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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 Ruairi 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

Sunday 29th May, 2022

Brian is in the dumps; might Jazzer be on the move?

Characters: Jazzer, Jim, Tracy, Stella, Brian, Roy
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At the cricket match Jazzer is grumbling about having been sacked, and distracting Jim from scoring. Jim tells him sternly that he should tell Tracy the truth about his lost job; it's not as if they were living together, and she'll get over it. As tea is declared Tracy comes to mention that Jim has failed to put up three Ambridge runs, and Jim, saying the scoreboard is broken, leaves with the intention of finding someone who can fix it. His parting shot is that Jazzer has something to say to her.

It's Brian and Jennifer's forty-sixth wedding anniversary, and Stella is not pleased with him for going with her to check on the deer when he ought to be spending the day with his wife. He tells her both that he and Jennifer went out for dinner last night and that Chris has decided to stop digging into the farm valuation; she's delighted, but Brian seems not to be so pleased, and still looks glum.

On receipt of his news Tracy is angrier with Fern than with Jazzer, and disgusted with Lily for throwing Jazzer under the bus. He is desperately sorry that he can't pay for the car insurance, but she says she can get the cheaper car. Jazzer suggests he could move in with her, but she isn't sure: like Susan said, it's a bad idea mixing money and relationships. She needs to think about it. Then Roy comes in to fix the scoreboard and Tracy greets him coldly.

Brian is brooding over Neil saying such horrible things to him, and with so much venom. Exploding like that was not like Neil at all, and Brian is now feeling bad about having threatened to set the tax-man onto Chris. Stella is understanding: she says that he is tired. He assures her that he isn't going to talk about selling up again, but his children have gone off elsewhere or shown no interest and it isn't what he had in mind for the future of Home Farm. When he come to Ambridge, all he had was the money his parents had left him; he wanted to leave something more concrete than that behind him. Stella feels that he is being morbid.

The score box is riven with vituperation: neither Jazzer nor Tracy knows what is wrong with the scoreboard, so instead of Roy fixing it, Tracy and Roy are having a row about his having had Judas written on his car and why that was done to him. In exasperation he leaves to find Jim, and Jazzer tells him to take his thirty pieces of silver with him. Jazzer then asks Tracy again about moving in with her: he loves her. And look how they saw off Roy: imagine the pair of them together as a team!

Stella is reassuring Brian that the pig market is improving, but Brian is unsure. He thinks Berrow might yet go under, while she responds tha it might not. She feels he should take a break: four days off to relax and unwind with Ruairi, who is coming over for the Jubilee. Brian says that at least Ruairi isn't the trouble his other children have been, and agrees to spend time with his son off the farm.

Tracy and Jazzer are discussing him moving in to her house, but she is firm that he is not to say anything to anyone yet: she has to talk it over with Brad and Chelsea. She and Jazzer are about to have a snog when Jim gets back, angry about the way Roy was treated; Jazzer thanks him for making him come clean and manages not to say that Jim was the one who mentioned that he and Tracy were not even cohabiting and gave him the idea of moving in with her.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 30th May, 2022

Of creeping, and creepy crawlies.

Characters: Adil, Roy, Chelsea, Tracy, Jazzer
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The plans for Grey Gables are being outlined to Roy by Adil: they intend to put the kitchen in the dining-room.  When Roy seems a bit dubious about this, and also expresses his unhappiness about the way he is being treated by various villagers, Adil reassures him that feeling like a pariah in his own village will pass, and likens his situation to the racism he encountered from some new neighbours as a child: within six months, he was taking their dog for walks.  The Tracy Horrobins will come round.

While Tracy is hoovering Gary's room Chelsea gets home, and says she wants to have the room Gary has moved out of; Brad can have her old room.  Tracy takes the opportunity to ask about Jazzer moving in, saying that Brad and Bert are in favour, but Chelsea immediately says that she thinks it's a bad idea.

The old Grey Gables kitchen is to be turned into studios for artists of various sorts, whom guests will be able to talk to and watch at work.  Apparently Adil confidently expects Grey Gables to be a five-star hotel, and he wants Roy to arrange an open day over the summer for locals such as the members of the parish council.  Roy feels he has to own up about something related to the racism Adil mentioned.

Tracy is determined to find out from Chelsea why she doesn't want Jazzer moving in; they need rent from him.  Chelsea won't say, and when Jazzer comes in, she escapes.  Jazzer asks Tracy whether she has talked to the weans and whether he will be welcome.

Roy is trying to make the point before anyone else tells Adil about it, which he thinks inevitable, telling Adil about Spanner and Craven's attacks on Usha, and trying to exculpate himself; he was only seventeen and didn't know what he was getting into, and then when he tried to back out he was beaten up and hospitalised with a broken arm and ribs. Adil thanks him for his honesty, and says it's quite a lot to take on board.  When Roy asks him whether they are still all right, he turns the subject.

Chelsea is wrestling with the chain on her bicycle, which has come off.  Jazzer offers to help, and asks why she doesn't want him to move in.  He thought they got on.  After he has fixed the chain, she finally tells him that it's Webster: she really creeps her out.  She reckons she's properly arachnophobic: just knowing Webster was in the house, Chelsea would freak something chronic.  Jazzer is relieved that it's not him.

At Grey Gables, Adil is still showing Roy potential changes, such as a the smaller conference room being turned into a library; when he tries leave to go and make some calls from his office, Roy importunately continues to argue his case about not being a racist: like the people next door, he has changed. Adil agrees with him that it's better to have things out in the open, but he really does need to make those calls.  Would Roy mind not disturbing him?

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 31st May, 2022

Make-up, make up, will Steph and Liam break up?

Characters: Ruth, David, Steph, Roy, Adil, Stella
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

When Ruth comes into the kitchen she finds it has been transformed into a make-up studio; a shoot for the website is happening and Steph, who is behaving as if she were a bride all over again, is upstairs being dressed up. When she finally comes down, Ruth is amazed by how smart she looks. David tries to be heartily approving, while obviously longing for them all to get on with it. Her husband Liam has also been caused to wear a thoroughly implausible 'country' get-up for the occasion, and doesn't seem as happy as Steph.

The pursuit of Adil by Roy continues; Roy was meant to be working from home, but he has turned up at Grey Gables and insists on talking to Adil about not being a racist, a repetition of what he said yesterday. Adil has a meeting to get to and isn't that pleased to see him, but under pressure says that no, he isn't having second thoughts about employing Roy. Roy then invites him to go for a drink at The Bull. After a very slight hesitation, and querying whether it is actually something Roy wants to do if he really is persona non grata, Adil agrees; he appreciates the offer, and suggests one o'clock.

David murmurs to Ruth that he is developing photographer's knuckle; they still have to do the outside shots and Steph has thought of yet another set-up to pose for in the barn. When Stella comes to discuss the shearing with Ruth, she is amused to see David crawling around on the floor trying to get the perfect shot.

Sparkling mineral water is Adil's choice, and Roy has a non-alcoholic beer. They look at the poster for the Unsung Hero award, which Roy promptly brings round to him not expecting any votes. Adil starts to quiz him about his ties to Ambridge, and his family: Roy mentions Betty's death and the various places his children and father have ended up, then describes himself as the only Tucker in town. In return, and somewhat to Adil's surprise, he asks Adil for his own story: what brings him here?

The subject of buying cows has started to enthral Ruth and Stella, who are busy lauding Ruth's acquisition of ten expensive new cows from a farm near Oswestry; apparently David is less happy, since they were at the top end of the budget. Finally it's all happening. Ruth asks how Stella is, and Stella at once starts to talk about Brian looking tired and how concerned she is, though she has persuaded him to take the Bank Holiday weekend off. Ruth asks what Stella has planned for the weekend, but while Stella is replying Steph bursts in having hysterics; Liam has gone off in a huff and ruined everything.

Adil and Roy are bonding over sweets they liked in childhood; seduced by thoughts of sugar, Adil offers to buy Roy a dessert. Then Liam comes in from his photo-shoot and clearly keen to get a drink, and Roy says at least his ridiculous get-up gives the rest of the pub something other than Roy and Adil to talk about; Adil chides him about being self-conscious, tells him that he must have faith in the project, and proposes a toast to the future of Grey Gables. 'To the future,' echoes Roy.

At Brookfield, Steph wants to know how long Ruth and David have ben married; David says thirty-two years and is instantly corrected by Ruth, who says 'thirty-three' in a minatory tone. Steph asks how Ruth and David deal with it when they want to throttle each other; David is a little taken aback by the notion of being a throttlee, while Ruth suggests listening is a good idea. David proffers give and take, and Ruth adds honesty. David advises Steph to ring Liam; Ruth says he means they ought to be open with each other. Steph thanks them for their wise counsel, and David repeats his suggestion about her ringing her husband.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 1st June, 2022

Jazzer is going to miss Webster, and Ruth is missing a cow.

Characters: Jazzer, Alistair, David, Ruth, Tracy, Chelsea
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Rather than upset Chelsea, Jazzer is selling Webster to a friend of Alistair's, and pretends to Alistair that it is for money. He's clearly very upset to say goodbye to her.

Yesterday's photographs are being admired by David and Ruth; Steph and Liam look really in love, probably thanks to Liam's pint of Shires. David, however, doesn't want to have to take photographs ever again. He has to go back out and help Josh demolish a shed, whose timber will be useful for the Lakey Hill beacon. Ruth's phone rings, and when she answers, it's a haulier to tell her that her cows will be arriving imminently (and unexpectedly): he's in the village now, but can't find the farm.

The sacrifice of Webster is explained to Tracy, and Chelsea walks in on Jazzer and Tracy about to share a kiss. She is peevish about having to write a 'personal statement' about why she wants to be a hairdresser, for an interview.

Alistair has come over quickly to inspect the new acquisitions, leaving Denise to hand over Webster to her new owner. David hasn't seen the cows before and thinks Ruth did well getting them, and Alistair says they are fine-looking beasts, but should be isolated from the rest of the herd for sixty days just to be on the safe side. Ruth says they now only need another seventy-five to make up the herd to three hundred and fifty milkers, but Alistair wonders if he is going mad: he can only count nine new cows, not ten.

When things are explained to her Chelsea is horrified that Webster has been sold; Jazzer realises the spider was not the real reason for her saying she didn't want him to move in, and demands to know what is wrong with him? She manages to explain: she has worked out that her mother always thinks each new man (Jerry, Ray, Roman) is The One; they move in, and then they can't stand living with the family and leave. Jazzer is the best man Tracy has ever had, and if he leaves her it will break Chelsea's heart as well as Tracy's, so she doesn't want him to move in. Tracy reassures her: the others cared only for themselves, whereas Jazzer cares about her, and about her children too. Jazzer is flattered, and Chelsea starts to cry.

At Brookfield, David is being very vocally concerned by Josh's exuberent use of the grabber, while Ruth has been on the phone to the auctioneers, whom she reports as being no help at all: they say it's up to the farmer, and if he is not answering the phone to her, they won't be able to get hold of him either. Ruth, exasperated, wants to know how on earth you can lose a cow.

Jazzer is coaching Chelsea about what to write in her statement about why she wants to be a hairdresser. He elicits that what makes her passionate about it is how it can change the way people feel about themselves; she goes off to write about what she did for Lynda. Tracy is sorry about Webster, but Jazzer thinks they will both be happier in their new homes. Now he and Tracy can go and get the new car, and perhaps collect something celebratory for the evening meal. The only flaw left is that Jazzer has not yet told Jim he is moving out, and since Jim has a council meeting tonight, he'll have to wait until after work tomorrow to break the news to him.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 2nd June, 2022

Brian is disappointed, Jim displeased, and Stella and Alice discomposed.

Characters: Ruairi, Brian, Alistair, Jim, Jazzer, Julianne, Stella, Alice
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Home for the Bank Holiday weekend, Ruairi has brought an anniversary present for his parents; Brian tells him he hasn't forgotten that Siobhán died fifteen years ago, and offers to go for a drink with him in Borchester if he wants to talk. Ruairi is touched, and readily agrees; then his phone rings, and Brian goes off downstairs saying he'll see him down there. It's Julianne; she has a problem she hopes that Ruairi can help her with. The person who was going to go with her has let her down and she wants Ruairi to be her plus-one at a charity auction in Birmingham that evening. She will give him a bonus: he agrees to come, and she thanks him.

While they wait for supper Alistair wonders why Jim walked Aubrey home after last night's council meeting when he normally can't stand her; Jim tells him it was because she is in an orthopaedic shoe for a sprain, which makes it difficult for her to get about her house, and she asked him to feed her cats, and he then unloaded the dishwasher for her. Jazzer comes in looking for 'the thing you crush garlic with': he is cooking a spag. bol. from scratch even though it isn't his turn. Jim and Alistair were surprised by this, and Jim is suspicious. Alistair smells onions burning and sounds the alarm. Jazzer starts again from scratch, refusing to allow Jim, who is hungry, to make the chicken salad he had planned and bought the ingredients for.

The meeting of Ruairi and Julianne is in progress; she has got him a room at the hotel so he won't have to rush off early, and appreciates him cancelling his plans. She tells him that she is going to try to get him a summer internship with an investor friend who has offices in the Shard, and she wants him to tell her if something catches his eye in the auction. They get into the lift to go to the top-floor restaurant.

Alice rings Brian to say she and Jennifer are off up Lakey Hill to see the beacon lit and want to know whether Brian will join them. He refuses; he's angry that Ruairi has gone off to spend time with 'old friends from school', and he is angry with Stella for trying to get him to stop work at nine in the evening. He crossly tells her to go away and enjoy herself with Alice and Jennifer.

In Greenacres Jazzer is fussing over the meal, carrying all three plates in at once and nearly dropping them; he says he hopes it's worth the wait. Jim has realised he is trying to butter them up, and wants to know what is going on, so Jazzer comes clean: he is moving in with Tracy. Alistair congratulates him, but Jim says nothing, then asks for the parmesan: Jazzer goes to fetch it for him.

At the auction, Ruairi is ecstatic about a signed England shirt worn by Harry Kane; it will be delivered to Julianne's flat in London, and he can collect it next time he is over. He has unknowingly been chatting with someone important, whom he says looks 'exactly like Paul O'Grady', adding that a woman there is also a dead ringer – for Kate Adie; we learn what Julianne might see in him when she finds his comparisons amusing. But his phone gets an alert and the steel fist peeps through her velvet glove: she reminds him of their arrangement and requires him to turn it off before they go looking for cocktails.

On the way home Alice is griping because Brian is still in the office: she is cross because he would have been happy to spend the evening with Ruairi but snubbed the rest of his family. She and Stella go to fetch him and make him stop working; Stella goes in first, finds him on the floor with chest and arm pain and recognises that he is having a heart attack. She firmly tells a wittering Alice to call an ambulance.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Friday 3rd June, 2022

Jim is in the doghouse again and Ruairi decides to break his word to Brian.

Characters: Ruairi, Julianne, Alice, Brian, Alistair, Jim
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Marina Caldarone
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

In the Birmingham hotel Ruairi has come down slightly late for breakfast, having overslept, and after Julianne demands a good-morning kiss they discuss what they have to do today. She was unable to call him in his room because he hadn't turned his phone back on; when he does, he reacts in horror to incoming messages about Brian's collapse.

Back at Willow Cottage, Alice is visiting Brian; she has got Susan to babysit Martha. Brian is greatly irritated by all the unwanted attention and wants to know what she told Susan: the truth, says Alice, that he had an angina attack and he needs looking after. Brian is not impressed that word of his condition is all over the village: the Carters are going to think he's in more need of care than a one-year-old. He asserts that he is perfectly well and it was nothing: he felt better even before the ambulance arrived. Alice tells him he didn't look it, and it's not what the doctor in A&E said either. Furthermore, they won't know how serious it is until he has been to the chest pain clinic: just because it wasn't a heart attack this time, that doesn't mean he might not have one later, and he might need a stent or a bypass. Brian suggests that equally, he might not. She tells him she isn't going anywhere, and that's final. In any case, Jennifer deserves a rest after being up all night; Brian suspects she won't be resting, but on the phone to all and sundry spreading word of his imminent demise. Brian is worried about how much hay Martyn Gibson can make out of his collapse. When they hear the front door, he is not at all pleased, but it's Ruairi.

Alistair too has slept late, and asks Jim whether he has seen Jazzer. When Jim says he doesn't know where Jazzer is, Alistair is cross; Jim tries to get away to his shift in the village shop, but Alistair insists on having a heart to heart and requires Jim to talk to him. Tell me how you feel, he says.

Alice is making a meal of Brian's angina attack for Ruairi's benefit; Brian does his best to put it into perspective by saying it was over in minutes. Ruairi asks Alice what she did, and she has to admit she didn't do a lot; it was Stella who took charge. Ruairi is glad there was someone there who knew what they were doing. Brian says that Alice is being a little melodramatic, and Ruairi mentions the messages on his phone; Alice decides to go and check on Mum, to see how she's doing. She leaves Brian and Ruairi together. Brian complains she treats him as if he were a complete idiot, and Ruairi says he is so, so sorry; if only he had been with Brian so he wasn't on his own when it happened. Brian points out testily that he couldn't have done anything. Ruairi wallows in it somewhat, and Brian tells him again that he is fine. Ruairi vows that for the rest of his stay, he is not going anywhere; he'll be right by Brian's side. Brian is glad he is there, as a counterbalance to Alice's divorce and problems at Berrow: seeing him is a real tonic for the soul. Then a message tings on Ruairi's phone, and he asks Brian to excuse him a minute, saying it's just a little something he needs to sort out.

The argument about Jazzer has clearly continued, and Jim is being forced to admit he is sad Jazzer is going. That's not enough for Alistair, who tells him other things he ought to be saying he feels: Jazzer is not just a student lodger, he's been living at Greenacres for ten years. Jim points out that he is just a lodger, which further irritates Alistair, and Jim is obliged to remind him that he doesn't do emotion; Alistair knows about that. Alistair then harks back to the abuse Jim suffered and that being the cause of his behaviour to his children, until Jim asks how upset Jazzer actually had been last night; Alistair says he left for Tracy's house soon after Jim went off to his room, and eventually extracts a promise that Jim will talk to him. When he finds the appropriate moment, adds Jim.

Outside in her car, Julianne asks after Brian, and is glad he's all right; she must make a move. She says she will see Ruairi on Sunday, and when he tries to suggest that he really wants to stay with Brian until he has his test results in a few days she points out that he might miss both a food festival and a gallery opening that have been in the diary for weeks; he says he will definitely be back by next weekend, but she is indignant: he can't just announce he's not coming! What does he think she pays his allowance for? She has kept her side of the arrangement; he needs to keep his.

As Julianne drives off, Ruairi presumably having agreed to her demand because he says 'All right, see you then', Alice startles him by asking who that was; she seems dubious about his saying it was just someone who hadn't programmed their satnav properly and needed directions. She is off to fetch Martha from the playground; she sounds put out that, now Ruairi is back, Brian has insisted that she doesn't need to stay around. Ruairi thanks her for trying to get in touch with him last night and apologises for having had his phone turned off; she emphasises that the are a family, after all. She says it would be nice for all of them if he stays a bit longer, but he tells her he can't: something's come up. She starts nagging him at least to stay for the picnic on Sunday, but he crossly says no, and when she tries to insist asks angrily whether she heard him? He said no. He's sorry: he has to go back to London.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 5th June, 2022

Sugar, saccharine and sniping. Whether it is a fête worse than death, Jim alone knows.

Characters: Fallon, Natasha, Jim, Jazzer, Lilian, Chelsea
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At the Jubilee picnic, Natasha congratulates Fallon on its success, but Fallon complains that pudding judging has been a nightmare thanks to pushy parents and greedy children; then she realises that Natasha has invented a pudding for the competition and tones down her gripes. Natasha tells her that Kathy has vacated her cottage, and Tom and the family have been moving things there. At this point Fallon sees a child playing with a fire extinguisher and rushes off.

Finding Jazzer playing croquet, Jim tries to instruct him in its finer points; Jazzer brushes him off, saying that just because he's useless at making spag bol that doesn't mean he's no good at anything. Just as Jim is about to try to speak with him properly Lilian comes rushing over to tell them excitedly that the Unsung Hero award is about to be announced by Fallon. Jazzer cuts Jim and goes off to hear the result; Fallon tells the crowd the chosen unsung hero is Jim Lloyd, who says quietly that he wishes she had given him some warning. When asked to say a few words, he claims to be taken aback and quotes Cato the Elder saying that he would rather be asked why there was no statue in his honour than why there was one, then most uncharacteristically dries up. After a short pause he starts again, saying old dead Romans are not as important as present day friendship, and it becomes fairly clear he is talking about Jazzer. He says that he would like to dedicate the award to true friends. Fallon has one more announcement to make: the winner of the pudding competition, with her Marshmallow Madness, is Natasha Archer. Chelsea gleefully tells Lilian that she canvassed for Jim, and when Lilian is cross about that says scornfully that she supposes Lilian had an eye on it for herself, but she had no chance as she doesn't do anything for the village.

Natasha is sure she wouldn't have won anything if Jennifer had entered, but Jennifer lost enthusiasm for it all when Brian had his heart scare; Fallon and Natasha agree that isn't surprising, even if Brian is fine now. Fallon finally tastes Natasha's marshmallow madness, which she says is very sickly indeed, hastily adding that it's in a good way. She asks what is in it, and Natasha reels off a list which includes marshmallows, chocolate buttons, icing sugar, meringues, raspberry syrup, golden syrup.... They agree that perhaps the sugar content could be toned down a bit for sale in the Tearoom.

When Jazzer catches up with Jim, he tells him that his speech about friendship choked him up, and he's glad Jim took the opportunity. Jim starts to say something about croquet not being an enthusiasm of Jazzer's and chess right out, but whatever he was about to suggest they do is lost when Fallon comes to tell Jim he is to be enthroned and then photographed. He refuses; he doesn't want to be embarrassed any further. No amount of Fallon saying that Joy has made a throne for him specially, and wanting to know what she is to tell the photographer, moves him; then Jazzer makes a suggestion.

A few minutes later the throne is being occupied by Natasha, who is making the most of it, and Chelsea is disgruntled about that: she tells Lilian crossly that it should be Jim.

When Jazzer comes to taste Natasha's pudding, it's all gone; Fallon offers to give him a free helping when it's on sale in the Tearoom as thanks for his quick thinking earlier, and of course one for Jim as well. Jim declines the offer but says he'll buy Jazzer a coffee to go with his. At this point a child throws up on Jean Harvey, to Jazzer's glee, and Fallon rushes off to deal with it. Jim thanks Jazzer for saving him from a terrible fate earlier: he doesn't know what he would do without him. Jazzer points out that he is going to have to do without him soon, and Jim, taken aback, agrees that he supposes he will.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 6th June, 2022

Triumphs and departure.

Characters: Ben, David, Beth, Jim, Jazzer, Vince
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Ben is dragging his feet about setting out for Uni, though he does have to get off; Beth, who has already had one breakfast, tells David she'd like a bacon sandwich, and David suggests those will be off-limits for Brian now he has heart trouble. Ben hasn't heard much from Ruairi about that: he sent a text and got something uninformative back. The mystery of the missing cow has been solved: an email explaining that she had fallen and hurt her leg, so would be coming later, went into Ruth's spam-trap. When that has been revealed Ben is told by both Beth and David in no uncertain terms that he has to go, and he explains that the reason he is reluctant is that he is not looking forward to getting a result from a test he didn't enjoy and thinks he did badly. After he has finally gone, David tells Beth that Ruth wants to pick her brains about the auctioneers at a dispersal sale she is going to tomorrow hoping to pick up some cows, and then Vince texts David asking to come over and have a word with him about Hassett Hills lamb.

Packing is in progress at Greenacres, and Jim offers to help Jazzer shift things. Jazzer asks him to pack stuff from the wardrobe; Jim doubts he needs so many tracksuits and trainers given his aversion to actual exercise. They tell each other they won't miss various aspects of each other's behaviour that have grated on them, and then Jim offers to give Jazzer the first book he lent him.

Vince having arrived, Beth offers him second go at the teabag she'd been using. When Ben unexpectedly reappears at that point, he bears good news: he came second in the entire group in his exam. Everyone is delighted.

Before he leaves, Jazzer gives Jim an envelope to open at once: not a card for his birthday tomorrow, but a father's day card because that's how Jazzer feels about him. Jim becomes slightly emotional and says he will treasure it always: Jazzer has been a wonderful friend, and yes, he looks upon him almost as a son and is going to miss him enormously. They then agree it's ridiculous to be upset, given that he is only moving to the other side of the green.

An argument between David and Vince over who is to buy the drinks is settled by Beth, who has been given a bonus by Graham Ryder for her work on a recent project. Vince wants to buy everyone a slap up meal, but will have to wait until tomorrow, because supper is already in the Brookfield oven. He tells them he is leaving Lower Loxley alone for the time being because Nigel's birthday would have been on Wednesday, and Elizabeth, Freddie and Lily are planning something for it. He doesn't want to butt in. While David is getting them seats and Ben has gone to put in the order for the drinks, Beth tells Vince that she thinks that is very sweet of him, but chides him for his habit of always wanting to be top dog by treating people.

All Jazzer's stuff has been moved to Tracy's house, and Jazzer tries to return his key for Greenacres to Jim, but Jim tells him to keep it: he will always be welcome there. They have a hug, and then Jim is left on his own.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 7th June, 2022

A smoothie, a sale and a snot-goblin.

Characters: Kate, Brian, Ruth, Beth, Stella, Ben, Vince, Steph
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At last Kate has realised that Chris can't get his hands on Spiritual Home, which is a great relief to her, though Brian points out that he is still after a big chunk of Home Farm; she then complains that Brian has not finished his smoothie and he makes it clear that he doesn't like the colour, the smell, the taste or the texture of a semi-drink which contains kale and spinach. He really doesn't want people fussing around him, especially Kate with her helpful suggestions. She wants him to take up yoga under her instruction; he gets up and goes away.

At the dispersal sale auction, Beth seems to be able to read who will and won't bid against Ruth, and Ruth is very pleased to have her help. Beth explains that she is really there to spy on the opposition, and of course to suck up to her boyfriend's mum, which makes Ruth laugh.

The Home Farm office has become Brian's refuge, though Stella is firm that he ought not to be there. She says it really isn't a good idea, and that he ought to put his concerns about Berrow to one side. She refuses to discuss it with him, so he starts to explain about the fuss everyone, and particularly Kate, is making; Stella agrees with him that she too has no idea what a chakra is.

Back at Brookfield, Ruth is full of praise for Beth: with her help, Ruth has bought thirty-five milkers and half a dozen in-calf heifers. She invites Beth to stay to tea, but Beth and Ben are off out for the promised meal with Vince.

Before the meal starts, Vince suggests champagne and also the tasting menu of nine courses. Beth just wants a main and a starter, and Ben the same. They have had some amuse-bouches, and Vince tells them about a friend of his at a fancy do who thought the canapés were all there was to eat, and filled his pockets with them for later. Then Steph rings Vince in a hysterical state and wails incomprehensibly down the phone at him. Beth assumes that it is just Steph attention-seeking again as she always has done if she thinks Vince is not putting her first, doing things like claiming to have broken her leg falling downstairs on Beth's birthday and completely spoiling Beth's day; when Vince gets back he tells them he has asked Steph to come on over, because she is only just up the road.

Brian continues to try to talk about business, until Stella tells him either he goes home or she does and leaves him talking to himself. Apparently her father worked himself into an early grave. Brian is shocked, especially when he is told the her father died of a heart attack and finding Brian on the ground was a horrible reminder. She tells him that she had no idea what to do back then and may even have made things worse, but she learned from that experience, and she doesn't want Brian's family going through what she did. Brian agrees to take a couple of days off, and Stella then tells him he ought to give Kate a break. At this point Kate turns up looking for him and saying that Jennifer is worried, and he agrees to go back, even saying that he might give yoga a try after all, though he draws the line at a leotard.

Steph has walked out without even packing anything; she tells them she went home unexpectedly and found her Liam in bed with her best friend Tanya. Beth exclaims sympathetically, and Vince calls him a snot-goblin and threatens terrible vengeance; Steph asks whether she can stay the night at his, and he tells her all she has to do is ask.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 8th June, 2022

A tale of a tarradiddle.

Characters: Ruth, David, Steph, Beth, Vince, Ben
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The ground is cleared, so the footings for the cows' winter housing can be laid soon, and Ruth and David are pleased with life.

Steph didn't feel strong enough to go upstairs, and has spent the night on the sofa under a duvet, looking at pictures of Liam; she doesn't want anything but a phone charger. Oh, except a latte, and a Danish, but not one with fruit in it. Beth goes off to get her breakfast, but comes back in time to be there when Steph spontaneously becomes about three years old when Vince comes to see how she is and tell her she can stay for as long as she needs. He looks forward to going to fetch her stuff, and hopes to encounter Liam, but Beth says that's a bad idea, and they don't need him up on an assault charge: she will do it. When Vince worries that he doesn't want her to have to deal with Liam, Ben offers to go too, and Vince calls him 'son' and says that's good of him.

The hauliers have rung Ruth to tell her the new cows will be there in time for milking, which pleases her and David. Then Steph appears and indulges in a good old drama about her and Liam being over after nine months, two weeks and three days. David, appalled by the news, asks about the website, and Steph says she wants it taken down. David, who has just received the stylist's invoice, is unchuffed but goes off to obey Ruth when she tells him to do it and not argue. When Ruth asks if there is anything else they can do, Steph tells her that yes, there is something.

While fetching Steph's possessions the intrepid pair have indeed encountered Liam, and it has turned out to be as Beth expected: Liam is innocent of any particular fault.

And at Brookfield, what Steph wants is to plan a divorce party, so she can get some closure. She then blames David and Ruth for her troubles: the advice they gave her was not good. [Perhaps she was too honest with Liam? Chris] When she goes off to take a phone call, David says they really are not to blame for her private life, but Ruth feels sorry for her; David just wants to be sure that she will pay for the party rather than expecting them to give her a freebie.

Back at Vince's house Beth is not sympathetic about Steph having cheated with Flynn, Liam's best friend and best man. Faced with Beth's disapproval, Steph backs down and admits to it, but begs Beth not to tell Vince; Beth agrees not to, but sternly tells Steph that's because Steph will be doing that.

Ben gets home to Brookfield and David and Ruth tell him at length all about Steph, her state, and the party, until Ben tells them he knows all about it, having had a front-row seat since last night; then he reveals that it turns out that Steph was the one doing the cheating.

When Vince comes in after going to two meetings he couldn't put off, Beth says she stayed to keep an eye on Steph, and that Steph has something to tell him. About Liam. Surprisingly, Steph comes clean and says she was having an affair with Flynn. She was the cheat. For five months, adds Beth. Vince is taken aback: last night was all a pack of lies? Steph explains that after their marriage Liam stopped meeting her emotional needs or buying her presents, and he went out to the gym a lot (as he had before the marriage, points out Beth), and she didn't know where to turn for help. Vince lets her get away with it: what's done is done, he says, and of course she can still stay for as long as she likes. An incredulous Beth has had enough and she's off; she tells them she has an appointment, with the real world.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 9th June, 2022

Kate's instruction and Jazzer's catering are both refused.

Characters: Jim, Robert, Jazzer, Tracy, Brian, Kate
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Now that Jazzer has left, Jim is at a bit of a loose end, so he invited Robert for a walk along the Am; they saw a kingfisher, an event Jim notes has has been rarer this year. Jim has made far too much cottage pie for the evening meal, having absent-mindedly catered for Jazzer as well as himself and Alistair, but Robert can't stay and help them eat it because he has to go back to Ambridge Hall and see to Adil's evening meal: Lynda has taken against their lodger. When asked, Jim says the house has become rather more tranquil in Jazzer's absence and he won't be looking for another lodger. In any case, how could one ever replace Jazzer?

Apparently 6, The Green is like an assault course, and after and exchange of complaints against each other about general untidiness Jazzer and Tracy have a row because he has tripped over the vacuum cleaner; she says he has broken it.

Recounting the story of Steph's antics is distracting Brian from the yoga he has come to do with Kate; called to order, he tells her he hasn't sat cross-legged since he was a child. He came for bending and stretching, not chants, which he absolutely refuses to do, and Kate accepts he isn't into the spiritual side of things. However, she wants him to live to a magnificent old age and yoga can help, if he will trust her.

The Unsung Hero award going to Jim very much pleased Lynda and Robert, who feel it is well-deserved, but Jim has mixed feelings about it: he would like to return to the shadows. Just as Robert is saying he really must go home, Jazzer makes an appearance and tells them about his having to leave Tracy's before he blew his top: he is seeking sanctuary, and for more than a few moments. Pizza all round is on its way.

At Spiritual Home Kate tells Brian to relax and breathe naturally; he asks for how long, and she says he has to lie still for ten minutes and has been there for about two. He declares that it is not working: he can't bear lying around doing nothing. Eventually she gives up on him, but wants him to come back at the same time tomorrow. He politely refuses, telling her that it was interesting seeing what she does and he admires it: he couldn't do any of it, to which she replies that she can't do plenty of the things he can do. He praises her for what she has achieved and apologises if he has been a bit dismissive in the past, then admits to feeling more relaxed than when they started and promises to pay more attention to his health in future.

The pizza Jazzer ordered has arrived, and he wants to party when Alistair gets home; a noise in the hall makes Jim think his son is back early, but Tracy comes in instead: Jazzer left the front door open, to Jim's disgust. She has come to apologise to Jazzer, and tell Jim about her financial sorrows and difficulties; she knows she shouldn't have taken it out on Jazzer. He isn't keen to return to The Green, but Jim makes it very clear that he really ought to go, so he offers to let Jim keep the double meat feast pizza. Jim doesn't want it, and Tracy definitely does, so they go off together leaving Jim to his own meal.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Friday 10th June, 2022

No boundaries as far as the eye can see.

Characters: Ben, Beth, Chelsea, Steph, Jazzer, Jim
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Afternoon tea at the Orangery is under way, and Chelsea greets Ben and Beth using the the form of words she has been trained to, but hamming it up to an embarrassing degree. She declines actually to take their voucher for the cream tea, and offers a wide range of actual teas and non-teas to go with it; both opt for English Breakfast. Beth is brooding over Steph: she doesn't know how Steph does it, being a cheat and a liar and a drama queen and getting away with murder. She's always been their father's favourite and could never do any wrong, not like Beth; Ben reassures her that Vince loves her just as much, in a different way. She apologises for dragging Ben into this mess; she hates all the drama Steph seems to thrive on. Ben suggests she ought to leave Steph to their dad to deal with, forget about her and just look forward to their treat.

Once again, Jazzer has turned up unexpectedly at Greenacres; this time he has come to fix the towel rail in the kitchen, which he claims to have realised last night was loose. Jim hadn't noticed.

Tea is going well, with cucumber sandwiches and cream cakes and scones, plus a topped-up teapot brought by Chelsea. She offers them more sandwiches, to which they are not entitled but she can probably swing it seeing it's Ben. When these are turned down, she leaves again and Beth mocks her manner, then says it looks like Ben has an admirer, which comes as a surprise to him: he thinks she's like that with everyone. They are just starting to plan their weekend when Steph comes over, having cadged a lift with her dad, and tells them she can't stay at Vince's any more: he wants her to get back with Liam, and she doesn't want to. Apparently Liam catching her out was a sign from the universe that they are not suited. She also can't stand the way Iris looks at her. Beth suggests going to Mum's, but Mum is with Arturo (in Fuengirola) and Steph can't bear to be alone: she needs her friends around her at a time like this. What she was thinking was, she could crash at Bethie's. Beth bursts out laughing and says she doesn't have a big fancy place like Steph, she's in a house share, and don't call her Bethie. Steph says she could sleep in Bethie's room, but Beth says it's too small, and anyway she lives in Borchester now, not Felpersham, and none of Steph's friends live there. And if Steph were there, Ben wouldn't be able to stay over. Steph is sure Ben wouldn't mind, but Beth says firmly that she'd mind; it's a stupid idea and the answer is no. Steph flounces off in a huff. Ben thinks perhaps Beth was a bit hard on her.

Jazzer has fixed the rail and reckons you could hang a hippo on it; Jim says he will bear it in mind next time he puts a large mammal through the washing machine. Jazzer then offers to make some tea, but Jim asks him to sit down for a minute, and tells him that although he and Alistair are sincere in their regard for him and always will be, he no longer actually lives there. They have seen rather a lot of him since he moved out. Are things all right at the Horrobins'? Jazzer admits that it's all rather loud, raucous even; everyone uses outdoor voice the whole time. Jim advises him that if 6, The Green is now his home, he needs to commit to it. He can't use Greenacres as a bolt-hole every time there's a bit of friction, Anyway, didn't he promise Chelsea that he'd stay? Jazzer agrees to go back – after a cuppa.

Beth and Ben are full, and are about to leave when Steph comes back to say she's sorry. Somehow she manages to cozen Beth into allowing her to stay at Beth's house, by enumerating all the people she can't stay with for one reason or another.

Alistair rings to say he is going to a film, and Jim is about to settle down to listen to some music when Chelsea walks in, having stolen Jazzer's key. She is taking refuge from Brad's friends, who are all dweebs. She asks if he has any cake in the house, and when he says no, suggests biscuits: she missed her tea. He says he will go and see what they've got, and she says approvingly that she could get used to this.

There seems to be rather more luggage with Steph than Ben remembers fetching from her and Liam's house, and Ben is being used as a beast of burden, while Steph tells Beth they'll really be sisters like they never used to be. When Steph goes to fetch more bags and boxes, Beth remarks that this is a really bad idea, though Ben tells her reprovingly that Steph is really grateful. As Steph shouts for Ben to come down and help, Beth moans, 'What have I let myself in for?'

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 12th June, 2022

Worries all round, but a success for Ed.

Characters: David, Ruth, Ed, Jazzer, Jakob, Susan, Natasha
Credited scriptwriter: Adrian Flynn

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The solar panels at Brookfield are very obvious when you look down on the farm, and David is glad they mean the bills will be less, though he's less happy about the pittance the farm gets for the electricity they provide to the grid. When he was at the shop earlier Susan was grumpy because its energy bills have gone through the roof; also she's stuck in the shop all day because most of the volunteers are at the County Show. Ruth wants to put panels on the events barn roof too, because Pip says they should, but David says they need to repay the loan from Vince for the first ones before they think of any more.

At the show Ed and Jazzer are chatting together while Ed cleans up his ram-lamb Stanley, whom Jazzer reckons is as good as any other ram-lamb at the show. They talk about other people who are there, and Ed is amused that Will has signed up for a weekly pottery class to encourage Mia in her studies. Then Ed realises that Stanley is limping on his right hind and they may have to pull him out of the show: it's a disaster.

Ruth reports that Steph has had a major tizzy over a spider at Beth's place and had to be rescued by Ben, and David wants not to host her party; he claims to feel that she is in a sensitive state and not fit to make decisions. Ruth however is determined they should go ahead because at least Steph is being positive about something after her break-up. David plans to ring Vince and find out what's really going on.

Rather than panic, Jazzer has fetched Jakob to establish what is wrong with Stanley. After a quick examination, Jakob pulls a thorn out of Stanley's foot, and says he reckons Ed was suffering competitive stress when he failed to see it. Ed is very relieved and asks whether it will be OK to show the animal now.

Natasha has been given a seat at the shop; she's breathless and glad of a rest, and Susan is full of concern. Natasha is there to buy some flowers to brighten April Cottage up for Tom's return from the show; they've almost finished moving in but everything is still in boxes. Susan sympathises with her being tired; she too found the last months of pregnancy hard. Emma was whipped off to an incubator because she was premature, but once you hold your baby it makes up for all the discomfort, says Susan, quite forgetting that she rejected Christopher because of his hare lip and refused to hold him at all. Natasha and Tom have decided not to be told the babies' sexes, though the Old Wives of the village seem determined to try to find them out by all sorts of methods such as holding a wedding-ring over Natasha's belly, as Natasha rather disgustedly says.

After all the worry, Stanley got placed third and Ed is triumphant; he says he couldn't have done without Jazzer calming him down and fetching Jakob, and Jazzer fishes for a job helping with the shearing, but Ed has already asked someone else. Ed is shocked to hear that after the board meeting tomorrow Jazzer may be out of a job; he decides to buy him a drink along with the pint he has promised Jakob.

Susan and Natasha are discussing the foolish things people recommend as ways to tell the sex of a baby; Susan speaks of her grandmother's intuition about it and wonders whether she has inherited that. When she touched Natasha to help her to get up, she was suddenly sure she knew what sex the babies were, but she agrees with Natasha that of course they have no time for that sort of superstition.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 13th June, 2022

A shock at Berrow, but not what they were expecting; Natasha wants to know what she is expecting.

Characters: Denise, Jakob, Natasha, Tom, Neil, Jazzer, Brian
Credited scriptwriter: Adrian Flynn

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Finally having having mastered Alistair and Denise's idiosyncratic storage system, Jakob has cleared up at the surgery, and Denise is surprised and pleased. They talk about a horse in Chris and Jakob's care that is getting better, though Jakob is sorry he and Chris didn't have a coffee afterwards as they used to when working together.

In Tom's absence, Natasha has unpacked and arranged the living-room, wanting one room in the house not covered in boxes; when Tom protests that she shouldn't be lifting heavy things, she explains that Tony and Johnny did the furniture-moving. She and Tom are planning to redecorate the whole house. Tom can take a few minutes to sit down, and they talk about Helen's problems with cheese sales now Grey Gables is closed; also nobody new is wanting veg boxes. Helen and Tom are planning to be a bit more proactive and keep in touch with people like Adil, hoping to get the custom back or at least remain part of the conversation, says Tom; Natasha wants to help, because she is starting to feel redundant now that her cover at her business is settling in so well. Then she mentions that Susan said something odd when she was in the shop.

At Berrow, Neil is doing his best to stay cheerful for Jazzer while the Borchester Land board meeting is going on; all they can do is hope the place is staying open. Jazzer slept badly; if he loses his job, he'll have nothing. Neil wishes he could tell him not to worry, but he doesn't have a good feeling himself.

The chat at the surgery continues; heavy horses are popular, it seems. Kate didn't go with Jakob to the show; she and Jakob are still suffering a coolness over Chris, he says ruefully. He says he doesn't feel guilty about what he told Brian, but makes excuses for himself about it, until Denise tells him he wasn't blame but was just dragged into other people's business. Then he lets fall that he must store something about her care for her colleagues to add to the supplementary information he will have to write if she makes the shortlist for Borsetshire Veterinary Nurse of the Year award; she has no expectation of doing so, and laughs at him.

After a lot of quite heated discussion, Borchester Land has agreed to keep the pig units open with no more changes of personnel, though they will still have to make economies. Brian quickly stamps on Jazzer's hopes for more work: that is not going to happen. He had quite enough trouble persuading the Board not to close the place, without doing any special pleading.

A discussion about the decorating is ended by Tom having to go back to work. As he is about to leave Natasha throws in another idea: they can talk about the scan on Wednesday when he gets back. She might have changed her mind about not finding out the sex of the babies, not so much because of what Susan said, exactly, but because it made her think: she wants to find out for herself.

With difficulty, Neil thanks Brian for fighting the pig units' corner with the board; it would be churlish not to show gratitude for what he's done for the workers there. Brian makes it clear that he's no longer going to be fighting the board over Berrow and that his concern was not to preserve jobs but to have the business ready to take advantage of the correction in the pork market when it comes. Angina makes you think, and he was even advised by his GP to miss the board today; he and Jennifer are going on holiday to visit Debbie in Hungary, and he won't be coming back to Berrow. He is sending Martyn Gibson a letter of resignation later today, and after that he is finished with Berrow for good.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 14th June, 2022

Justin counts his chickens, while Tom is determined not to.

Characters: Justin, Hannah, Natasha, Tony, Neil, Martyn
Credited scriptwriter: Adrian Flynn

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Following the news of Brian's resignation Justin has come to Berrow and is talking with Hannah, since Neil is still outside with his pigs; he clearly doesn't think much of Brian having told the Berrow managers about his decision before he told Borchester Land's board. While evidently unable to tell growers from finishers, he gives the distinct impression that he will need to know more about pigs in the near future.

A new Hereford calf is entrancing Natasha; Tony has brought her see it in Front Field, close to the house, and she is glad of the walk. Tony is worried about the various lost customers for Helen and Tom, but is relieved that there are three people with drive to whom he and Pat can entrust the future of what has been built up at Bridge Farm; Natasha says he and Pat deserve a rest. He has noticed she is not eating dessert still, and salutes her resolution in keeping on top of her diabetes; she tells him that she and Tom have come to a compromise about learning the sexes of the babies when they have the scan tomorrow

Justin is spouting mumbo-jumbo business-speak to Neil and Hannah, and Neil quickly catches on that what he is really talking about is more contraction of the Berrow workforce. When Neil points out that not so long ago he wanted to close the place down, Justin back-pedals and says things have changed since then; they must however look for further efficiencies. Martyn Gibson then emerges wearing overalls; Justin can think of only one reason for Martyn seeking him out.

The compromise that has been reached is that Natasha will learn the babies' sexes and Tom won't. She tells Tony that this is because Tom is still unhappy about Wren and doesn't want to tempt fate by getting too identified and invested before the actual birth; she doesn't feel like that, but respects that it is his feeling. Tony is slightly incredulous but thinks that it's not a bad idea: and there is nothing to stop her from whispering to him and Pat when they get back, is there?

After Justin and Martyn have gone to have a talk together the two managers expresses their doubts and worries: Hannah is still having to cope with her mum's dementia, and she understands Neil is having a bad time too because of Chris and Martha, but she is absolutely furious that Brian has abandoned them and thinks Neil is being too soft when he mentions the 'heart scare'. She talks as if she thinks that someone of seventy-nine with angina has an obligation to her personally to work for her benefit until he drops dead in harness. Neil admits he and Brian don't get on, but he would still prefer Brian to Justin.

Apparently Justin feels that Martyn's friend Jocelyn has done a good job of the cross-country course for the stables, and says so fulsomely. Having buttered Martyn up a bit, Justin then says that he thinks Brian got too emotionally involved in Berrow and its workforce, and points out that he himself has enough experience not to be moved by sentiment. If he were put in charge he would be better at streamlining Berrow than Brian was. Martyn slowly breaks it to him that after Justin left the Zoom meeting with it more-or-less decided he would need to take on Berrow, the board got interested again and chose to take another way forward: they have given charge of Berrow to Martyn. He will of course be interested in hearing the ideas Justin has had about it, at some future time, but right now he must go and break the good news to Neil and Hannah.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 15th June, 2022

Steph is making a lot of herself, and so are the twins.

Characters: Ben, David, Ruth, Sonya, Natasha, Tom, Beth
Credited scriptwriter: Adrian Flynn

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Ben declines to help David with a chore on the grounds that he is crazy-busy at college; he will however be glad to help at other times, in order to get away from Steph. Ruth, arriving as he is saying what he thinks about Steph's behaviour, leaps to her defence, and while David is prepared to see Ben's point of view, when Ruth is determined to take Steph's part he comes round to agreement with his wife, perhaps realising that she might be identifying with Steph on the subject of cheating on one's husband. However, he is still edgy about Brookfield Barn being the venue for Steph's party. Ben leaves to fetch Bess to pen some sheep, and David and Ruth are discussing necessary repairs to the floor when David receives a message: it's from Steph.

At the clinic, Natasha is relaxed and Tom is tense. They try to have a normal conversation while they wait to be seen: Tom says that Brian and Jennifer are flying to Hungary on Friday, leaving Stella in charge. When Natasha exclaims about that, he says that Brian trusts her. Tom feels more pity for the people Brian has left in the lurch at Berrow than he does for anyone at Home Farm.

There is a nasty side to Steph's ideas for the party, and David is not prepared to organise a punch-ball and a piñata with Liam's face on: if that is what she wants she can provide them herself. He wishes now that he had told Vince he would cancel the party. Ruth keeps reiterating that they run an events venue and what they think of the people hiring it is irrelevant. They just have to make sure all the guests behave themselves.

When Beth appears at the sheep-pen unexpectedly Ben is annoyed she too has been driven out of her own flat by Steph. They are both very fed up with Steph's constant presence, and Ben can't wait for her to leave. It seems that today she ate all the food Beth had in the fridge, and Beth hasn't had anything to eat all day.

There is no sign of anything out of the ordinary on the scan; it's easier to see the twins' faces, and each is nearly three and a half pounds weight now. Natasha is moving towards the idea of a Caesarian; Tom graciously says that he will support her decision and Natasha rightly stamps him down. The sonographer Sonya explains a lot to them both about the babies' development, then asks whether they have decided if they want to know the babies' sexes or not.

It seems that Steph also used all the milk, but when Ben says it's awful and Steph is intolerable Beth immediately defends her sister, albeit while wondering what they can do to get rid of her. It seems that someone on Ben's course has suggested supporting Steph so that she is given a better opinion of herself, and he accidentally lets slip that one of the people he has talked to has guessed they have no sex-life at the moment. Beth is distinctly unamused by that.

Tom is sent out to wait in the car-park, and when he has gone Sonya says she has never before had one partner wanting to know and the other not. Natasha says she can't wait to find out if she's having boys or girls.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 16th June, 2022

Susan and Neil play host, and Tom is over the moon.

Characters: Neil, Susan, Tom, Tony, Natasha, Hannah
Credited scriptwriter: Adrian Flynn

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Because Christopher has no time off for the rest of the week Neil and Susan are going to take Martha to buy some new shoes, and they have invited Hannah for a meal, which Susan is making. She tells Neil firmly that she wants no more talk about Martyn Gibson, and has planned a Mediterranean meal to make a fuss of Hannah, who was delighted to be asked. She bought some tiramisu at Underwoods when she was there getting some wool, with which she plans to knit bootees for Tom and Natasha's twins, which surprises Neil; she explains that seeing how badly Chris and Martha are being treated has made her want to reach out.

At Bridge Farm, Pat and Natasha too are cooking, and Tom has come to talk with Tony and enjoy a few minutes chilling in the garden. Tony tells him that he still hasn't heard how the scan went, and clearly hopes for information about it.

The extra effort Susan has made over the meal is a success; Neil explains what a frittata is to Hannah, who doesn't need the explanation: she is well-travelled. Susan cuts in when Neil mentions Martyn Gibson and asks what countries Hannah has visited; after quite a list she says that her favourite place was Lisbon, with her mum, when they went there for a long weekend as mates rather than mother and daughter a few years ago ... when mum was still her mum.

The men are discussing Natasha's pregnancy and the information that was given at the scan, and deciding how she ought to behave, when Natasha comes out to say food is in fifteen minutes. Tony obeys the order he has been given to cut some sweet peas for the table, while Natasha tells Tom that Pat is in favour of a C-section, and (when he asks) that she has told Pat the sex of the babies. Tom is rather put out.

At the meal, Susan is making fun of Lynda's (correct) pronunciation of bruschetta, and Hannah praises the food and mentions her troubles with her mother's dementia making it difficult for her to cook without interruption from her stepfather asking for help. Susan and Neil suggest that perhaps her mother will have to go into a home, and Hannah says that eventually she will have to, but it will upset her mother terribly. She says that she's grateful for the chance to talk about things. Just as she is about to have another glass of wine, she gets a text from her step-father. She'll have to go home, since it's obviously going to be a lengthy call: her mother is in a bad way. Susan goes to pack some food for her to take with her.

More plans for the complete refurbishment of April Cottage are being made, and when Tony comes back out to say supper will be in two minutes it's clear he and Pat have talked about the babies' sex. Tom grumps that he is the only one in the family who doesn't know, and when Tony says that was what he wanted, that he has changed his mind. Natasha tells him that the sonographer told her they have a beautiful little girl and a beautiful little boy, and he is delighted.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Friday 17th June, 2022

Jakob parrots, Denise tends a cockatiel, and Martyn continues to weasel.

Characters: Alistair, Denise, Jakob, Neil, Jazzer, Martyn
Credited scriptwriter: Adrian Flynn

Director: Rosemary Watts
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The Borsetshire Society for Veterinary Welfare has sent a letter to Denise: it's an invitation to the final for Vet Nurse of the Year on 7th July. Apparently Jakob already knew, or at least was 97% sure, and told Denise earlier in the week, but they didn't tell Alistair because they didn't want to risk disappointing him. She goes off to have a look at Hilary Noakes's balding cockatiel, and Jakob tells Alistair that he has been writing her testimonial for the event: would Alistair be prepared to listen to it?

At Berrow, Neil has finally arrived to take over from Jazzer; Hannah has gone to see her mother, so Neil has been covering for her as well as doing his own work. He has told Martyn Gibson, who is now glued to Neil's laptop seeking for cost-cutting opportunities, that Hannah's time off is an official day in lieu. Jazzer asks if there is any chance of more hours for him: he is worried that Tracy might end up having to take a job at the chicken factory. At the moment he can help her with the household costs, but if he lost his job that would go by the board, and he's really worried. Neil has an idea, and tells him to wait there.

Jakob is reading out his praise of Denise's competence, and Alistair wonders whether he might reflect more on her personal as well as professional qualities: it feels slightly cool, as if Jakob were marking a Shire horse. It doesn't mention her warmth towards the worst animals, or her kindness to the clients, and he hasn't even started about how much she lifts his and Jakob's spirits. He makes various suggestions.

Martyn assures them that he has no intention of getting rid of Jazzer, in the short term anyway. His first duty is to keep Berrow viable, and he thinks he may have identified some places where they might save money; after the first, Neil points out that keeping the pigs in more crowded conditions would lose them their accreditation, and thus customers.

The statement is finished and Jakob wants to check the passages about personality with Denise, and also with Alistair. He reads out what he has written, which is word for word what Alistair said earlier: she is more than just a vet nurse, she's a carer and a listener with an infectious laugh, and so on. He goes off to a client, leaving Alistair in shock and Denise surprised by the lyrical quality of his writing: she would never have thought it of him.

Any idea of cutting back on hygiene in the units has also been shot down by Neil. Martyn says peevishly that this whole thing is more difficult than he had expected, then throws the ball into Neil's court by giving him a week to come up with a viable plan to reduce costs without cutting jobs, since he is the expert. After he has left, Neil remarks that he begins to see why Brian was having trouble finding ways to keep the place open, but he is determined to try his damnedest.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 19th June, 2022

Father's day fun; Lynda is hostile but Usha thaws.

Characters: Lynda, Robert, Chris, Usha, Adil
Credited scriptwriter: Katie Hims

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The tenancy of Adil at Ambridge Hall is displeasing to Lynda; he sings too loudly in the shower and might disturb other guests. Robert, who has Father's Day cards to open, suggests Lynda should put Adil into one of her shows. She point-blank refuses, saying that she doesn't intend to produce any more shows, then adds that someone has to talk to Adil about the noise he makes. She means that Robert will have to.

Outside the vicarage Chris greets Usha, who is doing some gardening. He is looking for Alan; she tells him a bit tartly that it being Sunday, Alan is busy. Chris then asks after Amy, and Usha is not entirely friendly about that; then, apparently thawing a little, she asks if he is all right, because he doesn't seem it.

Adil has come to ask Robert for advice about local walks, and Lynda seizes the moment to mention his singing. He's embarrassed to learn he can be heard. Then Robert praises Adil's voice and Lynda's shows and says that he ought to have a part in one, and Adil tries to butter her up; she tells him that she is no longer producing anything. Furthermore, her productions were always by and for the community: she has no interest in working with someone who is out to destroy it. Adil is shaken; he says that is not at all what he is trying to do.

Usha is being friendlier to Chris, who says it doesn't feel OK to have let Amy down: he wasn't ready for a relationship, though he didn't realise it, and behaved badly. Usha says he left Amy space to move on, then tells him that she has found someone else, to which he replies that Amy deserves to be happy.

At Ambridge Hall Adil is trying to mend fences with Lynda and not doing very well; Robert reappears with a map, on which he has marked the walk he is suggesting. Adil tells them a consultation about Grey Gables is being planned for the near future, and says they ought both to come along. After he has left Lynda is cynically displeased about his attempts to make friends with them, and Robert is annoyed by her attitude: he has never been so embarrassed in his life. In a rare moment of self-awareness, Lynda insists that can't possibly be the case.

It is now clear that Usha is being friendly, and Chris tells her that the divorce thing is getting out of hand, talking about his problems. She reassures him that money isn't everything in these circumstances; he explains how it does him in to think that he may have to give up being Martha's main carer. She tells him that he is in danger of catastrophising it all; she thinks he and Alice should talk things through and come to an agreement before the hearing. Meanwhile he should actively enjoy the moment: Father's Day with Martha. He should take time out. Chris thanks her and says he'll try to do that.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 20th June, 2022

Chris and Alice are in trouble, and Steph, for once, isn't making any.

Characters: Adam, Alice, Steph, Ben, Beth, Chris, Doctor
Credited scriptwriter: Katie Hims

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At the playground, Adam is with Xander and Alice has brought Martha along, and both children are enjoying playing in the sand-pit. Adam tells Alice the pizza van is nearly kitted out, with Ian planning the decor. Alice says he really did the right thing leaving Home Farm, but he says he is worrying about Brian, though he disputes that any of Brian's stress could possibly be to do with Alice's divorce and blames it all on Berrow. When Chris unexpectedly appears a bit under an hour before the agreed time to pick Martha up, Alice says he is not allowed to come early and is not prepared to co-operate with an early hand-over.

According to Steph, she has been cleaning the kitchen all day to make up to Beth for putting her up and putting up with her; Ben tries to be tactful about her suggestion she is driving Beth mad, and about her saying that having to tell people she is no longer with Liam is embarrassing for her. She asks whether there is anything else she can do for Beth, to say thank you, and he says he'll try to think of something.

Alice is refusing to allow Chris to collect Martha early, while Adam is trying to keep the peace; Alice has a good rant about him not having the right to do it when Chris reveals that he plans to take Martha over to Emma's place while he works late, until Adam suddenly shouts in alarm.

On her return to the house Beth is mightily impressed with the clean state of the kitchen, which she says is amazing: her housemates are real slobs. Steph even cleaned the fridge and oven. Beth feels it's so nice of her, and is very grateful. Beth asks about Ben's day, and he admits he will be very busy next week, a forty-hour week in an actual hospital. He doesn't think he can go out with Beth tonight as he feels he must study, but suggests Beth and Steph go out instead; Steph suggests a trip to her gym, which has a spa and a sauna, followed by a meal at her expense. Ben wistfully asks whether Beth might go over to Brookfield later; he has hardly seen her all week.

Martha has been taken to hospital after hitting her head falling off the slide but has no sign of brain injury; she is asleep and she can go home when she wakes but the doctor, who is being called away, asks Chris and Alice not to leave until she comes back: there is something she wants to say to them. Alice is worried, though Chris thinks it is probably just about paperwork. Alice demands her right not to be separated from her child, she's the mum and wants to be with her overnight; Chris objects to this, saying that he doesn't want not to be with her either and he is her dad. He points out angrily that Alice was not watching Martha when she fell off the slide and cut her head open while she was in Alice's charge. Alice immediately says it was his fault. The argument escalates, with Alice making as many nasty accusations as possible, even including a cut about his sleeping with Amy, while Chris mentions her throwing a brick at his mother, until the doctor comes in and points out that curtains are not soundproof and every word can be heard. She is concerned about what she has been hearing, and she has a duty of care to Martha so she has decided to make a referral to Social Services. They have said they were arguing when the child fell, and they have been arguing ever since they arrived. When they tell her they are very careful parents, she says it isn't her they have to convince: it's the social worker.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 21st June, 2022

Adil wins Kirsty over, and Chris feels ever more besieged as Neil stirs the pot.

Characters: Neil, Chris, Kirsty, Lynda, Adil, Robert
Credited scriptwriter: Katie Hims

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

After the accident Chris allowed Alice to take Martha home, and Neil is not pleased about that: why should it be Alice who gets what she wants when Chris wanted the same thing? He asks how Martha is: apparently she has a bad bruise but is otherwise fine. Chris tries to turn the subject, but Neil doesn't want to talk about Berrow because there is nothing new to say; he has actually come round to ask what Chris wants for his birthday tea, and tries to remember the various possibilities Susan mentioned: a roast, paella, a Thai green curry. Chris asks Neil to choose, since he isn't bothered, and Neil opts for curry. Chris says he didn't sleep well; he can't when Martha isn't there, any more than Alice can. That's what's so horrible about splitting up. An email has arrived with a date for the court hearing, and he doesn't know what the impact of the social services referral might be on that. Neil suggests calling his solicitor, which Chris hadn't thought of.

Over tea, Kirsty is telling Lynda that she is having a wonderful time because she loves her new job; Lynda says she'd really like a tour of the rewilding at some point. She is still very sad about the closure of Grey Gables and the loss of the great team there; unlike Kirsty she hasn't replaced it with anything else. She's about to start being unpleasant about Adil when he appears. He wants to join them and when Kirsty explains what they were talking about, he is interested in hearing about the rewilding.

Chris rings Neil to say he has called the solicitor, who has suggested using the incident with Martha as evidence against Alice at the hearing, since she was in charge of the toddler when it happened. Chris isn't happy about that, because he was there as well, but Neil makes much of the fact that the child was technically in Alice's care at the time. Apparently the solicitor also asked if Chris is sure Alice isn't drinking.

Explanation of leaf-littering to fertilise saplings is the order of the day in Kirsty's talk, and both Adil and Lynda are interested. Adil tells them it reminds him of his nanny doing Zero Budget Natural Farming in Pakistan, weaning the soil off chemicals and seeing an annual increase in yields. Lynda is startled to learn that his grandmother is still farming in her early eighties; Adil says she is a force of nature, like Lynda. Then Robert comes and joins them, though Lynda would clearly rather get away and is not particularly welcoming.

Chris has had a phone call telling him that Social Services are coming to interview him tomorrow and Alice on Thursday; Neil thinks that's good, since they are sure to see what a great dad he is, but Chris is unhappy about it and feels that it is just one thing after another and he can't cope with it all. When Neil asks whether he really is sure Alice hasn't been drinking, Chris asserts that Alice hasn't had a drink for nearly a year, then is encouraged by Neil to wonder whether he really can be sure about that.

Adil is talking about going back to Pakistan regularly as a child and how he developed an interest in farming and the countryside while he was there; it's the reason he has taken this job. With Robert's enthusiastic encouragement for the idea, Kirsty suggests a wild swimming pool at Grey Gables and Adil says he might look into that. Lynda tells Adil that she has something else she needs to talk to him about: he has to stop singing in the shower, because they have had a complaint about it. She declines to say who made the complaint, and it sounds very much as if Robert thinks she has invented it: he and Kirsty are loud in their condemnation of people so joyless that they object to song. Adil changes the subject to ask Kirsty if he might have a tour of the rewilding, and Kirsty suggests both he and Lynda could go tomorrow morning, which would work for Adil, who can't manage any other day this week. Lynda immediately says she has an engagement, and when Robert expresses surprise says she has to have a haircut. Kirsty cheerfully agrees to show her round on some other day.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 22nd June, 2022

Adil and Kirsty chum up and Chris breaks down.

Characters: Chris, Neil, Adil, Kirsty, Sam the Social Worker
Credited scriptwriter: Katie Hims

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The birthday meal is in doubt; Chris doesn't want to go round for it and Neil is on the phone trying to change his mind. He's expecting the social worker to ring the doorbell and wake Martha, who had a bad night, and is feeling completely stressed out. He doesn't know what the social worker will be looking for, and is worrying about the hoovering. Then the doorbell rings, and sure enough Martha wakes and starts to cry. Chris hurries to calm her.

Adil has turned up for his rewilding tour in casual clothes, which Kirsty says make him look like a proper farmer instead of a mover and shaker in his suit. He thinks that is a fine compliment, and says he sometimes wonders if he is in the proper job. Then he winds Kirsty up about saying mover and shaker until she threatens to refuse to show him round.

The social worker, Sam, manages to relax Chris, admiring Martha and making it clear that the state of the flat isn't important. He asks for Chris's account of what happened on Monday, and Chris tells him he was early to fetch Martha on Monday, and Alice wasn't happy about it so they started to argue. He is mortified that they didn't notice Martha getting out of the sandpit and starting to try to climb on the slide. Sam is understanding over that, but then wants to know whether Chris has concerns about whether Alice might have lapsed into drinking; something he said at the hospital gave that impression. Chris is absolutely clear that he doesn't think she is drinking, even when he is told he mustn't protect her if she is and that his first concern must be Martha.

At the rewilding, Kirsty and Adil are getting on well and having a good morning; they even see a peacock butterfly. He asks her how he can win round Lynda Snell, and Kirsty doesn't know; she doesn't understand what is wrong with Lynda. Adil says that even though she is rude to him, he can't help liking her. Kirsty says Lynda is very unhappy about Grey Gables closing, and Adil says he is only the agent, and he dare not make any promises in case he can't keep them, but he knows it is going to reopen and that they will be using local produce and local people as part of the draw for the place. He wants some wild patches in the grounds, too; Kirsty offers to help with that.

Chris is telling Sam that Alice is just a really, really good mum: she's more relaxed than he is, and she's creative and plays with Martha in an interesting way where Chris is a bit boring. He starts to cry, and when Sam wonders why, explains it's because he never saw this coming; they had a great marriage and they were really happy, and he envisaged them bringing their kids up together, and now it's not happening and he's heartbroken. She's a really good person. Sam thanks him for being so honest with him; he thinks he's got everything he needs, and he'll let them know next week what conclusions have been reached and try not to keep them hanging on for too long. As he is getting ready to leave the doorbell rings and Neil comes in; he has come to make sure Chris will come to supper, but he wants to say something to Sam too: just that Chris is a wonderful father. Sam is almost as embarrassed as Chris by this; he repeats that he has to get to another appointment and he has everything he needs. Neil tells him it is Chris's birthday and Sam politely wishes him a happy birthday, which embarrasses Chris even more. After Sam has left Chris tells Neil he has no idea how it went, but he cried about Alice, and about the fact that he can't believe how he and Alice are now. He couldn't say a bad word about her if he tried; Neil thinks that was the right thing to have done, even though the Aldridges haven't played fair. Now Chris is worrying about what Alice might say tomorrow, and feels his whole future depends on it.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 23rd June, 2022

In which different attitudes to exes are illustrated.

Characters: Steph, Beth, Sam, Alice, Ben
Credited scriptwriter: Katie Hims

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

It seems inevitable that Steph would be planning the party well in advance, with a make-up artist employed and possibly a hair-colour change for her. Beth isn't particularly enthusiastic about the party, but they agree to go and hang out together again soon: the other night was fun. Steph lets on that she has hired a male stripper, and Beth says it sounds a bit crazy. Is she sure about it?

Sam has arrived before Alice has finished tidying up, though she assures him she has found some nice biscuits. He reassures her that it's OK Martha being with her dad rather than at The Nest.

Beth is trying to suggest to Steph that a party and stripper and so on might not be a good idea; Steph replies that she needs to have fun. She wants to forget Liam. Beth tries to persuade her to cancel the party, and just tell her friends she doesn't feel like it, but then Ben turns up with a box of stuff Steph asked him to order for it. Beth asks whether they can send it back, but weathercock Steph completely forgets that ten seconds earlier she was agreeing to cancel the whole thing, and starts looking through what he's brought.

It's reached the point in Alice's account of Monday at which they lost sight of Martha, and she is explaining that they really were watching her even though they were quarrelling. Then she abruptly comes out with the information that she is an alcoholic in recovery, which Sam already knew, and offers to have blood tests and hair tests to confirm she's not drinking; Sam says he has spoken to her health visitor and she has no concerns about it. He hasn't come to catch Alice out; then he suggests they might talk a little bit about Martha.

When he is told about the stripper for the party Ben is rather taken aback, but after a pause tells them that Freddie is working on a play-list; then he reveals that he's got some gold willy confetti and Steph thinks it's hilarious. Beth doesn't: the whole thing is really freaking her out.

Alice is asked by Sam whether hand-overs are often as fraught as Monday's was, and she says they've been worse lately because of divorce stuff: she wants Martha to live with her, and the primary residence to be with her, whereas Chris wants a fifty-fifty split. They have a court hearing coming up, and Chris is quite angry at the moment. When asked if Chris has ever been in any way violent she is appalled and denies the possibility absolutely, saying he's a really gentle person and she hates the idea anyone could think that about him. Then Sam says the doctor was concerned about Chris having had an affair with Alice's best friend, and when Alice is reluctant to talk about it says that this might be relevant: there are certain behaviours that sometimes concern them. Alice makes it clear that she and Chris weren't together when it happened and although she was very hurt because they kept it a secret, it's nothing to do with anything really. She doesn't feel he neglected Martha because of it, nor that he prioritises his love-life over Martha's well-being. She tells Sam what she thinks the real problem is: it's money that has poisoned their divorce and got both families so stressed, and she doesn't even know how it got like that. But she knows Chris is an amazing dad: he always puts Martha first above everything else in his life, he's good, he's kind and he's patient, and he loves her so much. He'd die for her.

Steph has gone out for the night and Ben is glad to have some privacy for once, but Beth wants to know why he is encouraging the party, which she thinks will be a disaster. He says he is just trying to be kind, and maybe it will be a laugh, maybe even a riot – in a good way. Beth is dubious and ready to go on arguing about it, but Ben asks whether they can just not talk about Steph for a bit. Beth says she's sorry about having a go at him, and he says the whole crazy plan might help Steph move on and move out. She is immediately suspicious: is he encouraging Steph to throw herself off a cliff just to get the room to themselves? He is firm that the party isn't his idea; he gets a bit cross about it and says that even if he does hope a bit that Steph will move out it doesn't make him a terrible person. Beth agrees that it would be lovely to get the room back.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Friday 24th June, 2022

Chris and Alice grow up; Kirsty, Adam and Adil are grown up; Lynda is Lydna.

Characters: Alice, Chris, Lynda, Kirsty, Adam, Adil
Credited scriptwriter: Katie Hims

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

It seems that Martha has not been cooperative about getting dressed, so she is not ready for hand-over to Alice, which Chris is uncomfortable about; she offers to go in and wait, and Chris suggests that if she wants, she could give him a hand. She says she'd love to.

The meeting for the summer fête is tonight and Lynda is drumming up support, and trying to think of someone to invite to be their celebrity; Kirsty suggests someone from Countryfile but Lynda isn't encouraging, saying that she would like Robert Redford but they need to be practical. Lynda then mentions Adil having enjoyed his tour of the rewilding and gone on about it, and Kirsty asks why Lynda is so hard on him. As Lynda is starting to explain, Adam comes in to tell her he will be at the meeting in the evening because he needs to work out where the pizza van can be sited; he is told that the WI may not be happy about there being a rival for the food tent.

Martha has behaved while Alice got her dressed, and Chris was impressed. The adults reminisce about how she behaved for nappy changes when she was tiny (ie kept still). Chris, whose early client has cancelled, offers Alice coffee, and she accepts.

Lynda wants to know what Adam thinks of Adil, expecting him to resent her bête noir for having sacked Ian, but Adam says it wasn't Adil who did that, it was the new owner. He thinks the new hotel might be a good thing, though Lynda absolutely doesn't consider that possible. The subject is changed to whom the fête can get for their celebrity; Adam promises to do his best for them. Then Adil comes in and Lynda loses no time in making sure he knows that he was responsible for Adam's husband being sacked; Adam then loses no time in telling him about their exciting new business venture.

Alice praises the decor of the flat, saying that Chris has made it really cosy; the two are getting on well, having a mutual admiration session about home-making skills. Alice rather diffidently wants to know how it went with the social worker, and Chris says pretty awful: he was terrified. Alice jokingly says that she tried to bribe him with biscuits but he didn't have one, and Chris tells her that he did take one of Chris's; he doesn't think that meant anything, though, and it's not as if it was a competition. They are both dreading getting the assessment. Alice tells Chris that she has rung her solicitor and asked not to have the hearing about residence for Martha: she is really sorry things got this far. Chris is delighted with the idea of sharing care fifty-fifty, which is all he ever wanted.

Lynda cannot let go of the idea that Adil made Ian redundant. Adil manages somehow to remain good-humoured in the face of her hostility, but takes Kirsty away to get some breakfast.

Chris doesn't want to go to work at all, he's so happy and relieved that they are on the same page and there will be no hearing. Alice says that it all turned ugly, but they can turn it back: neither of them wants everything to be about money either, and they agree that from now on it all ought to be about Martha. Alice missed so much of Martha's first year; she doesn't want to miss any more of her daughter's life. Chris tells her she never will; he really believes that she will never take another drink. She is touched, but says ruefully that she doesn't have that much faith in herself; she can never relax. He says he has no doubt, and she says it's a really kind, generous thing to say: he's a kind man, and a marvellous dad. They just have to hope the social worker agrees, and decides not to take things any further.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 26th June, 2022

Steph gets stood up, pissed off, pisseder, lastly kisses sister's mister.

Characters: David, Ben, Steph, Beth, Chelsea
Credited scriptwriter: Naylah Ahmed

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

In the events barn David encounters Ben, who is wrangling the Liam-not-very-alike piñata, and tells him that Donna, who had been booked to get Steph ready for the evening, has cancelled; he tells Ben he should tell Steph, then suggests that Ruth should tell her, but Ben says one ought to present solutions not problems, and he does know someone who might be able to help.

The 'someone' knocks at Steph and Beth's door as they prepare for the party; it's Chelsea, whom Ben has asked to come and do Steph's hair and makeup. Steph asks her if she is any good, but decides that since she follows Steph's blog she must be OK; when Chelsea says she loves Steph's jumpsuit, she is immediately hired. Beth is sent to meet and greet while Steph is dolled up.

Only a few people have come, and Beth isn't sure any more will turn up. David is scoffing from the buffet; fifty have been catered for, and he reckons the food will only go to waste. Beth can't stand much more, and Ben realises he's made a mistake by encouraging Steph. Then the stripper arrives, an older man dressed as a fireman, and the discomfited David makes his escape.

Steph is dancing with Craig the stripper, and Chelsea is not enthusiastic: she thinks she'll give him a miss as a dance-partner. Then she asks if this is all the people who are coming, and advises Steph to give it up; Steph immediately attacks her. They have a slight barney, and Steph tells Chelsea she can't leave: she is paying her to be there. Chelsea, who has given better than she got, leaves anyway.

By ten, everyone has left, and Steph is taking her feelings out on the piñata while Ben tries to calm her down; but she has seen the pictures on line of the fiasco, and all the people she thought were her friends sympathising with Liam. Ben takes her phone away, and she explains that tonight was meant to be a wonderful affair that would make Liam come running back. Her makeup is a mess and she feels dreadful. He comforts her, telling her she'll find the right one, who might be closer than she thinks. She immediately lunges at him, and Beth comes in as she kisses him. Beth turns round and runs straight out again.

When the sobbing Beth encounters David outside, talking to him holds her up for long enough for Ben to catch up with her, but she won't listen to him as he tries to explain that he was more kissed against than kissing, and rushes off again. David advises Ben to let her go, because talking to her now while she is so upset will only make things worse.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 27th June, 2022

Relief for Alice and Chris, a conundrum for Vince, and perhaps a new direction for Bridge Farm.

Characters: Alice, Chris, Elizabeth, Vince, Tom, Helen, Adil
Credited scriptwriter: Naylah Ahmed

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Alice is taking Martha to a new water feature in Borchester, and Chris has gone and fetched her swimming costume, which he hadn't realised would be needed; he thinks it's a great idea on Alice's part and wishes he had thought of it. The adults reminisce about jumping in a fountain in Rome. Chris is planning to do paperwork all afternoon and, when Alice says she could have picked Martha up from Susan, explains that since Susan is 'not quite sure how things fit together now' it was better this way; Alice persuades him to go with her and Martha instead.

Elizabeth has rung Vince to ask what he knows about Beth and Ben; he says gloomily that Steph, who is still at Beth's place, is ringing him all the time. He knows that Beth, who turned up at his last night in a dreadful state, needs some space and doesn't want to see Steph. Elizabeth offers to come over with some hot lunch for them all.

At Bridge Farm, Tom and Helen are discussing children and some of the dafter name combinations that have been suggested for the twins. They are expecting Adil Shah to come over and Tom wants to show him some real farming and talk with business to business. He arrives and is polite, and Tom says they wanted to meet him so they'd be part of the conversation. [sic]

Martha is having a great time, and Chris and Alice are really pleased. Chris is worried about the assessment; Alice tells him she brought Martha there to forget about precisely that, and Chris apologises for mentioning it. Alice then encourages him to run through the water feature with them: they might as well make the most of the afternoon.

Vince's house is still a bit of a building site, and Elizabeth is ignoring the mess as she explains that she has talked with Ben; she really wants Beth to agree to speak with him. Vince is not prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, having heard Beth's side of things, and in any case he reckons Beth and Ben can sort themselves out without him intervening: he's made the mistake of interfering in Beth's life before. What he really doesn't want is Beth and Steph falling out, given that family is family, but he has no idea what he is going to do to sort things out between them.

The Bridge Farm Big Sell is going on; after a tour of the farm Adil says if they can hang on for eighteen months he's sure they and the new Grey Gables can have a fruitful relationship. He wants them to branch out into cheeses nobody else makes locally: mozzarella, haloumi? He is sure it would be mutually beneficial to both businesses if Grey Gables can rely on a local supplier and not have to import so much. He had high expectations of their meeting, and it has not disappointed, but he really does have to get on to another appointment and can't stay for lunch, or even a cuppa. When he has gone back to his car, Tom thinks he was impressed, and he and Helen start to discuss where they could keep buffalo; mozzarella is a potentially exciting prospect regardless of any potential future Grey Gables custom.

When Alice gets back with sandwiches Martha has gone to sleep, and Chris has had the assessment sent to him but hasn't dared to open it; Alice gets out her phone too and they open it together. Alice reads it aloud. [For the listeners. Chris] The social services are satisfied the incident in the playground was a one-off, and no further action will be taken. Alice and Chris were both sure the assessment would be unfavourable; while Alice sheds tears of relief, Chris says joyfully that they have been handed a clean slate.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 28th June, 2022

Russ feels his age, Beth feels betrayed, and Ben is traduced.

Characters: Ben, Steph, Lily, Russ, Vince, Beth
Credited scriptwriter: Naylah Ahmed

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

When Ben goes round to try to talk to Beth, who is still not answering her phone to him, he finds that Steph is still at Beth's house while Beth is not, and he wants an explanation out of her. He also wants her to tell Beth what really happened.

Lily and Russ are buying shoes for Lily, which she needs to have since she is going to a textile exhibition and its after-party with him. She wants something in return: that they go to a rave on Friday night. Russ is not at all keen on the idea: raves are dangerous, usually illegal, and a waste of time: and yes, he does know, because he put in his time at them in the nineties. There's a bit of an argument, and she suggests that she might not need the shoes after all, implying that unless he does as she wants she won't go to the exhibition with him.

Steph is still refusing to admit that she was at fault. Ben is extremely angry with her suggestions that he was responsible for her decision to kiss him, and makes it clear that he would never look twice at her, which clearly offends her. She suggests he should go to see Beth at Vince's house, if he's man enough, but he has to be at the hospital in twenty minutes. Just as he leaves, Vince rings to get Steph to come and talk with Beth.

After buying Lily the biggest slice of chocolate cake in Borchester, Russ seems to feel that he is entitled to stop her from going to the rave; he makes it very clear that he doesn't want to go, and she ripostes that she goes to the galleries and exhibitions with him because she loves him, which makes him say ouch at the obvious implication. He plaintively tells her that he doesn't want to be mistaken for her uncle, but eventually agrees to go with her to the rave where all her work-mates are going to be.

His two daughters are finally in the same place, and Vince is determined that they must talk with each other; he tells them that he loves them both and he's proud of them for being prepared to talk at all. Steph does her best to evade answering Beth's questions; her account of the end of the evening is almost true, though it completely ignores her part in what happened and emphasises Ben's, and Beth after a bit tells her she is lying. Steph makes out that it was completely unimportant anyway, just a drunken kiss at the end of a terrible party, and starts saying that she and Ben were equally to blame. Vince keeps having to call her to order when she says things that are clearly either not relevant (for instance that she got into a clinch with her best friend at school's boyfriend, and strangely, her best friend wanted nothing more to do with her) or are deliberately hurtful to Beth (mostly slurs on Ben), and eventually Beth tells her she's had enough: she wants to go home and she wants Steph out of her room there, now. When Vince backs Beth up and orders Steph to go and fetch her stuff, Steph stomps out, her parting shot being that Ben Archer is not the nice guy Beth thinks he is. After she has gone Beth bursts into tears, with Vince trying to comfort her.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 29th June, 2022

Of tainted love and stained trousers.

Characters: Kirsty, Roy, Ben, Beth, Adil
Credited scriptwriter: Naylah Ahmed

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Kirsty has been ingredients-shopping so that Roy can cook for Adil, whom he has invited to dinner; Roy implores her to stay for the meal tonight at half-six or seven and is desperate for her help to make a curry. She is not at all sure that's ideal, and it dawns on Roy that it might be like telling Mr Kipling that you have baked him a cake, but Kirsty tells him just to go ahead and not to worry; meanwhile, she's off for a shower.

Whilst driving home, Ben has got a phone call from Beth, and pulled over to take it. She doesn't want to see him, but she does want to talk. He tells her vehemently that he is not into Steph, and she just wants to tell him that she thought she couldn't trust anyone until she met him, and now she can't trust anyone again. He defends himself vigorously, then begs her not to hang up and tells her he misses her. She says she misses him too.

There is hilarity at Willow Farm, with Adil being amused by Roy having made him a curry and the fact that they will be eating Phoebe's birthday cake even though she is in Scotland. He is confused about Kate-the-goldfish, and then possibly thinks Roy and Kirsty want to go to bed, with added confusion for the listener that he might think they are an item.

The phone call is continuing, with Ben telling Beth all about his day at work and Beth being silent. À propos his job she tells him that his ability to empathise was what she always lo.... liked about him. He finally gets her to say that she doesn't believe he has any feelings about Steph, but she then tells him that she has trust issues; she just wishes he had listened to her and not got drawn into Steph's whole party thing. At his urging she recounts the tale Steph has spun to her and Vince, and asks whether he did really say that the perfect guy might be closer than she thinks? He admits it but says that it wasn't meant the way Steph made it sound. Beth mournfully tells him that everything is tainted, and though she wants to believe him she can't really. She says she wants him not to get in touch and rings off, leaving him distraught.

While Roy has gone to look for some photographs of Ambridge in the old days, Adil and Kirsty are playing at palmistry, which Adil knows a bit about, until they manage to spill boiling hot tea on Adil's trousers. Kirsty makes him take them off immediately to avoid being scalded, just as Roy comes back in and gets completely the wrong idea. Roy removes himself to bed abruptly, and Adil tells Kirsty that whatever Roy may have thought, he has had the best time, and has warmed to Ambridge – and that is down to her.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 30th June, 2022

What is it with Archer women and other people's love-lives?

Characters: Helen, Kirsty, Elizabeth, David, Ben, Alice, Chris
Credited scriptwriter: Naylah Ahmed

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

On the phone, Helen makes fun of Kirsty's mishap with Adil and the tea last night, teasing her mercilessly about Adil's having made the classic excuse of having spilt something on his clothes. Kirsty tells her to go away because she needs to finish her lunch and she's working; they arrange to meet later for drinks.

Elizabeth wants to know how Ben is, and David tells her he's not eating or sleeping much, and working all the hours God sends: Ruth is really worried. Elizabeth asks if Ruth's around, and is told she's in the office reporting a rave that's due to happen on Friday night at an unspecified location on BL land at the edge of a wood. Elizabeth claims she can't stop thinking about Ben and Beth, who were so good together; she can't see Ben doing anything so ... 'Stupid,' says David damningly, which Elizabeth amends to 'ill-advised'. David wonders what Vince has to say about it, having half expected him to come round battering the door down, but Elizabeth tells him Vince doesn't know what to do. He is worried about both his daughters, and Beth went away last night with her mum and doesn't want anyone to know where she is. Ben then turns up, home early. He goes off for a walk with Bess, and Elizabeth tells David she'll have a word with him later, if that's OK.

It seems that Kate wants to take Martha to a new toddler gym she is starting, and asked Alice to get Chris's consent to the idea. It's later in the afternoon for an hour and a half, and apparently the kids are ready for bed when it finishes, so Kate also wants to have Martha for the night: she and Peggy would love that. But it is Chris's night, so if he'd rather not... He doesn't mind at all, though he would be interested in delivering Martha with Alice so he could have a look at the set-up. He is hoping to go somewhere with his parents and Martha for a break later in the summer; Alice says that sounds a wonderful idea. She and Kate thought of going to see Phoebe in Scotland in August, and taking Martha. They agree to work things out when they know dates; they can't credit how easy all this sort of thing is now. Then Chris says he'd love a few pints at The Bull on his unexpected night off but has nobody to go with, and Alice volunteers. She wants to find out about Jolene's mocktails.

Elizabeth has cornered Ben and is being sympathetic about the Beth situation hanging over him; he responds that there is no 'Beth situation' any more: it's over. Steph lied, Beth made a decision, and that's that. Elizabeth says he knows she is there for him, they all are, and he rebuffs her. She talks about the tragedy of the situation and starts to analyse Beth's feelings, but Ben is not interested. It doesn't matter now; they're done. She didn't believe him, so the foundations weren't as solid as he'd thought. At this point David obtrudes, asking if everything is OK, and Elizabeth says it is; he has come on the feeble excuse of telling Ben that Ruth has got the rave cancelled. Ben offers to go and make some tea. After he goes off David quizzes Elizabeth about his son, and is told Ben fell asleep on the ward and was sent home by the ward sister. Elizabeth is now concerned that rather than being desperate to fix the situation, he doesn't want to tell her all about it. David sympathises with Ben, to Elizabeth's indignation. She suggests getting Josh to speak to him; David tells her that Josh just keeps saying 'Ben needs some space' and refusing to butt in, but Elizabeth won't let it go. David agrees to have another word with Josh.

At The Bull, Chris has had cod and chips but Alice ate before she came out. She's now drinking a mocktail called a 'Rapunzel' and enjoying it enough for Chris to want one too. Alice apologises for Kate having been a bit odd when they dropped Martha off; she isn't sure how to be, around Chris. He says his mum and the family are having the same problem about her, and Alice understands that it's difficult for them all. Chris wishes that now they can be friends, they could bring the whole family together again.

In another part of the pub Kirsty is telling Helen half-remembered things about reading palms, and praising Adil's insight, knowledge of the country, and so forth. By the time they had sorted out his having had a cup of tea in his lap he had missed his curfew at Ambridge Hall and had to stay the night on the sofa wearing Roy's PJs. Helen makes prurient remarks worthy of Ruth, and Kirsty tells her she sounds ridiculous. It becomes clear that Kirsty really enjoyed spending the evening with Adil: he's so easy to get along with and she could just be herself. He didn't make a move, but if he had, she might have been amenable. Only she is pleased he didn't, and she is just going to take it as it comes.

The next mocktail is not so much to Alice's taste; 'Rapunzel' got a nine out of ten, 'Three Little Pigs' scores only two. She sees Alan, and tells Chris how embarrassed she feels about Kate's behaviour over the Amy episode. She then suggests Chris might call Amy, and he tells her that Amy has moved on and found someone, making it reasonably clear he is glad of it: he did like her, but he's not ready for anything serious just yet. They agree their conversation seems a bit weird, and then a sudden idea strikes Alice: to bring the family together, how about they really hold Martha's christening? Chris is initially taken aback, but thinks it's a great idea.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Friday 1st July, 2022

No explosions and no-one arrested; in fact nothing to laff at at all.

Characters: Josh, Ben, Lily, Russ, Chelsea, Sol
Credited scriptwriter: Naylah Ahmed

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Ruth's interference has failed, the venue has been shifted, and Ben is off to the rave. Josh tries to dissuade him, and then says either he is coming too, or he will tell mum what Ben is up to.

At the rave, Lily is insisting that Russ has to join in; he doesn't want to: he just wishes his eye would stop being stabbed by a giant needle. Chelsea comes over and starts to tease Russ, who is snarky in reply. She offers to get the music changed to 90s classics just for him. Lily goes for drinks and Chelsea is unremittingly cheerful, dragging Russ off to find her friend who knows the DJ.

In the drinks queue Lily is encountered by Sol, whom she hasn't seen for a while because he has moved to a new job. He is management now, in retail. He insists on getting the drinks for her.

Chelsea has talked the DJ into tweaking his playlist, and now Russ is threatening to dance her under the table to the right music. They see Ben, who looks as if he isn't enjoying himself, and Russ tries to tell her about Ben's break-up, which she already knows all about. She suddenly leaves rapidly for the loo.

On her way she barges straight into Ben and Josh and spills beer all over herself; Ben walks off, and Josh explains his brother is through the miserable phase and has moved to angry territory.

Lily and Sol are having a row about Russ's age, with Lily being touchy and Sol being placatory. He tells her the only issue he's ever had with her and Russ is that it's not her and him. He does wonder though what she will do when she needs to sidestep from lover to carer. She looked miserable in the queue, and she admits she and Russ don't always agree, but that's what happens in relationships, and she is in one with Russ: it's called commitment. In return he tells her that if it weren't for Russ he'd be into her. She brushes him off and takes the drinks back to Russ and Chelsea.

When she gets back, Russ is clearly inebriated and quite possibly also high, having accepted a drink from a stranger. He tells her how right she was to bring them there and that it is all ace, in fact everything is ace, and he loves her. As they dance, she starts to laugh.

Ben has been looking for Josh, who has found himself a girl and really wishes that he hadn't been located by Ben until he realises that Ben has now gone beyond angry to maudlin, and tries to comfort him. Ben is inconsolably miserable, and wants to know what he can do to sort out the mess Steph has got him into.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 3rd July, 2022

Cheats don't prosper, but cheese is the way forward.

Characters: Tracy, Jim, Natasha, Tom, Helen, Pat
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir

Director: Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Tracy greets Jim, who is in a bad mood. She tells him she is starting work at the chicken factory this week; he is about as enthusiastic as this deserves. She wants to know whether Chelsea upset him when she went over last night, but he assures her that's not it and neither are Jazzer's frequent incursions into Greenacres. He is annoyed about the rave on Friday, but the real reason for his ill-humour is that he's overheard some Darrington players talking about him and his lack of skill at scoring, which they ascribe to his failing eyesight. She realises that it's a form of sledging, but he still wants her to reassure him that he isn't past it.

Natasha is explaining that she can't help Tom with putting spring onions into veg boxes because the smell makes her queasy, when Helen arrives. She chides Tom for making his heavily pregnant wife work on a Sunday, but Natasha explains that she is fed up with being told to put her feet up, particularly by Tom. They start to discuss ways to increase sales; Tom claims to have been a pioneer with kefir, and Helen is keen on starting to make mozzarella, but in the interim she really wants to sell cheese boxes online. Tom provides beetroot for Natasha to distribute instead of onions, and Helen tells them she is making a gazpacho to be eaten with rye bread when Pat and Tony return from the cricket; Tom suggests Gazpacho and Rye as baby names.

At the match, Tony has been out for a duck, Sean has hay fever, and Leonard is playing safe. Tracy suggests putting in a ringer, Peter Gleeson instead of Sean Gleeson -- Peter scored well when he went in first. Pat is not sure it's a good idea, or even remotely honest, but Tracy is determined

While Helen cooks, she and Natasha are discussing pregnancy and what Natasha will take in the way of maternity leave; she has a c-section booked in, and has cleared the Bridge Fresh diary for that week. For some reason Helen seems to think she may need a little more time off than that, but doesn't push the point, instead telling Natasha that Tom has been enthusiastic about the cheese boxes. The twins in their turn have wriggled enthusiastically, Alien-style, throughout.

Ambridge lost, and Pat is distressed for Jim; still, it seems the cheating has not been discovered. When Jim appears, however, he makes it clear he has rumbled the swapping in of Peter Gleeson for Sean, aging eyes or not. Tracy begs him not to sprag on her, and he agrees that he won't but points out that village cricket loses its soul if it loses its honesty; he sternly tells her never to cheat again.

Tony is doing the milking, because Johnny has unexpectedly gone to Yorkshire to see his mum; Helen wants Tom to stay and hear about Tony's research into a mozzarella herd. Pat and Natasha are not particularly keen on the mozzarella idea, and Pat suggests they need to think about the upheaval the babies will cause. Natasha reassures her that it is all under control: her mum is planning to come and stay when they are born, saying she will turn her hand to anything: babysitting, driving, veg-packing... Pat is clearly not all that pleased by this.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 4th July, 2022

Noses: Steph’s grows, while Lynda cuts her own off to spite the fete and Tom and Helen plot to send noxious substances through the post

Characters: Tom, Helen, Vince, Steph, Lynda, Oliver, Susan
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir
Director: Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy Howe

As Tom puts the finishing touches to Lynda’s special birthday veg box – she turns 75 on Friday [or according to the BBC website and various reference books, was born on 29th May 1947. Chris] – Helen says that she has the drive of a twenty-year-old. What is it with all the older women she knows having so much more energy than she does? Look at Pat, taking up cricket… Might she be jealous about Natasha’s mum? Tom admits everything was arranged a while ago but that they had been putting off mentioning it to Pat. They agree that it will be nice to get to know Natasha’s mum (danced wildly at the wedding, makes a great beef pie) better. They then discuss marketing strategies for cheese-tasting boxes. After their parents’ pioneering, it’s their turn to be bold and adventurous. Borsetshire Blue pairs well with other robust flavours, apparently, including charcoal crackers, honey, figs and pears. Maybe the review section on the projected website could invite tasting notes from customers and build a real artisan vocabulary around cheese. At least they both acknowledge that their competitors are already savvy social-media-wise.

Vince is ending a call to Beth. Steph hopes she’s OK, and Vince says he knows she’s not – and if Steph’s calls and messages are blocked, well, what does she expect? Switching to wheedle mode, Steph reminisces about the time Vince swapped his own favourite, coq au vin blanc, for the fish complete with head which the young Steph had ordered to show off in front of her father’s friends. She says she’ll cook the chicken for him tonight – it will be better than a cold pasty and she’s so grateful he is letting her stay. She knows she’s let him and Beth down but promises to make up for it. Vince points out that maybe Beth needs to hear that from Steph herself, without BS and bluster.

Lynda pronounces herself happy to be distracted from her dead-heading by Tom’s spring onions. She is touched when she learns there are some birthday goodies included. Oliver wambles up, jetlagged after returning from visiting his daughter in America. There is something he wants to discuss with Lynda in advance of the fete committee meeting, but Lynda refuses to listen and suggest he arrive earlier for the meeting instead. Once he is out of earshot Lynda admits to Tom that she is curious but Oliver doesn’t need to know that. She is still bitter about the sudden closure of Grey Gables.

Helen picks Susan’s brain about ways of sending fresh food. Susan is not encouraging either about the complexities and expense of the postal system or the reliability of couriers – and there’s nothing worse than cheese going back to sweat in some hot depot. She knows all about failed deliveries. This all needs more thought, says Helen in a sudden moment of clarity. Susan assures her postage and packing is a complicated business needing an experienced hand.

Although Steph confesses the white wine sauce was out of a packet, Vince says the meal she prepared was delicious. Vince suggests Steph tell Beth straight that she is not proud of herself: Beth needs to hear the truth. Steph denies having had feelings for Ben, then or now, but goes on to say he was always a bit flirty with her. He pressed Beth to let her stay, for instance. Was that not just him being nice, Vince asks. Steph asserts that it was all innocent until the night of the party. When Vince questions her, she goes on to misrepresent the conversation with Ben after the party: he told her that the man who would really want her was right in front of her. Vince asks if that was really what Ben said and Steph prevaricates before doubling down. Vince then says he’ll get Beth over on her Wednesday day off: it might be Steph’s last chance to set things right.

While waiting for Oliver, who is late, Susan says Clara the Combine would be a big draw – Martha has all the books – but Lynda points out they need people willing to pay for their pitches rather than to be spending money on attractions; Will is booking a stall for his pottery, and the Gleeson twins have also paid up. Oliver arrives and Susan snipes about his treatment of Tracy. He says he is determined to face the future positively and offers to pay for the entire fete to signal that he is not abandoning the village nor the people in it: that would remove budgetary restrictions and allow for a little magic. With a sniff, Lynda spurns his offer; she would like to think they manage to bring a bit of magic to Ambridge every year. Susan is in less of a hurry to turn down the Sterling gold, but Lynda reiterates that it is a definite no; and now maybe they should move on.

Summarised by Gus, who has no idea how CG stands it

Tuesday 5th July, 2022

Will spills the beans, Tracy spots a spillage, and Lynda decides to let Oliver pay after all

Characters: Jazzer, Tracy, Will, Lynda, Oliver, Gemma
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir
Director: Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy Howe

Jazzer tells Tracy to leave the washing up and offers her toast, but she’s too nervous: it’s her first day at the chicken factory. She won’t be getting stuck in right away, though; today is induction and she starts properly tomorrow. Jazzer says he’s heard nothing good about the place but Tracy points out the pay is better than cleaning and anyway she’s not getting enough shifts. Although Jazzer had an extra day at Berrow, Tracy explains they can’t live on ifs and maybes and it’s not as if she’s doing this for extras: they need the money just to get by. What about Emma’s frostbite, Jazzer asks, but Tracy says it was only nearly frostbite. She and Jazzer are a team and she can either feel sorry for herself or roll up her sleeves and get on with it.

Will has come to see Lynda, and she assumes he wants to know about the early-bird rental deal for stalls, one of the perks of which is a free cup of tea from the WI: all the details are in the welcome pack and she will drop one round to him later. Will says that he’s heard from Oliver about the tensions between the WI and Ian. The subject shifts to ceramics and Lynda learns that Will’s teacher says he has a very original style; he goes on to confide that he often sees the designs for his pieces in dreams, which is meat and drink to Lynda, who launches into burble about the subconscious released from its prison and how the subliminal dream world fuels creative endeavour… Will muses that maybe that is what his tutor means by ‘the essence of an idea’ – but the stall wasn’t his only reason for dropping by: he wanted to talk about Oliver. This provokes a predictably frigid reaction from Lynda.

Shift supervisor Gemma is showing Tracy round the chicken plant, which is busy and noisy: 150 people work there and they have a processing target of two million birds per month. Tracy is to be a front-end operative, which Gemma explains is basically packing and stacking. Tracy enquires about the back end: well, that’s the chambers which are filled with CO2 to – erm, to put the birds to sleep is the nice way of putting it, according to Gemma. For the production line, a white coat, wellie-boots, hard hat and and hairnet are provided and Tracy is advised to wear her own thermals as Gemma doesn’t want her fainting. And there’s no need for Tracy to look so scared: Marcus will show her the ropes tomorrow and according to Gemma, he’s lovely. But now it’s time to visit the back end – specifically the rooms where the birds are hung for plucking. Tracy asks about the possibility of extra shifts, and Gemma says that is the kind of question she likes.

Will takes a call from Oliver and tells him not to go to any trouble on his behalf, but Oliver feels that if he isn’t going to be permitted to fund the fete, then knocking up a few shelves for Will’s pottery stall is the least he can do. Will then tells Lynda how disappointed Oliver was to have been turned down. Lynda admires Will’s loyalty, but she cannot get over how Oliver handled the hotel closure. Will tells her that, come the end, Oliver was paying the hotel staff out of his own pocket: selling up was genuinely his only option. While Lynda is somewhat mollified, she nonetheless feels the need to go on about how it made her feel when the staff who risked their lives on the day of the explosion, who saved her life and who kept her going, leading her out of the darkness with phone calls, gifts, encouragement and love [the more fool them, frankly. Gus.] were let go. The reopening of Grey Gables was a triumph for them all, including Blake [ngggh? Gus.] and now it feels as if Philip Moss has won. Will is not bamboozled and tells Lynda that yes, it nearly destroyed Oliver too, and that he really did have no choice.

The last stop on the chicken factory guided tour is the break room, which Gemma says Tracy can thank Brexit for: they are having such trouble retaining staff that it even has colourful cushions. Paddy will be taking Tracy through the rotas and stations on the production line, Gemma says, but Tracy breaks in saying she has a question about health and safety. Gemma approvingly notes that Tracy is on the ball and explains that, back in her office, Tracy will need to watch a short H&S film and do an online test on procedures, but not to worry: she can’t fail. Tracy says her question was actually about the puddle she noticed on the floor back there. Instantly defensive, Gemma asserts that her shift is alway white-hot on procedures and that the spillage must have been yellow-signed… Seeing an opening for Brand Horrobin, Tracy starts to tell Gemma how she too was zealous about H&S at Grey Gables; Gemma interrupts, asking whether that was the hotel which was blown up. When Tracy confirms that it was, Gemma says that in that case, she won’t be taking any lessons in health and safety from someone whose workplace actually exploded.

At Grange Farm, Oliver is cutting wood for the shelving when Lynda appears. Oliver assumes she has come to view the pottery, and says that there is beauty to be found in the strangest things. No, says Lynda, she is not there to see Will – it’s Oliver she needs to talk to. She tells him she now understands that the Grey Gables situation was complicated; Oliver says he would have kept it open if he could… Lynda says her hurt feeling has less to do with the closure as such and sprang more from her emotional attachment to the hotel and all it stood for. Oliver assures her that he has certainly not taken it lightly: the staff were friends, family, sometimes even his saviours, and his offer to fund the fete is, in his estimation, pitiful in comparison with what people have given him. The net result is Lynda conceding that since he is a man the village can love and respect, ‘yes please’ to the funding for the fete. It will be the best fete ever and they will aim to double Oliver’s investment through takings and fees, for the benefit of Ukrainian refugees. It looks as if Susan will have her Clara the Combine after all but there is so much work to be done, says Lynda in martyred fashion.

Will emerges with some of his ‘contemporary ceramics’ and Lynda asks whether they are finished; Oliver explains that it takes time to adjust… Patronisingly, Lynda tells Will she admires his effort.

A knackered Tracy is telling Jazzer about her induction: Paddy is a sweetheart but no rival for Jazzer, while Gemma seems glad to have her on the team. Jazzer offers to lend her his winter pig socks for tomorrow; meanwhile, he’s got the dinner on. Tracy says she will eat anything except chicken, after all those dead, plucked, headless birds… Turns out it’s nuggets, chips and beans, but Jazzer gallantly offers to take Tracy’s share of the nuggets off her hands before saying maybe the chicken factory won’t be so bad after all.

Summarised by Gus

Wednesday 6th July, 2022

Tough love and a tough boss; yellow signage for Casa Casey, please.

Characters: Vince, Steph, Tracy, Jazzer, Jim, Gemma, Beth
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir
Director: Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy Howe

When Vince says she’s up early, Steph explains she couldn’t sleep for thinking about how to get things straight. Vince enquires what things exactly: you know, says Steph vaguely, ‘sisters before misters’. Vince tells her Beth will be there some time in the afternoon. Steph thanks him for persuading Beth to come, and he tells her meaningly that one thing he has learned, partly from how he was with Elizabeth at the beginning, is that people have to own up to their mistakes: trying how much you can get away with is not a good way to be, because something will come back and bite you at some point, and the truth will always out.

At the Tea Room, Tracy tells Jim it is sweet of him to be treating her and Jazzer to a celebratory brunch before their first shift. After addressing Tracy as ‘hen’, it dawns on Jazzer that he might have to come up with another pet name. Tracy is upbeat, explaining that she already has ideas, having noticed during her time with Paddy yesterday that the way they do some things seems clunky: in fact, she left a list of thoughts on Gemma’s desk, wanting to show that she intends to do the thing properly and is a team player. Jazzer reckons she’s management material, possibly even a candidate for instant promotion, and Jim adds that Oliver always spoke very highly of her. Tracy floats the possibility of a move to the more highly-paid area of filleting and Jim says he can see her as a butcher. Moving on from this slightly dubious compliment, Tracy mentions that, with Brad having some summer work at Grange Farm, everything is looking good. Then Tracy’s phone rings; it’s Gemma, who wants her to pop in for a chat before her shift. Jazzer reckons Gemma must have liked her ideas.

At Casa Casey, Steph is telling Beth she was worried she would never speak to her again; Vince assures Beth that they are both just glad she came over. Beth isn’t quite sure why she agreed to, it having been hard enough to listen to Steph’s excuses first time round. Steph takes refuge in self-recrimination: she’s sorry from the bottom of her heart, and has been selfish and spoilt, at which point Vince observes that at last they are getting somewhere - although possibly not to the actual truth, as his next comment makes clear. He tells Steph he loves her dearly - she’s his daughter - but he is not buying her story: there are just too many discrepancies. Steph confesses: she thought Ben was flirting with her, thought he fancied her, and so she leaned in – but she was wrong. He didn’t fancy her at all. No, it was she who kissed him. Beth wants to know if Ben kissed back but Steph says no, and that he asked her to stop but she kissed him again, and that is when Beth walked in. In fact, Ben never actively kissed Steph at all. So why, wails Beth, did you blame him? She’s spent the last week miserable: why did Steph lie? Because I felt stupid and ugly, says Steph, claiming she never wanted to split them up: she just didn’t know how to undo all her lies.

In Gemma’s office, Tracy says she learned from Paddy how Gemma moved up through the ranks and she would like to think that could be her in a few years. She’d not been sure whether to change before this chat, but one of her colleagues put her straight: no one goes anywhere within the factory without full protective gear. Drily, Gemma informs Tracy that new safety signs have already been made after the mistake she spotted yesterday and Tracy, who is not reading the room, asks whether Gemma has read her list yet: a fresh pair of eyes can sometimes see short-cuts… Gemma, who has read it, tells Tracy that the plant works to tight deadlines using efficient models, most of which Gemma designed herself, whereas Tracy hasn’t yet put in five minutes’ real work there. What you do is concentrate on the task in front of you and on following the rules. She’s moving Tracy to the back end – ‘butt end’, Tracy interjects helpfully – for this shift: they often put their older workers there. All Gemma wants from Tracy is total commitment and no chatter. Subdued, Tracy says she’ll just pop to the loo, but Gemma says her break is already over, then relents – as long as Tracy is quick about it.

Beth doesn’t want to see or hear from Steph ever again: Steph could have owned up at the time but she made Beth think Ben was a cheat an a liar. Steph says she’s always been jealous: ‘I need help, Dad!’. No, she needs space to grow up, Vince tells her, and to work out the next steps by herself. So she will have to move out, which will give Vince the time and space he needs to work out how he went so wrong with her. Steph pleads with him, claiming she can change; Vince reckons maybe she can if he’s no longer treating her like a princess, and he hopes she will look back and thank him for this one day. Meanwhile, he will transfer her some cash, and after that she’s on her own and will need to find a proper job like other people have to. Steph starts to sob, but he is determined. This is his fault, not Steph’s, he tells her, since he has always given in before when she cried her eyes out. Now she has a new start: after nearly 30 years, it’s only fair he puts Beth first for a change.

Jazzer has co-opted Jim to make up a welcoming committee for Tracy after her first shift. When the ‘working girl’ – ‘working woman’, Jim corrects him – arrives, she tells them it went ok, fine, more than fine in fact: the team are lovely and Gemma talked about Tracy’s ideas; but she’s tired, and wants to go and shower off the thought of chicken slime. Jim makes his excuses and leaves to advise Alistair on what to wear to the Vet Awards do tomorrow evening. Tracy wishes Denise luck and Jim reciprocates for Tracy’s next shift. This will begin at 6am, which means being up at 4:30am but never mind: she’ll have a lovely lie-in on Saturday.

Beth still can’t believe Vince kicked Steph out, but he explains it was time for some tough love and adds sadly that, no matter how much you try as a dad, you can’t get everything right. In her usual cheerful style, Beth then starts lamenting Steph being on her own and wonders how she will cope, as she was pretty messed up. She’s tried ringing Ben: she knows he is on the wards but thought he might get back to her during his break; he hasn’t. Vince suggests she go to Brookfield tomorrow after work and says Ben will understand when she explains. Beth isn’t sure she would in his place: what if she’s lost him for good?

Summarised by Gus

[Cheer up, Trace – at least one person had a worse day at work today than you did]

Thursday 7th July, 2022

Hearts are mended and a zip is broken

Characters: Josh, Beth, Alistair, Denise, Ben, Chelsea
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah Hehir
Director: Dave Payne
Editor: Jeremy Howe

Josh asks Beth what she thinks she’s doing at Brookfield, and she says she’s come to see Ben, if he’s there. She’s messaged him but he didn’t reply. Josh tells her that would be because he’s not interested, not after the way Beth has treated him: Ben thought she was brilliant, they all did: but it turns out they were wrong. Beth says she feels terrible, and stupid and Steph has told her what really happened and she wants to say sorry, and a text won’t be enough… Josh says that personally he wouldn’t give her or Steph the time of day. Beth says she’ll stay all night if she must, but she has to see Ben. Josh reluctantly agrees to go and tell Ben Beth is there, adding that if his brother has any sense, he will tell her to do one.

Alistair and Denise are complimenting each other on their outfits for the Vet Awards night. Alistair claims to be looking forward to the canapés. Denise is feeling nervous, but Alistair thinks she will win, particularly with Jakob’s endorsement. Denise tells him not to tempt fate but relaxes a little as they laugh about the things Jakob was persuaded not to include. Then Alistair tells Denise her zip has ‘done that teeth thing’ and she asks him to ease it down slowly and then, when it sticks, suggests giving it a good yank; Alistair complies, and the zip breaks completely. Denise rules out wearing her uniform and says she could just not go, but Alistair won’t hear of it: they don’t call him ‘Fairy Godmother’ for nothing…

Ben and Beth are outside with Bess, presumably on Lakey Hill, and having a somewhat stilted conversation. She asks how he is getting on with Angie now and how he’s finding it on the wards, and tells him he looks shattered. Then Beth asks if they can talk properly. Now Steph has told her what actually happened, she feels so stupid and is really sorry. Ben says it must have looked pretty bad and he understands how it must have felt for Beth, given her trust issues and how Steph compounded it by lying. Beth says she will understand if she’s ruined everything… Would she be up for getting back together, Ben asks. Beth wishes it had never happened but… are we OK then, is that what Ben is saying? Yes, Ben says, if Beth is. She kisses him, and tells him she loves him: that hasn’t changed at all.

Chelsea arrives with a bulky bag and when Alistair thanks her, she says no problem: she is sure Denise will be more grateful than Steph Casey was. Denise confirms that she is indeed really grateful. When Shula didn’t answer, Alistair had to come up with someone with a similar build to Denise and thought of Tracy. Chelsea says both Denise and her mum have good figures, for their age, but that Tracy has no dresses suitable for an awards ceremony and anyway is already in bed because of her early shift tomorrow, so Chelsea has brought her own. The first, in mint-green silk, has a ruched neck but is too figure-hugging, while the little black number is too short, and cut too low: Denise says her style is more – frumpy? suggests Chelsea – more demure. And with the possibility of pictures in the Borchester Echo, Denise doesn’t want her husband thinking she left in one black dress only to change into a more revealing model once out of the house. Alistair says the taxi is on its way so they need to get on with it. The last dress, fuchsia pink in a classic cut with a diamante neckline, makes Denise afraid she will stand out too much, but she goes to try it on.

‘And just like that, he’s all loved up again’, Josh teases Ben. We all make mistakes, Ben says – Josh comes back that not everyone forgives them so quickly. He’s not liked seeing Ben so down, and had thought the rave might cheer him up. Ben enquires whether Josh will be seeing the Felpersham woman he met there again and Josh is surprised Ben can remember anything of the evening after his beer and White Lightning combo. [White Lightning hasn’t been produced for 12 years. Gus] Ben says he is just relieved he and Beth have sorted things out; ‘unless she does it again’ Josh mutters. Ben begs him not to be weird with her. Josh says that if Beth ever messes Ben up again – he’ll be there for him. Beth doesn’t deserve him, but if Ben is happy then Josh supposes he should be too; Ben says he is, he really is.

Chelsea has put on some music so Denise can make a proper entrance and says she looks smokin’. Denise says she feels a bit ridiculous. Chelsea asks whether, if she’s honest, she actually feels pretty good, better than she’s felt in ages? Alistair adds that she looks really stunning, perfect. They thank Chelsea for saving them and she says they saved her from an evening with grandad and the TV, and then tells Alistair he should have got a limo for Denise, not just a taxi. ‘It’s a Vet Awards ceremony, not the Oscars!’ says Denise as they leave. Alistair tells them he can't think of a more deserving winner.

Summarised by Gus



Sunday 10th July, 2022

Brad is teamed with Oliver, and Rosie’s fattening up nicely for slaughter school.

Characters: Tracy, Brad, Pip, Toby, Ben, Eddie, Oliver
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah McDonald Hughes
Director: Jeremy Howe
Editor: Jeremy Howe

Tracy is driving Brad to his first day haymaking at Grange Farm and fussing about sun-cream; Brad points out he’s sixteen, not six, and denies being nervous. George will be there, says Tracy encouragingly, and he’s always up for a laugh. It will do Brad good to be in the fresh air and it’s better than a freezing chicken factory, but since Oliver stabbed her in the back, that’s where she finds herself. When Brad points out she’s on a day off, Tracy counters that it’s her first for a week and enumerates the many chores she has to get through: it’s only the prospect of Susan’s Yorkshire puddings this evening that’s keeping her going. She drops Brad off and wishes him luck as Eddie comes to greet him.

Ben is handing over Rosie’s various accoutrements to Pip and Toby – swimming costume, hair-clip, water bottle, gigantosaurus. They tease him about being in a good mood: could it possibly be on account of Beth? Rosie is apparently playing schools in her room, and Ben says that even though, at just turning four, she will be very young for her year, school will be good for her. Pip can’t quite understand how her baby is starting school already. Ben lists all the advantages of being in formal schooling – learning, social skills, creativity, sport, being taught about a healthy lifestyle… Just what is Ben getting at, Pip asks indignantly. Ben has noticed that Rosie’s got a bit bigger; well of course she’s grown, says Pip. But Ben also was surprised by how heavy she was when he lifted her out of the paddling pool, and he’s pretty sure his niece is a bit overweight.

Eddie is lecturing Brad on the finer points of haymaking: a spotless barn because mouldy hay is a hazard, pallets laid to keep the air flowing, no overhanging stacks, no damp hay in with the dry stuff because that can cause colic in horses, farmer's lung and all sorts, not to mention causing fires if it is stacked with the rest. It all makes sense once you get started, he tells him. The hay was cut and turned last week so they are ready to start baling. George, who’s off college for the haymaking will be driving the baler, Brad will be loading and unloading the trailer with, Eddie reveals, a bit of help from Oliver. Brad is taken a bit aback but Eddie says Oliver knows his farming, and that haymaking is an evocative, romantic business.

Toby and Pip are both incensed at Ben’s criticism of Rosie’s weight, and Pip tells him it was completely inappropriate to comment on her weight or on any aspect of her appearance: she’s a three-year-old girl! Toby chimes in, telling Ben it was out of order, but Ben says he knows about nutrition thanks to his course and that being overweight in early childhood can pave the way for future health problems… Pip furiously informs him that a huge number of factors determine overall health and that there’s nothing wrong with Rosie’s diet. Ben says yes, but he knows how hard it can be sometimes to refuse a kid chocolate or an ice-cream. This does not soothe the savage Pip – quite the reverse. Is Ben saying they are neglectful parents, letting her eat junk food for a bit of peace? [Yes. And you are. Gus.] Has body positivity passed Ben by? Does he not know it’s not OK to label certain body shapes as unhealthy? If Ben says anything, anything, to Rosie suggesting that her body or appetite are in any way wrong Pip will kill him: it could end up in years of eating disorders, or worse. In fact, they won’t allow Ben to babysit again and could he please leave, now.

Oliver is complimenting Brad on the fine job he is doing – neat and quick; and how did his GCSEs go? Tracy has said he’s very academic. Possibly remembering Tracy’s earlier comment about Oliver, Brad is awkward at first but Oliver goes on to enquire about Tracy and her new job, and about Chelsea, and says it’s nice to have this chance to get to know Brad, although of course he 's hears a lot about him from his mum. More relaxed now, Brad says he can just imagine how Tracy used to chew Oliver’s ear off.

Pip comes in to find Toby cooking sausages and mash for Rosie’s lunch. Rosie’s watching cartoons, which Pip seems a little miffed about, but Toby assures her they spent an hour before that running round the park playing tig, and she’s a perfectly healthy, active child so watching TV until lunch is ready won’t hurt her. Pip then questions the amount of butter Toby is adding to the potatoes, but Toby says mash needs butter, and anyway, there will be broccoli, Rosie’s favourite, as well. Pip shouldn’t let Ben get to her. Pip says of course Toby is right and it was just typical of Ben to be over the top about things, but it was horrible to be accused.

Asking how Brad has found his first morning, Oliver says there is something strangely addictive about haymaking, then tells Eddie that Brad is a natural and that they make a good team. Brad thanks them for giving him the job. Eddie then asks how Oliver is getting on and he says it’s a day like any other, and that he still misses her and always will, then realises that Brad must be wondering what he is talking about, and explains that it is five years today since his wife Caroline died; Brad says he is very sorry: he didn’t know. Then his phone rings, and Tracy asks him how it’s going. Brad says he’s getting on OK but, when Tracy asks who’s there, says he can’t talk. She’ll pick him up later to take him to Susan’s for Sunday dinner, and get all the gossip then.

Summarised by Gus



Monday 11th July, 2022

In which Alice thanks Shula, Lilian is optimistic, and George Grundy shows himself to be a thoroughly nasty piece of work.

Characters: George, Oliver, Brad, Lilian, Alice, Shula
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah McDonald Hughes
Director: Jeremy Howe
Editor: Jeremy Howe

George asks if Oliver and Brad are on a go-slow, and Oliver says he’s quite the taskmaster: do they teach keeping farmhands in line at college? Brad protests he is going as fast as he can, which George says is not exactly speedy – but then Brad never joined in with British Bulldog at school, did he? Because it’s a stupid game, says Brad. No, because you'd be out first time, George corrects him, and continues to provoke and bully Brad, claiming only to be messing. Anyway, how come Brad is working there: just a summer job, is it? Yes, says Brad, he’s going to college next year. George asks whether he’s going to do agriculture, because he doesn’t look like much of a farmer to him. No, says Brad, A-levels. George cannot see the point of that, but Oliver curtly interjects that they open a lot of doors, including to university. This cuts no ice with George, who mocks people who study useless stuff for two years for A-levels and then put in three more years at university and still can’t get a job. What’s the point? Learning a trade and earning some money, now that makes sense. His attention is caught by Eddie, who’s taking the tractor to mow the far field: apparently his driving is not up to George’s high standards. Oliver says Eddie Grundy has always danced to the beat of his own drum.

Lilian has been out on Aziz, accompanied by Alice on an unnamed horse. Lilian really needed the fresh air, but now she has to go and make some calls about the cross-country course. Shula greets them; it turns out she has a spare half hour and is going to look at the course, and Alice asks if she can go with her. However, Lilian can’t join the party: she must crack on. Alice spoke to Jennifer last night: apparently she is having a ball in Hungary and will be staying on when Brian returns next week. He’s had a brilliant time too, says Alice, but he feels a bit funny being away at harvest time.

George says he has to take over to stop Grandpa ruining the tractor, but needles Brad a bit more first, telling him to put his back into it: he looks as if he’s about to keel over. When George leaves, Oliver says George can be a bit full-on sometimes and he could have a word with him if Brad would like. Brad wouldn’t; it’s fine, he’s used to being ‘teased’. By George? Oliver asks. And at school, by idiots, Brad tells him. So, what A-levels will Brad be doing, Oliver enquires. Definitely maths and physics plus another one, possibly engineering: Brad says he enjoys working stuff out. Well, Tracy was always good with numbers, Oliver says fondly; but maybe Brad also gets it from his dad’s side. This obviously touches a nerve, as Brad mumbles he hasn’t seen his father in quite a while. He reckons they can do a couple more bales before pausing for lunch, which disappoints Oliver, and Brad suggests he take a breather anway: he can manage. He asks Oliver how he is and when he says his back is giving him gyp indicates that he meant about Caroline’s anniversary. Oliver won’t pretend it isn’t hard, but life goes on; you just have to accept that when certain people die, you will always miss them and that that’s all right, to be expected even; but we keep going. Yes, says Brad, we do.

Alice is full of enthusiasm: the cross-country course is going to be amazing and it is great to see The Stables doing so well. Shula replies that it’s great to see Alice doing so well, too and seeming happy, settled and calm, grounded. Alice confesses she does feel a weight has been lifted from her and that she couldn’t have survived the last year without Shula’s support: her listening, and lending money, letting Alice muck out when she needed to think… It just goes to show, says Shula, that horses are the best thing when it comes to clearing one’s head. No, Alice corrects her, Shula is. Lilian emerges and tells them both that they’re back, which presumably they already knew. Her calls have been a great success. Local children’s TV celebrity Beatrice Peacock who has a horse competing at Blenheim in September is eager to try the course out and everyone else Lilian has spoken to is also very interested. Just goes to show how good Justin is at having ideas at the right time and making things happen; in fact, Lilian is surprised he wasn’t headhunted as the new PM. This course is really going to put The Stables on the map.

When Brad tells George that Oliver knocked off early because he was having trouble with his back, George says the boring old duffer was more likely having trouble with his banger. He bores George to death, but it’s worth keeping him sweet as he will always slip George a few quid if he mentions not having the money to do this or that: he’s loaded. Maybe Brad should give it a try; George doesn’t understand why his grandparents don’t try to tap Oliver up for some serious cash. He owes them, after all: Eddie and Clarrie are pretty much the only people talking to Oliver after the Grey Gables closure, but Eddie is too soft to make use of the fact to get money out of Oliver. Maybe Eddie just doesn’t want to take advantage, suggests Brad. When George asks if Brad is soft or what, Brad points out that while George has been mouthing off, Brad has done twice the amount of work he has. George wonders who rattled Brad’s cage, and Brad says that actually, he thinks Oliver is all right. And Eddie is all right too. Anyway, the trailer is ready and stacked and Eddie said they were behind time, so is George going to drive it over to the barn or what?

Summarised by Gus, against her better judgment

Tuesday 12th July, 2022

Helen asks for an expert’s advice, and Pip admits Ben was right.


Characters: Susan, Clarrie, Helen, Pip, Ben
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah McDonald Hughes
Director: Jeremy Howe
Editor: Jeremy Howe

Susan, Clarrie and Helen are chatting in the dairy. Helen says Natasha is getting pretty uncomfortable now and Susan says at least she knows exactly when she’ll have the babies, and Helen confirms that she goes in for tests next Thursday and will have the C-section on the Friday. Clarrie will be nipping over to Brookfield in her lunch break to leave Poppy’s old uniforms for Rosie. Helen tells them the mozzarella project is still being considered, but in the interim she and Tom have come up with some plans to boost online cheese sales. Susan likes the idea of a buffalo herd and observes that with the new-look Grey Gables and the cross-country course in the pipeline, Ambridge is on the up. They want to focus on retaining and growing the current customer base, says Helen, and to that end are overhauling the website and their marketing to add a more personal touch. Postcards with Henry’s picture of the Monties will go into each pack, signed by the dairy workers. Oh, and they will be putting photos and bios of the staff on the website so can Susan and Clarrie please write something about themselves this afternoon for Tom to upload this evening: he’s getting as much as possible done before the twins arrive. Clarrie sounds unconvinced but Susan is very much up for it.

Pip tells Clarrie she needn’t have dashed over at lunchtime but Clarrie says she’s doing it to help William, who is working on the haymaking: it’s flat-out at the moment, and they will be doing Red House Farm as well. Pip admires the condition of Poppy’s uniform and says that starting school is all Rosie talks about; however, the prospect makes Pip feel a bit sick. She then apologises: it must have been so much harder for Will and for Poppy, having to start without her mum. Clarrie concedes that it was very difficult for Will but that Poppy was fine, skipping off into school without a backward glance: she was fine, and so will Rosie be. Pip shouldn’t worry: children are more resilient than one thinks, and anyone can see Rosie is made of strong stuff. Pip bridles and demands to know just what Clarrie meant by that. Clarrie tactfully indicates it was the child’s robust temperament she was referring to [and certainly not the fact that she’s a fat little so & so. Gus].

Working on her bio, Susan discovers that the more she writes the more she thinks of, and Clarrie warns her seriously of the dangers of putting personal information out there: online is a dangerous place. The Carters should know that, after the threats and abuse they received after the Echo’s slavery article. Susan is insouciant, saying it’s just fluff to give customers a warm and fuzzy feeling. Anyway, Clarrie has no idea what to write. Susan tells her what she has put – which includes her role as postmistress and her broadcasting history as well as her dairy credentials, and will also cover her hobbies. Clarrie is still at a loss and Susan suggests she say she’s from a farming family who are currently haymaking, and that she is a keen seamstress who has made countless costumes for village shows: it’s no use hiding her light under a bushel. This flatters Clarrie, who thanks her. Then Helen comes in, and she is Not Happy. They’ve had complaints from three customers who’ve received wet boxes full of melted cheese. Susan tells Helen that will be the ice-packs having burst; she did warn Helen. Snappily, Helen says they have an emergency situation here and perhaps they could leave apportioning blame until later: the priority is to replace the goods before the customers leave negative feedback on the site.

As Pip goes to help Ruth with the milking she ignores Ben’s greeting, ‘So you’re not talking to me now?’ he asks. Pip responds arsily: she hasn’t got time for this. Ben assures her that he wasn’t suggesting she was not a good parent – anyone can see that both she and Toby are; and he’ll be totally gutted if he can’t see Rosie. Of course he can, says Pip, but not right now: Toby’s taken her to the playground to cheer her up after an ‘incident’ this afternoon. When Ben enquires about this incident, Pip admits that what happened rather proved Ben’s point, actually…

Susan is finishing up in the dairy, Clarrie having left, when Helen apologies for snapping earlier. The couriers for the replacements have been given strict instructions; Susan says maybe they have, but there’s always a risk when using water-based ice-packs. Helen says she would love to hear Susan’s thoughts about alternatives, and Susan is delighted to be consulted: one doesn’t get to the position of postmistress without picking up a thing or two about packaging. Having considered all the options, she reckons Helen should be using gel icepacks and food-grade kiln-dried wood wool. It’s more expensive, but it’s safe and looks rustic and the gel packs, while less eco than standard ice-packs, won’t burst in transit. Rhetorically, Helen wonders why she didn’t go to Susan in the first place [but she did. Gus] and tells her she’s a genius. Susan might just add that to her biog!

Pip tells Ben that what happened was awful, and he should have seen poor Rosie’s face: she was devastated when none of the school clothes would do up. Pip told her that perhaps they had shrunk and that they could get her new ones, but… She tells Ben he’s right: she knows Rosie’s gained weight, and what is she going to do about it? Ben tactfully suggests that when you see someone every day, it’s harder to notice changes. Pip can’t understand it: she thinks her daughter gets a balanced, normal diet and, when Ben tells her everything will be OK, says it doesn’t feel OK: she’s taken her eye off the ball and let Rosie down. [Someone needs to: here, take this handy pin. Gus]

Summarised by Gus

Wednesday 13th July, 2022

Oliver has a bad case of nostalgie de la Trace, while Susan finds her mission.

Characters: Susan, Adam, Clarrie, Helen, Oliver, Brad
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah McDonald Hughes
Director: Jeremy Howe
Editor: Jeremy Howe

In the dairy, Susan, Adam and Clarrie are admiring the new publicity photographs and congratulating one another on how professional they look; Adam’s action shot with the Monties is particularly admired. Susan is revelling in her new title, Packaging Consultant, which Helen felt it was only fair to award her. As Clarrie asks whether they are going for lunch, Susah exclaims in dismay: have they seen the new front page of the website? ‘Bridge Farm needs you! After the pandemic and the folding of a major customer, Bridge Farm is fighting to survive…’ What is Tom thinking? Playing the sympathy card, Clarrie suggests, but Susan maintains it’s a bad look: Bridge Farm should be shouting about its produce, not begging. Just as they decide to say nothing about it to Helen, given how volatile she was yesterday, she arrives; Adam swiftly says he was telling them about Ian's latest pizza idea, with asparagus, goat cheese and honey. Helen tells Adam how much Henry and Jack liked the previous new idea, which they gave eleven out of ten. Susan reckons Ian’s pizzas will go down a storm at the fete. Clarrie says they sound lovely and wishes them every success, but clearly has reservations; Helen asks her what the ‘but’ is, and Clarrie warns that Adam and Ian might need to steel themselves for opposition.

Bale-stacking in the sunshine has transported Oliver back to when he was ten, remembering haymaking on the family farm; but he doesn’t want to bore Brad. Brad protests that it is interesting and asks whether they had tractors then. Horses were still used, Oliver tells him, but on their farm they had a tractor by then, a Gold Belly: a thing of beauty and a real game-changer. Oliver talks of making ricks using pitchforks; Brad finds it hard to imagine doing things without a baler. But Brad seems to be enjoying it, Oliver goes on. Brad confirms he is, although he only said yes because he needed the money. He has an advanced maths summer school place: the course itself is free but he will be funding his living expenses and train fares.

Apparently Jean Harvey thinks pizzas sound ‘grungy’ and better suited to a music festival than the Ambridge village fête. Anyone would think they were burgers, not artisan pizzas, says Susan indignantly. Helen comments that the fete needs to move with the times and Susan says the best thing to do with people like Jean Harvey is to ignore them; Clarrie points out it’s not as easy as that, now Jean is head of the WI and has Pat Fletcher as her deputy. The pair are planning to write to the committee to object and get Ian kicked out and Clarrie fears things could turn nasty. Adam wonders about backing out and launching somewhere else, rather than risking failure. Susan tells him that is exactly what Jean and Pat are banking on and they absolutely must not withdraw. She’s been looking for a new mission and has found it – ensuring a successful launch for the pizza van.

Oliver is congratulating Brad on his summer school place: competition for places is stiff and he’s clearly very gifted. Brad is hoping it might help him decide between further maths and engineering for his third A-level; he’s looking forward to the actual maths but not to being in a large group of strangers. When Oliver reassures him he will soon make friends, Brad says he’s not really a friends kind of person: he never knows what to say. Oliver says it is commendable that Brad wants to pay his own way and shows character: most young people would expect their parents to pay for that kind of thing. What it shows, Brad explains bitterly, is that there is no point in him asking his mother for money: Tracy could have helped if she hadn’t been sacked from her well paid job, or has Oliver forgotten about that? As Oliver starts to apologise, Brad goes off for his break.

Helen advocates sensible conversation as the way to win Jean Harvey over, but Susan and Clarrie reckon the woman’s incapable of sense and that approach would just make her worse. What Adam and Ian need to do, according to Susan, is to offer the WI an exclusive, complimentary pizza-tasting session. At the outset, they must lay it on thick, claiming they are keen to learn from the WI’s years of experience of the village fête. Once in, they can turn on the charm and bow and scrape; then, when they hit the WI with the pizzas, they’ll fold. Helen takes a call from Tom: it turns out there has been a lot more traffic on the website and some good comments, including praise from one of the melted cheese recipients whose replacement arrived in perfect condition. Helen admits she wasn’t entirely sure about Tom’s strategy for replacing lost business, but that he felt people would get behind Bridge Farm; and maybe he’s right. He’s been working his socks off in the run-up to the births and keeps referring to his paternity leave, which Adam will be covering for him, as a ‘break’; Adam prophesies Tom won’t know what’s hit him.

Brad has sought out Oliver, who is watching a hare, to tell him everything’s done in the barn; Oliver says ruefully that despite how hard they have both worked, Eddie says they are behind schedule. Brad tells Oliver he is sorry and that he didn’t mean to go off on one but he’s got a temper: it’s the only way in which he is like his mother. Oliver insists that it is he who should apologise for being insensitive. And how is Tracy getting on? Brad says she’s doing all right and that the chicken factory seems to be Banter City. This sets Oliver remembering how often Tracy made him laugh at Grey Gables. He tells Brad he’s perhaps more like his mother than he thinks. After pretending to be offended, Brad admits his mum is all right really. More than all right, says Oliver: she’s got a good heart. Brad spots Tracy arriving to pick him up, and Oliver fondly bids him goodbye.

Summarised by Gus



Thursday 14th July, 2022

[Bastille Day 2022]

The Horrobins feel the pressure, Oliver lightens the load, and Clarrie makes light of lightening Rosie.

Characters: Chelsea, Tracy, Brad, Eddie, Oliver, Clarrie, Pip, George
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah McDonald Hughes
Director: Jeremy Howe
Editor: Jeremy Howe

At breakfast, Chelsea is bemoaning her lot; after a full day at college and working until gone midnight on her coursework, she now has an eight-hour shift at The Orangery and then will have to go out delivering more fliers to try and get some real hairdressing experience over the summer. Angrily, Tracy asks her if she’d fancy the chicken factory instead, with the cold and the punishing pace, hacking the wings of chickens for eight hours. ‘Not while I’m eating!’ says Chelsea, which does nothing to improve Tracy’s temper. Chelsea then says it’s all right for Brad, and is told that haymaking isn’t a doddle either: Brad’s just doing his best, same as the rest of them. Chelsea then accuses him of being a traitor for being mates with Oliver, which Brad denies, and Tracy tells her to pack it in. While she’s grateful Chelsea has her back, she can’t take any more squabbling. Chelsea flounces off to dry her hair and and Tracy causally asks how Oliver is. Brad says they don’t really talk much and, to be honest, he’s a bit of a boring old duffer.

Eddie asks Oliver if he and Clarrie can open their eyes yet. Oliver says they may. George is just coming into view, driving a telehandler. Eddie is baffled as he thought Bridge and Home Farms were using theirs all week. Oliver tells him that in fact it should have been with them earlier than this but the hire firm had a supply issue. Eddie and Clarrie are horrified at what this will have cost Oliver, but he maintains the rates are very reasonable. Anyway, says Oliver, it’s a purely selfish move, as the forklift will save his back. Clarrie remembers she’s left a stew on the hob and dashes off, while Oliver tells Eddie that he can’t claim full credit: it was George who gave him the idea when he was filling Oliver in on how much farming has changed. He's a smart lad. Isn't he just, replies Eddie rather gloomily.

Clarrie is telling Pip there was no need for her to dash round with the uniform, but Pip says that she thought Clarrie might be able to pass it on to someone else. Clarrie can’t understand why it was too small: William bought clothes with room for Poppy to grow, to save money. Pip mumbles something about two girls, two different sizes and Clarrie asks if she has time for tea and a sit-down: it looks as if Pip could do with a chat.

George and Eddie are singing the praises of the telehandler, which George says is an amazing bit of kit, top of the range, before rubbing it in that Brad can’t have a go on it as he can’t drive. They’ll be finished by lunchtime and can then get on over at Red House Farm. Eddie hopes George hasn’t been dropping hints, only Oliver mentioned that he’d been talking about advancements in technology and Eddie hopes Oliver didn’t feel obliged. Grandpa, what do you take me for? protests George unctuously, adding that this is Oliver all over – the man has a heart of gold, and George could listen to his reminiscences for hours: they are lucky to have him. Eddie heartily agrees.

Pip feels awful to have let Rosie down; she’s checked on the NHS website and the child is definitely overweight. Clarrie says that Rosie is clearly a healthy kid and so what if she’s on the heavier side: things will even themselves out, they always do. Comfortingly, she advises Pip to carry on as she is, giving her healthy food, but perhaps not quite so much of it. She goes on to parrot the current orthodoxies; parents should talk about strength, health and energy but not mention shape or weight. And Rosie will learn about a healthy diet at school, too, and schools make these things fun. Apparently Poppy came home one day telling Eddie he had to drop the pork pies because of the saturated fat. Still trying to make Pip feel better, Clarrie recounts the telling-off she had from William when the jelly sweets Clarrie used to give Poppy to cheer her up in the wake of Nic’s death resulted in two fillings and Will getting it in the neck from Poppy’s dentist. She’s sure Rosie will be OK in the long run. Pip thanks Clarrie for being so reassuring.

At Grange Farm, everything is done for the day by half past four, and Eddie says the machine is incredible. Oliver did wonder if he was overstepping the mark, but Eddie reassures him it has been a godsend. Will and George have made a start at Red House Farm, while Brad was fixing fencing down by the Pole Barn. Oliver says Brad is a good worker and, when Eddie says he’s a bit quiet, that actually he is surprisingly chatty, and that he is aiming for university. Eddie reckons that those two young ones together with the two old ones, him and Oliver, make a good team.

Chelsea is surprised Brad is back at this time and asks why he is there. Brad explains he was let go early and begins rhapsodising about the marvellous giant robot telehandler that Oliver magicked up. Chelsea tells him he needs to get a grip and instead of going all soft about farm machinery, also get his priorities straight. Family is family, she tells him, and to cross one of us is to cross all of us. It isn’t on for Brad to be bessie mates with Oliver Stirling: it’s his fault their mother is skint and sad: he sacked her. Brad points out that he didn't; he made her redundant, which is not the same thing. He tells his sister that Oliver really does care, not only about Tracy but about the two of them as well, which enrages Chelsea. Brad might think he’s so clever but he hasn’t got a clue about the real world. Brad says he does, and will soon be out in it, whereupon Chelsea suggests he get out, now. An incensed Tracy comes in and commands them both to just button it, as she was trying to grab ten minutes’ peace with her book before making the chickpea curry – unless either of them fancies cooking it. With Tracy out of the room again, Chelsea asserts that Brad needs to sort himself out: Oliver Sterling is the enemy, end of, and Brad had better work out whose side he’s on.

Summarised by Gus

Friday 15th July, 2022

Justin feels Shula needs reining in; Brad is no longer needed at all.

Characters: Shula, Alice, Justin, Chelsea, Tracy, Lilian, Brad
Credited scriptwriter: Sarah McDonald Hughes
Director: Jeremy Howe
Editor: Jeremy Howe

Shula greets Alice, who’s arrived early to take Marcie out, and thanks her for covering for Joanne the other day. Shula has just finished a Riding for the Disabled session, which she says is her favourite part of the job as the clients get so much out of it. Justin arrives: these days, if he doesn’t fit in a ride first thing, he doesn’t get time for one at all as he’s so busy with the cross-country course. Still, it’s all very positive as they are on track to open next month and the course has attracted lots of interest. But they mustn’t take their eyes off the ball… When Justin has left, Alice says these are exciting times for The Stables and Shula agrees but hopes the new projects won’t overshadow the other work. She wants to develop an equine-assisted therapy programme and is exploring funding options to offer equine assisted therapy free to community groups. Alice tells her that someone in her rehab group found such therapy life-changing; horses don’t judge, and it’s a brilliant idea.

Chelsea asks what Tracy is going to do with her day off, and Tracy says it’s a toss-up between a spa day, tea at the Ritz, or doing some laundry and cooking tea… While she’s glad not to be at work, she quite misses the craic at the factory. Chelsea advises her mum to put her feet up and Tracy admits she might have a bath in the middle of the day as her ‘spa session’. That reminds Chelsea about the health club and she asks Tracy if she misses Grey Gables. In turn, Tracy asks Chelsea if she’s on a mission to make her feel bad; she’s made friends at the factory and, while the work is more regimented, at least she doesn’t have to deal with entitled pillocks. Altogether, says Tracy, things could be worse: they are all in jobs they like and earning good money.

Back at the Stables, Justin says that the guest list for the launch is shaping up nicely and Lilian tells him that the Loxley Barratt people are interested and she will chase them up in due course. Alice asks when work starts on their new kitchen; next week, says Lilian, and she’s dreading it. Justin vetoed moving out for the duration: it’s better to be on site to keep a eye on progress. When he says he was hoping to show Shula the guest list, Alice tells him she’s taking a lesson. But Shula was telling her about the equine therapy centre earlier, and Alice thinks it’s a great idea… It is clear neither Lilian nor Justin knew anything about this, and Justin pooh-poohs the whole concept. As Alice begins extolling the benefits of the therapies, Justin dismisses it as just another of Shula’s do-gooding schemes; The Stables is a business, not some humanitarian mission.

In the car, Tracy says it’s lovely to see Brad excited about farm machinery and clearly enjoying a job that’s doing him good. And maybe she is a total embarrassment but it’s her job, seeing as she’s his mother. She asks Brad how he’s getting on with Oliver and he claims not to see much of him. Tracy assures him it’s fine for him to get on with Oliver: she knows herself that he’s good to work with. Brad admits that Oliver is nice and has been helpful showing him how to do things, but he can’t forget he sacked Tracy and he doesn’t want his mum thinking he doesn’t have her back… Don’t worry, Tracy tells him, you’re doing great.

As Shula begins to tell Lilian about an email, Lilian interrupts to tell her Justin is on the warpath about equine therapy. While she can see it does have some merits, Justin isn’t so keen. Justin then bursts in and wants to know when Shula was going to discuss her scheme with them. Shula says that she was going to mention it once she had completed her research, but that under their agreement the lessons side of the business is her domain. Justin counters that they are now a partnership and this idea has financial disaster written all over it; they came on board because the business model was failing. Shula reminds him that making money is not their only focus: she stipulated that the community core of the business must be retained. Alice, who was passing and overheard, joins in to say that she really thinks therapies, as well as being valuable for the community, could also be an earner for The Stables. Does Justin know that people will pay a fortune for it because provision is so scarce? This takes the wind out of Justin’s sails somewhat: a profitable service is a completely different proposition.

Back home from the Orangery, Chelsea is pestering Tracy for a foot massage, with little success. Tracy has been doing housework all day and has made lasagne for tea, from scratch, so a bowl of hot water is all Chelsea will be getting. Chelsea is writing herself a reminder to take scissors in with her tomorrow: Russ wants another haircut, and says Chelsea is the best hairdresser he's ever had. Tracy points out that in that case, it would be nice if he started paying her but Chelsea says she can’t charge a mate. Both are surprised to hear Brad coming in: he’s early, and anyway he never walks home. Brad says he felt like it. He finished at lunchtime and thanks to Oliver’s stupid machine, that’s it: Eddie won’t be needing him next week. Chelsea can’t believe it – basically, Oliver Sterling’s now got Brad the sack too. Brad agrees that he has, and goes off to his room.

A tale summarised by an Gus, signifying nothing

Sunday 17th July, 2022

Brad is discouraged and Clarrie is discouraging.

Characters: Oliver, Brad, Tracy, Clarrie, Natasha
Credited scriptwriter: Caroline Harrington

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Oliver has cornered Brad on the village green; he wants to apologise to him because he feels guilty about the telehandler, but as he tries to explain, Tracy comes out of the shop and attacks him. Brad asks her to leave it, and Oliver then unwittingly drops him in it by mentioning the summer school and that Tracy must be very proud of him.

At April Cottage Clarrie has woken Natasha by coming round to visit her; Natasha offers to make a cup of tea, and Clarrie insists on doing it for her. She is inadvertently discouraging about babies and how much more tired Natasha is going to be after the twins are born.

Tracy is grilling Brad about the summer school and wants to know how come Oliver knew about it when she didn't. He says she never asked. He just wants to be left alone.

'Angel' Clarrie has made Natasha a cup of herbal tea, and Natasha is grateful she came round; she tells her all her troubles with the pregnancy. Clarrie manages also to be discouraging about the chance that Tom will be around more after the twins are born; Eddie certainly wasn't! She recounts her own troubles during pregnancy, then offers Natasha some iced buns, which of course Natasha can't have: Clarrie had forgotten about the gestational diabetes, and apologises. She also brought a little cardi each for the twins, one pink and one blue. Natasha calls that very traditional, says they are beautifully made, and thanks her profusely.

Tracy has run Brad to earth, and wants to know what he's doing; he says nothing, then that she wouldn't understand and it's very difficult, and finally that it's further maths. She still wants to know why Oliver thinks she ought to be proud of him. Brad comes clean about the summer school: his maths teacher suggested he ought to try for it, and he got the highest score in the test for it so he won a scholarship. The trouble is that it's in Manchester, and only the tuition is free. He would have to find the money for expenses and travel, and he knows they can't afford it. What he needs to do is find another job; he's wondering about her helping him get one at the chicken factory. She doesn't want to: she's afraid he'd get bullied there, as he has been at school.

When she gets home, Clarrie finds Oliver has come back in; she tells him about her gaffe with the iced buns, and Oliver is sympathetic but rather quiet. When Clarrie asks what's wrong, he tells her he has had another bruising encounter with Tracy. By hiring the telehandler and thus costing Brad a week's wages he has clearly reinforced Tracy's conviction that he is a fat cat who doesn't give a damn about the little people. Clarrie tells him he ought to tell everyone they are holding a meeting about the opening of the new Grey Gables, but he says that's more aimed at business people; Clarrie wants to know whether people from the village can come, and he says of course they can, whereat she responds that they all ought to, and when Oliver and Adil reveal their plans they'll understand that there is something in it for all of them.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 18th July, 2022

Tom is twitchy, Natasha is nervous and Tracy is in despair.

Characters: Helen, Adam, Natasha, Tom, Tracy, Jazzer
Credited scriptwriter: Caroline Harrington

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At Bridge Farm, Helen is arranging Adam's day, and celebrating some new orders for cheese. She castigates him for having described Tom's begging narrative on the website as needy, or was it desperate? Then she asks him to help with packing some veg.

Braxton Hicks contractions, or the real thing? Natasha thinks the former, Tom worries in case it turns out to be the latter. She just wants him to take himself off to work and leave her in peace. [/Unsurprising. Chris/]

The plans for blitzing the WI with new pizza experiences are going well; Helen says ruefully that she isn't a member of the WI so she can't join them. Ian has been trying out lots of new recipes, such as beetroot pesto and feta, and for a sweet course rhubarb and basil with a honey barbecue sauce; the WI are being used as market research. Then Tom bursts into the shop bearing carrots, which are not needed, and excuses his having got this wrong by telling them that Natasha has been awake downstairs and kept him from sleeping. He thinks Clarrie may have caused her to worry about looking after the babies. After offering to go over and see her to try to calm her down a bit, for which Tom is grateful, Helen tells them about being invited to the Felpersham Conference Centre to hear about the New Grey Gables plans. Tom is regretful that he won't be able to go, but Helen says she'll take Dad instead.

Tracy is weeping in the kitchen when Jazzer finds her. She says it's nothing, but he insists on knowing what the matter is. She explains about Brad being so clever, and that he could really go places if the family he came from didn't hold him back: they can't even afford a bus fare and a few nights' accommodation for the summer school. Jazzer scoffs about doing school work in the holidays, but Tracy is despairing; finally, when he says that if she gets Brad a job at the chicken factory he could perhaps pay his own fares and rental, she admits that she hates working at the chicken factory: it's a hell hole, and she wouldn't wish it on her worst enemy.

The sex-stereotyping blue and pink cardies have clearly upset Natasha: she says crossly that her little boy will be wearing the pink one; Helen points out that he won't care in the least. The two discuss Tom's worries having rubbed off on Natasha, even though she is sure all will go well when the babies are born on Friday. Natasha also says that the books about baby care don't help because they give conflicting advice, as do the people who tell her about their own experiences; she is confused about what to do for the best. Helen reassures her that everyone feels that way, and inevitably the first few weeks will be chaotic. She also says firmly that Tom won't be at the farm all the time, and lots of other people will be there for Natasha: Helen, Pat ... Natasha just wants her own mum, who won't be coming for her visit for another fortnight.

Tracy is telling Jazzer all her woes about the factory: everything and everyone is noisy, it stinks, and Gemma picks on her. When he hears her examples of this, Jazzer wants to report Gemma to the boss for harassment, but Tracy tells him he mustn't. She has to stick to it because they need her wages, but at least she can make sure Brad never sets foot in the chicken factory.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 19th July, 2022

It's mostly about money, including Millionaire's Shortbread.

Characters: Pip, Josh, Chelsea, Susan, Alice, Shula, Brad
Credited scriptwriter: Caroline Harrington

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

A tractor pulls up and Pip greets Josh, who says he is avoiding Dad: David is going on about the rising price of the new milking parlour. Pip immediately says David has a point, actually, and starts to go on about the price of diesel and fertiliser until Josh begs her not to. She then asks him whether he thinks Rosie is getting fat: he says she isn't sylph-like, but he wouldn't call her fat. Ben having pointed it out, Pip can't avoid seeing it, but she can't understand it: she and Toby are so careful what they feed her, and to make sure she gets plenty of exercise. Josh dobs in Jill, whom he saw feeding the child some Millionaire's Shortbread. Pip is aghast: she has been grateful to Jill for baby-sitting, and never thought she might be the cause of Rosie being chubby.

Chelsea is telling Susan they must make Chelsea's birthday on Saturday special; she deserves a treat after the horrible time she is having at the chicken factory. Jazzer is planning a picnic on Lakey Hill, though he can only afford sandwiches and a bottle of pink fizz, and maybe sweet-talking Fallon into making a birthday cake, and Susan suggests they can all chip in: she'll make a quiche. Chelsea says Tracy needs pampering, and she's found a place in Borchester that is offering a special deal for under a hundred quid. And no, she doesn't want Susan to help: it will mean much more to Tracy if it is just from her and Brad.

The final repayment for the rehab loan has been brought to The Stables by Alice; Shula thanks her for handling Justin last week, and Alice says it was easy: the secret with Justin is to follow the money. Shula is worrying about her ordination, and having to decide what she wants to do after it. She could be a curate in Borsetshire, but there are other possibilities and she genuinely has no idea which path she should take. Maybe she ought to join the Pioneers organisation, taking Christianity out of churches and into the community, or perhaps she could become a hospital chaplain.

Chelsea approaches Brad to get the money out of him to pay for his half of the £98 quid for a spa day; he says he has no job and no, she can't have the money he earned working at Grange Farm. He needs it, and anyway it's his and she doesn't get to decide what he does with it.

Trying to help Pip with her problem about how to approach Jill without offending her so that she stops being prepared to take Rosie off Pip's hands, Josh offers to tell Gran that she ought not to feed Rosie chocolate, but Pip turns him down; he then offers to go halves with Ben to buy Rosie a balance bike for her birthday so she is encouraged to take more exercise: biking over to help Josh collect the Hollowtree eggs, for instance

The anti-Brad gripe has been taken to Susan; Chelsea thinks he is just being tight-fisted. Susan offers her help again but is turned down again. Chelsea is in full flight about how awful all the Horrobin men are when Brad comes in and gives her fifty quid, which leaves her speechless for a bit until he suggests just giving Tracy the cash, to help out with bills, when she tells him dismissively that he doesn't have a clue about what makes women tick. When asked what he was going to do with the money, he says 'nothing', and then that it can wait.

Ukraine gets a mention from Shula as being a thing to cause her to think a bit further afield than Borchester. She is a bit bogged down in her studies; she feels she ought to be out there doing something. Alice points out that she did something when she helped Alice, and Alistair, but Shula isn't sure helping a member of the family counts, nor that she can measure up to for instance the people in the Pioneers whom she mentioned. Alice reassures her that she has empathy, and that's a very special talent which she should use.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 20th July, 2022

Jill is apologetic and Adil unrepentant.

Characters: Lilian, Lynda, Jill, Pip, Alice, Shula, Adil
Credited scriptwriter: Caroline Harrington

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

A yapping noise means that Ruby is pleased to see Monty, while Lynda asks how the new kitchen is getting on. Lilian is desperate for some peace and quiet, and Lynda offers her refuge at Ambridge Hall.

Jill is praising Ian's pizzas, and saying that all of them were wonderful, though Jean Harvey choked on an olive stone in one and Ian had to do the Heimlich manoeuvre; unfortunately this gave Jean an excuse to decide the pizzas were a choke hazard and that they might not be suitable for the fête. When Jill offers Pip some Millionaire's Shortbread, Pip seizes the opportunity to turn it down and then mention that Rosie didn't eat her lunch because she had been eating Millionaire's Shortbread all morning, and she's getting fat. Jill instantly disputes this suggestion.

Apparently Alice can't imagine Shula being a curate in an ordinary parish, thinking it too staid for her, but just as Shula is about to argue the point Lilian appears and interrupts the discussion. She seems to have no particular reason to be at The Stables, since she declines to take Amir out and claims that she has no time to do so nor to look at the cross-country course; Alice immediately offers to exercise the horse for her.

Ruefully, Jill admits that giving in to Rosie has been her downfall; it started during lockdown, and she has simply gone on letting Rosie have what she wants. Pip tells her about the plans for a balance bike, and Jill grieves over her planned birthday present, an ice-cream maker; she'll take it back to the shop in Borchester and try to get something more suitable. Pip is firm that the chocolate hedgehog birthday cake must be made as planned, but that Rosie can only have one slice, and it must be of a suitable size for a four-year-old.

At Ambridge Hall Adil has come in from a run and wants a shower, and Lynda tells him yet again that his singing in the shower annoys other guests; when he says that there are no other guests, she triumphantly informs him about Lilian coming, and her dog as well. He points out that a visiting dog last week was sprawling on the residents' lounge sofa and coming into the dining room, both of which are against the rules. Lynda is slightly discomfited.

Alice has brought Amir back, and in her absence Shula has been thinking about what she said earlier and about the Anglican Pioneers, of whom there is a group in the north-east helping the dispossessed and marginalised and taking God to people outside the parishes. Alice is interested, but wonders how that fits with getting ordained. Shula tells her that she can carry on with her training at the same time.

Ruby is being persuaded to sit down, and Lynda goes into her usual rant against Adil. Lilian reminds her about the Grey Gables meeting, and thinks they ought to go; Lynda wants to see a display of the new building. There is a knock on the door, and Ruby barks her head off as Adil comes in. Lynda says she has told Lilian the rules about dogs, and he responds slightly tartly that she did that for the owner of last week's dog too. After he has left for the evening, asking for the front door to be left unbolted because he may be in late, and having invited Lilian to call him Adil, Lilian says she is never likely to do so and Lynda brings up the old adage about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 21st July, 2022

It looks as though Natasha will have three babies to contend with.

Characters: Tom, Pat, Brad,Oliver, Natasha
Credited scriptwriter: Caroline Harrington

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At Bridge Farm, Tom is faffing about and making a nuisance of himself while he waits to go in to the hospital with Natasha in the afternoon. Pat does her best to reassure him that Adam will be perfectly able to cope, and if he can't he can always ring Tom. When Tom says he doesn't know how they will manage when the twins arrive, she offers to help whenever she is needed. Eventually she sends him home.

Brad intercepts Oliver on his way to deliver a birthday card for Tracy, and tells him it's not a good time; he'll pass the card on to her on Saturday, and would Oliver please go now before Tracy sees him? Oliver asks to talk to him for just a couple of minutes, because he's been thinking about Brad's position; Brad agrees but only if they go out of sight of the house.

Natasha likes her nice comfortable hospital bed, but doubts she will sleep well: the babies are playing football on her lungs. She is excited, but also dreading the gory bits tomorrow. They discuss in mild disagreement which baby will come out first, and Natasha wonders how things are going to get along at Summer Orchard without her being in charge. She also wonders in a rather panicky way how they are going to cope when they take the babies home, especially after a Caesarian, and comes up with as many difficulties as she can; then her mum rings and she starts conversing in Welsh, first telling Tom to go and get her a cup of tea.

The chicken factory job hasn't come through. Brad got himself an interview which he thinks went OK, but he refuses to say what the job is in case he jinxes it; if he gets it he can start next week. When Oliver asks if he will get enough from it for his summer school, Brad tells him that he's given up on that: that kind of thing isn't for the likes of him but for posh public school types. Oliver says that it's exactly meant for people like him, and is exasperated, thinking that it's a great shame he has told them he won't be coming. Brad says that when you know your mum can't be sure whether she can pay the rent and put food on the table, you don't think so much about things like a fancy summer school.

Natasha and her mum are still on the phone when Tom gets back: he had to go outside the hospital to get the tea. Natasha tells him that Caitlin is coming on Saturday so she can be there when they bring the babies home. She can sleep on the sofa-bed in the lounge. Tom is decidedly put out about the change of plan, and also has arranged Pat would come over whenever needed; Natasha just wants her mum. (Whom she refers to as mam but addressed as mum on the phone.)

The result of this revelation is that when Tom gets back from the hospital he has to go and break it to Pat that she is now redundant because Natasha's mum is going to come over earlier than expected. Pat does her best to conceal being taken aback and wonders how long Caitlin will stay. It's obvious Tom is not at all happy, though Pat says Natasha must be pleased; he says Caitlin really makes her presence felt, and April Cottage is small. What he wanted was support from his mum. Pat tells him she'll always be there if he needs her.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Friday 22nd July, 2022

Surprise! It's a girl. And a girl.

Characters: Natasha, Tom, Obstetrician, Justin, Lilian, Adil
Credited scriptwriter: Caroline Harrington

Director: Peter Leslie Wild
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Natasha's first child has been born, and cries lustily; she is brought for Natasha to cuddle. Tom was right about the sex of the first. She is to be called Nova: a star; her brother will be Celyn.

The standard of breakfast at Ambridge Hall has pleased Justin, who has also had the best night's sleep he has had all week. The builders were plastering the walls when he left, but they are unrelentingly loud even so. Justin wants to take his coffee out into the garden, and as he leaves Adil arrives in a dressing-gown. He has come to tell Lilian that Ruby is in his room; Lilian denies the possibility, then suggests he pick her up and put her out. He asks her to come and remove her own dog instantly. He doesn't want to make an official complaint, but a dog not being in control is against the rules of the B&B. Lilian points out that he was singing in the shower, and asserts that she is going to finish her breakfast before doing anything about her dog.

The next baby is also a girl. Natasha is worried because she is crying (having failed to notice that the first bellowed her head off) and that Tom might mind about her sex. The obstetrician is slightly disconcerted about both babies being the same sex, but manages to shrug it off as something it is easy to get wrong on a scan.

An apology from Justin to Adil is underway: Justin is aghast that Ruby was on his bed. Adil mentions the vocal nature of Lynda's comments about Grey Gables as a flaw in his stay in Ambridge, and Justin says he can't wait to see the plans for the new Grey Gables. Lilian arrives apologising and saying Adil's bed has been made up with clean sheets and the floor hoovered to get rid of any dog-hair; she also tries to undermine Justin's assertion that she is the one who makes a fool of Ruby by spoiling her and letting her on the bed. Adil slyly spoils Justin's protestations that he is not soft with the animal by mentioning that he has seen Justin with Ruby on the green, and heard the way that he addresses her in baby-talk.

Both babies have been fed and gone to sleep, and Natasha is exhausted, though their clever girls got the hang of feeding straight away. The second baby is to be called Star too -- in Welsh. Natasha just wants to sit there and look at them. They don't look at all alike: Seren has a mop of hair, and Nova hasn't, and according to Natasha Seren has Tom's eyes. Tom reassures Natasha again that he honestly couldn't give a damn about not having a son. They both suddenly start worrying about their responsibility to keep their babies happy, and safe, and well; they will dedicate their lives to that from now on. The awestruck Tom says that he had never realised it before, but this is all he ever wanted.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 24th July, 2022

Caitlin is taking charge, and Chelsea would rather not.

Characters: Tom, Natasha, Caitlin, Freddie, Chelsea, Russ, Brad
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

As they arrive at April Cottage from the hospital, Tom insists on carrying both car-seats for Natasha; he has driven home very carefully, following a tractor for much of the way, which seems to have irritated her. He has mislaid his door keys, but they are let in by Caitlin, who loudly tells them not to hang about outside.

In the Orangery Freddie is telling Chelsea that she is to train up someone who is starting today; she argues that she doesn't want to, and she rudely dismisses Russ, saying she will get him his flat white in a minute. After Freddie has gone off to fetch the new member of staff, Russ makes an effort to talk with her, and she tells him about Tracy's birthday party on Lakey Hill. Then Freddie comes back with Brad.

Now she is home, Natasha is being calm and quiet, speaking in hushed tones because the babies are asleep, while Caitlin is loud. Tom says Natasha ought to take some painkillers, and Caitlin offers to make a cup of tea, then insists on giving Natasha what seems to be an heirloom V-cushion to lean on rather than the maternity cushion Tom bought, and taking a picture of the family of four to send to Natasha's dad. When asked, Natasha tells her mother that her blood sugar is back to normal, though she will be tested again a few weeks just to check; Caitlin is very relieved.

Russ is telling Freddie about sneaking into the Glastonbury festival over the fence in the nineties, and what bands that he saw there; Freddie asks him to check the playlist he has put together for the forthcoming nineties evening; Russ is going to try to persuade Lily to go, and Freddie will put tickets aside for them. Russ leaves as Chelsea arrives to complain to Freddie about Brad, saying he is going to give the Orangery a bad rep and she can't think why Freddie agreed to employ him. Freddie says that actually Trent interviewed him, and since they gave her a try Brad deserves one too.

One of the babies is crying, and Tom and Natasha are getting a little frantic; Natasha is definitely annoyed that Tom can't get the baby to stop. Because Tom can't calm her, Natasha demands he give her to Caitlin to burp.

Chelsea impatiently shows Brad how to work the till, and then proposes to leave him to it. At that moment Freddie comes and asks how they are getting on; Chelsea says all is well, which is simply untrue. As soon as he has gone she gets back to having a go at Brad, telling him that while they are at work they are not related: he is just a colleague.

Caitlin and Natasha are singing a lullaby in Welsh to the twins. Since both babies are now asleep, Tom suggests Natasha might like to have a nap; she doesn't want one, and because Tom can't sing he is encouraged to go away to update the website with the good news. The two women continue to the second verse of the lullaby.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 25th July, 2022

Gossip has a way of getting out of hand.

Characters: Brian, Alice, Chris, Susan, Clarrie, Eddie
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Home from his visit to Hungary, Brian is telling Alice about Jennifer being happy looking after Debbie, though he came home because he would have found it stressful not being in Ambridge for the harvest. Alice tells him about Adam having nearly killed Jean Harvey, and then, when Brian asks anxiously about the divorce, that all Chris now wants is one of the holiday cottages. On cue, Chris arrives with Martha.

The gossip about Jean Harvey nearly dying has increased and multiplied, even unto mouth-to-mouth and a defibrillator. At Grange Farm Eddie is taking the mick out of Clarrie and Susan's take on it all; he reckons it's a load of old pig swill, and adds that he wants to go to the pub after supper. Clarrie says that's fine; she'll be at home knitting. It becomes apparent that she and Susan have indulged in competitive knitting for the new Archer babies; Susan has made them two pink hats, and claims that she felt in her that water both babies would be girls. Clarrie is unconvinced. [It doesn't take long to knit a hat. Chris] The talk then moves back to the original subject: Susan wants Clarrie, who gets on reasonably well with Jean, to talk with her and find to the truth of the rumours. It's her belief that Jean is spreading them herself.

Brian is trying hard to talk in a friendly way with Christopher, and Chris reciprocates when Alice goes to deal with Martha, asking about Brian's health. Brian says he feels much better, and then Chris says a scare makes one think twice, as the one when Martha was hurt did him and Alice. They apologise to each other about things said in anger that would have been better left unsaid. Brian expresses pleasure at the thought of Martha living on the farm, but Chris tells him that he needs to feel he has moved on, and will be letting out the cottage. Brian asks Chris to shake on their renewed agreement: Christopher is a good man and he'll be sorry not to be able to call him a son-in-law any more.

When Clarrie went round to see Jean she wasn't allowed in because Jean was with a reporter from the Echo, which alarms Susan considerably. For the story not to be printed now, Jean would have to have a change of heart, and neither Susan nor Clarrie can see why she would.

News about the Echo reporter also having been at Adam and Ian's house has reached the Bull with Brian; Eddie is amazed. Brian is hoping to see Ed, and when Eddie angles for a drink if Brian is going to the bar says he is only having one. Eddie tries to pump him about Alice and Chris and the divorce, and Brian says it's all fine now.

Susan is now spreading to Clarrie the gossip Ian gave her about Jean Harvey and Derek Fletcher having an affair in the eighties, and also that he has recently been seen clipping Jean's hedge; Susan is wondering whether that might make a lever to persuade Jean to withdraw from the Echo report, which could scupper Ian and Adam's pizza business before it is even launched. She proposes to send an anonymous note. Eddie then arrives and tells them about having been chatting with Brian and what was said about the reporter also being at Honeysuckle Cottage; after he has gone away again Susan decides that Jean's behaviour definitely warrants blackmail; what choice have they got?

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 26th July, 2022

The Tales of the Pill and the Pillar-Box.

Characters: Tony, Tom, Clarrie, Susan, George
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

In reaction to feeling useless at home, Tom has turned up unexpectedly at Bridge Farm to check on some Bridge Fresh orders; he shows Tony the baby-page on the website. The twins are waking in relays, and though Tom is doing his best he is exhausted; he also feels that Caitlin has done him out of a job. Tony enthuses about her enough for him not to follow up on that thought; instead he offers to help Tony clean the grain store.

The Echo website is up, with Jean Harvey's article on it already; when Clarrie announces this Susan is very despondent, but the delighted Clarrie tells her it is all about how Ian came to Jean's rescue when she choked; she is calling him her hero. George, who has been helping stack shelves in the shop, reminds Susan what she said about Jean earlier, none of it complimentary and some of it dating back to Calendar Girls. She sends him back to the store-room with some of the baked beans he has brought out, and admits to Clarrie in a horror-struck voice that she has done something really stupid: she saw red when Audrey was in the shop earlier and said something about the WI needing to have a meeting about the pizzas, and has put a nasty letter to Jean into the post-box. The post will be collected any time now.

Once the grain store is clean, Tom starts to suggest more and more jobs he could help with on the farm; Tony tells him he's not needed and ought to be at home with the babies. Tom says he feels like a spare part at home.

Since she has no key to the post-box, Susan is going to have to persuade Gordon, the postie who makes the collection, to let her have the letter. George comes back from the store-room and is immediately interested, wanting to know what is going on; after telling him it is none of his business, Susan carries right on telling Clarrie that she has to give Gordon a sob-story to get the letter back, which Clarrie refuses to do because, as she rightly says, the letter is entirely Susan's affair. Clarrie does start to suggest ways they might get the letter out for themselves, at which point George abruptly takes himself off.

The sorry saga of Caitlin's takeover of April Cottage has come pouring out of Tom: she does everything, and he feels completely useless. Tony does his best to comfort him and tells him he isn't useless, nor a spare part; he just needs a bit of time to find his feet. He will be a terrific parent and he is going to be fine.

At the post-office, Clarrie is doing her best to make a device to get the letter out of the box: string wrapped in double-sided tape and weighted with a pencil-sharpener. Susan meanwhile is worriting in case Jean thinks another member of the WI is behind the letter and it starts a feud. Then they notice there is smoke coming out of the post-box, and rush for a fire-extinguisher.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 27th July, 2022

Caitlin has the upper hand, and so does George.

Characters: Caitlin, Natasha, Tom, Clarrie, George, Susan
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At six thirty in the morning Caitlin is woken by Natasha, who fed one baby at two and the other at four, falling over something as she goes through to the kitchen planning to cook herself breakfast. Caitlin tries to send her back to bed, in a louder and louder voice; they have a somewhat acrimonious argument during which Caitlin insists she will make Natasha a spinach omelette for her breakfast. Natasha still wants to make breakfast for herself, but Tom calls down to tell her that Nova seems to be hungry, the baby starts to cry, and Natasha has to go to feed her. A spinach omelette is then offered to Tom as well.

Clarrie has gone through George's pockets and found a nearly-empty tin of lighter fluid which he claims to have been using to clean his bike chain. He denies having anything to do with the fire in the post-box: he had planned to pick the lock, which he says is easy. It wasn't his fault the post-box went up in flames. Then Clarrie lets slip that there was a letter to Jean Harvey, and he is very interested, but continues to deny having had anything to do with what happened.

All Natasha has done this morning is breast-feed, she says tetchily, and she is surprised she has any milk left. She and Tom are enjoying a little time together with the babies when Caitlin appears to instruct her about how to burp a baby, which makes Natasha bristle. After she has gone away again Tom finds himself defending her to Natasha, who is being driven mad by her: it's things like her having given the twins a bath yesterday when Natasha wanted to do it, and always doing things before Natasha has quite got round to them. It feels as if Natasha is ten years old again, and there is no point in talking to Caitlin: she won't listen, she never has. Caitlin comes through from the other room to remind Natasha to take her pain-killers.

At some point soon Harrison will be calling to collect Susan's witness statement, having already got Clarrie's, and Clarrie says it's easy: they didn't see anything, George is generally truthful, and they have no evidence he had anything to do with it. Susan is worried because she can't tell lies, but Clarrie says she has to accept that if she says anything about the letter to Jean Harvey, it will get her into trouble, and there is absolutely no need to tell anyone she and Clarrie wanted to get it back. Harrison sends Susan a text saying he is on his way.

Tom is trying to have a talk with Caitlin while she hangs up the washing, but when he starts to explain about Natasha wanting to do more, Caitlin deflects everything he says and tries to enter into a conspiracy with him to keep Natasha on the straight and narrow and stop her from doing too much. She says she will try to jolly Tash along, and when Tom suggests that Natasha dislikes being called Tash, pooh-poohs it and says that may be so when other people do it, but she's her mother and can call her anything.

The moment Harrison has left after taking Susan's statement George turns up at the post office to pry into what she might have said, and Susan is put on the spot by his knowing there was a letter to Jean Harvey, and having heard something about blackmail, as well as the entire conversation yesterday between Susan and Clarrie. Susan, flustered, tries to talk her way out of it, but he has clearly worked out exactly what went on, and says that there is no evidence now the letter is burnt, and none that he touched the post-box either; it will have to remain one big mystery.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 28th July, 2022

One or two thing do not compute, but Brad does

Characters: Alice, Chris, Toby, Eddie, Chelsea, Brad, Oliver, Freddie
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The idea of Martha's christening has taken hold of Chris and Alice, and when they meet outside the village shop they agree to discuss it; they go into The Bull and order from Toby, and Alice goes to grab a table outside. Toby tries to pick Chris's brain about the fire in the pillar-box, about which Chris says his mother is being surprisingly chilled and merely saying it will have to remain a big mystery. Kenton lost his driving licence, which was on its way to have his points for speeding put onto it, and Joy Horville had sent her granddaughter thirty pounds for her birthday and that has also gone up in flames. When Eddie comes into the bar, Chris goes out to sit with Alice, and after a quick chat about the fire, during which Eddie too says it will have remain a big mystery and Toby notes that he has used he same phrase as Susan, Eddie tries to persuade Toby to take part in a sweepstake Eddie has started on whether Alice and Chris will get together, and if they do, when. Toby, who doubts they will, is shocked by the sweepstake.

The till at The Orangery is giving Chelsea grief, and Brad tries his best to come to her rescue while Oliver waits to pay for his and Adil's coffees and meals; Chelsea aggressively tells Brad to go away and do something else, and Freddie comes over to try to sort things out. Despite being told not to, Chelsea pulls the plug of the till out of the wall, which obviously doesn't particularly help. Brad quietly tells Oliver how much he owes them: he has worked it out in his head. The card-reader is still working, so they don't even have to ask for cash; Freddie tells him to carry on taking payments, and Chelsea to go away and clear tables. Chelsea flounces off snarling.

In the pub garden, Alice and Chris are discussing the possibility of a naming ceremony on Lakey Hill rather than a church christening, though Chris still wants Alan to give a blessing. As Eddie comes and joins them in a very nudge-nudge wink-wink manner, Alice reminds Chris it is their wedding anniversary, and Chris is shattered to have forgotten it. Alice suggests they ought to have a 'Suddenly Single' party, like the one Steph threw though ideally not such a disaster, and they start coming up with possibilities the idea offers, which Eddie takes seriously though they deny it's anything but a joke. When Eddie has taken himself off again, having failed to get anything out of what he assumes is the reconciled couple, Chris tells Alice he is sorry he didn't remember their anniversary: their wedding was mad and crazy and he'll never regret it. Alice offers him a picture she has found behind the sideboard, of them on The Strip; it's one of the ones she tore up, and in fact the one Chris found part of when he was moving out of The Nest. They agree to stick the pieces together and paste it in Martha's album: she is the one with a right to it now.

At the Orangery, Brad has sorted out payment from the whole queue in very little time; Freddie is full of gratitude and congratulations, and Chelsea is thoroughly put out when he suggests a bonus for Brad. The till is now rebooted after having been switched back on, and Chelsea congratulates herself on having thought to turn off and turn on again. Freddie is unimpressed with her and points out she has left dirty plates on a table; he tells her to clear them up, but she shoves Brad off the till and tells him to get on with it.

Toby and Eddie are still discussing the possibility of Chris and Alice getting back together, when Chris unexpectedly comes in, overhears, and tells the embarrassed Eddie that it's never going to happen; yes, they are happy spending time in each other's company, happier than they have been for years, but they are just friends

Oliver works hard to get on with Brad, who has come to collect his and Adil's plates, and is told that his birthday card to Tracy is on the shelf with all the others; then Freddie comes over and tells Brad he can go off now. After being mildly accused of probably sounding out the opposition, which he denies, Oliver manages to persuade Freddie to come to the meeting about the future of Grey Gables, which is now to be in the Village Hall. Then he says he is glad Lower Loxley is employing Brad, and Freddie tells him seriously that Brad is a genius and should be getting work experience in some big firm of accountants.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Friday 29th July, 2022

Tom gets it right for once, but has Russ?

Characters: Caitlin, Natasha, Kirsty, Russ, Lily, Tom
Credited scriptwriter: Tim Stimpson

Director: Gwenda Hughes
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

There is a row involving a screaming baby going on at April Cottage, with the unfortunate Kirsty as a bystander. Natasha is told to go and change her dressing while Caitlin changes the wailing Nova's nappy; strangely, the moment Natasha leaves Nova shuts up. Kirsty remarks on both adults probably being on edge because of lack of sleep, but Caitlin denies that is the reason: they are always like that; she recounts a story about Natasha refusing to wear her wellies at the age of six. Kirsty is a bit shocked about the ill-tempered set-up, and Caitlin then says she is tired because the sofa-bed is so uncomfortable. She muses that maybe Pat and Tony have the right idea, just spending time with the babies and then running back home.

While he cooks, Russ tells Lily about Freddie thinking Brad a genius; Lily mentions that she thinks Chelsea fancies Russ, which he finds absurd. He wonders whether Lily is worrying about beginning at university again when term starts at Felpersham. She is her usual charming self about that, and goes off to have a shower.

Kirsty encounters Tom working at Bridge Farm, and tells him she is really happy for him and thinks the babies are lovely, and was very pleased that they were wrapped in the blankets she had given him for them. She mentions that she and Helen are off to Freddie's 90s night at the Blue Boar that evening. Tom speaks of Caitlin in not entirely flattering terms, and Kirsty suggests that she may be feeling a bit put upon.

A phone call with Caitlin is ending: Pat has rung and arranged for her to have a bed at Bridge Farm. Natasha is affronted when Caitlin suggests she needs to get into a routine and Caitlin not being there will force her to; she points out that with Caitlin running everything she has had precious little chance to do so. They have a fairly strong exchange of views, ending in Natasha agreeing it will be a good thing if Caitlin does sleep elsewhere.

At the Blue Boar, Kirsty is now talking with Lily about the new twins, and telling Russ the music is grand. She goes back to Helen, and Russ suggests that he and Lily could rent a house in Felpersham, or maybe even buy one, so she can do the university thing properly this time; he will commute to the Lower Loxley gallery. Strangely, she seems less than fully enthusiastic at first, but then hugs and kisses him and wants to know when they can start flat-hunting.

At April Cottage both babies are sleeping, one on each of Natasha's arms. She says she needs a shower, but Tom tells her she looks wonderful, and he wants the four of them to have ten minutes together. Natasha has worked out that Caitlin going to Bridge Farm was Tom's suggestion, and thanks him: this is just what she needs.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 31st July, 2022

Justin has meddled, and Peggy has a sentimental notion.

Characters: Alice, Shula, Peggy, Tony, Justin
Credited scriptwriter: Liz John

Director: Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The cross-country course's whereabouts remain a mystery to the listener, but it is finished and Alice and Shula have gone to inspect it. Alice wants to ride it before it opens, and Shula is using going to see it as a distraction from worrying about Grey Gables; so much in Ambridge depends on the hotel. When they get to the first fence they find it's very challenging; Shula is surprised. She goes back to her worries about Grey Gables, which seem to have their roots in how much the place meant to Caroline. Alice then asks whether Shula would consider leading Martha's naming ceremony and perhaps give a blessing; Shula, in tears, agrees. The date isn't yet fixed but they will let her know. The second fence is another corker, and it isn't what Shula remembers from the plans; Alice is horrified by it. Shula will have to call Justin: there must have been a mistake.

Unlike Caitlin, Peggy is being quiet for the babies; so much so that to his amusement Tony has discovered the exhausted Tom and Natasha fast asleep upstairs. Tony is smug that Seren succumbed at once to his special rock; Peggy flatters him that he is good at soothing everyone. According to Tony, Pat thinks Nova looks like John as a baby; he suggests Peggy might like to hold her.

Justin is rattled by Shula and Alice's reaction to the course, which they pronounce completely unsuitable for ordinary riders, and in fact downright dangerous; he says that his designer is properly accredited and cost an arm and three legs. The women want to ring him to find out what he thought he was playing at, but Justin says rather defensively that he thinks he knows what might have happened.

The baby-worship continues, with Tony and Peggy agreeing that twins are special: the two little girls will always have each other, just as Freddie and Lily, Shula and Kenton always have each other. Peggy decides that she can feel Wren here with them, and these two babies are really three.

The course is indeed not as it was shown in the plans; Justin finally admits that he and a friend of his went round looking at it, decided it was too tame, and had it altered. The two women are exasperated, and Shula is initially speechless at this idiocy; then she asks Justin whether he wants Health and Safety closing them down before they even open? He'll have to get the building team back at once, which he says is impossible. Alice comes to the rescue by suggesting a friend of Chris's who can do the work, though he won't be cheap; Shula is clear that Justin will be footing the bill no matter how steep.

A new idea has struck Peggy: Jack's stained-glass window in St Stephen's has meant a lot to her over the years, and she now wants to dedicate another window for the twins, which will always be there as an anchor for them in the same way that Jack's has been for her. Tony thinks that sounds wonderful, and says he will mention the idea to Tom and Natasha and see how they feel about it. Peggy envisions a simple design: two stars, with a text above them about God numbering all the stars and giving them their names. [KJB Psalm 147:4. 'He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.' Chris] It will be her gift to them, to give them joy and strength whenever they need it.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 1st August, 2022

A double booking leaves Adil reeling.

Characters: Oliver, Adil, Roy, Lynda, Helen, Tony
Credited scriptwriter: Liz John

Director: Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The Grey Gables show is due to open shortly and Roy is trying to get the Village Hall cleared ready for them; he comes back in despair saying that it's been double booked by Serena Thwaite, and she is not answering her phone. The Borsetshire Scottish Dance Society, which has Audrey Fisher and Hilary Noakes involved, is in occupation and shows no sign of leaving. Adil thinks he will have to be the one to dislodge them, and Oliver and Roy are horrified as he says firmly that he is going in. Roy rings Lynda begging for her help.

When Lynda arrives she tells them Sabrina is on a bridge cruise on the Rhine and has double-booked the hall before, then goes to look for Adil; she sees him dancing with Joy Horville, and when he emerges he is in fine fettle and says they can go in and set up now.

Pat and Caitlin are reported to have discovered a shared taste for reminiscing about their childhoods in Wales and have stayed away, but Helen and Tony are there, and it seems the Scottish Dance group has joined the audience, won over by Adil's enthusiastic dancing. It's really quite crowded, with people from all over the county as well as just from Ambridge in the audience. Lynda comes and sits beside Helen and Tony, and Adil starts his presentation by introducing himself, then saying Ambridge is essential to the plans for Grey Gables, which involve among other things sourcing from local producers all food they don't grow for themselves in the Grey Gables grounds. This pleases Tony.

When question time arrives Oliver is answering the questions; then when Lynda asks about their plans to employ locals, Adil takes over and spins yet more line about locals being essential to the business. Oliver adds they will be needing staff, all drawn as much as possible from Ambridge, and Adil then invites everyone to come and introduce themselves to him and Oliver if they don't already know them.

It seems that in spite of her overt and incessant hostility to him, Adil has managed to pick Lynda's brains about the locals and knows most of them by name and occupation; she preens herself on having been his mentor. When Adil comes over to ask whether Helen has thought any further about his mozzarella suggestion, he says that Ian as well as Grey Gables may be interested in it, but she is ahead of him and has already arranged to talk with Ian about it.

After the event, Roy, Oliver and Adil are congratulating themselves; we discover that Adil has arranged there will be a Caroline Sterling bar, which touches Oliver. The Scottish dancing bunch are still in the hall; Adil has promised to join in to make up the numbers. Roy is horrified when told he is expected to do Scottish dancing; Oliver says he will enjoy watching that but is told all three of them will be doing it, and Adil makes them go through to the sound of bagpipes. [Which were strangely absent earlier. Chris]

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 2nd August, 2022

Peggy's clanger comes home to roost, and Caitlin puts three feet in it.

Characters: Tony, Helen, Caitlin, Pat, Tom
Credited scriptwriter: Liz John

Director: Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

The food at Bridge Farm has taken a turn for the better, with Caitlin's quiche for lunch. Tony and Helen speak approvingly of the Grey Gables presentation, which was a better evening than Tom and Natasha had: they were dealing with screaming babies. Pat's phone delivers a complaint about missing items from veg boxes – on an order Tom packed and checked. It's not the first, either. Tom is mortified, Pat mentions him being exhausted, and in an attempt to change the subject Caitlin drops the bomb about the stained glass window. Helen is not amused; Pat swiftly tries to smooth it over, but Helen leaves the table, saying she has promised to call Lee. Caitlin then drops another bombshell, saying that her husband Gwilym has told her she can stay away for as long as she is needed.

Tom has chased after Helen to talk about the window, and try to soothe her down. She is initially non-committal, but says she doesn't know what to think; then she tells him how nasty Peggy was to her about Henry. Tom suggests Peggy may just be trying to show support for him and Natasha as she did for Helen over Jack. Helen is not appeased. Tom begs her not to spoil it for Natasha, who is over the moon about such a lovely gesture; Helen is mortally affronted by the suggestion she would do such a thing, and leaves for the dairy.

Both Pat and Caitlin look shattered, according to Tony, and then Tom comes back and reports that he has made things with Helen a million times worse. Tom is about to leave for the poly-tunnels when Caitlin tells him there is dessert: strawberries and cream. It then comes out that Caitlin took all the fruit and veg for their meal from the boxes in the packing shed, which explains the missing items in the orders. Caitlin is mortified, but Tom is taking no prisoners and asks her to stay away in future from anything to do with the farming. After he has gone, Caitlin says she has learned her lesson and won't do that again, while Pat tries to be conciliating.

Bridge Farm strawberries and Bridge Farm cream have been taken to Helen by Pat, who has come to apologise for what happened earlier. Pat says Tom is very tired and won't have meant to upset her; Helen is angry for her children who might be upset at having been so obviously passed over, and it isn't with Tom that she is angry. Pat lists other great-grandchildren who might be equally upset, but Helen tells her that Alice doesn't mind and Adam is just pleased for Tom and Natasha; is she the only one who is being selfish? What was Peggy thinking? Pat and Helen agree they don't really want to get inside Peggy's head, but Helen promises she'll make it all right with Tom. She assures Pat that she'll get over it.

On his way to check the Anguses, Tony is caught up with by Pat, who is furious with Peggy and makes no secret of it. Tony feels obliged to defend his mother and claim she is a clever woman who might have method in her madness. This cuts little ice with Pat, who reminds him how hurt he was about being left out of Peggy's will; Tony concedes this, but goes on to say that the whole family was being happy for Tom and Natasha, until they saw what it had done to Helen. Pat says slightly despairingly that whatever one might say about Peggy, no-one could question her love for her family.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 3rd August, 2022

Oliver tries his best, and Adil drives to the rescue.

Characters: Susan, Tracy, Oliver, Justin, Adil
Credited scriptwriter: Liz John

Director: Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

There is a good old gossip going on in the shop, on Susan's side anyway. Tracy comes back with the news that apparently the birthday card Jessica, the Lower Loxley hawk woman, sent to her godchild went up in flames with thirty quid in it. This rather dampens Susan's enthusiasm, and she changes the subject to jobs Tracy has had that were worse than the chicken factory. Then Oliver comes in and greets Tracy; he has come for his Spectator, if Susan has it yet.

On his way to have a shower before supper Adil has been waylaid by Justin, who wants to asks about the Village Hall do; Justin had a previous engagement, but Adil says cheerfully that pretty much everyone else they invited did come. Justin wants to mention a business opportunity, and Adil reluctantly stays to listen to him.

When Susan finally goes to get The Spectator from where Jim has put it out the back, Oliver wants to talk to Tracy; he wants to say that while he knows Brad has turned down his scholarship to the maths Summer School, he ought to go to the equivalent maths school at Christmas. Tracy says scathingly that they can't afford it, least of all at that time of year. Oliver tells her he wants to cover his expenses, but Tracy is determined about not being a charity case and starts to leave.

The riding school apparently needs Grey Gables as a partner, but because Ruby is being quiet and did not bark at Adil when he came in, Adil is worried that something is wrong: she doesn't look right. She is breathing a bit fast, and when she is unresponsive to Justin's endearments Adil suggests Justin ought to ring the vet. When he gets through, Alistair offers him an appointment tomorrow or, when Justin thinks that's too long to wait, within ten minutes if he can get there before they close for the evening; Adil offers to drive them both over there so that Justin can have the dog on his lap.

Oliver is trying to convince Tracy that Brad has potential and nothing ought to be allowed get in his way. He says that it's not his life nor hers but Brad's; Tracy is taken aback by his vehemence and agrees to think about it. Oliver appreciates that. Then he asks how she is; is the new job working out all right? Tracy lies in her teeth and tells him that yeah, it's fine.

The two men are waiting anxiously outside the surgery for word about what's wrong with Ruby; it's been a while since she was taken in there. Alistair comes out to tell them it's a bit more serious than they had initially thought: she has a large tumour on her spleen. Adil asks what they are going to do, and Alistair tells him they will operate on her first thing tomorrow; Justin wants it done at once. Alistair says that's not possible, so Justin tries to bribe him, but more level-headed Adil asks why not, and is told she needs a blood transfusion first. Justin asks whether it is something bad, and is told they won't really know until after the operation when they can get the results of some tests. Justin almost starts to cry, whilst trying to pretend he is upset on Lilian's account; Adil takes charge, saying that they must do the paperwork and then go back to eat, but Justin has lost his appetite.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 4th August, 2022

Denise saves the day, but Helen must be ill.

Characters: Alistair, Denise, Adil, Justin, Helen, Tom
Credited scriptwriter: Liz John

Director: Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Early in the morning before the surgery opens for the day, Alistair and Denise are operating on Ruby; she perked up overnight thanks to a transfusion. Then it all goes horribly wrong: Alistair can't locate a ligature that has come adrift, and blood is leaking into the dog's abdomen.

Adil seems to think that warmed up scrambled eggs will be edible for Justin, who isn't eating and doesn't want to eat; he rang Lilian first thing, after having been unable to reach her last night, and she is coming home at once. Adil tries to distract him by asking about the cross-country course. Then Alistair rings to tell them she is fine, and both are noisily delighted; Alistair calls them to order, and tells them Ruby has been stitched back up, and Denise will let them know when Justin can collect her. When directly asked, Alistair tells Adil that he hopes it was a hemangioma – a benign growth.

Helen has come to see the babies and is being very gushing about them, and praising the incredible job Tom and Natasha are doing. She assures Tom that she over-reacted about the window; Tom agrees that this incredible gesture is lovely, but says that it won't do. He and Natasha have agreed it is blatantly unfair and they are going to see Peggy and say no thanks.

At The Bull, Kenton is too busy chatting to take orders and Alistair is getting impatient: he and Denise have only an hour for lunch before Barry's rat comes in at two. They discuss Denise having spotted where the bleed was coming from, which Alistair found remarkable and admirable; he tells her she is the best vet nurse he has ever worked with. She tells him he made her blush, and then, since he seems to want to treat her for having saved the dog so that he was able to give Justin a good news story instead of the tragedy it looked like being at one point, that she is partial to The Bull's scampi.

Now that the crisis is over, Justin wants to have a discussion about a link-up between Grey Gables and The Stables; Adil finds this rather strange and thinks perhaps Justin ought to have a day off. When Justin pooh-poohs the idea, he reminds Justin that he has to pick up Lilian in less than half an hour; Justin asks him not to tell Lilian how upset he was about her dog. They don't want her worrying about Justin as well as Ruby. Just before he daps off to the station, Justin thanks Adil for his support; Adil shrugs it off.

Abandoning the church window is not what Helen wants Tom to do. Somehow they get onto Tony having been Peggy's unfavourite, and Tom says he doesn't want Henry and Jack to feel they are second best the way Dad did. Helen tells him that she spoke to Henry about it and he is fine with it, and Gran is making this gesture in good faith; she honestly thinks they should accept. In fact she insists on it. [/And to blazes with the feelings of Phoebe, Johnny, Noluthando, Sipho, Mungo, Xander, Martha and Jack. Chris/] Tom says ruefully that unfortunately Natasha is now offended on Henry and Jack's behalf and is set against the whole idea; Helen offers to have chat with her, and thinks she can change her mind so that they can all enjoy this beautiful window when it's done.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Friday 5th August, 2022

Dogs, horses and the indigent. Also explosions, but nobody drownded.

Characters: Caitlin, Lynda, Shula, Lilian, Natasha, Tom
Credited scriptwriter: Liz John

Director: Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

A different Ambridge dog is out for a walk, and Caitlin recognises that Monty is a Dobermann; Lynda works out who she must be, and asks after the twins. Caitlin is feeling sore about having messed up the veg boxes. She wants to post a card to her husband, it being their anniversary next week, but the post-box has been burned; Lynda says she can take it in to Susan in the post office. They are disturbed by the sound of explosions from the Summer Orchard unit at Sawyers, which nobody has been in since the day before yesterday: is it vandals, like the post-box?

The recovery of the original and poorly dog, now wearing a lampshade of shame to keep her from nadging at her stitches, is being discussed by Shula and Lilian, but Lilian has abandoned Ruby to Justin; she is displeased about Justin's interference in the riding course and has come to have a look for herself. She says peevishly that he is supposed to be developing The Stables, not sabotaging it. She's surprised that Shula is not as angry as she is herself, but Shula says she has other things on her mind.

The twins have been weighed and measured, and Tom and Natasha are having a nice quiet talk together when Caitlin arrives with her bad news; Natasha wants to go and see what is wrong, but Tom insists he'll find out and report back to her.

Shula is telling Lilian about her desire to go to be a Pioneer up north: they want people with compassion, patience and a good listening ear, and Lilian immediately says that is absolutely Shula. Shula replies ruefully that the trouble is, they need someone by September, and she can't just walk away when so much is going on at The Stables. Lilian asks whether if they found someone suitable to keep Justin in check she would go? Yes, like a shot, says Shula. Leave it with me, darling, says Lilian.

The report to Natasha is that about a dozen bottles in a fridge that has stopped working have exploded; the unpasteurised juice they were experimenting with is probably the cause. It looks as if it has been caught in time, most of the bottles have not broken and the fridge can be salvaged; Tom is very glad Caitlin went by and sounded the alarm, and apologises for his ill-temper on Tuesday. Natasha takes advantage of his inability to speak Welsh to be rude about him to her mother, or so he assumes. When he has left the women together they have a heart-to-heart about how clannish the Archer family is, and Caitlin promises to be there if Natasha ever needs her.

Lilian and Lynda are talking of Adil's having noticed Ruby's trouble; they have both changed their tune about him as a result. Lynda even speaks well of his singing in the shower: a fine tenor voice singing Rocket Man makes a good start to the day. They have misjudged him, says Lilian. The Grey Gables presentation – so inclusive – has converted Lynda, and she is now thinking that she ought to drag Adil into the Ambridge Summer Fête, which might be the perfect vehicle for his many talents. [Poor man. Chris.]

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 7th August, 2022

The strain is getting to Tracy, and Adil's arm is twisted.

Characters: Pat. Tony,Tracy, Lynda, Adil, Natasha, Lilian
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

There is a terrible atmosphere at cricket practice, with Tracy castigating Tony and Pat for not being enthusiastic enough to suit her. Tony points out that everyone thought they were having this Sunday off, since there is no match; Tracy retorts that she can't do evening nets with her shifts at the factory and without her those are a mess, so she feels it's only right to have practices at times when she can get to them: everyone would have turned out if there had been a match, after all.

Lynda has been musing on Adil's role at the fête, and is aware he supports Watford; she proposes to put him in goal for 'beat the goalie'. He emphatically declines, but foolishly offers to do anything but that. Lynda immediately puts forward fortune-telling, having been told by Kirsty that Adil is a dab at it.

Seren has been brought over to the cricket field by Natasha, who has left Nova in Caitlin's charge. She thanks Pat and Tony for looking after Caitlin and hopes they are happy with her staying: she and her mother have just had a disagreement about how to fold muslins. Apparently Caitlin has been up at Sawyers lending a hand, and Natasha wants to ring Louise and check whether she has actually been any use.

In desperation, Adil tries to explain that he is no good at card-reading, which is not actually what he does; as he tries to explain he is rescued by Lilian arriving with Ruby. When he asks, she tells him they expect the report on the tumour early next week. Lynda seizes the opportunity to tell Adil that he ought to do a hand-reading for Lilian.

The phone call has reassured Natasha that her mother has been a help, which seems to surprise her; she found it hard to credit they were talking about the same woman.

As might have been predicted, in spite of his great reluctance to do so Adil is reading Lilian's palm, and she thinks he does it very well. He goes on saying no, but Lynda ignores this, telling him he must think what is to be put on the sign outside his tent. After she has gone, Lilian asks if his arm hurts, and when this baffles him adds 'from being twisted so hard'. He tells her that what he does is just a parlour game for friends, and he wouldn't usually charge for it. And if he messes it up, the locals will see him as a con-man taking money under false pretences; all his hard work winning their confidence will be ruined. Lilian offers to give him inside information on the regulars, and gives an example: someone who ran away with a boy from the circus in her youth, though you'd never think it of her now.

At the practice, Tony is reassuring Natasha that Caitlin can stay as long as she likes; apparently she has taken an interest in his train set, even if she and Pat do tend to go on a bit about Wales. Tracy interrupts rudely, waking the baby, and has a go at Tony for not having hurried to restart practice; after she has rushed off to round up other stragglers he tells Natasha that he doesn't know what has got into Tracy recently.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 8th August, 2022

Chelsea misjudges Jazzer, and Pat is surprised by Peggy.

Characters: Tracy, Jazzer, Chelsea, Tony, Pat
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

It has dawned on Tracy that maybe she is driving people away from the cricket with her bad temper; she tells Jazzer that work is horrible, and Gemma hasn't invited her to the work social this month or any of the ones before, and is subtly turning people against her . This week it will be at The Bull, too. If it were not the best money she'll find round here she'd leave the job. When Chelsea comes in she wants to know what they are arguing about: Tracy swiftly claims they weren't arguing, and Jazzer says they were just talking about the wrinklies at the cricket practice being awkward.

There's a sick cow at Bridge Farm: she has red urine, which Tony thinks probably means she has an internal injury. Alistair will have to be called. Tony is enjoying being in the milking parlour while Johnny is on his holidays; he'll start on the milking once he has gone in and found his phone. Pat tells him she is going to go and inform Peggy how sensitive people are feeling about the stained glass window.

When they go together to make a meal with pasties Jazzer got earlier, Jazzer tries to flannel Chelsea, but she has angrily decided that Jazzer was trying to tell Tracy where she is allowed to work, and calls him a dinosaur. She warns him that she has got her eye on him.

Babesiosis rather than internal injury was Alistair's verdict; it is treatable, but they have to keep her isolated and throw away her milk. [No warning about it being transmissible to humans seems to have been uttered, which is a bit lax of Alistair. The disease vector is ticks. Chris] Pat says Peggy was perturbed about Helen's reaction to the window; none of the other grandchildren has complained, Kate wants to help with the organisation, and in any case Peggy isn't thinking about the twins as Tom's children but as the first twins on her side of the family for generations. She was really pleasant, and said some lovely things about Pat.

The pasties are terrific, but Chelsea snipes at Jazzer, and when Tracy wants to know what is the matter between them says that she doesn't like him laying down the law about Tracy's job. Jazzer tries to defend himself, but she is having none of it. She's seen too much of her mother's other controlling boyfriends. Tracy realises it is time for her to come clean.

It seems that Peggy asserted Pat has done a wonderful job with Tony and the children, and she talked about John. She still misses him, recently in particular because Nova looks so like him. Then she went on to praise Pat's spirit, and her bravery in coming to tell her something was wrong. Pat asks how they are going to do justice to someone like Peggy Woolley when the twins are older and they take them to see their window.

Tracy is explaining to Chelsea about the animosity shown by Gemma, and that Jazzer wasn't trying to run her life, just wanting to protect her. Chelsea is mortified about having attacked him for what was genuine concern, and gutted that she didn't notice that her mother was unhappy; she reckons Tracy ought to go to the pub whilst the social is on, it being her local and her having every right to be there. In fact she suggests she and Tracy should go to the pub tomorrow as if they were just going for a drink together, and 'happen to see' her workmates. Maybe in a social context things could get sorted out. Jazzer still dislikes the sound of Gemma, but says that might be worth a try.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Tuesday 9th August, 2022

Harrison is caught out catching the beer; will Chelsea be caught out scratching the car?

Characters: Lynda, Pat, Natasha, Harrison, Tracy, Chelsea
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Baby worship involving Lynda as well as Pat and Natasha is underway in the village; when Harrison appears, Natasha leaves and Lynda immediately tries to get him to agree to be the goalie for beat-the-goalie at the fête He pleads an injured left hand and ribs; everyone saw it happen at nets.

Outside The Bull Tracy is worrying about having worn a top that is too fancy; Chelsea assures her she looks lush and coaches her in what she is to say to Gemma when she casually happens to meet her. Then she waits outside while Tracy goes in.

Also at The Bull, Lynda meets Harrison, and they observe the outing from the chicken factory with a certain amount of disfavour. She 'accidentally' nearly drops a pint of beer on him, and he catches it reflexively with his left hand; she assumes this means he will do as she asked of him, since he is so well-recovered from his injury, and he capitulates and agrees. Tracy storms past on her way out of the pub.

Gemma has been highly insulting to Tracy, and all Tracy wants is to go home; Chelsea is furious, and can't think why Tracy lets her get away with it. Chelsea then 'keys' Gemma's car with the buckle of her bag.

Natasha rings Pat to tell her that Caitlin has to go home: it's Dad. He's bipolar, and Caitlin thought he was OK and taking his meds, but after getting in drinks all round in the pub to wet the babies' heads he has been out trying to buy ponies for them. Pat is sorry for them all; Natasha feels guilty about it, because it wouldn't have happened if she hadn't selfishly wanted her mother with her.

A row between Chelsea and Tracy has developed, because scratching Gemma's car won't have have helped anything. Then Harrison appears and asks whether either of them saw the Mini convertible being scratched; they both deny all knowledge, very unconvincingly. He leaves, and Chelsea is deeply apologetic to Tracy, but Tracy says they ought to own up: Chelsea disagrees and says they ought to keep on denying it and it will all go away; after all, nobody saw them.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Wednesday 10th August, 2022

Adil is stitched up, and Pat lumbers herself.

Characters: Tom, Natasha, Tony, Lilian, Adil, Pat, Joy
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Having a spare adult on tap was infuriating but useful, and Natasha and Tom are now struggling without Caitlin; both babies are in need of changing, and Tony has rung about the brakes on the trailer, which need to be fixed. Since Tom is unable to do all his farm work for the morning, Tony will take that on until he is able to get in.

While he is trying to work from the tea-room because of the building works at Grey Gables, Adil is buttonholed by Lilian about his costume for the fête: she wants him to be mysterious yet approachable, and wear a hood. It turns out, to her exasperation, that he has completely mixed up all the information she has fed him about various villagers.

The trailer is proving impossible to fix, and Pat has brought a holiday postcard from Johnny to show off. She and Tony grumble abut Tracy's hectoring at cricket, and then Tom arrives: Tony tells him unhappily that emery cloth and elbow grease are not going to do the job for the trailer's brakes. Tony has found the part, but it won't be there until Friday so he'll just have to fit it over the weekend. Pat offers to help with the various things he now has to get on with, but Tom asks if instead, she could go and see how Natasha is getting on.

It's clear that Adil has completely failed to memorise any of the information from Lilian; she tries to coach him on cold-reading just from the person. Joy comes over and Lilian introduces Adil and Joy to each other; she encourages Joy to tell him all about what she thought of the presentation, and heartlessly leaves him to find out what he can about her.

The babies are crying in unison (for once) when Pat arrives; Natasha is worried about her father, though Caitlin has managed to cancel the ponies, and as soon as she starts to talk to Pat the babies miraculously shut up. Natasha is regretting that she has to miss a food festival called CotStravaGanza from farm to fork – at which Helen tried but failed to get a stall: they have been in touch to tell her that the juice dealer they had arranged has failed a hygiene test and they would like Summer Orchard to come instead, but it is this weekend and there is nobody available to go to it.

True to form, Joy is talking Adil's ear off about Our Rochelle and isn't interested in telling him anything about herself at all. She simply talks through him whenever he tries to ask any questions about her own feelings or life. She then pumps him, finding out that he is not married and, unlike most of his family apart from one rebellious optician, didn't want to be a doctor: Joy says she can sense unhappiness there and goes to get him a flat white, presumably as a preparation to amateur psychoanalysis.

CotStravaGanza would have been a perfect fit for Summer Orchard, but Natasha really can't do it. Louise is being a bridesmaid on Saturday, while Parker is useless and cannot be trusted on his own, so she will have to turn it down; such a shame, when it is a perfect networking opportunity. Rather tentatively, Pat suggests that she could go – only if Natasha would trust her, obviously; Natasha leaps at the offer.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Thursday 11th August, 2022

Of nuts, whines and .... juice: Chelsea screws up and Joy volunteers.

Characters: Freddie, Chelsea, Adil, Pat, Tom, Joy, Russ
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

It is understandable that Chelsea should be worried, but not right that she should zone out completely at work while Freddie tells her what is available on the menu. When Adil comes in for a table he has booked and mentions that his guest has a nut allergy, she agrees to let the kitchen know but may or may not in fact have taken it in.

What ailed the sick cow was definitely redwater, and she is going to have to be isolated and her milk disposed of for six weeks, which as Pat remarks won't please Helen, but at least Tom is happy about a rise in the sale of salading. Tom worries that Pat may not realise how much she has taken on by offering to go to CotStravaGanza. Tom won't be able to help her, and nor will Tony.

Chelsea is in trouble because Adil is furious: the salad his guest has been served contains hazelnut oil in the dressing. Adil is not happy: this is completely unacceptable and they have potentially harmed one of their customers. Freddie tries to placate him with a new, free meal for both of them, but Adil is unsure that is good enough and goes to check whether his guest is still prepared to eat there; in his absence Freddie tears a strip off Chelsea, who has to admit she didn't pass on the information about the allergy to all staff as the house rules require. Freddie tells her that recently she has been surly, obstructive and inattentive, and he really isn't sure that they can continue to employ her.

As he is delivering a veg box in the Beechwood estate Tom literally walks into Joy, who asks if he's all right: he looks a bit ragged. He says that what with one thing and another he missed breakfast, whereupon she insists he must come in for a bite and a cuppa, even if the bite is something for him to eat while he is on the go.

The sound of sobbing behind the scenes is Chelsea crying her eyes out; Russ anxiously comes and finds her. She explains that she nearly killed someone with a nut allergy and is going to be sacked, and it's the last straw: things are tight at home, and now this. Then she confesses to scraping Gemma's car with the buckle of her bag. Russ realises that she did it on purpose and is shocked: he knows that will be expensive to repair. She wails that everything's all her fault. She'll be fired, and she really needs the job.

Joy has now come to see Pat, telling her about Tom being exhausted; Pat says that she is right that they are very busy and that she simply must get on herself, and Joy discovers that Pat will be on her own at CotStravaGanza. She volunteers to help; Pat is reluctant, but Joy says it would be right up her street and just the sort of thing she might well have gone to before now, though for the music rather than the food. She's a good worker and she would love to help. Pat offers her payment, but she refuses: getting in free and being able to be useful would suit her very well. Pat is honest, and says she would be relieved.

Russ pleads Chelsea's cause with Freddie, who quite reasonably asks him what it has to do with him. He explains about knowing what has been going wrong at home for Chelsea, who has some very good qualities. Freddie, still reasonably, explains that they can't keep her on because she is a bad employee, and her behaviour reflects badly on Lower Loxley. Russ points out that he is only in a position to make this decision because he was himself given a second chance. Freddie sighs resignedly in the face of this moral blackmail and agrees to think about it, though he says he has to see what Trent thinks as well and is making no promises.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Friday 12th August, 2022

Uncharacteristically, Russ is an appropriate adult; Joy finds out she is 'family'.

Characters: Joy, Pat, Russ, Chelsea, Harrison
Credited scriptwriter: Keri Davies

Director: Kim Greengrass
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Having offered Pat her help, Joy is being offered a chance to change her mind and back out, but says she is looking forward to the experience. She and Pat are boxing up bottles ready to load in the van. Unsurprisingly, there are hundreds, and while Joy starts the boxing Pat gives her a quick tutorial about each variety of juice.

Outside the Orangery, which will open in ten minutes, Russ has come to see how Chelsea is. She is downcast, because she has to see Trent and Freddie as soon as work starts and is sure that she has cycled all the way over just to be given the sack, but he tells her it will be a better conversation than she is afraid of. He had a word with Freddie last night, and Trent and Freddie have agreed to keep her on, with the condition that this is her absolutely last chance and that she will never give them cause to regret it. Chelsea squeals and hugs him, but he fends her off and says that although he hasn't told them about the car-scraping, she must go to the police and admit to it, and offer to pay for the damage. She is afraid that once her having done anything wrong is known, she will be blamed for Roy's car being vandalised and the post-box being set on fire as well, because she is a Horrobin. Russ tells her she has to take the consequences of her action before she can draw a line under it. She asks whether he would come with her to the police.

The juice-stand tutorial now includes use of the card reader for sales, and Pat says that Joy should feel reassured the festival is card only, no cash. Joy says it is like playing shop, though Pat thinks the novelty will quickly wear off. Pat is thinking of taking flyers for Helen's cheese with them, and Joy agrees to be in charge of the stall while she distributes them, as long as she can still slip off in the evening to enjoy the music.

With Russ in support, an unwilling Chelsea has come to own up to the police; they meet Harrison coming out of the police station. After he hears why they are there, Harrison asks why Russ has come along, and is told he is Chelsea's appropriate adult; Chelsea is upset to learn that Harrison is going off duty and her statement will be taken by someone else. Before he goes Russ wants a quick word, and sends Chelsea to sit in the station. When she has gone in Russ says that Chelsea has nothing to do with the graffiti or the post-box but is worried people that might think she was to blame for those as well; Harrison says he will emphasise that her crime was quite separate and had a specific cause, if the matter comes up, and Russ is grateful. However, Harrison would like a favour in return; he has been coerced into being the goalie at the fete and wonders if Russ can help him prepare for what is certain to be an ordeal by firing practice shots at him.

The bottles are all packed, and Joy is looking forward to having some photos of her on the stall to show the grandkids; she had sent some old photos to Rochelle, and they went up in flames in the post-box. There were no copies, and Joy is full of regrets for them. Pat is very sorry about it, and tries to comfort her by telling her that even if she is not getting on well with Rochelle just at the moment, she is part of the Bridge Farm family; Joy is very touched.

After Harrison and Russ have returned to Ambridge they have a football practice, and while they take a short rest Russ tells Harrison that Chelsea has been told she will get a conditional caution: she has to write a letter of apology to Gemma and offer to pay for the damage. Harrison thinks that is about right, though 'I was upset for my mum' wouldn't get far in court as an excuse for criminal damage; Russ tells him earnestly that Chelsea is not a bad person.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Sunday 14th August, 2022

George misses the point, while Joy and Pat are both slow on the uptake.

Characters: Pat, Joy, George, Susan, Toyah Willcox, Mick,
Credited scriptwriter: Nick Warburton

Director: Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

At CotStravaGanza Pat has unpacked all the juice and is giving Joy a last set of instructions, but Joy is preoccupied, enraptured by the idea of meeting famous people: she has daydreams of talking with and cheering up some star, but she hasn't even seen one yet.

George is in the village shop buying washing-up liquid and biscuits, and tells Susan he is doing a reading at Martha's naming ceremony. He badmouths Alice, and says Uncle Chris should have put his boot against her backside; Susan tells him to stop, and when he says he was just expressing his feelings tells him that she isn't too pleased about the car having been keyed and graffiti on another one, and the post-box being set on fire, but that was probably someone just expressing their feelings too. He denies having had anything to do with the incidents, and also says they were nothing to do with each other; Susan is sceptical.

Joy has spilt some juice on someone at the stall because she was busy trying to spot stars. He pretends to be Mick Yardley, then admits that in fact he is just a steward. He offers to help her look after the stall until her friend gets back, and she asks him to mind it for her while she just nips off for a moment to fetch some cleaning stuff. No sooner has she gone than an actual star does appear: it's Toyah Willcox. Mick sells her some juice.

Under interrogation, George continues to deny he has anything to do with the crimes. He thinks that Susan having been in prison is cool, but she doesn't agree that it is. She puts up the closed sign and sets out to have an earnest talk with him about what prison is really like.

Pat is selling someone on the cheese and on the Ambridge fête as a place to buy some; the subject of Toyah Willcox comes up and Pat says that she always admired her, quoting and interpreting some of her lyrics Then her new friend is paged and says she is wanted on main stage, and Pat realises she must be famous. In fact, she must be Toyah.

Susan is telling George about her experiences in prison, and how horrible it was. Her photo of her family was torn up, and then there was nothing for her at all. He is taken aback and says that he hates to think of her like that, and she takes advantage of his feeling to make him promise to be careful. Unfortunately when she goes to turn the sign back to open, he mutters that he knows lesson one now: don't get caught.

The presence of Toyah Wilcox has thrown Pat completely, and she is wittering about it to Joy and hoping she didn't make too much of a fool of herself when Mick comes back with a Summer Orchard box that has his mobile number on it, though he claims that he thought it was Joy's. He goes off again, and Joy is bewildered until Pat points out that obviously he wants her to ring him.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti

Monday 15th August, 2022

Chelsea is in hot water, and Stella is going to be in cold.

Characters: Tracy, Jazzer, Chelsea, Lynda, Stella, Pip
Credited scriptwriter: Nick Warburton

Director: Julie Beckett
Editor: Jeremy
Howe

Going to the police was the right thing to do, according to Tracy and Jazzer; they grill Chelsea about her letter. Chelsea complains that Russ wouldn't let her say anything that showed her true feelings about The Cow, and that the final version of her apology sounded really creepish. Tracy says she had to creep because she was apologising. She sets off to go to work, and as she is leaving Tracy thanks her for what she has done; she apologises to Tracy for having messed up. After the door closes, Tracy points out to Jazzer that she has to give Gemma Chelsea's letter, and she is not looking forward to it.

Lynda and Stella have met while out on dog-walks, and Stella volunteers to help at the fête, claiming she is up for anything.

Whilst she is on a break at work, Tracy rings Jazzer; she has given Gemma the letter. Gemma didn't read it, just put it in her pocket and said nothing. Jazzer thinks that means that's the end of it and things will be back to normal.

Stella has come to Brookfield to borrow a bit of kit from Pip for the spring barley harvest, and wants to asks her about the fête. Pip is surprised to hear she volunteered, and laughs when she learns she is going to stand in for Alan at the Dunk-the-Vicar stall and wants to know what it involves; she makes fun of her, saying she needs to be ordained first. Stella doesn't find her at all funny and almost walks off, but she really does want to know how it works, and discovers that it means she gets tipped into the water. She then reveals that she can't do it: she panics if her head goes under water. Pip tells her to call Lynda and own up and, when Stella says she can't manage that, offers to go with her to say it face to face that evening.

Back at 6, The Green, Jazzer, Chelsea and Tracy are rejoicing that Gemma seems to have given up her feud. When asked about it, Chelsea says that she doesn't want a fuss for her eighteenth birthday and any money she gets will be going to pay for The Cow's car, but after she has left the room Jazzer and Tracy decide to plan some kind of celebration anyway. As they start to discuss it, an email arrives on Tracy's phone; she assumes it must be a mistake, since she can't think what these people might want with her.

While they hover nervously outside the door of Ambridge Hall, Pip advises Stella not to explain why she can't be dunked, just say she isn't doing it with no explanation; just as they are about to ring the bell the door opens and Lynda comes out. Stella stammers something, and Lynda realises she plans to back out, sarcastically guessing that it's because of a deep fear of water. Stella denies that, so Lynda wants to know what she really wanted; Pip steps in to volunteer herself and Rosie to help, and gets landed with litter picking. Lynda goes off and leaves Stella somewhat aghast but determined not to fail to do what she has undertaken. Pip says she needs to be prepared for her ordeal: they'll go to the pool in Felpersham and get her accustomed to water gently.

The email that arrived for Tracy was from a firm of solicitors who are bringing a private prosecution against Chelsea on Gemma's behalf. Everything is stacking up against her and Tracy can't see where it's going to end.

Summarised by Chris Ghoti


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