. He will be bringing some of his pieces over later today. Russ's professional judgement is that he will be successful; Elizabeth says she is unfortunately unable to spare the time to meet him, but Russ tells her that it is Jacob Portland, coming at three-thirty, and she is to be there before he arrives. She goes on about all the rest of the things she has to do, but while Russ says he doesn't know how Elizabeth fits everything in, it's clear that she is expected to come to the art gallery on time.

Ruth is on the phone with Brian, who is angry that the Borchester abattoir isn't up and running yet: they need it for the Hassett Hills lamb. He suggests that Ruth might get Elizabeth to ask Vince about that, which doesn't amuse her. Pip arrives as Ruth rings off, complaining that a feed delivery is expected a week early and wanting to know whether there will be room for it in the store; she is clearly in a state. When Ruth asks her if something's wrong, she first denies it being anything, then grumbles that Phoebe makes decisions without her; she and Rex arrange things without Pip's input, and Pip (who lists all her tasks, remembering Rosie as an afterthought) can't just drop everything to suit her. She is also still furious with Rex. Ruth talks about uncertain times and the weddings probably being cancelled anyway. The reason that Ruth is on edge is that they are about to embark on a major expansion of the herd with a lot more housing and concrete, and it will be expensive and involve getting builders' quotes: her nerve for that has been rather broken by Moss. Pip says she has been wondering whether they actually need more concrete for a hundred extra cows.

Vince is having a wine-tasting with Elizabeth. He's brought in five bottles for Elizabeth to try, and has more in the car. Elizabeth suggests that Stephanie ought to know what wine she wants at her own wedding, but Vince says he is employing an expert. She rejects the first wine she tastes, and tells him that her own wine is far superior.. He hadn't realised that Lower Loxley has its own wine. Elizabeth goes into sales mode: her wine would beat any he has brought, she can tell just by looking. Vince suggests a blindfolded wine-tasting, and they laugh about who will pour.

Pip explains to Ruth that Maisie of the Innovative Farm Group has over three hundred cows and out-winters them until a month before calving, and although she is in north Borsetshire, conditions on her farm are fairly similar to those at Brookfield. Pip offers to ring her, and Ruth says she will ask some New Zealanders she knows for advice.

Elizabeth has beaten Vince in the matter of wine recognition, with the result that, as Vince tells her, they are both now sozzled. They are definitely flirting, and she is trying to sober up in order to get to the Gallery in time to fulfil Russ's command. Vince decides to go with her.

Brian catches Pip outside the shop; he needs to get himself up to speed now that he is the Borchester Land contact with the rewilders, and he wants a meeting with them all, tomorrow if possible. Pip is uncooperative and makes it reasonably clear that she is not particularly keen on her partners at present; Brian tries to suggest conflict resolution but puts his foot in it by praising Phoebe too much. He tells Pip that in farming ('rewilding', says Pip sulkily) and that you must always trust your instincts. Pip says ominously that she certainly will.

Russ shows his artist discovery out, and comes back totally exasperated with the way Vince and Elizabeth have treated the man, who works in fabrics; specifically, he knits, which they seem to have found, and find, hilarious. Russ is angry that they sniggered at him, and that he will never now be able to placate him; Vince tries to excuse their bad behaviour by saying that they are plastered, and Elizabeth says that they definitely want the exhibition to go ahead. Vince offers to buy one of the pieces: a sparrowhawk, which is, like him, a ruthless hunter. The pair go in for some obvious double entendres while Russ, who has foregone commission to secure the sale to Vince, rushes to tell the artist that his work is wanted after all.

Characters: Elizabeth, Russ, Ruth, Brian, Pip, Vince
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Liz John and Adrian Flynn
Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe
Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 21st January, 2021

Philip and Vince both give as good as they get, and squash pretensions.

Shula is visiting Philip. He seems pleased and surprised to see her, and she tells him sternly that she is there only because she doesn't go back on her word.

Russ loudly greets the hungover Elizabeth first thing in the morning and informs her that he's been in touch with Jacob, who will be going ahead with the exhibition. Russ is still angry with her and Vince about yesterday's incident, and he tells her off about it as if he were a headmaster talking to a delinquent fourth-former. He then goes off to talk to Vince after he's had his shower.

Shula says the Lord's Prayer with Philip, or rather at him: he has apparently claimed that he needs her to support his faith, but doesn't actually seem interested in prayer or God. In response to her prompting he states he has felt spiritually lost. He tries to change the subject by asking how she has been, and she tells him firmly that it's not about her. She asks if he has been talking to God, but it turns out he's been talking to his solicitor. He has pleaded not guilty, and is just waiting to clear his name in the Crown Court, since he knows he has done nothing wrong. He goes on to inquire after Kirsty.

Russ is showing Vince round, trying to get Vince to recognise the totality of the gallery. It turns out that that what he's trying to do is find sponsors; he says that he thinks there might be an interesting synergy between the gallery and Casey's Meats. Vince initially lets him think the word 'synergy' has impressed him, then suddenly turns out to know rather a lot about contemporary art and dismisses the exhibits as derivative of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Whilst Russ is off-balance, Vince points out that knowing about art gives him an edge if people assume he handed in his brain when he joined the meat business. Then he becomes sympathetic, but whether genuinely or just as a pretence is not entirely obvious.

Philip is talking about the reception he got from Jim; Shula says crossly that she is not there to discuss Jim, and she is not going to talk about him, or about Kirsty. Philip loses his temper a bit, and she says that if he isn't interested in what she is offering, which is spiritual counsel, she will go. He tells her that what he wants is the friendship he always gave her; she says she is not there as a friend. He tells her she is just like everyone else, judging him from a position of ignorance, and makes a convincing case for his having done a lot more for the homeless than she ever has, or any of the rest of the village come to that.

Vince is telling Russ that the gallery is a side-show and he ought to think bigger if he wants to attract out-of-county interest, and being snide about Russ's relationship with Lily. Russ starts to recount his misfortunes, but then Vince changes tack back to sympathy and says that if he doesn't give a stuff what other people think of him, Russ should be able to do the same. Russ is sitting pretty, says Vince, especially if Lily turns out like her mother; resembling her Aunt Shula would be a bit of a blow, mind. Then Elizabeth turns up and asks if they are taking her name in vain, and Vince cheerfully replies that they are tearing up the entire Archer family; she ripostes that the Caseys are probably just as bad, and Vince retorts that since she has never met any of them she can't say, though actually they are all nice and normal. He then suggests that since Stephanie is always angling for an invitation to Lower Loxley, she ought to invite his daughter over to meet her. Russ says that's a good idea, and Elizabeth weakly agrees.

Shula is exasperated with Philip, and also feeling backed into a corner, so she goes on the attack and tells him that she has seen no sign of any repentance in him and she won't be coming back. Philip replies that he doesn't want her to and feels sorry for anyone who might need help from her, adding, 'What sort of priest is a bad-tempered cow like you going to make?'

Characters: Shula, Philip, Russ, Elizabeth, Vince
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Liz John and Adrian Flynn
Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe
Summarised by Chris Ghoti


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