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The parenting styles, or perhaps lack thereof, of Ambridge families is a much-talked about topic among The Archers listeners. This has been brought into keen focus…
The parenting styles, or perhaps lack thereof, of Ambridge families is a much-talked about topic among The Archers listeners. This has been brought into keen focus recently with the parental role in, and reaction to, Ed and Emma Grundy's separation, and the intra- and inter-family dynamics of the Archers clans brought about by Peggy Woolley's Ambridge Conservation Trust. This chapter presents an Archers Assembly, based on the Citizens’ Assembly model, to pass judgement on the parenting styles of the matriarchs and family heads of key Ambridge clans. The Archers Assembly crowdsourced (through the Academic Archers Facebook group) considerations on: The Matriarchs, Peggy and Gill Archer; David and Ruth Archer; Pat and Tony Archer; Susan and Neil Carter; Jenny and Brian Aldridge; and Clarrie and Eddy Grundy. The chapter offers the evidence on each set, with a list of ‘for’ and ‘against’ cases, and quotes, from respondents.
In this chapter, we explore to what extent storylines about the internet and social media are absent or marginal in The Archers. In particular, we examine these storylines…
In this chapter, we explore to what extent storylines about the internet and social media are absent or marginal in The Archers. In particular, we examine these storylines to better understand how the inhabitants of Ambridge interact online and how their online activities intersect with their real-world experiences. We compare what happens in The Archers with the moral panic that often characterises narratives of technology use and find a striking contrast that we argue supports a broader way of understanding and characterising practices of online safety and security. We analysed four social media-related Archers’ storylines from the last 24 months. Our analysis shows that The Archers storylines enable us to look at human–computer interaction in relief so that instead of only looking at how people use technology we can also see the context in which it is used and the usually unseen support structures. The Archers narratives also provide a rich picture of how the fixed space of the physical world interacts with virtual space. In the broader context, the social media storylines provide us with an understanding of how connecting, care receiving and care giving take place in both fixed space and virtual space, and how these co-connected relationships of care receiving and care giving contribute to a form of security more expansive than technologically enabled data protection.
This chapter discusses portrayals of attitudes towards and experiences of gender and sexuality diversity in The Archers and discusses the role of media in shaping social…
This chapter discusses portrayals of attitudes towards and experiences of gender and sexuality diversity in The Archers and discusses the role of media in shaping social change. Using existing data on attitudes across the UK, a survey was developed for The Archers’ audience to measure listener perceptions of key character attitudes. The survey findings are compared against the UK data. Broadly, the audience perceived characters in The Archers as reflecting a similar attitudinal spread to the UK. However, irrespective of attitudes, within The Archers, there is a lack of representation of the experiences of gender diversity or alternative forms of sexuality. In conclusion, I argue The Archers could do more to drive social change by featuring a wider range of gender diversity and non-heteronormative queer experiences.
The Grundys are the alternative world of Ambridge. Invariably down on their luck, often portrayed as lazy if not feckless and usually incompetent. This chapter speaks up for the downtrodden of Borsetshire and in particular the Grundys. It looks at the development of the Grundy family in The Archers over almost 50 years now. It relates key elements in their lives, looking not just at the class struggle in the village but also the importance of gender in this. It draws on key players in the Grundy story from the 1970s including the late radio DJ John Peel who was for a time an enthusiast for The Archers and who played Eddie Grundy's records on his BBC Radio One show. It also looks at the views of key Archers figures such as Vanessa Whitburn and Keri Davies and how they have approached the Grundys. It uses the work of Marx and Engels to try to explain how it is that the Grundys moved from being small farmers to landless labourers. What the chapter doesn't do is to map out a strategy for the liberation of the Grundys from their oppression. It does however look forward to a world turned upside down when at 19.02 hours on a weekday evening on BBC Radio 4 we hear a programme called not The Archers, but The Grundys.
This chapter explores the queasy relationship between food and sex on The Archers. For listeners, food provides an imaginative reference point; consumption of food hints…
This chapter explores the queasy relationship between food and sex on The Archers. For listeners, food provides an imaginative reference point; consumption of food hints towards characters embodiment and occupation of physical space. To the extent that these characters have boundaries, the way they approach and react to food reveals their rigidity or permeability, and the tones in which characters offer, provide, prepare, coax and force food upon one another tells us a lot about the sexual politics at play in Ambridge. In The Archers, women cook and men eat. Characters who rebel against this norm often subvert traditional masculinity in other ways.
Through close reading (and obsessive listening), this chapter analyses the ways in which food allows the relationships on The Archers to act as foils to one another. It also explores: food as metaphor; food used both to sustain and fortify the boundaries of the self and to besiege the ego boundaries of others; how characters are given weight in acoustic space; female emancipation; male helplessness; the hunger/satiety/aural claustrophobia of listeners.