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Friday 1st January, 2021

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

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

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. Chris) 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?

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 4th January, 2021

Over-reaction is rife.

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

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.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 5th January, 2021

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

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

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.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 6th January, 2021

Alan, Emma and Lynda all have ideas.

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

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.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 7th January, 2021

Guilty feelings continue to spread and be spread.

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

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.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 11th January, 2021

Burns catches Brian, who reckons Karma has caught Kirsty.

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

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.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 12th January, 2021

Rex does something the Archers are going to regret.

Characters: Josh, Rex, Jazzer, Tracy, Toby,
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Adrian Flynn & Katie Hims
Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

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.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 13th January, 2021

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

Characters: Jazzer, Tracy, Neil, Brian, Jim
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Adrian Flynn & Katie Hims
Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

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.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 14th January, 2021

Kirsty seeks the horses and Jim finds a scapegoat.

Characters: Philip, Alistair, Kirsty, Helen, Philip
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Adrian Flynn & Katie Hims
Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

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.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 18th January, 2021

Pigeons come home to roost for Ruth and Helen.

Characters: David, Ruth, Kirsty, Lee, Helen
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Liz John & Adrian Flynn
Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

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.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 19th January, 2021

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

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

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.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 20th January, 2021

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

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

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.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 21st January, 2021

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

Characters: Shula, Philip, Russ, Elizabeth, Vince
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Liz John & Adrian Flynn
Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

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?'

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 25th January, 2021

Awkward conversations.

Characters: Ruth, Pip, Elizabeth, Freddie, Phoebe, Rex, Stephanie
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Naylah Ahmed & Keri Davies

Director: Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Ruth greets Pip, who has failed to do the silage-cutting. Pip was delayed by a chat at Rosie's day-nursery: she has repeatedly pilfered another child's toy. Pip was able to spend more time with Rosie at the weekend, thanks to her parents taking up the slack on the farm, and says she will soon have more time for her and the farm anyway. We gather she has quit the rewilding project.

Elizabeth has dressed up for Stephanie coming for a wine-tasting: Freddie mocks her about the state she got into at the last one. Elizabeth tells him to keep an eye out for the man who is coming to fix the guttering. He asks if she is nervous about meeting Vince's daughter.

Pip tells Ruth her mind is made up. She claims it's not because she's angry about Rex. Ruth says she has put so much into it. Pip makes excuses about the farm work, and not having as much time or finding it as satisfying as she had expected. Maybe it wasn't easy enough, and quitting is the only option, asks Ruth dryly. But Pip says she won't change her mind, and Ruth should be pleased about all the extra time she'll be able to give the farm. They do need to think about Oakey Bank, though; Ruth suggests she is taking her ball home now she doesn't want to play any more. She should be the bigger person here.

Phoebe and Rex are having a serious talk; Phoebe can't believe Pip has just quit without warning. Phoebe is bored with all the drama that comes with Pip, and Miss Single Parent Farmer not really having time for them; they won't fall apart just because she's quit. Phoebe is not happy about it: Pip didn't even give them time to think. She has some time now, and they can discuss where they go from here. Rex isn't enthusing about anything, though: he doesn't feel they have enough expertise to carry on alone.

Stephanie and Elizabeth are chatting about the wedding and how Vince has been trying to micromanage it. He and Stephanie's mum are both taking too much interest: it's often pistols at dawn. Vince chose her dress, but she does love it. It was the first one they saw. He was right, about both the dress and the wine, and also about Elizabeth. Freddie arrives because Rick is waiting in the office; Elizabeth abandons him to Stephanie and she starts to flirt with him, wondering where she remembers him from.

Phoebe divides the work: she will do the paperwork and Rex the hands-on stuff. They can introduce free-range cattle later in the spring and Rex can keep an eye on them; he says ruefully that he is a pig-man not a cattle expert. They have to break it to Brian and Peggy about Pip jumping ship. Rex suggests maybe he ought to step down, not Pip, but Phoebe disagrees. Rex has also realised that Oakey Bank might go. Phoebe says that they won't say anything about it, just wait and see whether she brings the subject up: she might cool down.

Freddie and Stephanie met at the Isle of Wight festival, and she noticed his eyebrow piercing. He admits that he doesn't remember her, but then he doesn't really remember any of it. She has apparently suggested that 'Mr DJ' could do the music for her wedding, and arranges to meet him on Thursday to discuss it, and maybe before then. She's rather suggestive, and he's a bit embarrassed and forgets to call her Steph as she has instructed him to do.

Rex goes to see Pip. He asks her straight out about Oakey Bank; she says she hasn't decided yet. He appreciates that them getting it was a personal favour, and she knows it's the key corridor between the bits of their land. She then points out that she too has invested time and energy in the project and doesn't want it to fail, and they should wait until there is profit to consider before revisiting the matter of the rent for Oakey Bank. He asks her to get her solicitor to draw up a new tenancy agreement now she has left. She agrees, and he says he guesses that's it then and leaves, with her saying 'Yes, I guess it is' to his departing back.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 26th January, 2021

Elizabeth is her usual self, and so are both Alistair and Tom.

Characters: Shula, Elizabeth, Natasha, Tom, Kirsty, Alistair
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Naylah Ahmed & Keri Davies

Director: Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Shula and Elizabeth are talking; Elizabeth recounts the meeting of Russ and Vince and tells her that Russ has now forgiven Vince for the previous contretemps, then adds that Stephanie and Freddie get on well. Shula says she is surprised about Elizabeth and Vince but wouldn't dream of interfering, and Elizabeth says he is fun. Shula admits that she and Alistair didn't have any fun. Elizabeth asks after her course, and she tells of the recent stumbling block she encountered visiting Philip Moss. Elizabeth is horrified, says Shula has no duty towards him and becomes angry, and Shula says it all made her feel that she had failed in understanding; Elizabeth says what Shula is failing to understand is the harm Moss has done.

Natasha has been in a successful meeting; Tom is glad they chose the right time to launch Bridge Fresh. Tom is unable to help with ideas for Tony's birthday present; Natasha has noticed he is preoccupied and worried about Kirsty, and suggests that he should go and see her. He's doubtful because of the contrast between them: him married, happy and successful, her not. Natasha says that if she chooses to slam the door in his face, it will be her choice, but he ought to try. Natasha can't bear to hear Kirsty being spoken about as a slaver.

Elizabeth is sounding off about Philip nearly having killed Freddie. She becomes hysterically angry. Shula admits that it was a terrible mistake to see Philip, but she had to try to think about the wider picture. Elizabeth is furious, and points out that the wider picture is all the people Philip has hurt, enumerating those in the Archer family he has caused unhappiness. She isn't impressed with Shula apparently putting her faith over her family.

Tom denies having been sent by Helen. Kirsty initially doesn't think much of his attempts to be helpful and is sharp with him, but then apologises about being nasty and admits that yes, she and Helen have had a bit of a disagreement, though not what it was about. She and Tom then talk in a friendly way: she knows she is being vile to everyone, and says it is because they all tell her she must think of herself, but she can't forget about the three lads. She recounts her search, and says she plans to widen it. She asks for his help in it. She owes it to the lads. He says she mustn't do it alone; she says she knew she could count on him.

Alistair is examining a cat and talking to Shula. He is gossiping about Pip leaving the rewilders, and Shula clearly hasn't heard a word. She tells him that she has fallen out with Elizabeth; he offers to be a listening ear, so she explains that Elizabeth went off on one about her visiting Philip Moss. He is surprised that she went, and she tells him how she felt she had no choice because Philip seemed to be thinking about self-harm. Alistair gets it; Philip can be very persuasive, as he knows full well, and he understands.

Natasha asks how Kirsty is. Tom says they had a good talk, but when Natasha asks how he left things he doesn't actually tell her, just says Kirsty seemed a bit better, which pleases Natasha. He is evasive about what was really said, and when Natasha suggests she might help by ringing up or going over, he chokes her off.

Alistair says Shula shouldn't beat herself up about it; she complains sadly that she feels so naive. She tried to explain to Elizabeth, but in the face of Elizabeth under a full head of steam, as Alistair says, anyone would wobble. Shula can't bear the idea that her faith may be going to drive a wedge between her and her family.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 27th January, 2021

Phoebe is firm and Freddie is diplomatic.

Characters: Brian, Phoebe, Justin, Freddie, Shula, Elizabeth
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Naylah Ahmed & Keri Davies

Director: Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Brian tells Phoebe that one of the first things they need to sort out is how many cattle they’ll need; then Justin arrives. Phoebe has invited him to be there for a handover. He asks where the others are, and she tells him that Rex can’t make it and Pip has left the team. Justin takes advantage of this to snipe at Brian: since he took over, things have been going well – one awol and one deserter out of three. Brian points out that as Justin is well aware, Rewilding Ambridge is an independent operation, and he represents BL. He is trying to make sure they suffer no more reputational damage, as he had to with Justin’s mess at the pig farm. Phoebe calls him to order by asking whether they could discuss Berrow Farm some other time, and Justin wants to bring them up to date with his current position vis-à-vis the barns. He has decided not to buy them after all.

Freddie wants to talk to Shula, though she has a lesson imminently. Lily got it out of her when Elizabeth came in alone. Shula defends herself against what she assumes will be Freddie's objection to her visit to Philip Moss, but he tells her that of all the good people in Ambridge she is probably the goodest, and if she went to see Moss he’s sure she had a very good reason. Then he says he really doesn’t care, except for wanting her and Elizabeth to sort out what’s wrong between them. Shula has a quick self-indulgence about how the visit all went wrong and she let everyone down, starting with herself. Freddie tells her she needs to cut herself some slack: it can’t be a bad thing to try to see some good in someone. He likens it to her trying to see the good in him. She disclaims, but he’s determined, and suggests that he himself is like Philip Moss. She visited him in prison and helped him, and he claims it was only thanks to her support that he got back on track. She thanks him.

Justin wants to sell his stake completely, and offers a choice of buying him out or putting the barns on the market. Phoebe is momentarily taken aback, and Brian wants to know whether the barns are, as he supposes, central to her business plan and where they will have their HQ. Justin adds his mite, and Brian realises that this is revenge, getting his own back for being given the push. Justin is oily in his denial, and says that assumption says a lot about Brian, not in a favourable way. Brian wants to know how long the Rewilders are to have to raise the capital, but Phoebe cuts in. Actually, she explains, they won’t need to: she and Rex have been talking about how to disassociate themselves from Justin anyway, because they are both very uncomfortable about any connection with modern slavery. Justin is left indignantly denying her accusations, but she is clear: an ethical business like Rewilding Ambridge agrees with the BL dinosaurs that he is tainted goods. It looks like it suits them all to sell.

Freddie has just come back from the stables when he gets a message on his phone from Steph, which he ignores. He tells Elizabeth that he saw Shula, and when Elizabeth says she doesn’t want to talk about Shula, he replies that he does, and is not leaving until he has: Shula is very upset. He talks to Elizabeth seriously and tells her that he knows how Moss feels, desperate inside; he may be the only person who can talk to Elizabeth who really does know what being in prison is like. A desperate man rang Shula out of the blue asking for help, and Freddie understands why she went even though she didn’t want to: it was nothing to do with letting them down, it was because she heard someone whom she thought needed her help. The whole business has been a double whammy for Shula: it all went wrong at the prison, and then Elizabeth was furious with her as well. He points out that Shula helped Elizabeth when she was down, and that if she hadn’t helped Freddie he would have ended up living with Aunt Camilla; maybe it’s time they returned the favour. Elizabeth hadn’t seen it that way. Too busy being mother tiger, protecting her cubs, says Freddie; it’s Philip Moss she should be angry with, not Shula.

Justin leaves, clearly unhappy, and Brian starts talking seriously to Phoebe. He called that meeting and it’s down to him who attends, not to her. He wants to know how come Phoebe thinks she can decide to get rid of an important revenue stream like that. She suggests that they don’t need the offices Justin wanted them to buy: they would be better off with a place like Brian and Adam’s eco-office where the two of them are at present. Brian then starts to question the rest of the operation, and says they need to up the stocking density, but she argues against this point confidently: they chose the numbers to make it easier for the land to regenerate, and will be able to charge a premium rate for the beef when people have seen the cattle in the wild. She reminds him that he warned them about Justin interfering, and she hopes that he’s not now doing it himself. He feels that he is there to offer his expertise, and is nothing like Justin; she is being far too blasé and he has come on board at just the right time.

Elizabeth has come to apologise. Shula agrees with her: if had been Dan instead of Freddie she would have been just as angry, and she is certainly willing to put it behind them if Elizabeth is. Shula has been given pause for thought by the challenge she thinks God has thrown in her way. She can do the public duties: she has been for decades as a lay reader. But she didn’t manage well when it came to a personal thing, dealing with people when they’re at rock bottom and perhaps not very nice people into the bargain, and she handled it very badly. She is seriously thinking of pulling out of the course. She’s been taking a long hard look at herself, and she’s not sure she is cut out to be a priest after all.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 28th January, 2021

Natasha shows a caring side, and Freddie thanks his lucky shirt.

Characters: Natasha, Tom, Lily, Freddie,Kirsty, Steph
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Naylah Ahmed & Keri Davies

Director: Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Natasha is cooking jacket potatoes to please Jack and Henry. She has invited them over and hopes that they will cheer up Tom, who has been a bit distracted over the last couple of days. He divulges that he'd arranged to meet Kirsty, but wasn't sure whether to go, and the boys will be a good excuse not to.

Freddie is trying to convince Lily she should help him deal with Steph, who has invited herself over. She has been messaging him rather explicit song lyrics ever since she got him to give her his number. He is not happy; she's about to get married and he doesn't like it. He tells Lily to stay by his side

Tom thinks that he has agreed to something barmy and dangerous. He thinks Kirsty is mad, but Natasha is furious with him for trying to get out of it: Kirsty is out there alone in the dark. She sets off to find her, leaving Tom at home.

Kirsty is looking for the lads, and Natasha catches up with her and asks to be allowed to help. Kirsty is getting the street-people to talk by buying them hot drinks. Natasha has a map, so they can keep track of where they've covered, and starts immediately with a couple she has seen in a doorway near where she parked.

Lily is making friends with Steph and encouraging her to flirt with Freddie, who tries to escape to fetch more beers; but Lily pre-empts him and leaves him alone with Steph. She asks if he's dating anyone; he says no, and she says good.

Natasha and Kirsty call it a night. Kirsty is having second thoughts after a can has been thrown at Natasha, who tells her that she didn't mind, and no, it hasn't made things awkward between her and Tom. Natasha also says that nobody should go through this alone, and at least Kirsty is doing something. In fact she is comprehensively supportive, and Kirsty starts crying. It's been really good of her. Natasha says walking the streets in the cold and wet is nothing new to her, because she used to try to help her dad. Her sharing his episodes was better than trying to shake him out of it.

Freddie has got rid of Steph and expresses his relief that she is gone, and Lily asks him whether he was just asked for one last fling before Steph ties the knot; he has a feeling he has just declined a ménage à trois, though some of the terms she was using were new to him. She was quite good about the rejection, and he was then asked to see whether Lily would be interested; Lily, who thought it hilarious when Freddie was Steph's target, is grossed out by the idea. He thanks his lucky shirt; he's never pulled in it.

Natasha tells Kirsty that she misses her bipolar dad, and Kirsty thinks he's lucky to have her. Natasha confides that sometimes her dad would go walkabout and the whole Thomas clan would go looking for him. She offers to help Kirsty again, next time she goes out.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 1st February, 2021

Tracy has time for Oliver, but less for Jazzer.

Characters: Jazzer, Tracy, Oliver, Johnny
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Tim Stimpson & Sarah McDonald Hughes
Directors: Jessica Bunch & Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jazzer is inviting Tracy for a meal, and she isn't sure whether she will come over. He tells her that Jim and Alistair will be out all evening in the country park. She is still dubious and he tells her the offer is the sofa rather than a bed. She agrees to go, and then gets off the phone quickly as Oliver appears. He is worried about the bookings for a Valentine's Day event; she tries to take his mind off it by asking about Kirsty coming back, but he thinks Kirsty isn't yet in the right head-space.

Jazzer is admiring Johnny's new car, a classic three-litre 280 horsepower machine which has a few problems but he reckons is going to be fine for a spin soon. Johnny apologises about him and Jade, and Jazzer says he's not interested in her because he has other fish to fry, but refuses to say who that is. He tells Johnny he'll never guess, and Johnny instantly says Tracy Horrobin. He sees them arguing all the time, so it's obvious.

Tracy follows Oliver into his office and catches him looking at discount vouchers for various things, which he is considering in an attempt to bring in more business; the place is so down-market now that offering vouchers can't make it any worse. She tries to comfort him, but he says that Christmas and New Year were washouts; she tell him things will turn round in time, and he says that there is no time left. She wants to know what the trouble is, and says it's hardly as if Grey Gables is about to go under – is it?

Johnny is teasing Jazzer, who swears him to silence. Johnny works out that Jazzer is serious about Tracy when he talks about her in terms of whiskies, comparing her to an Islay single malt and proposing to finish the bottle.

Tracy asks how much time Grey Gables has left, and Oliver says a few months; it wouldn't have to close, it's just that he would have to sell. Tracy is horrified and disbelieving. She keeps getting, and ignoring, messages on her phone, as she argues with him that things are not so very bad and suggests that once Philip's villainy is known about, things will get better: he just has to hang on. Oliver disagrees and says that will simply make them the hotel that used slave labour instead of the hotel that nearly got two people killed.. He points out another message, then asks her what he is hanging on for anyway; it is never again going to be the same as it was when Caroline was alive. She loved the place so: it was never really his. He tells Tracy that he talks to Caroline at the ends of the days about things he has done like putting fresh flowers at reception as she used to, but really he was doing things things because she would have done them. He'll never get back the way Grey Gables used to feel. Tracy's phone rings, and Oliver, who is breaking down, tells her to answer it, so she goes to another room.

Jazzer is not happy about Tracy being so much later than she said she would be; she tells him she has more important things to do than deal with his appetites, and they have yet another row, which ends with her telling him not to bother ringing again.

Jazzer takes the pizzas he had got for him and Tracy over to Johnny, along with some beer; Johnny instantly works out he's had an argument with Tracy, and condoles with him about it. Jazzer gets a message from Jade, who has been messaging him all along, and decides to answer it. Johnny reminds him what he said about single malt, but Jazzer says at least with Jade he knows what he's buying.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 2nd February, 2021

Tom and Lilian want their own way, Natasha and Tony have other ideas, and Harrison puts his foot in it.

Characters: Tom, Natasha, Lilian, Tony, Harrison
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Tim Stimpson & Sarah McDonald Hughes
Director: Jessica Bunch & Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Tom is dealing with orders, and snaps at Natasha for picking up something he has deliberately dropped on the floor. Then he asks her to stay in that evening, and he'll cook Katsu curry for dinner; she'd love it, but she is going out with Kirsty, to visit a soup-kitchen in Felpersham. He doesn't want them to go alone because he thinks it's dangerous, and she absolutely doesn't want him standing with them glowering. He then foolishly says he is putting his foot down: he's her husband and he's telling her she can't. She states that he doesn't get to tell her what to do, and stomps off in a fury.

Lilian is insisting on taking Tony shopping. He doesn't want to go but she is going to buy him a birthday present whether he wants one or not. He objects to having been ambushed, but she points out that if she had warned him he would have said no. She tells him to go and get changed; he can't go to Underwoods in his overalls.

Harrison has arranged a socially distanced pint for Roy's birthday and assumes that is why Tom has rung him, but Tom's worries are actually about about the danger of Natasha and Kirsty trying to locate the slaves. Tom explains that he can't get them to listen to him, but Harrison might have better luck. Harrison reaches for his notebook and starts questioning him.

Lilian was surprised about the slavery because of what a charmer Philip was; it reminds her of her and Matt when the Special Branch turned up on the doorstep. Tony is sure that unlike Lilian with Matt, Kirsty had not the slightest idea of Philip's perfidy. Lilian feels that Kirsty must have had some inkling, but deplores the way Brian has been bad-mouthing her: half the village now seems to think she personally chained the slaves up. Meanwhile Lilian is determined to buy Tony a cashmere jumper in yellow, or mulberry: either would take years off him. He complains that they've been in Underwoods for an hour, then finally sees through her: it's all about her getting old, not him.

Harrison has been waiting outside the shop for Natasha. He says that he has been given to understand that she and Kirsty have been looking for individuals who are part of an investigation, and explains that this could be seen as seeking to interfere with potential witnesses. She disputes it, but he tells her that they could find themselves in very hot water if they don't desist. She tries to explain that Kirsty feels as if nobody cares about the lads, and he tells her that finding the lads is the prime concern of the police. He than asks what they'd do if they found them, and she is at a loss, eventually saying she doesn't know. He warns her they could be putting the lads' lives at risk by asking questions about them when the slavers are thoroughly nasty characters, and asks her to warn Kirsty. Then he quite unnecessarily lets slip that Tom was the person who told him about what was happening.

Tony has taken Lilian to the toy department, and is enjoying himself watching the display of train sets. Lilian feels that he is being nostalgic, while she is not keen on looking back, but he is happy about no longer being young: he is glad to have handed over to the younger members of the family, and only do what work he wants to. Lilian offers to buy him a Castle Class GWR engine for his birthday present, and contrasts his acceptance of his lot to Justin's impatience and ill-temper; Tony reckons she whisked him off shopping rather than be at home with Justin. She wonders whether Tony could bring Justin round to his more easy-going philosophy, and he agrees to try.

Natasha attacks Tom, who stupidly admits to fault and attempts to explain himself; Harrison clearly frightened him. She is furious with Tom, and accuses him of trying to get them arrested as well as trying to buy her off with a chicken dinner. He then tells her that he won't be at home that evening to cook after all because he will be at Roy's socially-distanced party, and she ripostes that she can be glad for one saving grace: she'll have the flat to herself.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 3rd February, 2021

Tracy wants to help, and Lynda is adamant.

Characters: Lynda, Robert, Tracy, Oliver, Jazzer, Rebecca
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Tim Stimpson & Sarah McDonald Hughes
Directors: Jessica Bunch & Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Lynda has had an inspiration about her plans for a village event, and Robert is intrigued; she won't tell him anything yet, though. He has come to tell her that the Echo wants to interview her about her New Year's honour. Apparently it's to be a wide-ranging interview about her role in the community. She hopes people might gain some inspiration from her experience.

Tracy is on the phone to someone who was unsure about coming on Mother's Day, and after she has ended the call Oliver apologises for having monopolised her on Monday evening. He knows she turned down going out with someone to spend the evening baby-sitting him, and he feels she shouldn't have. She says he's not to worry, she can rearrange it; in fact she'll do just that, during her lunch-break.

Robert offers Lynda a sandwich, but she doesn't want one; she doesn't want to do the interview after all, because the interviewer plans to bring a photographer. Robert reassures her that she doesn't have to have her photograph taken, but she feels it's the whole point of the interview, showing what she has overcome to get back on an even keel. She has been being positive, she says, but now she's a wreck just because of someone wanting to take her photograph; Robert tells her that nothing can diminish how far she has come that year.

Tracy has rushed over to visit Jazzer, who isn't particularly glad to see her. He doesn't really want to accept an apology, and he doesn't want to see her on Saturday. She immediately works out it's a woman, but he assures her it's no-one she knows; someone more his own age, in fact a little younger. She puts a brave face on it and says it's a good thing because it will put paid to the nonsense between them, and leaves again.

Rebecca wants to record the interview, and is understanding about Lynda not wanting a photograph. She tries to start with the the Grey Gables incident and what Lynda has overcome since then, but she knows rather too much about the explosion and Philip Moss, and Lynda asks whether that is relevant. She sees through Rebecca, who has a list of Philip's work for the villagers, and wants to know why Rebecca has tricked her way into the garden on false pretences, telling her to be truthful and accusing her of only being there to dig dirt.

Tracy drops the reception rota on Oliver's desk. She has been through it with a red pen eliminating extra receptionists' shifts; Katya wants to cut her hours and doesn't need to be replaced, and Tracy is on a mission. She doesn't want Grey Gables to go under; after all, it's the first job she has ever enjoyed. Oliver isn't entirely receptive at first, but gradually warms to the idea of going on fighting to save the hotel.

Rebecca claims she is sorry that she lied to Lynda; Lynda sharply tells her to turn off the recorder, and that she will sue if a single word she has said is quoted in the paper. Rebecca pleads with her, but Lynda is not prepared to speak about it the explosion, or about Philip Moss: it is too soon, and people have not yet worked out what they feel. She says she is not offended but will not be manipulated, and asks Rebecca to leave.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 4th February, 2021

The Carters and Peggy go on the record.

Characters: Susan, Rebecca, Tom, Natasha, Neil, Peggy
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Tim Stimpson & Sarah McDonald Hughes
Directors: Jessica Bunch & Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Rebecca has come into the shop, and Susan comments on her having bought wine in ten seconds flat, asking if she's had a bad day. Apparently Justin has declined to see her. She mentions being a reporter, and Susan is fascinated. Rebecca tells her about the article she wants to write but is getting no co-operation for, and Susan sympathises but says it's all still very raw; Rebecca claims to want to write about how allegations affect small communities, and Susan talks about Neil, and how sad it is she doesn't have her own radio show any more so people could talk on it about the facts of the case. Rebecca claims to recognise her voice, and jumps on her being married to Neil, the chair of the Parish Council.

Tom is cooking for Natasha, who is being monosyllabic; he asks how long the silent treatment will go on, and tries to explain why he called Harrison but fails. Natasha says she is now helping Kirsty to do research on line. She goes on being cold to him, and carries on with her emailing while he continues to grovel. She does unbend enough to tell him she is contacting extended family members for Tony's birthday surprise, which is to be a video made up of short greetings from all his friends and relations. Peggy is already emailing hers over.

Susan has invited Rebecca round and is drinking the lion's share of the wine, and talking; Rebecca hopes to speak to Neil as well. Susan tells Rebecca that Neil gave Philip Moss the go-ahead for the church, shoots her mouth off comprehensively, and says that Neil, like everyone else, never suspected a thing. Then Neil gets home and she goes out to greet him.

Tom and Natasha are looking at the videos. Tom thanks her for thinking of something so special; then Peggy's short video arrives.

Neil is dubious about there being an article at all because he knows the rules about not publishing anything about an offence after someone has been charged, but Susan is determined to talk him into giving Rebecca his side of things.

In her video Peggy tells Tony he wasn't planned and was a shock, though he looked just like his father; also that there wasn't room for him at home, and that she didn't know what to do with him after two girls, and that he wasn't keen and interested like Jennifer and Lilian but instead sullen and stubborn, but it's all a long time ago now: happy birthday. Natasha and Tom are taken aback, and Tom sums it up as her lovely story about wishing Tony had never been born, which will ruin Tony's birthday. You'd think she could have told him that she loved him, on his birthday! He reveals that Peggy has never given Tony any affection, nor even his due, and Natasha is full of pity for Tony. They now don't know what to do; they can't put it in as it is, but if they leave it out Tony is sure to notice that there is nothing from his mother.

Rebecca leaves and Neil thinks it went well and she was very nice and sympathetic, and right about it being something that has affected the whole community. He hopes people will think twice after reading an article about it. It wasn't easy going over it all again, but he does feel better for having talked about it with Rebecca. Susan says there is no shame in thinking the best of everyone, and Neil says he told Rebecca they are all victims in this.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 8th February, 2021

A windfall for Alice and a setback for Neil.

Characters: Susan, Neil, Brian, Alice, Chris
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Katie Hims & Daniel Thurman
Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Brian is looking for an invoice that is in his hand. Alice offers him coffee. He doesn't know what he would do without her, but she breaks it to him that she wants to take longer than three months off for maternity leave: a year. She wants to do everything perfectly for the baby. He agrees, though he didn't imagine she'd be gone so long, and having her in the office has been fun; Adam's not fun. He praises her for having been stoic over the terrible morning-sickness, and clearly has no idea it was alcohol-induced. He gives her a cheque to spend on the baby.

Susan tells Neil over lunch that she has been telling everyone to look out for the article in the Echo. She thinks they are almost heroic for having talked: it's a shame they have to wait till Thursday for any reactions. Neil gets a message from Brian, who wants him at Berrow; it sounds urgent.

Alice rings Chris and tells him about the cheque: two and a half grand. She was thrilled at the prospect of buying lovely things for the baby, but then realised it would pay for more than half of the detox that Brian doesn’t even know about and felt suddenly awful. Chris goes on loading the van. Alice plans to visit Gran this evening, and Chris wants to work late and then do some stuff around the house but she persuades him to go with her. Then he hurts himself very audibly.

Brian greets Neil with 'Here he is, man of the moment Neil Carter' and reads him the headline from the Echo online: 'Local parish chairman insists he is the victim in modern slavery controversy'. Did he actually say that to a reporter? Neil is horrified, but tries to explain what he said about everyone being taken in by Philip and that the whole village were victims. Brian points out that the victims were the three young men. What makes it worse is that Neil is identified under a photo as 'pigman at Berrow Farm', and that the alleged slaves worked there. He has made Berrow having used slave labour really obvious. Neil tries to explain what he really said, and that he is so sorry, but Brian wants to know why he went to the press. He explains how it happened, Rebecca getting into conversation with Susan and being told what had been going on, then wanting to talk to Neil. Apparently Martyn Gibson is ready to strangle Neil, and has called an emergency board meeting. Brian does understand that Neil was trying to do his best, and he'll do his best to defend him at the meeting, but Neil hasn't made it easy for him.

Chris' accident was a bruised hand, jammed in the door of the van. Alice has rushed over with salted caramel ice-cream to cool the bruise, and he wants to eat it: he licks it from the tub. He has to be at the Stables in ten minutes, and he's sorry he scared her. She had a flash-back to the flail chest incident, and knows she couldn't have got through last year without Chris: he and the baby, together, keep her on track. He reassures her that she can do it, and they have a little mutual back-patting session. She decides to cancel going to see Peggy so they can spend the evening together at home.

When Neil gets in Susan is on the phone telling someone, presumably the Echo, that they could sue them for defamation. He tells her to hang up, and when she says she won't and goes on inveighing into the phone he takes it from her and kills the call. She can't believe it: talk about a hatchet job. Neil tells her he is in trouble with Martyn Gibson, and it isn't looking too good – especially after Justin. Susan points out that Justin was guilty and Neil isn't, but Neil reminds her that she is not on the board. Then he has to reassure he that it isn't her fault even though it clearly was, but says he isn't too fussed 'what everyone will think of us'; what he is concerned about is losing his job. He thinks it might come to that.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 9th February, 2021

Tony evangelises Justin, and Tracy supports Susan.

Characters: Justin, Tony, Tracy, Neil, Susan
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Katie Hims & Daniel Thurman
Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

A reluctant Justin has turned up to see Tony, who was expecting him. Lilian has apparently coerced him into coming and told him to fetch a list of the train-bits Tony wants for his birthday; Tony tells him it's in the workshop, and invites him to see the model railway.

Tracy is keeping Neil from leaving, and Susan is skiving off work. Neil says she should go in to work in spite of Sabrina Thwaite having had a go at her that morning, and Tracy and Neil try to reassure her that nobody in the village thinks ill of her and Neil. Neil tells Tracy about the board meeting and that it is essential for him not to be late for work, and leaves. Tracy tries to comfort Susan, and asks her what is going on.

Justin is taken to the model railway willy-nilly, and Tony shows it off before giving him the list. Then when Justin admires the model of Hollerton Junction station Tony says that he made it, and Justin can't believe it. Tony informs him about the increase in model railway sales during lockdown, and Justin suggests he should make models for other people, but Tony tells him that isn't the point: it's the satisfaction of doing it yourself that counts. Everyone should have a hobby, and Justin might benefit from doing something simply for pleasure.

Susan is upset because of people from outside Ambridge, on line. The comments under the article are horrible, and she is literally shaking. Even Tracy is disturbed by the threats being made, and Susan is frightened. Tracy suggests telling the police, but Susan just wants to keep her head down; and she won't tell Neil because there's no way she's adding to his stress.

Tony is still telling Justin all the benefits of a model railway, and how it makes everything controllable, which ought to suit Justin very well. Justin informs him that he's not ready to retire just yet, though he does feel slightly envious of Tony for his ability to settle for life in the slow lane, easily pleased. Tony is offended, briefly, but suggests Justin should put his spare energy into Lilian, or into something to make them both happy, since he is driving her mad hanging about the house being bored. Justin reminisces about when he and Lilian got together and bonded over business; he realises that what they need is a new, joint business venture.

Tracy waylays Neil, who tells her that he hasn't been suspended by the board and Susan sounded better when he rang her to tell her. Tracy warns him that Susan isn't coping very well, and hasn't told him the half of it. She tells him about the trolling and the online threats. Susan is taking it to heart, and doesn't even want her radio show back any more, just wants to hide away. Neil is horrified: he's not going to let Susan bear the weight of this alone.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 10th February, 2021

Peggy tries to to encourage Emma, while Neil and Shula encourage each other.

Characters: Emma, Peggy, Neil, Shula
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Katie Hims & Daniel Thurman
Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Emma is serving Peggy at the outside tea-shop, where Kate will pick her up later. Peggy condoles about Neil and Susan, and Emma tells her that that the playground is almost unused: she says it feels dirty, in a way, and wonders whether she can somehow get it exorcised. Peggy suggests that it's silly to let Philip Moss spoil people's enjoyment of the village, and that some people are very good at concealing what they are doing. This leads her to ask how Chris is.

Neil has turned up to see Shula; he hasn't been able to get hold of Alan, who is helping the bishop organise a conference. Neil intends to resign as churchwarden and wants her to tell Alan his decision. It's because of the article and people casting aspersions on him and Susan. Shula tries her best to talk him out of it, though he says he doesn't want to bring St Stephen's into disrepute; she invites him inside for a proper chat.

Peggy tells Emma that Chris and Alice didn't come to see her yesterday evening because of Chris's accident, and Emma, alarmed, says no-one told her he'd been hurt and wants to know what happened. They haven't really spoken for a long time, and she hasn't seen Chris or Alice. The two women talk round each other about Chris and Alice and problems, managing not quite to mention alcohol.

Neil has horrified Shula by showing her the online vitriol, and says he's worried for Susan, who reckons the whole of Borsetshire has it in for her. He thinks it's all his fault, and Susan is the one suffering most. Shula points out that he is suffering too. He was trying to help, and it's all blown up in his face; he meant well. Shula says she knows how that feels from personal experience, and tells him she went to visit Philip Moss.

Peggy gets a text to say that Kate has arrived. She asks Emma to pass on her regards to Chris and Alice when she sees them, and tell them that she thinks about them both: Peggy is still talking in code, but manages to make it about the baby, and says she intends to be there for both of them because she remembers how hard it was when Tony was a baby. Emma says Chris can rely on his own family too, and Peggy says that of course his big sister would be the first person he would turn to if anything were wrong.

Shula tells Neil that Philip asked her to go to see him, and how Elizabeth attacked her for it. She uses her experience to persuade Neil that he should think positively and move on from what has happened, tells him that he is a good person and St Stephen's needs people like him, and begs him to stay as churchwarden. She then confesses to him about her being unsure about ordination because of her failures of judgement over Philip; Neil is astounded and asks 'what happened to moving on and acting positively', pointing out that her going to see Philip Moss was the right thing to do. She acted in good faith; they both did. He tells her she too is a good person. They've known each other for forty years, and she's always been a special person. But he'll do her a deal: she sticks to the ordination and he goes on being a churchwarden. They'll pick themselves up, or perhaps pick each other up.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 11th February, 2021

Emma is conciliatory and Kirsty is inflexible.

Characters: Chris, Emma, Shula, Kirsty, Alice
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Katie Hims & Daniel Thurman
Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Chris is working at his forge when Emma turns up, to his surprise, and asks about his hand. She has come because she wants to sort things out, but also she just came to say Hi, and when he goes on hammering asks whether he can stop for a minute. She wants to be friends, and Peggy telling her that he needed his family because of the baby it made her think. She doesn't want to leave it all to the Aldridges, and she and Chris always used to be pretty close, and they should look out for Mum and Dad because of the trouble they are having. She's had an idea. It's about the playground; they should turn it around somehow. He asks how, and she suggests a fund-raiser at the playground, making it into an assault course, and giving the proceeds to a charity that fights slaving, which Chris approves. She says that she thinks he'll be a lovely dad, and she wants to speak to Alice; he doesn't think that's a good idea. But she does just want to be friends, and wonders whether perhaps if he said she'd offered Alice complimentary tea and cake that afternoon in the tearooms ... ?

Kirsty catches Shula and tells her that the police have told her she is no longer a person of interest; Shula is very pleased. Kirsty wanted to ask her something about Philip, and Shula immediately launches into a self-exculpatory explanation about having been to see him, but Kirsty stops her. She claims she just wanted a chat.

Alice arrives at the tea room, and Emma thanks her for coming. Emma wants to make it all right between them, and apologises for what she said to her and Chris; Alice says she's sorry too. She doesn't want to think about it, and Emma thinks the answer is to put it all behind them. Alice manages, after a couple of false starts beginning 'I'm not' which would clearly have been about drink, to say that she is prioritising the baby in every way she can, and Emma congratulates her.

Kirsty asks how Philip is, and Shula tells her that he was worried on the phone, then defiant when she got there: he really seems to think he's innocent, and there's nothing she can do to help him. But Kirsty wants to know whether she would be prepared to go back if she thought she could help. She thinks the only person who knows where Blake, Jordan and Kenzie are is Philip, and if he told Shula who he sold them to Kirsty could go and find them. People trust Shula, and if she goes to see him often enough and is subtle, he might eventually tell her where they are. Shula is aghast that she wants her to use her position as a trainee cleric to spy on him.

Alice and Emma are having a pregnancy chat, being complimentary about each other's size and appearance when carrying a baby. Alice asks about labour and whether it's horrific; Emma tells her it's agonising, then wonders if she really ought to have told the truth. She gives advice about going with the flow and not making too many plans about pain relief. Emma did love giving birth, it's amazing, and she feels sad she'll never do it again. It's extraordinary, in fact; she rhapsodises about it. Alice thanks her.

Shula wants to know whether Kirsty knows what she is asking of her: deliberately gaining someone's confidence and then betraying them. In outrage, she tells Kirsty exactly why she should give up this idea she has got into her head: she might be putting the boys she is trying to help into even more danger. If the traffickers get any idea what she is doing, then the boys would just disappear again. She needs to concentrate on sorting her own life out: at the moment she can't see right from wrong. Kirsty thanks her politely and tells her she's helped to clarify things, which relieves Shula until Kirsty tells her what she has decided: she knows now that she has to find out the truth for herself.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 15th February, 2021

Tony puts his foot down while Kirsty stands firm.

Characters: Kirsty, Tom, Alan, Lynda, Tony
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Caroline Harrington & Sarah Hehir

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Kirsty turns up at the Bridge Farm shop and surprises Tom; she wants to buy some veg for dinner. He asks if she's okay, and she tells him she's no longer prowling the streets of Borchester by night. She tells him that Natasha told her about it being foolish, and he apologises for having told Harrison what she was doing. She's still glad she did it, and has realised how many homeless people there are out there: it's heartbreaking. She has put a card through the door for Tony, and asks Tom to give him her best wishes.

Alan is late for an appointment with Lynda, who wants to talk to him about Philip Moss and collective guilt. He tells her it takes time for these things to pass, and she tells him they need a communal purging; she is suggesting the washing of feet, and it needs to involve all the people of Ambridge, who can come together for him to wash their feet all several hundred of them. She hopes for other members of the clergy to be recruited to help him, perhaps even the Bishop. Alan points out that it breaks all the rules of social distancing, and then has to leave to get to another appointment.

Tom is telling Tony that Natasha is sorry that they can't lay on a proper party for him, which he doesn't want and is glad about not getting: a family tea suits him just fine. Tom then tells him about the recorded video messages, and that they are lovely except for Gran's. It isn't the tech, as Tony initially assumes, but the content. He wants to play the video to Tony so that he won't be surprised by it tomorrow.

Alan tells Lynda that someone in Darrington is also planning to put on a show later in the year, which doesn't please her even slightly. She has however abandoned the idea of foot-washing, and has cast around for something else to help everyone move on. She now wants to do a mystery play, as they did eighteen years ago, but with a new production, for a cleansing of guilt, the first steps on the road to deliverance. She has a new version of the plays by someone called Colin Whitstable, and isn't expecting Alan to help. She only wants to tell him that it's about redemption, and it needs the church's blessing.

The video is playing, and and Tony tells Tom to turn it off before the end. He says angrily that it's typical of Peggy that she would spoil the whole business. Her video is all about her, nothing about him and his life. Tom asks him to think up some sort of suitably unconcerned response to it, since they have to show it tomorrow or she will be hurt; Tony says that since she's not welcome in Bridge Farmhouse any more, she won't know when they don't.

Lynda is trying to recruit Kirsty to her production, but she refuses on the grounds that she would not able to stand up in front of an audience. That's not what Lynda wants: she is hoping to use Kirsty as a a substitute producer, to organise from behind the scenes. She is essential to Lynda's plan; she tells Lynda that she is not going to do it, and sleeping on it will not change her mind.

Tom now wishes he hadn't shown Tony the video, but Tony is glad that he did. He has had a belly-full of his mother's nastiness, seventy years of it, and she is going to be uninvited to the birthday tea. If that's the best she can say of him, he's had enough. He's not going to take it any more.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 16th February, 2021

Emma passes the buck, as does Tom.

Characters: Emma, Rex, Tom, Tony, Lilian
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Caroline Harrington & Sarah Hehir

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Rex is surprised to see Emma, who has been told by Toby that Rex can build obstacle courses. She is a bit stuck for the adult course for the day after tomorrow. He really has to move the sows to new ground, but she pleads hard.

Tom wishes Tony a happy birthday on the phone. He's been given a full English breakfast, and hand-drawn cards from Henry and Jack; Justin and Lilian have given him a GWR Castle Class engine for his model railway. He still doesn't want Peggy there at the family tea: he has had enough. The video was the final straw, after seventy years of slights and put-downs.

Rex is instructing Emma about building an obstacle course; possibly a long, strong ladder could be borrowed from Home Farm. There are pallets belonging to Eddie for making a wall, and there could be a hurdles course, and Brookfield has old tyres. But Rex doesn't want to ask for any favours from Brookfield, which surprises Emma because she didn't know about the Hollowtree lease being terminated. She is enthusiastic about his application for the council farm.

Lilian has come to wish Tony happy birthday, or rather, has come to talk to him about something else completely: Tom has been in touch and told her Mum is persona non grata. She has seen the video and thinks Tony might be over-reacting. She makes a good case for her mother simply being like that, always has been, but clearly Tony is horribly hurt about having been told he was unwanted. Lilian tells him that no, she and Jennifer barely got a look-in after he was born, then adds that he was such hard work as a baby, which really doesn't help her cause. Her arguments about him being a difficult birth don't convince Tony either, though she tells him that the doctor told Peggy that if he'd died it would have been her fault because of her negative attitude to having another child having caused the difficulty.

Rex is sharing his rugby-playing dream and its collapse to Emma; coming to Ambridge was Toby's idea and worked out once the pigs were concerned, but now he might lose them and if he doesn't get the farm he doesn't know what he'd do. Emma shares her dream about a house at Beechwood, and the loss of the deposit and all their savings, of her dream and nearly of her marriage, but that she has realised she was dreaming the wrong dream: she's happy now, in a caravan in her in-laws' farmyard. The moral, which Rex asks for, is that even if he doesn't get that council farm, something else will come along. He tells her that he can get the obstacle course built, leave it to him.

Lilian points out that Tony looked just like Jack, and Peggy was frightened he might turn out the same. Tony goes on defending himself, saying that he didn't, he's neither a drunk nor a gambler and has been a good and faithful husband; all of which Peggy might have noticed during the years she has been belittling him. Lilian moves on to how Jennifer was the favourite child, the golden girl, which she and Tony have always found exasperating. Eventually she plays the inevitable 'she might die tomorrow' card, and the episode ends without a reply from Tony.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 17th February, 2021

Kirsty, Mia and Lynda bore on about their pet concerns.

Characters: Kirsty, Helen, Mia, Clarrie, Lynda, Eddie
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Caroline Harrington & Sarah Hehir

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Kirsty has asked Helen to come out to meet her, leaving Susan guarding the cheese, and claims she wasn't upset that Helen poured cold water on her idea about haunting the homeless. They talk of Tony’s birthday and the video messages; he and Gran were joking about together, apparently. Ignoring a text from Pat asking the whereabouts of Jack’s wellies, which she reckons he can do without for a few minutes more, Helen urges Kirsty to tell her what she is planning to do. Kirsty fears Helen won’t like what she has to say.

Mia is fed up with Poppy’s wedding obsession, currently being expressed through the medium of dolls which Mia has to photograph for her; Mia doesn’t actually approve of weddings at all, because they seem to her pointless when people just get divorces. But Carrie and Eddie are different, of course, she adds hastily. They speak about the renewal of vows, and Clarrie says she and Eddie are still in love after all these years. Mia wants confetti banned; Clarrie suggests dried flowers instead. Clarrie wants her to be a bridesmaid, in dungarees if she that’s what she wants, and eventually Mia agrees.

Kirsty is going to see Gavin in prison tomorrow, and Helen thinks it’s a bad idea: she is putting herself in emotional danger. But Kirsty needs answers, and Gavin might have them. Helen is very opposed, claims to be worried about her, and tells her to be careful.

Clarrie tells Eddie that Mia has become a vegan, as opposed to merely a vegetarian as William had thought. Clarrie now has to work out how to make the evening’s pasta bake without cheese, milk, butter or eggs.

Lynda is having another go at bullying Kirsty into being her producer for the Mystery Play. Kirsty refuses and tells Lynda not to keep asking: the answer will remain the same. Lynda takes no notice and says that she will go on applying gentle persistence. They see Rex and Phoebe building the obstacle course, with the help of half the village, and Lynda describes this as an example of the efficacy of gentle persistence: emailing everyone has had splendid results for the organisers.

Mia invades Eddie’s lambing-shed; she wants to apologise about having been rude about his ham sandwiches at lunch, but then immediately launches into yet another bout of mouthing off with half-digested information. Eddie is surprisingly patient with her adolescent certainties and general condemnation of everything about his way of life. He says he doesn’t think she’s a silly teenager, so she goes on preaching the gospel of ecology at him. She has been reading articles, but Eddie knows a bit more about farming than she does. She backs off a bit and suggests tofu; Eddie suggests local free-range lamb. She is adamant about his generation just not being able to see it, when at least she’s trying; Eddie says she definitely is that.

Kirsty has ended up helping to build the obstacle course, while Lynda is still banging on about needing Kirsty for her Mystery Play producer. Kirsty holds firm.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 18th February, 2021

Lee is in trouble, and Gavin is in prison.

Characters: Helen, Lee, Kirsty, Gavin, Emma
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Caroline Harrington & Sarah Hehir

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Lee has met up with Helen, who has been talking with someone about selling Borsetshire Blue in bulk; he offers to take Henry to the playground challenge so she can finish the admin in peace.

It's been a long wait to get in for visiting time, and when she does see him Kirsty finds Gavin's appearance shocking; he asks if she is all right, but she's not there to talk about her, or about him not wanting her to be hurt. She is there because she needs to know about the lads.

Lee is signing up for the obstacle challenge, and Emma encourages him to join with Henry for the parent and child event, assuring him that the actual relationship is a technicality. When he looks round to get the child's ok for that, Henry has gone missing. Emma points out he is ten and Lee shouldn't panic, but Lee is frightened because it's not his own child.

Kirsty is pressing Gavin to tell her everything, but he claims to have told the police everything already. She wants him to tell her what he told the police. He says they went to a warehouse to meet Victoria, whose last name he doesn't know, for the sale. He mentions Victoria's reputation for ruthlessness, and that he knows he was pathetic to let them be sold like cattle.

Lee cannot find Henry, and is flapping pathetically. He's been gone about ten minutes and Lee wants to call the police, but Emma thinks it's too soon. He's about to ring Helen to ask what she wants done when Emma spots Henry on the other side of the Green with George and his mates.

Gavin's account continues. On the day the slaves were sold to Victoria Gavin came close to telling Kirsty what was happening, but he bottled it and ran away instead. He slept on a mate's sofa, then where he could, sleeping rough. You get to see the best and worst of people out there, he tells her, and it wasn't fun for him; he gives graphic examples of why not. Kirsty had no idea; he says it changed him, and he started to understand why Blake stayed with them in preference to life on the street.

Lee reports to Helen about Henry vanishing, but Emma has already texted her. After all the fuss, he bought Henry an ice-cream because he isn't the real parent and couldn't punish him. He feels that they need to have a proper talk and decide ground rules about how they deal with each other's children.

Gavin is still pouring out his heart. He has pleaded guilty, but he won't be sentenced until after Philip's trial, so he just has to stay where he is and learn to live with himself. He now finds his behaviour disgusting, but Kirsty appreciates his being honest. He reckons he was under his father's influence until he lived with the lads in lockdown and saw them as people. Kirsty is surprised when he talks about them as if they were friends, and he says that is how he came to think of them, and that was when he knew what he and his father were doing was wrong. But he still carried on, and lied to Kirsty, because he was scared to make waves in case it made things worse for them. Then chucking-out time comes, and Kirsty quickly asks what happens next, and whether he'll be all right. He says he doesn't deserve her sympathy and he's glad he had a chance to see her and tell her he's sorry. She wants to visit him again. He assures her that when he he gets out he'll be a better man: his own man. She tells him that she believes him, which he says means the world to him

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 22nd February, 2021

Ruth wants to make yet another change; Jazzer likes things as they are.

Characters: Johnny, Jazzer, Ruth, David, Kirsty
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Daniel Thurman & Adrian Flynn

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Johnny is still working on his car's motor, and chatting with Jazzer about it. He's proud of himself for the work on the car, and for winning the assault course. Jazzer wants him to order more homebrew, cash in advance, so he can go on an activity weekend with Jade: he claims, unconvincingly, to be an adrenaline junkie.

David is assisting at a difficult lambing, while Ruth is talking at him about the solicitor's new arrangements for Oakey Bank. Ruth offers to help by holding the sheep, but David says he is fine: unlike the re-wilding, what he's doing doing is proper farming. Ruth and Pip went to look at a farm without him and he's hurt. She goes on about the latest ideas for the cattle, which she now approves; he is not happy about the sheep being thought unimportant, and not at all pleased that she and Pip seem to be side-lining him.

Johnny says Jazzer and Jade are doing well, and Jazzer enthuses about her but still says he wants, indeed needs, a night in his own bed. They drink to each other, and are clearly no longer sober. Johnny warns Jazzer is jumping in feet first, and ought to be careful this time. Jazzer says Tracy is ancient history.

Ruth has proposed getting rid of the sheep altogether; David objects on the grounds that they are a mixed farm and he does not think it wise to be reliant on a single market, also that Pip and Ruth seem to have him pegged for the scrap heap. As things become heated, Kirsty appears and interrupts the row. David is not welcoming, saying that they are busy, and she says she will come back in the morning, but Ruth wants to know what she wanted. Kirsty tells them she has agreed to produce Lynda's mysteries, which are to be over two solid days starting early each morning and moving from location to location; Kirsty is hunting for suitable locations to move between.

Jazzer is eulogising new horizons and denying he's ever in touch with Tracy, whom he doesn't miss. He reckons that with the kids, she is too much hassle. Johnny thought there really was something between him and Tracy, but Jazzer denies any interest: Tracy is not the one, Jade is – she and Jazzer are kindred spirits. Johnny for some reason is determined that Jazzer ought to be with Tracy and argues her cause.

Kirsty has been refused the loan of the barn; David and Ruth don't want to work with Lynda ever again. Ruth is adamant, David wavers but is polite, and Kirsty leaves saying that Lynda will be disappointed. Ruth immediately accuses David of trying to agree only to spite her, and their argument continues. Ruth wants to start again and discuss things calmly, and David is not interested in talking about it at all when they are pulling in opposite directions. She claims that she wants what is best for the farm, and David points out she only ever wants what she thinks is best. It's not the farm pulling in opposite directions: it's the family. It's us, he says unhappily.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 23rd February, 2021

Everybody has plans, some better than others.

Characters: Ben, Ruairi, Helen, Lee, Kirsty
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Daniel Thurman & Adrian Flynn

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The training of Bess has been a great success: she is obedient and silent. Ben and Ruairi discuss Ruth's plan to get rid of the sheep. Ben is not in favour of Pip's cow obsession, and he doesn't want to be a hobby shepherd, but nobody ever asks for his opinion, so it's the two cowgirls against his dad; Ruairi says Ben ought to make them listen to him as well. Meanwhile Ben has a plan and needs Ruairi's help with it.

Helen has rung Lee to make a date for the evening; she will go over at six, and they will order in a Chinese. Henry is in favour of Lee as a soft touch, and Lee once again starts to apologise about Henry escaping at the Green, which Helen feels didn't matter as much as he worries it did. Then Kirsty arrives to talk to Helen and Lee rings off.

Ben wants to refurbish the Valentine's Day Party caravan for a date he has planned with Evie. Ruairi, whom Ben has taken to calling 'Roars', is not impressed by the caravan's condition or smell, but Ben has it all planned, and intends to patch it up. He offers to let Ruairi have shares in the caravan, and uses that as a draw to get him to help turn it into a love shack.

Lynda apparently never gives up at the first refusal, so as far as Kirsty is concerned Brookfield's barn is still in the running. Despite Helen's agreement to lend a tractor and trailer to assist the less mobile audience members Kirsty still refuses to tell Helen who are to play the main parts in the Mystery Plays. She says she is getting on top of it all, and it's helping her not to think about her own troubles. She feels sorry for Gavin; Philip has ruined so many lives, but even so she's thinking of going to see him to try to get the lads' whereabouts out of him: he won't speak to anyone else, but maybe if he saw her he'd crack. She's still wearing her wedding ring, as Helen notices. Kirsty forgets about what has happened sometimes, until it hits her again. She accepts Philip is a liar, but she is sure he was telling the truth when he said he loved her, and the ring reminds her that she still has to break free of him.

Ben's plans for the caravan include welding, while Ruairi says he is looking forward to his first farm meeting, at which he has some things he is going to say: apparently Ben has given him an idea.

Helen has turned up at two minutes after six for her date, and apologises both for being so early and for the conversation that afternoon; she tells Lee she is really relaxed about him looking after the boys. She tells him about Kirsty's plan to visit Philip in prison, and about the strain Kirsty is under; then she tells him that since she got together with him she doesn't feel that sort of strain any more. Then she asks him whether he'd like to move in with her and the boys; he's delighted and accepts immediately.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 24th February, 2021

Various people in Ambridge are set on having their own way.

Characters: Alice, Chris, Ruth, David, Harrison
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Daniel Thurman & Adrian Flynn

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Alice and Chris are babysitting Xander for Adam and Ian, and babysitting has led Chris to think about the practicalities of having a baby, then a toddler, in the house: keeping him or her safe will be so important. Harrison sends him a text message asking if he'd like to go for a coffee; he's happy at home with Alice, but she tells him he should go.

Ruth is trying to be friendly to David; they are both being pestered by Lynda and Kirsty. Lynda has invited David to join the cast, but not said what part he would play. He decides to say yes, to placate her about the barn: a compromise. Ruth wishes he would compromise with her, or at least talk about things.

Harrison and Chris have met at the garden tables outside Fallon's tea-room. Harrison has been invited by Lynda to to take a part in the mystery play, and told privily by Kirsty that it will be Jesus, but he isn't sure he ought to. He asks after Alice; Chris tries to deflect him, but Harrison wants to talk about Alice and her problems, which he assumes still exist. He promises he's said nothing to Fallon; Chris is proud of how Alice has come through this, and that she has stopped drinking. He is sure she has beaten her addiction.

Ruth is determined to get rid of the sheep, and David is not ready for them to go. It is clear that she is not going to stop talking at him reasonably until he does as he is told. It's time to adapt, says Ruth, and we get a mention of Brexit and lamb prices and subsidies ending after seven years, all of which Ruth seems to think mean they should cease to be a mixed farm.

Harrison too won't give up. He says it's not always so easy to kick an addiction, as he knows from his work; Chris, unconvinced, says he knows Alice better than Harrison. They should be prepared for setbacks, says Harrison, and the exasperated Chris eventually tells him that not having children means he's not entitled to an opinion: he has no idea what someone will do for their child.

Ruth says that these are tough decisions, and asserts that if they don't move with the times the farm will go under. David eventually says it's not just about the farm: it's them. Once upon a time they shared the same vision. He feels as if it's not his farm any more: the bits he is in charge of are all being scaled down or done away with. Will he be next? Ruth tells him he is the heart of the farm and they're not trying to push him out, and humours him by uttering a platitude or two about change being difficult to come to terms with. Then Lynda sends her a message saying she wants Ruth to take a hefty speaking part, and she says in horror that she'd rather give her the barn than that. After all Kirsty and Lynda have been through they can't refuse to give them anything at all. Somehow this is turned into Ruth deciding David has agreed to do what she wants.

Alice asks whether Chris had a good time, and says she saw his face when Harrison texted; she knows Chris has told Harrison what has been going on. He confesses that he told Harrison everything while she was away, and apologises; she understands, says that was unreasonable to expect him to deal with everything on his own with nobody to talk to about it, and appreciates everything he has done for her.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 25th February, 2021

Jade plays games and Philip is in denial.

Characters: Johnny, Jim, Jazzer, Kirsty, Philip, Jade
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Daniel Thurman & Adrian Flynn

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jim and Johnny are in the shop, talking of covid jabs: Jim's second is due, and Pat's is tomorrow. Jim offers a vacuum hand-pump rather than a turkey-baster for use on the brake system of Johnny's BMW. Jazzer is waiting impatiently to come into the shop to buy some penne, saying that Jade has no mask: he proposes to escort Jim home.

Kirsty is visiting Philip, but forbids him to call her by any pet-name he has used to her, and says she won't use his name at all. She asserts that he's not the man she married; he swears he is. She says 'not for long', and when he starts to reminisce about times that they spent together tells him that she is not interested in looking back either. She just wants him to tell her about Victoria, and when he is shocked that she knows that name, lets on that she's seen Gavin.

Jim doesn't much like Jade calling him 'Jimmy'. She is showing off blowing pasta out of her nostril into his favourite (Cicero) mug; Jim seems less than impressed, both with that and with her. Deprived of 'Jimmy', she calls him 'Jimbo'. She and Jazzer are off out for the night again, and Jim suggests a night in instead but Jade doesn't want to knit jigsaws, which is how she describes an evening at home. They leave as Johnny arrives.

Philip has gone back yet again to trying to assert that Gavin has had a breakdown, and goes on denying that he kept slaves. Kirsty says Gavin has done the right thing but if Philip gets away with it Gavin will go down: she tells him he doesn't know what he has done to Gavin. Come to that, he's done no good to Kirsty: it is his fault that half of Ambridge is thinking she was involved in keeping slaves. She goes on to tell him she has been looking for the boys, and he says she doesn't want to get involved with that sort of world. He goes on denying his guilt, but claims he'd do anything for her; she says in that case, save her heartbreak by getting the boys back.

Johnny is there to collect the pump, and seeing that the penne are out, realises Jade's been doing her pasta trick. He and Jim rather agree that Jade is too young for Jazzer, who is not the young blade he thinks he is. Jim claims to be reserving judgement about her until he knows her better. Meanwhile the mug is going in the dishwasher.

Philip is trying to arouse Kirsty's sympathy by saying how horrible being imprisoned is for him; she tells him to stop thinking about himself. He wants her to do something for him; she tells him that she doesn't love him but she really wants to believe he isn't all bad. He begs for another chance; she says no. He asks her to visit him again; she says no. He offers to admit to keeping two sets of books, but denies selling anyone: under pressure, he claims he was paid a finder's fee but continues to refuse to admit to having sold the boys. She begs him to plead guilty, but he says he can't, because he's done nothing wrong. She takes off her ring and tells him it's going in the bin as soon as she sees one: their marriage was already over when she got there.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 1st March, 2021

Susan is passed over, Mia plans to cook, and Kirsty is dumbfounded.

Characters: Clarrie, Eddie, Susan, Kirsty, Harrison, Mia
Credited scriptwriter:
Keri Davies
Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Clarrie and Eddie are talking with Susan, who is unamused about Rosie Archer (born 23rd July, 2018) being auditioned for the part of God in the Mystery Plays. It's all about gender-blind casting, apparently, which doesn't make Susan happy; nor does Eddie (a shepherd) and Clarrie (a king) having been cast and her not. She tactlessly suggests that if Clarrie could get a part they can't be being choosy. Eddie says the two women should get on with making yoghurt, and, in the spirit of one dumping oil in the Am in an attempt to pour it onto troubled waters, suggests that they may want Susan as Mary.

Kirsty is still trying to persuade Harrison to play Jesus, and mentions that Darrington are doing the Mysteries at Easter and thus before Ambridge, which has put Lynda's nose out of joint.

Clarrie and Susan are hardly speaking at the dairy, and squabbling over the Mysteries' casting when they do speak. Mia rings Clarrie to tell her that they want Mia to play Mary, but the buses are going to be tricky for rehearsals, so she wants to stay at Grange Farm while those are going on. Rex is playing Joseph, which Mia thinks is yuck but Clarrie points out is traditional as regards age difference. Susan clatters in the background, and is clearly somewhat fed up, which Clarrie apparently doesn't understand.

Kirsty is surprised that Harrison isn't keen, but he explains that he wants to cut back on extracurricular things and concentrate on police work; he's ashamed of himself for not having spotted Moss as a wrong 'un, though Kirsty says he was investigating an explosion, not people-trafficking, and ought not to blame himself. They both feel guilty, and she is determined that Philip shouldn't ruin things for her, or for anyone.

Clarrie asks how Susan feels about Mia playing Mary, and Susan is very consciously not at all upset, no, really not. Susan reckons she is box-office poison as far as Kirsty is concerned because of the interview in the Echo, and Clarrie pooh-poohs the idea, then suggests that perhaps she is wanted as Jesus instead.

Mia is being impossible to food-shop for – honey-nut cereal exploits bees, she explains – and keeping Eddie well under her thumb. She offers to cook for everyone while she is staying, as a thank-you; Eddie absolutely doesn't want her to, but she bulldozes on, boasting about her culinary skill, and a meat-and-dairy-free lasagne. Eddie mentions despair.

Kirsty is gardening, showing her gratitude to Roy by being brutal with his roses. Harrison has come to tell her he'll take the part, and to give her another bit of news: official business. Philip is going to plead guilty. Kirsty is left momentarily speechless, and can't believe it after how he was last week; she just hopes he isn't up to something, or trying to get back in with her. Maybe it means he's got a conscience after all, and maybe he'll help the police find Blake and the others. When Harrison asks, Kirsty isn't sure how she feels: pleased, still taking it in, and thinking that maybe now she can start moving on.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 2nd March, 2021

Rex wins a bout, and Jade storms out.

Characters: Jim, Alistair, Jazzer, Phoebe, Rex, Brian, Jade
Credited scriptwriter:
Naylah Ahmed
Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jim and Alistair are preparing food, and Jazzer is trying to avoid taking a shower. Jade has been invited to supper, because Jim feels that it would be a good idea to get to know her, and for her to get to know them.

Phoebe is fed up with Rex looking at his phone, and wants him to have done something about finding longhorn cattle for the rewilding project, which he hasn't because he has another full-time job. They are meeting Brian at the Borchester Land offices. Rex is worrying about his council farm application: he has until the end of the week to finish polishing it. Phoebe is laying down the law and telling him just to send it off and concentrate on the rewilding business instead of his own concerns.

Jim hopes dinner isn't too early; Jade says it's fine, since she and Jazzer are going to a Nineties Night later. She then starts to be rude to Jim, calls Alistair 'Delia' because he is out in the kitchen fetching the main course, and is unpleasant about her salad. Jim goes out with the salad to help Alistair in the kitchen, and she asks in faux-anxiety whether she's offended him; Jazzer says there is a possibility she has.

Rex hasn't yet come in to the meeting with Brian, and Phoebe makes his excuses. Brian has told Peggy that they have been left by Pip, and Peggy is concerned, so he is going to help sort things out. He wants to talk about the project. Phoebe tells him they might get the camping set up by summer.

Jade praises the cooking but is rude about the lack of beer, which Jazzer has gone out to fetch, and Jim finally loses patience with her persistently calling him Jimmy, and stops being conciliatory. She immediately picks a fight, calls Jim and Alistair 'relics', accuses him of being judgy and is grossly rude to him, and then calls him Gramps before leaving in a huff.

Brian is talking about the cattle he knows they plan to buy, and offering his help. Rex eventually comes back in and suggests making the most of Brian's experience, asking for him and Phoebe to check some longhorn cattle breeders out during the next week or two. Since going around checking out cattle was the task Phoebe had assigned to him, she isn't entirely delighted by this neat turning of the tables on her.

Jazzer comes back in after going after Jade, who has left, and wants to know what happened: everything was fine when he went for the beer. Jim tells him that Jade spent her time being rude to them, and bad-mouthing Jazzer when he wasn't there. It's clear that neither Jim nor Alistair thinks much of her, and Jazzer too storms off, leaving them sighing.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 3rd March, 2021

Strife continues, and spreads to new places.

Characters: Alistair, Jim, Adam, Ian, Brian, Ruairi
Credited scriptwriter:
Keri Davies
Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Breakfast at Greenacres is tense, with Jim removing himself and leaving his coffee inside. Jazzer is being silent; Jim and Alistair will just have to put up with it until he stops being enamoured of Jade.

Ian has used neck of lamb to make an Irish stew for Adam's lunch. Ian is worrying that the electrician wants paying, and his bill was huge. Adam has to go back to work and he's working harder than ever, because Alice's pregnancy is tough and she is taking time off.

Ruairi has a study period, and is walking the farm with Brian. Brian is keen to get him up to speed because he wants to know that the place will be in good hands when he dies; Debbie's focus has been elsewhere for so long, and he doesn't say what he thinks of Adam but it is clearly not flattering. Ruairi is looking forward to his first partners' meeting. Brian suggests he sits quietly and listens: it's all a bit predictable, with Adam providing death by spreadsheet, Kate turning up late, Debbie having dodgy internet connection, and Alice being sound, which Ruairi takes to mean that she agrees with Brian. They then turn to the lambing: apparently Eli does most of it.

Adam has to leave before two when Xander will be returned by Jennifer, but before he goes off Ian wants to know what they will do about their child when Alice is on maternity leave. Adam wants to know what's wrong with Ian: he admits that he is worried about Grey Gables. Adam is sure things will pick up.

Alistair has been treating a Montbéliarde who had eaten a balloon. He goes to buy something for his lunch and finds Jim in the shop for the afternoon, hoping that will take his mind off his being a snob. Jim castigates himself for being a stuffed shirt, and even tries to take the blame for Shula deciding to divorce Alistair, but Alistair will have none of it. Jim sees his son's analysis of his character as reassuring, and immediately criticises his grammar and his choice of lunch.

Adam rings Ian and asks how Xander is. He's been thinking over what Ian said about more labour on the farm, and thinking that perhaps Xander could go to the nursery Rosie is at; also he has found a savings account he had forgotten about with a few thousand quid in it to pay the electrician with.

Ruairi is being told about Sammy Whipple when Adam turns up. Brian tells Ruairi to explain his idea. Ruairi starts to talk about sheep; he wants to get rid of them. Before he can finish speaking, Adam breaks in to explain everything to him and not let him say his piece. Ruairi sticks to his guns and explains he has a wider picture in mind, including Brookfield. He wants Home Farm to rent land to Brookfield for their sheep, which will fertilise that land for Home Farm and thus reap the benefits of oviculture without the concomitant overheads. Brian thinks it is genius, Adam wants to look into the implications. As soon as Ruairi is out of earshot Adam is furious with Brian about the hare-brained scheme Ruairi has suggested, which he thinks is a non-starter. He apparently feels that he is in charge and Ruairi should bring all ideas to him, not to Brian. Brian offers his help with the electricians' bill, and Adam, in a very offensive voice, says that they don't need any help from Brian.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 4th March, 2021

Peggy raises a false alarm and Clarrie lets the cat out of the bag.

Characters: Kate, Adam, Alice, Eddie, Clarrie, Chris, Peggy
Credited scriptwriter:
Naylah Ahmed
Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Kate and Adam have gone to see Alice, taking treats and presents from Mum and Phoebe who can't make it, to throw a baby shower at her. Kate is in a onesie, masquerading as a cat; she is proposing a night of indulgence with champagne, but also has a sparkling elderflower infusion for Alice.

Eddie creeps up on Clarrie, who is looking at her part for the play. He has been auditioning with Darrington at Lynda's behest, to act as a mole in their camp, and is now a shepherd at Darrington as well as in Ambridge. He is sure he won't be suspected; Clarrie is not. Meanwhile she is trying to find her inner king, because Susan thinks she can't do it. She has to think about it, and she needs help from someone who knows what they're doing and sounds kingish, not like Eddie. He asserts that he is not offended by this lack of faith in him.

Alice is on the phone desperately begging Chris to come home, because she's trapped with the revellers in her house and a lot of alcohol. They refuse to leave or to leave her alone, and she is scared in case anything goes wrong. Chris tells her to go back into the main room, sip the sweet elderflower fizz, and he'll fix it.

Kate is refusing to let Alice rest or leave them. She is being objectionable in her advice to Alice about giving up the party life, suggesting she will find it very hard. Adam on the other hand is more encouraging about parenthood. Kate wants Alice to have some champagne, and so does Adam, but when she is firm in her refusal they happily finish the bottle. Then Kate gets an emergency text: Peggy has had a fall, and Kate and Adam must go over to her at once.

Sabrina has asked Clarrie to ask Susan to do something for her, and Clarrie kept her talking because she sounds queenly. This meant that Clarrie had to explain why she wanted to listen to someone regal, and has given away the show; Eddie is a little shocked. He wants food soon, and reckons they should all fill up with meat before Mia gets there with her veganitis.

Peggy is on the phone with Chris: she has rescued them, and Chris was on the phone to Alice while she poured away the remaining champagne. Peggy pries about how Alice is doing, and suggests it is time to tell the family since there is a limit to the number of times she can 'fall over', but Chris is still intent on secrecy. He asks for her word she will keep Alice's secret, and she gives it, saying that the baby comes first, to which Chris agrees. So long as we understand one another, Peggy says ominously.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 8th March, 2021

Difficult decisions have to be made.

Characters: Neil, Shula, Brian, David, Kirsty, Alan, Emma
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Julie Beckett & Tim Stimpson
Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Neil is telling Shula that the parish council wants to get rid of him, after ten years. He's tarnished by association with Moss, apparently. He is done with them: he plans to leave, but he hasn't yet told Susan. She probably won't like it, because she feels really guilty about talking to the Echo. He also has to let Emma know. He feels that the job is a nightmare anyway: planning applications, blocked footpaths, buses being cut, boundary disputes. Shula asks him to think about staying: he is the person who supports her there. He asks about her ordination, and Shula says she can prevaricate for England; Neil encourages her to ring Alan.

Peggy is reported by Brian to have suffered no ill-effects from her fall; he rang because he wants to see David. As he puts the phone down Kirsty appears to do a quick recce for the mysteries; she is hoping for more inspirational spaces. David needs to look at the young stock near Lakey Hill and she asks if she can go with him.

Alan is glad to hear from Shula, who wants to meet up with him to discuss her ordination. She thinks the things she needs to consider are, does she deal well with awkward people, can she make difficult judgement calls, and can she cope with her family's changed perception of her. They agree to meet at the church.

Kirsty enthuses about having some of the play on Lakey Hill; everyone loves the place. David says the sheep belong there, and Kirsty agrees. He says they could have some penned near the angel for the play. She wants to have the audience there and then have them turn for a scene in the farmyard, which has a good acoustic. David is happy to hear her being so enthusiastic. She tells him its the anniversary of the explosion, then goes quickly on to say she now she needs a venue for the Annunciation: an cosy space at the centre of things.

Neil is trying to persuade Emma to stand for chair of the PC. She is dubious for all sorts of reasons. He wants her to try, or at least to think about it. She says she'll talk to Ed and see what he thinks.

David tells Brian he's reeling about Kirsty clearly angling to use the Brookfield kitchen. Brian wants to talk about Ben and Ruairi's scheme. David tells him to stop right there: they haven't decided to get out of sheep. But Brian tells him about the obvious solution that has been suggested: raising the sheep on Home Farm land. If they offer him a grazing licence, all parties can benefit. David agrees to give it some thought.

Shula and Alan are talking over the difficulties people present; he tells her you need to see them as equals and see that they all have a point. You have to hang onto hope, and not be afraid, and have the humility to learn from the times you get it wrong, which Shula says she finds very difficult. Then he tells her that as a vicar she is on her own; she can't come running to him or anyone else. She has to rely on herself and God, and sometimes it works. And it isn't only the poor and sick who need help; even the richest can fall apart too, and need love, from God through her. Sometimes it's just about being there, holding someone in the love of God. She realises that he is saying it's down to her whether she does it or not. Alan agrees that the choice is hers, and hers alone.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 9th March, 2021

A new arrival.

Characters: Jim, Jazzer, Alice, Emma, Chris, Sashel the midwife
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Julie Beckett & Tim Stimpson
Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

In the shop, Jim sells Jazzer a sandwich, and wonders if they are out of bread at home; Jazzer is surly. He's enthusiastic about how Alice looks when she comes in, though. She has backache, and Jazzer is sympathetic; she has come in for a chocolate lift. She is in pain, and Jim is concerned. Then she panics.

Emma is baby-shopping with Chris. She's thinking of trying for chair of the parish council. He is not sure it's really a good idea. Then his phone rings, and because he is driving Emma answers. It's Jazzer; he tells them to get themselves to the hospital. She tells Chris to pull over, and that Alice is in labour. He initially thinks she can't be, but Jazzer and Jim are taking her to the hospital, and Emma directs him how to get there.

Jim tells a reluctant Alice that he has to drive her to the hospital; she is very upset because it's six weeks too early. She wants Chris, and is told that he's gone to the hospital. She hasn't got her hospital bag with her: it's packed and waiting in the cottage. Jim wants them to act quickly; they must get in his car at once.

Jazzer tries to calm Alice down while she makes a lot of indeterminate noises, and then she says she is pushing and she mustn't. Jim pulls over because he thinks they are too late to get to the hospital and should call an ambulance, and he will go to look for a first aider. Alice keeps asking Jazzer for help, and begs him not to leave her. He doesn't know what to do for her and dials 999 for help.

Jim has messaged Emma and told her what is going on, and she sensibly insists that Chris can't go to Alice; they should wait for the ambulance to arrive at the hospital. Chris breaks down: it's too early.

Alice is being talked through labour by a midwife called Sashel on the phone. Jazzer says he can see the head. He is doing his best, and Sashel tells him that she needs him to be ready to catch the baby. Alice goes on moaning, and obscurely blaming herself. Jazzer says they have to do the best for her baby, and tells her she can do this. She wants and needs Chris, and starts losing her temper and saying she can't do it. She has a flashback to the hallucinations of the dead baby in the bath, which Jazzer and Sashel clearly don't understand. Sashel tells Jazzer to wrap the baby in Jim's coat to keep it warm. Jazzer tells Alice to push.

Chris is very unhappy and wants to look for Alice, but Emma tries to reassure him that Alice will be with him soon: Jazzer and Jim won't let her down. Chris worries about her vulnerability, and Emma says she is lucky to have him. He wants to help Alice; he should be there, demonstrating his love for her.

Alice continues in labour, and Jazzer is instructed over the phone. Jim arrives with the ambulance just as the midwife tells her to push, and the baby girl is born. Sashel tells Jazzer to dry the baby, a good rub all over, and he shows her to Alice, telling her she's ok. After a long silence, the baby starts to cry.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 10th March, 2021

Reactions to a frail new baby.

Characters: Doctor, Chris, Alice, Brian, Jim, Jazzer, Alan
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Julie Beckett & Tim Stimpson
Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

A doctor is telling Chris that his daughter is doing well and shouldn't be in the incubator for too long, but doesn't specify any exact time. Alice asks him whether it was her fault; he says that alcohol can cause early labour, as can many other factors, but the tests they can carry out at present do not show FAS. Chris says she mustn't blame herself, and the doctor says the baby now needs lots of love, and suggests that Alice and Chris hold her. Alice says 'no' in a panicky way, but Chris, prompted to offer skin-to-skin contact, picks her up and talks dotingly to her, before telling the doctor that they haven't yet chosen a name.

Brian has brought Jim a thank-you, but Jim says it should go to Jazzer; it turns out to be a 25-year-old single malt. Jim asks after the baby and Alice: doing as well as can be expected is the word via Jennifer, who has been on the phone half the night. Jazzer, newly in from the milk-round, asks after the wean. Jim asks Brian if he has had any breakfast, since he was planning to cook a good one for Jazzer at this point anyway.

Alan happens upon Chris and asks about the birth; he's been visiting at the hospital to see someone who is dying, though not of covid, he hastily reassures Chris, but her son has arrived to be with her so he has come out for a bite to eat. Chris has come out for a break. Alan tells him he doesn't have to be all right, and then Chris understandably becomes emotional and says he's let the baby down, which Alan immediately disputes. Chris has something he wants to ask: would Alan feel able to give her a blessing? Alan says he would be honoured.

Brian is breakfasting at Greenacres, and comparing notes on birth with Jim. Brian claims he went to the races after Alice's birth, and was a bit disappointed she wasn't a boy. Jazzer tactlessly mentions getting a son one way or the other, and Brian gets his own back by asking about Jazzer having a child of his own.

Alice is surprised about the blessing, since they aren't churchgoers, but agrees to it although she is taken aback that Alan is just outside the ward door waiting to be asked in. There's no name for him to bless, but he's ok with that. Alice is silent, then suddenly says 'Martha', and that since she knows Chris likes the name that is what the baby should be called.

Jazzer tells Jim he laid on 'well tidy scran', and Jim in turn tells Jazzer he gets the whisky – well deserved for the impressive way he talked to Alice and reassured her. Jazzer claims that after his initial worries he found the experience just brilliant. Jim then wants to say something about Jade: he's only dubious about her because he thinks so highly of Jazzer. Brian comes in and says Jennifer, with whom he has been talking on the phone, has told him the baby's names, and that she has a second name beginning with J in honour of Jim and Jazzer.

Alan blesses Martha Jasmine Carter at considerable length, petitioning for divine support for her parents; Alice cannot bear this and leaves, but Chris asks Alan to carry on and finish the blessing, which he does, praying for those caring for Martha's frail body.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 11th March, 2021

Recriminations, reassurances and regrets.

Characters: Susan, Neil, Chris, Kirsty, Clarrie, Alan
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Julie Beckett & Tim Stimpson
Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Susan and Neil are glad Chris is at home and in The Nest. Neil has made him a cuppa and wants him to sit down, but Chris just wants to pack a bag for Alice, and is looking for her phone charger. He says Alice is blaming herself, and he needs to make himself useful. Susan suggests she and Neil should take Alice her things, and he agrees to let them. Neil tells him he'd be more use after some sleep.

Kirsty visits Clarrie about the mystery plays. Clarrie starts to go on about her performance and how excited they are, but Kirsty tells her Lynda knows that Clarrie mentioned it to Sabrina. Clarrie tries to deny it and claims she was doing research, but Kirsty wants to know exactly what was said.

Neil and Susan are visiting Alice, and want to see photos of the baby. Alice shows them some on her phone. When asked, Alice says she thinks Martha's eyes are blue but isn't sure: mostly, they are shut. Neil thinks she's the spitting image of Chris as a baby.

Clarrie is being backed into a corner, and starts to defend herself, but Kirsty says Lynda is adamant that she has to be out of the production. Clarrie begs for mercy and swears she hasn't spoken to anyone else ... apart from Susan. And Helen. And Edward and Emma. Kirsty doesn't see how they can keep it to themselves. 'You're fired!' she says to Clarrie, Apprentice-style.

Alan asks Chris how Martha is, and how Chris is himself. Chris just wants to get back to the hospital, and then he starts to get angry. Alan tells him that it's fine to be emotional, and wonders whether he and Alice are having trouble in their relationship, but says they should do better once Martha's home. He then starts to probe for more information from Chris.

Susan tells Alice that Emma was premature, 5lb 3oz, and then talks about about Christopher's cleft palate and how she couldn't even bring herself to look at him because she thought it was her fault. Alice indignantly exclaims that's ridiculous, it was just one of those things. She then denies anything being wrong, but says she is worried in case Martha being premature might have a bad effect on her life. Susan tells her to be kind to herself, and see the bright side, pointing out that unlike many, the baby has a safe home and loving parents. Alice acquiesces, but reluctantly. Susan tells her not to worry, it's all going to be fine.

Meanwhile Chris is telling Alan all about Alice's alcoholism. He believes that she is now no longer drinking, but he can't bear the idea that Martha may have been damaged. He thought once Martha was here that would be it and they could put it all behind them; now though, he doesn't know. Alan says he ought to tell Susan and Neil. Chris says he doesn't need them, he doesn't need support; it's just that he's scared that if there is something wrong with Martha, he's going to blame Alice. He has been wanting to agree, to say 'yes, it is your fault' when Alice blames herself. When he thinks what she might have done to Martha, he's afraid he might be starting to hate her.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 15th March, 2021

The joke is on Eddie, and Ben puts on a brave face.

Characters: Josh, Ben, Clarrie, Eddie, Leonard
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Sarah McDonald Hughes & Caroline Harrington

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Josh is heckling Ben because Ben's in a bad mood: his parents gave him a wallet for his birthday, and Evie a mug with home-made toffee in it. Then Josh starts in about Evie and the caravan, and Ben not being experienced with women. Leonard sends a text: he has also got Ben a present. Josh tells him not to get his hopes up. Ben, remembering the car from Gran and Leonard last year, does anyway.

Clarrie has made a Happy Birthday sign for Eddie (whose seventieth birthday it is) on Mia's behalf. Eddie is angry about Lynda treating Clarrie badly; Clarrie tells him to wind his neck in, because she's over it and doesn't want to hear any more about it. Mia has made two cakes, one a chocolate cheesecake (vegan, Clarrie tells him) and the other a rainbow cake.

Leonard has got Ben a time capsule to fill, given the lively interest in history Ben showed during the archaeological survey, and Ben is polite and pleasant about it, though he does utter the words 'you really shouldn't have...' Leonard tells him he's been asked to be in the mysteries, and Ben is laughingly congratulatory. Then Ben suggests Leonard should start the capsule for him, and Leonard says he has something that might do, which he will bring over.

Eddie has been eating the rainbow cake, and Clarrie tells him the vegan cake was fine. Then she starts to laugh, fails to stop laughing for an excruciating length of time, and asks whether he really liked the cake. He realises he has been fooled, and Clarrie tells him that he could do with branching out a bit. Eddie is not all that pleased, and says he's had enough cake thank you, but then admits it would be a shame to waste it. He says that Mia gets her principled stance from him: he has principles, and if he sees injustice he does something.

Josh is having hysterics about the time capsule. Ben thinks it's been a rubbish birthday. Josh gave him the easy option of an online voucher, and is being offensive and cackling, and an exasperated Ben suggests that used the right way, the capsule could do him damage.

Clarrie discovers that Eddie has rung Lynda Snell, MBE, as he sneeringly puts it, and resigned. He couldn't carry on when Clarrie had been so badly treated. Apparently Lynda put a brave face on it, even when he said he was only resigning from her play, not the Darrington one. He has some explosive information about the Darrington production, but Lynda should have thought of that before behaving as she has. Clarrie is worried that people won't like him joining up with the enemy. People get sensitive about Darrington: they'll be cast out of the village.

Leonard has given Ben a picture of him being given his Covid19 jab by a charming twenty-one-year-old nurse. Leonard was really pleased about getting the jab, and impressed by all the people giving it, everyone doing their bit. The nurse can't be earning much, but she was getting on with it; she said she became a nurse because she wants to make a difference. Ben asks for the date to write on the back of the picture, and says he thinks the time capsule is his favourite birthday present.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 16th March, 2021

David and Ruth reach agreement, as do Alice and Martha.

Characters: Jennifer, Alice, David, Ruth, a crying baby
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Sarah McDonald Hughes & Caroline Harrington

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jennifer is visiting Alice, outside the hospital; Alice isn't all that enthusiastic and is clearly feeling down. Jennifer has brought a goodie-bag for her, with buns and chocolate. Jennifer offers to help Chris and Alice out if they need cash, then mentions Susan having visited; Alice talks about how helpful Susan was, then denies coping at all and bursts into tears because she hasn't had time to bond and she let Martha down.

David is grateful for some strong coffee brought to him by Ruth; he is fed up with the Mysteries rehearsals, and was up late as a result of one. Jill has confessed to him that she got Leonard into the plays by offering Lynda the Brookfield kitchen for the Annunciation scene. Ruth thinks that is absurd, because it’s far too small for both cast and audience, and starts arguing once more that they should give Brian a positive answer about the sheep. David is suspicious about what’s in it for Brian. A text arrives: to David's considerable pleasure Vince Casey has finally given a date in Autumn for opening the abattoir again. Ruth immediately takes this as a point on her side of the argument.

Alice tells Jennifer she is having trouble feeding Martha, who doesn't latch on; she thinks Martha doesn't like her. She doesn't feel the connection she ought to have with her baby. Jennifer tries to reassure her, and says she should give it time; she'll feel the love when things have settled down. Jennifer makes a comparison with Ruairi and how she came to love him, and he her. Alice says she does love Martha, but feels her baby being premature was her fault. Jennifer goes on being relentlessly positive.

David noticed that Ben was a bit down yesterday, and hopes he feels better now; he also noticed that the wallet was ill-received. David uses the abattoir opening as a reason to keep the sheep, and Ruth admits they are a sign of spring and she'd miss them, but goes on forcing Brian's offer to the fore. David doesn't trust him, and they agree that they must get a proper, written licensing agreement. Ruth is now thinking they might keep some arable, just with increased cattle. They agree, from their different standpoints, that Brookfield is to remain either a dairy farm with some mixed farming (Ruth) or a mixed farm with an emphasis on dairy (David). David has come round to accepting Brian's offer.

Alice has changed a nappy for Martha, who starts to cry as soon as she is picked up, to Alice's distress. Martha cries more, and refuses to feed, turning her head away. Then at last she does latch on, and Alice is very relieved. Maybe Martha does like her after all, just a little bit, and she loves Martha so, so much.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 17th March, 2021

Tracy is grateful, and Clarrie is magnanimous.

Characters: Jazzer, Leonard, Susan, Clarrie, Kirsty, Tracy
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Sarah McDonald Hughes & Caroline Harrington

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

As they wait to be served at the Tea Rooms by an elusive Fallon, Jazzer boasts to Leonard about being in the Echo alongside Jim: the carpark delivery has made the local press. Leonard offers to buy Jazzer's coffee and doughnut so they can sit together and Jazzer can give him the details, and goes on to tell him about the time capsule.  He and Ben are suggesting throwing the capsule open to the community.  He then asks about rehearsal, which was a waste of time from Jazzer's point of view in the absence of both a king and a shepherd for his scenes. Leonard was shouted at by Kirsty for not knowing his lines, and Jazzer has said he isn't going to come back until replacements for Clarrie and Eddie have been found.

Susan is telling Clarrie that the baby should be home soon. They both like the name Martha, and reminisce about Martha Woodford; Susan says she was a terrible gossip when she was running the shop, and Clarrie mutters 'yeah, well, no change there'. Susan tells her that Lynda is now wondering about having a real newborn for the baby Jesus, then apologises for mentioning the play, and tactlessly tells her Eddie's name is mud among people in the shop. At this point Kirsty turns up wanting a private word with Susan.

Jazzer is bragging about his rôle in the birth last week, and Leonard says it's the most amazing story: he should write it down so it can go in the time capsule.

Kirsty is given a telling-off by Susan about her treatment of Clarrie. She tries to defend herself, and says what's done is done and Clarrie is not going to be reinstated as Susan is demanding; Lynda wants Susan to take Clarrie's part. Susan says no, but Kirsty says she knows she wants to: Lynda needs an answer by the end of the day.

While Jazzer is doing his writing for Leonard, the subject of which he keeps to himself, Tracy turns up to see him and thank him for bringing her great-niece Martha into the world, being there for Alice and not panicking. Jazzer asks after mother and baby, and Tracy says they are both well and Alice will be forever grateful to him, but claims she doesn't want to discuss her own experience of giving birth for the first time; they are however able to agree about how wonderful it is seeing a new-born baby.

At the dairy Susan is being uncharacteristically quiet, then tells Clarrie what Kirsty was there about, which Clarrie tells her she already knew because the pair were in clear earshot. Clarrie tells her to take the part; if she can't have it, she'd rather Susan got it than anyone else. She offers Susan the costume she's made. Then she lets on that she wasn't at all looking forward to making her entrance on a horse, which seems to be news to Susan, and unwelcome news at that.

Tracy tells Jazzer about her experience of having Chelsea with nobody there including the midwife, all on her own for a whole ten minutes because of an emergency elsewhere. She gives a graphic account of labour, and how the memory of being alone has stayed with her; she is very grateful to Jazzer just for being there and sparing Alice from that experience. He realises that his part in Martha's birth was not the important one, and when Tracy says she'll leave him to his writing, he says he's going to tell Leonard he won't be doing it.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 18th March, 2021

Eddie enjoys the silent treatment, and Alice reaches out past Chris.

Characters: Chris, Alice, Susan, Clarrie, Eddie, Lisa
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Sarah McDonald Hughes & Caroline Harrington

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Chris is very happy about how well Martha is doing; Alice is monosyllabic about it, and hard on herself, as Chris points out. He says that it's not easy, but she's moving in the right direction and she's coming through it. Alice says she hasn't come through anything, and it's not fixed; she's doing OK, but she's not better and she still wants a drink every single day.

Susan thinks Eddie defending Clarrie is romantic, but Clarrie doesn't want to be defended. Susan changes the subject slightly to the fact that Lynda has rejected her suggestion that Lily Pargetter's king ride in, Lily being an accomplished horsewoman, while Susan's king be the one carried in on a throne. Then she tells Clarrie that she needs to face up to Eddie and make him be reasonable.

Chris has blown a gasket a little: he can't believe that Alice is saying that. He has been trying to be strong for her, and she is telling him she would throw it all away for a drink? She says she is terrified, and she knows Martha needs her, and she isn't sure she can do it: it's breaking her. Chris despairingly says its breaking him too. Tell him what to do and he'll do it; what does she want? She doesn't know but says she needs help.

Eddie is griping about the list of rules posted by the rehearsal room door at the Darrington play, things like no phones being allowed, no chatting, no eating. Mia and Poppy are being quiet and he has noticed; Clarrie refuses to talk to him, then tells him it's a silent protest. It's not, as Eddie initially assumes, a school project: none of them will speak to him unless he changes his mind about doing the Darrington part.

Her 'detox buddy' Lisa is on the phone, telling Alice about her own post natal depression, and that what Alice is describing is perfectly normal. Her hormones are all over the place, and maintaining sobriety at the same time is a real burden. There is nothing wrong with Alice, it's all text book, 'One day at a time, get through one day.' Alice complains that Martha and staying sober are both meant to be her top priority. She has been noticing the intensive care unit babies worse off than Martha, and she can't make eye contact with their mothers; they deserve so much better than she does. Alcoholism is an illness, says Lisa firmly, and asking for help is exactly what she should do. She's always there for her. Alice says telling Chris was a big mistake, because he wants her to be fixed when she's not. He just doesn't get it; Lisa urges her to try and talk with him.

Clarrie goes out and offers Eddie a cup of tea because she felt sorry for him out in the cold all on his own; he says he's fine, fixing his car. She mentions that it doesn't sound much fun at Darrington. He says the trouble is all because of Evangeline. Clarrie suggests he doesn't have to stick to it, but Eddie says he isn't going to let Lynda get away with it, and anyway he could get used to the kids being quiet.

Alice and Chris are with Martha, doting. Chris wants to talk about getting help; she tells him she has talked to Lisa from detox, who was really helpful. Chris apologises for having failed to understand, before. He was frightened, but that was no excuse. Alice tries to reassure him and tells him not to beat himself up; she feels better after talking to Lisa and it's under control.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 22nd March, 2021

Jim and Susan, with quite different goals, are both trying hard.

Characters: Neil, Jim, Shula, Susan, Emma
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Adrian Flynn & Tim Stimpson
Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Neil tells Jim that Martha has started to feed well. Jim is pleased to hear it and sympathises about the worry for the family of having a newborn in intensive care, but turns back to business, asking Neil to stay on as Chair of the Parish Council until the next election, in May. Neil is determined to resign, and Jim says he will miss him and that his calmness will make him very difficult to replace. This evening they will nominate his successor. Neil goes to make himself a sandwich; Susan has had to dash out, but Neil is not at liberty to say where she has gone.

Shula tells Susan that Barclay is a traditional cob, with a lovely temperament, but Susan is uneasy because of his size. She is clearly very scared of that and wishes she could have a pony instead: Shula explains that carrying load is a consideration which rules that option out. Indignantly, Susan begins to point out that she doesn't have a backside like... 'Yes?' Shula enquires; Susan does not complete her sentence, but instead begs Shula to keep her coming for lessons secret: Lynda has demanded absolute secrecy about the play. When Susan starts to tell her about Clarrie's having been sacked, Shula turns the conversation back to the matter in hand.

The bus timetable has been discussed at the council Zoom meeting, and Neil calls a bathroom break. Richard has apparently complained that a stapler was bought without the proper paperwork, and Emma thinks it's ridiculous fuss over nothing, but admires the way Neil kept his temper about that and veiled accusation over the playground. Jim, Emma and Neil wonder who will be the next chair.

Susan has led Barclay round the arena, but hesitates about actually mounting him. She wants to finish early, to go and make Neil's tea after a difficult meeting; she is surprised to be told that Shula knew he would be resigning. Shula has charged her the full rate and she should get full value from it. She really doesn't want to mount, but Shula is firm.

The council meeting didn't make any progress, apart from Richard Thwaite offering to stand in for Neil until May; Emma says she will resign if he does. Not for the first time, Jim suggests she might do it, but Emma has thought about it and doesn't want to. She doesn't have time, and she doesn't want to get caught up in the backbiting. 'Who else is there?' Jim asks forlornly.

Shula has Susan practising rising in the saddle. Susan asks whether Shula is still planning on being a vicar. Susan says yes, then goes right on trying to teach her how to sit on a horse. Susan finds it all very awkward. Shula then leads Barclay round the paddock.



Emma favours Jill for chair, but Jim can't see it: she gets too involved in things. He then gets an email from Hilary Noakes, who intends to stand for the council in May and will put herself forward for chair as soon as she is eligible. Emma is thoroughly unimpressed, and Jim would find her intolerable: they have to stop her by finding someone else first.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 23rd March, 2021

Martha has come home, and Rex may have to leave.

Characters: Doctor, Alice, Chris, Rex, Phoebe, Alan
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Adrian Flynn & Tim Stimpson
Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The doctor tells Alice and Chris they can take Martha home; Alice is dubious, but the doctor and Chris are certain all is and will be well, and her every expression of doubt is batted away. The doctor does ask her whether she feels she is ready, and she says she's not sure because of the alcoholism, but Chris talks over her, and the doctor congratulates her and says that overcoming addiction is not easy. In any case she will be able call on professional support and help when she gets home.

Rex is losing his temper on the phone with a farmer who might have leased him some land in Shelly Magna (about twenty miles away on the far side of Borchester) in case the council farm doesn't come through: the Hollowtree lease runs out on May 21st. Phoebe congratulates him on sticking to his guns (and cutting off his nose) and then wants him to come and look at a place for the rewilding campsite: after all, they can't keep the environmental consultant waiting.

Alice informs Chris that she has checked in the cupboard to make sure she has packed everything, so Chris does it again. Alice is not mentally ready to leave hospital, but Chris overrides her anxiety because he is determined she will feel better when she gets home and they are a proper family at last. She acquiesces, and talks herself into putting on a brave face.

Phoebe is showing Rex where the best spot would be for the compost toilets; he is replying to a text from someone who also applied for the council farm, and didn't get it. Phoebe initially thinks they would call the winner first, then suggests optimistically that they may be leaving the successful applicant until last, and to change the subject starts to discuss where to the expensive standpipe for the camping is going to go. They need to press ahead with their income streams. Rex reminds her that the longhorn cattle must be kept out of the campsite. Then he gets a 'number withheld' call which might be from the council.

Alan meets Chris leaving the shop and asks how Martha is. Chris tells him she's at home and Jennifer and Brian are there, so he is shopping and in a hurry. Alan tells him that Amy has sent her love, and starts to try to probe into how Chris feels while Chris walks away.

Rex has been turned down; they did call the winner first, as Phoebe had expected. Rex is very cast down: he's stuck with fifty plus pigs and nowhere to put them. Maybe he'll have to think further afield, even outside Borsetshire. Phoebe tries to suggest ways he might not have to move away, even briefly suggesting the rewilding land, which Rex points out is totally unsuitable for that number of pigs; she then makes it clear she has no further interest in helping him on that front.

Alan has pursued Chris and refused to let him get home, and is interrogating him about his feelings: because he cares. Chris steps back from his previous forced confidences and denies hating Alice: when he looks at her with the baby, the love he feels is totally overwhelming. Alan goes on probing, telling him that hatred is less frightening to feel than fear, and continues to give facile advice. Chris ends up making yet more confidences he would probably prefer not to about his having said he was afraid he might start to hate Alice and why that was, and Alan goes on being deeply caring and giving him facile advice. The goaded Chris tells him he is aware that what he needs to do is just to be a good husband and father, and that is what he is going to be.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 24th March, 2021

Kate is intrusive and Neil is uncooperative.

Characters: Susan, Lee, Brian, Phoebe, Kate, Neil
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Adrian Flynn & Tim Stimpson
Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Susan is in the Post Office, sending a parcel for Lee, who has sold a Spider Man action figure. Susan reminisces about Christopher playing with superhero dolls, and Lee corrects her terminology repeatedly to 'figures', while managing not to tell her where he and Helen might plan to move in together. Susan asks him about core strength exercises, and he says he's doing some with seniors at the Laurels, but you can use them at any age. She is asking for Neil, of course.

Brian is on the phone to Phoebe and arranges to meet her at the office. Kate comes in and is sarcastic about her daughter not ever phoning her. Kate says 'tree-houses' and Phoebe is dismissive; she doesn't need Kate's help. Kate clearly has a great deal of jargon at her fingertips to try to talk Phoebe into taking on her ideas; Phoebe is impressed but busy, and makes the mistake of saying she has to go to see Brian. Kate immediately invites herself along to the meeting.

Neil is reading up on swine fever spread in Europe, sitting in a deck-chair. Susan won't let him have some of the Black Forest Gateau in the fridge, saying he has to earn it. She is in her jogging trousers ready for Lee coming round to show her some core exercises: he's turning up in ten minutes and he is coming to help them both. Neil doesn't want to have anything to do with it, but Susan admits she gave Lee the idea it was for Neil; Neil is amused and asks what happens if he says no, before going to change into a track-suit.

Brian is being more-or-less polite about Rex, and Kate clearly has no intention of allowing the meeting to go ahead without sticking her oar in, despite her undertaking to Phoebe.. When he is pulled back to what is actually supposed to be the subject, Brian says he has been looking into longhorns, and reckons Aberdeen Anguses would be more profitable. Kate interrupts to agree that they don't want cattle like that anywhere near campers, and is generally a nuisance. Phoebe insists on the longhorns. Kate is unpleasant about Rex, and wants to talk about tree-houses, to which Phoebe is strongly opposed; Brian takes Kate's side on the grounds of finance. Phoebe understandably becomes exasperated and insists that she and Rex will make all the commercial decisions, which are not Brian's business. She doesn't even bother to go on telling Kate to butt out.

Lee is teaching core exercises to Susan and Neil, with breathing and posture. Neil thinks he has finished, claims to have something he has to get on with indoors, and leaves, thanking Lee profusely. Susan goes on pretending the exercises are for Neil rather than her, then when Lee tells her it can take months to see a difference, asks him for shortcuts.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 25th March, 2021

Chris is at his wits' end, and Susan is more shocked than she expected.

Characters: Chris, Alice, Susan, Helen, Clarrie, crying baby
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Adrian Flynn & Tim Stimpson
Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At The Nest, Chris goes in to see Alice and the baby; Martha has fed well and is spark-out. Alice tells him they're both fine, and Chris has had a call from Jakob asking him to help with some remedial shoeing. He doesn't want to leave her alone for the morning, but agrees to go. Just before he leaves, he convinces himself that the baby just smiled at him; then he goes out to work.

Susan tells Helen that Lee has really made her exercise, and pumps her for information about the house she and Lee are looking for. Then Susan gets cramp, and sends Helen off to make the pressing calls she had mentioned earlier.

Alice rings Chris in a panic because Martha is crying; she wants him back immediately, or to ring the hospital. He has only just lit his forge, but agrees to let Jakob down and go straight back.

Clarrie has asked Susan to do a reading at her renewal of vows. She is getting quite excited about all the plans they are making. Susan says Eddie is very romantic, and Clarrie points out that he has been photographed by the Echo for Darrington's play. Susan thinks he is doing it all for Clarrie. Then Susan gets a cramp again, if it is indeed a cramp, and Clarrie goes on talking about Ed and Eddie weighing the lambs, until Susan cries out in real pain.

Martha has no fever (36.6, reports Chris) but Alice says the hospital sent them home too soon and accuses Chris of shouting, and tells him that he keeps not accepting that there might be something wrong with Martha; and whose fault is that, snaps Chris. He takes the baby away upstairs.

Susan is in pain, and Clarrie threatens to call an ambulance. It turns out that for the past two hours Susan has been wearing an abs toner which Lee lent her for Neil, because she wants to get fit for riding the horse. Helen exclaims that Lee only wears it for a few minutes at a time and persuades her to take it off, and Clarrie and Helen swear to keep it secret; Helen agrees to take it back to Lee and tell him that Neil doesn't want to take short-cuts to fitness.

Chris has calmed Martha and is singing to her. She is asleep, and he puts her in the crib. Alice comes up to talk to him about his being at the end of his tether, demanding that he be honest with her. He denies really blaming her for anything that goes wrong with Martha, but Alice insists and eventually goads him into shouting that yes, he does blame her. He then tells her that yes, he lost his temper, but he does love her. Alice says that he's never going to be able to trust her, is he. He exclaims indignantly against that, and Martha cries, which Alice says proves her point. He says that he's not allowed to be angry, then, but he thought she wanted him to be honest. In any case, the only thing that matters now is Martha.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 29th March, 2021

Jim has got one problem after another.

Characters: Jazzer, Jim, Emma, Ben, Tracy
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jazzer and Jim are having breakfast; Jim is rude about Eddie going over to Darrington for the mysteries, but Jazzer thinks he was right to defend his lady. Jim is looking for inspiration for Jade's birthday: something that is not snobby or patronising. He wants to get it right, because he thinks he and Jade might have something in common. Jazzer is no help. Jim tells him he is going to meet Tracy outside the tearoom to talk about cricket, before going on to the Council meeting.

Jill has told Emma she has no intention of taking over as Council chair; Ben finds it all highly amusing. Emma thinks Jill would be good at the job, so Ben offers to try to talk her round; he has some ideas about what might improve Ambridge.

Tracy is displeased with the fitness, or otherwise, of the cricket team. They are not match-ready, though as Jim says, they need to be encouraged a bit after such a long time without being able to play. Tracy is going to start her vlog again: she is out to win matches when the season starts. Jazzer has sent Jim a screen-shot of a possible present: personalised pyjamas. Jim doesn't think much of it and wonders if a voucher would be better. Tracy suggests a hamper, not one that is too expensive.

Outside the Village Hall Ben tells Emma that Jill doesn't want to be chair, but has got a lift to the meeting from him; he has to stay until he gives her a lift home, so he had better come in and watch. Hilary Noakes has arrived and Jim greets her, as Ben goes in with Emma, who will show him where to sit.

Jazzer offers to film Tracy in her new cricket togs for the vlog, and Tracy is then scathing about him being no good at it; but he wants to thank her for helping Jim about the present. She advises him not to get Jade the pyjamas, no matter how cute he may think them, and wishes him well with her.

Jim shouts after Richard Thwaite, who has left after Audrey was elected as temporary Chair, with Hilary Noakes rather obviously pulling the strings. Jim thinks that Audrey will be trouble. Ben found it all hysterical, especially Audrey being impassioned about not liking the position of the bus-stop outside her bay window. Jim just wishes that Neil were still Chair; there is more trouble to come, in his estimation.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 30th March, 2021

Lynda is furious, and Harrison shows tact.

Characters: Eddie, Lynda, Kirsty, Harrison, Chris, Alice
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Eddie and Lynda are talking outside the shop; Jim has been tearing a strip off Eddie because he feels strongly about loyalty. Eddie asks whether God and the shepherd have been cast; he might come back if... Lynda cuts him off, and tells him that what's done cannot be undone, so he leaves. Kirsty arrives and Lynda tells her about her moral victory; Kirsty points out they are still two actors short.

Chris has rung Harrison to see whether Fallon might be able to drop in to see Alice; Chris won't be able to pop home today, Jennifer is busy and Kate didn't seem like a good idea. Fallon is busy too; Harrison volunteers.

Kirsty is watching Eddie feed his pigs; Ed is dagging his sheep and told her where to find Eddie. Kirsty is trying to pick his brains about the Darrington play; Eddie suddenly blurts out that Evangeline is a monster; she picks up every flaw, and makes people pay forfeits if they are late. Kirsty offers to broker a compromise with Lynda.

Harrison is doting over the tiny Martha. He has tried to persuade Alice that he is there coincidentally; she gets out of him that Chris told him she would be on her own and might be lonely

Lynda and Eddie have been brought face to face, and Kirsty says that she believes they all want the same thing, but Eddie and Lynda seem unable to be civil to each other. Kirsty points out the fact that they still need two characters, and Eddie starts to make a revelatory remark about the Darrington production but thinks better of it. Kirsty gets Lynda to admit that she was hasty, and Eddie asks for Clarrie to be readmitted. Kirsty suggests perhaps a backstage role, and Eddie demands that Lynda must apologise to Clarrie in person. Lynda reluctantly agrees.

Alice is shouting at Harrison, accusing Chris of not trusting her. Harrison is soothing and tactful, saying that he has told nobody about Alice's drinking and that she is doing very well compared to the people he sees as part of his job. He also assures her that Chris loves her and cares about her, and that it was worry about her being alone and lonely that led him to ask Harrison to drop by, not worry in case she wasn't looking after Martha properly. Alice calms down.

Kirsty and Lynda tell Eddie that they'll see him at rehearsals. The secret is out: Darrington are using the same script as Lynda. Lynda sees this as deliberate sabotage, and she is going to stop the Darrington production. They'll rue the day they took on Lynda Snell!

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 31st March, 2021

Ben is disappointed and Lynda is confounded.

Characters: Ben, Ruairi, Lynda, Kirsty, Evangeline
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Ben and Ruairi are talking about the caravan; Jill has given them some cushions for it. He is looking forward to his liaison with Evie that night, but Ruairi says that he wants to use the love-nest himself, while refusing to vouchsafe the name, or indeed the sex, of his date. They agree to decide it like men: rock, paper, scissors it is.

Lynda is after Justice; Kirsty is arguing without success that it may not have been Evangeline who is trespassing on Lynda's idea.

Ben has lost the contest, but Ruairi has been winding him up: he has no date: He says that he was making the point that the place is as much his as Ben's. Then he gives him something for the time-capsule: an audio message for the future Ruairi, like he had from Siobhan. Ben thinks it's a brilliant idea, and he would like to do one as well.

Lynda has gone to see Evangeline, who is not surprised to see her and is crushingly polite, while remaining adamant that it is the Ambridge production that should be cancelled. Lynda tries to pull rank, and claims to have the performance licence.

Ruairi asks how Ben sees himself in ten years' time, but Ben doesn't know. Ruairi simply wants to have lots of money, and reckons he is just one big idea away from millions. Ben can see a future with Evie; kids by thirty, he doesn't want to be an old dad, but he hasn't a scoobie what else he wants to do apart from that. He is only reading Geography & Politics because he liked them at school: he doesn't see them leading anywhere in particular, and he knows he has no chance of working at Brookfield, with Pip in pole position there as she is.

Evangeline is most grateful about being informed of the need for the the rights to perform the script, and asks about details, including the payment method. Then she pounces: Lynda hasn't done any of the things she has claimed are necessary, and she knows this because she is the writer Colin Whitstable, and she is not about to give Lynda the rights to her script.

Ben rings Ruairi; Evie came over, found Jill and Leonard in the caravan, and was so embarrassed that she got straight into her car and went away again. Ruairi thinks it's hysterical, two oldies having a better love-life than either of them.

Lynda is pretending to Kirsty that she was swayed by Evangeline, and is postponing the production of the Mysteries. She is going to write a new translation, and tell the cast the good news that they won't need to learn it immediately. Kirsty wants to leave doing that until Friday, since the Mosses' court case is tomorrow. She hopes Gavin gets off more lightly than Philip; but seeing that it's the law, anything could happen.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 1st April, 2021

All goes well for Alice and for Kirsty.

Characters: Emma, Alice,Kirsty, Roy, Harrison
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Emma is seeing posters for the Darrington mysteries everywhere on her shopping trip with Alice. Alice wants to know if she ought to ring Chris; they ought to go back. Emma points out they have been gone only half an hour, but sympathises about not being with the baby for such a long time. A text from Chris arrives to tell them Martha is fine, complete with photo over which Emma has a quick coo; he wants some more cotton wool.

Kirsty is in a flap waiting to hear from Harrison. Roy distracts her by asking about the Mysteries being cancelled; she, and the cast, are baffled about Lynda's behaviour and attitude. Helen sends her a text to ask how she's doing; she doesn't answer it but tells Roy that she is doing all right. Roy offers to drive her over to the court if she wants to be there, but she doesn't: she never wants to see Philip again. Roy thinks they need a new distraction: finding something for Ben's time-capsule, and it has to be positive. You have to find your own silver linings in this life: no-one else will find them for you.

Somehow they seem to have bought twenty-four cream eggs for Martha, but Alice will help her eat them. Alice wants to go home soon, but Emma wants to treat her to a manicure, if a nail-bar is allowed to be open. If not, she'll book one for after Easter.

Roy has finally met someone on line, called Layla; she's a South London science teacher with teenage sons, and Kirsty is glad for him but can't help teasing him a bit. Jill texts to say she is thinking of her. Then a text arrives from Harrison saying that the sentences are going to be handed down now and he will get in touch in about ten minutes. Kirsty is in a state of nerves and can't bear the idea of Philip possibly coming to Ambridge and seeing her.

Alice leaves a message for Chris on his phone saying that everything is fine and she's really glad she and Emma are getting on well; Emma reappears saying she's had a nasty shock in the nail-bar, where she's seen two girls working in a back room; the prices are very low and she's afraid they might be enslaved. She is going to ring and report it. Better to waste a phone call than not do something if it's needed.

Philip has got eight years; Harrison wants to know if Kirsty's all right because she is temporarily silent when given the news. He tells her that before Philip was sent down he turned nasty with the judge, and ended up in handcuffs. Gavin got five years. Poor Gavin, says Kirsty, but Harrison says she shouldn't waste sympathy on him. Kirsty is still worried about Jordan, Blake and Kenzie, and Harrison reassures her that the police are still looking for them, and he will tell her anything he can if she asks him. Before ringing off he tells Roy to look after Kirsty. When he has gone Roy is comforting and sympathetic, telling her that she is amazing.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 5th April, 2021

Kirsty and Jazzer are both in need of pep-talks.

Characters: Jazzer, Jade, Kirsty, Helen, Jim
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Katie Hims & Liz John
Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jazzer sings Happy Birthday to Jade and offers her cake, which he made himself. They've ridden the bike through Darrington, and watched the horse one of the kings was riding as it bolted down the High Street. He regrets Ambridge no longer having the play in which he was to be both king and shepherd. Then she opens her presents: he has got her a new biker jacket, but although she is pleased, he doesn't seem particularly enthusiastic about it. She is surprised to get a present from Jim, and takes the hamper of toiletries from him as code for 'you're a dirty cow'.

Kirsty is afraid she may have rung Helen at a bad time; she's sitting at reception in Grey Gables, which is very quiet, and feeling a bit weird, as she has ever since Philip was sentenced. Everything that's happened to her since this time last year sounds ridiculous. She arranges to see Helen later.

Jade is still furious with Jim, and Jazzer is offended on Jim's behalf. What is it with Jazzer and old people anyway? she wants to know. She says Jim controls him, and Jazzer defends Jim; she is now definitely picking a fight with Jazzer. She suggests there is something wrong about Jim having a young lodger, with innuendo about unnatural relationships, and Jazzer dumps her, saying as an afterthought that her pasta trick is disgusting.

Kirsty has returned the slow-cooker Pat and Tony got her as a wedding present. She doesn't want to keep anything to remind her, though she hopes they won't be offended. She is clearly falling apart, and when asked, says no, she isn't really ok. Helen goes into soothing mode. Kirsty says she doesn't know what she is going to do with her life, and she has nothing to distract her now she is no longer looking for the lads nor doing the play – though she takes time to say how glad Lynda was that the Darrington production was a disaster. She feels that she has no energy left.

Jim is inveighing against Audrey Fisher, who has been sent to try him, then asks about Jazzer's picnic with Jade. Jazzer lies about it and says Jade said thank-you for his present, which pleases Jim if it has helped them get onto better terms. Then Jazzer suddenly says he has dumped her. He claims to be happy to be single. He thinks Jade was too young for him, and he might prefer a more mature woman.

Helen starts to advise Kirsty about clawing herself back from the brink of insanity and despair, as Helen had to do; her advice is to find something to do, as Helen did. She suggests going freelance as an environmental consultant, and when Kirsty cavils to the effect that she is too old and doesn't feel competent Helen shoots that down: Kirsty's not even forty and she is the most competent person Helen knows.

Jazzer admits to Jim that he did have a particular more mature woman in mind; she's really great, and he can't stop thinking about her romantically. They can have a laugh together. But he doesn't want to say who it is in case it doesn't work out. Jim says he ought to communicate with the lady. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Who dares wins. He's sure Jazzer gets the idea.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 6th April, 2021

Jazzer has a present for Tracy, and Brian has one for Alice.

Characters: Jazzer, Chris, Brian, Alice, Tracy
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Katie Hims & Liz John
Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jazzer, busy with his phone, literally runs into Chris outside the shop, and asks after Martha. Chris assumes that he was distracted trying to send a text to Jade. Martha hasn't slept well and Chris is very tired, but is going out to work anyway.

Brian is visiting Martha and Alice, bringing the Home Farm partnership meeting minutes with him. Martha wakes up, and Brian offers to take the baby out for a bit so that Alice can have a sleep. She goes and gets the pram. Jennifer is at the dentist, having lost a filling overnight. Alice packs enough baby-gear for a safari, and Brian sets off with his granddaughter.

Jazzer turns up at Tracy's door, just before nine. He hasn't sent her a text because it was too difficult, but he was wondering if she wants the present she suggested Jim get for Jade, who didn't like it. Tracy immediately misunderstands him and thinks he is trying to two-time Jade with her, but he manages to tell her he's dumped Jade. The fact that it was on her birthday doesn't appeal to Tracy, who tells him to do one, and slams the door.

Brian has come back with Martha, who approved of lambs and of Adam going past on the tractor: she is very alert and bright as a button, he tells her mother. But he has to go and look in Jennifer's mouth, because she isn't happy with her new filling. He offers Alice special chocolates he bought in the shop, and some Rioja; Alice points out she is breastfeeding and can't have wine, so he starts to take it away, but then she asks him to leave it: Chris enjoys a glass of red, after all.

Jazzer is knocking at Tracy's door again, after breakfast. He flatters her, and she is intrigued. He says he has a lot of feelings for her, and she says they get along OK but he is still a big kid, and she needs a proper bloke who actually cares about her and wouldn't up and leave if he got a good job. He tells her she is important to him, and he wants to get together properly; she takes him for a sucker by assuming he wants to propose to her. Then she says she's had worse, and she might need some more persuading. She calls him cheeky and drags him indoors.

Alice has cooked, and is in a good mood; Martha is asleep in her rocker, and Chris will be able to eat in peace. Alice has decided on the basis of Brian's compliments that she and Chris have probably been worrying about nothing. She tells Chris about the chocolates, but doesn't mention the wine.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 7th April, 2021

George is not at his birthday party; more worryingly, nor is Alice.

Characters: Emma, Chris, Will, Kate, Phoebe, Brian, Alice
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Katie Hims & Liz John
Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Emma is offering to fetch a blanket for Martha, while she and Chris wait outside Grange Farm for George to get back for his birthday party. Emma is encouraging about Alice coping so well with being a mother; Chris tells her Alice is hoovering the lounge before coming over. Emma hasn't heard back about the nail bar. Will comes over to have a look at Martha and offers Chris a beer, but Chris says tea is fine. Then he and Emma reminisce with Will about being sixteen and what they used to get up to.

Kate is showing off about rewilding to Phoebe, and Phoebe doesn't want to know; she doesn't want Kate's 'help'. She thinks, accurately, that Kate hasn't been listening to her and is trying to take things over. She is more interested in compost toilets than Kate's ideas, which seem to involve wholesale relocation of the yurts to the rewilding land. Eventually Kate takes herself off to drop in on Alice and Martha.

Chris and Emma are still chatting with Will about babies, but Chris can't blank the worry and just enjoy things. He wants Alice to bring George's present before George arrives. Will reckons George reminds him of Joe. Then George texts to say he is busy and will be late; he is with friends discussing going on holiday together. Chris goes off to fetch Alice while Will and Emma decide George can't go on holiday without them. Only they can't stop him if he is paying for himself, which was why he wanted money for his birthday: cunning, just like Joe.

Brian is supporting Kate's tree-house idea; but he isn't clear about why Kate is muscling in on Phoebe's project. Phoebe explains about Kate wanting to move Spiritual Home from Broad Acre onto Phoebe's land. Brian is thoroughly annoyed by that, given that his house was sold because she refused to move Spiritual Home, and Phoebe promises to tell her she can't put her yurts on rewilding land..

Chris meets Kate, who has assumed Alice was out because there was no answer when she knocked; he stops her from going back with him. Sure enough, Alice is passed out when he gets in. She wakes and decides to feed Martha, but is clearly drunk; Chris sees a wine-bottle. He won't hand over the baby, and starts apologising to Martha, telling her he will get her some formula. When Alice protests that the baby needs her, he tells her to get away from them, taking Martha and slamming the door behind them.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 8th April, 2021

Kirsty has had an idea; Alice proposes one as well.

Characters: Alice, Chris, Kirsty, Helen, Lee
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Katie Hims & Liz John
Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Alice is trying to get through to Chris and say she is so sorry. Chris isn't willing to let her get away with it. He drove around for hours last night and when he found an open shop he bought every sort of formula they sold. He refuses to let her feed Martha because of the alcohol, even though Alice says that after twelve hours the milk should be fine. Martha is crying, and Alice says she is crying for her.

Kirsty turns up to see Helen very early; she wants to tell Helen about the letter she's had from Philip's solicitor, and she wants to to talk to Lee and Helen together about the brilliant idea she's had.

Alice doesn't want Martha to get used to the bottle, because she is in physical agony and having to express into the sink; Chris declines to accept the blame for this, and is not sympathetic at all about what she has done to herself. He says that he needs to understand why she got hammered. She tells him about the wine, and how she planned to keep it as a safety net, which he finds frankly unlikely. She does a lot of self-justifying, and he doesn't make any comment while she flounders. Eventually he points out that she has support and ought to use it; Lisa, perhaps.

Kirsty has led Lee and Helen to the Beechwood house, because she wants them to live there. Apparently Philip is going to pay back the proceeds of crime from his savings and the sale of the flat, so that the house can be Kirsty's, and she wants to let it to them.

Alice has spoken to Lisa, who is glad she has been honest about her feelings. She justifies not telling Chris because she didn't want to see how he would look if she did. She swears she isn't going to drink again, and he ought to believe it because she loves him. He is still unconvinced that he can ever trust her. She says she is still learning how to do this, and he tells her he isn't sure how much more he can take: he hasn't got anything left. He's so tired, and out of his depth. Martha starts to cry again, and Alice goes to get her.

Lee is planning where to site climbing frames and other toys for the boys in the garden, and Helen is glad they would be so close to her parents. Kirsty wants to know what they have decided. Lee says it's a yes from him; Kirsty says she can definitely let it to them, but Helen expects there to be a catch: there is always a catch. They can buy it later if they want to, explains Kirsty; Helen says they would love to. So that is something good coming out of the whole mess, as far as Kirsty is concerned.

Alice is feeding Martha, and has calmed down. Chris asks if she wants anything, and she says she could do with him forgiving her; but he meant like a cup of tea, or a biscuit. Yet again she promises, swears on her life, that she won't drink again. But she can't swear on Martha's life. She's had an idea: she was thinking they could get her christened. Chris isn't sure: as Alice herself has said, they aren't religious and he doesn't think it's the answer. Alice says she doesn't think it's the answer either, but they need to celebrate Martha, and Chris agrees after a lot of hesitation. But he says he loves Alice, and that he always will; she says he's a good man, a saint, and that she is going to make it all right, but he has to believe her. He says that he does.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 12th April, 2021

Jazzer succeeds by failing, and Alice is making things worse.

Characters: Jazzer, Tracy, Alice, Susan, Lisa
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Liz John & Tim Stimpson

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jim has lent Jazzer the Riley for a date with Tracy, complete with plastic-covered seats. Jazzer assures Tracy it's nothing personal and she points out that Alice giving birth in the car must have nearly given Jim a heart attack. They are on a visit to a Tudor house called Trueman's Hall, which isn't what Tracy was expecting and is not the sort of place he took Jade. She sees some bluebells in the woods and says they are her favourite flowers. They also spot a man in a flat cap, who seems to be watching them.

Alice has gone to the shop for bread, and tells Susan Alan has squeezed in Martha's christening in the first week of May. Susan is very excited and wants to lend them a christening gown, but Adam has already lent them Xander's. Susan then starts to ask about catering, but Fallon is doing that, which rather takes the wind out of Susan's sails; when she asks what she can do for the christening, Alice says just be there. Susan moves on to the question of godparents, and Alice says they have asked Harrison and Fallon; Susan suggests someone who loves babies and children for the third. Alice says yes, that is why they have asked Pip. Susan, who was clearly about to suggest Emma, is surprised, and Alice explains that they wanted to widen things beyond immediate family: Emma already has a role as Martha's aunt. Anyway, Pip has accepted.. Susan thinks they will need to speak to Emma and soften the blow, so Alice suggests Susan should do it.

Jazzer has chosen a perfect quiet place to watch a re-enactment, only nothing is happening. A socially distanced battle doesn't seem likely to Tracy, and indeed the flyer Jazzer has found is dated 2019. He is very sorry that his surprise has been destroyed by the pandemic. He wanted to show her that is not just the big kid she said he was and that he is interested in the wider world out there. Tracy tells him that she has seen a new side to him now, and they go for coffee at a van she has noticed. Flat-cap man is still taking an interest in them.

Lisa tells Alice that Emma won't be offended, and her family sound really supportive; she should tell them about the drinking so that they won't offer her alcohol, but Alice says she couldn't bear it. Even though Lisa says she did herself and it was fine, Alice asserts that it would kill her. She isn't sure Chris has really forgiven her: she can't forgive her, so she doesn't see why Chris should be able to. It's her disease, and she is the only one who can fix it, but she isn't sure she can. She just has to for Martha. And she is going to stop breast-feeding.

Jazzer has picked Tracy some bluebells, and the flat-capped man has turned out to be a vintage car enthusiast who was a bit disappointed by their ignorance about the Riley's gearbox and other such arcana. Tracy's phone rings: Susan wants to drop off their dad's medication with her. Tracy tells her she is out for the day, and puts the phone down after saying she is with a girl friend, which makes Jazzer wonder slightly what is going on.

Lisa is surprised about the breast-feeding, but Alice says it's fairer if Chris can bond with Martha too, and do some of the night feeds, and anyway she wants to go back to work to distract herself; she's sorry about going on to Lisa. Lisa tells her that talking with her helps Lisa, by reminding her that she herself is better but not well. One slip isn't the end of the world, says Lisa, and gives Alice good advice about distracting herself when she feels stressed or wants a drink. Lisa doesn't think her partner still judges her after six years, though she judges herself, and she predicts that Alice and Chris will be happy when Martha is the age that Dylan is now.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 13th April, 2021

Kate is Kate, and Harrison is helpful.

Characters: Kate, Jennifer, Harrison, Alice, Fallon
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Liz John & Tim Stimpson

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Kate has been trying to talk to Brian, who has walked off after not speaking to her. Jennifer explains he is upset about Kate wanting to move the yurts now after everything she put them through. Kate aggressively insists that it wasn't her fault Home Farm was sold and anyway they are perfectly happy living in their new house, and then complains that Jennifer doesn't want to talk to her, preferring to think about the food for the christening. Kate had not heard about Fallon being a godmother, and is prepared to go over the history of the land-poisoning all over again; Jennifer tells her she needs to think before opening her mouth.

Harrison is talking to Martha, in her pram that was a very expensive present from Lilian. He is flattered at being asked to be a godfather, but then mentions Chris looking shattered; Alice says that it was a one-off, assuming Chris had mentioned her drinking, and decides to go home immediately.

Fallon is having a zoom conversation with Jennifer about the catering for the christening, and Kate is heckling. Jennifer suggests having a theme, as they did once before; Kate suggests family or loyalty, and, when Jennifer wonders whether Kate has somewhere else to be, Kate goes on trying to interfere, and tell Fallon how to do her job, and make trouble for Jennifer. She tells Jennifer that Alice hates quiche, which Jennifer, who took her one a few days ago, does not believe; Kate decides to ring up and and ask her.

Alice is confessing her lapse to Harrison when her phone rings; it's just Kate and she ignores it. Harrison reassures her that falling off the wagon wasn't the end of the world, but she's devastated about her one slip in one hundred and thirty-two days, and is sure Chris hasn't forgiven her and will not; she suggests that they are going through a bad patch as a result. Harrison says Martha thinks she is doing a wonderful job, and Alice tells Harrison she can't talk to Chris the way she can to him. He says it's different when you are in a relationship. She tells him she is going to her support group on Thursday. Kate tries again to ring, and Harrison leaves after saying he will always be there if Alice does need to talk.

Jennifer has allowed herself to get involved in argument with Kate, with Fallon occasionally trying to get a word in edgeways. Kate is being objectionable, and says several things disparaging Fallon's catering and claiming she won't be able to cook for vegans while ignoring Fallon, who eventually suggests they decide what they want between them and Jennifer talk with her tomorrow, and cuts the connection. Jennifer has little or no time for Kate at that point.

Fallon has been offended by the suggestion Jennifer is lowering her standards by asking her to do the catering, and by Kate in general. Harrison smooths her ruffled feathers by showing her pictures of him with Martha. Fallon asks suspiciously whether he is getting broody, but he says the great thing about godparenthood is being able to hand them back.

Alice is being verbally assaulted by Kate, who insists Alice doesn't like quiche; Alice tells her that actually she does quite like it. Kate instantly assumes she is taking sides, and Alice is left wondering what has hit her, saying that she has enough to deal with and doesn't need drama. Kate laughs the idea that Alice can cope alone to scorn, and proclaiming that she will always be her sister rings off, having poisoned Alice's day.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 14th April, 2021

Helpfulness has broken out all over the village.

Characters: Susan, Jim, Tracy, Jazzer, Jennifer, Fallon
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Liz John & Tim Stimpson

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jim offers help to Susan with folding a recalcitrant box into a treasure chest for lollipops, which she declines, and she in turn makes suggestions for village amenities. Neil's ideas are not being followed by the council, and she wants there to be a proper legacy of his chairmanship of the PC. She is also thinking of standing for the council; but the deadline for nomination papers has passed, and Jim cannot make an exception to the rules for her. Miffed, she sends him off to man the till.

Tracy finds Jazzer cleaning the Riley for a second time to try to meet Jim's exacting standards, and tells him that Neil wants staff for his outdoor pig-unit. She has come to apologise for lying to Susan about their date; she needed to talk to the kids first. They are fine with it, even if she has scotched Brad's hopes of more home-brew. She'll now break it to Susan.

Jennifer is giving Fallon some some tips for making rhubarb and ginger cupcakes, which Fallon clearly feels she doesn't need. Fallon suggests that since Jennifer is cooking, she herself might now go and help Emma, but Jennifer wants her to watch. Jennifer feels she owes Fallon an explanation for Kate's behaviour, which was pique about not being asked to be a godmother. She has no idea of the effect she has on people, says Jennifer sadly; that's quite common, replies Fallon, deadpan.

Susan too is going on about godparents, and Emma being disappointed; she laughs at the idea of Jazzer in the rôle. Whilst Susan is being rude about him, Tracy tells her she is going out with Jazzer, and it might be serious. Susan goes on, accusing him of being bone idle, and Tracy calls her on that since he like Susan has two jobs; she compares Jazzer being calm in a crisis to Neil, and points out that the pair of them also love pigs. By the end of their conversation Susan is gradually coming round.

Jazzer has triumphed and the treasure chest has been achieved; he then tells Jim that the mature woman he fancied is in fact Tracy. Jim has won ten pounds, because Alistair thought it was Jade. Jim 'traced' her by her perfume, which lingered in the air after she had stayed the night and also lingered in the Riley, as well as being obvious when she was in the shop. Jazzer asks what he thinks: apart from her behaviour on the cricket pitch, which leaves something to be desired, she seems fine, says Jim.

Jennifer is pleased with her cupcakes, and Fallon is impressed with them. Jennifer has loved spreading out to do some cooking, and the big kitchen at the tearoom has made her happy, for the first time in ages, to be baking; she really misses her old kitchen. She offers to help cook there if Fallon ever needs her to, and Fallon says she'll remember that.

Jim tells Susan that Jazzer managed to make the treasure chest, and turns out to have one over on her because he had guessed about Jazzer being with Tracy and she had not. Jim doesn't blow Jazzer's trumpet (no, not at all) at some length, ending by saying that a valuable characteristic of his is that what you see is what you get. Susan reluctantly agrees that maybe he and Tracy will be fine together, shared tendency to get into scrapes and all. Jim has no idea whether it will last.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 15th April, 2021

Tony has a pleasant afternoon, and Alice a disastrous evening.

Characters: Tony, Helen, Lee, Susan, Alice, Harrison
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Liz John & Tim Stimpson

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Tony couldn't find any Aberdeen Angus models for his railway layout model of Bridge Farm, so he has been painting models of Friesians black. Helen is dismissive of his 'new' enthusiasm, though Lee is genuinely interested, and when Tony shows him a new digital controller he is definitely impressed, and wants a go with it. Helen drags him away.

Martha is being restive about feeding from a bottle; Susan is surprised Alice is giving up breast feeding. Alice says she is going to meet some people that evening for a couple of hours, leaving Christopher to look after Martha. Susan offers to have Chris and the baby to stay over so that Alice can have a good night's sleep at home. Alice was only going out for two hours, but Susan presses her case. She wants to be distracted from worrying about Tracy and Jazzer.

Lee has brought Tony some coffee, and Tony tells him about his Castle Class 4-6-0 locomotive the Earl of St Germans (1936, Swindon, no. 5050), then apologises for boring him. Lee confesses that he is jealous, because he too loves models, superheroes in his case, but his daughters don't so he is a bit deprived. Tony asks him about work, where Lee has been having a bit of a hard time, and he is grateful to Tony and the family for helping him get through it and for keeping his fridge well stocked, at least.

Alice has rung Harrison, and says she is sorry, and is a total mess. She's drunk and is afraid to go home. He tells her to listen: he needs to know where she is. She has pulled the car off the road into Leader's Wood, and he tells her to stay put and not touch the keys or go anywhere: he is coming to find her.

Tony and Lee are discussing Spiderman and the difference between the comics and the films. Lee used to be given superhero figures by his dad after the divorce from his mum; maybe he uses superheroes as a sort of substitute for having a father. Tony tells him that model of the Flying Scotsman was John's and having got it working again makes him feel closer to his dead son. They are both playing happily when Helen turns up and tries to stop them. Tony teases her with suggestions about an action figure of Wonder Woman for her birthday, and Lee joins in.

Harrison is going to take Alice home in his car. He can't promise Chris won't be upset; no, because he's not there, says Alice. He's at his mum's and he'll have had supper made for him, and Susan will be cuddling Martha. She knows they will take the baby away from her; she says she thinks it's all over, becoming hysterical. Harrison tries to calm her, but she claims that she doesn't want to be sober, drinking is the only thing that makes her feel normal. She says everything is fake, and she is stuck pretending to be a person that isn't her. She has lost the Alice she used to be. Harrison goes on talking her down and telling her not to think like that. She says that she feels useless and dirty and ashamed, and Chris keeps saying they'll get through it but she's sure it's never going to be right again. Harrison says lots of people care about her, he cares about her, and she just has to keep trying. She promptly lunges at him, and he is horrified.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti


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