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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

Monday 19th April, 2021

Harrison is put through an inquisition, and Jazzer helps out.

Characters: Alice, Harrison, Neil, Jazzer, Fallon
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Caroline Harrington & Nick Warburton

Director:
Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Alice finds Harrison and apologises to him for last week, which she realises was out of order. He points out that if he had done it, it would have been assault, but he stopped her in time. She hasn't told Chris, and doesn't remember telling Harrison that she didn't want to be sober. He wants to know why she had been drinking that night, when she had been doing so well. She says, because there was nothing to stop her. She doesn't expect him to understand the craving; it doesn't go away for a single moment. She just thought why not, when Chris and Martha were out of the way. Harrison was shocked that she told him they would be better off without her; she begs him not to tell either Chris or Fallon about it, but he says that Fallon has noticed something is wrong, and, unlike Alice, he can't lie to the person he loves.

Neil greets Jazzer as they are both going for coffee at the tea-rooms. Jazzer has already seen to the fish and wanted to stretch his legs, whereas Neil is rushed off his feet because he can't find the right people to deal with the new gilts, but the coffee machine at Berrow has run out. He doesn't know how they will cope, and he was going to give Jazzer a call, but Jazzer quickly tells him that he doesn't want to trade the cosy poly-tunnels for pig-arc moving in the winter mud. Then Neil gets a call, because there has been a break-out during the delivery.

Harrison tells Fallon about Alice being drunk last Thursday, and that Alice made a pass at him. Fallon is horrified, and very surprised. She wants to go straight round there to have it out with Alice, but Harrison tells her there's more.

Neil can't believe the gates were left open; but they've got most of the new gilts back. There should be another four, which are probably hiding. Jazzer doesn't reckon anyone at Home Farm will have noticed that he's missing, and stays to help some more. A speeding driver passes them, which worries Neil for the pigs' sake, but Jazzer has spotted them in the trees, exactly where he thought they would be.

Fallon can't believe that Alice is an alcoholic and Harrison has known since last year and not told her. He explains that Alice didn't want anyone to know, and nor did Chris, who told him about it. So what else is he keeping from her, she asks, and what was Alice playing at on Thursday? He thinks Alice may have wanted to do something unforgivable so Chris would leave her. Fallon doesn't understand that she could give up drink while she was pregnant but not now: Harrison tells her about the detox. Fallon is beginning to realise that Alice too has been lying, and that the person she thought she knew isn't real.

Neil and Jazzer are putting the gilts where they belong, and Neil tells Jazzer he makes it look easy. One of the pigs has caught Jazzer's fancy, and Neil laughs at him then offers him the guided tour. He can spare ten minutes, surely? They have quad bikes and tractors to help with the job, he says enticingly. Jazzer points out that fish aren't escape artists.

Fallon advises telling Chris about it; she can see that Alice is putting herself at risk, and that Chris needs to know. Harrison thinks he has enough on his plate already, and then reveals that Alice has fallen off the wagon before. Fallon reckons she is on the slippery slope, and Chris definitely needs to know. And there's the question of Martha's safety. Harrison is torn; what he had thought was the perfect married couple is now on a knife-edge, and he doesn't want to be the one who pushes them over.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 20th April, 2021

Recalling: Lilian wants to, Justin doesn't want to, Fallon does and Alice claims she can't.

Characters: Lilian, Justin, Chris, Fallon, Alice
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Caroline Harrington & Nick Warburton

Director:
Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Lilian has been going through her boxes of memories looking for something to go in the time capsule. Justin wants her to be less personal; time capsules are for current things, not memories of the past. He won't be putting anything in it, because he would rather think of the future. For instance they have no new business venture; he will be able to start one as soon as he has sold his share of the barn he wanted the rewilders to buy, and luckily Serena Horne is a potential purchaser. Lilian is more interested in her personal mementoes, and showing them to Justin. She shows him a lapel pin, which she bought when Ruby won a prize in a show. Justin suggests the whole lot could go in a skip, and is rude about a painting by twelve-year-old Lilian. Then she finds an old cigar box which is not hers; it must have been Dad's. But it is Justin's: a box of mementoes which he doesn't want her see.

Chris invites Fallon in, to see Alice and Martha. She refuses tea; she isn't going to stay, she just wants something sorted.

Lilian is delighted to find Justin's ping-pong medal, or rather, as he insists, his table tennis medal. The box is his sports archive; she coos over a photograph in which he is wearing his hair slicked down in honour of Denis Compton. They enjoy reminiscing until Lilian finds a play cast-list in which Justin is noted as 'the spirit of spring'.

Fallon has told Chris and Alice that she and Harrison don't want to be Martha's godparents after all, and left. Alice tries to cover it up and say they have changed their minds, and that they are already godparents to Harrison's nephew, and other excuses for them, but Chris can't just let it be. He's afraid he must have offended Harrison, and is very upset that they want to walk away from Martha. He wants to have a word with Harrison, but Alice begs him to leave it, and says that she will talk it over with Fallon.

Lilian has found something rather amazing; a photograph of Justin as the spirit of spring in the second form. He is annoyed and tells her she had no business poking about in his sports box. He says nobody would recognise him, and he almost begs her not to show it to anyone to prove that he could be recognised. She eventually offers to dispose of the picture.

Alice has gone to see Fallon to try to talk her round, explaining that she doesn't remember what she was doing; but Fallon's father was a drunk, and she is not interested in Alice's apologies because she has heard it all before. However, Fallon doesn't plan to tell Chris, unless Alice does something like it again. She is adamant in the face of Alice begging her still to be a godparent, and says she feels that they should just keep their distance from one another for a bit: that would be best, wouldn't it.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 21st April, 2021

Harmony at Greenacres and discord at Lower Loxley Hall.

Characters: Lily, Elizabeth, Tracy, Jazzer, Rex, Jim
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Caroline Harrington & Nick Warburton

Director:
Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

It's Elizabeth's birthday and Lily asks whether she enjoyed her lunch with Vince. She did, but is now worrying about the state of the guttering. Vince got her a silk scarf, which Lily dismisses as unoriginal but Elizabeth defends as being both beautiful and very expensive. Freddie needs the car, but he will give Lily a lift into Borchester and she can catch the bus home in time for the birthday tea.

Jazzer has turned up at Grey Gables, in his work gear, to see Tracy. She is nervous about supper with Jim in the evening: he hardly knows her, and they need something to talk about besides cricket. She doesn't want to make the same mistakes Jade did. She is looking up information about an actress whom she has discovered won an award in a Greek play.

Rex has picked up Lily, who hasn't managed to catch the bus home, in his taxi. He tells her about his lease expiring and not getting the council farm; it looks as if he's going to become a full-time taxi-driver, given that Tom is looking for a new supplier of pork for his sausages. Lily says he mustn't give up hope; he tells her the rents people charge for land are off the scale. He'd be happy with rough ground, but can't find any, which gives Lily an idea.

Jim is telling Tracy and Jazzer about the democratic system, with the Parish Council in mind; Tracy mentions the ancient Greeks having invented democracy. They struggle a bit to make conversation, not helped by Jazzer interjecting things: Jim asks after her children, and Tracy tells him she has been reading up about the ancient Greeks, including the theatre, so they get talking about and the legacy of drama: the Greeks are responsible for the magic of Lynda Snell, says Jim wryly.

Lily is showing Rex some rough ground on the Lower Loxley estate, out of sight of the house. It's a big site, with a lane for access onto the road. The pigs would love it, brambles and oak trees and all. She thinks it's about time it was put to good use. Rex can't believe his luck and wonders whether it would really be possible: wouldn't Elizabeth object? Leave Elizabeth to her, Lily tells him grandly.

Tracy is telling an anecdote about her job, and Jim appreciates it. He compares her to Susan in not taking nonsense or rudeness from anyone, and she and Jim agree that being on a mobile at the counter in the shop is rude. They are getting on very well, and Tracy has had a lovely evening.

Lily has got home late for tea, and explains to a miffed Elizabeth why she was late, and has clearly told her mother her latest idea for giving succour to a male waif-and-stray. Elizabeth is strongly opposed to the idea of pigs at Lower Loxley: as a farmer's daughter she knows about pigs getting out. And she's seen Rex's set-up at Hollowtree. And she knows about the way pigs smell. Lily uses the 'this will annoy David' card, but it doesn't work. The answer is No.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 22nd April, 2021

Tracy is constructive, Alice is destructive.

Characters: Chris, Alice, Jazzer, Tracy
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Caroline Harrington & Nick Warburton

Director:
Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Chris is singing a nursery rhyme to Martha when Alice comes in to tell him she's packing. She says she can't be with them any longer.

Jazzer and Tracy are talking about her trying too hard to please the Prof by acting knowledgeable. She doesn't want Chelsea to be the way she used to be at school, not bothering to try, and worries about her daughter's GCSEs; she doesn't want her to turn out the way she has herself. Jazzer says someone who did would be just fine.

Chris doesn't understand, though Alice says he has to; she has to leave for him and Martha. She hasn't had a drink: she's been watching him with Martha and knows that they would be better off without her, but he doesn't get it. He tells her that he does get it, and tries to stop her from packing.

Tracy is enjoying her visit to the aquaponics set-up, and says she is interested because of the lettuce they get at Grey Gables. Jazzer tells her sharply not to tinker with the pump, and explains that the water goes from the fish to the plants, the plants clean it up and it's pumped back to the fish. He admits he's bored by it, and all the company he ever sees is Adam, coming round for a moan. She asks why he doesn't chuck it in, then, when he could find something better: Berrow, for example; she's fed up with him moaning about it. She definitely plugs Berrow, but he is unable to think of anywhere else to keep his home-brew. She offers him the roller shed at the cricket pitch.

Alice is attacking Chris, and refusing to accept that he is not hurt by her behaviour but prepared to try and go on trying for as long as it takes. He says that he can take the pain, but she asks what if she were drunk and threw herself at his best friend? Is that still good?

Tracy can't see why Jazzer doesn't give up the fish. But fair enough: livestock is livestock: fish, pigs ... Jazzer immediately defends the pigs as personalities. If so, why not choose to work at Berrow? she asks shrewdly. It's not as simple as that, he says; he remembers his previous interview at Berrow, which [in a revision of history, as is borne out by the BBC website. Chris] he says he did try for. When they turned him down that knocked him back and made him feel useless. They had no place for him, and maybe he was no good at anything after all. She argues that this time he has Tracy behind him: she believes in him, and she'll still believe in him even if they don't want him again. Eventually he agrees there is no harm in trying.

Chris demands that Alice tell him all about Harrison, and what happened during the whole of that evening. She spills the entire story, and how she couldn't tell Chris about her feelings after the support group meeting but she could tell Harrison. She tries to stop him from blaming Harrison, saying he was horrified and couldn't wait to get away. Chris says, before, it was the drink, and this time it was cheating: he wants to know whether it was the drink that made her do that, or was it how she really feels? She protests that she really loves him. He opens the door and tells her that if she wants to leave, she'd better. He doesn't know anything any more.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 26th April, 2021

Ben unveils a plan and Ruairi gives Justin a map.

Characters: Ben, Ruairi, Lilian, Justin, David, Ruth
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Sarah Mcdonald-Hughes & Daniel Thurman

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Ben is burying the time capsule, with Ruairi taking pictures. He says a few joking words, but Ruairi suggests it should be videoed for the village website and he has to be more serious for that, so he says what the capsule is, and gives the date and suggests when it should be opened. Ruairi points out they might not be there to dig it up. They start to consider what they might be doing in ten years' time. Ben has a plan but has not yet told his parents, and he will do that today.

Alice and Chris have been visiting Jenny, as Lilian reports to Justin. They are having trouble finding a new godfather: asking Jakob would be sure to cause ructions with Kate. Justin is not attending, but manages to repeat her words to her; he is looking for his Damara pen, which Lilian has given to Ben for the time capsule without asking. She has given a lot of things for Ben to choose from, including old photos. Including the daffodil. Justin is angry about that, completely reasonably. He doesn't think she had any right to do it: it was a picture which reminded him of unhappiness. He wants to stop the burying and decides not to go to a meeting but deal with that at once.

David is vaccinating sheep, with Ruth and Ben to help. Ben wants to talk to them about university. He isn't enjoying the course: it just isn't him, and he doesn't think he wants to continue, although the work is not a problem; he'd rather drop out. Suddenly there's no sympathy, from either of them: he can't expect just to hang about doing nothing. He tells them that he doesn't want to go on doing something he doesn't care about, and he knows what he does want to do: train to be a nurse.

Justin demands that Ruairi find Ben for him, because he needs to speak to him urgently about the time capsule. Ruairi informs him that it's already been buried. Justin says he needs to get a document out of it, now, but Ruairi is not going to help him. Digging up the capsule would break his Moral Code, if Justin knows what one of those is. However, they made a map of where it is and he will leave it there for Justin to do the job himself.

Ruth is arguing against Ben's idea, and David points out that nursing is hard work and a huge responsibility. Is he sure he is ready to deal with life-and-death? Ben says that he isn't yet but he will be when he's trained. He has done his research and he could apply to start in September, and he's signed up to do some volunteer work experience chatting with elderly people isolated because of the pandemic. His parents start to come round, although they are clearly worried. David insists that he can't change his mind after six months if he doesn't like it.

Justin is digging, and has hurt his shoulder. Ruairi pops up again to tell him he is digging in the wrong place, points out which tree he ought to be under, then leaves him to get on with it, telling him that if he'd asked nicely he might have helped, but he didn't so he won't. Oh, and when Justin has finished, can they have their map back please?

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 27th April, 2021

Joy helps Kirsty out, and Freddie is directed to help Russ.

Characters: Freddie, Elizabeth, Kirsty, Lee, Joy, Vince
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Sarah Mcdonald-Hughes & Daniel Thurman

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Freddie asks Elizabeth what she thinks about refusing to take the pigs; he is very unhappy with the idea because that woodland is special to him. It was his and Lily's refuge when Nigel died. Elizabeth changes the subject: she wanted to ask him a favour about Russ and an al fresco life-drawing class which Russ is meant to be organising and has made a mess of; Freddie wants him left to it, but Elizabeth wants Freddie to sort Russ out.

Kirsty and Lee are packing things out of the Beechwood house, with Joy's help. She can sell a lot of the furniture, because Lee will be bringing some of his own. Joy suggests a tea-break, and goes to fetch cake from home. Kirsty will miss her; she has a good heart and makes Kirsty laugh. She's been looking forward to a family moving in, and Kirsty tells Lee that Joy has taken a shine to him.

Vince has turned up at Lower Loxley and is sitting looking at the view when Elizabeth encounters him. She tells Vince that Freddie is fed up with her about Russ, and Lily isn't pleased with her either. A full explanation about Rex and the pigs follows; Elizabeth suspects he'd be a hassle and a high maintenance tenant. Vince muses that it is David getting rid of Rex. Then he mentions that the old oaks might mean there were pigs there before. Vince says pigs have a certain charm about them....

Joy is learning Spanish and by her own account is making quite a good job of it: she says 'Welcome, new neighbour!' to Lee in Spanish with a very English accent. She talks about her plans to run for the parish council, and having decided not to, but Kirsty and Lee encourage her as preferable to Hilary Noakes. She is easily talked round by Lee; she would love to make a contribution to the village, and he has given her the push she needs. Whilst she is fetching her purse to go with him to the shop, Kirsty makes fun of him and tells him he's definitely got an admirer in Joy.

Elizabeth has found another rotten window-frame, caused by the broken guttering; more expense. She asks whether Vince thinks she should let the woodland, and takes credit to herself for all the improvements to Lower Loxley since Julia's time. She debates Rex's merits as a tenant aloud, and then says that Vince has convinced her she should let him the land, and she will blame it on Vince if anything goes wrong.

Joy is flattering Lee fulsomely. They meet Freddie coming out of the shop, and he explains that he looks fed up because of Russ, who hasn't even organised posters for the drawing class; on top of that, the model has dropped out. Joy volunteers Lee for it, and after a bit of hesitation he agrees. Joy thinks perhaps she'd like to join the class, and then as Lee goes into the shop stays behind for a moment to speak to Freddie. She's worried that Lee may not have seen the poster for the event, which says it's a life-drawing class; she explains confidentially that means nude. Freddie is sure that won't be a big deal for Lee. Joy says she'll come early to get a good place: she is looking forward to it already.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 28th April, 2021

Ed is helpful by choice, and Lilian under compulsion.

Characters: Lilian, Justin, Eddie, Mia, Ed, David
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Sarah Mcdonald-Hughes & Daniel Thurman

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Lilian is drooling about the idea of a naked Lee at the life-drawing class, and Justin is being annoyed about Ruairi and about his hurt shoulder. Lilian says his pride has been wounded; he says that he is going to borrow Eddie's metal detector. Lilian forbids him to do any more digging, whereupon he says that he won't be: she will. He threatens her with publishing pictures she would mind about as much as he does about the daffodil: of her during last year, with her roots showing.

Eddie is arranging something to do with Clarrie on the QT with someone in Loxley Barrett. Mia and Ed laugh about it and him, but Mia thinks Eddie and Clarrie being soulmates is lovely. Mia is bored out of her head, according to her own account, but Ed notices she is reading from a book that is upside-down and accuses her of dreaming about a boy. She denies having a boyfriend, because they are too complicated for her, but Ed tries to reassure her that boys are simple. She says maybe he could help her, at that.

Justin asks Eddie for the loan of his metal detector for a couple of hours; Eddie immediately says it will cost him fifteen pounds an hour. Justin denies having ambitions to be a detectorist and claims to be looking for his keys, dropped in the garden. Eddie asks him for a lift to Loxley Barrett for a tenner off the cost of the detector, and says he'll explain how to use the detector on the way over there.

Ed is telling Mia about his own youth, tells her about Dross, and admits to not having been interested in school. He also admits to having done stupid things to try to get Emma to notice him, like climbing on the church roof and getting stuck. Mia suggests that it's easier to climb the church than to talk to someone. Her pash doesn't even know she exists.

Lilian is now being instructed by Justin in how to use the metal detector, which eventually begins whooping. Lilian says she will start to dig.

Mia bemoans the fact that she knows how to talk about climate change but not ordinary things, so Ed tells her that talking about the environment doesn't make her a geek, and encourages her to start there and not try to be someone she isn't. Be yourself is basic but true, they agree.

Lilian has dug up the time capsule, and they have got out the picture. Justin is very relieved, and tears it up. All they have left to do is re-bury the thing. But Lilian now wants to look at everything in there, and finds something she declares to be very interesting just as David arrives to find out what is going on.

Eddie has bought an old limo to do up for the re-wedding. Mia disapproves because of the carbon footprint, but he says it is for one day only and doesn't she want Clarrie to be happy?

Lilian is trying to explain what has happened, and says she gave a private photo to Ben by accident, which makes David assume the worst. And have you retrieved the capsule, asks David, before starting to smother laughter in a rather obvious way. Lilian tells him it's not like that but she doesn't want Ben to know what's been going on, and David takes himself off chuckling; Justin laughs as well, because Lilian has mud in her hair. With a terrible inevitability they start to have a mud-fight, and Justin hurts his shoulder again, then is told that Lilian has the daffodil negative in the loft.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 29th April, 2021

Jakob is inflexible, and Elizabeth changes her mind.

Characters: Jakob, Alice, Elizabeth, Rex, Kate
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Sarah Mcdonald-Hughes & Daniel Thurman

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jakob encounters Alice on his way to the surgery and admires Martha. He asks whether Alice is all right, because he has noticed she seems anxious; Alice is surprised he is speaking to her after her not asking him or Kate to be a godparent for Martha. She awkwardly explains why they have chosen Rex instead of him, but he'd had no idea he had been considered at all.

Elizabeth has come to talk about the pigs with Rex. He says that since Lower Loxley is off the table he has had to rethink, and he has cut ties with Bridge Fresh.

Jakob had never thought that he might be seen as godfather material, and tells Alice that Rex, Pip and Emma are the perfect choices. He emphasises that while he may be with Kate, he is his own person and tries not to get involved with her silly arguments, so frequent as they are. He really isn't interested in them. All the ranting is a waste of energy, and exhausts both him and Kate.

Rex is being positive about going it alone and selling direct to the customer. He's given it all a lot of thought, just as he did the idea of keeping the pigs at Lower Loxley; he saw opportunities there. He starts to list them: free-range meat reared on site would be great for the Orangery, for instance.

Kate is sounding off at Jakob about Phoebe not letting her take over at the rewilding. He finally shouts at her about her constant discontented behaviour, and suggests that it is possible that Phoebe is right. Alice too might have the right not to accede to her demands and anyway he doesn't want to be a godfather.. She tells him she refuses to be lectured, but he says firmly that it wasn't a lecture: it was a wake-up call, and she doesn't always have to fight. She's forty-three and she ought to act her age: she doesn't always have to throw her toys out of the pram just because people expect her to. She's better than that, and she ought to stop embracing her bad image.

Rex is still talking about the plans he'd had before he was told Lower Loxley wasn't going to happen. They could organise meet-the-farmer events, and Rex could really inspire people to go and eat in the Orangery, and with out-door eating likely to be what happens this summer they could have hog roasts, and Argentine-style barbecues. He offers more and more possibilities, and Elizabeth likes hearing his ideas. Finally she proposes to draw up a tenancy agreement for him. He is delighted, and she goes to tell Lily the good news.

Alice tells Kate wearily that she doesn't need to go on with the argument, but Kate has come to apologise, rather to Alice's surprise. She is happy just to be Martha's aunt, so long as she is the favourite aunt, and asks Alice's forgiveness. Alice says she will forgive her once she has her breath back. Kate attributes her change of face to Jakob's telling her about all the times she has screwed up; Alice assures her she isn't a screw-up as she seems to be claiming and that she really doesn't need to go over all her mistakes. Kate wallows in her past stupidity just the same; she talks about how she regrets her marriage ten years ago [twenty. Chris] and then losing her children, which really hurt her, and gives a lot of advice about forging strong bonds from babyhood on. She tells Alice that unlike Kate, Alice is sorted and has everything right and everything to look forward to: she's the golden child, stays on top of everything, and is seen by her parents as a credit to them. Then Kate thanks her for listening and hopes she feels better, the way Kate does herself. Rather shell-shocked, Alice signifies agreement.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 3rd May, 2021

Jazzer is moving on, and Joy stays firmly put.

Characters: Lee, Helen, Russ, Elizabeth, Adam, Brian, Joy
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Katie Hims & Helen Aitken

Directors: Dave Payne and Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Lee calls Helen to look at the pose Russ wants from him. He can't do it; he didn't know he'd be nude. Freddie didn't warn him. Helen has signed up for the class, and that makes it worse. She advises him to email Russ and say he can't do that and will require a different pose and a strategic scarf.

Russ had forgotten about anywhere for Lee to change, which Freddie has organised, as well as the posters and more people signing up. Joy arrives and is delighted when Russ says Lee will be in a standing pose. She wants to hand out fliers for her council bid, and manages to talk through Elizabeth about it. When she finally pauses Elizabeth reminds her that handing out leaflets is not Covid-compliant, and anyway Lower Loxley's management can't be seen to support one candidate over another. Lee isn't yet there, and Joy goes to choose the best seat.

Adam is being furious with Brian because Brian knew that Jazzer had applied for a job at Berrow and didn't give Adam a heads-up. Brian points out that Jazzer is entitled to do as he chooses. Eli is leaving soon too and Adam is fuming and wants to know who gave Jazzer the job anyway; Brian says that it was Neil and Martyn Gibson, and that he had declared a conflict of interest. Adam continues to throw a tantrum, which exasperates Brian.

Lee refuses to do Russ's chosen pose, and things get slightly heated. Helen intervenes, and Russ says he didn't see the email Lee sent him, and he refuses to cancel the class. Helen rather succeeds in gasting his flabber by suggesting that Russ will just have to take over the nude posing himself, then. He hastily gets out of it by pointing out that he is meant to be teaching the class.

Adam is grumbling on. Brian points out that they have no definite orders for the fish, and that while it was a great idea it hasn't worked. He doesn't believe orders will pick up, either; Adam accuses him of setting it up for Jazzer to leave. Brian suggests that they need to think of other ways of increasing their income, and wants the fishing lake spruced up, even though it didn't earn as much as the hydroponics before Covid. Adam accuses him of favouring Alice, and is unpleasant about it.

Elizabeth is angry about Russ having lost a second model in a week. Joy is disappointed that it looks as if the class will have to be cancelled, asks whether they couldn't find another model, then volunteers herself. Elizabeth is taken aback, but Russ is enthusiastic, and Joy says she hasn't been pressurised into saving the day, but she would like to make a speech afterwards. With her clothes on. And they will put up some of her flyers on the screen, won't they? Elizabeth ends up impressed, and will vote for her, and Russ seems impressed too.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 4th May, 2021

Susan is placated and Alan is platitudinous.

Characters: Alan, Alice, Susan, Jennifer, Chris
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Katie Hims & Helen Aitken

Directors: Dave Payne and Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Alan is telling Alice about what will happen at the christening: she wanted to know what to expect, and is in something of a state. Alan tells her to slow down and take a deep breath, because all she has to concentrate on is what is important: Martha. He noticed she was unhappy about the blessing at the hospital, and she says she needed some space after the birth. She starts to talk about God seeing everything and judging her terribly.

When Jennifer meets her outside the shop, Susan is escaping from Joy Horville's account of the Lower Loxley event. She asks Jennifer about preparations for the christening tea. Jennifer says it's all taken care of, but Susan tells her she will be baking party favours for the guests: everything will be pink. Jennifer isn't much impressed, particularly by the four colours of edible glitter involved, and wants to have a look to see whether it will fit her scheme.

Alice has assumed that God is only interested in goodness, but Alan tells her that God isn't asking for perfection. Then he wants her to say what she thinks the christening is about, and when she seems unsure he explains that for him the ceremony is about showing everyone that a child is starting on an important journey. Even regular congregants are imperfect, and fail, but services are a chance to reflect alongside others and to be honest with oneself. God's love is unconditional, he tells her, particularly for sinners. He asks if she's had any thoughts about a reading, and suggests Mark 1: 'You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.' She must learn to be able to accept forgiveness.

Jennifer is looking at the biscuits, which are to be iced as a picture of Martha, and rather too obviously finding them unacceptable because they aren't what she was expecting. Susan tells her plaintively that she wanted to show Alice and Christopher how happy Martha has made her, and Jennifer becomes tactful; they laugh together about the nose on the trial biscuit, which reminded Neil of Darth Vader, and Jennifer makes a suggestion about stiffer base icing and offers to help.

Chris gets home and greets Alice, who at first doesn't talk about how she has been feeling and talks about Martha instead. They are both trying too hard to keep things light; then Alice tells him that Lisa has suggested that she should distract herself, so she's been trying to make a picture album for Martha when she is older. She's found a photo of a beach near Bestival where they went on the morning after their first night together, and Chris suggests a holiday there later with Martha. She feels that Alan has unlocked part of her brain and made it possible for her to think about Martha's future: before, it was just a blank. Chris says he will help her with the album. She says that she never wants Martha to see her pissed, and Chris agrees that sounds a good plan. Martha wakes and cries, and Chris goes to make her bottle; Alice is glad that he made her stay with them.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 5th May, 2021

Mia wants to be with Ruairi, Brian has a shout, and Harrison is glad to be with Fallon.

Characters: Mia, Ruairi, Brian, Fallon, Ben, Harrison
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Katie Hims & Helen Aitken

Directors: Dave Payne and Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Mia encounters Ruairi on purpose as he is on his way to the shop on an errand for Jennifer; she wants to interview him for a school project to do with oil products used by teenagers in everyday life, and perhaps to identify just one to give up to help save the planet. He says it sounds brilliant, and agrees to be interviewed in about an hour.

Jennifer has sent Brian round with some (labelled) Tupperware for Fallon to use, and also a change of menu; Brian is miffed about Fallon and Harrison having pulled out of being godparents. Fallon excuses them on the grounds of being godparents to another child, whose mother minded about it. Brian is angry and says they have slapped Alice in the face, as if she hadn't had enough troubles with her pregnancy and the nightmare birth: and she's been a trouper through all of it. Fallon tells him he has no idea, then backs off from telling him why she really said that. He departs uttering veiled threats that the catering had better be perfect.

Ruairi has invited Ben along to be interviewed as well, which throws Mia slightly. She starts with Ruairi, but after the first question Ben and Ruairi begin to argue and are called back to order with difficulty. She tells them that many e-numbers are oil-derived, and the three come to agreement about loving foam bananas and prawns. She suggests they swap to vegan ones; that's not much of a sacrifice. She offers to order them online for Ruairi, and he swears on his life never to eat the non-vegan ones again. Ben clearly finds the whole business rather uncomfortable.

Fallon tells Harrison how much Brian has annoyed her, and wonders whether everyone at the christening party will be like him, demanding to know their reasons for dropping out of the godparenting. She thinks it's probably a good thing she didn't scream at Brian as she wanted to. Harrison has had a message from Chris: Alice has come clean and Chris is grateful for Harrison's help but says he and Alice need space for the moment. Fallon tells him he had to go and rescue her, and he did the proper thing. Harrison is not sure things will be all right, as she assures him they will; he thinks there's now a wall between him and Chris.

Ben tells Ruairi he has convinced his parents about nursing, but that what he actually wants to talk about is Mia being very happy to be with Ruairi, who seems not to have realised that Mia has a crush on him. When this is explained to him he says she's only fifteen. Ben says in that case he needs to be careful of her feelings.

Harrison is unhappy about Chris wanting to be left alone. Fallon is trying to comfort him, and he's monosyllabic in reply to her attempts. She wants to know whether he was flattered by Alice trying to kiss him; he says no, and that Alice isn't 'gorgeous' as Fallon claims she is. They agree they are better off not being a golden couple if that means being as wild as Alice; a bit boring is better. Except, Harrison says firmly, he has never ever been bored by Fallon. She boringly agrees that she is never bored by him either.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 6th May, 2021

A stitch in time saves nothing all.

Characters: Jennifer, Alice, Rex, Pip, Emma, Chris
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Katie Hims & Helen Aitken

Directors: Dave Payne and Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jennifer is mending a tear in the seam of the christening gown and being urged to sew faster by a twitchy Alice, who admits that she is tense but says she is really looking forward to the day. Jennifer proffers the bottle of champagne Pam Gibson has sent for the proud parents, but Alice doesn't want to take it despite her persuasion, so Jennifer agrees to keep it for them.

Godparents Rex and Pip are squabbling when Emma turns up: Pip is annoyed that Rex has found somewhere else to keep his pigs. Emma fiercely calls them to order and tells them they are being immature and they'll wreck Chris and Alice's day. Emma points out that she is Martha's aunt as well as her godmother, and grimly asserts that nothing is going to go wrong on her watch.

Chris has got Martha to sleep, and all seems to be well until Alice can't get her earrings in: Chris becomes suspicious and checks her handbag as Alice denies being drunk, and finds a lot of miniatures in there, some empty. Chris is furious, and tells her that she can't come to the church unless she is able to sober up. He goes to fetch her water and make some coffee.

Pip and Rex were terrified by Emma, and are embarrassed by how they must have sounded; they make it up with various compliments to each other. Rex says he will still be around at Brookfield while he is living at the Bungalow. Deciding that they are effectively family, they agree not to fight and certainly not to risk being told off by Emma again.

Emma and Jennifer are putting out the party favours, which are now acknowledged by Jennifer to have been an inspired idea of Susan's. They are getting on very well together. However, they are growing a little concerned that they haven't yet seen Chris and Alice, who are a bit late. When their car pulls up Emma thinks they don't look all right, and are having a disagreement of some sort; Jennifer offers to go and check, but Emma says she has fixed one row today and she'll do it again.

As she gets over there Chris tells her that Alice nearly dropped Martha, and is drunk. Emma takes the baby from both of them, feeling more and more vindicated with every word he says. He proceeds to tell her everything, while she is saying she has known it all along and Alice is trying in vain to justify herself; he lets it all out in a furious tirade, while Emma tells him that none of it is his fault. Everyone can hear him revealing all the worst things about Alice that he can, every detail of her drinking throughout the pregnancy and since, and her lying, and even her pass at Harrison. Alice breaks down, and Chris does too, telling her he can't go on. Martha is not going to be christened, but taken to his parents; with Emma's enthusiastic co-operation he leaves Alice standing there alone in spite of her protestations and sobs.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 10th May, 2021

The Christening left-overs.

Characters: Susan, Chris, Neil, Brian, Jennifer, Alice
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Helen Aitken & Sarah Hehir

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Susan is talking with Chris about his packing up and leaving; he tries to escape to Martha, and then to help Neil empty the car. He hasn't slept because, he claims, Alice has ruined Martha's routine and he was up with her all night. He says that he's relieved not to have to deal with Alice any more, and that she made him leave, planned it that way. He feels OK because he's done the right thing for Martha. Neil, who has been getting stuff into the house, comes in wanting instructions about where things are to go. Chris is unable to say; he's on the point of tears and no longer knows anything.

Brian is trying to persuade Jennifer to eat some of the left-overs from the christening. Jennifer is wondering whether to call Susan again, and clearly doesn't know that Chris has gone to Ambridge View. Brian is sure Alice will get in touch; he feels that no news is good news. He still thinks it was a misunderstanding, and it's a good sign that Alice and Chris are taking so long to talk things through. Jennifer has heard the rumours Emma is spreading round the village, but Brian wants to know who cares about gossip. He tells her not to go The Nest, and that they are going for a walk.

Chris weeps about having left The Nest; he can't just stop loving Alice, and he may have made Martha safer but he's robbed her of her home and family. Susan is trying to think up a plan of action. Chris thinks he'll have to give up work but she tells him she and Neil will help with Martha, and she will do the night feeds; Neil volunteers to do them too. Then Martha starts to cry, and Chris goes to her; Neil wants a word with Susan.

Through binoculars, Brian shows Jennifer a couple of nice strong deer calves and their mother standing behind them. Jennifer understands that he is trying to distract her and is grateful, but she is still worrying about the gossip that Alice is an alcoholic. Brian says that Emma is hardly a reliable source of medical information. He thinks that his not having noticed Alice being drunk on the farm when they have been working together means that it's not likely; they mustn't interfere in her life as they have with their other children. Jennifer is reassured by his always knowing what to say. They must have faith in their girl, says Brian firmly, because she has her head set right on her shoulders: after all, they doubted her choice of Chris, and that has turned out all right.

Neil doesn't want Susan to wear herself out, and feels that if Alice can't be trusted any more, they can't really cope long term with having a baby in the house. They aren't getting any younger. He thinks Susan hasn't thought it through, because they both work full time, and it's a lot to take on; but when she challenges him, he has no other solution to offer. He's says rather plaintively that he's just trying to work out how they can do it.

Alice rings Brian but doesn't want to talk to Jennifer; she also doesn't want to see them, so no surprise visits please. Alice claims she and Chris need time to themselves, and gives the impression all is well but they have a lot of talking to do. She does tells him that Martha isn't there because Chris has taken her to his parents for a couple of nights, but claims it's just a silly misunderstanding. Brian sympathises, apparently under the impression that this is all about Harrison, and says he has been there himself, though he had done much worse things to Jennifer; they still managed to work everything out in the end. He advocates honesty about any problems as a general policy, and Alice agrees that is the right thing: absolutely.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 11th May, 2021

Home visits and home truths.

Characters: Jennifer, Susan, Chris, Joy, Elizabeth, Alice
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Helen Aitken & Sarah Hehir

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jennifer has dropped by to see Susan, on the pretext of having delivered Clarrie's birthday card. She offers to take Martha for a walk in the pram, but this is refused. She recounts the inaccurate version of events she has got from Alice, and Chris puts her right: things are not going to get back on track. She asks what the fuss is about, and Chris says he'd tell her to ask Alice what is wrong but Alice would only lie to her. He then tells her the unvarnished truth about what has been going on for months.

Joy had left her knickers at Lower Loxley Hall and Elizabeth brings them back, along with an offer of a free class and a meal at the Orangery as thanks for saving the life drawing class. Joy says how wonderful it must be to have the Lower Loxley grounds, and Elizabeth praises Joy's garden. Joy tells her that she's been feeling down about not having got into the parish council: Bernadette was preferred. Because she needs to oversee Rex bringing his pigs to Lower Loxley, Elizabeth turns down the offer of tea. However, her comments about Mental Health Week, which is what the next drawing class will be in aid of, make Joy talk about mental health in a way which Elizabeth finds worth staying for tea after all to listen to.

Jennifer doesn't recognise the Alice she knows in what Chris has told her. He remains gentle with Jennifer, who doesn't know what to say. He tells her that he needs her to understand, though she thinks that if things were that bad she would have known. She goes on protesting, but Chris is firm. Then Susan says that Harrison knows, and tells her about the gossip, and why Harrison and Fallon dropped out of being godparents. Jennifer wants to know why she was not told, and points out that Alice is the baby's mother; but neither Chris nor Susan is prepared to let Alice have charge of Martha any more because of the risk she poses.

Elizabeth has told Joy all about her depression, for some reason. It turns out that Joy also has depression, or rather, has been feeling low, and needs a routine to keep her going. She has tried everything for it from creative paper cutting to Russian phrases for beginners, and is now volunteering for a help-line, having tried to ring them for help and mistakenly dialled the admin number.

Jennifer has gone round to see Alice, who is in a bit of a state, as is the house, which Alice says she'd have tidied up if she'd known her mother was coming. She's surprised that Jennifer knows she has been drinking and tries to turn what has been said back on Jennifer, but Jennifer isn't to be deflected. Alice claims she just needs rest, after the various traumas of recent weeks, but when Jennifer, who has noticed an empty bottle by the sofa on which Alice has been asleep, asks whether it is true that she doesn't want to see Martha as she has been told on her visit to the Carters, Alice finally comes clean: she doesn't want to see her, and Chris is wonderful with her. Jennifer requires her to fight the Carters and finish with the drinking, for Martha's sake. Alice is clear in her refusal: Christopher always wanted children, and she does not. When she discovered she was pregnant she felt physically sick. She asks Jennifer to leave so she can do what she is supposed to do and get some rest. Jennifer bursts into tears and begs her not to do it, clearly knowing that Alice will in fact be drinking.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 12th May, 2021

Rex is on the move, and Emma is out and about.

Characters: Rex, Fallon, Kate, Brian, Vince, Emma
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Helen Aitken & Sarah Hehir

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Rex is in the tea-rooms worrying about moving his pigs, which have so much stuff: arks, troughs, fencing... Fallon gives him an Americano, with an extra shot on the house. She had to clear everyone from the church when the christening was called off, and is very touchy about gossip concerning Harrison. She thinks she has been getting pitying looks from her customers, and Hilary Noakes has made unpleasant remarks about Harrison's lack of professionalism.

Kate is demanding a cup of tea from Brian, since Jennifer has seconded her to look after Brian while she is staying with Alice and she plans to make him soup as soon as he has cleared up the kitchen. Brian blames Kate for them having a small kitchen which she finds poky to work in; she demands various ingredients. She doesn't know whether to worry about Alice or not, but on the whole not because she thinks Alice has always had her dramas. Jennifer is driving Alice up the wall, though.

Vince introduces himself to Rex, who has heard a lot about him. Rex is polite but has to get on, putting up electric fencing for the pigs. Vince teases him about using the wrong abattoir, and shows a surprising amount of knowledge about pigs for a man who deals with cows and sheep. He offers to help while he waits for Elizabeth to come home, and says it's nice to have an excuse to be out of doors on a lovely day.

Fallon tells Emma that she's being driven mad by the christening fallout, and Emma takes the opportunity to be unpleasant about Alice at considerable length. They agree to be sorry for Chris. Emma reassures her that Chris knows Harrison was innocent, and says that Alice stirred up trouble between her and Ed. Eventually she storms off saying she is going to stop holding her tongue.

Vince and Rex are talking about meat production, and feed for the pigs; Vince is impressed that Rex seems to have his strategy all worked out. Before the Orangery puts the pork on the menu there is going to be a tasting, and Rex would value Vince's professional opinion. Vince tells him the lack of food miles is an advantage: eight hundred yards from field to table will add to the price he can ask per kilo.

Having failed to find Alice at home, Emma goes round to Willow Cottage and, since Alice isn't there either, has a go at Brian, vilifying Alice and making every accusation against her that she can lay her tongue to. Drinking during pregnancy and breaking Emma's little brother's heart figure largely, as do Alice's 'fantasies' about men being attracted to her. Angrily, Brian suggests she should calm down and tells her she is talking rubbish. She tells him that Alice is an alcoholic, and insists he has to admit that Alice needs to stop hurting people and stealing husbands. He reiterates that she is talking nonsense and she tells him to ask anyone. He tries to get her to leave; then Kate intervenes and tells Brian they really don't have to listen to her, getting rid of her by being ruder to her than she has been to Brian. He asks if Kate believes what Emma said, and while not actually answering his question Kate says she reckons that she has given Emma's version of the truth, in line with whatever her agenda happens to be: after all, Kate points out, Emma is like the mad dog who barks at everything.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 13th May, 2021

Rex is on track, Ruairi is on side, and Alice is on her best behaviour.

Characters: Rex, Josh, Jennifer, Ruairi, Alice
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Helen Aitken & Sarah Hehir

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Rex encounters Josh unexpectedly at Hollowtree; Rex is checking for anything he might have left behind. Josh has plans for Hollowtree, but is apologetic to Rex, assuring him he isn't hurrying him out. Rex says they ought to have a beer some time. Then an emergency message comes through on Josh's phone.

Jennifer has gone back to Willow Cottage briefly, and Ruairi asks her how Alice is. He points out they are all worrying about her, and it's worse not knowing. Jennifer admits that Alice is not doing well and has cancelled the health visitor, and refuses to talk about Martha. She's still drinking, and isn't prepared to answer the phone to Lisa. Jennifer mustn't leave her for long; but Ruairi offers to go over and ask Alice for help with his maths to give her a longer break.

Borchester Catering want their eggs from Josh today, having failed to see his message about delivering them tomorrow instead; Rex offers to deliver them for the full taxi fare both ways, with cleaning deposit and a list of other charges, and a gullible tax on top. He says he will do it anyway, as a favour. David sends a message to say say he will ask Pip to do another half-hour on the silaging so Josh can take his time. David, says Josh, is being more accommodating about the hens than he ever was about the farm machinery business.

Ruairi is getting on well with Alice, saying that Jennifer is both very supportive about his forthcoming exams and also always on his back. He asks how she is doing, and Alice says she is feeling a bit lost. Her routine is gone, and it's hard. Ruairi is sympathetic, but she tells him Martha is better off without her. A baby needs someone she can rely on. She tells him he did okay without a mother, but he replies that he missed his mum even though he doesn't know whether she would have been a decent mum. He only exists because both his parents were prepared to throw their marriages under a bus, and he points out that his mum wanted him, and Alice wants Martha. He reckons Martha would find it easier to forgive her for trying and failing spectacularly than for not trying at all, and if she does fail he will help all he can. Alice decides to make a phone call and not hang out with him for the afternoon after all.

Rex is getting the eggs safely installed in his taxi. He hasn't yet told his father about the move, and he doesn't think it matters because he no longer cares what his father thinks. He could have handled the ending of the tenancy better, but he and Josh have both ended up where they need to be.

Alice has cooked pasta and pesto for Jennifer. She wanted to say thank you to her for being there for her. She has rung Lisa to tell her what has been going on, and Lisa reminded her about taking small steps, and there is something she needs to sort out today if Jennifer will help her: she needs to see her baby and hold her, because she wants to be part of her life again, and Chris's too if he will let her in. But she can't bear to have to ask Susan for permission to see her own daughter; Jennifer offers to arrange that. She shouldn't have let it get this bad: she's an alcoholic, but she's got sober before and can do it again. Jennifer tells her she was brave going through it alone, but now she has the whole family to help her. Many people have recovered from alcoholism, and Jennifer won't let her not be one of them. Both weep.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 17th May, 2021

Neil and Susan help, and Emma 'helps'.

Characters: Susan, Emma, Neil, Brian, Shula
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Liz John & Nick Warburton

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Susan is organising Emma baby-sitting Martha for the afternoon. She is very tired and admits she has been doing the night-feeds, and Emma is not pleased about it. She wants to know how yesterday went, with Alice, and Susan tells her Alice was upset about Martha crying; Emma disapproves of her being allowed to see her baby at all. Mia has offered to help as well, but Susan thinks they can manage without her.

At Berrow Farm, Neil is being monosyllabic, because he is answering a text from Emma, whom he tells Brian is being very helpful with Martha. Brian points out that Emma was wasn't very helpful last week, shouting the odds on his doorstep. Neil changes the subject and asks about the Home Farm sheep, which Ed and Jazzer are shearing for the last time: their being given up is the end of an era. Brian wants to look at the pigs' feed costings, but Neil has to get home to look after Martha. Brian offers Jennifer's and Alice's help, but Neil turns it down. Brian suggests he could get Hannah to give him the information he needs about the feed, and Neil quickly points out that Hannah has nothing to do with the outside pigs, which are Neil's responsibility.

Shula is in the shop telling Susan that she has a problem. In spite of paying by standing order, Shula has been sent a note with her newspaper telling her that her payment for papers is overdue; Jill and Peggy, that she knows of, have received the same note, and they too have paid up to date. It turns out the computer has generated this reminder for all the wrong people, and it is Susan's fault for ticking the wrong box. Susan is mortified. Sabrina was on the morning rota, and has had a go at her already for being late for the afternoon shift, so she can't easily blame her for not having drawn attention to the error.

Neil has provided the figures Brain wanted, and offers to ask Hannah to talk Brian through them. Brian wants to talk about something else; he is upset that he was kept in ignorance of the serious situation, but he is sure Chris and Alice will get through this crisis because they have been rock solid for years. He starts to talk up Alice, though he can't speak for Chris. Neil becomes aware that Brian doesn't really know what the crisis is that he is talking about. Brian wants him to encourage Chris to support his wife, which Neil points out Chris has been doing, and that Neil and Susan too should be supportive of her, to which Neil says they all want Alice to get better but Martha is their priority.

A missed call first thing in the morning from Sabrina has left Susan with a mess to sort out. Shula realises that something more than that is amiss, and sympathises with Chris. She says she won't ask him to do extra work when he has a small baby to look after, then asks after Martha. Susan tells her that Martha's routine is upset, and Shula volunteers to let Peggy and Jill know what has happened about the newspapers so Susan won't have to.

Emma is cooing over Martha when Neil gets home, and Emma wants to know what Brian was wanting now that kept him late. Neil lets her know that she has upset Brian and done no good thereby, and asks her to calm things down rather than stirring them up. He is sympathetic about Brian, and tells her he needs to come to it in his own time, but Emma goes on vilifying Alice and accusing her of all sorts of things, starting back at the phone message; then she starts in on all her grievances against the rest of the Aldridge family. Neil shouts 'Stop!' and tells her not to make anything worse, then tells her about poor Mum and the mistake at the shop. He suggests Emma thinks whether she is going to help before she opens her mouth in future, and asks her to go off so he can sort out Martha's bottle; he thanks her for her help, and she says she will try to be constructive but then immediately starts bad-mouthing Alice again. Neil, fighting tears, tells her nothing about this is easy and it's nearly breaking his heart.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 18th May, 2021

Susan is distraught, as are Jennifer and Alice.

Characters: Alice, Chris, Peggy, Jennifer, Susan, Helen
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Liz John & Nick Warburton

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Alice and Chris are with Martha, who has just smiled; Alice is happy about this 'first' but Chris tells her that Susan had seen her smile already, last week, and then Alice feels Chris has punished her by not telling her so. She wants him to feel free to go to the forge, because she wants him to stop watching her. He is not going to let her be alone with Martha, though he says he is pleased she is having a good week. She says it's a new start. She requires his support, and says that Martha needs her; he agrees. She tells him she is trying so hard, and begs him not to shut her out. He doesn't know what to say, and tells her not to do this: it's not fair, she's making it all about her.

On the phone, Peggy wants Jennifer to tell her how Alice is in herself; Jennifer is at Willow Cottage and is watching Ambridge View. She had thought Christopher would leave Alice alone with the baby, which shocks Peggy. Jennifer was very upset when Alice didn't want to see Martha, but thinks things are better now.

Susan apologises to Helen for being late that morning, which Helen forgives on the grounds of the baby. Helen sympathises about the newspaper mix-up; Tony has also had a demand for payment he doesn't owe, two in fact, and Susan asks her to apologise to him for her. Susan wants to know how the house-moving is going, so Helen tells her all about it; apparently the boys are packing, including things that aren't theirs.

Alice says that Chris is being unfair, because he enjoyed drink as well. They both overdid it, and now suddenly because she was unlucky enough to become addicted everything is all her fault. He tells her she is still ill, and although she claims everyone says she is better, there is still a way to go. She accuses him of wanting everything to stay as it is because he is happy to have Martha all to himself and doesn't want her, and the rather wild way she is now speaking leads him to think she has been drinking; he tells her to leave. Both she and Martha become upset.

Susan is still in the dairy over lunchtime, because she has been crying; Helen wants a quick word, but Susan claims to be needed at home. Helen is sympathetic, and Susan says she has to go home at once because Alice is refusing to leave Ambridge View. Helen says she can have compassionate leave, which is intended for such situations: she is worried about Susan. Susan offers to resign, but Helen refuses the resignation. She knows Susan is having a tough time, but they will support her through it for the sake of her mental health. She also knows what stress does to people, and that's why she wants her to take some time off. She realises that Susan is shaking too much to drive safely, so she will drive her home, and then Susan must concentrate on her family.

Jennifer is explaining to Peggy that Christopher was enabling Alice all that time, and wishes her family had been told sooner. She thinks that the detox wasn't good enough, and a really top-rate place could have helped. If only they had noticed, they could have called it all out and taken some action. Peggy starts to tell her about having noticed, and about New Year's Eve, but Jennifer sees Alice is rushing out of Ambridge View in floods of tears and rings off.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 19th May, 2021

Kirsty offers help, and Alice is past helping.

Characters: Jim, Alice, Kirsty, Helen, Susan
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Liz John & Nick Warburton

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jim is peacefully doing the crossword in the shop, and after she is sure Susan has left Alice comes in, very quiet and charming, though she lets a sharp edge into her voice when he wishes her and Chris well. If he can ever think of anything he can do to help... She goes sexy at him and tells him she knows how he can help her.

Kirsty has found the key to the garden shed in her dressing-gown pocket and gives it to Helen so she can start storing stuff there, or give it a tidy. Lee has a day off, and they hope to be in by the end of the week. It will be a while before Helen is free to celebrate, though: she has to spend more time at the dairy making up Susan's hours. She can't think of anyone who could come in temporarily and for an indefinite time until Susan is able to come back.

Jim is declining to help Alice by selling her vodka. He thinks it wouldn't be the help that she needs, and it is his decision and only his whether to sell it to her or not. She coaxes, telling him that he doesn't have to think about it. But he has thought about it, and he thinks it would be harmful, to her and others. She becomes demanding: she knows that, but she wants it anyway. Then she starts to be threatening: she will drive to get it elsewhere if he doesn't sell it to her. Just as he is about to capitulate Susan comes in.

After more talking round each other the situation is eventually made clear: Helen needs help, and Kirsty is now offering. Helen is surprised, and tries to put her off by listing disadvantages, but Kirsty points out that she is able to do all the things Helen mentions. Kirsty comes to the conclusion that Helen is trying to put her off, and eventually Helen admits it's because she doesn't want to take advantage of a friend. Kirsty tells her firmly that she is treading water at Grey Gables, and she does expect to be paid. Helen eventually asks her when she can start.

Susan loudly calls order over a row that has begun between Alice and Jim. She refuses to sell Alice drink. Jim tries to be reasonable, and says he doesn't think Alice ought to be driving, and it would be safer for the drunken Alice not to drive to buy drink elsewhere. Susan remains firm and tells him to keep out of it. Alice tries to stir it up between the two of them and set them at each other; then she attacks Susan and viciously implies that Neil too might be driven to drink. Susan tells her that she is trying to help her, but she won't be helped. Then Susan brings Martha into it, and Alice calls her a hypocrite and starts a drunken rant. Susan asks her to leave, and Alice says 'have it your own way' and does. Jim asks Susan if she is all right, as Susan seems about to weep. He tells her he admires her for having handled it so well, and he tells her that Alice was just lashing out and offers to make her coffee. Then there is a crash, possibly something being thrown through the shop window, and he shouts Susan's name.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 20th May, 2021

Jazzer is angry and Alice is penitent.

Characters: Brian, Jennifer, Alice, Jazzer, Jim, Neil
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Liz John & Nick Warburton

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Brian and Jennifer are waiting at a police station; Alice has been summoned to a ten to nine appointment. Brian expects her to be given a stern warning for throwing a brick through the shop window, since someone called the police. Jennifer is not so sanguine about what may be in store, but doesn't feel she wants to blame whoever made that call. Then Alice emerges and claims all she has to do is pay for the window, but admits that drawing a line under everything depends on whether Susan and Jim want to press charges.

Jazzer offers Jim more tea; Jim points out that if he had needed tea it would have been yesterday, and says he is fine. Jazzer tries to talk the incident up as serious. He is wearing plastic gloves and apron, and tells Jim that he has him all morning, then starts to indulge in talking of treatment for shock, which Jim resents. The doorbell rings, and it's Alice, wanting to speak to Jim and see if he is all right. Jazzer clearly isn't going to let her in, rudely taking her to task, and she is very upset, saying that she didn't know what she was thinking. He tells her she was lucky it wasn't worse, and that she is not a decent Ma; then he shuts the door.

Neil is telling Brian that the shop and post office have to be left shut because of all the glass and debris. Brian offers to pay for the window to save Susan from paperwork, and asks how she is; Neil says she is shaken. Brian says he doesn't know how it came to this nor where they go from here, then tries to find out whether Susan and Jim will be preferring charges. Neil realises why he is there and is not impressed, pointing out they have to draw the line somewhere, and that not just Brian but all of them want to make things right again. He'll talk to Susan and see what she says, and if she wants to press charges he'll stand by that decision.

Jim is angry with Jazzer for being so abrupt with Alice, and says he ought to have given her the benefit of the doubt. Jazzer gets angry, but Jim points out that he himself lashed out because of his own demons, and Alistair and Jazzer stood by him in spite of them. Alice's demon is alcohol; but Jazzer has seen what a drunken mother can do to a child, and is not pacified.

Neil has gone round to see Alice, to tell her that Susan and Jim aren't going to press charges. Alice says she didn't mean to do it, but Neil tells her he thinks Susan isn't convinced about that. Jennifer is very grateful to him for coming round to reassure them. So no charges? asks Alice. No, but the shop committee will accept Brian's offer of payment for the window and clean-up. Alice says it's her responsibility and she will pay Brian back; she thanks Neil, promises to make things right with Susan, and says that she deserves to be punished. Jennifer goes to answer a phone call, and while she is gone Neil is very kind and gentle with Alice, saying that they will all work together to get back the beautiful girl they all loved.

The phone call Jennifer took was from the Social Services.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 24th May, 2021

Helen doesn't want to micro-manage; Clarrie does; Jennifer can't manage at all.

Characters: Clarrie, Helen, Kirsty, Tony, Jennifer, Lilian
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Caroline Harrington & Adrian Flynn

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Clarrie tells Helen that the shop is still shut, though the Post Office is open. Brian has offered to pay for all the damage, but Clarrie is entirely unsympathetic to Alice. She tells Helen about Ed and Emma telling Chris about the drinking. Helen suggests that Alice managed to hide it from her family, but Clarrie remembers Nic's funeral and doesn't see how they can have failed to notice. Then Kirsty arrives for work, hairnet and all, and starts chatting with Helen; Lee is moving his things into the house, but Helen will be at work. She says she can't micromanage Lee, it being his home as much as hers, and adds she has to remember to call Jennifer about her offer of furniture stored in the barn. Clarrie reminds them they ought to get on with the day's work.

Tony and Lilian have come to offer Jennifer their support; Tony wants to know whether Jennifer has left Alice alone, but no, Kate is with her. Jennifer is mortified: first the police involvement and now social services have been round worrying about Martha. Jennifer wails that she had no idea about Alice drinking.  She thought it was all just new baby blues and the strain those put on a marriage. Lilian agrees that none of them knew what was going on, because Alice mostly seemed quite normal, but Jennifer has realised that Alice only seems normal when she has been drinking. Lilian assures her people can recover, but Jennifer knows the drink matters more to Alice than Martha does. Lilian has worked out that Alice is an addict, and Jennifer says she is doing her best but it's not working, and she doesn't know where to turn.

Kirsty isn't used to her hairnet, and it is itchy; Clarrie, who is talking as though Kirsty were a half-wit, warns her not to scratch her head. She also tells her quality is paramount and that cleaning is important. If it wasn't right, they would know even if the customer wouldn't notice. Kirsty is clearly getting the hang of things, and then Clarrie manages to get yoghurt all over her because the pipe she has been cleaning wasn't fully reconnected.

Tony asks if Jennifer has talked to Peggy, who went through this with their dad and was tough dealing with him. Jennifer mentions that Alice was sober 'for all those months' when she was pregnant, and she is sure she could manage that again if she wanted to. The social services have offered her a referral to drug and alcohol services, which she refused, and asked if she was OK about Martha living with Chris and she said yes. Lilian points out that the last thing they need is a custody battle. Tony suggests a change of scene for Alice and offers to have her at Bridge Farm for the day, and Lilian suggests she might want to go for a ride on Banjo. Jennifer doubts Alice would agree to either, and says despairingly that all she wants is her darling Alice back.

At lunch-time Kirsty tells Helen they got on fine and Clarrie is a brilliant teacher. They don't tell her about the accidental yoghurt-spray, and claim to have had fun. Helen tells them that Lee has moved all his stuff in but there is rather a lot of it. The furniture is fine, but the collection of superhero figures is all over the place, in its display-boxes on all the shelves in the living-room. And there is a Bruce Lee poster in the bedroom. She hasn't told Lee how much she doesn't want that. She has decided that when he is helping her to move in tomorrow Ian might help her rearrange things a bit; the landing might be the place for Bruce Lee.

Lilian has been thinking about Jennifer and has gone to Tony to talk. He feels that the only thing that might help Alice is another spell in detox. Lilian is worrying about herself and drink: she drinks every day and thinks she might be a functioning alcoholic. Tony points out that she doesn't actually need alcohol and anyway it's about Jennifer not her. It then comes out that Lilian is having a crisis of conscience about having offered Alice drink when she was pregnant. Tony says it's been a problem for far longer than that. And by the sound of things, he says gloomily, for now at least Alice doesn't want to stop.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 25th May, 2021

Helen, Lee and a drum-kit are moving in, and Vince puts his foot in it.

Characters: Ian, Helen, Lee, Vince, Elizabeth
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Caroline Harrington & Adrian Flynn

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Ian is helping Helen to move in to Beechwood, giving up Xander-time for the purpose: the boy has been left with Jennifer on the pretext that she is baby-hungry and a hyperactive toddler might cheer her up. Helen and Ian agree that it's all awful, and they wish there were more they could do. Adam is Alice-sitting at Home Farm: he's asked her to shadow him to try to remind her of normal life. They agree that Alice must be desperate because of not being in control (although she is successfully ignoring Helen's phone calls) and decide that books interspersed with the superhero figures on the shelves are an improvement. Then Lee arrives, and says he really approves and thinks it looks really nice: he explains that the figures were parked in a temporary way, only they have broken up a set. Then he starts finding fault with the various new placements.

Vince has arrived at Lower Loxley Hall a bit late for lunch, having gone to see Rex and his pigs on the way. He forgot the time because he had some good news for Rex: a mate has some industrial fridges going cheap, and that will save Rex running round the countryside. Oh, and he's given him an introduction to someone who makes sausages and burgers and would be a good partner. Elizabeth isn't sounding all that enthusiastic, and then she notices he has tracked pig-muck into the kitchen.

Helen apologises to Lee for not having realised some of the figures are more important than others. Ian approves of what has now been done, but Lee reckons a set of Incredible Hulks will need to go in the bedroom. Ian harks back to his Japanese minimalist period for Honeysuckle Cottage, and how they had to call in Lilian as a consultant and do a lot of compromising. Lee has to go and get paint for the boys' rooms, and is persuaded by Helen to pick up the boys from school and take them along to choose for themselves. Helen promises not to arrange anything in his absence; he agrees to moving Bruce Lee out of the bedroom.

Elizabeth is still mentioning the pig-smell, then tells Vince that Rex and the pigs are her project and she doesn't really want Vince plunging feet first into Lower Loxley business. He cites his expertise and contacts in the meat trade, and says that he was doing it because Elizabeth cares about the new enterprise. He was trying to show his love for her. Then he says he loves her in so many words, which takes her aback somewhat. She says she is very fond of him, but for the moment can they just stay as they are, friends?

Bruce Lee has been moved; now Helen and Ian have done all they can until Adam brings over Jennifer's furniture tomorrow, which Ian agrees to help with. Helen, when asked, says she is really happy, and the boys love Lee to bits. Ian was worried about the amount of apologising she did for moving Lee's things, but Helen says she trusts Lee completely: with him, what you see is what you get. Then Lee texts to say he has been offered a drum-kit. Gulping slightly, Helen reiterates that she loves him, and if he wants to play the drums that is absolutely fine by her.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 26th May, 2021

Ian is keen to help, and so is Ruairi.

Characters: Lee, Adam, Brian, Ruairi, Jennifer, Ian
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Caroline Harrington & Adrian Flynn

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Lee is talking to Adam about the furniture Jennifer is letting Helen have, especially a display case about which Lee is particularly pleased. Lee wants to ask for Adam's thoughts on the decoration of the boys' rooms before Adam goes back to work.

Brian has dragged Ruairi away from his laptop for a bit, and Ruairi is glad of the break; he is worried about Alice and she is in his head all the time. Brian still seems to think there is nothing wrong but a hiccough in the marriage; Ruairi tells him that he thinks it's a bit more than that. Then Jennifer appears and throws a bottle into the dustbin; it was the Rioja she had been planning to cook with, but has poured down the sink. She intends to stop having wine in their food and around the place all the time. Brian pooh-poohs her worries, but Ruairi suggests he might just listen to her. Jennifer has realised that they all drink habitually all the time, and believes they have caused terrible harm to Alice.

Adam is looking at the decor chosen by Jack: Spiderman colours. He clearly doesn't think much of it, but is tactful, especially when it comes to Lee planning to put up his first ever shelf using a drill he has bought. Apparently Lee's ex-wife used to ask him to do jobs about the house but he never had the time nor the expertise; now, for Helen and the boys, he will manage it.

Brian has evidently gone off somewhere, and Ruairi asks Jennifer if she minds him staying with her; he is very sympathetic. She tells him miserably that she thinks Alice is completely broken and she doesn't know how to fix her. Ruairi has one, he says very small, suggestion to make.

Adam has rung Ian to talk to him about Lee's decorating efforts, though they are both busy. He tells Ian it's important.

Ruairi's suggestion is that Alice might move in with them. Jennifer is unsure, but thinks if Alice were there all the time Brian wouldn't be able to keep his eyes shut to what is really happening. Ruairi asks if he should ring Alice to suggest it, but Jennifer points out that he can't sleep on the sofa. His idea, it turns out, is that he and Alice could simply change houses. Jennifer doesn't think that's the right solution.

Ian makes no secret of thinking that Lee's attempt at home improvement is appalling, and that the paint colours are awful and badly applied. In fact it all looks dreadful, and even Lee now thinks Jack will hate it. The shelves also look as if they might come down at any moment, and Lee, with his powerful new drill, has destroyed some of the plasterwork as well. Lee can't bear to tell the boys he has made a complete hash of it. He has totally let them down, and he fears Helen already doesn't think he is step-dad material. Ian starts to work out how it can all be corrected, and reckons the three of them can do it by tomorrow afternoon; Adam thinks Ian is out of his mind.

Brian has let the chops burn and is apologetic. Ruairi returns to the charge by suggesting he could move in with some friends. That idea is shot down at once by his parents: he has to work for his A-levels. He reiterates that what matters is keeping Alice safe, and also Jennifer not wearing herself out going from one house to the other all the time. He feels that he is just being useless, and he wants to do something for his sister, he says unhappily. An idea strikes Brian: he has thought of somewhere Ruairi might be able to go.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 27th May, 2021

Neil finds a sympathetic ear, while Adam and Ian save Lee's bacon.

Characters: Helen, Lee, Shula, Neil, Adam, Ian
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Caroline Harrington & Adrian Flynn

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Helen tells Lee on the phone that Henry has stopped Jack from telling her what will be found when she inspects the rooms in half an hour.

Neil has been asked by Chris to call in at The Stables when he was going past and apologise for Chris having forgotten about Banjo. Shula tells him there was no need for Chris to worry, and that Jakob has checked Banjo's teeth while he was at The Stables anyway: he was glad to do it to help Chris. She also tells Neil that since Alice hasn't been there recently Banjo has been being exercised by one of the girls. Shula has noticed how hard Susan is taking it all, and offers to make Neil a cup of tea.

When Adam and Ian arrive Lee has only fifteen minutes to go before Helen and the boys get there. He has just put the brush down after the last coat of paint in one of the boys' rooms. We learn that they are going to have Ruairi staying with them at Honeysuckle Cottage.

Neil tells Shula that Yvette Something, the social worker, was very professional, and on one level it was all very straightforward, just checking the safety of the environment for Martha. Everything was spotless, and Yvette had no concerns. It was a horrible thing to go through, even so, and you could see the shame in Christopher's eyes. Neil doesn't blame Alice; he doesn't suppose anyone chooses to have drink put its claws in them. Shula admires his attitude. They agree the couple always seemed very well suited; Neil says he would welcome Alice back like a shot if she gets herself sorted out, though Susan might find it more difficult. Neil is unsure that can ever happen anyway, but what he is really afraid of is if Alice decides she does want Martha after all.

Adam and Ian are pleased with most of Lee's work, but they definitely dislike the spider he has painted over Jack's bed. There is also something very badly wrong with the display cabinet, as they saw through the window on the way in. As soon as they have sorted that out, they will put up blinds in the boys' rooms and make the beds.

According to Neil, Susan is less exhausted now she isn't working at the dairy, but she's still tired, and Chris is embarrassed about her getting up in the night. He's not talking to anyone about what has happened. Susan is missing her job and the chatting with Clarrie, and seeing her sometimes isn't the same as seeing her every day. Neil and Susan are finding it difficult to talk with each other because they have different opinions about Alice's culpability. Neil isn't sure there is a right way for any of them to turn at the moment. Shula advises him to be still sometimes and let himself be sad if he needs to. She's always glad to listen.

Helen and Lee are out in the garden, not going in to unpack any more boxes just yet. Lighter colours for their bedrooms are a success with the boys [in spite of being not in the least what they had wanted, chosen and been promised – Chris], and Lee has put a Bruce Banner figurine by Henry's bed. Helen is impressed by all he's done, and by his having felt able to ask Ian and Adam to help; Lee admits that they pointed out to him that putting his figurines in the whole of the display cabinet was not a good idea, so he's put her photographs in there instead. He stood out for keeping the spider above Jack's bed, though, and unlike Ian or Helen, Jack likes it: he says it will look after him. Helen says that Jack and Henry are really happy about having Lee there to look after them, and so is she. She thinks they are going to be all right there.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 31st May, 2021

Jazzer is feeling his age, and so is Lee.

Characters: Jazzer, Ed, Lee, Helen, Joy
Credited scriptwriter:
Keri Davies
Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jazzer and Ed are on a ten-minute break from shearing the Home Farm sheep; Jazzer is finding the work harder than he used to, and says that time passes. Actually, he says something like 'tempus fuggit', just in case Ed didn't remember he shared a house with Jim, which Ed naturally chooses to mishear.

Lee has been worn out by Henry and Jack, who have wanted his entire attention all day; Helen reassures him that he is doing well. Henry wants him to show them a paradiddle on the drum-kit. Lee is looking forward to bedtime, but Helen has invited Joy round for drinks and nibbles at eight, after Jack has gone to bed. She points out that they must owe Joy for the boys playing the drums all day.

Ed shouts to Ruairi to call Eli back so they can get on, but Jazzer has something to tell him first: he has decided to hang up his clippers. Ed is shocked, but Jazzer explains he will now have enough money to live on with the new job at Berrow; it's been a good five years, but he has had enough. He's getting old. Ed points out ruefully that they have been together shearing since before 2014. They reminisce about good times they've had, including Jazzer's conquest of some girl in Wales whose name he now cannot remember. Jazzer reckons he's grown up since then, though, and Ed is pleased for him, only he'll take a while to get used to it.

Joy, Helen and Lee are having a laugh together. Lee and Helen apologise for the noise, saying that Jack and Henry think the drum-kit is the best thing ever. Joy claims to have had a little dance to the rhythm, and she loves to hear bairns having fun. When asked about the other neighbours, she says that nobody on the WhatsApp group has said anything against it. Lee wants to join, to get to know the neighbours. Joy goes quiet, then mentions it can be a bit frank, with people saying exactly what they think, as they did about Philip. She tries to put Lee off joining, but he thinks it would be a great way to get involved.

Jazzer is going to get the beers. Ed is worrying about finding someone to replace him in the shearing partnership, as well as the fact it's going to be harder for local freelancers to get work once the Kiwis and the Aussies are no longer staying away. Jazzer suggests George, who has signed up for a BTEC agriculture course. Ed is not sure, because teenagers can never be told anything, though he concedes it would be great to have him working alongside. He also mentions that (unlike Jazzer) he does still need the money. Then he cheers up when they start a competition about who is the faster shearer and end up betting a bottle of tequila on it: first to fifty ewes tomorrow.

Joy is telling Lee about the neighbours, and gossiping with him; he thinks it sounds like Desperate Housewives, which he claims he only caught when his ex-wife had it on. She tries to avoid giving him the number to join the WhatsApp group, and distracts him with more jollity. Helen, who has already said quellingly that she is not really one for gossip, is not happy with not being the centre of attention, and goes off to read Henry his bedtime story, saying 'you two are getting on famously' as she leaves them to it.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 1st June, 2021

Mia makes a confession, Ruairi sees no need to, and Adam puts his foot in it.

Characters: Emma, Mia, Ruairi. Adam, Ian
Credited scriptwriter:
Daniel Thurman
Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Emma is glad to see Mia, who says it's good to be back in the countryside. They see Ruairi on his way to Honeysuckle Cottage. Emma does her best to keep Mia within bounds as she gushes to Ruairi about the environmental project he helped with and desperately tries to manufacture reasons to be in touch with him. He is polite and friendly, but no more.

Adam is complaining already about the amount of stuff Ruairi has brought with him; Ian says they should give him a chance. It's only temporary after all, and they are doing it for Jennifer and Brian. Adam, sulkily, says it's Alice he's worried about, and Ian expresses horror and disbelief about her drinking during pregnancy. Ian has overheard Ruairi talking to Troy on Facebook and thinks they were flirty, way more than friendly. Adam has never considered the possibility that Ruairi might be gay.

Mia wants to do a survey of plastic use around the local farms and has set up a page on Instagram which she is calling Ambridge Plastic Pandemic, with photos of animals suffering from the results of discarded plastics. Emma says she will upset people pointing the finger, but when Mia says that is the whole object of the exercise suggests she concentrates on Grange Farm first. Mia plans to go on to Home Farm, since Ruairi has said he will help; Emma is discouraging. In the end Emma has to point out in simple words that she has noticed Mia having a crush on Ruairi, and tells her she can talk to her if she needs to.

Adam wonders how he can have missed Ruairi being gay, and doesn't want him to go through what they did when they came out. He wants to tell him he doesn't have to be ashamed. Ian points out that he won't have the same experience as they did, having to get away from their families to be true to themselves, and then come out to their parents, and how they had to be patient with them in the aftermath. Adam wants Ruairi to know he has their unconditional support. They can help him. He probably thinks that with all the trouble over Alice, now is not the time; Adam will talk to him gently.

Mia and Emma are talking. Emma fears she might be disappointed in thinking Ruairi feels the same about her, and tries to explain that there is quite a difference in age and that he might not reciprocate. Mia isn't listening and doesn't agree that it is just a crush: she's in love with Ruairi.

Ruairi praises Ian's cooking; Adam tells him that while he is there he has to feel he can be himself and relax, with no need for any pretence. He wants them to use this time to get to know each other and becomes rather ham-fisted in his attempts to be tactful: Ruairi is clearly way ahead of him. Adam and Ian try to be sensitive; Ruairi goes silent whilst they dig the pit for themselves and waits for one of them actually to say he is gay. When that eventuates he explains he is not actually gay, he's bisexual, and he's not in the closet: everyone knows, including Ben. He hasn't exactly hidden it from Brian and Jenny either, partly thanks to Adam having paved the way for him. He and Ian have changed things with their marriage and son. They agree he's a lot more sorted than they were at eighteen and say they will always be there for him, and he thanks them for that: it means a lot.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 2nd June, 2021

Jazzer and Mia both get deflated.

Characters: Jazzer, Tracy, Eddie, Mia, Eddie, Ruairi
Credited scriptwriter:
Keri Davies
Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jazzer's two-stroke motorbike is on the road again after repairs by him, and he has come to see Tracy, who has packed a picnic for the kids and sent them off with it. She and Jazzer have a quick discussion about Alice's iniquity and the need for Martha to be well looked after, which she is being. Tracy suggests they should go somewhere private for their own picnic; she has decided she likes to have a biker boyfriend.

Mia has come for a word with Eddie about plastic waste, for in personal survey about the use of plastic on farms, and has a go at him about the amount of plastic they use at Grange Farm. She talks about him surely wanting to hand on a better word for her and his grandchildren, and insists they go and walk round the place right now.

Tracy has not enjoyed her trip on the bike; she didn't lean into the corners, and thinks Jazzer drives like a madman. She won't get back on the bike to go home and they are in the middle of nowhere. He suggests him going to fetch a lift for her, but then the bike won't start. The rain does though.

Jazzer has rung Eddie, who is having his ear bent by Mia. He is relieved to have to do a mercy dash for Tracy and Jazzer, and leaves Mia more or less with her mouth still open.

She rings Ruairi to tell him that she wants to get her thing about plastic pollution going, and Eddie has blown her out. She wonders if he might get involved in her first survey, and she could then use Home Farm as an example to others. He agrees he could show her round; right now would be good. She says that would be perfect, and she'll be straight over.

Half a wet hour has passed while Jazzer has not managed to fix the bike, and Tracy says it's the worst day ever. Then Eddie turns up, in his limo, which has no room for Jazzer's bike; if he'd told Eddie that the bike had broken down and also needed fetching, instead of just going on about Tracy being a wuss and refusing to get back on it, Eddie would have brought the van. Eddie refuses to let Jazzer into the limo with his oily gear on the white leather seats, and leaves him by the road. Best date ever, says Tracy as she gets into the limo.

After their tour of the place Ruairi is showing Mia the map of Home Farm, which he tells her is really careful about plastic waste because of Brian's brush with the Environment Agency. He was happy to take a break, being very fed up with school work, and worried about Alice, and upset because Brian and Jennifer are in a state about her. Mia tells him about having to look after Will and Poppy after Nic died, and claims to have managed; they have a lot in common, she says. In a very fangirl manner she tells Ruairi he is understanding, and she thinks he's lovely. He pulls her up short, and tells her that he thinks she is lovely too, but not like that. She quickly backpedals and claims she didn't mean anything like that, no, really.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 3rd June, 2021

Will understands, and Alice understands all too well.

Characters: Alice, Calvin, Will, Mia, Jennifer, Brian
Credited scriptwriter:
Daniel Thurman
Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Alice is trying to find her keys in her handbag; she and her pick-up Calvin are very drunk. Eventually she lets them into Willow Cottage, reassuring him her parents are out and anyway they wouldn't mind.

Will goes to find Mia and asks if she wants to join him and Jake on the Xbox; he doesn't want her to stay outside all night. He's worried because she doesn't seem herself, and didn't eat her supper. She says she just wants him to shut up and stop pretending he cares, then flings off to her room.

Jennifer comes back from visiting Lilian and finds her drunken daughter with her new friend. Alice says she has invited him in for a few drinks; Jennifer now wants a private word, and suggests that Calvin should leave. He is embarrassed and wants to go, but Alice tries to stop him. Jennifer finally loses patience and tells him Alice is an alcoholic with a husband and baby. Calvin didn't know; he makes a hasty getaway, and Jennifer turns to Alice in outrage.

Mia is sobbing at William, and apologises for having snapped at him. He wants to know what's bothering her. She agrees that she is angry and sad and confused. He is reasonably understanding, and eventually asks whether it's a boy; he'll just listen if she wants to talk. He doesn't want her to feel she has no-one to talk to. She says she didn't know getting your heart broken would hurt so much.

Brian has come in and wants to know what is going on, so Jennifer tells him. Alice asserts that she just wanted some company, and she's sure no-one saw her. Brian says that if she is lonely she ought to go to her family, Chris and Martha, and she says she doesn't want anything to do with them, or him, and they can all go to hell.

Will says he knows what it's like to have your heart broken; it's part of growing up. He tells her about his crush at Mia's age on a girl in the class above him at school, Becky: he never told anyone, including Becky, and though he wrote her a Valentine card he never sent it. Then he saw her with a bloke from another school, and he was sick to his stomach about it, but it did get better after a while. Will thinks Mia was really brave to tell this lad of hers and not chicken out the way he did himself. He's proud of her, and so would Nic be. He knows there's nothing he can say to make it better, but he advises her that it will stop hurting so much in the end. He tells her that they all love her, and she agrees that's something. They go down to beat Jake on the Xbox.

Brian is trying to reason with Alice. He and Jennifer both try to convince her that she and Chris are right for each other, and then Brian reminds her of her marriage vows. Alice comes straight back with accusations that he is nobody to talk about marriage vows: she points out that he made the same ones she did. She says ‘Siobhán’ loudly and repeatedly, and reminds him about Ruairi: he’s a hypocrite. She knows she is rotten and a liar and she drinks too much: in fact, she’s just like him.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 7th June, 2021

Jennifer begs a favour and pays a debt.

Characters: Harrison, Fallon, Emma, Jennifer, Ed
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Harrison is taking Fallon away from the tea room for the afternoon; Emma asks whether they would feel up to going out for an evening with her and Chris sometime soon. Harrison isn't sure: it's still a bit awkward because of the gossip over Alice.

Jennifer visits Ed, who is with his Texels. She wants to talk to him about Alice; she doesn't know where else to turn. She has accepted that Alice is addicted to alcohol, an alcoholic. She's desperate to understand, and wondered if he could help her by telling her about his own addiction. He is outraged by her asking and doesn't think he is the right person to ask anyway. She appeals to him, saying he'd want help if it were his daughter; he invites her to come inside.

Harrison and Fallon have been swimming in the River Perch; she wants to talk about not wanting to go for an evening with Emma and Chris. She doesn't want to be in the middle of all the mess: Emma hates Alice's guts and she doesn't want to spend the whole evening listening to Emma slag Alice off when she already gets it all day at the tea room. It won't be good for anyone, and she doesn't want to be thought to be only on Team Chris. She pleads that Alice is ill, not wicked.

Ed tells Jennifer that if it hadn't been for Oliver he'd probably be dead. He couldn't go to his family because he was ashamed of the way he'd behaved about Emma, but Oliver wasn't someone he'd hurt. When he decided to help Ed, Oliver didn't take any nonsense, and wouldn't allow him to backslide. Jennifer is shocked he could get crack in Ambridge; he points out you can get drugs anywhere. He needed the wake-up call of nearly dying in a ditch. Oliver saved him by offering him a proper job and trusting him, and he so didn't want to let him down. He doesn't want crack now, hasn't for years, and Jennifer says there is hope, then. She is very grateful to Ed for being open about his experience. He tells her that it was being on the streets that got him on crack, and Emma leaving him, and Neil not having him in the house, and discovering that George was not his son. He just took anything he could to block it all out. Jennifer can't see where it came from with Alice. Ed says he doesn't get it either: Alice has had everything on a plate.

Harrison rings Emma to say that he and Fallon have talked it over and agreed Chris could do with some support, and if Chris is up for it and Emma wants to arrange it they'll be fine to go out for an evening. Harrison also offers to look after Martha if Chris needs a break some time, and Emma says it will do Chris good to feel people care about him.

Jennifer is apologising profusely to Fallon for not having paid the catering bill for the aborted christening and has come to sort that out. Fallon says not to worry, she's had other things on her mind and it must all be really difficult, and Jennifer breaks down and tells her that Alice is shutting her out, and shutting Brian out, and is out of control and won't be helped and everyone hates her. Fallon denies hating Alice and says she won't have meant to do the things she has done: it's her illness. (She has left undone those things which she ought to have done, and done those things which she ought not to have done, and there is no health in her. Chris) As far as Fallon is concerned, ill people need help.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 8th June, 2021

Brian is bad-tempered, and Fallon is a good friend to Alice.

Characters: Alice, Brian, Ed, Jazzer, Fallon
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Alice is looking for Jennifer because she can't find her yellow top. When asked if he is at home to keep an eye on her, Brian claims he was looking at Berrow Farm figures, and Jennifer has left supper ready to be made. Alice can't do that; she has a table booked at the Fox in Edgeley, with Fallon. Brian is flabbergasted, and alarmed, but realises he can't stop her; he does however absolutely draw the line at her bringing men home. When he says that she is killing her mother, Alice simply replies that it's nothing to do with Jennifer.

Ed offers to help Jazzer with repairs to his bike, which is still not working: electrics, says Jazzer. Tracy is not cut out to be a biker chick, but that and cricket are all they disagree about: with Jade, bikes was the only point of agreement. Jazzer promises not to tell Emma about Jennifer's visit to Ed. Ed admits he felt sorry for Jennifer and was tactful about Alice, and didn't say what he really thinks of her. Then he does, and both concur that she is a spoilt brat. Ed is at a loose end because the sheep were too wet to shear, but Jazzer isn't; he is going over to Berrow Farm, and begs a lift.

Fallon advises Alice to fetch an umbrella, and Brian takes advantage of her absence to have a go at Fallon for encouraging Alice to drink. When she can get a word in, Fallon explains that Alice was already planning to go out and Fallon proposes to keep an eye on her and stop her drinking too much. Brian doesn't apologise for his misjudgement and continues to grumble.

Brian then goes over to Berrow, where he encounters Jazzer, whom he did not expect to see, and is displeased; Neil explains that Jazzer is there working for the day before he starts work proper. Brian is there to tell Neil the return to service figures are unsatisfactory and he feels Neil has dropped the ball regarding fertility, but Neil doesn't accept that anything is wrong. Jazzer tries to intervene and has his nose snapped off. Brian continues on the attack, and Neil is not all that conciliatory.

At the pub, Alice is giggling and reminiscing about Fallon getting drunkenly lost on a previous occasion, before she and Harrison were an item, which Fallon doesn't entirely appreciate. Alice tells her to lighten up, and announces it's her round. Fallon says the one she's had is enough: she's driving. Alice suggests a taxi home, but Fallon still says no.

Ed has turned up to collect Jazzer, whom Neil praises for coming at all. Then Neil apologises for Brian's behaviour and excuses it by saying the Aldridges are having a hard time. After Neil has left them the two agree that the Aldridges are being a pain, and Jazzer fears that leaving Home Farm has just got him into another place where Brian will throw his weight around at him.

When the two women get home Brian thanks Fallon for having kept Alice within bounds and says he is really very grateful; he apologises for the way he talked to her earlier, and also for what he said before the christening: he now understands why she and Harrison didn't want to be involved. Fallon is forgiving, and Brian says she's a good friend, and Alice needs friends. Fallon says the pub was hard work and she didn't enjoy watching her friend drink. Brian is thereby encouraged to open his heart to Fallon, laying all his woes about Alice out for her, and she tells him that Alice needs professional help, rehab; Brian thought that she'd done that, but Fallon explains that the Bath visit was only detox, and rehab is more extensive. Brian starts planning at once, wondering whether the same clinic might help again, and ignores Fallon trying to explain that it will do no good unless Alice agrees. She tries to be firm that he needs to talk to Alice first.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 9th June, 2021

Chris is grateful to Peggy, and Jennifer will never forgive her.

Characters: Chris, Peggy, burbling baby, Jennifer, Fallon
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Evidently by invitation, Chris and Martha are visiting Peggy, who says she doesn't want to be an imposition. He says he owes her a lot for warning him he might have to make some difficult choices. Peggy understanding has made it possible for him to do something that has been very hard. She is just pleased that her bad experience turned out to be of some benefit to him. Jennifer arrives and is surprised to see Christopher but delighted to see Martha. Chris has to leave, because of an appointment with Fallon, so he picks up Martha and gets her ready to go.

Fallon has come to tell Chris that she won't be coming out with Harrison tomorrow. Chris assumes this is because of Alice trying to kiss Harrison, and starts saying that it was all entirely Alice's fault and he does understand; Fallon points out that the way he is talking is why she doesn't want to come. She isn't prepared to pick a side, and she doesn't want to be in the we-hate-Alice club nor spend an evening with Chris and Emma slagging off his wife.

Jennifer has been good about Chris having to rush off and her not being able to spend any time with Martha. She has come to bring Peggy up to date about Alice, and tells her that she and Brian have been doing research into residential treatment. Peggy is doubtful, and can't see Alice being enthusiastic about the idea. Then Jennifer thanks Peggy for sticking to Jack all those years and being a shining example of not giving up on family, and Peggy can't stand the misrepresentation, so she puts her right. She thinks staying with Jack was a mistake. She tells Jennifer she has known since New Year's Eve about Alice being an alcoholic; Jennifer is horrified that she shared this with Chris and not with her. Peggy explains that she wanted Chris not to make the mistake she did when she wasted so many years not doing the one thing she should have done, leaving Jack. What Jennifer needs to understand is that an alcoholic is all self: take take take. She told Christopher he might have to put Martha first. Jennifer is furious because Peggy could have raised the alarm to the family months ago; she won't let Peggy finish her sentences or explain what she actually said. Jennifer asks whether Alice knows what Peggy has done, and says she never must: her own grandmother – it would destroy her!

Chris is explaining to Fallon that Martha is more important than anything. But Fallon says he has to think about the future. She tells him about her own father's drinking, that her memories of him were bad ones, and that she was glad her mother chucked him out. (Which is retrospective invention. Chris) But now he is working at the pub with Jolene, like civilised people, and it has made a big difference to Fallon. She says that if Alice is always treated as the villain it isn't going to be good for Martha as she grows up. Chris says the whole thing is a mess: he hates Alice and loves her, wants her back and doesn't, and it's all very raw. Fallon says she wants to be able to be friends with him and with Alice too. When Fallon tells him that she saw Alice yesterday, he's glad and asks her to let him know how Alice is. Fallon finally agrees to go on the evening out if he can shut Emma up about how much she hates Alice; he promises he will lay down the law and make that stick.

Peggy is trying to explain to Jennifer that if Alice couldn't stop drinking, Chris needed to know that he should take care of Martha's best interests, and anyway Martha is better off with him than with Alice at this point. As Jennifer sees it, Peggy encouraged Chris to tear the baby away from her mother and leave, and she's furious with Peggy; she doesn't see how she'll ever be able to forgive her.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 10th June, 2021

Chris changes his mind, and so ostensibly does Alice.

Characters: Harrison, Fallon, Chris, Brian, Jennifer, Alice
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The night out is about to start; Harrison and Fallon are collecting Chris, and Emma will join them once her PC meeting is over. It's the first normal thing Chris has done in ages; he reckons a night off is just what he needs.

Brian has mentioned the support group, and thinks he's found the ideal place for rehab, albeit rather expensive; all they need is to get Alice to sign an authorisation for them to act on her behalf and then book her into it. Alice has already left the table to go to the loo, so he can tell Jennifer about it without upsetting their daughter. Jennifer is still inveighing against Peggy, and Lilian is outraged as well, apparently, but Brian can't see that Peggy talking to Jennifer at that stage would have helped. Brian thinks they need to have something concrete to offer Alice before they will be able to get her on side. Alice comes back, and doesn't agree that things need to change. She refuses the idea of rehab point blank.

Emma has been delayed, and rung to say they are to order and not wait for her. They've inadvertently taken Chris to the place where he went with Alice for her thirtieth birthday, though, and he feels weird being there without her; it's like missing an arm. Everything he does makes him think of Alice, about whom he maunders at length. He then apologises to Fallon for talking about Alice, and Harrison starts to talk about Tracy and cricket. Chris goes off to ring his parents and check on Martha, and Fallon realises that it's too soon for them to have a good night out with him.

Against Jennifer's wishes, Brian is still talking about rehab, and Alice says rehab is for people who want to stop drinking, which she doesn't. She won't consider six weeks away from Martha, even though, as Jennifer points out, she hardly sees her now. Alice starts to inveigh against Susan for not letting her be with Martha and for being a total cow and the Carters never having liked her anyway, and then attacks Brian and Jennifer for not standing up for her properly. This turns into a shouting match with Brian, with Jennifer trying to keep the peace. Jennifer says she is losing her mind, and is scared they will lose Alice, that she may die. Alice abruptly goes off to her room, and Brian says loudly that she is going for another drink.

Harrison is driving Chris and Fallon home. Chris thinks he spoiled their evening when he asked to leave just as Emma arrived, but now sees it was OTT to want to go home to check Martha. He feels he's a killjoy and is being very depressed, again at some length. Fallon demands that Harrison stop the car, and gives Chris a pep-talk about looking out for himself: he can't just survive on working and being a dad. He is allowed to be miserable, she tells him, and better to be miserable with his mates than on his own. Harrison suggests they get a chippy tea and go back to their place, from which he can get to Martha in five minutes if he is needed, and Chris agrees he'd really like that.

Brian is talking about the farm and possibly having to employ Ed, although Alice has made that a bit difficult for them; Jennifer, meanwhile, has completely lost her appetite. Alice reappears and asks to see the authorisation form; she has even brought her pen down with her. She has taken what Jennifer said to heart, and realised they can't go on as they are. Surprised and delighted, Jennifer says they will be with her all the way, and they can beat this thing together.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 14th June, 2021

Adam has a guilty secret, and Helen has another.

Characters: Joy, Helen, Lee,Adam, Brian
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Caroline Harrington & Adrian Flynn

Directors: Peter Leslie Wild & Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Joy is telling Helen about Edwin at the end house having been rude to her (he isn't Ebenezer after all) when Joy's phone goes off: it's Edwin telling the neighbourhood group about the scooter he's found on his lawn. Then Fallon texts to ask Joy to be on the fête committee: Lynda wants to interview her. Helen warns her that the fête committee is a total nightmare because Lynda takes it so seriously, but the flattered Joy says she's met a few Lynda Snells in her life and can deal with her. Then Helen and Lee tell her they won;t be going out after all because they haven't a baby-sitter: Pat and Tony are having Jennifer, Brian and Alice over to supper. Joy offers to babysit instead of them; Helen wonders about it, but she says she can cope fine with the bed-time routine.

Adam greets Brian at the estate office, where he is having a scan through the farm accounts; Alice's rehab is more than they can afford, and Brian is thinking of taking his share of the profits a bit early. Adam knows what's there and tries to demand his right to do the checking. Brian realises that some of the figures are not up to date and also works out that the farm machinery account is five thousand pounds light.

Lee and Helen are at the drive-in film at Lower Loxley and see that there is pulled pork on the menu. Helen leaves the choice of relish to Lee, who goes off to fetch their meal, and rings Joy to tell her where the bedtime book for Jack is. Joy and Jack are having a laugh; Jack got out a couple of the superheroes from the cupboard, the spare ones from the cupboard on the landing. There aren't any spares, says Helen; are the boxes all right? Then they can seal them up and no-one will be any the wiser. Joy goes to check; Helen will call her later.

Brian doesn't recognise a business name, from months ago; the money was for something in March, when Alice was working there. Brian sees it as her making mistakes; surely she wouldn't steal from her family? But he can't see any logical explanation for where the money went. Adam gets rid of Brian, saying he is busy and if he checks the accounts it will be quicker anyway. Brian leaves for his supper-appointment.

Helen has rung Joy, to hear that the boxes have been ripped. Joy will hide the evidence and Helen can buy replacements. Lee will be none the wiser. Helen says she can't not tell him, but Joy is more pragmatic.

Brian comes back to the office, because Alice refused to go out to supper at Bridge Farm and is being obnoxious; he had to get away. She isn't going to rehab until the seventh of July, and he really isn't looking forward to three more weeks of her being like this. Adam is meant to be working part-time, and Brian apologises for not pulling his weight; Adam says he has had other things on his mind, after all. Brian now insists on having another look through the bank statements: he thinks it has to be Alice who took the money. He'll have to have a word with her: he can't let her get away with it. Adam points out that whether she took it or not, if she gets the hump she'll refuse rehab. Brian goes on saying he can't let her get away with it; Adam finally tells him that he, not Alice, took the money.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 15th June, 2021

Lynda is taken aback, and so in the end is Lee.

Characters: Lynda, Joy, Adam, Lee
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Caroline Harrington & Adrian Flynn

Directors: Peter Leslie Wild & Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Lynda is giving an apple to Salieri the llama when Joy arrives early for her interview about the fête committee. Joy is insufficiently reverent about the fête, and clearly dismayed at being close to a llama, about both of which Lynda sniffs.

Adam says that he hasn't had a chance to find some clamps he has promised to lend to Lee, and while Lee waits on his pleasure and occasionally reminds him that he has come by arrangement to borrow the clamps and what they are for, mutters to himself and complains about everything he is doing instead of fetching them. Lee offers Adam a go on the drums to sublimate his aggression. After a longish time of Adam griping at the various things, Lee offers to fetch the clamps himself, whereupon Adam loses his temper and swears, than apologises and starts to explain why he is in such a vile mood.

Joy is glad to be away from the llamas, and admires Lynda's garden. She is trying to lose weight after lockdown, and resists eating one of the butterfly buns that she has brought along. She talks about herself and her daughter Rochelle, while Lynda attempts to pontificate about the duties of a committee member: motivating others, never being discouraged, maximising advertising impact. Joy talks about Rochelle some more, and mentions that selling hundreds of butterfly buns she had made paid for the costumes for Rochelle's majorettes team; having blasphemed against the Edgely Morris, she even interrupts Lynda and prevents her from going into full flow. Her fund-raising experiences impress Lynda, and then she asks to be reminded again what qualifications she'll need for the committee.

Adam is being angry because Brian virtually accused him of stealing the money, and Lee sympathises. Adam had to pay the electrician, who was over estimate, and freely admits he took the money, but always intended to pay it back if he hadn't been so busy single-handed on the farm. He has a thorough whinge about Brian being so objectionable as to be angry about an oversight. Lee continues sympathetic, and for some reason Adam goes on and on confiding in him about his own and the rest of the Aldridge family's affairs. He blames Brian for everything. Ian doesn't know yet about the money, and Adam asks Lee not to tell Ian or any of Adam's family, particularly Jennifer. Adam has convinced himself, and tells Lee, that Brian is nastier to him than to any of his siblings, and never blows up at them, but also boasts that he gave Brian as good as he got and will repay the money in his own good time and not because he has been told to. Then he lets slip the actual amount he has embezzled, five grand ('chickenfeed to the farm business'), and Lee is clearly shocked.

Lynda is desperately determined to keep Joy from taking over the conversation altogether, eventually telling her that she is welcome to be on the committee for a trial, perhaps just for one year. She will send dates, but maybe Joy will be more comfortable just listening in at her first meeting...

Adam goes on asserting that Brian is the one at fault, then starts to blame Alice as well. Lee suggests there might have been faults on both sides, and that perhaps Adam ought to pay the money back, which completely throws Adam because it is such an unexpected idea. He goes on asking Lee to keep his secrets, and they finally go to get the clamps even though it is now too late for Lee to use them immediately because he has spent all this time on Adam's self-made troubles. As they go, Lee suggests Adam ought to pay back the money as soon as possible, and also apologise for his behaviour yesterday: then maybe he and Brian can both move on.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 16th June, 2021

Lee is philosophical, and Peggy revisits bad memories.

Characters: Joy, Helen, Peggy, Lilian, Lee
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Caroline Harrington & Adrian Flynn

Directors: Peter Leslie Wild & Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Helen has been trying to find replacement figures for Lee, but there are so many sizes and she can't find the right ones, and the Wolverine would cost $250... She is just going to have to tell him. Joy thinks they might wait a bit longer, and then offers to be the one to break the news. She ends up comforting Helen, who is going to get it over with as soon as Lee comes home, and she will stay until he arrives.

Peggy and Lilian are talking, and Peggy is feeling unhappy because Jennifer has shown no sign of forgiving her. Lilian shares the news about Alice having agreed to rehab, but adds that it won't start for another three weeks and meanwhile Alice is being uncooperative, which Peggy finds unsurprising. Lilian offers to take her to see Jennifer, but Peggy doesn't feel that going over there would be a good idea.

Lee arrives home and is surprised Joy is there. Helen confesses about Jack having played with the figures and broken the boxes. Lee is not happy, but says he is not cross, just sad: he'd kept them pristine all these years, and now they aren't. Joy tries to cheer him up by saying the boys enjoyed the dollies so much that they should have been played with, about which crass bit of insensitivity he doesn't throw things at her as any normal person would, though he does cavil at the word dollies.

Lilian does understand why Peggy didn't tell Jennifer, though if it had been James in similar circumstances about whom Peggy had stayed schtum she would probably feel the same as Jennifer. Peggy explains that she'd had her suspicions for a long time, but by the time she was sure on New Year's Eve she also knew, because Chris told her, that Alice was getting help and had been in detox. She was afraid that if Jennifer had been told she would have confronted her daughter, so Peggy honestly thought it was better to say nothing. Lilian tells her to leave it to her and she will do her best to bring about a rapprochement between Jennifer and her mother. Peggy doesn't really think the rehab will be any good; it sounded too much like the sanatorium Jack was in. Lilian says things have moved on a bit since the 1970s. She asks about her father's last days, and Peggy tells her that she doesn't want to know what the treatment was in the sanatorium, though it was a beautiful building. Peggy (in retrospective invention, because he was in Scotland and she was in Ambridge – Chris) spent a lot of time visiting him there towards the end, and it was horrible.

Helen is demanding that Lee tell her the truth now Joy has gone. She thinks he was being polite to spare Joy's feelings. He has been holding Wolverine, who feels nothing like how he'd imagined during the twenty years he had kept the box carefully unopened; when Joy said that the boys had so much fun with his belongings, it made him realise that it may be time for a bit of a rethink. He's ok with it; some of his figures can come out and be played with.

Peggy doesn't want to talk about Jack's death, about which she lied to her children when she told them he had a peaceful end. Lilian naturally wants to know more, so Peggy tells her that the drugs he was on had side effects that were dreadful; with the last one, he would be violently ill if he had alcohol, but he was past caring and got hold of some whisky, was horribly sick for days, and then his poor body couldn't cope any more. Peggy has pushed it to the back of her mind, to spare her children, but she has had dreadful visions of history repeating itself, and can't get rid of the image in her mind. Lilian gives her a pep talk about how much better it is all done these days and how much more is known about the causes of alcoholism and how to wean people away from it. And this works? asks Peggy. Lilian says there are no guarantees but it's definitely possible. Peggy now feels that she wants to offer to help pay for the treatment: she can't bear the thought of dear Alice ending up like her grandfather.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 17th June, 2021

The rewilding might be just a little too wild, and Adam goes too far.

Characters: Phoebe, Roy, Rex, Adam, Brian
Credited scriptwriters for the week: Caroline Harrington & Adrian Flynn

Directors: Peter Leslie Wild & Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Phoebe explains that she left her bag at home on purpose, but Roy has brought it for her anyway. They are at the campsite, where two families are expected some time after four; Roy is impressed, and full of praise for everything they show him: it all looks great. There's nothing they need him to help with, and they are very busy so he takes himself off. Phoebe starts bossing Rex about, not too happy that Roy was checking up on her. They have all the leaflets they need, cards for a local taxi-firm (Rex), Jim and Robert have made them a local bird list, and they have a wildlife log. Rex reckons it all gives out a good vibe. Then Phoebe realises the solar lighting kits aren't there.

Adam thinks the barley is ripening ok, but aggressively supposes Brian will want to check for himself; Brian doesn't. He has actually come to ask whether Adam has noticed the bird-proofing on the grain store being faulty, and Adam is immediately offended, although Brian makes it clear he is offering to fix it, not criticising. Then in a not-actual-apology Adam says that he could have explained himself better on Monday. 'Is that it?' asks Brian, who clearly finds this inadequate. He then tells Adam he will see to the bird-netting after lunch.

Frantic telephoning reveals that the solar lights have been returned to the depot because nobody was there for the delivery at seven in the morning, and they can't now be delivered until tomorrow: no lights for the paths this evening, nor in the composting toilets. Phoebe is worried they might get sued for negligence, or hammered in their first reviews on line. She suggests torches. Rex suggests a solar-powered gnome from Bert's garden. Then he hopes the guests might be relaxed about it. Phoebe says that they can't let the guests down, and Rex that they need help.

Now in the office after lunch, Adam offers to show Brian the accounts: he has returned his 'loan'. He then demands an apology from Brian for having not been friendly on Monday. Brian is gobsmacked by the cheek of it, and points out that in fact, Adam is the one who has done wrong and needs to apologise for it. Adam retorts that he is not asking for forgiveness because he doesn't need it. This does not improve Brian's opinion of him even slightly.

Roy has got in touch with a friend, Mark, who can sort them out a solar generator for the time being; he ran events for Grey Gables back in the day. Roy says smugly that he has quite a network these days. Mark was interested in seeing the camping ground anyway, particularly after Roy had been spreading the word about Phoebe's wonderful project. He likes boasting about his daughter: it shows he got something right in life.

Adam is continuing to push his luck and air his every grievance, eventually throwing in the poisoning of the Am as a clincher to the evils Brian has perpetrated on him. Brian points out that history is irrelevant and anyway Alice is the priority at the moment, but Adam has now got into his stride, and accuses Brian of always having treated him differently from the rest of the family. Ruairi gets mentioned, with Adam complaining that Brian seized on Ruairi's idea about giving up their own sheep in order to graze and run Brookfield's, taking no account of Adam's hard work on the flock over the years. Brian says he was leaning that way himself anyway. But Adam clearly resents Ruairi's biological origins, that the 18-year-old dilettante is taken seriously about farm matters, and that Brian does not value, or even listen to, Adam's opinons. Brian tells Adam that he does listen to him; he just doesn't know if he can believe him. Adam tries to make that about his gayness and foolishly says he is sick of being where he isn't wanted, to which Brian, immediately taking him at his word, suggests that in that case he could always leave. Adam is disbelieving and says 'You don't mean that!' but Brian simply asks why not? The current arrangement is not working for either of them. Adam asserts that he has done nothing wrong, and Brian notes that is what is wrong with him. Brian needs a farm manager he can rely on, and it is becoming increasingly clear Adam is not that.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti


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