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Sunday 2nd January, 2022

Mysteries over, life can go back to normal for some.

Characters: Christopher, Alice, Martha, Roy, Kirsty, Mike, Susan
Credited scriptwriter: Liz John

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Christopher is telling Martha about the lights at Lower Loxley as Alice arrives; he is looking forward to the Lower Loxley extravaganza, and reminiscing about Susan's entry as a King in the Nativity. They show Martha the animal-shaped lights, and Chris makes elephant noises to amuse her.

Roy has got stuck in his 'second soldier' costume, and Kirsty is releasing him, painfully. She has no idea how they got through the show, and Mike comes in and congratulates them although he is not meant to be in the cast-only area. Kirsty congratulates him in return, on his work on the Cross, and he asks Roy to come and say goodbye to Vicky, Bethany and Abbie in the car. As they go out Roy reminds him to come to the Olivers on Thursday evening.

Chris has brought hot chocolate for Alice and hot milk for Martha, but Martha is asleep; Chris reminds Alice about carving their initials in a heart on the tree they hid behind when they sneaked into Lower Loxley together years ago. He can't find the initials, but he gives her a kiss, which startles her because she wasn't expecting it. He is hurt and sorry, but he had thought it would be all right as she is so much better now. He tries to persuade her to come back to him and their daughter as a family.

Mike offers Susan a sausage roll: the last one, as she points out rather tartly. She wants to mention his having got Neil drunk and kept him out late, and Mike turns her wrath by congratulating her on her being important in the dairy, and then by being admiring of her and Neil's new social position. She is boastful about Neil's job and the importance of the people he associates with. Mike then congratulates her on her performance in the play as second torturer, and she is cozened into allowing him to have the sausage roll.

A rather panicked Alice is is explaining to Chris that they are not like other families: she is an alcoholic and will never be normal. She loved being married to him, it was all she wanted, but she wrecked it and has to take responsibility for that. She can only worry about herself for now, just her. Chris wants to know where that leaves him, and why it is always about her and never him.

As they pack up the last of the costumes, Roy tells Kirsty that Mike has fixed the shower tray at Willow Farm so that it no longer leaks and then, when Kirsty and Susan don't want to go for a drink with the rest of the cast, calls them lightweights and runs away pretending to be frightened of Susan the torturer. Susan congratulates Kirsty on the show, and says they can all get back to life as they know it. Yes, says Kirsty gloomily.

Chris has been badly upset by Alice not wanting him to touch her, and she explains she can only concentrate on not drinking, which is taking everything she's got; he reminds her that they have a daughter. He doesn't want her help putting Martha to bed, and goes into the Nest. As the door closes on his sobs, Alice is yet again left saying, "I'm so, so sorry."

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 3rd January, 2022

Two full houses, and another in contention.

Characters: Mike, Roy, Tom, Tony, Pat, Josh
Credited scriptwriter: Liz John

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Mike has cooked pancakes for breakfast; Roy will be having a lazy Bank Holiday, but Mike will be over at the Bungalow, and later he'll fix a carpet for Roy. He now reckons that the job at the Bungalow may take longer than he originally thought, so he hopes Roy isn't going to throw him out too quickly.

Tom is apologising for breaking the giant mug Tony favoured: the Bridge Farm dishwasher is smaller than the one he is used to. He and Natasha will be taking Pat in to Underwoods as soon as Natasha is ready. Before Tom goes to find her he offers to replace the mug while they are there, but Pat assures him that with his and Natasha's mugs as well as Pat and Tony's, the cupboard is full. When Tom has gone off Natasha-seeking, Tony is inclined to grumble about the takeover of his life; one of his vests has been washed pink, too. Pat doesn't think either Tony's mug or Tony's vest matters.

Josh has brought some 'muted flint' colour paint for one of the rooms at the Bungalow, and red for the paintwork; he is determined that it is his turn to get a place of his own, since Pip already has one. Mike didn't know it had been decided who would be moving in, but is quite happy to use the paint Josh has provided.

At Underwoods, Tom is helping Pat to choose a getup for her birthday present while Natasha is off being sick; it has been suggested they might go to a shop Pat likes, but it's right across town and Natasha doesn't dare end up too far from a loo. They have found a coat Pat loves, but also need a skirt and a blouse for her, and it is taking her a while to choose.

Josh is telling Mike about his egg business, and Mike is being admiring. Apparently Betty always said you can't go wrong with hens. Mike likes the paint, but, as Josh has discovered by painting a door, the red is definitely bold. Josh can't wait to get out of Brookfield: Ben is being a bore about his nursing exams, and Josh wants some privacy. He offers Mike a pint at The Bull in the evening, and Gran has given him twenty quid to buy Mike's dinner. Roy rings Mike to find out how he is getting on, and offers to make chicken jalfrezi for their tea, which Mike accepts; when Josh asks if he'd rather eat at The Bull another night, Mike says he'll eat Wayne's rabbit pie at The Bull first, then go back to Willow Cottage for a later meal with Roy.

Pat runs a characteristically grumpy Tony to earth sweeping out the packhouse rather than coming in to watch a film Natasha has decreed they will all enjoy together; he has already seen it with Pat, and describes it as too mushy for him. Pat claims not to have seen it before. After the film Pat will have a bath run for her by Natasha, with scented candles; Tony avers that he can run his own baths. Pat has had a wonderful morning, though she hates to think how expensive it must have been. They both look forward to the arrival of the baby; Tony agrees with her that they are lucky to have grandchildren, and grandchildren nearby at that. Pat implores him to come to the film, but he really wants to play with his trains. She says it is their chance to bond with Natasha, and Tony finally agrees. They won't be able all to sit down together and watch films when the baby arrives.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 4th January, 2022

Susan is affronted and Alice is taken aback to be taken at her word.

Characters: Susan, Tony, Alice, Lilian, Chris, Adam, Lorraine
Credited scriptwriter: Liz John

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Clarrie has a migraine, so Susan is alone in the dairy. She has rung Tony for help; a potential new buyer from a health food chain has rescheduled and is arriving in twenty-five minutes, Helen has been delayed, and Susan can do a tour and explanations for her but they will look understaffed and unprofessional with one worker all alone there. Tony can't come: he and Johnny are mending a fence and he is covered in mud. But he will sort out someone.

Amy has started a dog-walking service, which Alice is recommending to Lilian; they are in the tack-room, having just come in from a ride together. Then Chris arrives shouting for Alice, and saying he needs a word. Lilian tactfully tries to make herself scarce, but he wants her to stay. He explains that when Alice said their marriage was over, he found it hard to deal with, and he has been checking about divorce on the internet and discovered they will have to live apart for two years before they can apply for one. They might as well get on with it and get the misery over. The only way to do that in less than two years is for one of them to cite unreasonable behaviour in the other. He wants her to say he has been unreasonable: it's the easiest thing.

Tony has sent Adam to pretend to be a dairy worker, and Susan tells him he can't do anything to help with the yoghurt because he isn't trained, so he'll just have to do some washing up. Adam promises to keep quiet, just as Lorraine arrives. She takes the blame for having to come early, and asks Susan to introduce her to the other worker.

Alice says she can't do it, because Chris has done nothing wrong and she can't say he is unreasonable when he hasn't been. He says it doesn't matter, and he doesn't see the point in waiting. It's what she wants, and he would like her to get on with it: he doesn't care what she says about him, she can think of something, or ask a solicitor. She refuses, and he says that in that case he has no choice; he will have to divorce her, citing her behaviour. He can't take the uncertainty any more; he needs to sort it out now, and he can't see any other way. He thanks Lilian for being there, and leaves. Lilian tries to comfort the unhappy Alice, who suddenly decides she is OK and is sorry Lilian had to hear all that. It was her decision, and it's not Chris's fault: he needs to get on with his life without her.

Lorraine asks Susan whether they can do special flavours exclusive to her company, and Susan says they can but prices are Helen's department; Lorraine expresses herself as very impressed with what she has seen. She thinks they have covered all her questions, then remembers that she hasn't asked about HAZOP controls, which Susan doesn't understand; Adam steps in and translates, and Susan then explains their safety protocols. Lorraine for some reason assumes this means Adam is the teacher, not Susan, and congratulates him on what a good training he has obviously given Susan. Susan is insulted at having been thought to be a novice but somehow manages not to be rude, and when Adam tries to talk her down after Lorraine has left she crossly sends him back to the washing-up.

Lilian has rung Alice to ask how she is, because she is worried about her having rushed off the way she did. She invites her to the Dower House, or to go shopping with her, but Alice just wants a ride together, next week. Lilian is sure she can be free any time for her. After they finish the conversation, Alice puts forward the goods she wants to buy, then adds two bottles of vodka – large ones – to her purchases.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 5th January, 2022

Amy is there for Alice, and Tom and Natasha are everywhere at Bridge Farm

Characters: Amy, Alice, Tony, Pat
Credited scriptwriter: Liz John

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Early in the morning, Amy finds Alice in the playground, having only seen a text message from last night when she woke up. Alice has been there all night, and claims she needs to stay in the playground, so Amy sits beside her to warm her. She wants to know what has happened, and Alice says she needs her help. Amy asks what's in the bag, and looks in it, discovering the vodka. She thanks Alice for showing her and says that was really honest, and now Alice isn't on her own any more. She tries to discover how much drink Alice has had, and takes the bag and finds the bottles are full. This is a relief to Amy. She tells Alice that's a really good thing, in fact it's amazing. Alice says she bought the bottles intending to drink them, but her buddy talked with her all night. She badly wants to open a bottle and drink, and feel normal again. Amy doesn't see it; after Alice had one of her 'big nights' in Nottingham, she was always really low afterwards, not normal at all. And Alice hasn't had a drink this time, so that's not what she wants. What did Lisa say to do with the bottles? Now it's the two of them together, what do they do next?

Pat has finished milking the goats and Tony offers her some coffee that Natasha has made for them, from her special extra-roast beans. They both think it is revolting, but there is no way they can make themselves the sort they like in front of Natasha. Pat is gasping for a proper coffee, and the kitchen will be occupied by Natasha and Tom until at least eight.

Alice asks Amy to get rid of the vodka for her, and Amy pours it away. Alice thanks her repeatedly, in tears.

Tony has gone to get coffee from Fallon, who was happy to replace the undrinkable brew with cappuccinos with extra sprinkles. Pat says she couldn't find her moisturiser that morning; Natasha has filled the bathroom with her creams and lotions. It's worse than Jack and Henry's bath-toys, Tony says gloomily; he reckons Hazel has a lot to answer for, throwing Tom and Natasha out.

Amy is trying to get Alice to explain what made her buy the vodka, and Alice tells her Chris asked her for a divorce, which Amy points out was what Alice had been talking about herself. Alice says he tried to take the blame, and that she felt humiliated that he couldn't say she was the villain, that he couldn't risk her getting stressed and having a relapse. Amy says that she nearly did but she stopped herself: that's a massive milestone. The strategies from rehab did work. Alice, who seems dazed, says that her feet just took her to the off-licence, and she felt calm and as if everything was going to be OK. Amy points out that she rang Lisa instead of pouring herself a big drink. That was brilliant. Now they need to think how to stop her from being stressed. Alice talks of Ruairi never being able to forgive her, and Amy says she probably ought to let that go for now. She can always talk to Amy, to which Alice agrees. Amy thanks her, then tells her there is one more thing they need to do. She leads Alice to the bin, where she smashes one of the bottles and tells Alice to break the other because it's not her. Alice does as she is told, and Amy tells her that's the real Alice, my friend Alice: she's still there. Alice is determined that this is new start and she is going to make it work.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 6th January, 2022

Awards and fancies.

Characters: Alan, Roy, Lynda, Kirsty, Amy, Alice, Jennifer
Credited scriptwriter: Liz John

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Alan is the MC for the Oliver Awards, and Roy and Lynda joke about Kirsty not being particularly interested in the whole occasion. Kirsty in turn mentions that Mike has mended absolutely everything that needed it at Willow Farm.

A dog yaps and we learn that Amy is out dog-walking; Alice makes fun of her about it, which Amy thinks is a positive sign. Amy has always loved dogs, apparently. Jennifer comes by on her way to The Lodge and wonders whether Alice likes the idea of a late supper, a Thai stir-fry. She says that she thinks Alice looks peaky, but Amy deflects her by claiming to be more peaky herself, and Jennifer leaves to take a delayed present to Peggy. When she is gone Amy says Alice is in fact looking a bit better than yesterday.

Lily Pargetter has won the award for the most cleverly disguised use of thermal underwear. The audience (as represented by Roy, Lynda and Kirsty) is discussing the awards and suggesting which might have gone to different people. Alan reads out a gushing section of a letter from the Bishop: apparently he was impressed, and raises his mitre to the cast and the writer. The best stealing of a scene award goes to Susan for the entry on the flatbed truck. It's her second 'gong'.

Alice is agonising about how close she came to disaster on Tuesday night: she nearly opened one of the bottles, though as Amy points out, she stopped herself. Even worse, she'll have tests like that for the rest of her life, waiting to jump out and grab her. Amy distracts her by talking about how she is enjoying what she is doing, and Alice thinks it is doing her good; she herself could use something to do. She has way too much time on her hands.

Lynda, Kirsty and Roy are still talking together in the awards audience; apparently Mike has offered to re-varnish the outdoor benches at The Bull, and will be staying a few days more. Lynda is called up to present one last award: for calmness and being the most long-suffering producer ever. Kirsty doesn't want to go up to receive it, but manages to do so after a pause and gets a bundle of fulsome praise from Lynda; she protests, but the audience back Lynda up. Lynda demands a few words, and Kirsty obliges. In spite of some people, they know who they are, she has had an absolute blast and can confidently say that thanks to them all, and particularly Judas, or perhaps Roy, she is now pretty-much ready for anything. She proposes a toast 'to Ambridge'.

Alice wants a quick word outside Willow Cottage, and Jennifer at once says that she knew something was wrong. Alice says that every day is difficult, but what's wrong is that she hasn't got a focus at the moment. Jennifer protests that surely Martha is her focus, but Alice says she has hour and hours on her own without anything to think about except how she mustn't have a drink. Amy was talking about how the dog-walking has helped her mentally, and Alice realised she needs something like that, to distract her from herself and give her a purpose. Otherwise she just sits there thinking 'what's the point of me?' Jennifer immediately says that's rubbish, but Alice is not to be deflected. Since Jennifer has also heard from Lilian about Christopher wanting a divorce, she certainly wants to help Alice in any way: that must all have been very upsetting. Alice says it might do her good to get back to work: doing nothing is even more stressful. Jennifer initially doesn't think that is a good idea or that it would be good for her, but Alice begs for some part-time hours at Home Farm. Jennifer will discuss it with Brian; Alice says that she really thinks it could be what she needs to get her life back on track.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 9th January, 2022

Brian leans on Stella, and 'spoiling Pat day' is spoiled.

Characters: Tom, Pat, Tony, Brian, Alice, Stella
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Tom insists on pouring Pat's breakfast tea because it's Pat's 'official' birthday – there won't be time to celebrate her real one tomorrow. Tony comes in from doing the farming and he too is offered breakfast, from a huge and somewhat stodgy spread including pancakes and croissants. When Tom has gone to fetch Pat's present she tells Tony quietly that all she really fancies is a bowl of muesli.

Brian wants to have a word with Stella next week about possibly employing Alice, but since Stella has come in to the office for a couple of hours Alice wants to talk to her today. She just wants to be offered whatever needs doing; Brian is a lot less certain about the plan. At the mention of My Buddy Lisa thinking it a good idea, Brian caves in. Alice insists she wants to talk to Stella herself, before Brian does.

Tom has bought Pat a flatpack bathroom cabinet and is making it in the hall, to Pat's minor despair; Tony convinces her that she should leave him to it. Pat says peevishly to Tony that it isn't a present for her; it's for Tom and Natasha's benefit, and they are making her feel like a guest in her own home. Tony doesn't want to make a fuss about that today, with Helen and the boys and Lee and Peggy all expected for a lunchtime party.

Alice is offering to do anything that is needed on the farm, and Stella is trying hard to be tactful, but is not allowed to get a word in until she finally points out that she has no work she can offer to Alice: they simply don't need any help. Alice assumes it's because of the drinking, and says that she hasn't had a drink for five months, but Stella asserts that has nothing to do with it and remains firm.

Tom has fixed the cabinet to the wall, and says that it is for Pat, while his and Natasha's things remain out on the surfaces: he has even put Pat's and Tony's things into it. Pat finally loses patience with him and demands that Tom and Natasha's stuff should be packed away while hers remains where she wants it to be, telling Tom that she and Tony are fed up with being tided away in their own home; he and Natasha are killing her with kindness. Before they can get seriously involved in an argument, there is a crash and a squawk from the hall and Tom rushes off to see if Natasha is all right.

Stella explains to Brian that she really has no work for Alice, and he says apologetically that he does understand that he and Alice put her in an impossible position. Almost tearfully, he says that he just doesn't know what to do, and Stella, concerned, asks him to explain. He says that people find it hard to give Alice a second chance. He did himself. But at some point she has to be allowed to rebuild her life. They have all been upset by her husband saying he wants a divorce, even though it's what Alice has previously said she wanted, but she didn't hit the bottle because of it. He didn't want to disappoint her over the job on the farm. Stella does understand why he thought it might help her. Brian turns on the agony even more, but admits Alice was stoic when she got home. He doesn't help his case by saying that they all have to be vigilant and it is still one day at a time, but neither of them seems to notice the inference that this is not ideal in an employee. Stella rethinks, although she doesn't want it to be assumed she will find a job at any time for anyone who happens to be a family member; Alice can do one or two mornings a week without pay. Brian is very relieved.

Pat is blaming herself because Natasha has gone to lie down after falling over the tools Tom left all over the hall when he went upstairs to hang the cabinet; Pat now has to sort out the cooking, and doesn't know when Natasha started the various bits of it. Tony tells her to stop blaming herself, leave the cooking to him, and go to play with the boys, who have made a banner for her. Then Tom appears and says that when Natasha fell against the hall stand she hit her lower stomach; she is in no pain, but he is not prepared to risk it and is taking her to hospital. He's sorry to spoil Pat's day.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 10th January, 2022

Tom and Natasha find out, and Mike is found out.

Characters: Roy, Mike, Phoebe, Natasha, Tom, Pat, Tony
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Roy offers Mike soup for lunch, but he wants to finish the bungalow before sprucing up The Bull's furniture tomorrow, and he'll be out to supper for a biriani with friends. Roy is a bit suspicious but Mike manages to make his escape as Phoebe distracts Roy. Roy asks whether she has noticed anything strange about Mike, but she thinks he is just enjoying catching up with Ambridge mates. She reckons Mike and Vicky are as besotted as ever and everything is fine, and wants to go upstairs to get on with some work.

Natasha wants Tom to stop pacing, and orders him to come and sit down. She was sent home from A&E and told to go to the ante-natal unit for a precautionary scan, though the doctor said that at nine weeks the baby would be protected by the pelvis. She turns down a drink of water from the cooler, but says that what would help is if Tom held her hand. He apologises and listens while she talks about this not being how she expected her first scan to be.

Roy has found out from Susan that she thinks Mike is in training for a marathon; she got it from Vicky while she was there for the mysteries. Roy is incredulous: Dad? A marathon? Susan was amazed they didn't know. Roy wonders whether Mike just didn't want them to know. Phoebe, who is trying to work, suggests ringing him to find out.

Pat has tried to ring Tom and failed; it goes to voicemail. Tony tries to comfort her by suggesting she should look at her unopened birthday cards, but she opens a card from Hazel advertising a virtual cheese-tasting. Tony is less than impressed; when he met her earlier outside the shop she asked him how Tom and Natasha are settling in, when them being there at all is entirely her fault. She's not right in the head. Pat fails to respond by getting annoyed: she can only think about Kirsty's miscarriage and how badly Tom took it. Tony says Tom and Natasha are together, and whatever happens the couple will get through it together.

Roy has just spoken to Vicky: Mike is doing 'couch to 5k' on doctor's orders, because the Wellman health check she took him to discovered that he is pre-diabetic. Phoebe doesn't reckon that's too bad, and at least he's had a warning, but Roy is worried; Mike has been lying to Vicky about food and exercise, and claimed to her that Roy begged him to help around the village.

Pat is worrying, and ringing Tom at intervals: she hopes that he will have put his phone on, but instead the pair arrive back at Bridge Farm. Tom tells his worried parents that everything's fine and both are doing very well. Pat tells Natasha how relieved she is, but Tom says he wasn't talking about Natasha when he said 'both': they're having twins. Natasha shows Pat the scan. Tom is boastfully delighted; Natasha claims to be terrified; Pat and Tony are full of congratulations.

Mike gets back to Willow Farm and offers Roy mince pies, Jill's finest. Roy forbids him from eating the mince pies or going out with the lads; he is furious. Mike is angry in return, and then when Roy treats him to a sermon about diabetes says he is not prepared to be spoken to like a child. It's his choice, and he'll do what he damn' well pleases.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 11th January, 2022

The past has a nasty habit of catching up.

Characters: Josh, Pip, Mike, Alice, Ed, Stella
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Pip is washing down the parlour and not listening as Josh tells her that the county archaeologist Terry wants a geophysical survey of the site he plans for the trees, and this will delay his application for the grant. Pip tells him cheerfully that it sounds as if he's scuppered, then, and starts the washer again. He explains that waiting for the council to get round to it may delay the tree-planting for a year, and since it will benefit the entire farm if the trees mean they get grant, he wants David and Ruth to pay for a survey instead of the council one. Pip is scathing and unpleasant because the trees were for his benefit, and would be a win-win for everyone, but he now wants help with what is going to be expensive. Mike turns up with the paint left over from the bungalow, where he has finished, and denies the marathon rumour; Pip notices the colour of the paint.

Alice is trying to make conversation with Ed, who is loading some fence-posts onto his truck and is monosyllabic at her; she asks after the family, and Christmas, but he is really not interested and tells her he needs to crack on. Then she says that she wants to clear the air now they will be working together at Home Farm, and he is incredulous.

At the bungalow, Josh is praising the paintwork while Pip is being objectionable about the colours. She becomes shrill and unpleasant, blaming Mike for having done as Josh asked him, and a row starts between her and Josh with Mike caught in the middle. Then Mike says that Josh told him that he would be moving in, and the fat hits the fire. Pip furiously drags in Rosie having to live cooped up in a shoebox of a room, and Mike starts to say he will leave. The row gets nastier, until an exasperated Mike calls them to order, asking whether they can they can hear themselves. Do they have any idea how lucky they are? He doesn't just mean having entire houses to squabble over; they are young, and healthy, and they have the best of their lives in front of them. Pip tries to break in, and he loudly over-rides her, telling her he's not finished. Are they going to carry on like this when they are forty, or fifty, or sixty? It is more than stupid to be bickering with family. Life is too short for this sort of thing, and they need to wake up before they waste any more of it.

Ed has come to have a word with Stella, catching her as she leaves the office to go and meet the agronomist over at Brook Bank. He has something tricky to say: he bumped into Alice, and he knows it's not his business who works for the farm, but he needs to put something on record for his protection. The word startles Stella, who repeats it. Just so that everything's straight, from the start, says Ed. He tells her that Alice accused him of coming on to her, when she was drunk and trying to cause trouble. Stella is surprised and worried, and asks to be told exactly what happened.

Josh is being conciliatory to Pip, and tells her that mum and dad won't pay for the survey. It has started to seem to him like a lot of hassle: Mike was right, life's too short. By this means he gets Pip onto his side, and she starts to make arguments in favour of his scheme for the trees. He leaves it, and tells her that he has been mulling over something even bigger than the trees, and will want her advice when he has thought it over a bit more. In return for this concession to her brains, she tells him she quite likes the grey paint, and might even leave it when she moves in.

Ed has told Stella about being fired by Brian because of a mistake Alice made when she was drunk, though he was re-instated after she had owned up, and about Alice assuming he was making a pass when he said he was there for her which he did because he wanted to help her, what with her being his sister-in-law. Stella listens carefully, and Ed lets on about Alice having the feud with Emma and that he thinks the pass business was just to get at his wife and Alice didn't really believe it herself. He doesn't want to cause trouble for Alice, only he can't afford to get fired and he doesn't want to be put into a false position, especially given the way men get accused of all sorts these days. He leaves when Alice appears, planning to familiarise herself with any changes since she was last working there; Stella tells her that is a good idea, and is friendly but distant, offering her tea and biscuits in the office but saying she has to leave for an appointment. When Alice has gone inside, Stella rings Brian and tells him they have a problem.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 12th January, 2022

Eavesdroppers hear no good of themselves.

Characters: Peggy, Hazel, Tony, Alice, Brian, Amy
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Peggy has served cottage pie for lunch, and Hazel isn't eating it though she says it's very nice. Peggy is surprised her appetite is still up and down, and suggests that at least she can always pop downstairs into the shop to get whatever she fancies to eat, but Hazel replies that she plans in future to get her groceries on line with more friendly service. She complains about Jim's refusal to take her shopping upstairs on the grounds that he couldn't leave the shop, though she bullied him into carrying it for her anyway. Peggy points out that he is older than her, but she says the others are as bad and it all goes back to the flood. She has trouble with the stairs, which leave her breathless, and Peggy sensibly suggests that she needs to look for somewhere more suitable, an idea Hazel rejects because she hasn't the energy. Tony comes in to invite Peggy somewhere and is rather obviously put out that Hazel is there.

Alice tells Brian he doesn't need to walk down to the village with her: she isn't going to be sold alcohol by anyone in Ambridge. It has been broken to her that she is not wanted at the farm, and she is clearly bitter about it. Brian takes the blame for everything, saying that he set her up for a fall, and suggests she might be better off working with new people, or working from home. Then they meet Amy, walking a dog called Joby, and Alice tells Brian to go home. Amy's not going to lead her astray.

Tony is trying to be polite about Hazel's birthday present for Pat, and being a trifle too fulsome, then becomes a little brusque. Peggy reminds him that he said he was pressed for time, Hazel offers him coffee, and he says he really must go. When Hazel has been sent to make coffee for Peggy, Peggy tells Tony that Hazel is feeling low, which Tony doesn't care about; he wanted to invite her to Pat's birthday tea tomorrow evening, and Peggy asks him to invite Hazel too because she is terribly lonely.

Alice is talking with Amy, and accusing Ed of dobbing her in, though she didn't hear what he said; Amy says that's mean of him since he's surely had his own problems with addictions, but Alice manages to elide what she knows he will actually have been saying when she arrived. Anyhow it's not just Ed: Brian and Stella made the decision. But what chance does she ever have of finding a job if even her own family think she's too big a risk? She wants Martha to be proud of her. She can't move away: if she were living alone she wouldn't be able to keep off alcohol. Joby starts to growl because Sabrina Thwaite is looking at them; Alice assumes it is at her specifically, though Amy says it's probably the dog. In order to find out what is on Sabrina's mind, Amy hands the lead to Alice and goes over, asking what Sabrina wants and whether she can help.

Tony tells Peggy that he won't invite Hazel, and the cheese-tasting present was insulting. Peggy says that he claimed Pat liked it, and he says angrily that he was just trying to be polite. He points out that Hazel is a dreadful person, not just for throwing out Tom and Natasha, but also in her treatment of Peggy on previous occasions, to which Peggy has to agree; why is Peggy defending her now, he wants to know. Well, because like it or not, she's family, says Peggy. She keeps on at him, reiterating Hazel being feeble and lonely and saying they wouldn't have to be there for long. After initially pointing out that Pat has had one celebration ruined already and Tom will go through the roof, Tony starts to waver, saying that he will have to talk to everyone else and see what they say, but then Hazel appears from the kitchen where she has clearly been listening, and announces that he needn't bother: she wouldn't want to come to the poxy party anyway.

Alice and Amy are laughing over Sabrina's hasty retreat, and Amy in their triumph is sure that Alice will manage to live down her reputation. Alice is her home girl, and the rest of them can go to hell.

Peggy is trying to placate Hazel, who angrily puts on the sob-stuff about being unwelcome, then irrelevantly blames Peggy for using Jack's money for the rewilding. She moved to live in Ambridge with an open heart, hoping to put the past behind them, but no, Peggy has to cling onto it. She has had enough. She doesn't need to be with people who are so petty and mean-spirited, and the same goes for everyone else in the foul, nasty village.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 13th January, 2022

Hazel and Mike both make valedictory announcements.

Characters: Mike, Roy, Phoebe, Peggy, Hazel, Tom
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Mike is being defensive about his eating, saying that it is olive oil spread not butter in the sandwich he is making, but Roy wants to go on a bit about him being (hushed tones) pre-diabetic: apparently they caught it early and he has time to do something about it. Among other things designed to get Mike into line, Roy says he will be forty-four soon but he still needs his dad around, and as Mike concedes the point he adds that Bethany needs him even more. He doesn't want Mike to bury his head in the sand. Betty having died young of a heart attack is also thrown into the mix. As Mike is about to reply, Phoebe interrupts them, and when she asks whether Mike is ready to go round the rewilding with her Mike answers that he just needs to finish making his sandwich. Roy has a quick snit: 'Fine. Enjoy it,' he says, 'I need to get back to work.' Mike sighs, understandably.

Peggy is for some reason apologising to Hazel for Hazel having eavesdropped, but all Hazel is prepared to do is be unpleasant about what she overheard; Peggy is upset because Hazel was rude about Ambridge, but admits to a lot of it being her fault, and not just recently; Jack would have hated the way they have butted heads over the years. When Peggy has finished, Hazel says that while she believes her apology, it is too little too late and she is leaving. She has realised that nostalgia is a very dangerous thing: it makes you forget, in her case what a parochial, self-satisfied, two-bit place Ambridge really is. She is going to let the flat immediately and instructed her letting agent yesterday: somebody else can have the dubious pleasure of living there.

Funny how some things come full circle, muses Mike: he has spent years working the woods, and now Phoebe is doing the same. She asks whether he misses it, and he tells her that Ambridge has been a massive part of his life, and for a long time he thought he'd never leave, even after Betty died. But then Vicky came along, and Bethany, and gave him a new chapter of his life that he never expected to have. That's why his diagnosis was such a shock. Phoebe points out that being diabetic isn't a death sentence, and in any case he has a chance to avoid it. Mike admits he can't keep on burying his head in the sand. He's been given this new chapter and wants it to last as long as possible. Phoebe changes the subject and says she was just thinking about what a powerful hold Ambridge can have. Mike agrees that it is beautiful, but it's behind him. It's time to stop wallowing in the past.

Tom and Peggy are chatting, with Tom triumphantly telling her that he has tracked down a double buggy which would be twelve hundred pounds new, for a mere five hundred quid second hand. He also has to find somewhere for him and Natasha to live: he doesn't think that sharing with Mum and Dad is going to work out long term because they need their own space, and there has already been a clash. Peggy has something to tell him about Hazel, who has decided to leave Ambridge and re-let the flat. Tom abruptly leaves the Prosecco, and Peggy, and rushes off.

Roy wants to know what Mike's suitcase is doing at the bottom of the stairs: he didn't mean what he said that morning to drive Mike into leaving straight away, he just wanted to make him realise they only want what's best for him. Mike admits Roy is right about putting his health first; he has just never liked being told what to do. It's Bethany's ninth birthday on Sunday, and he wants to be there helping her to blow out her candles and for the next ten or twenty birthdays after that. Roy gives him a hug and congratulates him with the words 'well done', and Mike says he needed someone to be tough with him. In any case, he can't keep on doing all the DIY round the village: he has his own improvement project back home, though he refuses to say what it is.

Tom is trying to persuade Hazel to allow him and Natasha just to move back in and throwing his father under a bus by saying that whatever Tony may have said, Tom has said nothing against her: it's so unfair! She refuses to let him have the flat back and tells him to leave; as a last resort he tells her about the twins and begs her to let them move back in, at least for a while; she says that she really wishes she could, but she has already let the flat to someone else.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 16th January, 2022

It's not New Year, but it seems to be a time for resolutions.

Characters: Jim, Jazzer, Fallon, Harrison, Tracy
Credited scriptwriter: Nick Warburton

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jim stops Jazzer from leaving the house because he wants his rent. Jazzer hasn't got it, and Jim is somewhat accusing because Jim's accounts are in a mess: he has three account books, for property, domestic and miscellaneous, and they must balance at the end of each month. When Jazzer doesn't pay the rent, they don't. He is also unhappy that Jazzer seems to him to have lapsed into his old careless ways.

Fallon is recounting to Harrison about Tom knowing the flat has been taken, but not by whom. Harrison is not listening: he's thinking, and Fallon wonders what about: it's not work, is it? she asks anxiously. It turns out that he is brooding on the Mysteries, and his baptism as a baby, about which he knows nothing because he was a baby and can't remember anything about it. Fallon brilliantly suggests asking his parents, who were presumably there and might even have photographs.

Jazzer tells Tracy that Jim got ratty with him about the rent non-payment, because he can't pay: he's real-hard-up skint, and can't even do anything special for her on Valentine's Day. Tracy says he spent too much on presents at Christmas, and he's been too generous, and his present list has gone up by five now he is buying for her family as well as Jim and Alistair, let alone him buying her a new oven which he couldn't afford. She tells him that his finances are all backside about, and offers to lend him a hand with his accounts, but he doesn't have any of those. That's what she does, writes things in a notebook, which Jazzer says is like Jim except that Jim has three. She offers to give Jazzer one of the notebooks she keeps in reserve, but it has a cute bee and flowers on it and he's embarrassed by it.

Harrison has rung Fallon using a voice which really alarms her, but all he wants to tell her is that his mother has told him they didn't have him baptised because he got mumps and it was cancelled, and then they never got round to re-arranging it. Fallon is inclined to make light of it, but he now has it on his conscience that he lied about being baptised when he agreed to be a godfather for his brother's child Wolf. He feels as if he isn't who he thought he was.

Jazzer explains to Jim that he is taking steps about the rent, and shows him the account book, which is blank apart from the bee on the cover, in boots, which boggles Jim slightly; that there are no entries, Jazzer explains, and means he hasn't spent a thing, which shows he is making an effort. Jim isn't entirely impressed. He's still short of the rent.

Harrison agrees with Fallon that his not having been baptised was a long time ago and he can't be held responsible, but he's still thinking about not being baptised except by Roy in the Mysteries. He's not exactly worried, or he doesn't think so, but he feels as if he's lost something and doesn't know what. He's realised that he doesn't always know what the point of things is. Fallon says he can't change the past: he wasn't baptised and that's that. He wonders whether perhaps he could be done now. Fallon laughs about the idea of him in a christening gown, which offends him: it's important to him, is it all just a joke to her?

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 17th January, 2022

Fallon and Phoebe are uneasy, and Kenton is ebullient.

Characters: Kenton, Jolene, Alice, Phoebe, Fallon, Lily
Credited scriptwriter: Nick Warburton

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Kenton has collected the glasses before breakfast, and he's been thinking about Valentine's Day; they have to come up with something to bring in the punters. Jolene suggests live music, and they agree on Bull stalwart Scoby, if she's free; Jolene will ring her.

Alice is shovelling muck at The Stables until she rings Phoebe, who (coincidentally, and they both go on about it) is sorting out the composting toilets. She has called just for a chat, and Phoebe asks how she is. Alice admits she's just heard from Chris, who wants to see her on Wednesday, about the divorce; not the happiest thing to be doing. Phoebe suggests going for a coffee some time; Alice bids for a night out on Friday but Phoebe claims she has something else on then, so they settle on tomorrow, and Phoebe says she will sort out somewhere to go. Alice is very grateful.

Fallon has come to see Jolene, and Kenton can't resist telling her about Scoby, making her guess who it is. She is underwhelmed, though she says Scoby is ok; Kenton protests at that, and Fallon points out that Scoby has done her act many times before, so the best Fallon can honestly say is she'll be ok. She tells them that a lot of people would agree with her. Kenton is sure they can come up with something else, and Jolene sends him to put out the menus while she asks Fallon what's wrong.

Phoebe has rung Lily, who instantly takes the opportunity to complain about her job being dull. She is disenchanted with it and goes on rather, making it impossible for Phoebe to get a word in. Eventually Phoebe is able to break in and ask for advice about the night out; she's having doubts because of the possibility that it may involve drink. She doesn't feel capable of stopping Alice from drinking if she wants to. Lily suggests that she could come too; she could do with a break. Phoebe is relieved, and they try to think of somewhere that doesn't serve drink. Lily thinks she knows a place; she'll get back Phoebe about it.

Fallon has confided in Jolene about the non-baptism, and that she is worried about Harrison possibly becoming obsessed. Jolene doesn't think he'll do that, but Fallon worries that he might start going round the village delivering leaflets, now he's started looking for God. Also, Fallon doesn't believe any of it, and he might come to think they don't belong together. Her mother suggests she just ignores it, but Fallon is afraid that might make him think she doesn't care.

Kenton is making a list, and trying to interest Fallon, who has to go; she doesn't want him to take her word for it about the entertainment. He wants to put on a unique night out that will cause a buzz round the village. Fallon suggests a Dragons' Den type approach, asking the customers what they'd like, and giving a free ticket to the one whose idea is chosen. Kenton reckons she is a genius; they can hope for the best Valentine's Day ever.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 18th January, 2022

Ideas or plans, and the lack of them.

Characters: Alice, Phoebe, Lily, Kenton, Jolene, Leonard, Tracy, Jazzer
Credited scriptwriter: Nick Warburton

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Alice, Phoebe and Lily are bowling, and Alice is winning. They talk about their problems, envisioning them as pins they can knock over. Phoebe is finding rewilding not much of a challenge: boring, in fact. Lily says that her problem is Freddie, but Alice forbids it on the grounds that she likes him, so Lily plumps for her job being boring. Alice says that her problem is the lane not the pins and she can never get rid of it, and then says she wasn't hired by Home Farm and she doesn't blame them: who'd hire her?

Kenton has spread the word on Facebook, with a time for people to bring them ideas, but nobody has turned up in the Ploughman's. Just as Kenton and Jolene are about to give up Leonard comes in with an idea for Valentine's, adapted from a game he learned in Filey, though he's slightly shy about it and thinks it might sound a bit weird. It's a living board-game, a very simple one, he tells them.

Tracy wants to know why Jazzer has thrown away his receipt from the shop, instead of writing it in his book, but he doesn't have the book on him. In fact, he has lost it. He has bought another one, and has noted every item he has spent into it except this recent purchase; when Tracy asks to see, the only thing noted is the price of the notebook itself. Tracy offers to ask Jim not to hassle him about the rent, but Jazzer says it is his bad and he has to deal with it himself.

Phoebe is stressed about having asked Alice what her problem is, and she and Lily are worried that Alice has been gone, presumably in the loo, for a long time. Just as they are about to go and look for her she reappears saying she didn't realise the place had a new bar – no not that sort of bar! It's a fizzy tea bar. They decide to try it out.

Leonard is explaining his game, and Jolene is enthusiastic, but Kenton wants more explanation, which Leonard gives him but still manages not to explain it so Kenton understands it. Essentially, people in the game throw dice, then move the number of tables they have thrown, as it might be from table three to table six if they threw a three. When Leonard's explanation of the rules starts to confuse Kenton, he rejects the game.

Tracy tells Jazzer about the Bull looking for ideas, and Jazzer perks up at the possibility of getting a free ticket for the night. He reckons that he and Tracy are a good team and have plenty of ideas.

Alice has enjoyed the evening out, the elven sparkle tea with bubbles and lychee, the bowling, and also getting away for a while with nobody watching her or talking about her. The other two reassure her that people may be looking at her, but that's because they want her to succeed; they are on her side. Then the three discuss what their long-term plans are, and Alice says engineering. Lily is not in kitchens for the long haul: she has a plan to enrol in a course in rural estate management at Felpersham. Phoebe has a feeling of déjà vu: she was asked the same question at a tutorial group meeting before Christmas, and had to admit to them she had no plans: nothing at all.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 19th January, 2022

It's a day of disappointments all round.

Characters: Tracy, Jazzer, Tom, Chris, Kenton, Jolene
Credited scriptwriter: Nick Warburton

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Tracy and Jazzer are at The Bull ready to give their pitch for the Valentine's Day extravaganza; quite a lot of ideas have been provided now, but they are confident of winning. They have one more rehearsal of their presentation.

Chris and Martha will be moving to the flat over the shop, and Tom has come round to ask him how he got in ahead of Tom. Chris is clear that he has arranged to have the flat and he and Martha are moving in; Martha grizzles and Chris is very short with Tom about his fictitious 'understanding' with Hazel that he would get first refusal if it came back on the market.

Kenton and Jolene are giving Tracy and Jazzer a hard time because of Tracy having been a double agent over The B@Ambridge renaming, and they are hostile from the start. However, the couple go on to give an excellent presentation for their game involving forfeits and favours to be passed round in envelopes, which Kenton judges as 'not bad' while Jolene is definitely on board.

Later in the day Chris is apologising to Tom, because he does feel bad, but Tom claims he is glad for him having got the flat and didn't mean to pressure him. Chris explains that he is moving because he feels awkward living in an Aldridge property and says he was ratty because Martha was having a bad day and he couldn't find their wedding album, which he wanted to pack. He's having a bit of a juggling act at work; how is Tom's going? Tom takes the opportunity to tell Chris in confidence that he and Natasha are expecting twins. Chris offers him a celebratory coffee.

Tracy and Jazzer have been working on ideas for favours and forfeits for their game. Various suggestions cause Kenton and Jolene to get lovey-dovey, but Jazzer and Tracy start to have a loud squabble over some ideas of Tracy's until Kenton forcefully tells them to pack it in. Unfortunately their quarrel convinces Kenton the game will cause strife and is not a good idea after all, and he tells them to go.

Tom has asked Chris about being a dad, and Chris tells him about the rush of love he gets when Martha recognises him; it helps one when things are difficult. Chris says that Martha has her own ideas, and that's wonderful even if it doesn't seem that way at the time. He tells Tom it will be better for him not just because of two babies but also because Tom will have Natasha and not have to contend with the difficulties Chris and Alice had; Chris is filling in divorce papers, and the end of Alice and him is no fun. He can't help thinking that Martha will never have the two of them as a family. Tom advises him not to let it linger as Tom did with Kirsty: a clean break is the best thing.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 20th January, 2022

Another clean break, and a wrenched leg.

Characters: Jim, Kenton, Jolene, Chris, Alice, Harrison
Credited scriptwriter: Nick Warburton

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jim is explaining an idea for Valentine's Day to Kenton and Jolene; he is advocating a dancing game: Mirror Image, in which one of a pair makes dance moves and the other tries to copy them. (cf. Mirror Dance, by Lois McMaster Bujold. Chris) Another version can be done in a chair without moving your feet; Kenton and Jolene agree to try it.

Chris has been making a list of things to put in the forms for the divorce and wants Alice to see them before he sends them in, so that he can avoid putting down things she will hate. She agrees to have a look. He has mentioned her kissing Harrison, nearly dropping Martha, throwing a brick through the shop window; she says he hasn't mentioned it, but she destroyed things too, like their wedding album. Chris is shocked, and questions her, but she doesn't know why she did that: spite, maybe, or to get back at him. They are both unhappy only to be seeing each other to talk about unhappiness; she starts suggesting that they might meet as friends and talk about ordinary things but he says no, he has to think about Martha and himself, and he doesn't think that would help him.

Jim applauds Kenton and Jolene's performance, and suggests they should try the full dance. Kenton doesn't want to, but Jolene goads him into it and then does some high kicks, and when Kenton tries to copy her he strains his leg. In a temper, he then rejects Jim's idea altogether.

Alice is trying to avoid Harrison, who confronts her about it and tells her he has missed her, then asks how things are. She says they have been worse, much worse. After a little friendly chat, she tells Harrison she wants to ask him a favour: could he check on Chris for her? She saw him this afternoon and he looked tired. Could Harrison keep an eye on him? Harrison is happy to do that: after all, he says, last year Chris asked him to keep an eye on Alice.

Kenton has retreated upstairs, and Jolene has come up to see how he is doing. She tells him that Jim is very disappointed that his idea has ben rejected, and then suggests a slowed down version, smoochy, like a last dance. She talks him into it, then after getting him into what is clearly a sexy movement, asks him how the leg is. He seems unsure what she is talking about.

Harrison has turned up at The Nest and offers to help Chris pack, or just sit and chat with him. Chris admits that he has just been sitting, himself. He's found a bit of a torn photo from the wedding album, and tells Harrison Alice did it: she told him about it this afternoon, and it's all they have left of their wedding: no Chris, no Alice, just a bit of sky with stars in it. He asks Harrison to talk about something else, anything, and Harrison tells him about the Bull competition, and then about never having been baptised because his christening was interrupted; like Martha's, says Chris, and they both think perhaps Martha ought to be baptised as well as Harrison, who is determined to set things right and move on. Chris then talks about moving on, and leaving the Nest: a clean break. He is about to throw away the fragment of photo, but Harrison tells him to keep it: he might be glad he did, one day.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 23rd January, 2022

Brookfield is flooded on Pip's watch again.

Characters: David, Ruth, Pip, Josh, Iris, Elizabeth
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

David and Ruth are driving through what Ruth says is rain and David maintains is sleet to a party at Vince Casey's house. David, who is hankering to turn back using the weather as an excuse, says he would rather be sitting in front of the TV; Ruth is looking forward to it and thinks they may get some insight into the real Vince Casey. Ben has got out of it on the grounds that he starts a placement tomorrow and doesn't want to turn up hung over.

Pip is calling for Josh, because Ruth hasn't even started to clear out the barn, after she promised she'd do it while Pip took Rosie out for the day; it's needed in the morning for the cows to be moved into it. Josh sensibly tells her about all his own work that he has still to do before stopping work for the day, but Pip is determined to rope him in to do the job for her, and says she can't do it now because she has to bath Rosie. Josh loses it: just because his business happens to be based at Brookfield, that doesn't mean he should be on call all the time for chores. He then gets a text from a chef on the other side of Borchester claiming he's failed to deliver an egg order which he thought was not expected to start until next week, and ignores all Pip's further complaints in order to ring up and try to sort it out.

'Casey Casa' is being shown off by Vince's mother Iris, and Ruth and David are full of admiration. Elizabeth turns up and greets them, and the three complain competitively about their children bickering; Iris praises all five of their offspring as well brought up. Elizabeth drags David off to dance.

Pip is trying to clear a drain in the yard to keep the water out of the Herefords' shed; Josh is too busy getting the egg order sorted out for delivery first thing in the morning to offer to help her. Pip accuses him of not caring about the farm, only his business.

David and Ruth have been dancing, and Ruth proposes a swap: the Casey house for Brookfield and all the children. She challenges David: who will take over the farm when they retire? Pip is his first suggestion; when Ruth says she might easily get distracted, it's happened before, he goes on to Josh. Neither of them thinks it will fall to Ben; they'd get good odds if they bet on him.

Pip calls Josh over to inspect the water in the yard, which is now even deeper; she has decided that the blockage in the drain is too far down for her to reach. Josh really doesn't think they can do anything about it in the dark. He points out that he can't do it in the morning either, because of his delivery; Pip is exasperated and snorts at him.

Ruth and David are on the way home, with David saying it turns out he's a party animal after all and suggesting they ought to have a do of their own in the barn. Then Ruth screams and the car hits a deer. After a pause David starts shouting to Ruth, who doesn't answer.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 24th January, 2022

Can Brookfield cope?

Characters: Ben, Ruth, David, Josh, Pip, Jill, Leonard
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

It's four in the morning, and Ben is sympathising with his parents, who have been sent home from the hospital after their car-crash. David is cold and pale, and Ruth bursts into tears; Ben tells David to sit down by the Aga, but his knee hurts to bend and he'd rather stand. Apparently the reason Ruth's face is so bruised is that she got the full force of the airbag, which felt like being punched. They hit a deer full on, and the car ended up in the ditch. Both their sons insist they should go to bed, where Ben has already put hot-water-bottles; Josh has painkillers for them from the hospital, but leaves it to Ben to administer these.

In the morning, Pip is about to take her parents toast; Jill is feeling somewhat disgruntled because she hadn't been woken in the middle of the night and wasn't there to keep Ben company while he waited for them. Ruth has been complimentary about Ben's nursing skill. Jill tells Pip that she and Leonard will get Rosie ready and take her to nursery.

Josh has sent a text to tell Ruth he has spoken to the insurance company about the car; David is glad there is no milking to be done, or lambing either. Ruth has managed to sleep a bit, and David apologises for having drunk some champagne and then done this to her; she points out it was one small glass at the very beginning of the evening, and he didn't finish it, but he still feels bad because their children don't drink at all if they are going to drive. He feels that he ought to get up and do something, but Ruth says the kids were right to tell them that for today, they just have to rest. She and David talk about Ben and his big day as he starts his first placement, and their other children who are probably still squabbling. They have taken some more painkillers, and hope to sleep a bit.

In the car on their way home Leonard is talking to Jill about Rosie, but Jill is preoccupied with not having been thought any use; Leonard consoles her for David having snapped at her about her solicitous attitude. Ruth has turned down her home cooking and asked for beans on toast, and she's feeling somewhat mortified.

Josh has got back from delivering the eggs and asks Pip what needs to be done; she has a list of things as long as her arm and he knows she can't run the farm on her own. She asks him to check on the sheep at Home Farm, which he can do on his way to another delivery. Pip is stressed about the cows; Josh is more worried about their parents. He promises he will try to come in and help with the barn in the afternoon, and Pip sends him in to get some breakfast.

Leonard is cooking; he might only be the clearer-upper when Jill is baking, but breakfasts have always been his thing, and bacon, black pudding, eggs and mushrooms are in the pan. Josh is worried about how they'll run the farm when they are two workers short. He tells Leonard how difficult the hens are, and explains he can't help as much with the farm as he'd like to, but Leonard, serving up a feast for him, tells him to relax and take a breather now; he thinks Pip and Josh have 'got this', as people say nowadays.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 25th January, 2022

Pip allocates jobs, and Jill is rubbed up the wrong way.

Characters: Ruth, David, Beth, Pip, Josh, Leonard, Iris, Jill
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Ruth is trying to micromanage the farm by looking at it out of a window, and will only be able to relax when she sees the cows have come in; Josh has left a tractor parked in a way which means she can't see properly. David is relaxed already, almost asleep, but he's roused to stop her when she starts to catastrophise. He suggests she ought to trust their children, and they should leave them to it and do their own job, which for the time being is to watch rubbish telly and sit by the fire.

Beth has rung Pip; she didn't want to ring David and Ruth in case they were sleeping, but her Nan has been very distressed to hear of their accident and would like to drop by in the early evening and give them a present.

Pip has summoned Josh by text because she wants him to fetch her daughter from nursery, and produces all sorts of excuses not to do it herself. Josh doesn't think he'd be very good at picking up Rosie, but agrees to do as he's told apart from drawing the line at asking if Rosie has done a poo today.

Leonard is talking with David about Rosie when Iris Casey arrives with some flowers and chocolates to cheer Ruth up; unfortunately Ruth is asleep upstairs. Iris says, rather unconvincingly, that she ought to leave, but David presses her to stay, and she feels that five minutes by the fire sounds nice. David introduces her to Leonard but not to Jill, who after a pause introduces herself, and Iris talks to Leonard and not Jill; when he mentions having been to Singapore she's full of exclamation and asks if he's also been to Japan, then speaks of her bonsai and shows him a photo; Jill says she'd prefer an oak you can climb or put a swing in or picnic under. Iris and Leonard proceed to talk bonsai, and Jill offers to go and make tea.

Josh asks Pip how her list for tomorrow is looking; he tells her he has kind of got his admin sorted, and he needs to talk to the garage about the car, which may be a write-off. Pip can't resist sniping at him about Ben having a harder job than his, but they are able to be reasonably civil about Rosie.

In the kitchen, Beth is trying to be friendly with Jill, whom she has realised is a bit annoyed; Jill says she's not annoyed, but she isn't a bonsai fan, unlike Iris or Leonard. Beth explains that her Nan does tend to take over a bit, but sees that Jill is really upset, and accepts her apology for having been a bit rude. She advises against throwing a flapjack at Iris though: she's heard about Jill's aim.

Iris and Leonard are laughing together in a confidential way, excluding Jill and David from their tête-a-tête, and when she says she must go Leonard offers to help her find Beth; she says that if he wants a better look at her bonsais, he's welcome to come over to her place any time.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 26th January, 2022

Some Archer siblings compete, others co-operate.

Characters: David, Ruth, Leonard, Pip, Josh, Alistair, Elizabeth, Shula, Kenton
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

David is telling Ruth about Iris's behaviour with Leonard, when Leonard arrives to see whether Jill wants to go out for a ride in the car; she hasn't been answering his texts. She is visiting Peggy, but David offers coffee, having just made a pot. Ruth remembers that Iris has left her jacket and she must ask one of the children to take it to Vince at the market, so Leonard offers to take it to her. Ruth tells him that would be a bad idea, and why: Jill was put out that he had never mentioned his bonsai enthusiasm to her. Leonard realises he has upset Jill, and is disconcerted and embarrassed.

Pip and Josh are bringing the cows into the barn, and one slips and goes down. When they get her up, Pip says that she is all out of shape, and she is limping; Josh rings Alistair with his phone on speaker so Pip can talk to him as well.

Elizabeth has found a game in the attic and wants David and Shula to play it with her and Kenton. The crash has reminded Shula of Mark's death, but before she can elaborate on this theme Kenton swiftly asks for biscuits, then says he wishes he could have some time off, like David, and sit in front of the fire with his feet up.

Alistair tells the anxious siblings in the barn that the good news is, he doesn't think anything is broken; the cow's hip is dislocated. Unfortunately she may have trouble calving, and he fears the sedative he's given her may cause her to abort anyway. At this point the sedative takes effect and she goes down onto her belly; then they need to push her onto her side. Josh is put to hold her head, and Pip and Alistair shift her over. When Josh moves her leg, they can hear bone grate. Alistair says he'll do what he can to save both cow and calf, but he can't make any promises.

David is reading out the rules of the game, last played at Christmas when the twins were six, or perhaps seven. Nostalgia about games they played as children starts to take over, but Kenton nips it in the bud: nostalgia ought not to be all they meet up for. Shula distributes coloured plasticine, and then the conversation is turned by Elizabeth, who must have overheard David and Ruth's conversation at Vince's party, to which of Pip or Josh is to take over the farm. Kenton suggests that they both could, but David is sceptical: he reckons they're only not squabbling at the moment so as not to stress out their injured parents.

Alistair is giving instructions to Josh, who is using a calving aid to extend the cow's leg; Alistair relocates her hip, and when the leg is moved, it seems normal. The sedative may take a while to wear off, but the leg is fine.

The four senior Archer siblings are laughing over their game, which involves making plasticine models; the women win, because Kenton has made what he says is a horse but which looks like a trombone, or maybe an oil-can, and David can't guess what it is meant to be.

Alistair explains they must shift the cow back onto her belly, because she might get bloat on her side, and after they've done that they prop her up with a bale. He wants them to keep her on her own, because she'll be in pain for a few days, and to keep an eye on her. If she doesn't start to calve too soon, all may yet be well. Josh suggests he should be given a stiff drink, and they can all go in and tell mum and dad the news.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 27th January, 2022

Time and food are great healers.

Characters: Alistair, Ruth, David, Jill, Leonard, Ben, Beth, Josh, Pip
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Alistair is inspecting the cow with Ruth and David, and praising the way Josh and Pip coped with the emergency. Ruth's collar is coming off tomorrow, and she is looking forward to things getting back to normal. 'What is normal?' muses David, and is as usual mocked by Ruth, this time for becoming philosophical; but this enforced break has allowed him to glimpse new horizons.

Jill offers Leonard some shortbread for tea, and is decrying her own cooking, though he is full of praise for the soup she gave him at lunch. He tells her that he's sure Iris is a nice woman, and she is very friendly, but she isn't really his cup of tea and he ought not to have let her monopolise him about the bonsai. It would feel strange to go round to her house without Jill; she might get the wrong idea, and so might Jill. Jill enquires whether he thinks she's jealous, at her age, and he tells her that she is the only woman he wants to spend the afternoon with. Also, he's had an idea: he wants to order each of the family whatever their favourite takeaway is for supper, and he will go round and fetch their meals from wherever he needs to.

In the evening, Ben is going to have to make himself some toast if Leonard doesn't get back with the food soon: he wants his crispy duck pancakes. He is worried about David's knee, and thinks he should insist on physio; Beth jokes that you can take the nurse out of the hospital but not hospital out of the nurse. They have a short discussion about the past, but he is keen to embrace the future and looking forward to many things, including the supercar day from Ruairi and, right now, crispy duck pancakes....

Jill is putting out the condiments, and five places have been laid; Ben and Beth are having a bedroom picnic, as Leonard puts it, and Josh has taken Pip's over to Rickyard because Rosie is already asleep. Jill thinks it was a wonderful idea of Leonard's, and so kind to invite Alistair. He really is a very lovely man.

Josh has stayed to eat and chat with Pip, and they agree to share the dishes they have ordered. They are pleased with themselves about the cow; Rosie was worried about her, so Josh took her for a visit after nursery, and, when Rosie expressed concern that she would be lonely without her sisters, told her that the cow might be glad to have a break: sisters are not always wonderful. Pip isn't entirely flattered, then tells him she has a problem about that: Rosie has been asking when she is going to be a big sister. She doesn't intend that to happen! Josh says he is not ready to be a dad: fun uncle is more his line.

In the chat over supper it comes out that Jill has ordered a bonsai for Leonard, and they will learn how to look after it together. Ruth and David are still to take things easy; David has been referred for physio, and until he's done some he needs to be careful, a view which Alistair endorses: it takes a while for the body to recover from shocks. From what he has seen this week, Leonard is sure that Pip and Josh are capable of keeping the place ticking over.

Pip says she has sometimes been jealous of the way Josh has his life sorted out; he has carved himself a niche and has his own business, whereas she only has what their parents tell her to do. She is discontented with that; Josh points out that she has Rosie, an actual life she's in charge of. He asks what she actually wants. She says she'd like to meet someone she'd want to share her life with, but that isn't going to happen: Ambridge isn't exactly overflowing with eligible men who are interested in a trainee farmer. He asks whether she sees herself taking over Brookfield; she doesn't seem very sure. Josh can't see Ruth and David leaving soon but when they do, he and Pip will do all right. More than all right, says Pip: they'll smash it.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 30th January, 2022

Kate pries, Phoebe lies, and Brian tries to sound Chris out.

Characters: Phoebe, Kate, Brian, Justin, Chris
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Kate has tracked down Phoebe, who has not been answering her phone, to the Rewilding office: an old friend of hers called Burdock is organising a Gaia conference and she wants to pick her daughter's brains about how to get some publicity for Spiritual Home out of the event. Phoebe is unenthusiastic about the lunch Kate offers as a bribe and, when her mother remarks that she is all dressed up, says she has a Zoom call starting in two minutes. It's an interview, Phoebe says, with a journalist, and in desperation she agrees to join Kate for lunch as long as she doesn't turn up a minute before one thirty.

At the Bull, Justin mishears Brian and is astonished to learn that Adam has become a swinger; Brian explains that he is in fact a 'swing', which he believes is a theatrical term for someone who is able to fill many roles. Justin suspects that Adam may have had a breakdown in his job after Home Farm, and that is why he has fallen back on simple jobs for his cousins; he warns that this is a blind alley and will be damaging to Adam's career. However, before he has irritated Brian any further he changes the conversation: he wants to talk about the abattoir crisis with reference to Berrow, where Brian is in charge. Chris rescues Brian by coming up with the keys to The Nest's shed, which he has just found; as soon as he has gone Justin tries to go on about Berrow, but Brian abruptly leaves him to join Chris and offer to buy him a pint. He expresses concern: he thinks Chris looks under the weather. Chris is touched, but says it's just the move and he is fine. Brian tries to condole with him about the divorce, and also tells him that he will very much miss him from the family. He's very grateful for everything Chris has done to support Alice and hopes the pair of them will be able to remain civil; Chris realises this is about money, and reassures Brian that he doesn't think there will be any problem about that.

Kate is trying to command Phoebe's attention over lunch, and failing; she reminds Phoebe of Roy's birthday, but naturally enough Phoebe already knows about it and has bought him a present, as well as planning to cook him a meal. Kate immediately turns the conversation back to herself and how much she wished she could have cooked Noluthando a meal for her recent twenty-first birthday, talks about missing Noluthando and Sipho and how Zoom calls just aren't the same, then tries to put on the pressure about how Phoebe is all she has. After that she harks back to Phoebe having dressed up for her Zoom call, and says she is not fooled: that was not for an interview about rewilding, because they were the wrong sort of clothes. Just as she is really turning on the pressure about how she doesn't mind whether it's a male or a female, Phoebe answers her phone and goes away to where she hopes her mother won't be listening in on the call.

In Brian's absence Justin has been talking to David, who has told him that the cow and calf are both fine. Brian apologises for having left him, but says that he needed to talk to Chris. Justin sets no particular store by Chris having said he would not kick up trouble about the divorce; he may say that now, but that doesn't mean he'll stick to it. However, he is not all that interested in Brian's troubles: he has been thinking about Brookfield having got out of pigs, and feels this was a sound move on their part. Brian fights Berrow's corner, although Justin is dubious; Brian talks of the 'pig-cycle' and says they should hold on and keep the faith.

Kate did indeed eavesdrop, and is now being thoroughly nosy; she assumes that the man on the other end of the phone, whose name she heard and recognised as that of someone Phoebe was at university with, is someone Phoebe fancies. She is prurient to a degree about Phoebe having found someone at last and tries to go into it more and more, until Phoebe simply gets up, thanks her mother for lunch, and leaves hastily, without further explanation.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 31st January, 2022

A predictable move, and an unlikely alliance.

Characters: Jennifer, Brian, Alice, Adam, Susan
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jennifer is on the phone to Kate, who wants to come over and see her, and Brian wonders how Kate ever makes any money, the way she always seems to be under foot. Apparently she has some news about someone called Salil who was at university with Phoebe, Jennifer tells him. He's being a bit grumpy, and explains that he slept badly because he was worrying over Berrow. Then Alice comes down and announces that she is moving back to The Nest. Brian says there is no rush and asks if she has thought it through; Jennifer offers to make them all a cooked breakfast.

Adam comes into the dairy and asks Susan if he is togged up correctly; he's filling in for the morning because Clarrie has an appointment, and Susan is surprised and not terribly welcoming. He agrees he hasn't yet had his food hygiene training, which isn't until next week, but Helen said he could help with the labelling and washing up. While she dithers, he asks what she would like him to do first.

Brian says he is happy to have been spared reviewing Berrow's accounts by helping Alice to move, and she is full of sympathy about Justin's ignorance of farming. He tells her that he has always known she would move back, but he is finding it hard; she knows it will be strange being there on her own. He tells her just to call if there is anything she needs, anything at all.

Adam is still offering to do some work, and butters Susan up by telling her she knows all there is to know about yoghurt making. He claims to be surprised that they have lived in the same village for so long and never really had a conversation: why don't they each tell the other a fact about themselves? She asks what he was doing in Africa and he tells her, then asks how she and Neil got together. She recounts how she won a pig at the fête and didn't know about looking after it, and Adam jokes that the rest is history. The ice is now broken and Susan is more at home with the situation. She tells him that Fleur and Archie Button from Glebelands met when she found him in her garden looking for a rare mushroom, and knocked him out. Adam longs to hear more, and Susan wonders why he wants to gossip: she doesn't think him the sort for it. He tells her that on the contrary, he and Ian like nothing better, and shares a bit of gossip Ian picked up recently: he found out that Jean Harvey had an affair with Derek Fletcher in the eighties and that's why his wife Pat didn't allow him to go and see Calendar Girls. Susan is enthralled.

Brian and Jennifer are chatting over lunch; she might get some more of her clothes out of the barn now the spare-room wardrobe is free. Jennifer reminisces about Alice's independent spirit when she first went to school, and says she feels now much as she did then. Brian is philosophical about their children making them worry, and tells her about Justin's remarks regarding Adam, and that he is now wondering whether Adam may have lost his nerve. Jennifer is indignant, and points out that Adam is very happy and can spend more time with Xander; she hopes Brian hasn't said anything critical to him. Then Alice rings her, and Jennifer puts it on speaker; Alice was wondering if they have any plans for the evening, and when they say no, invites them to supper.

The won-over Susan is now sorry to hear that Adam won't be coming into the dairy again tomorrow; she's not looking forward to the evenings this week, because Neil will be out for every one of them, so Adam invites her to go over tomorrow, on Ian's day off. She is rather overwhelmed and is not sure she can.

Alice has cooked them all some delicious food, and points out all the places where there are things missing from the room, saying that it will take a little getting used to. She has felt a bit lonely and strange, and that's why she invited them round. Brian and Jennifer both encourage her about embarking on the new normal, and say that they will always be there for her.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 1st February, 2022

Pestilence and prurience are rife in Ambridge.

Characters: Ian, Adam, Amy, Alice, Chris, Susan
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Ian is surprised that Susan has been invited over to Honeysuckle, so Adam explains how it came about: when she asked in the morning whether the invitation was still open, he couldn't really tell her it wasn't. Ian thinks she is a terrible busybody, and Adam says it takes one to know one; in any case, he's realised there's a lot more to Susan than meets the eye.

Amy is congratulating Alice on having got the cottage so well organised. Alice tells her that Martha has been grizzly and has only just dropped off – this is the first peace she's had all day. Amy is concerned about her living alone, but Alice tries to tell her she is looking forward to having her independence. Then Martha starts to wail; Amy suggests taking her out for a breath of fresh air. When they go to put her into her outdoor clothes, they see that she has spots all over and is very hot as well; a panicky Alice wants to call an ambulance.

Ian and Adam are talking about The Bull's lack of Valentine's Day ideas when Adam gets a text from Susan to say she is coming over at six, and clearly expecting a meal. Ian is slightly dumbfounded, but they'll have to make the best of it.

Having given her a once-over, Amy is fairly confident that Martha has chickenpox and manages to calm Alice down, giving her advice about what to do: keep Martha cool, give her plenty of fluids, and keep an eye on her temperature. Alice is certain she can't manage this and rings Chris so Amy can give the instructions to him. Amy tells him that it is chickenpox and Alice asks him to take over from her: Martha needs her daddy.

Susan has brought round some wine, but only wants a small drink herself. She is impressed by the kitchen: functional but welcoming. Admitting that is exactly the effect he had aimed for, Ian starts to thaw; he is even more pleased when she says the cooking smells delicious and asks whether it is something Middle Eastern.

Chris has spots too; he says his can't be chickenpox, because he's had that before, but he admits to feeling ropey. Amy thinks it looks like shingles, which can be caused by stress, and Alice looks them up; Amy says he may have given Martha chickenpox and that he mustn't scratch. He's been feeling poorly for a week and Amy is amazed he did a day's work today. She is very firm that he is not fit to look after Martha. He says he'll call Mum, but Alice steps in and says she will take the baby full time until Chris is better. They can't call for help all the time, now they are learning how to live apart.

Adam and Ian are having a great time with Susan, gossiping away and being rude about Derek and Jean. Ian offers dessert, but the pilaf was filling; Susan is very flattering about the food and says perhaps later. Then they move on to who fancies whom in the village: Ian admits to Lee, and Adam to Alistair and then hastily swears Susan to secrecy; Susan owns up to David Archer in the Mysteries, so masterful, not that she'd do anything about it. She goes off to the loo, staggering rather, and saying that she'll feel like dessert in a little while. Ian admits he was wrong: she's a hoot. He has thought of something for Valentine's Day at The Bull because of her but will only tell Adam about it when she gets back.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 2nd February, 2022

Jolene and Kenton find a winner, and Alice finds her own strength.

Characters: Kenton, Jolene, Susan, Ian, Alice, Jennifer
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Kenton is waiting to judge the next idea for Valentine's Day, and is surprised to hear it will come from Ian. Jolene tells him Chris has got shingles and Alice has got Martha; she heard it from Harrison, and Kenton calls him Saint Harrison and makes fun of his decision to get baptised. Then Susan arrives, looking for Ian to do their pitch for the idea. Kenton finds that unexpected, and Susan, talking too much as usual, tells them she's sure they'll love it. Then she mentions speed-dating and Ian, when he arrives, is told no by Kenton without having had a chance to say a word.

At The Nest, Martha is screaming inconsolably and Alice is clearly not coping.

Jolene and Kenton argue against speed-dating in any form; Ian tells them that what they are suggesting is not speed-dating as such, it's about making friends using the same format: people moving around from table to table and talking with a new person for two minutes. Kenton thinks they might be onto something.

Jennifer has come to the rescue, and gossips about Phoebe as she makes a fuss of Martha, but Alice isn't really attending: she's been up since five and she doesn't know what to do. Jennifer asks Martha what she can do for her, and Alice misunderstands and thinks she is asking what she can do for Alice; she wants her mother to take Martha and look after her until Chris is better. Jennifer refuses to do that; she'll help and she'll look after the baby to give Alice a break, but she feels that it would not be good for either Alice or Martha for her to step in. She reminds Alice about how she used to say she wanted to be a good mum: well, now is her chance to do it. She offers to help Alice get organised, and then check back later in the afternoon to make sure they are ok. When asked whether she isn't afraid Alice will have a drink, Jennifer says no: she is sure Alice will put Martha first.

Jolene is trying to pick holes in the game, and the four start to vamp on ideas to improve it; it is starting to get really structured. Kenton and Jolene think it's head and shoulders above all the ideas they've been offered so far, and declare Ian and Susan the winners, with free entry for them and their spouses, and free drinks. After Jolene and Kenton have gone off to get on with the day-job, Ian and Susan are full of themselves, and also see the potential for finding out lots more about their neighbours; they will need to compose the questions to be answered at each table with care.

Alice is singing to Martha, who has quieted and is going to sleep. Jennifer gets back to see how things are, and after a whispered exchange she and Alice go downstairs and leave the baby sleeping. Jennifer is pleased that her tough love has worked, and Alice thinks she may now be able to cope until Chris is better, so long as Jennifer will be there to help. Then she asks what Jennifer was saying earlier, when it was all too much for her, and is told that Kate says Phoebe is dating a boy from university called Salil; Jennifer also passes on the information that Kate thinks well of him. Alice is really pleased for Phoebe, who needs to spread her wings a bit: there's more to life than rewilding, says Alice wisely.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 3rd February, 2022

Susan gets it right and Kate has got it completely wrong again.

Characters: Susan, Chris, Roy, Kate, Alice, Phoebe
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Susan is knocking on the door of Chris's bedroom, having let herself into his flat with the spare key. She has popped in on her way to Bridge Farm. He is very grateful, and apologises for the state of the flat: the shingles hit him while he was still unpacking. He's worried about work piling up, and he really misses Martha. He's also worried about whether Alice can handle the stress of looking after her. He's had a nightmare of Alice passed out with a bottle beside her next to a crying Martha. Susan reassures him that Brian and Jennifer are keeping an eye on things, but he asks her whether perhaps she could have a look in as well, just to check everything is OK.

Roy waylays Kate, who says she wants to talk to him; he too wants to talk, about Phoebe. She's been up and down in mood: very low, then last night at his birthday celebration she was fine, and today she's in the dumps again; it's like having a teenager in the house again. Kate says she knows what is going on, and states as a fact that Phoebe is going out with Salil; Roy is surprised and claims he had no idea, and she tells him smugly that a mother always knows these things.

Susan has indeed come to see Alice and ask how Martha is; Alice says she expects Chris is worried about whether she is up to looking after her, but Susan deflects this by saying he's keen to know Alice is coping ok, and adds that she obviously is. Alice asks after him, and says she's been worried about him, then asks Susan to take Martha to see him; Susan says she has a better idea.

Kate has contrived to encounter Phoebe in a field, and wants to tell her wonderful news about Burdock and his event. Phoebe says again that she doesn't want anything to do with it, but Kate has talked with him about the rewilding project and he wants Phoebe and Rex to do a talk at the conference. Phoebe isn't particularly enthusiastic, and Kate raves about what good publicity it will be – and they will even get paid. Phoebe doesn't know what to say: she'll have to speak to Rex, who has a lot on his plate at the moment and may be homeless at any minute. Kate is rather put out and says Phoebe should be jumping for joy, not making objections.

Alice has taken Martha to see Chris, who got out of bed to let them in. She just thought he would like to see how the baby is. She worries that she might be the last person he'd want to see after what he said about not being able to cope with socialising with her, but he says he's happy she's there, and it was a lovely idea.

Roy asks Phoebe how her afternoon has been and Phoebe tells him it was rubbish; when he asks what happened, she says bleakly that Mum happened, ambushing her in the middle of a field. She is seriously fed up with Kate's behaviour, and wants to know why everyone is telling her what to think. Roy admits that Kate has told him about Phoebe having a new boyfriend, and he doesn't want her being made insecure by Salil. Phoebe starts to sob.

After calming a little, Phoebe tells Roy that she could kill Mum; it is about Salil, but not in the way Kate has assumed. Salil and his mate Emmanuel, who was also at university with them, have got together and worked out an amazing eco start-up to exploit the potential of developments in microalgae, and they are looking for a director of business development. She's been interviewed twice about it, once in London and once by Zoom, and two days ago they offered her the job. At first she thought it was the best thing ever, and now she doesn't know what to do. Roy says it should be very exciting. He reassures her that everyone changes job from time to time, and she has to think of herself. Has she talked to Rex? She says woefully that she should be grateful for everything in Ambridge, not let everyone down by moving to Scotland, specifically to the highlands north of Glasgow. Roy gulps slightly, then manfully says that that really is exciting, but Phoebe replies that Mum isn't going to think so: how is she ever going to break it to her?

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 6th February, 2022

Phoebe and Chris are guilt-tripped in different ways and with equal justification.

Characters: Kate, Phoebe, Chris, Alice, Fallon, Amy
Credited scriptwriter: Katie Hims

Directors: Kim Greengrass & Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Kate is terribly happy to have Phoebe all to herself and opens a bottle, and then Phoebe says that she really wants to tell her some news. Kate instantly assumes she is pregnant. In a slightly despairing way, Phoebe comes out with it: she's leaving Ambridge. For good. She's moving to Scotland. Kate assumes that she is doing it to live with Salil, and starts to advise her that it is silly to drop everything for a man; she should know, it's what she did herself. Rather exasperated, Phoebe breaks to to her that it's a job; Kate immediately asks if it's wise to work with him when they have just started dating. Phoebe grits her teeth and says she is absolutely not dating Salil.

Chris rings Alice to ask how Martha is; he's really missing her. Alice tells him that Martha is much better, almost back to normal, and warns him that if the doorbell goes she'll have to hang up because she's expecting Fallon and Amy, but she's happy to chat about Martha. After a short time she says she is worried about him: is he OK? He doesn't sound it. He says it's just that it feels weird being without Martha. Then Fallon and Amy arrive and Alice has to go.

Kate asks whether Phoebe is sure about her plan, and admits she is disappointed it isn't a romance with Salil; Phoebe informs her crossly that he is gay. Finally, and only when Phoebe points out that she hasn't bothered to, Kate asks about the job, and Phoebe immediately tells her all about it at some length; Kate then tells her she ought to have some romance in her life as well. While Kate addresses herself to the bottle on her own, Phoebe points out her inconsistency: she can't believe they're having this conversation all over again. Kate tipsily demands to know what she means, so Phoebe tells her she is hard work. Kate becomes rather maudlin about how she thought they were getting on so well.

Alice talks about looking after Martha and says that she feels like a proper mum now, then asks Fallon and Amy whether either of them has seen Chris recently because when he rang earlier he sounded dreadful; she claims not to be able to do anything because he doesn't want to see her, so the pair offer to go round there to reassure her. Alice changes the subject to Harrison getting baptised, and Fallon voices her worry that he might end up wanting to become a vicar. She doesn't want to stop him, she just wants to understand him. They have good giggle about the idea of Harrison in a dog-collar, but then Martha pulls herself up to stand, and Amy rushes to take a video.

Kate keeps on apologising, and then bursts into tears and says she wants to be glad about Phoebe's job and sorry that she's leaving at the same time. She claims to have come back just to be with Phoebe, and Phoebe says she will visit home, but while she has been happy in Ambridge she did grow up there, and she has started to feel restless, almost imprisoned; she needs to move on, she needs to change, and she wants a career. She promises to keep in touch, proper touch, speaking and not just messages, and agrees that Kate can visit her there.

Chris invites Amy and Fallon to come in and apologises for the mess; they don't want tea, but they have brought cake from Alice, which makes him edgy and somewhat unwelcoming. They offer to leave, but first Amy wants to show him the video. He suddenly cracks and shouts that he doesn't want to see it, he doesn't want to see them, and he wants them to go. Amy leaves, but Fallon stays and asks why he didn't want to see the video; he says despairingly that he should have been there, he's done all the work all this time and he doesn't deserve to be left out. Fallon first argues that he might well not have been around the first time Martha stood up anyway, then gives him a hard time about being rude to Amy, whom she says is incredibly caring and doesn't deserve it.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 7th February, 2022

Tom is maladroit and Mia is malevolent.

Characters: Tom, Natasha, Jake, Mia, Kirsty
Credited scriptwriter: Katie Hims

Directors: Kim Greengrass & Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The alarm wakes Tom; Natasha has been awake for hours because she can't sleep at the moment for excitement. She wants to know when they will start to tell people; they should, now they are past twelve weeks. Tom is anxious because he hasn't had a chance to talk with her about something that has been bothering him: this week is the anniversary of the baby he and Kirsty lost, and he ought to tell Kirsty before anyone else does, but he can't tell her this week. He should wait for a week or two, says Natasha; but Tom knows people other than his parents and Fallon know, and he doesn't know what to do for the best.

Jake, having spent the weekend with the Grundys, is hurrying for the morning bus in to Borchester, and Mia wants him to slow down. She makes fun of him for his phone manner and lack of social graces, and he says that Clarrie makes good bacon butties but asks too many questions. Mia laughs about him being asked if he is courting, but when she teases him about that, he gets defensive.

Tom has rung Kirsty to check if she is at Grey Gables today. She says she is half asleep but at work and folding towels. He has to make a Bridge Fresh delivery to the hotel, and they arrange to meet for coffee during her break at half past ten.

Mia pesters Jake about his having a girlfriend and who it might be until he gets up and goes to sit somewhere else on the bus.

Tom starts by trying to be tactful, and Kirsty short-circuits his stammerings by telling him that she has guessed Natasha is pregnant but it's fine: congratulations. He tries to explain himself and goes on a bit. She thanks him for telling her; he blurts out that it's twins, and she makes small talk about that. Then she says it's cold and she wants to go in, and leaves him on his own.

Jake left his phone on the bus, and when Mia brings it to him she continues to pester him about possible candidates for his love-life, including one completely wrong guess, a pink-haired non-binary 'they', who is just Jake's mate. Mia then starts spying into his phone and sees a message to Chelsea, whom she describes as her nemesis.

Natasha asks Tom how it went, and he says it was a disaster: Kirsty tried to be brave but she couldn't get away fast enough. He messed it up. Natasha consoles him, then asks more about the last time, and he is willing, even eager, to tell her all about it. When asked if the baby had a name, he says that Kirsty called him Wren, Tom doesn't know why and didn't want to ask because it was such a difficult time. He tried to be supportive but feels he was inadequate. He tells Natasha about the miscarriage having happened too early to be a still-birth, so Wren didn't even legally exist, but Tom held him and knows he was real. Natasha wonders why he never told her any of this, and he says it's unbearable to talk about so he hasn't. Natasha tells him that he does need to talk about it, and he reveals that he has always felt it was his fault that the baby died, to punish him for his offence in having deserted Kirsty at the altar. Natasha says that is called magical thinking, which everyone does to some extent, but him feeling that way isn't good for him, or Kirsty, or her, or the twins. She asks if Kirsty scattered the ashes, and Tom says yes, at the Remembrance Garden near Waterley Cross, but he's never gone there. You should, says Natasha firmly.

Mia is still giving Jake grief, and telling him that Chelsea is no good. He doesn't think that's true; she says ominously that she does, and he is about to find out.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 8th February, 2022

Neither Phoebe nor Jake gets quite what was expected.

Characters: Mia, Jake, Chelsea, Phoebe, Kate, Peggy
Credited scriptwriter: Katie Hims

Directors: Kim Greengrass & Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Whilst Jake is waiting outside her door for Chelsea, Mia has rung him to tell him what to do, and to make unpleasant remarks about Chelsea.  When Chelsea comes out he hangs up the phone, and then after he has been complimentary about how she looks they have a slightly awkward conversation because he doesn't have a car and she was expecting one.

Phoebe arrives to visit Peggy as Kate is on her way out to see Jakob. Kate asks whether Phoebe has thought who might take over from her at the rewilding, then fishes for a compliment, gets it, and leaves making unconvinced reassuring noises about it all being sure to be fine with Peggy.

Jake and Chelsea have taken the bus to see Jaws, which Jake loves but has never watched on the big screen, and Chelsea has never seen at all. Jake has arranged for Will to come and pick them up later, which was not what Chelsea was expecting; he explains he can't drive yet, and she tells him about running the car into Blake, about which he is very sympathetic. He's not surprised it has put her off, but says she ought to start lessons again. They are interrupted when Chelsea gets a call from her friend Tara, who has been giving her a hard time about going to see an old film.

Phoebe is explaining the company she will be working for to Peggy, who thinks it sounds wonderful, and that it's exactly the sort of thing Phoebe should be doing. Phoebe was afraid Peggy would think she was being feckless, but the understanding Peggy says that Phoebe was always going to leave, to outgrow the project and to outgrow Ambridge. Phoebe says that her mother didn't take it so well. Peggy points out, mildly, that Kate is a different kettle of fish.... Phoebe plans still to help Rex from Scotland because she feels guilty and doesn't want to abandon him; Peggy says that she would find that very difficult, and she should be careful what she promises Rex. Phoebe protests that he's been good to her, and she loves the project and really wants to make it work, but Peggy says she would be doing Rex no favours making a promise she can't keep. They'll have to find someone to replace her, though it won't be easy.

Chelsea loved the film, and she and Jake talk about it happily. He can't believe she hadn't ever seen it; she tells him that was because she's scared of sharks. Then she tells him that Tara texted during the film, and arranged for a crowd of them to meet in the pub. Jake is taken aback: he had hoped it would be just them, since it's a date. She tells him that no, it wasn't a date, and there's no chance because there's no chemistry. He's just not her type; when he asks what is her type she says she prefers older men. With their own cars, he says bitterly.

Phoebe rings Kate to tell her everything went well and Peggy was a whole lot cooler than Kate was. Now all Phoebe has to do is find a replacement, who has to get on well with Rex, something Kate immediately claims always to have done. She asks Kate to let her know if she thinks of anyone, tells her she's a star when she says that she will do, and rings off.

Jake has got back early and Mia is delighted when she works out that Chelsea has ditched him. She is clearly pleased about it, and Jake defends Chelsea, while Mia says Chelsea just wanted someone to pay for her to have an evening at the cinema. He's very cast down, and Mia manages to bring him round to seeing things her way and blaming Chelsea. Mia says there's plenty more fish in the sea, and then cannot resist pointing out that there are very few actual fish left. Back on topic, she offers never to mention Chelsea again in Jake's presence; he thanks her.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 9th February, 2022

Tom and Kirsty dwell on the past, while Amy has no idea about the future.

Characters: Tom, Natasha, Kirsty, Chris, Amy
Credited scriptwriter: Katie Hims

Directors: Kim Greengrass & Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Natasha is helping Tom with his various chores when Kirsty rings him. She wants to apologise for how she reacted the other day, making him feel guilty about his really lovely news. He immediately starts trying to take the blame, but she out-bids him. He tells her he plans to go to the Remembrance Garden on Sunday, the anniversary, and asks if she wants to go too, but she's working all Sunday and suggests this afternoon. They arrange for him to pick her up at two. Natasha has been listening and tells him she's proud of him.

Amy is clearing up Chris's flat whether he wants her to or not.

At the Remembrance Garden Tom is impressed by the calm and the trees; Kirsty tells him to come and see it properly, and tells him she scattered the ashes on her own, which he says must have been really hard, but she tells him it was a good day. He apologises again, and she tells him to stop it.

Chris promises to tidy up properly soon, and offers Amy a biscuit. She tells him that he looks a bit better, a slightly different shade of pale. He apologises for how he talked to her the other day, and when she tries to brush it off insists on apologising anyway. She says she has realised that she's lucky to have somewhere to stay rent free, and she feels fine about having no idea as yet what she wants to do. She feels happy, and when Chris says she sounds it, she realises that it was a tactless thing to say to him when he is ill and in the middle of a divorce. He says he misses Martha so much it's like a physical pain, and that he was hurt and jealous that they saw her pull herself up and he didn't, and Amy finally apologises for butting in about that. He asks to see the video, and is delighted by it.

Kirsty shows Tom where their baby's ashes were scattered, in a wild area with a view and a brook which runs down to the Am. It seemed the right place. She has a bench which she thinks of as her own, and sits there a lot; she came there after Philip was sentenced, because she wanted to be with Wren and away from Philip. She feels less alone there. Tom tells her that he was scared about seeing the baby, but he knew he needed to meet him, and to say goodbye, and Kirsty understands. Tom was surprised that he looked just like a baby, if a small one, and beautiful, and he really wanted to hold him. Kirsty asks if he talked to him, and when he says he did, asks what he said. Tom says he told him he was really glad to meet him, and he was sorry they couldn't make things be right and keep him alive, and that he loved him and his mummy loved him too. It was really hard and really amazing as well. Kirsty agrees; she just like that. They ask each other if they are OK. Then a small child with a dog on wheels comes along; Kirsty thinks he's about five, and they wonder what their boy would have been like now: things such as would he have liked or hated football, and which of them he would have looked like. Tom asks the reason for calling him Wren; he never asked before because it was difficult then, but it's easier now. She says she called him Wren because they're so tiny but their song is so loud, and they sing all year round, so when they sing it's a comfort to her. She talks about the sun coming out over the garden, and how it feels really optimistic. Tom thanks her for the afternoon and says he really needed that; Kirsty agrees that she did too.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 10th February, 2022

Cot-blankets and compliments.

Characters: Amy, Fallon, Kirsty, Phoebe, Chris, Natasha
Discredited scriptwriter: Katie Hims

Directors: Kim Greengrass & Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Amy is buying a flat white at the Tea Shop, and gets a text from Chris. Fallon says he needs to apologise, and Amy says he already has, when she went round to his flat yesterday. She plans to go over and have a takeaway supper with him later.

Kirsty is telling Phoebe about the Remembrance Garden, and Phoebe is surprised Tom never went to it before. Kirsty thought it was easier to keep the place to herself, but now she has seen Tom there and feels that she is not alone with the grief and that Tom feels the same as her; it was crazy not to have realised that before. Taking Philip there tainted the garden for her, but Tom restored it. Kirsty tells Phoebe she really is OK about Tom and Natasha having twins, though she can't help feeling jealous.

Chris has tidied and cleaned the flat because Amy shamed him into it, and Amy is impressed. He tells her that he felt it would have been pathetic for her to have to clean for him any more. He offers her a wide choice of takeaway menus, and tells her she must decide what they are to have.

Kirsty has brought things over for the twins: two blankets that were made for Wren by her mother and by one of her aunts. Natasha wants to know that she is sure she wants to give them away, and she says yes, she really is; it's as if a big brother were handing things down to his younger siblings. Natasha is afraid she might regret giving them away, but Kirsty assures her that they aren't the only things she has left of Wren, so Natasha thanks her, and when Kirsty says she really is happy for her, Natasha nearly cries. She tells Kirsty that Tom was different when he got home from the garden: less haunted. They'll tell the twins about their big brother, one day; she promises he shan't be forgotten.

Amy is having a good giggle over Fallon's fears about Harrison wanting to be baptised, and Chris too is laughing heartily; they are clearly getting on very well, and sharing a bottle. She has limited sympathy for Fallon's worry about Harrison possibly becoming a vicar, since it is entirely her idea and nothing to do with him. Then Alice sends Chris a photo of Martha sleeping, and Chris is reminded how much he misses his baby. He tells Amy about how hard it is looking after a baby, and she says he's a really amazing dad, an A+. He reluctantly admits that him-and-Alice is really over, and she consoles him by pointing out that things don't always go the way you plan: she didn't expect to give up her career and take up dogwalking, for instance. Then she counts up all the things he has going for him: and throws in the comment that he's a very good-looking man, and he backs off abruptly, such that she starts to flounder and try to make it less embarrassing, but says that nothing seems to help. It's nine, and she thinks it's late and she ought to go. He abruptly tells her that if it helps, she's a good-looking woman, and she leaves in a flurry.

Kirsty tells Phoebe that she stayed and talked with Natasha and had a glass of wine; she thinks Natasha is very special. She doesn't need the food that Phoebe offers; Natasha fed her. Phoebe and Kirsty agree that they will miss each other.

Fallon rings Amy to find out how things went, and wants to know why Amy is being rather distracted; after hearing an edited version of the evening she tells Amy that Chris is lucky to have her for a friend: Fallon really doesn't know what Chris and Alice would do without her.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 13th February, 2022

Explanations, offers, hedging and ditching.

Characters: Tracy, Jim, Brian, Neil, Phoebe, Rex
Credited scriptwriter:
Adrian Flynn
Directors: Kim Greengrass & Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Tracy is at Greenacres looking for Jazzer, who has been called in to Berrow, and Jim says he shouldn't be long and she can wait for him if she wants. Jim is birdwatching, and tells her about the redwings in the hedge which are stocking up for their trip further north; Jazzer got him a special diary at Christmas for his bird observations, which he proudly shows her. She explains that Jazzer bought so many presents that he got in a tangle about money over Christmas, and Jim is glad to know the reason the rent was paid late.

At Berrow, Brian has come to check that Neil has got the straw he needed; Neil is unhappy about being over-stocked with pigs because of the abattoir bottleneck. Jazzer is being paid overtime to straw down the arks. The fathers-in-law discuss Martha and Chris being ill, and Neil tells Brian that as well as Alice looking after Martha, other friends have rallied round and Chris is on the mend. Brian mentions that he feels the flat over the shop isn't ideal, and Neil agrees that it's not the best place for Martha and Chris to live. Brian has an idea about that.

Phoebe tells Rex he is planting the saplings for a hedge on a slant, and he patiently explains that setting the hawthorns at forty-five degrees makes for a thicker base. After a bit of chat she tells him the real reason she is there: she has actually come up to the rewilding to tell him that she has been offered a job and taken it.

Tracy and Jim are talking over the doings at The Bull tomorrow night, and Tracy thinks the idea for the speed-dating is better than hers or his. Jim says that if he drops in, he'll buy Jazzer and Tracy drinks: he feels bad about having misjudged Jazzer, and can't understand why Jazzer didn't tell him about it himself. Tracy says she has to go, and Jim says it was good to see her.

Neil is not sure what Christopher will say about Brian's offer of a rent-free holiday cottage, either The Rookery or The Hobbit – and no, that name wasn't Brian's idea – until the divorce is sorted out. Neil thinks it's generous, Brian thinks it's common-sense and goes into a slightly hard sell about the unsuitability of those external stairs to the flat once Martha starts to walk. Neil agrees it's a pity it ever came to this. He'll make sure Christopher knows what Brian has said, but possibly not for a few days until Christopher's head is straight again.

Phoebe is beating her breast about letting Rex down, and Rex is being accepting; he tells her it was perfectly obvious she was going to jump ship. She explains that she thought it would be fine working in Ambridge, and then she was offered the new job and realised how much she wanted to go. Rex laughingly tells her that it's the first time he's been dumped for a lot of micro-algae, but her leaving him to go to a new job is nothing like as bad as a break-up. She tells him that the rewilding is what he and the planet need, and he mustn't walk away: she'll feel terrible if he does. He says he has had his life disarranged before and he can manage anything when he is in the right place for him, as he is now; he hopes she will be in the right place up to her knees in micro-algae. His main difficulty will be replacing her: that will be hard. She breaks it to him that her mother would like the position, and he is stunned. 'You're joking, aren't you?' he asks in disbelief. 'Phoebe. Please tell me you're joking!'

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 14th February, 2022

High jinks and high hopes.

Characters: Amy, Alice, Kate, Peggy, Rex
Credited scriptwriter: Adrian Flynn

Directors: Kim Greengrass & Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Amy and Alice have gone to The Bull for the 'social speed dating', which Amy doesn't understand except that Ian has said he'll keep everyone moving all evening. Amy denies she is looking for a date, and asks if Alice is sure she's OK with being in the pub for a whole evening; Alice assures her that she is, and that she has to start having a social life some time.

Kate is concerned about Hilda, who was upset by Uncle Tony ­– with the result that he got a nasty scratch. Jakob is running a workshop for Lovell James and Kate has nothing to do, which Peggy is glad of because she wants to talk to her. She has heard that Kate's interested in replacing Phoebe, and asks slightly incredulously whether she is serious about it.

Rex is impressed by the fact that The Bull is so full, and he, Alice and Amy are having to wait to join in the game; he notices that Jim is chatting with Carol Tregorran and is amused because Jim only came in to buy Jazzer and Tracy drinks. Ian is ringing a bell for All Change at more-or-less two minute intervals. Alice doesn't want to chat with Cecil, whom Amy tells her paid for a half of lager with five pence pieces; he might connect her with Christopher's drunken antics and she'll avoid him if she can. Alice asks how Chris was when Amy saw him; Amy says she is keeping an eye on him, and thinks he is getting better. Then Alice, Amy and Rex are called into the game.

Peggy is not impressed regarding Kate's qualifications; she doesn't think Kate knows enough about livestock, and she doesn't think Kate knows about wildlife either. Kate says that is not her field of expertise; she would take over and expand Phoebe's role, while Rex did the hands-on dirty work, about which she is somewhat dismissive. She claims to know a lot about Phoebe's side of things, and also to have had a lot to do with the camping set-up. Peggy, who certainly heard nothing about that, has doubts about her ability in spite of her knowing the jargon. Kate proceeds to talk an excellent game, with Peggy bringing her down to earth occasionally.

Amy arrives at Rex's table; she has been with Barry-with-a-Mohawk, who talked about his gecko and his rat. Rex has been talking with Sabrina about his most embarrassing moment: she massively over-shared, apparently. They agree to talk about their perfect night; his would be really boring, staying at home and watching something, except that it gets a bit lonely in the Bungalow; it would be nice to have someone to spend the evenings with, someone who wasn't hard work but just 'got' him. Amy says that sounds brilliant and she knows exactly what he means. Then the bell rings, and Alice comes to replace her, with the information that Richard Thwaite can do up his tie standing on his head. Rex asks her what number she would be if she were a number, but Alice is not attending; she was hoping that Amy would meet someone this evening.

Kate is still talking herself up, and Peggy is being quite pleased about how deeply she has gone into the subject. She is less enthusiastic when Kate suggests that the new job might make Jakob respect her, and Kate swiftly adds that it would also make Phoebe realise that she respects Phoebe's legacy. Peggy tells her that she has been pleasantly surprised, and suggests she must go and see Rex. At this point Kate tries for a bit of nepotism, suggesting that since Peggy set up the rewilding, she must have some influence; Peggy says that she doubts it, but Kate still tells her that it would be brilliant to have her backing when she goes for the job.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 15th February, 2022

Brian sees trouble on the way, and Jim already has some.

Characters: Jazzer, Jim, Brian, Jennifer, Tracy, Chelsea
Credited scriptwriter: Adrian Flynn

Directors: Kim Greengrass & Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jazzer is home early and Jim presses him with offers of tea, coffee and even an Eccles cake. Jazzer feels that those are another attempt to make up for having been cross about the rent, and says there is really no need. What he does want to ask, though, is more difficult. The boiler at number 6, the Horrobins' house, has gone wrong, and the housing association can't get anyone round to repair it for a couple of days. Could Tracy and Chelsea stay for the night? When Jim asks if there is no alternative, he is told that it was those two or Bert, Brad and Gary, and quickly agrees that Chelsea can sleep on the couch in the main room.

Jennifer is gardening, and Brian has been to see his solicitor, Kevin, about the ramifications of Alice's divorce. Jennifer has been told Kate wants to take over from Phoebe, and reckons that Peggy is encouraging her; Brian, who clearly thinks the whole idea is terrible, hopes it is just a passing fancy.

Jim is explaining the house rules to Tracy and Chelsea, and that Alastair gets first go in the bathroom in the morning after Jazzer has used it before the milk-round, and Tracy is agreeable; Chelsea complains about the small TV, and Jim takes the opportunity to lay down a few more ground-rules for her: she must get up in the morning while Alistair is in the bathroom and fold up the sofa, and also tidy up the rest of her things in the living room, so that it is fit for everyone to use. Anything left lying around will be taken and put by the duck pond. She is rather flabbergasted but tries to be agreeable too. Somehow the overnight stay has become a couple of nights at this point, slightly to Jim's surprise.

Jennifer suggests that the divorce settlement must cut both ways; Chris also has assets. Brian explains to her that if he insists on a complete valuation of Home Farm in order to find out exactly what Alice's share is worth, that's an eye-wateringly expensive proposition. Brian hopes to reach an agreement among themselves so that Chris is secure, and Martha too as she grows up, and which the court will rubber-stamp. To that end he is trying to foster as much goodwill with Chris as possible. He is afraid Alice might push in the wrong direction and make Chris feel that he is the wronged party, causing him to try for as much as he can. Jennifer notes that Alice is seeing her own solicitor, Roisin Drinkwater, tomorrow.

As Jazzer shows her round Chelsea is very taken aback that Jim has no telly in the kitchen, and is horrified by the tiny mirror in the bathroom. Jazzer is outraged by her ungrateful rudeness, and tries to coach her in civilised behaviour; he also demands that she show respect to Jim both as her host and as Jazzer's great friend.

Tracy offers to pay Jim some rent, and he refuses it. She warns him Chelsea has some funny habits, like laughing in her sleep, and occasionally a little scream if she has a nightmare, so he mustn't worry about those. She won't have a nightmare anyway; well, unless Webster gets out, and anyway it's only until the weekend. While Jim is still taking in the ever-increasing duration of their stay, Chelsea comes back in and has clearly taken Jazzer's words to heart; she tries her best to be polite to Jim, and lays it on rather thick. She then asks why Tracy is looking at her like that: she can do nice for a few days, can't she?

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 16th February, 2022

Neither nepotism nor self-interest has any part to play. No, really.

Characters: Peggy, Rex, Alice, Roisin (a bot – Gus), Kate
Credited scriptwriter:
Adrian Flynn
Directors: Kim Greengrass & Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Peggy is at the rewilding headquarters and assures Rex that although she has come with Kate for her interview, she is not there to influence him. She does indeed think it important that he find someone to replace Phoebe, but she tells Rex that he ought to make his own decision. Then she proceeds to tell him how terrific Kate is, and then, apparently seeing no contradiction, tells him that she just wants Kate to be judged fairly and on her own merits. Rex assures her he would always do that, and even if it were not what he would do anyway, it's the law. Peggy tells him that Kate would be a good choice, but what he needs to ask himself is whether she is the right person for the job. Rex suggests that Kate being late is not making a good first impression.

Alice has turned up at the solicitor's office with Martha, and is embarrassed and breathless. Roisin is very understanding, and asks about how Alice has got on with looking after Martha. Then she asks about what the arrangements for seeing her have been, and Alice says Chris has been great. She says proudly that she hasn't had a drink for six months and three days (not that she's counting or anything! C), but she's not taking anything for granted. She wants everything to be as easy as possible for Chris and Martha, but Roisin makes it clear she must think about herself: with the best will in the world childcare and money are complicated. She suggests arbitration.

Rex is getting impatient to be about his work for the afternoon by the time Kate appears and immediately starts to criticise the camp site and the green loos, and tell him what is wrong with everything about his arrangements, saying that it's no wonder the place is empty. She starts to advise Rex what he ought to do; Peggy says they are to ignore her, she'll just read the list of wildlife. Rex starts to attempt to interview Kate.

Roisin is firm that a mediation would be the best bet, since Alice finds conversations with Chris difficult. Mediation might be the best way to take the heat out of the divorce: they really don't want to slog it out in court, Roisin says sympathetically, after telling Alice that of course court cases are how she makes her money so advising Alice not to go to court is not in her own interests. Martha then wakes and needs Alice's attention, and Roisin coos over her, then goes on with her spiel, which also involves telling Alice that she can see she is a good parent and viewpoints can change over time so she mustn't agree to anything she might later regret.

Despite having said she'd stay out of it, Peggy butts in repeatedly; Rex is increasingly unhappy with Kate's expositions, and does seem to know more about his job than Kate does. Eventually he stops her in the middle of her proposed general overhaul and alteration of the entire operation (including expansion of the Visitor Centre and the establishment of a Teaching Yurt) and tells her that he has heard enough, and Kate immediately wants him to inform her whether she is in the running. Rex manages with difficulty to be tactful and say nothing in active opposition to her ideas. Kate tells him kindly that he can do the hedgehog-whispering while she does the rest, and he responds that he will need a formal written application, and since he has not yet advertised the position anywhere he is not going to employ her at once, nor tell her anything about her chance of getting it. Kate is not in the least discouraged, and can't see why he needs to go to all that trouble and expense: after all, where's he ever going to find a better candidate than her?

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 17th February, 2022

A day of imminent departures.

Characters: Jim, Chelsea, Alice, Rex, Phoebe, Kirsty
Credited scriptwriter:
Adrian Flynn
Directors: Kim Greengrass & Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At Greenwood, Chelsea has left her shoes in the kitchen and is listening to music, watching TV, and doing her course-work in the main room. Jim wants the shoes tidied away in the next five minutes; she explains contritely that she kicked them off because she didn't want to track mud in like yesterday. She has also eaten the Steak Bake that Jim had got in for Jazzer to eat before going to Berrow, and castigates herself for being so stupid. Jim is encouraging about her intelligence, but says he feels that she does need a little foresight. She tells him she wishes she'd had teachers like him at school, but they just shouted at her and made her feel dim; Jim assures her that he doesn't think that at all.

Alice is riding Marcellus on the bridleway through the rewilding area, and encounters Rex. She tells him about her heavy day yesterday, doing legal things about the divorce, and he suggests another social speed-dating session with Richard Thwaite would cheer her up. Out of the blue, she suggests he should take Amy out; he says Amy is great as a mate but until he solves the Kate crisis he can't think about dating. When she is told what her sister has been up to, Alice is not impressed by the idea of Rex having to work with Kate. She suggests he ought to try to find someone else, such as Kirsty; he could ask her now, Alice saw her counting trees at the beech copse as she rode past it. He thinks that's a very good idea, and hurries off to act on it.

Chelsea is explaining a reality TV programme to Jim, and he is interested but wants her to leave the sound off. He says he can read the various characters' body language, and starts to analyse the contestants for her, to her admiring astonishment.

Rex has fetched Phoebe, to get her approval of Alice's idea. She is entirely happy for Kirsty to take over rather than Kate, and they hurry to find her. Rex calls out to her, asks about the survey, then tells her they've had a brilliant idea: would she like to work on the rewilding project, replacing Phoebe? She's flattered, but reluctantly tells them that she has to say no.

Jim had got both phonies on the programme right, and Chelsea is impressed, saying she wishes she could spot them on dates. When Jazzer goes to the kitchen to get his food, Jim tries to make out it's his fault that Chelsea ate the Steak Bake, but Jazzer claims he doesn't mind: he is just delighted that Chelsea and Jim were getting on so well together. She still feels bad about having raided the fridge, but Jim tells her we all make mistakes: the important part is what you learn from them. Chelsea thinks he is brilliant and wishes she and her mother were not going home so soon; Jim reminds her she'll be glad to get back to a warm house and a full-length mirror.

Kirsty tells Rex and Phoebe that she is planning to move to Bulgaria, to work as a shift-manager at a hotel in Plovdiv; Lexi found the job for her. Rex is cast down, and Phoebe tries to argue her out of it, but she's determined not to live the rest of her life in the shadow of Philip Moss. She's ready for a change. She's not off tomorrow, but she's started on the paperwork. It isn't going to be easy to say goodbye, and Roy will be losing both his housemates at the same time; Phoebe says sadly that he will miss Kirsty. He's not the only one, says Rex: they'll all miss her.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 20th February, 2022

Alice is helpful, and Pip is obstructive.

Characters: Pip, Rex, Stella, Jazzer, Alice, Ruth
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Rex is packing, ready to move out of The Bungalow, and Pip has been collecting boxes for him. He assures her that it may look like chaos, but there is a plan; at least he is sticking to one, Pip says, unlike Brookfield with the herd expansion. She complains at length that David and Ruth are being over-cautious and dragging their feet about implementing her plans; in fact she tells all her troubles to Rex, who eventually asks her to help by moving stuff so that he can put down what he is holding. She then tries to pump him about where he is moving to, but he refuses to tell her before his house-warming party next week. He has made a decision for himself for once, rather than being forced into things. He is taking a brass telescope of Bert's with him, and says it will be appropriate for his new place. Pip says she and Rosie will really miss him. Then Stella arrives, asking if this is a good time, and while Rex is polite, Pip is rude to her and tells her that actually, no, it's not convenient.

Alice has turned up at 6, The Green, and Jazzer has told her about the lack of a working boiler, which is the reason it is freezing there; Alice, who has started to look into the matter, reckons she knows what is wrong with that boiler. Jazzer is about to take notes so he can get the housing association to fix it, but Alice tells him she knows an engineer at Pryce Baumann who can sort it out. Jazzer is very grateful.

Rex wants to carry on packing; Stella wants to have a look round, and Pip is extremely hostile when she realises this is because Stella is thinking of moving there. She asks why Stella would want to live at Brookfield rather than at Home Farm, to which Stella replies calmly that she doesn't want to live at work. Pip then claims that the bungalow has already been promised to someone else, an assertion which is clearly a lie. Rex starts to remonstrate, but Stella leaves before he can say anything; he then asks Pip who the someone else is and declines to accept her waffling, murmuring about tangled webs and forcing Pip to admit she was not being truthful. Then Ruth rings Pip, to tell her that if she is anywhere near The Bungalow, Stella will be coming by to look at the place. Rex finishes the adage: when first we practice to deceive, and Pip says that she dislikes Stella for being so superior at her.

Alice and Jazzer are having a laugh about Jim and Chelsea getting on well together; Jazzer notices that Alice is shivering and she says she would take cold over silence any day: it's too quiet at The Nest now Martha is back with Chris. She actually came to invite Jazzer to Martha's birthday party, with jelly and ice-cream. He agrees to come.

Ruth makes a joke about Josh's latest enthusiasm, for solar panels, and Pip tries to avoid telling her the truth about Stella visiting The Bungalow: she stammers and stutters until she finally admits she lied about them having already rented it out. Ruth is not best pleased, and tells her to put that right at once, by ringing Stella, telling her that she made a mistake, and offering to give her the full tour at any time that suits Stella.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 21st February, 2022

A tale of boilers, batsmen, and birds.

Characters: Stella, Pip, Tracy, Jazzer, Rex
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Stella is being gracious to Pip about the bungalow and how disappointed they must have been not to have let it after all, and Pip tries hard to be civil; Stella talks about the possibility of getting a dog, and Pip starts to thaw and reminisce about her childhood in the bungalow. Stella has worked her magic, and gets a full info dump about Pip's early life and views on farming, followed by her gripes about her father. Stella says she was afraid they'd got off on the wrong foot and Pip might have got the wrong end of the stick about her views on sheep, and they seem to be well on the way to a reconciliation.

Tracy is wearing a hot-water bottle tied round her waist, and suggests to Jazzer that if the boiler really is sorted then Alice might have redeemed herself for her treatment of Chris, and that she and Jazzer could meet for lunch and then go to inspect the repairs, if any.

Pip and Stella are looking in the attic, which seems to be empty; Pip hands up the torch for Stella to look round, and check for damp. Then Stella gets a fright and screams, crying out that it's some kind of black magic!

Jazzer can feel his fingers again after standing around on the cricket pitch, as they are now in The Bull having lunch. He makes it clear that he is not interested in cricket, nor in revitalising the pitch. Jolene has shown no interest, and Jazzer does offer to try to recruit some fast bowlers for Tracy, who suggests they finish up at the pub and go to check how the boiler repair has gone.

Pip has rung Rex, who apparently has an explanation for the bird corpses in the attic, and is on his way. When he arrives he says that he is surprised they didn't see the funny side of his parting gift; but he doesn't seem to know about the birds: he thought Pip was talking about a novelty toilet roll holder he was going to leave as a house-warming present, along with some cheese and cider.

Tracy is pleased not to be wearing so many clothes any more, but is not at all sure they ought to invite Alice round as a thank-you; she feels that she would look down on a chippy supper at the Horrobins. Jazzer says that he thinks Alice is a bit lonely, which Tracy is unconvinced about. Without saying another word, Jazzer persuades her they should do it. Hannah has declined to get involved in the cricket, and so has Harrison; in fact, not one person has even said they will think about it. Tracy is determined: if Lynda could put on the Mysteries in mid-winter, then Tracy can get the cricket team going again in summer.

Bert left the traces of necromancy, Rex tells Stella and Pip, and regrettably, didn't get rid of the hex on the house before he died; he winds them up thoroughly. Then he realises that the two are genuinely upset, and reveals all: Bert found three birds (crow, magpie and blackbird) dead in one day and was inspired to try doing some taxidermy on the side, put them in the attic to dry, and then must have forgotten about them. Amid the relief that follows this explanation, Rex still declines to say where he is going to live.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 22nd February, 2022

Alice tries to match-make and Tracy is on a recruitment drive.

Characters: Amy, Alice, Rex, Tracy, Chris
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Amy is with Alice on Lakey Hill, walking Elvis, who is chasing rabbits. Alice explains why she called Amy so early: she needs to manufacture a reason for getting out of bed every morning. She is feeling strange being in The Nest without Chris, and she must accustom herself to being alone. Amy disputes her being alone and says she is there for her, and she's got her family, but Alice wants to know what she can do for Amy, helping others being what her group have advised to avoid being self-centred. She tells Amy about the boiler and says how great Jazzer has been, and how much it means that he has forgiven her. Then she asks how it is going with Rex, but Amy tells her that he is really busy this week packing boxes; Alice suggests she could help him pack, and encourages her to to tell him that she'd like to meet up in The Bull some time.

Rex is recounting Stella's fear of the birds in the attic to Tracy as a good joke, and tells her he does feel ready for a change and needed to be booted out of the Bungalow. Tracy immediately starts talking practice schedules, but he says he will have to bow out of the cricket team this year; maybe next year he'll have time, but he can't take anything on at the moment. He gives her a list of his tasks, among which is taking things to the charity shops; Tracy asks if she can have a look at them before he does. When he leaves to get on with his many jobs, she rings Chris, but he is busy with a screaming Martha on the green and doesn't want to talk about cricket.

On the green, Amy shows up with Elvis and is pleasant to Chris, and they arrange to see each other at Rex's party; Chris apologises if things were awkward last time they met, but Amy assures him it's forgotten. Alice comes to collect Martha, and arranges to meet Amy for chocolate outside the tearoom later. When Amy and Elvis have gone on their way, Alice asks whether Chris wants the cottage, but he says no: he won't be able to move on if he has to be grateful all the time to her mum and dad, and he will talk to Brian and thank him rather than Alice telling him. He wants the finances settled through mediation, not between them. She tells him about her mission to sort out Amy's love-life.

Rex has put all the stuff he's getting rid of into the shed, and Tracy is looking through it; he still refuses to say where he is going when he leaves The Bungalow.

Alice and Amy are having their deluxe hot chocolate, and when Alice starts to tell Amy that she must get together with Rex, she says she has already arranged to meet him on Thursday at the Bull. She doesn't want Alice to tell Chris about Rex because there is nothing to tell, and is firm that it is not a case of Alice sorting out her love-life; Rex is just a friend and it is just a drink.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 23rd February, 2022

Berrow is in difficulties, and Chris and Alice start to disagree.

Characters: Neil, Hannah, Alice, Chris, Martyn, Justin, Brian
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Neil comes in out of the rain and greets Hannah, who offers to sort out the mud by the door; she also offers him croissants to cheer him up. The knackerman is coming for the breeding sows, and they are both very depressed.

Alice is going over to Amy's with Martha to choose Amy's outfit for her 'date', and asks Chris his plans for the day; when she is told he'll be in good time to collect Martha she is glad because they need to talk about Martha's birthday party. She's making a list of all the people to invite, but Chris reckons that Martha would be happy with a pile of wrapping paper, and isn't too keen on a big party; he'd like them to have a tea-party for just a few people.

Martyn is getting stick from Justin for having suggested getting into shipping to Europe; Justin is a great deal more in favour of local investment, such as The Stables. Martyn is amused by his enthusiasm for them, and Justin replies that he's known them a long time and they are essentially sound. Berrow, on the other hand, is eating Justin's money; they must forget Brian Aldridge and his sentimentality and pull out of that enterprise. If the board doesn't agree, Justin is prepared to sell his shares and leave Borchester Land to sink with the Berrow ship.

Brian is visiting Alice and doting on Martha. Alice says the birthday party is becoming a bit of a headache, and Brian says Jennifer has offered to cater; he also offers to sub Alice if money's the problem. Alice explains that Chris wants a birthday tea, and she wants something bigger. Brian wants to know why Chris should have the final say: he thinks that Alice should be allowed to organise what she wants for her daughter. That point of view rather obviously appeals to Alice.

Hannah is on the phone turning down a well-qualified applicant whose previous employer has gone under: she is getting about one call a day like that. Neil wonders whether the two of them will end up in that same boat; when Hannah arrived Berrow was on the up, but look at them now. Hannah says she has trouble sleeping for thinking about it, and Neil advises not thinking ahead; Hannah says he's a wise man, and Neil laughs and says she's called him a lot of things before now, but never wise.

Chris has arrived early, and Alice chats about Martha blowing bubbles and saying 'pop', which Chris says is old news. Martha is asleep; this doesn't please him because now she'll be up half the night. They work out between them that while Susan wants to make a frosted banana cake for Martha's birthday, Alice has already asked Fallon to do a cake, but that's fine: one for each party, says Alice. Separate parties, good idea, says Chris. They need to get used to that in future. He'll talk to Mum. Alice is taken aback and tries to make him understand that she wants him at her party too, not just his own, clearly hoping he'll say that he wants her at his, but he doesn't. Alice changes the subject and tells him it's Nic's anniversary: she died four years ago today. He already knew, because Emma told him she has sent a card for all the Carters to Will and the kids, and put Alice's name in it too. Alice regrets having got drunk at Nic's funeral: she can never make up to her for that.

Martyn is buying Brian a drink, and warning him that Justin has been talking of getting out of Berrow. They have to convince him that Berrow has a future: if he pulls out of Borchester Land they'll have more problems than just Berrow, and whilst he had figures to back his case, all Brian seems to offer is optimism. Brian says that in that case he'll call an emergency meeting and convince the board that Justin lacks vision. Martyn says the potential closure of Berrow must be kept secret; they don't want anyone to hear of it, least of all the staff there. Brian fervently agrees.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 24th February, 2022

Brian is surprisingly careless, and Chris isn't getting any sleep.

Characters: Hannah, Neil, Chris, Rex, Brian, Alice
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Hannah asks Neil whether they really have to abort the sows, and he says he's not comfortable about it either, but they do. He wants to get off early for his anniversary treat: a visit to the Cotswolds, staying in a pub with an open fire and home-made pies. Hannah's mum is still not good; she has dementia, after finally having married late to the love of her life. Neil is sympathetic about such bad luck, and Hannah says he must tell Susan how glad he is that he found her when they were still young. She tells him not to think about Berrow while he's away, and that she will not be ringing him no matter what might go wrong: well, unless the pigs stage a revolution, anyway.

Chris tells Rex he had a sleepless night as Martha is teething again, and the two discuss their plans for the day. Rex is going to have coffee with a potential client at Lower Loxley, and both men are avoiding Tracy; they want nothing to do with cricket. Chris is counting down the hours to bedtime, because Alice is having Martha overnight and he is going to get some sleep. Then Rex tells him about his date at The Bull with Amy, and Chris says that doesn't seem very romantic, then is dubious about the date in general, though he does tell Rex that he is glad for him.

Brian comes to Berrow looking for Neil, but he's already left. Hannah asks whether she can help and says he seems a bit rattled. He says no, everything's fine, but if she doesn't mind he wants to use a spare desk to make some notes, and the printer to make hard copy of them, and he promises to be gone by the time she has finished checking a pig-ark which might not be fully secure.

Martha is crying at Alice, and Chris says he has given her some baby paracetamol so she can have more before bed. Alice is gloating about her match-making for Amy and Rex, and Chris continues unenthused about it. Alice wants to talk about Martha's birthday present, ideally one large one between them. She had thought of a push-along car, while Chris suggests a rocking horse. She tells him she has organised a virtual balloon race to raise money for the SCBU, then asks him if he's OK: he seems to her to be down. Chris maintains he's just tired, and says the race is a good idea and that various family members will definitely want tickets.

Brian has taken longer than he thought he would and is still there when Hannah gets back; he thanks her for the loan of her office, and she tells him she and Jazzer have been tying down arks. Then she notices that he has left something in the printer, though he says he doesn't think he has; when she looks at it, she sees it is about the closure of the unit at Berrow. Brian says she's not to tell Neil, then tells her that it isn't really ethical of him to expect her not to; he makes his escape as her phone rings. It's Neil, who wants to give her the code for the new padlocks: 1984. He asks if everything is OK, and she says yes, fine.

Amy and Rex are having fun in the pub, and Amy is recounting tales about her midwifery experiences; she misses the midwives. As she goes for the next round, Alice texts her wanting to know how it's going. Amy texts back telling her to leave them in peace.

Amy is evidently getting dressed and asks to be handed her tights and bra. Chris says that technically they haven't done anything wrong, and she says that she has nothing against one-night stands in principle, then assures Chris that she doesn't regret it but that it wasn't a good idea.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 27th February, 2022

Rex finally reveals his new home.

Characters: Tracy, Roy, Amy, Rex, Phoebe, Jazzer
Credited scriptwriter: Caroline Harrington

Directors: Julie Beckett & Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Rex's house-warming party will start soon, and Tracy and Roy are on the way to The Bull, where everyone is to meet at seven thirty; Rex told them to wear sensible shoes, and that it is only a short walk from there. Tracy tries to get Roy to come to a cricket practice on Wednesday evening, but he won't because he will be at work and cannot alter that; she tells him that nor will anyone else, with excuses as improbable as a massage booked at Spiritual Home that evening. She is not going to give up, though.

Amy encounters Rex, who is collecting last-minute purchases from the village shop; she isn't sure whether he still wants her to come to the party after their date last week and her leaving abruptly, thus making it clear she doesn't fancy him; he reassures her that he doesn't fancy her either but they can still be friends, and yes, she is definitely invited.

Phoebe is really going to miss The Bull and her friends in the village, but tells Roy she won't change her mind about leaving; anyway, they are sure to have pubs in Argyll. Prices are so low that she will be able to afford a place of her own up there, and not have to share her space. She feels a bit guilty about leaving Roy all on his own; she really can't understand Kirsty decamping to an industrial city, but Roy thinks the past and too many bad memories have caught up with Kirsty, though he doesn't really know why she has to go to Bulgaria when there is plenty of work in hospitality in England. Then Jazzer arrives looking for Tracy, and when he is told she's in the Ploughman's talking to Rex he groans: he is as fed up as everyone else with her going on about cricket.

Rex wants Amy to stop apologising, and says he has decided she has someone else. She emphatically denies it, and says that there was but no longer is; he tells her that he knows about that, having fallen for someone who wasn't in the least interested in him and ended up with someone he knew was not right for her. Neither is prepared to divulge details, and Rex changes the subject by pointing out Chris, who has come to the pub but is not going to come to the actual party; then Tracy and Jazzer come up and Tracy says she has started to suspect that Rex hasn't moved at all. After various improbable guesses, including Jazzer's of the bird-hide at Arkwright Lake, Rex decides to lead them all to his actual party.

Roy tells Rex that he is worried about Phoebe getting home, walking alone in the dark; he isn't coming so he can't escort her. She is indignant, but Rex promises to make sure she gets home OK, and directs everyone to set off towards the church. Tracy, Phoebe and Jazzer follow him. Tracy tries to get Amy to come to the planned meeting about cricket, but she says that she probably won't be in Ambridge come the summer: she just needs to find a job. Rex turns right after the church.

It turns out that Rex has got a narrowboat, on the river at an official mooring near the Country Park. He's been keeping it quiet; it's a mess because he hasn't finished refurbishing it, so they will have to have their party on the riverbank, where he has put up vast numbers of fairy lights. Jazzer doesn't fancy living on a boat, in case of leaks: he wouldn't want to wake up underwater. They want to christen it, but Rex tells them it already has a name: it is called Serendipity (which has to be explained to Jazzer). Jazzer then proposes a toast: 'May the river gods bless the good ship Serendipity, and may she never spring a leak.'

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 28th February, 2022

Neil and Hannah act, Amy evades and Phoebe pleads.

Characters: Neil, Hannah, Fallon, Amy, Phoebe, Kirsty
Credited scriptwriter: Caroline Harrington

Directors: Julie Beckett & Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Neil is back at Berrow and Hannah is making conversation about his weekend. He asks if everything has been all right while he's been away, and she says no, which makes him anxious. She closes the door, then shows him the sheet of paper from the printer and gives him to understand the Brian intended them to know about it. Neil is flabbergasted, and says he will give Brian a ring and try to arrange a meeting. Meanwhile, Hannah is to shred that bit of paper.

At the tea room, Fallon wonders why Chris didn't come to the party, then speculates about Amy perhaps knowing in advance that Rex had a narrowboat: she has heard about their date. Amy tells her there is no spark between them and they are best as friends, but Fallon is determined to try to persuade her that she might yet fall for Rex, citing how her feelings for Harrison developed. Amy changes the subject to Harrison being baptised. Apparently Fallon is now worrying about him trying to convert her, and Amy suggests talking to Usha about that. Fallon is also a bit fed up because she and Jolene had planned the menu for a celebration of his baptism, and now he's gone and said he's going to give up eating meat for Lent so that menu no longer works.

Phoebe has found Kirsty sitting outside just to feel the sun on her face, and joins her, saying she will miss this when she moves to Plovdiv. Kirsty points out that they do have sun in Bulgaria, but Phoebe really wants to talk her into staying, and starts to rhapsodise about the beauty of Ambridge.

Fallon asks whether Amy is busy this evening, but when Amy hears that Fallon is going to see Alice and wants her to join them, she makes the excuse that she has to cook supper at the Vicarage. To try to persuade her to come, Fallon explains that she is not not as good as Amy is at handling Alice when she's on a downer: Amy's such a good friend. Saying that she has to get to the shop, Amy leaves abruptly.

Neil has spoken with Brian, who is acting as if his phone is tapped, and who says he has been warned not to repeat anything that was said by any member of the board last week; when Neil asked about the place being closed, he refused to say anything about it. However, Neil has established that there is to be an emergency BL board meeting this week and is fairly sure that it has been called by Brian. He says the trouble is that Brian is not a pig man, but at least he's a farmer, and knows that Hannah and Neil know what they are talking about; he wants to have a meeting with them next day at the Home Farm eco-office after everyone has gone home.

Kirsty turns the tables by telling Phoebe that she was born and brought up in Ambridge and yet she is planning to leave, but Phoebe says she needs to move on and do what she wants to do, not what is expected of her, as Mike advised at Christmas. She is worried about Kirsty, though, whom she sees as part of the fabric of Ambridge; Kirsty says she is at a loose end and has awful dreams, and wants to find her home. Phoebe says that if Philip drives her away, he will have won, not to mention that Roy will be heartbroken. Kirsty tells her to stop it, but Phoebe goes on at her and asks her, isn't she already home?

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 1st March, 2022

Meetings are arranged and partings resisted.

Characters: Justin, Lilian, Brian, Neil, Hannah, Amy, Chris
Credited scriptwriter: Caroline Harrington

Directors: Julie Beckett & Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

New Borchester Land board member Glenda Belcher is being suggested by Justin as someone who has some good ideas for ways to use the Berrow Farm property. From previous experience of her, Lilian thinks Glenda is crazy. As they are talking, Glenda texts him about the emergency board meeting regarding Berrow. She now suggests turning the place into offices, which Lilian thinks absurd; Justin just thinks the site has a lot of potential, perhaps as a luxury retirement village.

Brian is talking with Neil and Hannah, but maintains he can't tell them whose idea it is to 'trash the unit', in Hannah's words. There has been a lot of disquiet about it on the board for months, because it is not bringing in enough profit. Neil points out that happens all the time in farming, and you just have to sit out the bad times and wait for the upturn; Brian agrees, and says that the money men on the board have very little understanding of farming. Neil guesses that they are really talking about Justin Elliott, and Brian says he couldn't possibly comment. He accepts he knows little about pigs, and that is why he is asking Neil and Hannah for a detailed plan for the future so he can present that to the board and try to stave off the closure that is being threatened.

When Amy sees Chris having difficulty mending a gate into the churchyard, she steps in to hold it in place for him; as he secures it he asks whether she has got his many messages. He's been thinking about her all week, hoping they'd meet up again. She says that the reason she hasn't replied is that they can't meet again; she feels that she can't cope with the deceit that would involve. He says that now they are planning a divorce at Alice's behest what he does is none of Alice's business any more. Amy says she can't bear to tell Alice in case it starts her drinking again: it's a really awkward situation. Chris thinks that far from being awkward, it was really lovely, but Amy thinks that them sleeping together was a mistake, and should never happen again.

Hannah is getting aerated about Brexit, but Neil pulls her up and says they need to convince the board members using financial arguments, not political or emotional. The only thing they they can do is cut back a bit more, not inseminate so many sows, and feed the ones not in pig on cheaper feed. He realises that in order to save Berrow, he'll have to follow Hannah's example and manage with one worker less, and on the basis of last in, first out, he'll have to let Jazzer go. Hannah doesn't like it because Jazzer really knows his stuff, but reluctantly agrees.

Former board member Barbara Gladstone has been talking with Justin about new uses for Berrow, and Justin is planning a working lunch with Barbara and Glenda. He finally tells Lilian about his threat to sell his shares, and Lilian asks whether this is revenge for his having been ousted from Berrow, which he denies. Brian must not know what he is planning so he swears her to secrecy with Jennifer: she agrees to say nothing to her.

Amy is trying to explain why she went round to see Chris after the date with Rex that Alice set up, and Chris starts to talk about Alice controlling his life, and manipulating Amy's too. He says he was jealous when she went out with Rex, and when she turned up at the flat it felt right. She admits it felt right to her as well, but starts to cry over the need to lie to Alice. He comforts her her by kissing her, and then a lych-gate just out of their sight closes audibly, and they are afraid someone saw them; Amy is horrified, but though Chris can see a figure he thinks is Roy at the other side of the green, that's too far away for him to have made the noise they heard. Chris says he is sure that no-one saw them and the gate was just slammed by the wind.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 2nd March, 2022

Inspiration from Leonard, and indignation from Fallon.

Characters: Tracy, Roy, Amy, Chris, Jazzer, Fallon, Leonard
Credited scriptwriter: Caroline Harrington

Directors: Julie Beckett & Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Putting the phone down in disgust, Tracy rants loudly about having been let down by Toby, the only person who had said he would attend her cricket meeting at The Bull; Roy tries to calm her down because there are guests in the foyer and she is making a lot of noise. She apologises, but is aggrieved that she seems to be the only person who doesn't get crowds of people helping her when she tries to do her bit for the village.

Also on the phone, Amy is telling Chris about her anxiety: she didn't sleep for worrying in case they were seen. Chris tells her he has been round and about in the village and even went to the shop; he reckons nobody did see them because there is no gossip even from his mother. He tries to persuade her to come round in the evening, though she doesn't want to, claiming to be worried because she doesn't sound OK; he wants to see her to be sure how she really is.

At the tearoom, Jazzer talks to a preoccupied Fallon, who tells him she has a lot on her mind. She goes to get his order, and Leonard comes over, saying he is at a loose end: Jill has a cold and has ordered him to stay away. Jazzer tries to recruit him for the cricket meeting at the pub, but although he looks back on his cricketing days with fondness he feels that such a meeting is not for him; Jazzer explains nobody is interested, and Tracy will be devastated, so he needs moral support himself to help him calm her down. Leonard is fairly sure he would be no use. Then Fallon appears with coffee for Jazzer, though he ordered tea: he tells her to get a grip and sends her back to get tea for him and Leonard, and a bacon butty for each of them.

Chris has come to talk about plant-stands for the Grey Gables garden, which apparently Oliver has asked him for, but Oliver is in London for the day so he starts a conversation with Roy, about Tracy wanting him for the meeting. They then have a chat about little kids and phones, and also television remote controls. As Chris is about to ask if Roy saw him with Amy, Roy mentions Martha's birthday party, about which Chris is brusque; finally Chris manages to bring up whether it was Roy whom Chris saw near the church last evening, but Roy says that while he did go to the shop, he wasn't anywhere near the church at all.

Leonard is comforting Tracy about nobody at all having turned up for her meeting, and she tells him, as she has everyone else, that nobody is interested in her team or in cricket. Leonard says that Tony was talking with him about cricket only the other day, and gives her an idea: the oldies are the only people who have shown any interest, and many of them are in good shape, like the Gleeson twins in Manorfield Place, who run every morning; she thinks they could get together all the fit older people in the village, men and women, and have an OAP team. Leonard doesn't like 'OAPs' because he thinks it might offend people: how about 'Veterans'? Tracy hails him as a genius.

Amy has come round to the flat, and Chris tells her he's seen Roy, who wasn't near the church. Amy, who is still in a taking, wonders whether whoever it was hid, perhaps in the hedge. They speculate about who it was and whether they were offended, and Chris says she is overthinking; then someone knocks on the door. He feels he has to answer it, and it's Fallon, who walks in saying angrily that she needs a word with Chris. Then she sees Amy and goes off the deep end: the words 'how could you?' form part of her indignant outburst. She saw them last night in the churchyard, and is absolutely furious, mainly with Amy; Amy begs her not to tell Alice, but she says she has no choice: Alice has got to know about this.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 3rd March, 2022

Lynda intervenes, and Fallon is persuaded not to.

Characters: Fallon, Harrison, Chris, Lynda, Kirsty
Credited scriptwriter: Caroline Harrington

Directors: Julie Beckett & Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Fallon is telling Harrison about her plans for a party (strictly vegetarian) to celebrate his baptism, and he wants to know who is going to be invited; family and close friends, says Fallon, because it's a big deal for him. He says that yes, it's a big deal for him, but she doesn't understand why he is doing it any more than his family do. He doesn't want to stand around eating egg sandwiches with people who think he's lost his mind. At this point Chris rings Harrison asking whether he can pop round; Harrison says that of course he can, and then Chris adds that he needs to talk to Fallon. Fallon, who has already told Harrison she wants to avoid Chris, is horrified.

Chris implores Fallon not to tell Alice what she has seen, because it would really set Alice back. He and Amy have agreed not to see one another for a bit, and unless Fallon tells, Alice need never know. Harrison brings them coffee without comment, then says that he and Fallon have talked it over. Fallon raves without listening to a word Chris tries to say, until Chris suggests the best thing would be if she just backs off and keeps her big mouth shut, at which point Harrison tells him to leave; he adds ominously that he will see Chris home.

Lynda is glad Kirsty could come round. Kirsty admires the cake, which turns out to have been made by Robert; she sends him her congratulations. Lynda has heard that Kirsty is thinking of leaving Ambridge, which surprises Kirsty. She says that she has been going to council meetings and the like for longer than she cares to think about, and heard many idiotic ideas, but Kirsty moving to Bulgaria is the most hare-brained scheme she has ever heard. Would Kirsty like some clotted cream with that?

When Harrison returns, Fallon admits she shouldn't have lost her temper, and Harrison expresses sympathy with Chris. He then points out to her that Chris was right when he said that you can't choose who you fall for: look at her falling for him, when she had said she could never love a policeman. Fallon remarks that she used the same example when she was trying to get Amy to give Rex a chance. Harrison goes on to say that Amy and Chris both love Alice, at which Fallon exclaims derisively, but Harrison plugs on: Chris has slept with Amy once, and kissed her once in the churchyard, and that isn't exactly a relationship. They both want what is best for Alice, and if they stay together they'll find the right time to tell her. Harrison really thinks Fallon would be better off keeping quiet.

Lynda is trying to convince Kirsty that she doesn't want to leave, and Kirsty patiently explains her reasons yet again: she is a bit stuck in the past and can't shake it off. Lexi rang and suggested the job in Plovdiv, and there's nothing to keep her here. Ambridge just reminds her of the mess she's made of her life, and she's tired; also, nobody here needs her. Lynda does understand, and does need her. Apparently Kirsty reminds her of herself, a person who is meant to make a difference. She belongs in Ambridge, and now there is a perfect job for her. Kirsty wants to know how she knows all this, but Lynda is mysterious about her omniscience, and merely tells her that she has to stay: going to Plovdiv is madness. Kirsty allows herself to be persuaded. She'll give getting the rewilding job her best shot. They celebrate with another slice of cake.

Fallon has come to see Chris and tell him Harrison has persuaded her to say nothing to Alice. She apologises for losing her temper, and although she doesn't want to hear it, Chris wants to explain; he tells her how lonely he was, and all about him and Amy keeping each other at arms' length until he got jealous about Rex. Fallon points out that they have made life really difficult for her: Alice wants her and Amy both to help with Martha's party, and she doesn't think she can look Amy in the face.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 6th March, 2022

The veterans' team is filling up fast; the rest is juvenile.

Characters: Jazzer, Alistair, Alice, Amy, Fallon
Credited scriptwriter: Daniel Thurman

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jazzer wants Alistair to hurry up and get out of the bathroom, and Alistair finds his intrusion objectionable; Jazzer first teases Alastair about his skincare routine, then complains that he is being very grouchy these days. Alistair is upset about the veterans cricket team, in particular because Tracy assumed he would be eligible for it. Darrington too seem to be planning a veterans' team, while the Ambridge one is filling up fast.

Alice has dragged Amy along to do a recce of the village hall; Amy is monosyllabic, but Alice is unremittingly breezy, so after a bit Amy manages to make encouraging noises. Alice has made a floor plan, and Amy does her best to be enthusiastic; then Fallon arrives and Amy asks what she is doing there, to which Alice replies she's there because Alice has texted to ask her to come. Fallon is equally unthrilled to see Amy.

Jazzer is about to leave the house when Alistair asks whether he really looks sixty-five, so Jazzer makes it clear that he thinks that he does, or even older. Alistair then complains that it's Jazzer's fault he looks old: it's lack of sleep, and he needs a word with Jazzer about that.

Alice is still planning, including a dance floor with LED floor tiles that flash when you tread on them; Amy thinks that sounds fun and offers to organise it, but Fallon is opposed on the grounds that it will be daylight and those wouldn't show up. The pair are definitely edgy with each other, until Amy says she has to go to help Alan with something. After she's gone, Alice demands that Fallon tell her what Fallon's problem with Amy is.

Jazzer needs a quick word with Tracy, in private. Alistair has complained about the noise he and Tracy make in bed. Although Jazzer on the whole is self-satisfied about it, Tracy is horrified at the thought that Jim might also be able to hear them, but Jazzer says he wears ear-plugs. She suggests Alistair should too but Jazzer tells her Alistair finds them uncomfortable and won't use them.

Fallon is refusing to say how Amy has rubbed her up the wrong way, and Alice refuses to let it go. Fallon eventually says she sometimes finds Amy too good to be true, at which Alice starts to praise Amy to the skies until Fallon tells her to stop; she won't, and says Fallon and Amy have literally saved her life, while managing to be loyal to Chris, too. She wants them to try to get along, for her. She is counting on them: her two best mates. Fallon mumbles something about having a word with Amy.

Jazzer suggests that if neither his gaff nor hers is appropriate for their lovemaking, Tracy should sneak them into a room at Grey Gables. Tracy refuses at first, but Jazzer tells her that the tension would be wonderful: can't she feel it already? She asks whether they are really doing this, and he says, as soon as possible.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 7th March, 2022

Amy seeks absolution, and Tracy falls from grace.

Characters: Amy, Fallon, Oliver, Tracy, Jazzer
Credited scriptwriter: Daniel Thurman

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

An entirely unwelcome Amy has come to find Fallon at work. Fallon declines to speak to her apart from telling her that she doesn't want to talk to her then, or there, or indeed anywhere.

Oliver has asked Tracy to make twelve copies of a document he has emailed to her, and staple them together, before lunch. Before she has had time to do that Jazzer comes to the desk and suggests that she has a good use for a room in her lunch-break; he wants to take a room-key, and then starts to role-play a travelling salesman with a standard southern English accent. Tracy is still somewhat unenthusiastic about the whole idea, but eventually gives him the key to room 210 and directions on how to get to it.

Disregarding Fallon's hostility, Amy has stayed to tell her that she can't bear the atmosphere between them, and Fallon admits that she want too far on Sunday. No, that isn't an apology; she made Alice suspicious. Amy says they can't carry on like this, and Fallon concedes that she will try to be civil to Amy when Alice is around, but she doesn't want to see her at all apart from that. Fallon is harsh and unforgiving, even when Amy says she and Chris have not seen each other since Wednesday, but after the admission that Amy has real feelings for Chris and she doesn't want them Fallon finally unbends enough to offer the weeping Amy a tissue. Amy claims to have been in total turmoil [yes, that really is what she said. Chris] and Fallon advises her to take herself home, and also tells her that she can't go on like this.

Jazzer rings down wanting to know what has happened to Tracy, who has had to wait for someone to arrive and cover for her. She has just finished telling him that she is on her way now when Oliver appears and asks her for a favour: he knows it's her lunch-break but he'd be very grateful if she'd go and make sure that a demanding customer is now happier. Mrs Sanderson disliked the room she had been given, so he has moved her into room 210. Tracy leaves at speed.

Amy rings Fallon as she is walking home, because she wants to tell Fallon something she has decided; Fallon doesn't want to talk with her, and doesn't want to be her confidante. Amy manages to get a word in and tells Fallon she plans to go to Nottingham and help a friend to prepare for a midwifery exam; she can go on Wednesday, straight after Martha's party. Fallon immediately changes tack and tells her that Alice needs her, but Amy is determined to leave.

Having managed to deflect Mrs Sanderson down to the bar on the pretext that the room needs to be checked before occupation, Tracy tells Jazzer that he must dress and leave at once. He is still arguing that they have time for at least something when Oliver comes in and catches them, with Jazzer completely naked still, and does not for a moment believe Tracy's attempt to explain it all away; he tells her she is is trying to take him for a fool. He is very angry about her misconduct, and suspends her on the spot. No, he doesn't need her to come in to reception tomorrow: he will make other arrangements. He will let her know in due course what action he will be taking.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 8th March, 2022

Neil shares his worries, and Tracy's come to nothing.

Characters: Susan, Neil, Tracy, Jazzer, Oliver
Credited scriptwriter: Daniel Thurman

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Susan is talking at length about their own celebration of Martha's birthday and Neil is not contributing to her monologue. Eventually she asks him a direct question and discovers that he hasn't been listening to a word she's said. She asks him what the matter is, and when he says it's all right, says that clearly it's not: he's stewing. He starts to say that he has get to work, then tells her it's sensitive information and he's been told by Brian not to say anything. She demands to be told what Brian has done, and he explains that Brian is not the problem; it is that with the exception of Brian the BL board is jittery, and Berrow's future is on the line.

Tracy is expecting the worst, and Jazzer tries to console her, suggesting that they both tell Oliver they're sorry. He starts to ask where they'll have sex now Grey Gables is not available, and she says that is the last thing on her mind. Oliver sends an email to tell her he has meetings all day, and he'll see her at six in his office.

Susan is now worried, and anxious that Neil may be made redundant. She tells him he really doesn't need this stress, and perhaps he ought to take life a bit easier, as Mike Tucker suggested at New Year. She starts hinting, and finally outright suggests, that he might retire.

Jazzer rings Oliver, who refuses to speak with him, but allows him to say his piece if he is brief. Jazzer tries to take all the blame, but Oliver is not mollified. He tells Jazzer that Tracy is a liability, and he has enough on his plate without members of his staff being unreliable; Jazzer really puts his foot in it by saying that Tracy isn't just a member of staff, she is Oliver's friend. Oliver's had enough, and hangs up.

Neil admires the cake Susan has made for Martha, a banana cake with cream cheese frosting, and Susan comes back to her retirement suggestion; they'd be financially able to survive, but Neil has been thinking too, and tells her that he loves working at Berrow, his dream job. Also he can't leave a sinking ship; he won't do it. Berrow is important to all of the team there, and he wants to rescue it. He wants Susan to promise him that she won't tell anyone anything he has said, not even Tracy, who might tell Jazzer: Neil wants to save Jazzer's job before he has any idea it was at risk.

Oliver is talking earnestly though more in sorrow than anger to Tracy about her behaviour, and tells her Jazzer didn't help by ringing him. She has risked the reputation of Grey Gables, and seriously damaged her own credibility. Tracy pleads not to be sacked, and Oliver tells her grimly that he has no choice but to follow procedure: he is issuing her with a formal written warning, which will be kept on her record. She doesn't quite understand, and he allows her to know that he is not going to dismiss her, although he is clear that he would have every right to do so. She thanks him profusely, telling him that he's a real pal, which makes him groan. He's always stood by her, says Tracy, and she won't forget that: she'll never let him down again.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 9th March, 2022

Chris steps in and Kate backs out.

Characters: Kirsty, Kate, Chris, Alice, Peggy, Rex
Credited scriptwriter: Daniel Thurman

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At Willow Farm Kirsty tells Kate that Phoebe is not there, and Kate is put out because she hoped to speak to Phoebe in private about the rewilding; she then implies that Kirsty might eavesdrop. Kirsty assures her that she has no intention of doing so, and since Phoebe isn't there she couldn't anyway. Kate then starts to belittle Kirsty's expertise about rewilding and talk herself up, but when Kirsty replies to Kate's accusations it is clear that unlike Kate she does know what she is talking about. When Kirsty finally gets slightly exasperated, Kate tells her that she wants to 'honour Phoebe's legacy', and then goes off to find Phoebe at Lower Loxley. As she leaves she asks when Kirsty's interview is, and they discover they are to be interviewed at the same time.

The large birthday party for Martha is drawing to a close as Chris arrives and asks Alice how it went, and she insists on showing him the photos she has taken. She mentions that Amy was a great help and expresses surprise at her sudden departure for Nottingham: did Chris know about that? He says he did: Amy texted him after she had left. He tells her that he wants to get Martha ready to take to his parents. The birthday girl then appears, covered in chocolate cake which has just been given to her by Rosie.

Peggy starts the interview, then Rex tells the two candidates the reason for wanting to see both of them at once, with the inevitable commentary from Peggy. At Rex's invitation Kate leads off with her ideas for revamping rewilding. Sustainable weddings is her first suggestion.

Martha is still chocolatey, which Chris is not at all happy about; he wants to know how much chocolate Martha has had and Alice admits she has no idea, but thinks she is probably wearing most of it. She laughs a fair amount about what Martha looks like, and wants to take photos of her. Chris has something of a sense of humour failure about the amount of sugar she's probably eaten: he keeps a careful eye on her sugar consumption and now she'll be bouncing off the walls and unable to have any of the Carter birthday cake. When Alice makes light of it he loses his temper somewhat.

Kirsty is responding to Kate's ideas and talking about the ethos of the project, while Kate tries to pull down the ideas Kirsty puts forward. Kate clearly thinks that money, which she calls viability, is the priority, while Kirsty is keener on education and the actual rewilding and what it means. It needs to inform and inspire, says Kirsty, and sustainable weddings will be more about who catches the bouquet than about the project or what it is for.

Alice rings Chris and tells him that Ambrose the cuddly giraffe got left behind, so she will take him to the shop for Chris to pick up later. What she really wants to do is to be accusing about her assumption that he has implied she is a bad parent, which she denies being and he denies having done. Anyway, apparently the Carters' bubble machine seems to be Martha's favourite present, and she can have some of the banana birthday cake tomorrow. Alice rings off after saying she is glad he is having a good time in a way calculated to stop him from doing so.

Peggy winds up the interview, and Rex says he will call both applicants in the morning when he has made up his mind. Then Kate surprises everyone by saying she is going to withdraw her application. Kirsty has convinced her that the best person for the job is Kirsty, who cares about rewilding for itself and not for Phoebe's sake. She tells Peggy that she doesn't mean to let her down, but Peggy replies that she is really rather proud of her and Rex tells Kirsty the job is hers and that they are delighted to have her on board.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 10th March, 2022

Of washing machines, farewells and fish.

Characters: Susan, Tracy, Phoebe, Kate, Roy
Credited scriptwriter: Daniel Thurman

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The news from Tracy, when she rings Susan, is that the boiler may be fixed but now the washing machine has broken down in the middle of a wash. Susan tells her to bring the wet load over to her and not to worry.

Kate finds Phoebe crying; she has just said goodbye to Peggy, who was very encouraging. Kate too is encouraging, and offers to walk back with her to Roy's, and Phoebe tries to tell her that she knows about Kate having stepped back from the rewilding job, and that she is proud of her for it. Apparently Kirsty wants to use some of Kate's ideas, and Rewilding Ambridge will still have Kate's stamp on it; Kate readily gives permission for her to do so.

In a long explanation about her money problems Tracy explains that Brad's had a growth spurt and needed new clothes, Chelsea needed everything for college, there was the boiler, and now the washing machine. Tracy finally tells Susan about nearly being sacked, but evades saying why. Susan nearly tells her about the problems at Berrow, especially when Tracy says she relies on Jazzer for more than just money: he's her rock. And he loves her: what more could she want?

Phoebe has gone back into the house for a final check to be sure she hasn't left anything, and Kate and Roy wait for her outside. They congratulate themselves on how well they have done as parents, and remember taking her to 'uni' together, which leads Kate to say that they must remember that it's not goodbye this time either. She'll always be their little girl. When she emerges, Roy gives her a cashmere sweater and discovers that Kate has already done the same, but in a different colour. Kate becomes emotional and tearfully tells Phoebe she's proud of her; Phoebe responds that they are amazing parents and she's glad she had them. Kate hugs her, and Roy asks to join in. After that Phoebe finally gets on the road, pausing only to tell them that she has left a surprise for them in the house. They are certainly surprised, and go to see what it can be, and also to have a cuppa.

Susan has managed to upset Tracy by saying something about Jazzer perhaps not being the first person she ought to go to for money; it will only complicate things between them. While Tracy is crossly defending him Susan explains that she meant Tracy should come to her sister first: she'll always be there for her. Tracy apologises for over-reacting.

Once indoors, Roy and Kate discover their presents, and also find a note in which Phoebe, after saying she imagines they are bit shocked by the gift of a goldfish each, tells them that she knows Kate wanted a project and Roy needed the company. She has named the fish: the one in the bowl on the left is Roy, the one on the right is Kate, and they are to take care of each other's namesakes. Roy and Kate start to laugh, and Kate at once suggests that Kate will die within a week, while Roy ripostes that Hilda will get Roy. Roy suggests a challenge: who will keep their fish alive longest? Kate accepts it.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 13th March, 2022

Apology and escapology.

Characters: Kirsty, Roy, Jim, Alice
Credited scriptwriter: Naylah Ahmed

Director: Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Kirsty has got the rice for Roy's chilli, but he is dispirited, and she asks what's the matter. He says that Phoebe rang to tell him she is settling in to her little cottage, which has amazing views whichever way you look, and he is missing her. Kirsty tells him to snap out of it, and he tries to, but can't help thinking about the contrast between Phoebe and Boring Kate; Kirsty exclaims that Kate is not boring, to which Roy quite reasonably points out the she's a fish and just goes round and round in the bowl. He reckons you'd get more response from a damp cloth, and Kirsty tells Kate that he doesn't mean it. He has also forgotten to feed her, and Kirsty orders him to do it at once. She then informs him that the person they really miss at the rewilding is not Phoebe, but Pip: someone with experience of farming. Kirsty reckons livestock are crucial to the project, and she knows very little about them: apparently Peggy has an idea about how to fill that gap. Then Kirsty realises that she can't see Kate: the bowl is empty.

Jim is weeding his garden, and Alice has come to see him with a cake from the party, from her and Martha, and a bookmark that Martha 'painted' at the party. He says it is very thoughtful, and Alice says it's nothing given what she has put him through in the past. He is irked to think she is still apologising about 'the incident in the shop', she says that yes, she is, and more or less ticks him off for trying to make light of it, telling him that someone could have been seriously hurt. She figures that it's time she tries to make amends for everything, if that's even possible, and she thought she would start with him if he is open to it. Jim suggests a cup of tea.

Back at the goldfish bowl Roy is unable to understand how Kate can have vanished, and then Kirsty finds her on the floor under the dresser. She's not moving, and they must get her back into the bowl, but Roy can't bear to touch her so Kirsty has to do it. Roy wants to fetch a fish-slice to pick her up with, but Kirsty manages to get her up to the bowl, whereupon she floats on her side in the water before twitching a little.

Over tea Jim points out to Alice how glad Tracy and Jazzer were to have the boiler fixed, and Alice makes self-deprecating noises about that not being much. Jim asks whether that was part of her mission to put things right and she says yes; he and Jazzer seemed a good place to start. Others might not be as amenable; Jim tells her she ought not to let that put her off. Then she says that she's been wondering whether he ever needed someone to cover at the shop, filling in awkward shifts; Jim says that would indeed be a service to the village, but she would need to talk to Susan about it, which doesn't seem to put Alice off. Jim muses that he can see that going round the village making amends can't be easy, and Alice agrees, but says that although she's been apologising and feeling bad about herself for what seems forever, at least this way she is doing something about it. [Since this is The Archers. Chris] Jim at once uses himself as an examplar and tells her that he knows about feeling bad about oneself for a long time, and without going into any detail says he hopes she will eventually be able to forgive herself. Alice hopes so too, then goes into explanation about having pushed for a big party when Chris didn't want one, trying to make up for things to Martha; Jim congratulates her on not having regrets about that.

Kate is swimming happily round the bowl, and Roy declines to cook the chilli: he has to watch her all the time in case she jumps out again. For some obscure reason he's going to take her to Alistair first thing tomorrow; meanwhile Kirsty offers to go and get something from the chippy, and he tells her where his wallet is. Roy worries that they can't watch Kate day and night: they've got work to go to.

Martha is asleep in Jim's arms, which he admits is a pleasure; he has watched a programme in which some people have strict ideas about not holding a sleeping baby. Alice says that sounds like Chris, but Jim doesn't need to put Martha down on her account, whereupon Jim says 'a mother's instinct' and starts to reminisce about Rosalind, his wife, and her treatment of their babies, then finds it necessary to say that 'a certain experience' from his younger years made it difficult for him to pick up the child-care after she died, or so he convinced himself. Then he plays the wise counsellor and tells her that she ought not to feel she has to make up for something, and that what he sees before him is a young mother who's doing very well. She thanks him. He feels that Chris must be happy about her progress, and she tells him that she and Chris have another session with their mediator tomorrow, so he asks how those have been going, to which she replies fine, but.... Jim pounces on the 'but', and she complains, without exactly complaining, that she lets Chris do most of the talking because she doesn't want to rock the boat. Jim tells her not to be too quick to sell herself short: Martha won't remember what has come before now, she's only a year old. He expresses his regrets about what he did and didn't do when Alistair and Fiona were babies, and that he realised too late that we must be the best parent we can be in the present, because we never get this chance again.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 14th March, 2022

Roy is suckered and Chris is wrong-footed.

Characters: Nor, Chris, Alice, Roy, Jakob
Credited scriptwriter: Naylah Ahmed

Director: Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At the mediator's office, Chris and Alice are agreeing on the various distribution of their possessions, and then it comes to the division of Martha's time, which also seems to be working well, so the mediator, Nora, is pleased with them until Chris mentions Martha's being covered in cake at the big birthday party having been less than ideal, which makes Alice nervous and causes her to make excuses about baby-wipes and a change of clothes, while not addressing Martha having been out of her sight for some time in order to manage to get so filthy.

Roy is trying to get Jakob to see 'Kate' while demanding confidentiality about the fish leaping from her bowl; he wants Jakob to have a look at her and make sure she won't do it again, which Jakob finds ridiculous. Jakob knows about the bet as to whose fish will survive longer, but Roy assures him this is because Phoebe gave him the fish, nothing to do with Kate, so Jakob agrees to have a look at Kate-the-fish: all he can see wrong is a few damaged scales, which Roy tells him must be where the fish stuck to the carpet, and he suggests getting a lid for the bowl, that the water needs to be fresh, that the bowl might be too small, and that a self-cleaning tank might be the best answer. He 'accidentally' lets slip that Kate has bought such a tank for her fish.

Chris and Alice are told by Nora that they seem to have a good working arrangement, but that they also need to look ahead: things will alter as Martha gets older. Chris feels that as the principal carer he should have the final say about such matters as nursery and socialising; obviously they'd discuss everything, as they do now, but he would get the last word on such decisions.

Roy is still at the surgery, and Jakob has become somewhat exasperated; Roy wants to be shown which tank Kate has got for Roy-the-fish, and Jakob points to the most expensive. Roy swears Jakob to secrecy about the entire occasion, to which Jakob agrees; after Roy has left Jakob softly murmurs 'sucker'.

When they are nearly at the end of the mediation session Nora says that Alice has been rather quiet: is there anything she wants to say? Alice stammers a little and finally says she wants to look after Martha regularly while Chris is working, rather than have the child pushed from pillar to post. Chris tries to protest that the present arrangement works well, and is told by Nora to let Alice finish. Alice tells them that she's been sober for months, although Chris points out that she might lapse at any point. She doesn't need supervised visits, she can look after her own daughter, and she doesn't need Chris's permission to look after her; when Chris says he doesn't think she is really ready and that he is worried about Martha's safety she starts to be quite aggressive against him in her denial of the possibility that she might cause harm to her daughter. She asserts that it's not about Chris and what he thinks; it's about Martha. Nora tries to suggest that perhaps Chris thinks she is not ready yet, but Alice says that Chris never will think she is, and adds that since she will be looking after Martha more than Chris does, she believes Martha's home ought to be at The Nest rather than the flat. She's the mother, and she wants to be the primary carer for her daughter.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 15th March, 2022

Alice wants to fight, and Tony branches out.

Characters: Alice, Brian, Peggy, Tony, Neil, Kirsty
Credited scriptwriter: Naylah Ahmed

Director: Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

After listening to an overwrought jeremiad from Alice about Chris and what happened at mediation, Brian suggests that it's possible that Chris too was upset, because he was taken completely by surprise; she might have warned him before launching into him at the mediation session. This does not go down well with Alice, who then embarks on a complaint about her having behaved horribly in the past having nothing to do with it; she says that Chris will always see her as 'in recovery' and as a risk. She avers she is better, whilst demonstrating by her emotional rant that she is not yet at all on an even keel.

Peggy thanks Tony for fixing her toaster, then invites him to have a cupcake, which reminds him of childhood teas in the garden. He mentions that she said she had something to ask him, and she tells him that Rex and Kirsty want him to be the farming consultant for the rewilding project.

At Berrow Neil has stayed late to see Brian, who has come to consult him about Alice's behaviour and try to make excuses for her; Neil, unmollified, and defensive of his son, says Christopher was up half the night and is worried sick.

Peggy is praising Tony, and admits she was the one who suggested him to Rex and Kirsty; Tony is unimpressed, thinking that Brian, David and Adam must have turned the position down. He then says that he was teasing, and Peggy tells him that he can only have some more cake if he says yes. She butters him up about how much of a success Bridge Farm is, and flatters him by telling him that he was ahead of the curve going organic. She suggests he visit the rewilding site later and see what Kirsty and Rex have to say.

Trying to smooth things with Neil, Brian suggests they should let the couple cool down. He points out that they have other things to worry about: maybe they should let their children alone and concentrate on the trouble at Berrow, about which they have at least some chance of doing something.

Kirsty is showing Tony round, because Rex won't be back for another half hour or so. She tells him that she has spent much of her spare time at the rewilding site for months, little thinking that she might be helping to run it one day, and that she knows she and Rex would be lucky to have his help. She tells him Peggy is proud of him, and leaves him to look round alone.

The phone rings, and Peggy is delighted to hear that Tony is enthusiastic about the rewilding, though he warns her that he won't be a yes-man. He thinks he might enjoy it, and that she already knew that; she responds with some homespun wisdom attributed to her father, about following what it in your heart: Tony, she says, is good at that. He rings off after saying he will tell Kirsty he accepts the position.

Alice tells Brian that she has booked an appointment with her solicitor. Brian is not at all in favour of an adversarial divorce: not only will it cost an arm and a leg, but Alice's previous behaviour will be shown in the worst possible light. Still in her injured persona, and not willing to concede there might be any point of view other then her own, she says that hurting Chris isn't her intention, but she isn't going to let his feelings get in the way of her and Martha. Brian points out that alcoholism isn't like a broken leg, fixed as soon as the plaster comes off, and that Chris is not the only person concerned lest she has a relapse: he and Jennifer worry about it too. Alice leaves that alone because she has no possible answer to it, and instead comes out with Jim's line that she only has one chance at this; the only thing she wants is Martha.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 16th March, 2022

Justin is cocky and Susan feels beleagured.

Characters: Justin, Lilian, Neil, Susan, Fallon, Usha
Credited scriptwriter: Naylah Ahmed

Director: Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

A sort of strangled singing noise means Justin is feeling chipper; he has dressed to impress, and is convinced that he is sure to do well at the BL meeting. Lilian fears that the closure of Berrow would mean his name, and hers, being mud in the village. Justin is under the bizarre impression that the village won't know who is behind it.

Susan summons Neil, who is just finishing a call with Christopher and apparently trying to calm him down; she wants him to come here and stand still so she can sort out his trousers, with him in them, for the service tomorrow at which he will be Harrison's sponsor. Neil tells Susan what Christopher was upset about: Alice has told him that she is seeing a solicitor to get full custody of Martha, and Chris is in a right state. Susan immediately complains that the Aldridges can afford expensive solicitors, and she doesn't trust Brian not to do something sneaky, but Neil assures her that is not likely, and even if it were he has Brian contained because of the secret they share about Berrow. Susan decides that before she goes in to work she had better reassure Christopher that there's no way a judge would give Alice custody after how she has been behaving, but he must get a solicitor of his own and not let the Aldridges steal a march on him.

At the tea-room Fallon is serving brunch with poached eggs to Usha, who wishes her the best of luck for Harrison's baptism tomorrow; Alan is really looking forward to it. Usha asks coyly whether Fallon will be joining Harrison in 'the flock', and then when Fallon's response is chilly offers herself as a confidante if Fallon needs one; Fallon takes her up on it, and Usha asks what she wants to know.

In the shop, Justin and Lilian are buying things for lunch; Justin has a go at the tearful Susan for the posters exhorting customers to 'buy local, buy British' and for not being sufficiently subservient to the customers, while Lilian tries hard to defuse the situation because she could see that Susan was obviously upset when they arrived. For some reason Justin feels he has to talk about bacon, specifically Danish, Lilian extols the type she buys from Underwoods' food hall, and eventually Susan is quite sharp with them.

Fallon and Usha are having a good laugh about Usha having fallen for the handsome leather-clad motorbiking vicar. Usha says that at the beginning, she and Alan spent their time reassuring her family and his parishioners, who didn't think they were good enough for each other. At least Fallon and Harrison don't have that problem. Fallon voices her doubts about Harrison not wanting to stay with her if he won't be with her in the afterlife, but Usha manages to make her see she is making a mountain out of a molehill, and suggests that he clearly doesn't feel that way; they love each other.

Lilian is worrying: Susan was at the shop without make-up on, which is unheard of. Still, although Lilian might be concerned over Susan's unhappiness, she has a good cackle about the two sisters, and Tracy trying to get Justin into her veterans' cricket team. She has assumed that Susan was being distracted because she's in a state about Chris and Alice, but Justin suddenly decides it must all have been because Susan has found out about the Berrow closure. There must be leak in the BL board, and when he finds it who it is, they're toast.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 17th March, 2022

Burns is doused and flames are fanned.

Characters: Chris, Susan, Fallon, Harrison, Alan
Credited scriptwriter: Naylah Ahmed

Director: Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

After a long phone call Chris comes in to break it to Susan that he has been told by his solicitor that Alice might indeed be able to take Martha away from him: the court will consider her application, and mothers more often get residence. Susan stops him in mid-panic by telling him that they will all fight his corner and they won't let that happen. He's not really reassured, but Susan is determined. She tells him to get himself to the church, to which Neil has already gone; Harrison is waiting.

Of course Chris is late as a result of his upset, which gives Fallon a chance to carp about him being unreliable, but Harrison isn't worried because he's sure Chris won't let him down. Alan comes in to ask if everyone is ready, Chris arrives and apologises for being late, and when Alan goes to get prepared for the ceremony things are tense between Chris and Fallon, with Fallon aggressively snapping and jumping down Chris' throat about anything he says, being unpleasant and offensive until Chris loses patience and says he'd better stand at the back so he doesn't offend her by being visible. Harrison reminds them they are in church, and Fallon apologises. Chris accepts this, and tells Harrison they're there for him, after which Harrison goes off to check how his godchild is getting over the long car journey. Fallon produces the towel she has been asked to bring; Chris tries to be friendly, saying that it might not be big enough since, according to Neil, Alan is likely to be liberal with the holy water, but clearly Fallon is not prepared to be pleasant if she is not forced to be.

As might be expected, Alan is the star of the show, but Harrison makes his responses clearly and is then splashed with water. He is well and truly baptised.

In the vestry afterwards Harrison and Fallon are restoring Harrison's quiff with a hair-dryer that has mysteriously manifested itself there, and they have a laugh about Neil being right: Alan does get water everywhere. Fallon apologises to him about her having a go at Chris, and Harrison tells her she will always be the star and centre of his universe, and thanks her for being there. He also makes fun of her about any anxiety she might have felt about his being baptised, and reassures her that he is not less but more Harrison Burns, and Harrison Burns loves her.

As the family party makes its way to The Bull for lunch, Fallon greets Alice, who is going to the shop to ask whether they need any shifts covered. Alice asks how the baptism went, and Fallon is full of praise for Harrison just doing what he needed to. Alice goes off to the shop, where Susan, surprised to see her, is entirely unwelcoming, and when asked simply says no, there are no shifts for Alice there. Alice is taken aback, and Susan is clear that she doesn't think much of Alice, who tells her in a superior way that they may not agree about everything but she is sure they can be civil. Susan is infuriated by this and reminds Alice of just how badly she has behaved, to Christopher in particular and also in general, even before trying to take Martha away from the father who has looked after her all this time while Alice was unfit to do so; all the time Alice was letting them have Christmas morning and so keen to share Martha's birthday, she was really planning to stab Christopher in the back. Alice tells her that she does not have to explain to Susan or anyone that she wants to be with her own child. She says that Susan of all people should understand about second chances, but fortunately holds back from actually using the word prison; Susan is very aware of what she didn't quite say, loses it and tells her exactly what she thinks of her. Alice remains icily polite, and says that she intends to fight to keep her daughter Martha where she belongs, with her.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 20th March, 2022

Tony lets something slip, and Tracy lets slip the dogs of war.

Characters: Neil, Hannah, Tracy, Tony, Justin, Brian, Susan
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah McDonald-Hughes

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Neil and Hannah are having a chat beside the outdoor pigs over how they are unhappy about not being able to tell anyone what's going on; Brian shouts for them to come to the office, now.

At the cricket ground Tracy is delighted by the turn-out for the veterans' team practice, and plans to start with slip fielding practice. Tony offers to help, but she says she has to be the boss. To their surprise Justin turns up, wanting to try out for the team; he says that he used to enjoy cricket at school. He goes off to the changing room to swap his loafers for more suitable footwear.

Back at Berrow, Brian is sounding off angrily: he has heard gossip about Berrow in the village, and is very displeased about it. He wants to be sure Neil and Hannah haven't said anything to anyone. Neil, angry and offended, twice denies having told anyone, and leaves; Hannah sympathises with him. Brian says he wasn't accusing them, but it's serious. If he is kicked off the board they will be in real trouble, with nobody to fight their corner.

Susan has hidden a birthday present for Keira on top of the wardrobe, and witters on about it until Neil snaps at her in exasperation. In reply to her affronted remarks he tells her that people are gossiping about Berrow closing; Susan is put out that Brian has accused Neil, and then realises that Neil might mean she might have let something slip, and is very offended in her turn: she's not a stupid gossip! Neil says that he didn't think it; she asserts that she has not told anyone.

In The Bull, Tracy tells Jazzer that she is pleased by the team's potential, and delighted by Justin's performance. Justin enjoyed himself and smashed the ball all over the place; Tony has hurt his finger dropping a catch. Jazzer says that perhaps Tony should get tips from Justin, who immediately disclaims expertise, says that someone who has played for fifty years doesn't need advice from a Johnny-come-lately, and starts to tell Tony how he could improve his stance. When he realises that he has given serious offence he asks what everyone is drinking and goes to the bar to fetch them all pints, and while he is gone Tony remarks that Jazzer is generous to be nice about Justin when he is planning to close Berrow down.

The doghoused Neil has gone to tell Susan he has finished the ironing, and say he's sorry. He knows she wouldn't betray a confidence. She says it's been awful not being able to tell Tracy; she has sat there and pretended because she didn't want to make things even worse between them and Brian and Jennifer, and because she promised Neil. He says sorrowfully that he doesn't think he's ready for retirement, and doesn't know what he will do: he is too old to get another job.

In The Bull, Tracy is confronting Justin about Berrow, and repeatedly asks him point blank whether he is considering closing the pig unit, not allowing him to wriggle out of giving an answer. Eventually he says that it's one option the board is considering, and it's business, not an arbitrary decision; he has to think what is best for BL. After her suggesting that the team might not need him, and his asking pointedly how she expects to win, Tracy tells him that unlike him she doesn't want to win at any cost, and sacks him from the team on the spot, as well as telling him to keep his beer. When he has left them, Tony apologises to Jazzer but says that he thought Jazzer must already know; Jazzer says desolately that he loves that job. What's he going to do?

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 21st March, 2022

Justin blusters, Amy is flustered, and Alice is furious.

Characters: Alice, Usha, Alan, Amy, Hannah, Jazzer, Justin
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah McDonald-Hughes

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Alice is visiting the vicarage, where Usha and Alan are happy to talk about Martha, who is not with her. She says she will bring her over when Amy gets back; she thought she would be back by now, because Amy said she was going for a few days and it's been nearly two weeks. They say rather awkwardly that they are expecting her back soon, and Alice says she is worried because Amy isn't replying to her when she messages, or after a long gap and with single words. It's not like her. Usha tries to reassure her, and Alice says she wants to be there for Amy as Amy has been for her. Then she realises she has worried them too, apologises and leaves. Once she is gone, Alan shouts upstairs, saying 'you can come out now': Amy was in fact there all along, which explains their embarrassment. Alan makes it clear to her that he will not lie for her again, and Usha wants to know what's going on.

At Berrow, Hannah and Jazzer are discussing the closure; Jazzer is very worried and Hannah tells him about her and Neil's planning with Brian to save the place, working out where they can make any savings. Jazzer realises that she is talking about jobs having to go, and makes it very clear he thinks she doesn't mean her own job; he can't trust her.

Alan tears Amy off a strip; Amy tells him she can't face Alice 'after what has happened'. He and Usha, having established that Alice has done nothing to upset Amy, tell her how unfair she is being and that whatever it is, she needs to go round to see Alice and sort it out.

In their lunch-break, Hannah has got Jazzer a pint, but he refuses to be in the least friendly, assuming that she would never understand how much he needs that job. She points out that she too has problems: her mum has advanced dementia, and her stepfather looks after her; Hannah helps when she can, and is paying for two nights a week respite care. She too needs the money from her job. Jazzer is taken aback, and sees her point; just as they are being more friendly Justin, who has clearly been eavesdropping, butts in and warns Hannah to be careful and not to gossip.

Amy has gone to see Alice, and Alice says she was afraid she had gone to Nottingham to get away from her, and that whatever the matter is she wants to help. After a certain amount of stammering and reluctance Amy eventually admits she did go there to get away from her, and from the whole situation. After some questions from Alice, she comes out with it: she slept with Chris. Alice bursts out laughing, and then realises that Amy isn't joking and is instantly angry, then demands that Amy must tell her everything, right from the start, and not miss anything out.

Justin is explaining that nothing is decided, and while they remain Berrow employees he expects them to maintain confidentiality. After he has left, Hannah uses the implied threat to get Jazzer to see that she is not the enemy: Justin is.

Alice is understandably extremely angry, and attacks Amy in every way that comes to hand, including how Amy was meant to be supporting her with her alcohol addiction, and how she has been betrayed. Amy apologises repeatedly and asks what she can do to make it up to her; Alice shouts at Amy, telling her to get out of her house, and as Amy leaves howls in rage.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 22nd March, 2022

A day for putting Carters in the wrong (and all before breakfast).

Characters: Amy, Chris, Susan, Tracy, Alice
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah McDonald-Hughes

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Amy is hammering on Chris's door. When he finally opens it he points out it is six in the morning, and he thought she was still in Nottingham, but eventually invites her in; she says she is worried about Alice, whom she thinks is drinking. She's been ringing her all night and is terrified she might have done something. Amy admits she told Alice about her and Chris. Chris is annoyed that Amy didn't think to give him a heads-up and upset because she just left Alice alone like that, and says he will go over there with Martha: if Alice has been drinking, Martha might get through to her.

On her way to the shop Susan pauses at 6, The Green, where she apologises to Tracy for dropping in so early, but Tracy is up and doing, getting ready to leave for work; she doesn't dare be late, because Oliver is still angry about her and Jazzer, and she is afraid that if she puts a foot wrong, she'll be getting her P45. They both hope Jazzer won't be sacked as well as Tracy. She knows about Neil and Hannah trying to save Berrow. Susan can't think what they'll do if Berrow closes, and Tracy thinks Jazzer will be devastated.

Chris has let himself into The Nest without knocking, and Alice is icily unpleasant to him. She knows he might have thought she was drunk. She demands that he give Martha to her so she can put her in the cot upstairs: she doesn't need to hear anything he has to say.

Susan has stayed for a brew and is complaining about Alice and her new decision regarding the divorce; Tracy says she can understand where Alice is coming from, and Susan retorts that just because she fixed her boiler that doesn't mean Tracy needs to side with her. Susan is very worried, what with that and Berrow, and accidentally mentions that Neil has been sleepless for weeks, on which Tracy instantly pounces.

Alice has come down to ask Chris for his explanation. As soon as he starts, Alice breaks in to tell him Amy has told her everything: one night and a kiss, was it? He says it shouldn't have happened, and he was lonely and sad and stressed and confused and it just happened. Alice gives him the silent treatment after he has finished. He says it's as if she didn't care, and she immediately treats him to a performance of 'betrayed and heartbroken wife': the thought of him with Amy makes her feel literally sick, she's distraught ... was that what he wanted to hear, she asks rhetorically.

Susan is being given a hard time for not having told Tracy about Berrow; Tracy points out that Jazzer could have been looking for another job for weeks, and when Susan says that would have looked bad insists that Jazzer would have kept the reason for it quiet, then attacks Susan as disloyal, and tells her to give her mug back and get out.

Chris points out that Alice is the one who left him, and Alice is very angry and says she is sick of him and his mother treating her like a terrible person just because she's an alcoholic. She says that she is in recovery and it's all in the past, and she is done with feeling guilty. Chris says he doesn't want her to feel guilty, and she tells him that she knows that he does, and was hoping to find her lying in her own vomit when he came round. She is going to see what her solicitor thinks about it all. She is a good parent, her daughter needs her, and she is going to fight for her.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 23rd March, 2022

A volte face for Brian and a rare victory for Freddie.

Characters: Freddie, Russ, Lily, Brain, Tony, Adam
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah McDonald-Hughes

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

In the Lower Loxley Hall grounds Freddie encounters Russ, who has just finished meditating, and reveals he is thinking of investment in his DJ business. He has been collecting testimonials for his website, but he really needs his own kit; Russ is approving. Lily bounces up and tells them that while out riding she has had an inspiration: the return of the Easter Bunny! Freddie approves; Russ refuses to do it. Russ then takes himself off to spend the morning painting, declining to accompany Lily on a visit to Gran as she wants him to, and Freddie says he will go with her. When Russ has gone, Freddie bets Lily a tenner she can't get Russ to be the Easter Bunny, and she takes the bet.

At the Bull Brian greets Tony, who is stiff after the cricket practice. Brian has heard about what happened to Justin there. When Tony mentions the Berrow closure, Brian points out that Justin still has to get it past the board. Tony then asks if Brian knows where he can get hold of some Tamworths for the rewilding, about which he refuses to be baited. Brian laughingly reminds Tony that he was instrumental in getting the project off the ground, and agrees that rewilding has its place as well as its limits; they have a friendly disagreement about feeding the planet. Adam comes back from the bar and congratulates Tony on Brian looking more cheerful than he has been for ages.

Now near Brookfield, Freddie tells his sister that he is an entrepreneur, by the definition he has looked up; Lily bursts out laughing and mocks him as usual. Suddenly the Easter Bunny appears, honking a motor horn like Harpo's. Lily assumes it is Russ and hugs him, then smacks his behind and says he needs more padding in the bum; Freddie notices that the ears look different from before. Lily is triumphant: she knew Russ would do it to to please her, and that will be a tenner, thank you very much.

Brian and Adam are worrying about taking land out of production; Brian suggests you can be as green as you like at home, but that just exports the problem. Tony comes into the discussion with ideas about creating wildlife corridors from one patch of rewilding to another, and Brian says that he knows about that but fears that some farmers will rewild while others go over to intensive farming. For the first time, Brian is complimentary about Tony having been a trail-blazer going organic at Bridge Farm. Altogether, a peaceful consensus is reached between the three.

When Lily and Freddie get back to Lower Loxley they find Russ painting. As Lily is excitedly thanking him and saying she knew she could persuade him, and Freddie adds how clever he was to find a costume at such short notice, it becomes clear Russ has no idea what they are talking about; he flatly denies any Bunny-related activity. Freddie demands his tenner back, and informs Lily that /she/ now owes /him/ the tenner; Lily is embarrassed because she hugged whoever he was. Or she, says Freddie helpfully.

Brian has had his spirits lifted by Tony and the rewilding, but after Tony has left he has a grumble to Adam about Chris getting together with Amy and how much Jennifer is worried it might push Alice over the edge; Adam says it wasn't very classy of Chris to hook up with Amy and is anxious that she is still vulnerable. Brian says that he doesn't think she is sleeping, and all she talks about is the battle over Martha; how could Chris have done it? Adam points out that they are separated, after all, but hopes it doesn't make Alice start drinking again. Brian tries to convince himself that she will stay strong; he thinks she can do this because underneath, she really wants Martha to live with her, and he doesn't think she'll do anything to jeopardise that.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 24th March, 2022

Confession is in the air.

Characters: Lily, Beth, Susan, Ian, Usha, Amy, Alan
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah McDonald-Hughes

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Lily and Beth meet in a shop where both have gone to buy Mother's Day chocolates, Lily for Elizabeth and Beth for Shelley; Beth is in competition with Steph, and admits to having ruined Steph's life by being born, for which Steph didn't forgive her for fifteen years. She says they were not close like Lily and Freddie, which makes Lily laugh and say he is only irritating ninety-five percent of the time. After offering to chip in from her bonus so Beth can get Shelley a huge Easter egg, when Beth decides against the idea Lily suggests going to spend the bonus, which is clearly burning a hole in her pocket, on cocktails.

Just as she is about to put on two hours of Vera, Susan is visited by Ian, who has brought her gossip about the Gleeson twins. They were in the restaurant for lunch, and Naomi recognised them: apparently they used to be ballroom dancers until one of them, partnering Shirley Ballas, sprained his ankle and the other gave up dancing in sympathy. Susan can't wait to tell Neil. Ian then reveals that he is worried that Grey Gables might close and leave him out of a job, and Susan manages not to mention Berrow, instead telling him that he ought to pamper himself.

At the cocktail bar Beth and Lily are having a tipsy laugh about the Easter Bunny not being Russ after all, until Beth describes Lily and Russ as an odd couple, which affronts Lily; Beth says she was just joking and they are solid, anyone can see that. Lily remains unhappy about it in spite of profuse apologies from Beth, then explains that she hit a nerve, and confesses to having slept with someone else, a guy from work. This scandalises Beth, who hates infidelity and also can't think why Lily told her.

At the vicarage, Usha comes looking for Amy to find out what is wrong with her, staying in her room all the time and being miserable. She suggests maybe she could help, and Amy bursts into tears; when Alan anxiously interrupts, he is sent off to make Amy a cup of tea.

At Ambridge View the talk has moved on to what would be Ian's perfect night in: Vera, cheddar cheese on white bread, and a bowl of butterscotch Angel Delight; Susan triumphantly tells him that she has some in her cupboard: she buys it because Martha loves it, she says, and then asks Ian not to mention it to Chris, who takes a hard line on sugar. [Angel Delight contains sucralose, not sugar. Chris] As she goes to find it, Ian tells her she is an absolute legend.

Beth apologises for having lost it: she really hates cheating, because of the way her ex behaved. Lily tries to explain that she was different: she's not perfect and it shouldn't have happened, and in a way she wishes it hadn't, but it helped her to see more clearly that she loved Russ. Beth says that she'll believe her, but if it happens again she really won't want to know.

Alan and Usha are trying to comfort Amy and telling her that she has done nothing so very bad. She wishes she had stopped it, and Alan starts to make excuses for her: after all, Chris and Alice are getting divorced.... However, he is worried that Alice might start to drink again, and Amy tells them about the bottles of vodka and Alice pouring them away because she could appeal to Amy for help; Alan points out that what Alice does is not Amy's responsibility, but she has a good wallow in her guilt anyway.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 27th March, 2022

Stirring and unpleasantness.

Characters: Alan, Susan, Neil, Lilian, Amy, Kate
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

In the crowded church, a hymn ends and Alan starts his Mothering Sunday sermon, whose theme is humility and patience, compassion and kindness even to those who might be intent on harming us.

Susan commiserates with Neil over having to miss church, but he has to go to work: they are understaffed because there is no overtime at Berrow any more. Susan says she has tried to make overtures to Tracy, but Brad told her his mother was out. Neil coughs meaningly about her claim to take secrets to the grave, but then Lilian comes in and tries to make cheerful small talk, while Susan is less than chatty as she hunts for Lilian's magazine. Lilian detects 'a certain atmosphere' and says she would really rather not get involved in the row with Jennifer, but Susan seems determined to blame her for both Chris's troubles and the potential Berrow closure, despite all her protestations that neither is anything to do with her. Susan goes on to accuse Lilian and Justin of taking money from one business to put in another with no thought for the damage that they do, pointing to her swanning around and only being interested in her horses. Lilian tries in vain to argue, but Neil points out that it does look as if they are just moving their money from one business to another, and Susan ends up throwing her out of the shop and telling her that she and Justin can wait until there is a volunteer on duty if they want to be served there, and they can go to another post office too.

Having persuaded Amy to do a reading, Alan is congratulating her on how well she did it when Kate comes up to tell him that his sermon gave her food for thought, and to ask Amy a question: what has she given up for Lent? Perhaps she ought to make it sex with married men. While Amy gasps in horror, Kate then lays into Alan, asking whether his dog-collar gives him licence to be a hypocrite. Alan tries to warn her not to desecrate the house of God and to be quiet, and when she doesn't immediately do as she is told he loses his temper and starts to shout at her in front of the departing congregation, demanding an apology.

At the shop Neil is trying to convince Susan she ought not to ban Lilian, but Susan is not easily placated. While they argue, Amy comes in crying and wanting to buy tissues, then tells Susan and Neil that Kate called Alan a hypocrite, in church, and was horrible to her as well. Susan and Neil are all sympathy, and Neil goes to see how Alan is as Amy sobs out her woes to Susan.

Lilian offers Kate a lift to The Lodge for the Mothers' Day lunch there. She asks after Roy-the-goldfish, then becomes aware there is something wrong; on enquiry, Kate asserts that Alan has thrown her out of the church. Lilian, who has met Kate before, quite reasonably asks what the provocation was, then says it sounds as if it worked both ways. Kate says darkly that she is thinking of taking it further and making an official complaint about him.

Susan tells Amy that she can come and talk any time and will always be welcome at Ambridge View. She compares Amy favourably with Alice, saying how generous and thoughtful she has always been, and says that she would give Chris and Amy as a couple her backing one hundred percent.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 28th March, 2022

Lilian and Alan both utter warnings, and Tom is as bumptious as usual.

Characters: Jazzer, Hannah, Tom, Alan, Lilian, Chris
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

In their lunch-break, Jazzer is talking with Hannah, who tells him that even if the place does get closed it will take time to run it down, so he will be earning for a while yet. She is worried about her own loss of salary; she will have to stop paying for respite carers for her mother. He bemoans the fact that he has given up the milk round and all its perks, and she suggests that Tracy has tamed him. He explains that all their outings came from his wages, and he fears that he'll have to pull in his horns if his job goes. Tom then turns up looking for Hannah, and she suggests Jazzer might make him coffee while she checks on some piglets; Tom is there to try to buy a couple of overweight carcases. Jazzer is being unhappy, and Tom tries to cheer him up.

At the vicarage Lilian has come to see Alan about yesterday's run-in with Kate. She is fairly clear on what actually happened: Kate went for Amy, and Alan came to her defence rather publicly. Lilian seems sympathetic, and says she is not there to sit in judgement; she understands fancying a married man, and knows that Amy, as 'the other woman', is likely to get the blame. Alan is grateful but wants to know why she is there. She warns him about Kate's threat regarding an official complaint. Alan says she is entitled to make one if she wishes, and must do what she feels is right.

Tom is talking to Jazzer about the Easter Bunny and its plan to make money for a charity through a selfie competition and prize draws; he seems to know a lot about it. Jazzer isn't interested; he is worried about his job. Tom sympathises, and is sorry they no longer have pigs and that he handled Jazzer's departure badly. Tom reminds him that he fell for Hannah, and that she left Ambridge a student and came back a manager. He then suggests Jazzer might retrain as an abattoir worker or an HGV driver: both are in demand, but neither prospect attracts Jazzer: he wants to be with his girls, not drive them around the country or cut them up. Hannah reappears, and as they go off to the office Tom offers to get Jazzer a pint that evening.

Alan thanks Lilian for her advice, and Lilian says she hopes Kate will calm down. She leaves when the vicarage phone rings: it's Chris, and he wants to talk to Alan, not Amy.

Tom is talking the price for the two carcases down when Jazzer suddenly busts in and accuses him of taking advantage of a desperate woman; Hannah is bewildered and tries to say that it's a good deal and she is happy with it, but Tom sees through the joke. He has a good bargain and Hannah has two fewer mouths to feed; they are both happy with the deal. Jazzer suggests Tom can afford to buy Jazzer more than one pint.

Chris has come to apologise to Alan about his having been dragged in, and Alan says it was in no way Chris's fault, and he shouldn't have met Kate's anger with anger; he should have kept himself under control. He then tells Chris that he has grown to like him, and thinks him a decent person, a view of him that he has found it hard to reconcile with the married man who slept with his daughter. He warns Chris that Amy has been hurt before and he will do his best to make sure it doesn't happen again; he expects Chris to put her welfare front and centre at all times. Chris promises that he will.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 29th March, 2022

Natasha is off desserts, and Justin wants a sweetener.

Characters: Natasha, Pat, Tony, Justin, Martyn, Brian, Fallon, Alice
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Natasha tells Pat that they are off to the hospital for a routine scan at eleven twenty, and is talking about how glad she is to have got her business installed into Sawyers before now, when she is tired all the time and constantly needing the loo, when Tony arrives with some 'purple sprouting' and to tell them that Tom is bringing the car round. He enthuses about Tom having found some Tamworths for the rewilding; Natasha decries the whole idea of rewilding, but before the discussion has time to get too heated a horn sounds outside, and she goes to join Tom in the car.

In discussion before the BL board meeting Justin is making it clear that he is still determined to find out who breached the board's confidentiality, though Martyn wonders why it matters when they are closing Berrow anyway; he and Martyn start to talk down Berrow, while Brian starts to make a case for keeping it open. Justin repeats his threat about disposing of his shares in BL if Berrow is not closed.

Fallon finds Alice doing maintenance on her car, and discovers that Alice is aware that Fallon knew all along about Amy and Chris, but still thinks her a true friend. In spite of the probability of getting oil on her coat, Fallon hugs Alice, and Alice starts to cry on her shoulder.

On their return from the hospital Natasha makes a point of telling Pat that Tom is making a great fuss when there is nothing wrong with the babies. Once she has got Pat suitably worried, she reveals that she has got gestational diabetes, which she then explains as being easily controlled by diet; she just won't be cooking desserts for a bit, nor eating any Pat has cooked, and Tom will also give up sweet food in solidarity. Pat says they will all do everything they can to support her.

Alice acknowledges she has no right to be jealous, given that she was the one who insisted on the separation, but why did it have to be Amy of all people? She forgives Chris, but hasn't a good word to say about Amy. Fallon makes excuses for Amy, and says she was worried it might start Alice drinking again, to which Alice retorts that in that case, she needn't have done it. Then Fallon tells Alice about Kate's attack on Amy and Alan, and although she says she doesn't need Kate to fight her battles Alice feels that Amy deserved to be hurt.

After the board meeting, at which Glenda outed herself as having publicly criticised Justin's plan to run away screaming at the first sign of trouble, we learn that Berrow has been reprieved for at least three months. The disgruntled Justin continues his threats about selling his shares and getting out of BL; in an attempt to bribe him not to, Martyn offers him the chairmanship back. Brian is openly horrified by the idea.

Tony has discovered that the rate of gestational diabetes is 4-5% of pregnant women; Pat informs him that she has decided they too will have no desserts, and Tony is not at all happy about that. He wants his puds, in the special small bowl that is all he has been allowed since he had his stent fitted.

Brian is relieved when Justin refuses to take the chairmanship, but Justin wants something to make up for Berrow being kept open; he has a local matter to discuss with Martyn. Brian can go and be the bringer of glad tidings to the workforce at Berrow. Hardly, says Brian; there is still going to be a lot of pain to share round.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 30th March, 2022

Kate calms down, Jazzer perks up, and Amy says she's off.

Characters: Kate, Alan, Jazzer, Neil, Brian, Amy, Chris
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Kate is holding a committal ceremony for Roy-the-fish when Alan knocks at the door. He is somewhat taken aback, especially since at first he thinks she means Roy Tucker, and offers to leave her to it. She says it's OK, and Alan kneels and joins her. She finishes her prayer, and rings a bell three times; then she makes excuses for her paganism, but Alan says it was moving. He then tells her that if she wants to make a complaint it's her right, and he will understand.

Jazzer is worritting at Neil: he wants to know whether he will still be employed at Berrow, but thinks it unlikely because of 'last in, first out', so when Brian arrives he begs to be put out of his misery.

Kate is gradually backing down, having been impressed by how fierce Alan was in defence of Amy, but he says that while he got the tone wrong he won't reverse what he said. She agrees that she won't alter her view that Amy did a horrible thing, either. She might perhaps have chosen a better time and place for what she did – no, she knows she should have chosen a better time and place for it. Kate tells him she won’t be making the complaint after all; Alan thanks her. And she thinks she and Alan have more in common than she had realised before; they are both terrifying when they are angry; yes, concurs Alan, when we are defending people we love.

Jazzer, who is having a soothing chat with the pigs, is greatly relieved still to have a job; Mikele also has fewer hours, but Clarkie has gone altogether. Even so, as he says to Neil and Brian, he's going to have to tighten his belt because of the cut in his hours, and Neil acknowledges that the new regime will mean more work for the remaining Berrow hands.

Back at the vicarage, Alan tells Amy that Kate realises she ought not to have attacked Amy, or Alan, so it's all blown over. Amy disputes that it has, and complains that she can't leave the house without an Aldridge crossing the road to avoid her, and she isn't sure she can stay in Ambridge any more; she thinks she should go back to Nottingham, and get a job to keep her busy and pay the bills. She might even go back to midwifery. Alan hates the idea of her being driven away, but she says that she isn't being. Alan feels it has to be her own decision, but she ought to talk with Chris first.

Neil is off to a church meeting and Jazzer is away for his tea; he knows Neil fought for him back there, and he has persuaded Tracy to make it up with Susan. Neil is grateful; he says he hates family squabbles, and he thinks of Jazzer as part of the family now, which Jazzer finds a bit overwhelming.

When Amy turns up at his flat, Chris says it's been a long time, then offers her something to drink, which she refuses. He's glad she came round, and she says there is something she needs to ask him: she's considering moving back to Nottingham; not because she feels she must; she thinks she's fallen in love with him, and if he felt the same it would be good to have somewhere they could meet where they were not being watched censoriously the entire time. He muses, 'Do I love you? That's a big question,' and starts to consider it, aloud; Amy says, 'so you don't love me.' He says he might come to, over time, but she says that's not enough for her, waiting about for something that might not happen, and instead she will always be his friend but it would be better if she left. Chris says he is sorry, and she tells him that it looks like it was never meant to be.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 31st March, 2022

No marmalade, no Mangalicas, and no Amy no more.

Characters: Natasha, Pat, Tony, Alan, Amy, Alice
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

In the Bridge Farm kitchen Natasha admits to having smoked as a teenager and until she was nearly thirty, and says that compared to giving that up, having porridge for breakfast is easy. She assures Pat, who is eating toast and butter, that Pat doesn't have to give up her marmalade: she doesn't have diabetes. Tony has found a pair of Mangalica pigs he is going to suggest for the rewilding project; he shows a picture, and Natasha accurately says that they're all woolly. He is also thinking they might get some Exmoor ponies, which are great for conservation grazing. Before he gets fully into his informational stride Natasha says she has to go, and as soon as she is gone Tony suggests Pat could get out the marmalade for her toast: he says that since Natasha doesn't seem bothered he doesn't see why Pat needs to be.

At the shop, Alan has been buying a sack-load of food that will keep, for Amy to take with her. He feels that it's all been very sudden; just as well really, says Amy, like pulling a plaster off quickly. It was very convenient that Leanne was able to take on the dogwalking for her. The Easter Bunny bounces up parping its horn, and Amy encourages Alan to get a 'selfie' with it and enter the competition to try to win tea for two. She takes the photo for him.

Tom isn't there as Natasha appears looking for him; Tony tells her and Pat about the meeting he had with Rex and Kirsty. They said no ponies and no Mangalicas because the acreage is too small, but he has noticed that one of the longhorns was limping and offered to get Alistair to take a look at it in the Bridge Farm crush. Pat reckons it was a worthwhile visit, and Tony tells her proudly that both Rex and Kirsty said they were glad to have him aboard.

Alan is helping to load Amy's car, and says he is still angry about Amy being forced out, but Amy says it's entirely her own choice, and she knows that getting involved with someone on the rebound is a bad idea. Alice appears wanting a word before Amy leaves, and Amy says she will talk with her. Alan is not sure it's a good idea and tells her she is not to attack Amy, but Amy is firm and goes off with Alice.

Pat says that Tony seems to have made a good start, though he claims only to be there to advise. She taunts him with the suggestion she'd like to make him an apple crumble as a reward, except that Natasha having to smell it but not eat it wouldn't be fair. She declines at first to pay any attention to his suggestion that though they can't eat them in Natasha's presence they could hunt down puddings elsewhere, but agrees in the end to this clandestine activity, saying it sounds rather fun.

Alice is talking with Amy in a reasonable way, asking whether she'd go back into midwifery. She couldn't let Amy go without saying goodbye, once Chris said she was leaving. After a short chat about Amy's plans, Alice wonders if she is going back to Nottingham for good and Amy says she feels like a visitor in Ambridge and has roots in Nottingham now. Alice asks, what about her and Chris, and Amy says there is no 'me and Chris'; she doesn't see Chris feeling about anyone the way he did about Alice. Alice says that she is sorry for the way others (especially Kate) have reacted to Amy, but what she really wanted to say was that she forgives her, and doesn't blame her or feel any ill-will towards her. She knows how easy it is to fall for Chris, and she does realise Amy didn't want to hurt her. She says Amy is the best friend she's ever had, with all the support she has given her over the years; she forgot for a while that she owes Amy her life, but she has remembered it again now. She hopes that maybe in the future they can be friends again the way they used to be. She turns to leave, and Amy asks whether a hug is all right; they embrace, and say goodbye. As Alice leaves Alan appears, and Amy tells him they have made up, and she can start this new chapter of her life with a lighter heart.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 3rd April, 2022

Chris is all over the place, and Alice is rebuffed.

Characters: Brian, Alice, Ruairi, Susan, Chris, Josh, Freddie
Credited scriptwriter: Liz John

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At Willow Cottage Brian is pleased that Martha ate up her lunch, veg and all; Jennifer is not there because she has gone to visit Auntie Chris, but left the meal ready for them. Brian mentions that Ruairi is coming back later, and Alice speaks of needing to get the paperwork about pension arrangements to her solicitor. Ruairi then arrives, not having texted ahead; he is welcomed by Brian, and makes a fuss of Martha, saying she is even more smiley than before. He is wearing smart clothes, which Alice remarks on, saying they must have cost a packet; he frostily says they were on sale, so actually, no.

In the shop, Chris has come in to buy some lunch; he has been messing up his paperwork and needed a break. Martha is sleeping fine, but he can't settle, and ended up texting Amy, who of course didn't answer. Susan tells him that she has been told by Usha that Alice and Amy made up, last week; Chris is glad, because he just wants Amy to be OK. He muses about how complicated everything is; this time two years ago everything was fine... Susan tells him to go up to the flat, and she will come and make him a sandwich.

Fence repairs are under way at Brookfield, with Freddie holding the posts for Josh. Freddie actually came over to talk with Josh about his plans to add egg-rolling to the Easter events at Lower Loxley. He thought it would be fun; Josh pours cold water on the idea, especially since the publicity for Lower Loxley's Easter went out months ago, but when Freddie points out that of course Lower Loxley would buy the eggs from Josh, he becomes interested and offers to hard-boil them beforehand as well.

Brian tells Ruairi that he and Alice are planning a walk in the country park in the afternoon, but Ruairi says he has promised to go and see Ben. He mentions having sent Jennifer a Mother's Day card and is glad it was well-received, then responds to Alice trying to one-up him, by having got Jennifer a glass ornament for the occasion, with his own present for his parents: a weekend in Bath, in a serviced flat near the Royal Crescent which he says is owned by a friend of his. Brian is pleased and grateful, because Jennifer loves Bath. When Brian goes to answer a phone call from Martyn Gibson, Alice starts talking as if nothing is the matter, but Ruairi really isn't interested in her.

The Lower Loxley plans are taking shape: Josh suggests encouraging the children to paint their eggs, and also says they might serve pancakes because everyone loves pancakes; he will supply the eggs, and maybe make a video of the hens they came from to show at the same time. They are both getting enthusiastic, and Freddie exclaims that it will make an eggcellent eggstra.

Up in the flat, Susan and Chris are chatting about the relief of Berrow not closing after all, until Chris mentions Alice and her being so different suddenly. Susan is resentful about Amy having been drummed out of the village by the Aldridges: she says that Amy and Chris never had any chance to find out what they really felt. Chris tells her that he can't hate Alice no matter how he tries, and that Amy got in too far too fast. Susan advises him that he needs to concentrate on keeping Martha with him and in their loving family, and get on with his life.

In the face of Ruairi's unconcealed hostility, Alice persists in her idea that he should by now have accepted her apology and moved on: he's her brother, she loves him, and she just wants things to go back to how they were; a lot has changed since Christmas. Not for him, replies Ruairi, to which Alice responds that she can see that she upset him but if he is still going to be unpleasant to her, she feels he ought to be honest with their parents, which makes Ruairi laugh and say that she is hardly an expert on honesty. She then becomes aggressive in her turn and tells him that she can't keep apologising to him, and makes it clear that he can do what he wants about avoiding her, but she won't change a single thing that she does just on his account; after all, she lives there all the time – and he doesn't, unspoken but obviously what she means him to understand.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 4th April, 2022

Tracy starts a hare, and Alice wants Martha 24/7.

Characters: Roy, Tracy, Alice, Roisin
Credited scriptwriter: Liz John

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Tracy and Roy are planning room allocation, and Roy is worrying about Kate-the-fish having a dirty tank, and he hadn’t heard that Roy-the-fish has died; he's delighted to hear it, because that means he has won Phoebe’s challenge. Tracy tells him her weekend with Jazzer was OK, thank you for asking, though Jazzer is a bit low because his wage is down. She needs money and wants to get some cleaning shifts; Roy tells her she'll have to ask Oliver, who has taken charge of recruitment. She instantly plans to take him coffee and biscuits.

On her way to her solicitor with the documents that are wanted, Alice leaves a grateful message for Brian about a job he thinks might be a fit for her.

Oliver gave Tracy a short answer, and Roy suggests he may be tired. He was on the phone and put it on hold, then ordered her out as soon as she had put his coffee on the desk.

Roisin is glad to see Alice with the pension documentation. Alice tells Roisin about Chris 'having someone else', and Roisin, clearly realising that she is upset, invites her into the office.

Roy is still being delighted to have won the fish-competition, but Tracy is rather depressed; she has tried emailing Oliver and got no answer. Roy still doesn't know what she did to offend Oliver, but tells her that if she tells him, he may be able to advise her what to do, so she tells him she cracked open the hotel safe and found the secret files there, including the one on Roy. Roy almost believes her for a moment. After laughing at him for that, Tracy tells him that Oliver has also bawled out Ian, which does worry him. Then Oliver's reply arrives, and tells her she can have the shifts she wants: just speak to Kathy about getting them allocated. She is delighted, but then becomes suspicious because he has also said he was so short with her because he had to go to a meeting and she knows there was nothing of the kind in his diary. She floats the idea of a lady friend, which Roy tries to shoot down, saying that he doesn't believe it and anyhow, it's none of their business and Oliver is entitled to his privacy. He forbids Tracy to pester Kathy about it: in any case, he has already texted her and got the reply, 'I haven't heard anything but how lovely if it's true.'

After Alice has gone on about Chris having upset her, Roisin warns her she must look after her own mental health as they go through this. Having decided to jettison mediation comes at a cost; Alice replies it's the only chance she has to get what she wants. She's been forced to take control of that; she could be sober for the rest of her life and Chris wouldn't trust her to look after her daughter 24/7, and that's what she wants: Martha living with her. Alice assumes that Chris is pushing her like this because he thinks she will crack under the pressure. Roisin says that what she wants for Martha is all that matters here; she can't second guess what Chris is thinking. Alice says she can get through this because she can be just as good for Martha as Chris can; better, even. She starts to hyperventilate and Roisin quickly says it's all right. Alice has another question: her father has put her on to a lecturing job at the agricultural college, and would getting a job like that to demonstrate earning potential be a good idea? Roisin says she has to think of what she will find most fulfilling, and also that she is now planning to do what she has blamed Chris for doing in the past: farming Martha out to other people so he could go to work. Alice realises that she is being warned that would not help her case. Roisin warns her that the courts tend to favour the status quo, which at present is Martha living with Chris. Things might get significantly worse: if Chris finds someone else, he might move away from Ambridge and take Martha with him. The idea horrifies Alice, who says it would finish her off: she couldn't cope if she wasn't seeing Martha all the time, and Martha is thriving because she is with her now. Chris could have access, of course he could, but her main home needs to be with Alice. Roisin reminds her that what she has to offer at present is her time; how would she feel about not going to work for the moment, and staying at home instead? Alice being able to be a full time mum to Martha, able to be with her all day every day, may give them the edge, though Chris will certainly contest it. When pressed whether they should do that, Alice says she is sure it's the right thing for Martha: let's do it.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 5th April, 2022

Ruth bonds with Stella over manure, and Freddie with Vince over 80s pop.

Characters: Elizabeth, Freddie, Ruth, Stella, Vince
Credited scriptwriter: Liz John

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The table is covered in paperwork related to both Easter and DJ equipment when Elizabeth comes in looking for her raincoat, and when Freddie tells her he is brainstorming with himself, she starts at once to criticise and demand that he must make everything ready for her to OK by the end of the day, and tell him how to do everything; he tells her where her raincoat is and she rushes out again.

At Brookfield Ruth is admiring a new calf when Stella comes over to warn her that they have had an attempted break-in at the fertiliser store, and other farms might be at risk; Ruth says that they mostly use manure, so it ought not to be a problem for them, but she'll put the word round. Stella says she has started to think about cutting down on fertiliser by growing lower-input winter crops; Ruth says they have plenty of natural fertiliser, too much in fact, and asks how things are at Home Farm. Stella says that Brian is fine, and Alice is more upbeat than she has ever seen her, then hurries off to get some lunch.

After visiting 'the opposition', Vince and Elizabeth have gone for some lunch. They had a disappointing morning, and discuss everything that was wrong at the place they visited, though Vince thinks that it is good in a way: less competition for Lower Loxley. Elizabeth tells him all about how Freddie is also a disappointment, contrasting him with Lily and complaining about his lack of focus. She wishes Vince's single-mindedness would rub off on him.

An interruption to tagging the calves has come in the form of a phone-call from Stella, offering Ruth a muck-for-straw deal between Home Farm and Brookfield. Would Ruth like to come over to the bungalow in the evening for a consultation about it? Indeed Ruth would, and she will bring wine.

Obviously having been set on by Elizabeth, Vince is giving Freddie a pep talk about concentrating on one or other of the Easter events or his DJ-ing plans. Freddie says that Easter is sorted out, and his priority is getting DJ equipment so that he no longer has to hire it; he mentions two twenty-firsters and an 80s night he will be doing after Easter. Vince gets fixated on what he ought to play for the 80s night until Elizabeth interrupts them, talking about egg-delivery; Freddie is full of information about what has been planned, answering Elizabeth's queries before she gets round to them. He even puts up a fake idea for her to knock down, thus giving himself fall-back she can't complain about.

The shop bell rings and Ruth comes out with a bottle in hand, meeting Stella on her way in for nibbles. She warns Stella that Pip is opposed to the straw idea, having other plans for bedding down the cows.

In the kitchen at Lower Loxley Hall, Freddie offers Elizabeth some of the stir-fry he is making, and tells her that he has to find the right investor for his DJ-ing equipment: a wealthy fan of 80s music would be ideal. That might not be so hard for him to do.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 6th April, 2022

Josh's horizons expand, while Chris feels cornered.

Characters: Susan, Chris, Pat, Clarrie, Tracy, Josh, Vince
Credited scriptwriter: Liz John

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

While Martha sleeps, Susan is making a start on tea and wittering at Chris. She managed to overhear Stella and Ruth talking outside the shop and is on her high horse already about the noise and pollution of muck being transported from Brookfield to Home Farm, but Chris is not interested. She then moves on to chat about the Easter Bunny, but Chris is worn out and preoccupied with his paperwork; Susan offers to have Martha for the night, and he is very grateful. Susan says Alice was quiet when she picked up Martha, and Chris reckons she was sulking because things aren't going her way.

A cricket practice is about to start, and Pat welcomes Clarrie, who has turned out, albeit with some trepidation. Pat assures her that Tracy has been told to calm down a bit. They exchange news: Keira skipped her birthday tea in favour of going to the cinema, and Pat has been given an Easter egg by a grateful Bridge Fresh customer; she has brought it with her to the practice to eat when Natasha isn't around. Tracy arrives and starts the warm-up, which she promises will be less strenuous this week.

At Hollowtree, Josh is surprised to see Vince, who has dropped in to have a look round. He mentions Josh's venture with Freddie; Josh wonders whether he is being warned off, but Vince says he's impressed with Josh's initiative and his supportiveness of Freddie; he remarks thoughtfully that the hens are restful, and Josh agrees. Vince offers to give him a hand carrying boxes of eggs to the store.

Apparently the training session is indeed easier than last week, but by the half-time break it has still made Pat and Clarrie breathless. Pat wants Clarrie to help her to eat the egg, but Tracy comes up at that moment wanting a word with Clarrie about Oliver: has she noticed anything up with him? Clarrie says he has lost his appetite and is distracted, but just as Tracy starts to float her girlfriend idea Pat reappears with the egg. Tracy tries to confiscate it, and it ends up being thrown from one person to another to stop her from seizing it.

A new crisis has arisen at Ambridge View: Chris's solicitor has heard that Alice is planning to be a full-time mother, and Chris is very distressed. Susan tells him not to get in a state, but he is convinced the Aldridges will bankroll her. He goes out for a walk to think things over, leaving Susan saying his tea is nearly ready.

Vince is being flattering to Josh, comparing him favourably with Ben. He reckons that Josh wants more out of life, and has ideas, but maybe he needs to think a bit bigger; Josh agrees, and starts to enumerate ideas he has had, about for instance employing someone to do the work with the hens so that he can concentrate on other things such as building on what they've already got, or putting up solar panels at Brookfield to reduce the energy bills. Vince offers to look over some figures for him if he gets them together.

When Chris gets back he tells Susan he has worked out what he needs to do. His solicitor reckons Brian's offer of one of the holiday cottages was a bribe to stop him asking for the full half of Alice's assets in the divorce: since she has a share of the Home Farm partnership, she's loaded. What he wants is for Martha to be safe, cared for by someone trustworthy. If he goes for half of Alice's money he can be a stay-at-home father and employ someone to work at the forge for him; he'll talk it over with his solicitor first, and he never wanted to do this, but Alice has pushed him too far. He has no choice: he owes it to Martha.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 7th April, 2022

Misunderstanding, mischief and mendacity.

Characters: Tracy, Freddie, Ian, Ruairi, Alice, Adil Shah
Credited scriptwriter: Liz John

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

On her first cleaning shift, Tracy runs into Freddie as she comes out of a bedroom and asks why he is skulking in a corridor; he doesn't answer, but makes fun of her for having been demoted; then he asks about cricket; finally she repeats that she wants to know why he is skulking in a corridor. He explains he wanted time to think about an email the staff have had from Oliver about a special visitor that day. Tracy reveals that the visitor has been booked into the Royal Garden Suite, and Freddie says 'ooh, very special', so Tracy gives him her theory about Oliver having a girlfriend; Freddie suggests making the room really romantic, and since Tracy's shift on Reception is about to start gets deputed to make the room suitable for Oliver's new love with flowers, and chocolates on the pillow.

Alice walks into Honeysuckle Cottage unexpectedly to collect Jennifer's carpet cleaner from Ian, who invites her to come and have some coffee; Ruairi, who was already visiting him, is taken aback by her presence. After a somewhat stilted conversation she gets a text, and Ruairi asks her to keep it quiet if it's about the divorce, because she never talks about anything else; Ian is a bit startled but then agrees with him that it's too easy to let stressful things take over one's life completely. Ian then tells her that Ruairi has been telling him about the flat in Bath, and either doesn't notice or chooses not to notice the atmosphere between them as she interrogates Ruairi about the flat and its owners, who are now apparently a mate's parents rather than 'a friend of a friend'.

At Reception, Freddie has just returned the key-card for the suite and is telling Tracy about how he has dressed up the room, even to rose-petals scattered on the bedspread, when a guest in a very impressive suit arrives. He gives his name as Adil Shah, which Tracy can't find in the bookings, so he tells her that Oliver told him he was to occupy the Royal Garden Suite. He asks for help with his bags and Tracy volunteers Freddie to carry them, and there is an embarrassed misunderstanding about what Freddie's position is in the hotel: Adil had taken him for another guest, not a member of staff, then thinks him rather young for a manager, and Freddie mentions Lower Loxley as the local stately home in order to give a good impression. This is spoiled when Tracy lets on that he works in the kitchen.

Ruairi is being quizzed by Alice about his academic career, with the suggestion in her questions that he isn't doing particularly well; finally, after she has pointedly asked how he is doing 'grade-wise', Ruairi asks in exasperation how she is getting on with not drinking, which again Ian finds startling and says is a bit direct. Alice says that she is fine with talking about it and is coping, thank you, then tells them about a family funday in aid of the charity that runs her support group: it's on Easter Monday and she keeps forgetting to ask Brian and Jennifer if they'd like to come along to it. Ruairi reminds her that is the week Brian and Jennifer will be in the Bath flat, where they might actually enjoy themselves, so they won't be able to go with her. Ian volunteers himself and Adam, bringing Xander, and says they are always there for her.

Adil is having trouble getting a drink because there is no-one behind the bar, so Tracy goes in to get him his lime and soda without ice. He is booked into the restaurant for a meal later, but asks about other good local places to eat; they discuss Borsetshire in general and he praises the local scenery. Then he mentions that his room seems strangely romantic: the chocolates on the pillow are exquisite, but has there been a mistake? Is some honeymoon couple meant to be in there? Tracy says that some member of staff must have got over-enthusiastic, and the potential awkwardness passes.

Dragooned into carrying the carpet cleaner out to Alice's car for her, Ruairi says she could perfectly well have carried it herself; she says that this way she can have a private word with him, which he is not in the least pleased about. She accuses him of being shifty about the flat and tells him that she has noticed that he gets his stories about it muddled, and she is aware that he is up to something: it had better not put their parents in an awkward situation. Then she gets into the car and drives off as he is about to say something.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 10th April, 2022

Ruairi is cagey, Josh is pushy, and Ruth is in charge at Brookfield.

Characters: Ruth, Beth, Ben, Josh, Ruairi
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

In the dairy Ruth is telling Beth all about milking in the mornings, and all about the things they need to do to improve the slurry storage, with full detains; when Ben arrives to collect Beth he points out that Beth doesn't really need to hear all about straw and slurry and tells Ruth she has a serious medical condition: poo on the brain. After the offended Ruth has gone, Beth tells him off for being rude to his mother, though he says he was only teasing. They are going to go to see the lambs at Home Farm, collecting Ruairi on the way.

When Josh arrives with some eggs for Jill to use in a Simnel cake, Ruth asks whether she really goes on about slurry the whole time, and when he has reassured her that she doesn't have poo on the brain and Ben is an idiot, he tries to talk to her about solar panels; she is not prepared to listen and goes off to do her next job around the farm.

It becomes clear that Ruairi is planning to have a party at Willow Cottage next week, and Brian and Jennifer don't know. Apparently Leonard and Jill intend to go and watch Beth and Ben super-car racing on Tuesday: Leonard is a motor-racing fan. Ruairi's phone rings, and Beth sees the caller is called Julianne; she tells him they can wait while he answers it, but he says they need to go and look at some lambs, don't they, and also plan the party.

Josh is trying to convince Ruth that they should put solar panels on all the roofs around the farm, but what she wants is the peeler; she really isn't interested in what he is talking about, but when he says the panels will pay for themselves in seven years her ears prick up. He has the figures to explain his ideas: it will cost forty grand, which could be offset against tax, and she must think of the long term.

The planning for the party is going apace; Ruairi wants Callum to be there, and Ben doesn't because Callum is going out with Ben's ex Evie, though Ruairi's ex, Troy, is coming. Beth comes in on Ruairi's side, then teases him about not having invited the Julianne who rang. Ruairi is decidedly cagey about her. When Ben goes off to deal with the sheep, Beth and Ruairi have a conversation about exes. Beth finds it strange that Ruairi has not invited any of his university friends to the party, but he claims that none of them live nearby. He also wants Beth to shut up about Julianne, which she agrees to do.

The idea of persuading David to invest in the solar panels is a non starter because they really cannot take the risk of taking on another forty grand of debt, according to Ruth. Josh wants to consult David anyway, but Ruth says she is sorry, but it's a definite no.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 11th April, 2022

Vince continues to be benign, and Adil is still a mystery man.

Characters: Elizabeth,Vince, Tracy, Freddie, Adil,
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

On the phone, Elizabeth is congratulating Vince on his talk with Freddie having had a good effect. Vince is driving on the bypass, and doesn't want to tell her what he is up to. He claims he has some not very exciting meetings he has to go to before he can see her for supper. She promises to have a beer waiting for him.

Ian has sent Freddie to see Oliver about Mr Shah having been hanging around in the kitchen making a nuisance of himself asking questions about where they source the food; Oliver is not there, so Freddie stays to talk with Tracy and speculate about their guest. Tracy has already googled him and discovered nothing. Apparently he has parked his Tesla in the way of Kathy's car, because he is charging it; Freddie reckons it must be charged by now and finds this poor behaviour. Adil appears while Freddie is still being indignant, and is urbane about the egg-rolling at Lower Loxley Hall; he might go along to it, and while he is there check out the Orangery, in which he seems to be genuinely interested. He asks Tracy, whose name he has forgotten, for an adaptor in his room because there aren't enough sockets, and after he has left Freddie expresses doubts about his good faith.

While David is dealing with some of his sheep at Home Farm Vince turns up, and then is complimentary about the quality of Brookfield sheep; he starts to talk to David about Elizabeth's birthday party, which they are arranging in secret, and wants to pick his brains about a present for her. David is clueless about it, suggesting jewellery or a book token, while Vince wonders if Elizabeth might enjoy a spin in a supercar. Then almost as an afterthought and when he is on the point of leaving Vince lets on that Josh has shown him the figures for the solar panels, then expresses astonishment when David tells him that there are too many noughts involved and they won't be putting any up.

Tracy has turned up in Adil's room to plug in the adaptor for him, and, while she is there, to have a good nosy in his room 'tidying up'; they discuss the Easter Bunny,and she tells him he ought to have a go at finding him. Adil is flattering about her standard of customer care, and gets her name right this time.

There turn out to be many reasons David doesn't want to invest in solar, which in the end boil down to 'we can't afford it'; Vince offers to lend them the forty grand it would cost. He assures David that he isn't talking about the sort of loan a bank would make: he'd take repayments out of their sales to the grid over as many years as it needed. When David expresses both incredulity and reluctance, wanting to know why Vince would do such a thing, he is told that maybe it's because Josh reminds Vince of himself at that age.

Back at reception, Tracy is telling Adil her life story – they are definitely now on first-name terms; when he goes off to move his car, which he has realised might be in the way, Freddie wonders what he is doing in Ambridge. Unfortunately he heard Adil refer to him as Mr Egg Man as he came up, and isn't best pleased: he will get his own back by having the best egg-rolling ever.

Beer has been poured for Vince, and he tells Elizabeth one of his meetings took an unexpected turn but not what that turn was; she is more interested in whether he'll be able to look over Freddie's business plan later on. She is unable to resist talking Freddie down for showing interest in the egg-rolling as well as his DJ business, and saying that she is worried about when he takes over Lower Loxley Hall 'one day'. Perhaps if Nigel had lived, some of his ability to make a good thing out of the daftest scheme might have rubbed off on Freddie, but as things are she's very grateful to Vince for taking her son under his wing, and crosses her fingers that from him, Freddie might learn what he needs to.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 12th April, 2022

It's the pits. No, really....

Characters: Jill, Beth, Ben, Karl, Leonard
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

It's time for the supercar day out, and Jill is talking with Ben and Beth about Leonard's interest in the rules until the instructor, Karl, calls them over to their cars; Ben seems a bit nervous. He is given personal instruction about the gear-box and lack of gear-stick, and comes over as completely clueless, having forgotten everything he was told earlier. He is also unsure of the position to have his hands on the wheel, but claims to be confident.

Beth has clearly had a lovely time on her first laps and is explaining to Leonard exactly what she did; he understands her, Jill doesn't. Leonard reminisces about his admiration of Stirling Moss, and about his Jaguar XK120 with drum brakes and a wooden body, until Beth points out Ben (in the red car, for Jill's benefit); they then move on to discuss Ruairi's generosity and his making money from bitcoin. Jill wants to know what Brian and Jennifer think about it all, but Beth has no idea, adding that Ruari must be a very lucky trader. Leonard suddenly starts to give loud instruction to Ben, out on the course, because he is taking a corner badly, and indeed, Ben pulls in soon after. Beth rushes down to him, but he claims to be fine. When she suggests that she might let Leonard have her place when she is a passenger with Karl driving, Ben insists that Leonard is his gran's boyfriend and he should be the one giving up his seat, then tells her to go and give Leonard the good news.

Jill is unsure about Leonard being offered a drive, but has worked out that Ben has given up his place because he is nervous; Beth doesn't think that's so, because he was so firm that it was just to please her. Leonard is absolutely delighted whatever the reason, and goes off to hand in the paperwork.

Beth catches up with Ben as he is videoing the track for Ruairi, and accuses him of lying. He manages to convince her that although he might have been nervous, all he really wants is to make her happy, and they say 'I love you' simultaneously.

Out on the circuit, Jill too is having a ride, at 140mph, and once she has got her breath back she asks whether that is as fast as it goes; when Karl tells her that it isn't, and the car can do 170, she asks for just one more lap. Afterwards she says it was terrifying and also exhilarating. Karl tells Leonard that he is a natural and is welcome to come back; Leonard is disappointed to discover that they are fully booked tomorrow. As they turn to leave, Leonard suggests taking Jill out for a spin round the Hassett Hills tomorrow; having heard what Karl said about his driving she happily agrees, but Ben insists on driving them all home now on the grounds that it has been clearly demonstrated that he is the only one there who is sensible.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 13th April, 2022

Hot pursuit and cold shoulder.

Characters: Freddie, Josh, David, Tracy, Jazzer, Elizabeth, Vince
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Finding the Easter Bunny is preoccupying Freddie, who is puzzling over a clue about where it will next be seen and ignoring Josh's plans for the hens at Easter in his obsession; he wants to persuade the Bunny to come to Lower Loxley for its last appearance on Easter Day. Today's clue has already been shared four hundred times and the stunt is getting great coverage on the local news, so it could potentially attract crowds to Lower Loxley. When he is told the clue, Josh is baffled and also not all that interested. Then David comes in looking for his mother, and Freddie describes Jill as having turned into a speed freak. Josh takes the opportunity to plug the solar panels to his father again, but David is not prepared to talk about it and leaves to find Jill. Freddie yells triumphantly as he works out the clue, and insists on rushing off, taking an unwilling Josh with him.

In Grey Gables' reception, Jazzer presses the bell to get the attention of Tracy, for whom he has brought sandwiches; Tracy is on the computer looking for a better job, because Adil thinks she has a lot of potential. Jazzer thinks this is a poor plan, because she needs to be nearby for her Dad. Then Adil heaves into view, and Tracy shoves Jazzer and the sandwich into the office out of sight so she will seem professional.

The clue has led to the bandstand in a thronged memorial garden. Freddie tells Josh to be ready to take a photograph of him with the bunny, so he can ask for its help and slip it his business card, then asks Josh what the solar panel loan was about; when he is told both the cause and the amount he is taken aback, and says that what he needs for the DJ business is peanuts by comparison.

At Lower Loxley, David warns Elizabeth not to let Mum near her car keys; she might take the car for a high-speed run. Elizabeth goes to find her just as Vince arrives, and he asks David about Elizabeth's birthday present, but David misunderstands the question and assumes it's about the panels. David tells him that it has to be a no, but as she comes back in Elizabeth hears the forty thousand figure and wants to know why they are turning it down. Vince is understanding to David who then does make the escape he had intended to make some time earlier just before Vince came in.

When Tracy goes to collect Jazzer, she discovers that he has been eavesdropping and he is not at all pleased about her sucking up to Adil. He doesn't want her beholden to anyone else; he wants her to stay put, and makes all sorts of objections to her chucking in the job. He says he will find a new job himself and then she can rely on him financially.

Freddie's attempt to get to the Easter Bunny for a photo and a business opportunity was a failure because it was mobbed by small children, and he could hardly push them out of the way; he is downcast, and Elizabeth is dismissive as usual and says he must concentrate on all the other preparations for Easter Day. When Vince comes in Freddie immediately tells him about a bit of equipment that he thinks is the best thing for what he wants, and then rushes off to get him the specs for it. Vince's feelings have clearly been hurt by David not accepting a loan from him, and he tells Elizabeth that her family don't see him the way that she does; Elizabeth is angry with David and Ruth for not taking Vince's money. She has a good mind to have a word with them when she takes mum home. Vince asks her to to let him handle it; leave it to him.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 14th April, 2022

A sweet little lamb, a sweet little deal and a not so sweet little sugar-baby.

Characters: Ben, Beth, Ruairi, Vince, David, Ruth
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Brookfield has lambs, in spite of the sheep being at Home Farm. Ben, who is standing in for David while his father is unavoidably elsewhere, has brought Beth to be with him for a birth, and she tells him that it's more interesting than the shopping trip they had planned; she offers to help, but he says the ewe seems to be doing fine, and it's only when there are problems that they have to step in. He explains some possible difficulties the lamb might get into, and Beth looks a bit nervous but teases him about it being no more difficult than driving a supercar. As they exchange a loving kiss Ruairi appears and says it doesn't look much like lambing to him; he also mentions that Beth's father is outside, and Beth is about to go out to see why when Ben sees the lamb's foot and tells her to be quick and put some gloves on.

Outside, David has returned and is talking rather stiltedly with Vince, having called Ruth out from the office. Ruth arrives and is told Vince wants to talk again about The Loan, in the light of something Elizabeth has said to him. David is quiet, but for a while Ruth talks over Vince, who has only managed to say he has something he wants to tell them. When he is finally allowed to speak, he explains that he likes them, and that is the reason he offered them the loan.

Ben is talking Beth through helping the lamb's birth, then clearing its airways. It's breathing. He congratulates her on delivering her first lamb. Ruairi wants to know what they will call him; Ben says something like 'UK 0001234', as on an eartag, but Beth definitely wants to name her first lamb.

Vince is explaining himself and saying that after having got off on the wrong foot, he feels they have got to know each other, and the Brookfield Archers have given him and his family a lot, what with Steph's wedding which made her so happy, and Ben and Beth: Ben's incomparably better than her last pillock of a boyfriend, and has given Vince back his little princess. And he mustn't forget Elizabeth and what she means to him. He may not have won them over yet, but he respects them too much to pull a fast one. And he likes Josh. He wants to use some of his money to do something good, and it would mean the world to him to play a small part in the farm. At this point he leaves them on the excuse that he needs to drain his bladder.

Beth suggests Baa-nerby as the lamb's name. Ben tells her to take the lamb to the mothering pen, then asks whether she could get him a coffee. She offers one to Ruairi as well. After she has gone, Ruairi asks Ben about the supercar experience, then teases him gently about them being a loved-up couple, but is delighted and full of congratulations when Ben tells him that the word 'love' has in fact been mentioned between them.

Left alone, Ruth and David are clearly embarrassed by Vince's openness, but Ruth is impressed by the deal he has offered them. When he comes back in, saying that he had better leave them in peace now, David wonders aloud whether a loan is still something he would consider, and he is delighted; he gives Ruth a kiss, and insists on a hug rather than a handshake with David. He says happily that they have two things to celebrate now: this and Elizabeth's birthday.

At Ben's prodding about Julianne, Ruairi has come clean: there is girl on his course whose family is poor, and yet she always seems to have loads of money to throw around. He was alone with her one day and asked how come, and it turned out she is a sugar-baby, and she introduced him the the Sugar Baby site she uses. There he met Julianne, who is more than twice his age; she is divorced with no kids, and lives in a fabulous flat off Old Street as well as owning the flat in Bath he is lending to Brian and Jennifer. She has a high-pressure job, and Ruairi gives her time and amusement away from it and someone to spoil. He admits the crypto was a lie, but when Ben makes the suggestion he denies that he is sleeping with Julianne. Beth comes back with coffee, and Ruiri hastily swears Ben to secrecy, even from Beth; nobody must know, and he has only told Ben because Ben is Ruairi's bestie.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 17th April, 2022

Ian's oven goes on the blink, and Freddie is saved by the horn.

Characters: Freddie, Vince, Elizabeth, Ian, Adil, Roy
Credited scriptwriter:
Tim Stimpson
Director: Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At Lower Loxley Freddie is assuring Vince that everything is set up ready for the public, and mentions that he has done the playlist for Ruairi's house-party tomorrow. As he talks about that, Vince reads a message on the phone from the builders who will be working on his house from next week. Vince neatly slides out of offering Freddie any money for his business as Elizabeth appears and remarks that it took a bit of persuasion to get Brookfield to accept the money for the solar panels. She is snide about her brother thinking she is consorting with a loan shark, but Vince tells her to stop because it is all sorted. Vince goes away to relieve himself and she expresses surprise at a sudden rush in ticket sales since yesterday evening; she doesn't know why it has happened. Freddie does, to her surprise; he has tweeted what he hoped might serve as an invitation to the Easter Bunny to come along: 'Plenty of eggs for the Borsetshire Bunny to find at Lower Loxley Hall this Sunday. Retweet if you want him to pop up here'. Elizabeth sighs in an exasperated way, and he says defensively that it worked; it's had loads of retweets. She is sure it did, but... He adds that some people have got the wrong end of the stick: they are buying tickets expecting the Bunny to turn up, but Freddie has heard nothing from it. Everything's a total mess. What is he going to do?

Ian is explaining the local sourcing of his asparagus to Adil, and that Hassett Hills lamb too is local. He asks whether Adil will be staying to lunch, but no: he's going to the Easter event at Lower Loxley Hall; Ian is disappointed. As Adil leaves and Ian prepares to go back to his kitchen, Roy comes up to tell Ian about a problem: the combi oven they are using for the lamb has gone on the blink.

The wifi in the barn has not been sorted out, and as a result live-streaming Josh's chickens is not going well. Freddie is not having much success placating Josh by phone, but agrees to get on it as soon as he can. At this moment Adil approaches him and makes small talk, though Freddie is reluctant and hassled, and tries to get away. Adil asks when the Bunny will arrive: he has heard a little girl talking with her dad, disappointed not to have seen it.

The Grey Gables kitchen seems to be somewhat chaotic, with Ian in a bad temper and giving his commands to underlings loudly; Roy doesn't help matters by arriving with another three orders for lamb. Ian says the diners will have to wait a little longer for it because they are having to roast each rack of lamb separately in the pan, and Roy suggests taking it off the menu if it is backing up everything else. Ian refuses: he is not letting a broken oven destroy his service, and lamb stays on even if it kills him.

Freddie makes a rather hesitant speech over the loudspeaker system announcing that the egg-rolling will start soon, and Adil comes up to ask whether they need someone to look for the Easter Bunny; Freddie says no thank you, and suggests Adil go and join the egg-rollers: just grab an egg and join in. As Adil leaves, he mutters, 'and leave me alone.' Just as he is about to announce that the Bunny isn't going to appear, Elizabeth comes up and tells him the Bunny has arrived and he needs to start the race, which he does to the accompaniment of a car horn.

Roy announces the end of lunch service; Ian apologises if he was sharp earlier. Roy expresses his amazement that he kept going, and passes on congratulations from customers on the meal. Ian goes for a lie-down.

Apparently Vince didn't see the Easter Bunny: he was in the cruck barn watching the livestreamed chickens. He tells Freddie they must hook up soon, because he's been working on a little something for him: Freddie is delighted and asks whether it is about his DJing, to which Vince replies 'In a way.' Then Adil comes over covered in mud, having had fun chasing his egg down the hill and also seen the Borsetshire Bunny. Freddie introduces him to Vince, and Adil asks if Freddie has divulged the secret of his success: everyone wants to know who was inside the rabbit costume.

The Bunny is with Elizabeth, who worked out who it was from a photograph on line and begged for help; the muffled wearer eventually manages to wrestle the bunny-head off and is revealed as Kathy just as Freddie comes rushing in to find Elizabeth. Kathy laughs at his astonished expression.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 18th April, 2022

Roy is furious, Ben is inquisitive, and Ruairi gets completely stocious.

Characters: Ruairi, Ben, Freddie, Roy, Alice
Credited scriptwriter:
Tim Stimpson
Director: Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

When Ruairi reveals the drinks for his party, Ben remarks that he must have bought the whole offie. Not quite: they have got dark rum, white rum, tequila, Cointreau; he wanted the vodka that's filtered through silver and quartz [that would be Russian White Gold, and he should be ashamed of himself: what's wrong with Finnish vodka, just at the moment? chris] but it's Borsetshire so they didn't have that sort and he settled for this; he tells Ben to pick a cocktail from the book. Ben is doubtful about it all being paid for by Julianne: does she know what he spends her money on? Ruairi laughs at him and tells him she couldn't care less. Ben badgers him to say that he is sleeping with her, which Ruairi emphatically and repeatedly denies. Eventually Ruairi tells him he doesn't have to stay if drinking Ruairi's booze makes him so uncomfortable, and Ben backs down. Ruairi tells Ben he can make him a screwdriver while he is dithering over what he wants himself.

As they leave work Freddie is boasting to Roy about having got the Bunny to start the race; Roy wants to know how he worked out it was Kathy, and Freddie doesn't say that he didn't. Roy was amazed by how much she raised for the Ukrainian refugees. Than he tells Freddie that Vince has been on at him about the arrangements for Elizabeth's party, and is being a bit, well ... 'full on?' suggests Freddie. Roy is worried because they can't have things exactly as Vince wants, though he is spending a lot of money: the balloon arches where he wants them don't fit with the fire regulations, and they don't allow confetti cannon even for weddings. He wonders if Freddie will be seeing Vince over the next couple of days and could make it clear they are doing their best to accommodate him, and Freddie agrees, but it won't be tonight: he'll be next door. He is heading to Ruairi's party now. This is the first Roy had heard of any party. Freddie wants to scrounge a lift, and tells him he'd better have ear-plugs: it's going to be wild.

A drunken Ruairi has been trying to impose a dress-code for his party, and Ben is doing his best to calm him down. He agrees to stay in the kitchen for a bit, but wants another drink: how about a whisky sour? Freddie, also elevated, comes in and tells Ruairi it's a great party, while Ben goes off to find Beth. While Ruairi makes him a cocktail, Freddie says he reckons he may have got Vince to pay for his new DJ business.

Roy has come round in his dressing-gown to tell them to turn it down, and is battering on the door and shouting. Ben comes to the door and is apologetic; Ruairi follows and is not, although it is past half-eleven and Roy, who is complaining about 'interesting smells' from the garden as well as the noise, has to get up at five. Ruairi says it is still the bank holiday, and slams the door with Roy outside. Roy goes off fulminating.

Inside Willow Cottage Ruairi is listing to Freddie the celebrities who have been to a club he too has been to, though not at the same time. He slurs his way through descriptions of some of its attractions, and how expensive it is. They talk of Freddie getting jobs as a DJ in places like that, and Freddie suggests visiting Ruairi in London to be shown some of them; Ruairi for some reason is not keen on the idea, and Ben provides a distraction by coming in and telling him it's time to pull the plug: a couple are now upstairs 'using' Brian and Jennifer's room, and has he seen the state of the kitchen? Ruairi says they have hardly even started, and Freddie starts recounting Ruairi's boasts to Ben, who is unimpressed and says maybe he should ask Ruairi who is paying for all this: Freddie is confused, and Ruairi becomes belligerent, tells Ben he is nothing and launches a punch at him, breaking some glass just as Alice arrives.

Freddie and Alice have poured Ruairi into bed in his room, and Alice sends Freddie downstairs to help Ben get rid of everyone. Then she offers to take Ruairi's shoes off, and he is decidedly hostile about Alki Alice pointing the finger; if he wants to throw money about he will, it's his money and he earned it. He's not hurting anyone, not like her: she didn't even care about hurting her own baby. She offers him some water. He asks after her family support fun day, which he characterises as a winos'-group-get-together-thing. He says that his mum didn't have any choice when she abandoned him; Alice tells him he needs to drink plenty of water. Then she turns him on his side into the recovery position and tucks him in, over his protests that he doesn't need anything from her and can look after himself. Just as she goes off downstairs, having left a bowl beside the bed, Ruairi mumbles 'Julianne'.

There is tidying up going on; Freddie goes to help Beth in the kitchen, while Ben clears the broken glass. When Alice gets down, she asks Ben what is going on with her brother, because it's like he's turning into someone else. Ben is reluctant to tell her anything, and she says she knows he isn't her favourite person after what she said about Ruairi's mum, but she does love Ruairi. She begs him to be honest with her, but Ben, after hesitating as if he might spill the beans, says Ruairi just had too much to drink and that's all it is; give him time, he'll sort himself out.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 19th April, 2022

Yet again, it's the end of an era.

Characters: Kathy, Roy, Tracy, Adil, Oliver
Credited scriptwriter:
Tim Stimpson
Director: Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Kathy is being kind to Roy, who hardly slept but tells her it could be worse: he could have Ruairi's hangover. Jamie has apparently moved to Hereford, and found the whole Easter Bunny business hilarious; Kathy is very glad she collected the money for Ukraine, and Tracy congratulates her. Then Kathy says they need to get Mr Shah out of his room; he's an hour late checking out, and they get no reply when they ring him. Tracy, who because he was Oliver's guest did not take Adil's credit card details, is a little disconcerted when she realises that he is now being suspected of having done a runner, and Kathy goes to find out what is going on. She knocks on the door of the suite and finally lets herself in. Adil immediately greets her, explaining that he was not answering calls during an important meeting, which has just finished. Kathy asks when he plans to check out and pay his bill, and Adil says that a bill for him will not be necessary; as Kathy begins to protest, Oliver emerges and asks her to collect as many of the staff as possible in the ballroom, because he has something to tell them all.

When they have been directed to the meeting, Tracy is speculating with Roy what it may be about; possibly a TV show? She puts 50p on that possibility. Kathy says she has rounded up everyone apart from Kirsty, who has to stay in the Health Club. Then Oliver comes in and says he has important news to impart. He talks of Caroline, and becomes emotional before announcing that he has sold a 60% share in Grey Gables; he will be stepping down and Adil, the representative of the new owner, will take over. Grey Gables will cease to take bookings at once and close within the next fortnight, staying closed for at least a year while everything is completely refurbished. When Kathy asks what will happen to the staff, he tells her they will all be made redundant.

Afterwards in the Royal Garden Suite, Adil tries to console Oliver by talking to him about how splendid the hotel will become, but Oliver says the staff are his friends and is not consoled; Adil gently murmurs that perhaps employing friends is not the best idea in business, and Oliver goes to check on his staff.

At the front desk, which Roy is manning while Tracy recovers herself enough to be seen in public, Roy and Kathy are discussing the whole matter, wondering how Oliver could have done this to them with no warning. They are distressed for other members of the staff as well as themselves. Kathy says she will check on the kitchen but Roy advises against it unless she wants a mouthful from Ian, who nevertheless has been enough of a professional to start the lunch service. Roy is angry, Kathy crushed; Roy wishes Oliver had sold up when Caroline died. Kathy has to go and answer the phone, and Tracy comes back to take over the desk again from Roy; she is upset about Adil telling her how good a job she was doing when all along he was planning to sack her. She doesn't know what she is going to do: she and Jazzer have no money, and her redundancy payment won't be worth much. Oliver comes over and offers her a handkerchief, which she refuses as she rushes away again trying not to sob. Roy is entirely unsympathetic when Oliver tries to explain why he had to do what he has done and argues that he had to save Caroline's legacy by protecting Grey Gables; Roy tells him he is not protecting Grey Gables, he is destroying it.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 20th April, 2022

Ruairi runs away, Brian gets bad news, and Freddie steps into the breach.

Characters: Brian, Ruairi, Alice, Freddie, Vince, Oliver
Credited scriptwriter:
Tim Stimpson
Director: Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

On his return to Ambridge, Brian expresses surprise at the news Grey Gables has been sold, and says they have come home a couple of hours before they had planned to because Jennifer was concerned how Peggy would feel about the sale of Jack's beloved hotel to strangers. Ruairi has decided to go back to London early and lies like a trooper about the party not having happened. Alice has been upstairs with Jennifer and her appearance in the room makes Ruairi nervous.

Freddie has told Vince about Grey Gables being sold, and says that it's not all bad: his job having gone might be the boot that makes him do more about his DJ ambitions; when asked, Vince admits he hasn't yet looked at the figures on that which Freddie gave him. Freddie offers to help him sort out things for Elizabeth's birthday party rather than Vince going over there himself, and Vince proceeds to give him a list of things he wants sorted out.

The Royal Crescent greatly impressed Brian, who says the Georgians really knew how to build. He noticed there were no photos or family things in the flat; Alice observes that people with money to burn don't value what they have, and Ruairi goes away to pack. Alice makes an excuse to Brian and follows him.

When Alice knocks at Ruairi's door, he is not in the least friendly, but tells her she can tell his parents about the party if she wants: he doesn't care. Alice says she has had a word with Roy, who has agreed to say nothing. She warns him that he ought not to behave as she did, and tells him he should talk to Ben before he goes, because he said some horrible things to Ben, which were the alcohol talking: it doesn't bring out the whole truth, she says, just the bad things. She then tells him she doesn't care if he hates her, she still loves him, and insists that if he needs someone to talk to who isn't going to judge, can't in fact afford to judge, well, she's here. He says 'Alice' as if to address her about something, but then stops himself and says it's nothing, so she goes away again.

At Grey Gables, Oliver is ringing round trying to find replacements for staff who have left immediately rather than stay for the last fortnight; he fails, and as he puts the phone down Freddie appears with Vince's list of demands. Oliver stops him half-way through it to tell him that he doesn't think that the party can go ahead at all: people are jumping ship and he isn't sure the remaining staff can pick up the slack. Freddie tells Oliver that only person to blame for the bad feeling is him and that it absolutely has to go ahead.

Back at Willow Cottage after taking Ruairi to the station, Brian has worked out there was something Alice didn't tell him earlier, and he wants to know what. She hems and haws about not knowing how to tell him, presumably so the listener will be deceived into thinking she is about to drop Ruairi in it while Brian assumes she fell off the wagon, then tells him that her solicitor rang while he wasn't there and told her that Chris's solicitor wants the farm valued for the divorce settlement. She knew Chris was angry and hurt, but she didn't think he'd go that far. Brian says it's his fault for setting things up the way he did, and all they can do is try to limit the amount Chris can take.

Outside in the hotel garden Vince has caught Oliver having a moment to himself and asks a couple of point-blank questions: he has worked out that all is not well. Oliver admits they have a problem: they simply don't have the staff to hold the party. Vince does not take kindly to the suggestion he could hold it in Lower Loxley, which could hardly be a surprise for Elizabeth. Then Freddie appears: he has rounded up all the necessary staff for the party to go ahead, and when Vince wonders if he can trust him, Freddie assures him that he will make sure this is the best party Elizabeth has ever had. After Vince has left Oliver too expresses his doubts that Freddie can possibly do what he has said he will, but Freddie is definite: he hasn't quite done it yet, but he can certainly get together enough staff for the occasion. Some people still know the meaning of loyalty, he tells Oliver pointedly.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 21st April, 2022

Delight, disappointment, bitchery and machinations at Grey Gables.

Characters: Vince, Elizabeth, Freddie, Jolene, Lynda, Roy, Adil, Kathy
Credited scriptwriter:
Tim Stimpson
Director: Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Having got her to dress up for the evening, Vince has given Elizabeth a beautiful bracelet to wear; she is wondering what he has planned for them. The taxi arrives, and they are off.

Freddie has talked Jolene and Lynda into helping him to keep things running smoothly. Roy congratulates him on the way he got the Lower Loxley volunteers to help, then tells them all that he has had a chat with an employment lawyer, who reckons Oliver and Adil are out of order. He shuts up as Adil comes over and tries to be friendly, treating him to a frosty reception.

How Vince managed to keep it all secret has stumped Elizabeth, who is surprised, delighted and impressed, though not entirely happy about Lily's slide-show of her that is being projected on the wall. Vince asks her to show Freddie the bracelet, which is engraved with the coordinates of the place they first kissed, and she rushes off in embarrassment. As she leaves, Vince tells Freddie that he has something for him but has left it in his coat; he'll fetch it.

The party is going well, with Kathy in charge of the champagne; Jolene however wants to ask whether Kathy knows about slurry being shipped through the village. Kathy is singularly uninterested, then talks instead about the forthcoming community picnic on Jubilee Field. Adil comes up and asks to speak with Kathy in the morning, then puts his foot in it about the ownership of The Bull.

The gift for Freddie is a CD of all the eighties hits that are being played at the party, and he's bitterly disappointed; Vince asks him what he was expecting, but before he replies Elizabeth whisks Vince away for a dance, after which Freddie takes himself off to continue his unhappiness in private. Elizabeth gives her usual thanks to Vince for keeping an avuncular eye on Freddie.

Adil has insisted on a complete explanation of the complicated affairs of The Bull, which makes Jolene extremely uncomfortable and gives Kathy room to deliver a few well-placed barbs about Jolene's relationship history until Lynda, who is looking for Freddie, interrupts it and gives Jolene an opportunity to escape. Lynda snubs Adil comprehensively, and then leaves to go on with her quest for Freddie; Adil says thoughtfully that he had not realised just how much of a family the Grey Gables staff really are.

When Lynda finds him, Freddie tells her she ought not to be in the kitchen and tries to get her out of it; she muses that it looks so different that it's hard to believe the explosion happened, and he tells her how hard it was to go back in there when he returned to work. He is bitter because this was the only job he could get after his drug conviction, and because Vince throws money at everyone else but won't lend him a couple of thousand quid. Lynda gives him a pep talk about having some faith in himself.

A thoroughgoing bitchfest about Adil between Roy and Kathy is interrupted when he suddenly appears and tells them the cake needs to go in now, then starts giving further instructions. Roy points out that they do actually know how to do their jobs, thank you, then loses it with him and tells him they plan to go to a tribunal, which leads Adil to say blandly they'd find that would be a mistake: they will be getting more than a tribunal would award them: an ex gratia payment of three months' salary tax free on top of statutory redundancy pay, and could apply to be re-employed when the hotel opens after its refurbishment. Roy angrily responds that after the way they have been treated, he doubts any of the staff will set foot in the place again.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 24th April, 2022

Everyone is contemplating the future to avoid thinking of the past.

Characters: Alice, Brian, Tony, Pat, Tracy, Adam, Ian, Clarrie
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Alice has come over to see Brian, with Martha in a buggy; Brian reports that Peggy is shaken by the sale of Grey Gables and Jennifer has gone over the Lodge to cook a roast for her and Lilian, leaving him with potato salad and cold bits which he invites Alice to share. Roy is apparently looking into the legal position at Grey Gables; Brian says it must be terrible for him to say goodbye to something he's given his whole working life to, and says it so wistfully that Alice notices and asks if he is all right.

At the cricket practice, Tony and Pat greet Tracy and sympathise with her feelings; Tony can't understand what the rush to close Grey Gables is. The hotel has been putting in big orders with Bridge Farm for years, so there will be quite a hole in their budget; and of course Tracy has to find somewhere else to work, and pretty quick. They change the conversation to how the veterans' cricket will work, since the only other veterans' team is Darrington; then Leonard and the rest arrive and the practice can start.

On the first Sunday morning that Ian has had off in ages, Adam and Ian are relaxing out of doors, but Ian is wondering what he is going to do next: he is still creating menu ideas for a non-existent hotel kitchen, when all he'll be doing there really is packing up and inventorying. He feels untethered and upset, as if he were on the verge of tears. It's the end of an era. He isn't sure whether he even wants to try to get a new head chef's job: he's a bit old for that. Adam reckons that his redundancy money gives them a bit of breathing space, and Ian reverts to his food-van notion, mentioning that he'd planned to get a pizza oven for it; Adam suggests they could get a pizza oven anyway, and in the meantime go and get a table at The Bull before all the Yorkshire puddings are gone.

Leonard is doing very well on his first appearance at the cricket practice, while Tony and Clarrie chat until Tracy calls to them to come and take their turn; then Clarrie tries to field a catch and cries out in sudden pain.

The valuation of Home Farm is rather weighing on Brian's mind, and Jennifer brings it up every time she sees Alice; when Alice mentions this, Brian says there is no point blaming herself, and they just have to take things as they come. It may not be as bad as they fear.

It is agreed by everyone but Clarrie that Clarrie should go to A&E, but she says she doesn't need to go and sit around for hours for an overworked doctor to tell her she has strained a muscle when she slipped, and she feels dreadful causing all this fuss; after Eddie has been rung and warned to get the frozen peas out and make a cuppa, Leonard takes her home. Tracy wishes she'd cancelled practice, and decides they should quit for the day before she loses any more players. After she's gone to start the clear-up, Pat and Tony discuss who they can get to help Susan in the dairy while Clarrie is laid up with her groin strain: Tony says he will try to spare Adam.

At the Bull, Ian and Adam are enjoying having lunch cooked by someone else while Xander is happy in the play area. Adam goes on being upbeat: he was worried Ian was going for burnout at Grey Gables, and he is very much enjoying not being under pressure himself. This suggests to Ian that they might just have been handed a ticket to freedom by Adil and Oliver.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 25th April, 2022

Tracy and Brian have their hopes raised.

Characters: Clarrie, Tracy, Stella, Brian, Susan,
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

As if Tracy were not busy enough, she is also worrying about Clarrie. Tracy has her phone propped up in the spider plant and is doing the washing up while talking with Clarrie, who says that she has been up since five and is exhausted. She goes on to say that Oliver has just left, and he looks dreadful; Tracy says she really doesn't care too much about how Oliver is doing at the moment. Clarrie defends him, but Tracy is more worried about finding another job than she is about him. Today she will be manning the phones: telling customers their bookings have to be cancelled, then holding the phone well away from her ear while they tell her what they think about it.

At Home Farm, Brian is consulting with Stella, who is perturbed about the rumours in the village over the slurry; he seems a bit distracted, and she asks if she can help. He explains that the divorce might have a bad effect on the farm: who knows what it will look like after a settlement. She is surprised there was no pre-nup, but thinks he ought to stop kicking himself about the way he set things up: it was to save tax. He fears his cost saving initiative could end up costing him the whole lot.

Clarrie has gone in to the dairy to start work; Susan says she ought not to be there, but Clarrie is determined. She also wants people to stop saying she has a groin strain: she has pulled her adductor muscle, thank you. Apparently though, Pat is also worried about her and will have a fit if she sees her there, and Adam will be taking her place for a few days, though he is showing someone round just at the moment. Susan sends Clarrie home.

Paperwork has been taking Stella's attention, while Brian has been attacked for his plans to parade sewerage through the village when he went into the shop. Stella asks whether he's had any more thoughts about the farm business valuation; he is thinking of consulting an accountant friend of his about it. Stella points out that both sets of solicitors will insist on an entirely independent valuation, but agrees with Brian that his friend might give them some useful pointers on how to present things. He has done some rough calculations of his own and has no idea what they may be facing.

Tracy has turned up to see Susan, to complain about Adil and to share some better news; she has chatted to Lily about a job selling kitchens, and Lily is going to 'push through' her application once it is filled in; Lily has given her the form, and it is on her phone. Susan tells her to say she has transferable skills: she's good at working in a team. And good at telling people what to do, says Tracy; delegating, Susan corrects her, which she should say is crucial for time management. Tracy tells Susan she's a star.

Stella may have spotted something helpful in the partnership agreement: there is a provision for partners wanting to sell out. Brian asks her to talk him though it, and she says that if the family can buy out Alice's share, Chris won't be able to claim any of it. If he can get Adam and Ian on board, muses Brian, the rest might also be interested. She may just have given them a ray of hope.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 26th April, 2022

Adam pours cold water and Tracy dries up.

Characters: Jazzer, Tracy, Adam, Brian, Tam Brownlow
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

A text has summoned Jazzer to go and see Tracy: she has an interview at half past two with the kitchen sales company. She is worrying about what to wear, and what to say; she is afraid she may not understand what they ask. Jazzer does his best to reassure her.

When he comes to see Brian, at Brian's request, Adam asks how Stella is getting on, and Brian then asks how Ian is and whether he'll go for another chef's job. In the end Adam asks what it's about: is it Alice? Brian says not exactly, then admits it's Chris, who might be able to do them a lot of damage.

At the office of the kitchen sales firm, Tracy explains about Grey Gables closing down: a total shock, but you pick yourself up and start again. When asked to describe herself, Tracy suggests that being a single mum means you can handle almost anything. She says that the job at Grey Gables has taught her a lot. The interviewer, Tam Brownlow, produces a list of standard questions she has to ask, then realises who the Tracy Horrobin on them is: she was at school with her. When prodded, Tracy remembers Tam too. They reminisce, then chat about their circumstances now, and it turns out that Tam and her husband own a small stables. Eventually Tam says they must get on to the actual interview.

Brian is explaining the problem: Home Farm might have to be partitioned and sold off, but if they can get together and buy Alice out the farm can be protected. Adam says no. He couldn't ask Ian to contribute his severance pay. It's their chance to do things they want to, and provide a future for Xander. Brian argues, but Adam is sure about it; nevertheless, Brian wants Ian to be brought into the discussion.

In the interview Tracy can't explain how she would win over a resistant customer, and struggles to give an example of her having done so. She asks if they can come back to it. They go on another question, about finding out about the latest kitchen technology, and Tracy can't give a coherent reply to that either. Tam suggests they might leave it there. Once Tracy has left th building, she rings Jazzer in despair: Tam was nice, but she couldn't pretend Tracy would be good enough. Jazzer tries to console her, but she lists all her flaws, comparing herself and her situation unfavourably with Tam. She's no good for anything, she hasn't got anything, and she even has to borrow her sister's clothes to go to an interview.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 27th April, 2022

Tracy is at her wits' end, and Clarrie is bored out of hers.

Characters: Ed, Clarrie, Tracy, Jazzer, Susan
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Early in the morning at Grange Farm, Clarrie is fussing over Ed and making him a flask to take out with him, and she takes umbrage at his wanting her to take it easy; she likes being busy and not having enough time for all the things she needs to fit in, which Ed, rather enviously, says is bonkers. He suggests she could help with Keira's reading after school, and Clarrie leaps at the idea as something she can do which is useful.

Jazzer has come round to see Tracy, who has had an email telling her she didn't get the job; she doesn't want to go in to work because everyone will know she's a failure. Jazzer offers to try for the job himself if she will help him with answers to the interview questions. She does not find this as supportive as he intended it to be.

Clarrie has left her phone upstairs and hasn't been answering it; this has worried Ed, who has come in to check up on her and make sure she hasn't fallen over. She tells him morosely that she has sat like a useless lump all day making a patchwork rug for the Jubilee picnic, which will be no good if it rains the way it is at the moment. At this point Susan rings Ed because she has been trying to contact Clarrie and getting no reply, and says she'd like to come over for a visit, much to Clarrie's delight.

Also on the phone, Tracy is telling a customer that the hotel is closing and that his booking will be refunded when he hangs up on her. The phone immediately rings; to her great relief, it's Jazzer. He tells her that he has asked Lily to put him up for the kitchen sales job and sent in the application form, and asking for her help with the interview.

A box of Bridge Farm goodies from Pat and Tony has been sent with Susan, who is amazed by Clarrie's appliquéed patchwork snakes-and-ladders rug and admires it greatly. Then she offers to make the tea, and sympathises about how much pain Clarrie must be in; Clarrie makes it clear that she has been feeling that she wouldn't be missed, which Susan tells her is daft. Susan says she should make the most of the leisure: by next week she'll be being pulled every which way as usual; Clarrie can't wait.

At Ambridge View Tracy, who has been let in by Neil, is doing a wash of Gary's work clothes when a soaking Susan gets home. She tells Susan she didn't get the job, and also tells her about Jazzer's plan: she doesn't think he has a chance, but she loves him for trying. She can't find any work, and is going to apply for a job in the chicken factory tomorrow. Susan tries to talk her out of it, detailing how awful it really was for Emma. Tracy, however, says she needs the money and beggars can't be choosers: if Emma could do it, she can. Susan says once she starts there she'll be too exhausted to look for anything better. Tracy asks her for a loan, just short-term, but Susan says she's sorry: they can't. Tracy is embarrassed and apologises, and Susan explains about having to pay Chris's solicitor's fees up front. Tracy says she understands, but she is desperate: 'My God, Susan, what am I going to do?'

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 28th April, 2022

Decisions are made and toasts are drunk.

Characters: Adam, Ian, Tracy, Jazzer, Susan
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The residents of Honeysuckle Cottage have been woken early by Xander, and are now assembling a pizza oven in his absence. Ian is planning supper on it already – a Margarita with sweetcorn and tinned pineapple for Xander, for which he blames Kate, and something rather more sophisticated for the two of them later – but acknowledges that he is avoiding the discussion about Home Farm, and says it has to be faced at some point. He seems to be coming round to the idea of buying Alice's share of Home Farm, for the sake of Xander's future: Adam suggests that his own motive is less than pure, and guilt has to play a part, in that if he doesn't help keep the farm together Alice is going to have to live with that for the rest of her life, when he could have prevented it. Ian challenges him to say, right then, what he would do if the redundancy money were his: 'secure the farm for Xander,' is his unhesitating reply. Ian accepts his decision.

At Greenacres, Jazzer is making breakfast while Tracy is trying to coach him for the interview. When Tracy asks about 'winning over a resistant customer' he tells of a woman who only wanted milk but loved her breakfasts, whom he convinced to opt for eggs and bacon delivered to her doorstep after all. Tracy points out that he didn't sell bacon, and he says that he made it all up to illustrate his point about telling people what they want to hear.

In the dairy, Susan has got a text from Helen about the visitor to the farm and Adam's having been very good at selling him on the idea of it; Adam says they make a good team at the dairy too, and she implores him not to let Clarrie hear him say that. They chat about Ian's loss of job, the new pizza oven, and then about Tracy trying for a job at the chicken factory, and Adam says little sisters are always your little sister. You try to plan for the future, but you don't know what you are planning for; then Susan remembers there is something she needs to do for her little sister, and asks him whether he would mean closing up there while she goes off.

She had to go to see Tracy at 6 The Green to offer her some money; Tracy tries to turn it down, but Susan is determined: she and Neil want her to have it so that she has a week or so food money in hand and doesn't have to start at the chicken factory at once. When Jazzer comes in and says triumphantly that he has a three-month trial and a proper job at the end of it if he does well, Susan is delighted, but has to leave before any real celebration. Jazzer suggests The Bull, but Tracy says there is some peach schnapps in the cupboard, won by Brad in a raffle before covid, so they can celebrate with that.

The grown-ups' pizza was the best Adam has ever eaten, and Ian toasts Home Farm, but it turns out that in spite of their agreement in the morning, Adam has told Brian 'no'; as a result of a conversation he had with Susan in the dairy, he has decided that he wants them to buy a pizza van or falafel stall or ice-cream stand: whatever will make Ian happy. It may not give Xander a long-term fortune, but his parents will be happy and not burnt out by the time he's five. Ian admits he is in fact pleased about the idea of his food van or whatever it may turn out to be, and Adam suggests topping up their wine glasses.

A toast to Jazzer is proposed by Tracy, though she deems the schnapps disgusting; they drink it all the same. He is worried that Tracy might feel he has got what ought to be her job: he knew all the questions and answers only because of her. Tracy tells him she has printed off an application for the chicken factory job, and might not have a choice about taking it. He is very upset at the idea, and wants to help her; he can't think of any better use for his money than scran for number six. She protests that she may never be able to pay him back for helping her out, to which he ripostes that she helps him out every single day: rather than saving for the future, he wants to make the present OK. Tracy calls him wonderful, and says that knowing she's not alone means a lot. She has Susan and Neil digging deep to help, and Jazzer McCreary, with his big generous heart.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 1st May, 2022

Kathy shouts a bit, and money talks.

Characters: Kathy, Pat, Oliver, Adil
Credited scriptwriter: Caroline Harrington

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Bridge Farm is the domestic scene of Pat hanging out Tom and Natasha's washing, which they have forgotten to take out of the machine as usual; Kathy suggests Pat too could just leave it in the machine, a tactic which cured Jamie of the habit. Their conversation turns inevitably to the closure of Grey Gables: sad for Kathy, and a disaster for Bridge Fresh, which has depressed Tom. (Pat does not explain why Grey Gables would buy their produce from an app rather than wholesale from the farm.) At least the rep from the London-based deli chain last week was so impressed by Adam that they placed an order the next day. Pat then laments Clarrie's injury; quite apart from wanting her back at the dairy, they need her for the Veterans' match. Kathy says she loved Grey Gables, the best place she ever worked, but at least she has a good pension coming and a generous redundancy package; then she becomes indignant for the younger ones without those to look forward to. Pat asks her in for coffee.

At Grey Gables, Oliver continues to bemoan the fate of his 'family'; it will be a year or eighteen months before the refurbishment is finished, and what are they all to do until then? Quite apart from him having to live in the village with the amount of ill-will he has now garnered. Adil rhapsodises about how amazing the new hotel will be, then suggests they could throw a farewell party at their expense: they could open up the bar for the staff on Thursday.

Kathy hasn't got a good word to say for Adil; apparently, because of him they have to clear out the sixty-room hotel by the end of the week, with everything that can't be sold off or go to a worthy cause to go into a skip. Oliver is worse than useless, and Pat is not to feel sorry for him: the way he handled it was terrible. She knows they'd been running at a loss, but there should have been a consultation period. It makes Kathy so mad! She can't just sit back and let it happen: she needs to do something. She'll go to Grey Gables and have it out with them. Even if it does no good, it will make her feel better.

Expecting no ill, Oliver and Adil are discussing members of staff, and Oliver praises Tracy, reminding Adil (who has forgotten who she was) that he liked her. He fears that her redundancy payment won't be much, and her family really need her wage. At that point Kathy knocks and comes in, clearly looking for trouble. She knows they have covered their backs legally, but treating the staff like this is a disgrace. Adil explains it's his fault and he can't explain why he did it at this precise point; he says there was nothing they could do about the timing. Kathy really blows her top at this, and Adil starts to laugh, tells Oliver he was absolutely right about her, and then offers her a job as their liaison officer to oversee the transition from the old to the new. She stammers and doesn't know what to say.

Back with Pat, Kathy apparently looks as if she has seen a ghost. She tells Pat she has just been offered a job by Oliver and Adil. She recounts her experience, and that Oliver had given her a glowing reference as well as having warned Adil that she could be feisty. Pat asks what she said about the job offer; nothing, apparently. She doesn't know whether she would want to work for Adil, but she thinks he may have hidden depths, and he seems genuinely to believe in the project. She thinks she could work with them, though it wouldn't look good to all the other people who were sacked if she takes a job from the person who sacked them; financially it makes sense, since she'd get her redundancy payment and then a new job for a different company, but she honestly doesn't know.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 2nd May, 2022

Roy would give his eye teeth for what Kathy doesn't want.

Characters: Kirsty, Roy, Kathy, Adil
Credited scriptwriter: Caroline Harrington

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At Grey Gables, Kirsty is looking for Kathy, whom she wants to tell her which gym equipment should be given to the contractors who have come to collect it; Roy has the job of going through many years' worth of paper filing and shredding personal details. He didn't sleep because he's worried about money, and Hayley wants Abbie's maintenance raised. Kirsty says that she's sure he'll find another job, but Roy is determined to be miserable; Kirsty mentions that the rewilding hardly covers her living costs. When Kathy comes back in, she is sad about the state of her office, but is able to find and give to Kathy the inventory of gym equipment that is to be collected. Apparently the new lord and master wants to see the personnel files, she assumes to sort out the redundancy payments, so she is going to take them to him. She tells them about the Thursday party as she leaves. Roy thinks throwing the bar open is, in the circumstances, unwise. Kirsty fancies a cup of tea, and he suggests having it outside.

Adil finds paper files 'quaint', though Kathy says at Grey Gables they prefer to think them traditional, and she then tells him she is not going to be part of their new direction; he offers to raise the salary. She tells him it isn't about the money nor, when he asks, about him; she thinks she could work with him, it's just that she loved her job here and couldn't oversee its destruction. Also she would feel uncomfortable working at Grey Gables when so many of her friends won't be around.

Out on the terrace with their tea, Roy and Kirsty are speculating about Oliver, and about Adil's plans; when Kathy turns up Roy greets her as The Boss and pretends fear at having been caught not working. She tells them the boss is Adil now, and that he offered her a job at five grand a year more than she has been getting, but she's turned him down, which startles Roy. She explains that she will be seventy next year and wants to do her own thing while she is still reasonably fit, but thought she'd give Roy a heads-up in case the job gets offered to him. He is immediately tempted, but later tells Kirsty that the last time he spoke to Mr Shah he swore that nobody from Grey Gables would set foot there ever again....

Kathy surprises Pat doing Tom and Natasha's ironing and points out that they are taking advantage of Pat, and then surprises her more by telling her she turned down the job: she doesn't need the money, and anyway what about the idea she and Pat used to discuss? She doesn't know what Mr Shah's plan is, but it means demolishing Grey Gables as she has always known it and she wants no part of that. She is going to book a flight to Anchorage, get a car, and drive down through Canada and America. Does Pat want to come with her, as she and Pat always used to say they would one day? Pat says she can't: she has too much on her plate with the farm, which she can't just desert, and impending twin grandchildren and a daughter-in-law whom she feels will need quite a lot of help. Kathy is disappointed, then says that when she gets back, she might leave Ambridge and move closer to Jamie, which upsets Pat.

In the office Kirsty and Roy are taken by surprise when Adil comes to have a word with Roy and return the personnel files. The filing cabinet is locked, so Roy finds him the key and Adil wonders what he would do without him. The unexpectedly civil Roy asks whether there was anything else he wanted, and Adil says no, no he doesn't think so, and adds that Roy looks exhausted and should go home and put his feet up. When he has breezed out again Roy tells Kirsty he thought Adil might have been about to offer him the job, and he would have taken it. Apparently without ironic intent, Kirsty suggests that in that case he'd better go and offer Adil his services.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 3rd May, 2022

Adil leaves Roy hanging, and Tracy burns her bridges.

Characters: Adil, Oliver, Stella, Jolene, Pip, Roy, Tracy
Credited scriptwriter: Caroline Harrington

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

As the Grey Gables dismantling continues, Adil has been thinking about extra bonuses for the staff who deserve it; he is in favour of giving one to Ian, but has noticed Tracy's disciplinary mark on her file, and wants to know what that was about. Oliver explains that she and her boyfriend both live in cramped conditions, and wanted some time alone together in one of the bedrooms... Adil calls it what it was, having sex in a guest bedroom: hardly outstanding customer service. He is surprised to see that Oliver then gave her extra shifts, and he is not going to offer her any bonus payment.

Stella greets Jolene on the green, although Jolene, who is engrossed in an angry Facebook group about Grey Gables, initially cannot place her. Stella is on her way to see if they have any dog magazines in the shop: she has empty bungalow syndrome and is thinking of getting a puppy, but is unsure what breed to go for. Pip comes up and tells Stella she has persuaded her parents to winter the 350 cows on mattresses instead of straw; she has come to tell Stella, because it affects the straw-for-slurry deal. The waste management then has to be explained to Jolene, who is revolted by the whole idea.

Roy has come to see Adil; he says that he owes him an apology for being rude to him at 'Mrs Pargetter's' party. Adil says he had every right to speak his mind. As he tries to ask for the job that was offered to Kathy Adil keeps interrupting him urbanely; when he finally does manage to blurt it out, Adil reminds him of his own words about nobody in Ambridge wanting to work there again, then asks whether he is telling him he has had a change of heart. Yes, says Roy: don't tell him they've already appointed someone else! Adil tells him they haven't done that, because they've been having a rethink about their options; Roy asks to be added to the options, which Adil says he will do. Adil is now going to London for a few days: leave it with him.

In the emptied and echoing Grey Gables reception area Jolene has brought biscuits for Tracy as a gesture of support. Roy comes in looking a bit shell-shocked, but denies there is anything wrong. He has heard about Kathy's plan to travel and perhaps not come back to live in Ambridge, but move closer to Jamie; Tracy says they'll all miss her, and Jolene quietly says 'not all'. Roy says that Kirsty has suggested they might make her a memory book, and asks Jolene if she could ask Kenton whether he has any pictures of him with Jamie that he could spare. The penny drops for Tracy, who exclaims that of course, Kenton was with Kathy before Jolene; Jolene mentions that she didn't need to be reminded.

At Brookfield, Stella has come into the yard to ask Ben about Border Collies, but he is not there and Pip takes the opportunity to tell her that Jill has been at a parish council meeting at which some councillors have expressed worry about slurry spilling from the tankers on the way from Brookfield to Home Farm, and have been asking about their possible recourse to law.

Grey Gables looks very different now the furniture and carpets have been removed: huge. Oliver tries to talk about it, but Tracy is despondent, and Oliver says he'll do whatever he can to help; just ask him if she needs a reference. Tracy turns him down. He says that he hopes they can still be friends, and she rounds on him: is this how he treats his friends, dropping them when it's convenient for him? She's very angry with him, and says that if she needs a reference she'll ask one of her loyal colleagues, like Kathy or Roy, to give her one. She doesn't need anything more from Oliver: nothing at all.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 4th May, 2022

Eddie tries his hand at consolation, and Kathy tries to be helpful.

Characters: Eddie, Ed, Natasha, Pat, Oliver, Kathy
Credited scriptwriter: Caroline Harrington

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The Texel lambs are being rounded up by Eddie and Ed, while Ed talks about Keira being unhappy about not having been invited to a school birthday party when Helen's son Henry was. Ed has been thinking about which Texel should be taken to the Borchester show. Eddie disputes Ed's choice, on the grounds that its nose is too pointed.

Having been taken for a mysterious walk by Natasha, who is twenty-four weeks pregnant, Pat worries whether they are going too far for her, but Natasha is determined she needs exercise and they carry on. It's all to do with Natasha and Tom finding a place of their own, and it's a surprise. They speak about the loss of the Grey Gables order, and giving everyone who gets a veg box a bit extra rather than let the unwanted produce go to waste, as well as everything being on special offer in the shop. Then Pat works out they are going to April Cottage.

Eddie finds Oliver still at Grange Farm, though he should have gone in to Grey Gables. Eddie asks whether it's a bit rough up there, and Oliver says that it is, just a bit: even Tracy had a go at him yesterday and said she no longer wanted to be friends with him. Eddie sighs sympathetically, but finds it hard not to be a bit critical, saying he wishes Oliver had told them what was being planned. Oliver explains that he didn't really plan anything: the hotel was losing money, he was topping up the wages out of his own pocket (which startles Eddie), and then an offer landed in his lap. Eddie can't understand why Oliver is selling to Adil Shah, about whom he has not heard good reports, but Oliver says that he and the outfit he works for are good people with a vision that chimes with his own. Then Ed comes in shouting for Eddie to come and give him a hand, and Oliver takes himself off to work.

At April Cottage, Kathy greets Pat and Natasha, apologising for the mess; Pat is a bit taken aback about having been kept out of the secret ever since Sunday. The place is furnished, and Kathy is happy to leave bedding and crockery, though the telly is going to Jamie. When Natasha goes upstairs to measure the nursery for curtains, Kathy asks if the quiet Pat is all right, and Pat says it's just a bit of a shock.

Back at Grange Farm Ed has decided Eddie is right about the Texels' looks, and wants his help choosing one for the show. Eddie makes fun of him having been an ugly baby like the first lamb they look at, but does help him to select the best-looking.

Kathy is sorry for having upset Pat by offering Tom and Natasha somewhere to live away from Bridge Farm: she was convinced she was helping. Pat agrees that when they first moved in it was a challenge, but they have all adjusted over time, and she really doesn't mind doing their chores; when the babies arrive Natasha's going to need lots of help. What Pat really feels is sorry Kathy won't be there any more: she is going to miss her terribly.

Eddie finds Oliver in the Grange Farm kitchen making himself a sandwich for his lunch. He didn't want to eat in the staff-room at Grey Gables with the staff because he feels he wouldn't be welcome. He is going to miss Kathy, too; she's been a rock managing the place over the past few years, almost filling Caroline's shoes. He will miss them all. Eddie reminds him they will still be around, since only Kathy is actually leaving, but Oliver wonders gloomily whether they will ever forgive him. He thought they would understand that he didn't want to hand the place over to an anonymous chain, and Adil and his backers seemed to be what Caroline would have gone for: he had thought everyone else would understand it, only they haven't. Eddie says that at the moment they can't see beyond their jobs having disappeared, and they have to blame someone; give it time, he says, and they'll come round.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 5th May, 2022

It's the end of an era again.

Characters: Roy, Kirsty, Tracy, Jolene, Kathy
Credited scriptwriter: Caroline Harrington

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At Grey Gables on their last day there, Roy is worrying to Kirsty about Adil not having offered him the job; he doesn't know what to do, and after today they will no longer be in the building. She points out that Adil has his phone number, but Roy is not reassured; luckily Tracy appears in time to prevent Kirsty from saying he ought just to ring Adil and ask. Kirsty swiftly tells her they were discussing the memory book for Kathy and starts to talk about that instead. Tracy is despondent, and then Jolene arrives with food for the party, made by Fallon; she has also got a load of photos of Kathy, including some really old black-and-white ones from when she and Sid ran The Bull. (They met in 1983 and were married in 1987; colour photography was the norm by then. Chris.) Roy and Kirsty will have to get busy if the memory book is to be ready for the party.

When the party has got going Roy makes a speech about Kathy leaving Ambridge, and calls her up to the stage to give her the book.

Away from the main room, Tracy is found in tears by Kirsty; she can't believe it's all over. It meant so much to her. She talks about how happy she has been feeling that at last she'd found her place, and now she doesn't know how she'll manage without it.

Roy is still eulogising Kathy and showing off the various photographs of events that happened during her time in Ambridge. He says she has kept the ship going over the past few years. He hopes she will enjoy the memories when she is off gallivanting across America. She thanks him and does some reminiscing of her own, about Grey Gables. She praises the rest of the staff, who made Grey Gables the lovely happy place that it was.

Tidying up is in progress when Jolene appears to talk with Kathy: she has heard Kathy is leaving Ambridge. She doesn't want Kathy to think of her just as the woman who stole her husband. Kathy denies having been stand-offish or deliberately given the impression she was angry with Jolene, then asks if it was her who dug out all the old photographs; Jolene says wryly that she surely doesn't think Kenton would get off his backside long enough to find them. Kathy thanks her, and says it's all forgiven and all forgotten. When Kirsty comes in, Kathy says she is just going to put the glasses to wash, and Jolene takes her leave. Roy is just putting the rubbish out; Kathy wonders why they bother. They're all far too conscientious.

All the lights are out, but Roy has a torch and shines it on the step so nobody will fall. Kirsty is concerned about Tracy, but is told that Jazzer came and picked her up. Kathy muses that this must be the first time the hotel has been completely empty, though Kirsty says it is full of ghosts. Kathy closes and locks the door for the final time, and says, 'That's it: the end of an era.'

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 8th May, 2022

Pat sabotages Tony, and Fallon thinks she's sabotaged herself.

Characters: Pat, Tony, Jill, Fallon, Tracy
Credited scriptwriter: Nick Warburton

Director: Jeremy Howe and Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The opening Veterans' cricket match is about to start, and Tony is telling Pat that Leonard has made them 'ashes' to play for, from a burnt tea-cake in a mustard tin. Tracy has not yet showed up, and Pat speculates she might be upset about Grey Gables; then Tracy sends Pat a short text message saying she is not coming and that Leonard is in charge, so Tony goes off to warn him while Pat goes to find her.

At the tea-room, Jill is discussing local attitudes to slurry-transport with Fallon but is about to leave in order to cheer Leonard on at the cricket match. Before she goes Fallon wants her to try two quiches, called 'Charmaine' and 'Summer Tang' and made to a new, secret recipe; Jill declines to do a tasting for her, but says she will buy both of them and Brookfield can have them for supper.

Tracy is pouring out her heart to Pat, and being very disparaging of Oliver; she is sorry for Roy and sorry for herself, and she has already sent out a ton of applications but heard nothing. Pat would listen but she has to get back to the cricket: Tracy says they don't need her, and she isn't coming. She can't face the team the way she feels, a loser, someone who mucks up everything she touches and has nothing to offer. Pat disagrees with her self-analysis but reluctantly starts to leave, saying that Tracy could choose to get over there and give her support instead of staying at home and being miserable.

At the match, Fallon turns up only to be told by Pat that they are losing wickets and losing the match. Pat has run Tony out but blames him for it. Fallon is surprised not to see Tracy there, and is cagey about what exactly is in her new quiche recipes. When she starts to explain about them she realises with horror that she has added ingredients from a wrong, unlabelled jar, and she has sold those quiches to Jill: they will be disgusting. She has to find Jill at once and sort it out.

The Ambridge Veterans have won, and Tracy did turn up; Tony tells her that her encouragement was the reason for their victory. He is about to have words with Pat about the running out. Tracy tells him that he is to thank Pat for coming round and sorting her out.

Fallon has been trying to reach Jill by text, and in something of a panic has brought round some replacement quiches. She witters on and on about her mistake and how sorry she is, until Jill manages to stop her; the heated-up quiches were a great success and have been finished. Jill reassures her about 'wrong' ingredients sometimes being creative mistakes really, and that Fallon was wrong to assume the quiches would be nasty. Fallon thinks of making quiches for the Jubilee picnic with new secret ingredients, and Jill has the idea of getting everyone involved in creating new recipes for the occasion.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 9th May, 2022

Ill-manners, bullying, doom, gloom and despondency.

Characters: Jim, Stella, Tracy, Chelsea, Alistair
Credited scriptwriter: Nick Warburton

Director: Jeremy Howe and Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At the shop, Jim introduces himself to Stella with some humour, but the jolly mood is fractured when he asks her about whether the slurry idea is going ahead. She gently suggests that people are being rather stupid and have not bothered to find out the facts, which leads to him launching into an unstoppable and overbearing monologue about it.

Struggles over answers to potential questions occupy Tracy: she has an interview for a job she describes as wiping tables at the Orangery, which Chelsea says is gross. Chelsea wants to know what exactly is going on, and when Tracy argues that as a mum she is meant to spare Chelsea worry, says that not knowing is worse because she'll imagine all sorts.

Jim denies being ill-informed, then demonstrates at some length that he doesn't know what he is talking about. Stella asks for him to give them some credit, but when she tries to clarify what is actually being proposed he rudely cuts her short, telling her that there is a customer and this is a shop not a debating chamber, and goes away to serve Eddie.

Tracy is now sharing all her woes with Chelsea: among other things, the car is sounding scratchy and she dare not take it to a garage because they need it. The trouble is basically money; everything is in the end. Chelsea says they have to cut back, but Tracy tells her how difficult that is likely to be. Chelsea says reassuringly that it will be fine once she's got the job at Lower Loxley, but Tracy tells her it may not be that easy: she has worked there before, and was sacked for being surly. She uses this as a moral lesson for Chelsea to watch out about her reputation, because things she does now may come back and bite her later. Chelsea offers to sell her tickets for a Solid Otter gig in Birmingham, but Tracy doesn't want her to, and is saved from more argument by the phone ringing: it's Gary. Chelsea goes off to college, leaving Tracy to talk to her brother in peace.

Jim is trying to interest Alistair in his slurry saga, but a greyhound has been tied to the railings outside and abandoned and that is what is on Alistair's mind: people are dumping their lockdown dogs for the vet to deal with. At this point Stella comes in, explaining that they told her at the shop where she would find Jim; she wants to talk to him without being bullied. He denies having done anything of the kind, while Alistair quietly says that he has been known to be a bit of a bully. Stella is having no nonsense, and tells Jim firmly that she wants to explain the actuality rather than his imaginings, and before he can embark on another diatribe Alistair suggests he has some free time and could make them all coffee. Stella then takes her chance, and finally explains what is really being proposed: perhaps three or four trips a year with slurry in sealed tankers, not going through the village and with no mess on the road. She has a response to every objection Jim raises, and he grudgingly backs down and admits this sounds better than he had feared, and he will report it to the parish council. The dog outside barks and barks, and Alistair explains its presence to Stella; when she says she is interested in dogs at the moment, he suggests that she might like to meet it.

When Chelsea comes home she brings pasties for lunch and a scratch card that has won ten pounds, and is greeted by a very subdued Tracy, who gives her the news that Gary has got a job on the docks in Harwich and will be moving out. Chelsea doesn't think they will miss him, but Tracy points out that they will miss his share of the rent.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 10th May, 2022

Lily worries about a colleague, and Lee is assaulted.

Characters: Pat, Tony, Lee, Jazzer, Lily, Shula, Alistair
Credited scriptwriter: Nick Warburton

Director: Jeremy Howe and Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At cricket practice Pat has pointed out that Leonard has brought his lucky bat, and Tony is grumping about it. There is no sign of Lee, who is expected, and Tracy has rung to say she has a bad head and won't be coming. Fallon has launched her invent-a-new-pudding competition, and they are discussing that when Lee arrives: he's there to help them with warm-ups and cooling down, because they need to be properly prepared and avoid injuries like Clarrie's. Tony complains about having been run out, which clearly still rankles, and he and Pat embark on what is obviously an ongoing and rancorous argument.

Jazzer has been called in for a little chat about his telesales ability. He is enthusiastic about talking to people and launches into accounts of conversations he has had, but Lily breaks in to ask whether he thinks it's going well. He says that he thinks so, but she tells him that from the point of view of Felpersham Kitchens it could go better. He may be enjoying the amusing stories customers have and being human contact for the lonely ones, but she wants him to talk more about actual kitchens; he hasn't yet booked in any sales reps to make visits. She reminds him that he has to get reps calling on customers or he won't get any commission.

Pat has Tony doing shoulder-rolls and is criticising him. He accuses her of nit-picking, and the row about running him out on Sunday in spite of his having made a clear call gets under way again. This is not helped by her insisting on saying, every time it is mentioned, that he ran himself out.

Lily has come to ask Shula if she can do anything about Jazzer; she thinks Jim or Alistair might be able to talk to him but is not sure whether they would listen to her. He really does need to pull his socks up if he is to keep his job. Shula thinks it's touching that she is concerned for Jazzer, but it becomes clear that her motive is that if he is sacked she won't get her fee for having recruited him.

The row has been taken to Lee, who knows nothing about cricket, for arbitration; Pat clearly doesn't know what Tony is talking about when he says it was his call and he made it. For some incomprehensible reason Tony thinks demonstrating a stroke using Leonard's bat will clear the matter up, and damages Lee in the process. Lee is not best pleased: his knee is painful. Tony says you have to laugh really, but Lee quite fails to see the humour in his having been injured when he was there to prevent injuries. He will however give Tracy feedback to the effect that if it is humanly possible Tony and Pat should never be put in to bat together.

Shula rings up wanting to borrow George Herbert's poems from Jim; to her surprise Alistair seems to know 'Love Bade Me Welcome' and quotes it. He is sure he can find the book, and is about to ring off when she mentions that there is another thing, about Jazzer. She doesn't want to speak to him, she just wants to say she thinks he may be finding the new job a bit daunting. She thinks his assumed plummy voice may be a cover. Before she can explain properly what she is talking about, Jazzer comes in and Alistair rings off. Jazzer admits that Alistair and the Prof might have been right to take the juice about the job; he hasn't clocked up many sales rep appointments. He is worried about it because he needs the money to help Tracy; Alistair has the idea that they can probably arrange for him to book a rep to visit a customer.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 11th May, 2022

Shula surprises Jim and Alistair, Chelsea surprises Tracy, and the 'plot' surprises nobody at all.

Characters: Fern, Jim, Alistair, Tracy, Freddie, Shula
Credited scriptwriter: Nick Warburton

Director: Jeremy Howe and Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

With a certain inevitability, Jim and Alistair have applied (presumably via Jazzer) to be visited by a kitchen sales rep, who is buttering them up something rotten. She tells them the place is stunned out, but then says the kitchen is letting them down, underperforming both decor-wise and in its functionality. She asks what they are looking for: what's the dream? Alistair says a smoother look; Jim mentions tiles, and she has to go to the car for samples. She leaves Jim horrified by Alistair having coined the word 'tileage'.

At Lower Loxley, Tracy is hoping for a reply to her application for the job there; she and Freddie commiserate with each other until he says they are in the same boat. Tracy tells him he has it all already, and is abrasive until he points out that it should be his dad, not Freddie, looking after the estate: it's not what he wants. She backtracks and says she hopes his path takes him somewhere good in the end.

The sales rep is now trying to convince them they could move forward; Jim says that Shula, whom he refers to as Alistair's wife, should be involved at this point. Alistair at once says that it was meant to be a surprise, and Fern is not going to be put off: she says they can call Susie ('Shula,' says Alistair), but Jim invents a vicars' retreat in Chichester for her. This might have been a clincher except that Shula then appears to collect the book of George Herbert's poetry and introduces herself by name, from which Alistair and Jim make a good recovery all things considered.

The phone pings and Tracy discovers she is not being considered: she was too well-qualified for the post. Whilst Freddie is trying to say cheerful things, she gets another call: it's Chelsea wanting her home at once because she has news.

Shula has clearly blown everyone's cover, but Jim and Alistair do a reasonable job of brazening it out. She gets into the swing of things and launches into a careful undermining of them, telling them she is sick of being surprised; Fern comes to their defence, saying that it would have been a nice surprise, but Shula continues to denigrate Alistair and his idea of surprises. Eventually, having demolished him, she apologises to Fern for her having been called out in this way; it is clear that the kitchen idea will go no further at this point.

The news is that Chelsea has got a job, which surprises Tracy mightily; in fact Chelsea has got the job from Trent that Tracy was going for. Tracy can't believe what Chelsea has just done, but Chelsea says she was doubling Team Horrobin's chances and that every penny will be for her mum. They embrace.

When he gets in later Jazzer is immensely pleased about the kitchen deceit, in spite of it being clear that Jim was left feeling a bit bruised by Shula. While Tracy didn't get the job, this will make up for it, gloats Jazzer. Jim tells him he must be realistic: the odd bit of commission isn't going to solve Tracy's money difficulties.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 12th May, 2022

There must be people in Ambridge who are not odious. The problem is finding them.

Characters: Jill, Fallon, Lily, Freddie, Lee, Chelsea, Ed
Credited scriptwriter: Nick Warburton

Director: Jeremy Howe and Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The aftermath of the Grey Gables closure is preying on Jill's mind, but she wants to talk to Fallon about the judging of the new pudding recipe, and starts to describe who would be ideal: obviously the person she has in mind is herself. Fallon says that she has thought about it, and wants three children to be the judges. Jill seems affronted that she will not be in the running.

Lily is prying into what Freddie has been talking with Elizabeth about, and he eventually tells her that he wanted to discuss what to do now Grey Gables has closed. When he says that he will of course keep up his DJ-ing, she patronises him as if he were five, but when he objects to what she is doing, she denies she is. For some unfathomable reason he goes on talking to her, and says that he wants to shadow Trent; she claims to think that a good idea.

As she offers Jill another cup of tea Fallon says she has had a lot of interest in who are to be the judges, even in the short time since she mentioned it on social media; then Lee turns up demanding a place for Henry, whom he claims wants a culinary career and would be heartbroken not to be picked. Lee is fairly offensive about there not having been enough time for Henry to put his name forward, but Fallon says firmly that she already has three judges chosen. In an attempt to keep the peace Jill says perhaps they could have four, for some unexplained reason Fallon decides Henry can be chairman of the panel of judges, and Lee goes off triumphant.

Freddie says Trent knows what he is talking about; Lily continues to quiz him and be dismissive, parroting the things he says, until Chelsea butts in demanding to see Trent, whom Freddie tells her is in the Orangery. When she has gone Lily expresses surprise that she got the job Tracy was after, and gloatingly says Freddie won't find her easy to manage.

Lee has been buttonholed by Ed, who wants some advice for Clarrie about her injury. Lee gives it, then boasts about Henry being asked to be a judge, at which Ed immediately starts to assert Keira has as much right as Henry does, using the same argument that Lee did: there was not enough time for everyone who wanted to do it to apply.

Chelsea is furious about having to wear the uniform provided, which she claims is disrespecting her. Lily says it obviously objectifies her, and starts to encourage her to resent having to wear it. A load of babble-speak later, mostly about it being demeaning having to wear short skirts, it transpires that isn't Chelsea's complaint at all: she wants to shorten the skirt and undo buttons, ostensibly in case it 'gets too hot' in the Orangery. She has come to demand that Freddie should have a word. After she has left, Lily gleefully seizes this opportunity for more mockery of her brother's management aspirations.

Having stormed into the tearoom, Ed is now making demands of Fallon, and talking about the suitability of the candidates. He says that it's always the same: Keira has to go to the back of the queue; then he goes on about favouritism in a thoroughly loud and unpleasant way, finally shouting that Fallon hasn't heard the last of it as he flounces off.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 15th May, 2022

Pip has an idea, Stella lends a sympathetic ear, and Freddie gets advice from an improbable source.

Characters: Pip, Fallon, Will, Mia, Chelsea, Freddie, Stella
Credited scriptwriter: Daniel Thurman

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The solar panels at Brookfield, which seem somehow to have become Pip's idea, call for a cake to go with the champagne Vince is bringing for the contract signing, so (it being rather short notice for Jill to make a lemon drizzle) Pip has gone to buy one from the Tea Room. All is friendly and inconsequential until Pip mentions Rosie in relation to the perfect pudding competition; a tetchy Fallon pulls Pip up short and tells her not to say any more, because she wishes she'd never started the whole thing. Pip, taken aback, says she just wanted to ask about the rules, because Rosie wants to make something, and Fallon explains how difficult it has all become.

Outside Grange Farm Mia is getting some fresh air and avoiding her revision when Will comes out to find her her. She has heard Roy with him earlier, and Will tells her Roy is still gutted about Grey Gables' closure and at a loose end; Mia mentions that she was hoping to get a job at Grey Gables after her exams, to stop her from worrying about the results. Will is more confident than she is about her doing well in her GCSEs, and tells her he would put money on Mia and Jake being the first in the family to go to university.

At the Tea Room Pip is sympathising with Fallon about the competition to judge the competition; they condole with each other about pushy parents. Pip then suggests an answer to Fallon's problem: make it that anyone under twelve can be a judge and vote for the winner so long as they haven't entered a pudding themselves. Fallon thinks that's a stroke of genius, and insists on giving her the chocolate cake she had planned to buy. The only flaw is that the entrants will need to make large puddings so that a lot of people can try them: Fallon must let the contestants know.

Chelsea is busy running off at the mouth about the Veterans' cricket, and not allowing Freddie to get a word in. He eventually gets her attention and tells her he wants to talk about her first shift, with which he has been generally happy: she's made a decent start, but there's always room for improvement, and he has written a couple of things down. She swept crumbs off a table onto the floor rather than into her hand; she quickly counters this by telling him she went round with a broom straight afterwards. Chewing behind the counter was to cover the smell of the onion she had for lunch, and her hair was not tied back because her bobble broke. She then tells him that she has a couple of suggestions for him in return.

While walking her new dog, Weaver, Stella encounters Mia, who thinks he is lovely. Mia is shocked to hear he was abandoned, and says that he's lucky to be with Stella. When Stella asks how she is, it becomes clear that she is in a state about her exams: it's all getting to her, and she has to deal with everyone's expectations. She is worried about letting them down.

Chelsea is now criticising what Freddie is wearing; he ought to dress in a way that is more authoritative. He's coming across a bit drippy, she says, and as the heir he ought to assert himself. He demurs, but she is firm: if he wants to be management material he needs to listen to her.

Stella reassures Mia that it really is all right to 'worry' her with her problems. She tells her that it's important to feel she can share the burden: talking about things can help, it's always best not to bottle things up, and she should remember that she's not alone. Mia muses that there must be thousands of them feeling like this about the exams, but her trouble is that everyone at home thinks she has nothing to worry about. Stella tells her she really ought to tell someone at home whom she trusts; she is glad Mia was able to talk to her, but a chat with one of the family might be better.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 16th May, 2022

Will reassures Mia, and Chris attacks Brian.

Characters: Chris, Brian, Aaron, Alice, Will, Mia
Credited scriptwriter: Daniel Thurman

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The divorce case is heating up: Chris objects to Brian being at a meeting with the forensic accountant when Neil isn't; Brian states that he is present because he knows the business, which Neil doesn't, and he doesn't intend to leave. Aaron says that he is going to find a resolution that is fair to all parties, and starts by saying that he wants to know about status of the three cottages on the estate. [What about the fourth cottage belonging to Home Farm, Casa Nueva? Chris]

At Grange Farm, Will is mending a tractor when Mia comes to see him. He tells her Poppy wants to be a judge at the pudding competition and is angling for as many fancy puddings as possible to be bought for her to practise on, then asks how the revision is going; she says it's OK, and he reiterates that she's going to smash the exams, but suggests a walk instead of more revising. He noticed how much more cheerful she seemed after her walk yesterday, and she agrees that it did help. Then she tells him that she has been thinking about how it felt being stressed after Nic died, and with her exams coming up she has been feeling like that again. After a stricken silence, he drops every other concern and says he understands; he wants to help however he can, and the tractor is not as important as her.

In the meeting, Brian expresses his doubts about some of the valuations: for instance that for the contract farming, which assumes the same costs in the future and also that they will get the Borchester Land contract again. Aggressively, Chris demands that Brian should tell them about Spiritual Home, and when Brian says that Spiritual Home is Kate's private business and nothing to do with Home Farm, Chris says Home Farm is subsidising Spiritual Home by charging Kate only peppercorn rent and makes it clear that he is determined to insist on every single asset in Home Farm being taken into account, including an old farmhouse attached to a pig farm Home Farm bought. [What? When? Which? Chris]

Will tries to reassure Mia that lower results than hoped for won't be the end of the world as long as she has done her best: the most important thing is that she be happy; he then apologises for anything stressing her that was his fault. He also tells her that she was right to speak up to him, and he'll do whatever he can to help. He thinks that she needs to have some downtime; he suggests afternoon tea at Lower Loxley, just the two of them. She is delighted, and suggests they could go on Wednesday after her two exams that day. She thanks him for listening, then when he says yet again that he'll help all he can she says he can help her revise by giving her sentences to translate. Will has to struggle unsuccessfully to read out phrases in German, while Mia giggles; in the end he asks in despair what the German for 'I give up' is.

The meeting with the accountant has disintegrated into a slanging match, with Chris accusing Brian of being underhand and concealing assets, and Brian telling Chris that he is ignorant, and is just a parasite who was never good enough for Alice, and probably had his eye on her money from the outset. Chris says he just wants what he is entitled to: his share. He will fight Brian on this; he refuses to be pushed around. As he stomps out, Brian starts to shake, while Alice apologises to Aaron (who says he has seen worse) and then asks whether it really has to be this painful.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 17th May, 2022

Chris and Freddie both suffer unwelcome interference at work.

Characters: Alice, Ian, Freddie, Lily, Chris, Jakob
Credited scriptwriter: Daniel Thurman

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Martha and Xander are playing, with Ian in charge; Alice is off to The Stables for a ride. She tells Ian that the meeting the day before was disastrous and she needs to clear her head. Ian is feeling rather strange about not working at Grey Gables any more, but he and Adam hope to launch their new enterprise at the Jubilee party. He lets on that Brian asked them to help buy her out, which Alice didn't know; she is angry and says Brian should not have done that. She'd never expect Ian to use his redundancy money to bail her out.

At the Orangery, Lily is mocking at Freddie for having got a new jacket on Chelsea's advice, and says she's been told that Chelsea runs rings round him; the girl is unmanageable. Freddie tells her that he thinks he can manage her, and Trent agrees: he has put Freddie in charge of the Orangery staff. Lily is completely negative and scathing about this, telling him him he is just a Chelsea-wrangler, picking up all the stuff Trent doesn't want to be bothered with; eventually he says he is fed up with her interfering, and tells her to butt out.

At The Stables, Alice insists on talking to Chris while he is working, though he asks to be left alone; eventually he is unpleasant to her when she promises she'll make sure he won't come out of the divorce financially worse off. Chris is furious with her about what happened at the meeting, and about Brian's presence at it, and starts to shout about how awful her entire family are; Jakob intervenes and says he and Alice are not the only ones involved. He is angry that Kate is distressed about Spiritual Home being dragged into it, but Chris simply transfers some of his anger onto Kate and the way she talked about Amy.

Once more at the Orangery, Freddie has just taken a booking on the phone for a party of twenty when Lily comes up again; he is understandably defensive when he sees her. She has come to tell him what to do about everything, again, and when Freddie says he envies her spreadsheet mind, has a go at him about his having got all the attention and the estate. She then unnecessarily offers to help about the booking, and has the opportunity to slight him because he has failed to take a number to ring and confirm on the day before.

Chris has come to apologise to Jakob over what he said about Kate, and asserts yet again that he only wants what he is entitled to. After a couple of false starts they agree to stay friends in spite of everything, but avoid certain subjects.

Alice has fled to take refuge with Ian, saying that Chris wasn't interested in listening to anything she said, and she is very distressed that everyone is being dragged in. Ian points out that they are family, and Alice then says she feels guilty about exposing them all to this stress.

The Orangery booking is fine after all: last number redial was Freddie's friend, so he foolishly goes to tell Lily so. She starts right back in to schooling her brother and telling him that his best is not good enough, and he is not as much in tune with the place as he thinks he is and isn't yet in a position to claim he is any good at his job. He says he is already there; she says he has a long way to go and a lot to learn. Goaded, he asserts that in two years' time, the success of Lower Loxley Hall will be down to him, and Lily predictably claims it will still be reliant on her. Freddie bets her a million pounds it won't be.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 18th May, 2022

There's storm in a tea-shop and Roy gets a surprise three times over.

Characters: Will, Mia, Chelsea, Adil, Roy, Freddie, Benjy
Credited scriptwriter: Daniel Thurman

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Tea at the Orangery is happening as promised, with Will offering to get Mia whatever she wants; Chelsea comes to take the order, and she and Mia immediately start to snipe at each other. Will studiously ignores their bickering and goes up to the counter, but they continue in his absence until Mia points out to Chelsea that Freddie is watching her.

Once again, Roy has gone to talk to Adil, who is on the phone to Robert Snell negotiating a long-term B&B bedroom. Roy reminds him about what they spoke of when they last saw each other. Once again, Adil deflects. Roy has to ask him for the job directly, and is then told that he needs to check his inbox: Adil sent him an email first thing saying that if he wants it the job is his.

Mia is demanding oat milk rather than soya milk, and quizzing Chelsea about the vegan or vegetarian nature of the cheese in the sandwiches. Even Will notices that something is wrong and tries to calm them down, and then Freddie comes over and offers to serve them, sending Chelsea away. Will apologises to him, and Mia says self-righteously that they were just trying to order, but Freddie just asks how he can help.

At Grey Gables Adil is now flattering Roy about his capabilities, but Roy is looking at the email, which shows a salary smaller than the one he got before. The offer to Kathy was higher, with a car, and Roy is not entirely happy, but eventually agrees that he is in. Adil is glad he is smartly dressed; that's good timing.

Behind the scenes at the Orangery Chelsea has gone into a long attempt at self-justification, but a calm and assertive Freddie tells her that it won't do: she rose to Mia's bait, when what she ought to have done was to rise above it and not let Mia win by rattling her. He says she can't go on handling herself like that: it looks appalling, and it doesn't work. Does she imagine Mia is going to be her only awkward customer? No: it's her responsibility to be professional, so she's going to need more training. Chelsea subsides and can find nothing more to say except 'Yes, Freddie.'

Adil has set up a photo shoot for the website with a professional called Benjy who has been capturing the exterior of the building. Roy is first posed, then sent further up the stairs and asked to put his hand on the banister. Adil directs him to smile: not a grimace, just a little smile; he's the welcoming face of Grey Gables for the website. Roy feels daft, but Adil is pleased and says his presence on the website is just what is wanted and they'll be able to get it live today; Roy is anxious because locals will see it and dislike him for doing it. Adil tells him that they want people who are proud to work at Grey Gables, not ashamed of it. He adds that Roy is the best man for the job: don't mess it up.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 19th May, 2022

Will feels inadequate, Jakob feels uncomfortable, and Roy is under attack.

Characters: Will, Mia, Brian, Jakob, Adil, Roy, Chris
Credited scriptwriter: Daniel Thurman

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Once again Will is being called on to help Mia revise, and he feels out of his depth and tells her that he hasn't forgotten what he never knew: he fails to recognise an artificial nitrogen fixation process. She gets the answer right anyway, then thanks him again for the afternoon tea, and admits she had been waiting to get back at Chelsea for dumping Jake. Stella and Weaver have sent her a good luck card.

A phone call is Brian asking Jakob if he has heard from Kate, who has gone to Scotland to visit Phoebe and is not answering her phone. He reassures Jakob that Spiritual Home is safe. Brian then asks Jakob to do some digging with Chris on Brian's behalf, but Jakob doesn't want to open a can of worms. Brian becomes slightly hostile, but anyway asks him to stop Chris from terrorising Kate about the future of her business.

Adil wants to create a pathway directly from one of the entrances to the lawn, which would mean making a hole in a wall; Roy isn't paying attention, because he is getting unpleasant texts. The most recent is from Jazzer. Adil tells him he has to take these things in his stride, and Roy tells him that Tracy and Freddie are angry as well. Adil says he understands resentment, and he knows it will blow over. They have a hotel to open. He has to go to Felpersham now, and suggests Roy could go home.

Two mares, Amber and Pandora, have both gone lame, and Jakob is at The Stables to have a look at them. He asks Chris to let him know that he isn't going to take on Spiritual Home; Kate has had to fight for it once before, when Brian having poisoned the Am was discovered, and the present situation is triggering for her. Chris assures him that he is not targeting Kate, but explains that the Aldridges all look down their noses at him and he is not going to put up with it any longer; then they agree again to leave it. Brian appears, having come over to tell Jakob he has managed to get through to Kate in spite of bad reception, and after a stilted greeting Chris goes off to settle up with Rita, who owns Amber. Brian spots something in this exchange which he wants Jakob to confirm.

Mia is making herself a snack; Will is looking up evening classes, and Mia says why not? He plans to get a bit educated; doing the revision with Mia has shown him how ignorant he is. He shows her the options. She suggests philosophy, or languages, both of which he rejects, so she goes to make her sandwich.

As they walk out to the carpark together Adil advises Roy that he needs a thicker skin, but then they come on Roy's car, which now has 'Judas' written on it.

Jakob denies seeing Chris's client paying him cash in hand, and says yet again that he really doesn't want to be involved. Brian did see it, and wants to know whether Chris does this as a habit, which leads Jakob to say that yes, he sometimes does, like everyone. Brian is delighted to have caught Chris out, and thinks it is worth looking into what lies he has been telling the taxman.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 22nd May, 2022

Puddings and porkies.

Characters: Lily, Fallon, Stella, Tracy, Jazzer, Alice, Chris, Brian
Credited scriptwriter: Adrian Flynn

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The chess-mat has been dropped off at Woodbine Cottage by Lily; she tells Fallon that Harrison helped her with it. Fallon and Lily explain the idea of human chess to Stella, who already knows about it. Fallon insists that they must have some apple cake, because they've made too much. Harrison is inventing a pudding, apparently.

Tracy and Jazzer want to know who graffitied Roy's car, and they don't in the least care about Roy. They are happy to have been alone at Greenacres for lunch, and Tracy has a job cleaning in Perivale in the afternoon. Jazzer is counting his chickens about his commission.

Alexander the Giraffe is not in Martha's handover bag, and Alice comes out to get it from Chris. Chris is off to the Stables in Heybury, and Brian asks pointedly whether this is another off-the-books job.

At the tea-room, Lily and Stella make Fallon sit and join them, and she says the experimental puddings are not going as well as they might be, but she really wishes Harrison wouldn't go on trying to invent puddings; he has many strengths, but baking desserts is not one of them. She is also worried about the whole judging business, and it all being front and centre of the day. Stella suggests taking the spotlight away by having an unsung hero competition as well; get people to vote for the person who makes the biggest contribution to village life. It has to be someone who is not in the limelight.

Chris is trying to correct Brian's misapprehension about the cash work he does, which he says all goes through the books. He argues against Brian, pointing out that what he has done has all been for Alice and Martha, and calls Brian a privileged git; Alice loses it and says he is to leave Brian alone: he has no idea how much Brian has done for him.

While being driven beyond the force field the car has died, and when Tracy rang to say she would be a little late she was given the sack for letting the boss down. Jazzer will get Ed to tow her home.

Alice has told Chris that when she paid his arrears of the forge mortgage three times, saying it was a bonus from work , Brian had put up the money. Chris is horrified, and Brian tries to soften it by saying they wanted to help; Chris says that they lied to him. He is upset because Alice went to her parents and didn't talk to him; she says that she knew he would take it the wrong, and he says he got used to the lying when she was drunk, but didn't realise it had been going on for so long. Was his marriage a lie as well? Did she ever love him, or was that a lie too? Brian and Alice both try to explain why they thought what they did was best,and Brian adds that's what families do. Chris goes away crushed, and Alice wishes she hadn't said it. Brian says that Chris started it with his accusations about Brian concealng Home Farm assets, and they had no option but to respond: perhaps Chris will be more amenable from now on. Brian did warn her divorce can get very messy; they'll just have to hope it won't get any worse.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 23rd May, 2022

Stella startles Shula, and Jazzer lobbies Lilian.

Characters: Alistair, Denise, Jazzer, Lilian, Stella, Shula
Credited scriptwriter: Adrian Flynn

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Alistair arrives at work worried because Chris has just blanked him; Denise has her own worries about a dumped French Bulldog they have had to put down because it had parvovirus. She had to fill in the form for the body collection, with N/A in all the spaces for owner, whether the ashes are wanted, and so on, and it upsets her.

Out on the Green, Lilian hails Jazzer to ask him to get her a pint of semi-skimmed milk in the shop; she doesn't want to see Susan, who doesn't want to serve her. Jazzer has his own gripe, against Justin who got his hours cut, but agrees to get the milk for her as a favour.

Weaver has been brought in for a check-up by Stella. The dog is bribed with a liver paste treat to distract him while he has an injection. Stella is full of talk about him and his being nervous of people; she thanks them for being so calm and kind. Denise delivers this month's Public Service Message, about people who got pets to entertain them during lockdown and are now dumping them.

In the shop, Jazzer wasn't asked about the milk but was told off for buying too many pot-noodles; he was actually buying them for Tracy, but didn't say so. She is going to have to use her redundancy money to buy a new car and is rather depressed.

Now out at The Stables proper, Stella asks Shula about possibly booking a ride. She rode in her childhood, a Welsh pony called Pixie, and used to do cross-country, though she doesn't think she would be up to jumping just yet.

Jazzer is trying to sell Lilian on the idea of a new kitchen, but she is perfectly happy with what she has; he points out this isn't just about her, and starts to tell her how much him getting bonus payments means to him and Tracy.

The perfect horse for Stella to start on is a mare called Candy, who is placid and sure-footed. Stella is not to bring Weaver with her. Perhaps Jim could look after him, seeing that he talked Stella into having the dog, or if he can't she wonders whether Alistair's wife might dog-sit, which startles Shula; it turns out Stella thought Denise was his wife. Red-faced Stella tells Weaver to take her home before she puts her foot in it again.

Apparently Jazzer gets a bonus every time he sets up a rep's visit, and Lilian quizzes him on who else in Ambridge he has conned into pretending to want a kitchen; he pleads client confidentiality and doesn't tell her. Lilian is dubious about dragging an unfortunate rep out on a wasted journey, but Jazzer says the reps are used to it; it's a game to them and anyway they would rather drive through pleasant country than sit in the office. He eventually talks her into saying she'll do it, but only if Justin agrees.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 24th May, 2022

There's no fool like an old fool, unless it's a young one.

Characters: Lilian, Justin, Jakob, Shula, Fern, Chris
Credited scriptwriter: Adrian Flynn

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At the Dower House Lilian is trying to convince Justin that the kitchen being inspected by a rep will not mean the kitchen has to be altered. When she manages to say it is doing Jazzer a favour, Justin is thoroughly unenthusiastic, and also says that he has to be there because Lilian is impressionable. Since Fern is already on the way, it's too late to cancel her.

Jakob is at The Stables arranging to give the horses there the necessary booster shots, and Shula asks him to have a look at Benjamin as well to check whether his abscess is healing properly. He is confused about who is involved in the upgrade of The Stables, and thinks Martyn Gibson is organising it. Chris is there yet again, but is not being at all friendly to Jakob.

Fern is in full, familiar sales-mode, praising the house and telling them they are clearly the right sort of people. Justin in particular is in her sights; Fern says her aunt follows him as a horseman: she has seen the Arabs and says that someone with such good taste in horses is sure to have the right ideas about other things too. Fern then starts praising the kitchen, although she adds that it is a bit worn. Justin takes the bait, and asks what she actually thinks is wrong with it.

At The Stables, Shula is telling Jakob about the projected changes and the Cross Country course, which is to be designed by a friend of Martyn Gibson at mates' rates in reciprocation for some favour done by Justin. Denise leaves the surgery, off to give a talk to a school about pet care, and Shula notices she has a new hairstyle; Jakob is oblivious to it.

Lilian is trying to escape to go up to The Stables and see Jakob about Amir, but Justin is prepared to spare a few more minutes before going to his meeting with Martyn Gibson about the course design; Fern says that she's glad of that because she wants to pick his brain. He is clearly being very taken by Fern's various suggestions. She is trying to sell them the idea of a double island, and is saying that a kitchen is not really a place to cook in; it's to project personality. They need a kitchen that speaks only of the now.

Having finally made it to The Stables, Lilian is talking with Jakob about Amir when Chris comes up and attacks her for dobbing him in to Brian. Because she is very upset by this, and also absolutely denies having done it, Jakob owns up to having let the cash in hand business slip; Chris is in a terrible taking, starts catastrophising about Martha being snatched away if he is taken to court, and says Jakob was meant to be his mate, but not any more.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 25th May, 2022

Dexter is treated and Neil completely loses his cool.

Characters: Brian, Neil, Jazzer, Alistair, Denise
Credited scriptwriter: Adrian Flynn

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Outside at Berrow Brian is trying to be jolly to Neil about pigs, but the angry Neil wants to talk to him about Christopher. Just as he starts, Brian walks away to take a call from Ruairi, which makes Neil angrier.

In the surgery, Alistair and Denise are treating Barry's pet rat Dexter, who has been bitten by a terrier on the village green. Denise says Barry is nicer than most people realise: he ran errands for all the elderly at Manor Close during the pandemic. She’s thinking of nominating him for the Unsung Hero award.

Brian has not gone back to Neil, who catches up with him at his car half an hour later and is extremely rude. Brian reminds him they are in a workplace and these are private matters, but Neil is going to have his say. Having heard only Christopher's account of the conversation on Sunday, he is going to tell Brian exactly what he thinks of the way Brian has treated Christopher, and not listen to anything Brian may have to say about the matter.

A splendid cake baked for the vets by a grateful client has been broached, to celebrate Dexter having come round from the anaesthetic and gone home. Once the animal's sutures have been removed, Denise is going to take a picture of Barry with his rat for the newsletter. Don James has sent congratulations to Denise over her work on that; she has also been put forward by Jakob as Borsetshire vet. nurse of the year, though she is not particularly keen on that idea. Her husband John is not looking after Mousse, but going out on his bicycle instead, and there is no way she will go out biking with him on the lanes in the area. Apparently Jakob remarked on her new braids in the morning, and made a real effort to talk; she could see that something was bothering him, and she got the impression he was sad.

Neil has told Brian he's a bully, and is laying into him. He then starts on Alice. Brian keeps on trying to stop him from saying things there is no going back from, but Neil, once started, is not going to stop. He drags in infidelity and poisoning the Am, and says he has given Brian the benefit of the doubt before but no longer will. He refuses to let Brian leave, and calls him a liar. He doesn't want to speak to Brian at all: if he sees Brian around the village he will not be saying a word to him, and at work he will communicate via someone else if at all possible, because he can't stomach being near someone who is so completely rotten inside.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 26th May, 2022

Jazzer is rumbled and Chris starts to crumble.

Characters: Jazzer, Lily, Alice, Neil, Fern, Chris
Credited scriptwriter: Adrian Flynn

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Jazzer is boasting about selling a kitchen to Lilian and Justin, and Lily is first incredulous and then very pleased. He has effectively spent his bonus already, hoping to pay for the insurance on Tracy's new car as a way to help with the cost. Lily is glad that he might last another couple of months so that she too will get her bonus, for introducing him to the company.

While returning Martha to the flat, Alice encounters Neil, who doesn't want her to see Chris and takes the child from her.

Lily isn't impressed by Jazzer telling her how to sell kitchens, which he likens to luring pigs to have their ears tagged. Fern comes in and is similarly unimpressed, in her case with his claims to have brought in plentiful leads; Lily supports him, but Fern says she knows they were not genuine, and she has proof. Does he remember some of the people in Ambridge that he has got her sent to?

With Neil being extremely hostile, Alice explains that it is not her playing dirty; Neil attacks her and is sarcastic, calling her vicious, and she finally snaps and fights back about Chris behaving horribly to Brian being the reason she told him about the loans for the mortgage. She says unhappily that Neil always stuck up for her, but he says he won't be doing that any more. Chris and Martha are all he is concerned about.

Jazzer is trying to defend himself, though Cecil Jackson has definitely dropped him in it by telling Fern that Jazzer has been bribing people in the pub to say that they want new kitchens. Barry also told her that he had been bribed with a pint of snakebite. Fern then accuses Lily of being involved, but accepts her denial before going off to tell the boss about Jazzer's behaviour. Lily, horrified, tells Jazzer that Fern and the boss have had a thing going together for weeks, so Jazzer is toast.

Neil and Chris are out with Martha in the sunshine; Chris thanks Neil for his attack on Brian, which Neil admits has not made him feel any better: he was brought up to forgive. Chris has decided that it is all his fault: if he had been more careful with his accounts, Brian would not now have him over a barrel. He knows Brian is going to get what he wants, so he is going to tell the forensic guy that he doesn't need to find out what Home Farm is worth: Chris will take what they offer if it will stop the fighting. He was awake in the night and went and stood over Martha's empty cot, where he realised that he didn't want her pulled back and forth on a battlefield. Neil tries to argue against him, but Chris says he's tired, and he doesn't want to go on. Neil suggests that he stops worrying about the money side, lets the forensic accountant finish his job, and just thinks about Martha: she'll be far better off with him than the Aldridges. He will bring her up right, whereas the Aldridges wouldn't know how. She belongs right here with you, he tells his son firmly.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti


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