December 18, 2020
Readers respond to a Guardian long read on the long-running BBC Radio 4 soap
The Archers as an English institution | Letters
The Archers may well need to reflect a post-Brexit reality for the UK very soon, but it’s not so much a British institution as an essentially English one with a debt to Trollope and Hardy (‘A peculiarly English epic’: the weird genius of The Archers, 15 December). Sean O’Connor’s view of the irritating Pip as a latter-day Bathsheba Everdene is an engaging one, and the maps of Hardy’s Wessex are surely the precursor of the folksy maps of Ambridge.
Welsh and Scottish characters have never fared well in Ambridge – the current storyline features a Welsh modern-day slaver; pregnant Elizabeth Archer was left stranded at a motorway service station by the dastardly Scottish businessman Cameron Fraser (a name that left us in no doubt of his origins); Jazzer, the loveable Glaswegian milkman, seems to have come out of a Sauchiehall Street music hall; Anisha, with her Glasgow West End accent, professional Job and Sri Lankan heritage, was short-lived as a character.
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