JanuaryFebruaryMarch

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 and 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.

Characters: Josh, Rex, Jazzer, Tracy, Toby,
Credited scriptwriters for the week:
Adrian Flynn and Katie Hims
Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 scriptwriters for the week:
Naylah Ahmed and Keri Davies (KD today)
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 scriptwriters for the week:
Naylah Ahmed and Keri Davies (NA today)
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 scriptwriters for the week:
Naylah Ahmed and Keri Davies (KD today)
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 scriptwriters for the week:
Naylah Ahmed and Keri Davies (NA today)
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


More information from Ambridge | Ambridge Reporter Discussion Forum