Thursday, 19 September 2013

Lynda has plans

Now that The Great Raymondo has finally been rumbled and scuttled off with his moustache between his legs, there is little time for Lynda to make her mark on Grey Gables before Oliver's Barmy and Caroline-on-the-Bone return from holiday. Hopefully Caroline will have been on the piazza long enough to be oblivious to what might await her. Oliver will be too embarrassed to mention anything as the whole sorry affair was down to his disastrous idea for relief cover.

Lynda's first mission is to rescue Mexican Night. Her inspired plan to cast Freda Fry as her namesake in her own dramatisation of The Diary of Frida Kahlo bodes well, although it brings back memories of her disastrous production of The Diary of Anne Frank all those years ago in Sunningdale. ("She's in the attic!" shouted the audience half way through act one on the best-forgotten first night.)

This also enables Lynda to replace Ray's misguided 'Best Moustache' competition with the more high brow (literally) 'Best Frida Kahlo Eye Brow' competition. Those who have already invested in false moustaches will be relieved as they will be able to double for this purpose. Apparently Kathy has already planned not to shave especially for the occasion.

Mexican Waves have been earmarked for the swimming pool and for Ian's hair. As a treat Peggy will be wearing her Pomegranate Syrup, its first official outing since Fag-Ash Lil brought it back from her travels.

As a tribute to Mexico's position as second only to China in the production of horsemeat, Ian has bought in a bulk supply of Tesco Lasagne for the event.

Lynda has been very happy to be nicknamed Lascurain (after Pedro Lascurain, President of Mexico exactly one hundred years ago). She'll be very happy until she realises that dear Pedro was only President for 26 minutes.

She has also somehow managed to persuade the long-suffering Robert to dress as Manuel from Fawlty Towers, in honour of the hurricane of that name that is heading for Mexico at this very minute.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Double or Quit

As the cull of non-speaking characters continues, the latest cost cutting directive has arrived in Borsetshire. Characters must double with those in other BBC productions - or face being written out themselves.

Early proposals include the following:

Bow-tie wielding Jim has been lined up to replace Tim Wonnacott on BBC1's Bargain Hunt. In a master stroke of cross plotting, Lilian and Paul's affair is uncovered when they appear as the Blue Team at an antiques fair in the Peak District. You wait till you see their Bargain Buy.

In a remake of Keeping Up Appearances Lynda reprises the role of Hyacinth and Robert plays her hapless husband. All goes well until Lynda seeks Kenton's assistance in cleaning the chandeliers at Ambridge Hall, as.....

Lovable rogue Kenton takes on the iconic role of Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses. Dopey brother David is cast as apparently useless (but inwardly wise: Oh Yes!) Rodney.

King of the Cravats Brian Aldridge has replaced Henry Blofeld on Test Match Special. In between bus-spotting and cake-eating, Brian shoots one pigeon too many and faces charges of sexual harassment courtesy of a misplaced "My dear old thing".

 Antiques Roadshow has a new presenter in the shape of Elizabeth who has replaced Fiona Bruce. Elizabeth is, however, already on a verbal warning, since it was discovered that every item in the most recent edition came from the corridors of Lower Loxley.

There are other plans afoot, including Jazzer's trial stint on the Today programme and Rhys's efforts on BBC News as replacements for James Naughtie and Huw Edwards respectively. Watch this space, or submit your own suggestions below, or via Twitter to @TonysConsultant.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Ambridge does the movies

Following the mixed but very vocal reaction to The Archers does Brief Encounter we have a sneak preview of the next films in the scriptwriters sights.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
After another trip to South Africa, Phoebe returns with a new beau in tow. But the beau - John, a doctor - is coming to work in Birmingham where he takes up residence. Phoebe tells her parents about him and a dinner party is set for a weekend when Doctor John's parents are visiting. What Phoebe omits to tell Roy of the Racists and Mother Hayley is that Dr John is in fact African and darker skinned than Racist Roy might have hoped. Uncomfortable scenes follow, complicated by the fact that Amy is supplementing her NHS income by housekeeping for the Tuckers. Thankfully Roy of the Racists comes round, greatly helped by the calming presence of Father Alan. Oscars all round.

My Fair Lady
The Professor (Jim) has a bet with The Kernel (Christine - this is her nickname in the crossword community because of her computer like brain) that he can pass Jazzer off at the Lower Loxley Ball as a country gent of the highest breeding. Or a breeding country gent. Or something like that.

East of Eden
Feuding brothers William and Ed fight for the affections of the same girl and the respect of their father, who has told them their mother is dead. Their greatest distress is caused when they discover that far from being dead, their mother is holed up in the Ladies at The Bull.

Claudia Winkleman will be hosting a special evening in The Bull upstairs next month when other treatments will be discussed.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Ambridge's silent fall silent

With the loss of Bob, Bunty and Wolfgang (what a great combo they were in the '60s), the BBC's cost-cutting purge of the silent characters in The Archers has gained momentum. Here's a sneak preview of some of the story lines from the next few weeks:

Health and Safety scare rocks Tom (or as The Echo [Echo] reported it: "Rock on Tommy"
Maurice has a nasty accident with Tom's sausage paraphernalia. As he fell into the mixer and was churned into sausage meat, his last words were: ". ........ , ......... !".

Freda Fry's Freak Frying Fright
Peace at The Bull is shattered when Freda has a freak accident with Jolene's deep fried baps.

"My world fell silent on that silent night,
When my silent Freda had such a fright"

said Bert Fry as he dismounted his Massey.

Instability at The Stables
Alice's mount has gone missing overnight without a trace. There is little to go on, especially for Alice, but suspicions were aroused when Tom launched an innovative line for Gourmet Grills: Burgers with a hint of Spearmint.

Hitchcock comes to Ambridge
In a scene reminiscent of Hitchcock's The Birds Hilary Noakes was last seen at the mercy of a Cockatoo. Friends and family were relieved to report that she died with a smile on her face as she did so enjoy having a cockatoo to herself.

Sabrina Thwaite passes out on the job
That brick of the community Sabrina Thwaite passed on as she would have wanted, on the job in the village shop. She actually collapsed while serving Brian Aldridge. "It was a shock when she fell to her knees in front of me," said Brian, "but it is how I will remember her."

There will be a collective two-minutes raucous noise to remember these silent characters every Sunday at 11.15am. May they Rest in Noise.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Casting Call for "Carry on up the Mega Dairy"

While the Screenwriters are in Pre-Production Purdah, the Casting Directors are busy finding the right actors for the comedy film project of the year: Carry on up the Mega Dairy.

First twenty pencilled in to date are:

Rob "Titchynob" Titchener - Charles Hawtry
Brian Aldridge - James Robertson-Justice
Jennifer Aldridge - Fenella Fielding
Lynda Snell - Kenneth Williams
Lilian Bellamy - Barbara Windsor
Matt Crawford - Sidney James
Paul Crawford - Calamity James
Jazzer McCreery - Janette Tough [stick with it - Ed]
Tom Archer - Theo Paphitis
Ruth Archer - Jimmy Nail
David Archer - Jim Dale
Pip Archer - Violet Elizabeth Bott
Ed Grundy - Ed Miliband
William Grundy - David Miliband
Adam Macey - Henry Blofeld
Ian - Richard Corrigan
Neil Carter - Joe Corrigan
Susan Carter - Violet Carson
Vicky MotherTucker - Amy Turtle
Mike Tucker - Cyclops

More casting and pre-production gossip to follow but as ever please leave suggestions below or post directly to @TonysConsultant.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Ten Top Tips: All Titchynob needs to know to end those annoying conversations

Every time Titchynob meets a new Ambridgian (which always seems to be as he enters or leaves the shop - trading figures will be good this month) he embarks upon a "aren't you *********? And aren't you related to *********?" [fill in your own blanks] conversation.

This could go on for years. I therefore offer the ten facts that anyone needs to know about Ambridge Folk in the hope that such conversations will be rendered unnecessary.

So, Titchynob, read and learn. Read and learn:

David Archer Murderer. Lured benign, beautiful, beatified Nigel to his death with some spurious tale of banner removal.

Tom Archer Single-minded (or his that single-cell-minded?) small-time businessman with ideas above his station. Idolises cousin David - hence his own (failed) attempt to murder his own father.

ChrisTHORpher and Alice Carter  Restless young ones with itchy feet and itchy other things under those leather aprons. Keen for a family but yet to beat the curse of the venison casserole.

David Archer Murderer. Wanted by all Badger conservationists for crimes against the stripy ones.

The Baster of Ambridge Has already fathered Henry Ian Archer and is available for further stud duties. If venison casserole remains on the menu for much longer, may be called upon by the Carters (see above).

Roof Archer  Not to be confused with 'Lower Loxley Roof' (which Murderer David Archer may have done in the fallout from Samthegrassexpertgate).

Ed and William Grundy The Brothers Grim of Ambridge. Never got the hang of sharing as children.

David Archer Murderer. Default position. Think of this as a "Get out of Jail Free" card and present it on relevant occasions.

Matt and Paul Crawford  Brothers in Arms (Lilian's arms). Unwittingly much better at sharing than Ed and William Grundy (see above).

Elizabeth Archer  The Merry Widow. Showing signs of embarking on another Iffy relationship. Note to Iffy: she prefers men who sell ice creams, dress in gorilla suits and build follies. Whatever you do, don't go near the roooooooooo.............

Armed with these ten facts Titchynob ought to be able to get along so can we please get back to the stories and those unanswered questions such as: Where is Ian? Why didn't it snow in Borsetshire? Have Tom Archer Gourmet Burgers been tested for traces of Topper? And What really went on in Liverpool?

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Ambridge Film Club

It's a little known fact that when the microphones fall silent on a Saturday, the good folk of Ambridge take the opportunity to gather in the Village Hall for one of the great social events of the week: Ambridge Film Club.

Here's the Club's self-selected top ten:

Ambridge Chainsaw Massacre
Kathy sends Jamie off to work without sandwiches. He gets a little cross.

Fiddler on the Roof
Lizzie invites Iffy to a twilight rendezvous. Quite who does the fiddling is only revealed in the final reel.

Bring me the Veg of Alfredo Garcia
Pat packs the veg boxes.

There's a Girl in My Soup
An extended dream sequence featuring Tony Archer.

The not-so-merry Widow
Tragic sequel to Fiddler on the Roof

Les Miserables
Lunch at Bridge Farm.

The Life and Times of a young Archer. Sometimes known as A Baste of Henry.

Oh! What a Lovely Door
Handy D.I.Y. tips from Robert Snell.

Meet the Tuckers
An amusing tale of uncomfortable social misunderstandings, ballroom dancing and confectionery based double-entendre.

Saving Brian's Privates
Another close shave (in more ways than one) for the cravat-wielding megalomaniac.

Next week: Ambridge's Top Ten TV programmes. Suggestions for these, or other favourite films, can be posted below or directly to @TonysConsultant.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Ambridge Thank You letters hit the doormat

[Thought for the day: Has Ambridge ever had a Postman?]

As the Festivities become a distant memory, the good folk of Ambridge - good mannered bunch as they are - have finally got round to writing their Thank You letters. Here is a selection:

"Dearest Tiger
Thank you soooo much for the beauuuuutiful dress you bought me for Christmas. You have no idea what thoughts go through my mind every time I look at it, every time I put it on and - especially - every time I take it off.
No idea at all.
All my love,
Pusscat xxx"

"Dearest Pusscat
 Thanks my love. Can't remember what you gave me but I'm sure it was smashing. Lunch in The Bull?
Your loving and attentive Tiger.
Grrrrrrrrr xxx"

An Open Letter to The Echo (Echo)
"Dear Sir
I crave your indulgence to use your organ to try to communicate with whomsoever bought me my Secret Santa gift.
 A voucher for "A New Year's Knight on the Tiles" at Grey Gables is neither big nor clever. Unless it's from Iffy, of course, in which case I accept with gratitude.
Yours in despair,
The not-so-merry Widow, Lower Loxley"

"My dear Henry
I realise it will be many years before you can read this letter, but we will save it in your Memory Box for the future.
I want to thank you for being a wonderful - if surprisingly quiet - son. And I want to share with you this latest photograph of your father:
Your ever loving, if ever-so-slightly irritating,
Mother (let's be trendy - call me Helen) xxxx"

"By email:
Subject:        Your Christmas Gift
Son - we need to talk.
Your mother and I have tried very hard to indulge your interests. You must appreciate that the very fact that your mother drives you to Birmingham every week for your tap lessons is a sacrifice. I am also not sure how long we can carry on expecting Grandpa Jim to believe that these are part of a grand plan for you to go into plumbing. 
But you must not expect everyone else in the family to share your interests. Judy Garland's Greatest Hits is, I am sure, a wonderful piece of work, but Uncle David is not amused by it. Fiddler on the Roof may seem an amusing gift for Auntie Elizabeth, but at the last count she has yet to see the funny side.
Man up, Boy!"

No doubt there are other Thank You letters in the ether. Please post them here, or send them direct to @TonysConsultant.