List of The Archers characters

List of The Archers characters

This is a list of many of the characters from the long-running British radio soap The Archers.

A list of all Archers characters, and the actors who played them, can be found here, although the list ends in 1997. The credits which follow are not necessarily complete; actors who played the characters as children have not always been included. This is a link to an Archers family tree

Jack, Phil and Christine lived with their parents, Dan and Doris Archer, at Brookfield Farm in the village of Ambridge.


The Archer family

Family tree: Phil and Jill Archer

(1) Grace Phil (2) Jill
(1) Mark Hebden Shula Hebden Lloyd (2) Alistair Lloyd Kenton David Ruth Nigel Pargetter Elizabeth Pargetter
Daniel Hebden Lloyd Meriel Phillipa Rose Lily
Josh Freddie

Family tree: Jack and Peggy Archer

(1) Jack Peggy (2) Jack Woolley
Jennifer Aldridge Brian Aldridge Lilian Bellamy Tony Pat
Adam Macy Kate John
Debbie Alice Helen Unknown

Senior Archers

Jill Archer (Patricia Greene) is the widow of Phil Archer and matriarch of the family. She was his second wife, and with him had four children: twins Shula and Kenton, and David and Elizabeth. She is busily involved in village life and supports her children by taking on child-minding duties. Jill is an active member of the Women's Institute, opened up a holiday cottage business, and is teaching her grandson, Josh, how to keep bees. Jill has a less traditional outlook on life than her late husband, who had been a Justice of the Peace, reflected in her opposition to both fox hunting and private education.

Christine Barford (Lesley Seweard, formerly played by Pamela Mant and briefly Joyce Gibbs), is the younger sister of Phil. A skilled horsewoman, she ran the local riding stables for many years. In the early 1950s she was a close friend of Grace Fairbrother who later married her brother Phil. Christine married Paul Johnson; it was discovered she was infertile, and they adopted a son, Peter. In the mid 1970s Paul deserted the family and he was later killed in a car crash in Germany. In 1979 Christine married George Barford, a gamekeeper, which was seen as a class transgression, even though her uncle, Tom Forrest was also a gamekeeper, and colleague of her future husband. Her marriage to George lasted over 25 years and was happy, but latterly they experienced difficult times as their house burned down due to an arson attack by Clive Horrobin. George died peacefully whilst they were waiting for the house to be re-built. Christine now lives quietly in a cottage which was previously home to Jethro Larkin, father of Clarrie Grundy.

Lilian Bellamy, née Archer (Sunny Ormonde, formerly played by Elizabeth Marlowe) is the twice-widowed, gin-soaked, chain-smoking second daughter of Jack and Peggy Archer. After acquiring her second husband Ralph Bellamy in 1971, she left Ambridge to live with him in tax exile in the Channel Islands; she has by him a grown-up son James (rarely encountered except when he needs money). Bellamy died in 1980, but she unaccountably returned to Ambridge in 2003 and took up with Matt Crawford (then a married man); her exploits cause much gnashing of teeth from her respectable sister Jennifer Aldridge. Lilian was elected to the parish council in January 2006. Lilian took dancing lessons from Mike Tucker after she discovered that Crawford's ex-wife was a much better dancer than herself. In 2008 she and Crawford were briefly separated, and Lilian was an unwelcome guest at The Bull, but with the connivance of Sid and Jolene they were reunited. Crawford has since served a prison term for fraud. Their relationship was further tested when his long-lost brother Paul sought out, befriended, and ultimately fell in love with Lilian. However, since his release the couple has grown closer and now run real estate investment start-up Amside Holdings together.

Tony Archer (Colin Skipp) is the youngest child and only son of Jack and Peggy Archer. In his younger days he romanced a string of girlfriends and led a laddish life before settling down to marry Pat, with whom he now runs a fully organic establishment at Bridge Farm. Despite owning an MG sports car, bought with a windfall from his mother, he is generally considered to be a rather dull man. His brother-in-law Brian Aldridge enjoys winding him up over farming matters, and dinner parties involving the two couples usually end in tears. Pat and Tony had three children, John, Helen and Tom. John was killed in a tractor accident,[1] but Helen has acquired the tenancy of the flat above the shop, courtesy of Peggy, unwittingly shared a lover with her dead ex's teenage daughter Annette, disapproved of her subsequent abortion and decided she needed a baby of her own through AI, a decision which Tony strongly disapproves.

(See also Peggy Woolley and Former principal characters.)

Middle-aged Archers

Shula Hebden Lloyd, née Archer, previously Hebden (Judy Bennett) is the elder daughter of Phil and Jill and twin sister of Kenton. Her first husband, Mark Hebden, a solicitor, was killed in a road accident in 1994 that also involved her best friend Caroline Bone (now Sterling). Shula and Mark's son Daniel was born after the death of his father as a result of IVF treatment after a long struggle with infertility. Some years after Mark's death, Shula had an affair with the village doctor (who was himself living with Shula's hitherto good friend Usha Gupta), thus two-timing her boyfriend Alistair (the local vet) whom she subsequently married. This was in the context of Shula's devout Christianity and membership of the local Parish Council. She owns and runs the riding stables which formerly belonged to Christine Barford, her aunt. She used to have great fun with her best friend, Caroline, but recently Caroline has become engrossed in her husband Oliver Sterling and their business activities. Since her marriage to Alistair, Shula has lost her lightheartedness and become rather dour, self-centred and even, at times, sanctimonious, as evidenced by her attitude to the marriage of the vicar, to whom Shula had been 'right-hand woman' for the parish, to Usha Gupta, a Hindu. Coping with the childhood arthritis of her son, Daniel, has not helped, and nor has her husband's gambling addiction, which nearly destroyed their marriage before he finally admitted to owing huge sums to Matt Crawford and others.[2] The couple resolved to stay together; they remortgaged the business to pay off the debts and Alistair started attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings.

Alistair Lloyd (Michael Lumsden), Shula's husband, is a vet. His father Professor Jim Lloyd (John Rowe) stayed with them at Christmas and New Year 2007-8 while his broken leg healed. A committed atheist he riled Shula, and antagonised his son, but indulged Daniel and contrived to get along with everyone else, except for Phil who saw through him. Alistair mentored Ryan at Gamblers Anonymous.[3] Jim later relocated, bought his own property in Ambridge and went into a business partnership with Kenton.

Kenton Archer (Richard Attlee, formerly played by Graeme Kirk) is portrayed as the wastrel of the Archer family. Having turned his back on the family farm to join the Merchant Navy, Kenton tried his hand at a number of ventures, including selling antiques and running a wine bar. He disappeared to Australia and New Zealand for several years and was married (originally to gain a visa, though they subsequently fell in love), had a daughter (Meriel), and divorced before returning home. Kenton now manages the newly refurbished Jaxx bar in Borchester, with Jim Lloyd taking a business interest. Kenton's former partner, Kathy Perks, is the ex-wife of Sid Perks, the late landlord of The Bull.

David Archer (Timothy Bentinck, formerly played by Nigel Carrivick) is the second son of Phil and Jill and, as the only child of the four to show any interest in, or aptitude for, farming, has assumed responsibility for Brookfield Farm. Over recent years he has become increasingly caring, for example driving up to Northumberland to bring his widowed mother-in-law to stay, and renting a piece of land to Joe Grundy to allow him to keep the barn he had erected without planning permission. Brookfield has suffered in recent years from bovine TB, but David is enthusiastic about his herd of Herefords. His cowman's heavy-handed advice (which he and Ruth reluctantly accepted) that they should dispense with the services of Shula's husband as vet for their dairy herd in favour of a specialist caused a serious family rift, and was followed by his near-affair with Sophie Barlow. Recently, he bought an old tractor, dubbed Rufus, which he has restored.

Ruth Archer, née Pritchard (Felicity Finch) is the wife of David Archer. Unusually the character comes from a real rather than fictional place, Prudhoe in Northumberland. She came to Ambridge as a Harper Adams student looking for agricultural work experience in 1987, and promptly met David, who was keen to settle down: the couple married within two years. They have three children: Philippa (Pip), Josh and Ben. Ruth survived breast cancer which struck in 2000, undergoing a mastectomy operation. Ruth's utterance "Oh noooooo", spoken in her Northumberland accent, was frequently parodied on the BBC Radio Four comedy programme Dead Ringers. In an unpopular and heavily criticised plotline Ruth teetered on the brink of an affair with farm employee Sam Batton in the autumn of 2006. Many listeners viewed Ruth's behaviour during this storyline to be entirely out of character, and therefore unbelievable. Others thought her immature self-centred shilly-shallying was entirely in character, and it was the largely off-air rehabilitation of the marriage and the family's 'blind eye' that was unbelievable. She has since undergone breast reconstruction surgery to restore listeners' empathy with her (not entirely successfully), and coped rather better than David with the sudden transformation of priggish daughter Pip into a very stroppy seventeen-year-old with a much older boyfriend, Jude, who eventually dropped her.

Elizabeth Pargetter, née Archer (Alison Dowling}. The youngest child of Phil and Jill Archer, Elizabeth is the widowed lady of Lower Loxley. Following her marriage to Nigel Pargetter, she took to her role like a duck to water and her quick mind and sound business sense ensure that the Hall runs like a well-oiled machine. Her practical side was the perfect grounding for her eccentric and slightly scatty husband, who died in a fall on 2 January 2011. As the family rallied round, devastated Elizabeth drew her precious twins close to her. After David admitted to her that it had been him who had convinced her husband to go on the roof in the first-place, Elizabeth exploded in a violent rage, and swore she would never forgive him.

The younger Archer generation

Helen Archer (Louiza Patikas, formerly played by Frances Graham and Bonnie Engstrom), Tony and Pat Archer's daughter, makes a cheese called "Borsetshire Blue" in the farm dairy and runs the organic farm shop, Ambridge Organics, in Borchester. After the suicide of her gamekeeper partner Greg Turner in 2004,[4] she suffered from anorexia nervosa, but recovered after a time at a specialist clinic. In 2006 she dated a journalist who quickly rejected her; this subsequently threatened a return to her earlier problems. On New Year's Day 2007, whilst driving drunk, she knocked down Mike Tucker[5] but Tom, a passenger in the car, took the blame. The shock of this event made her re-evaluate her life and she has since helped develop a new type of cheese with Oliver Sterling. After another failed relationship she decided that she wanted a child more than she wanted a partner, and became pregnant by artificial insemination - a decision which caused friction within the family, particularly alienating her father. The two were reconciled however, after the birth of her son Henry Ian Archer, who was delivered by emergency caesarean section on the day after New Years Day 2011 after Helen was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia.

Tom Archer (Tom Graham) is the younger son of Tony and Pat. He took over his elder brother's pig herd after John was killed in a tractor accident, going on to produce organic sausages. Tom and his then girlfriend Kirsty faced criminal charges in 1999 for the destruction of a field of genetically modified crops on Brian Aldridge's land, but neither were convicted. Tom is highly ambitious for his sausage-making business, but his contract with a supermarket chain nearly bankrupted him, despite his disastrous affair with their buyer, Tamsin. Engaged to Brenda Tucker, May 2009.

Tom was forced to throw in his lot with Brian Aldridge, husband of his aunt Jennifer, becoming a junior partner in the business. In the process, the sausage business lost its organic status, which created further tension between the families. In February 2006 he started dating Brenda Tucker, having provided support to her when her mother died suddenly two months earlier. Later the same year, Tom expanded his business and set up a new independent business, Gourmet Grills, essentially a burger van albeit specialising in high-quality meat products. When Helen ran over Mike Tucker,[5] Tom took the blame and unaware that it had been Helen driving, Mike turned against him, opposing his relationship with Brenda. Mike subsequently discovered the truth, Helen paid for the driving course that Tom was sentenced to attend, and Tom and Brenda moved into one of the holiday cottages at Home Farm. However more recently, after Will Grundy bought No. 1 The Green, Tom and Brenda have been renting the house from Will. Having briefly split from Brenda, they recently got back together and got engaged on 29 May 2009.[6]

Pip Archer (born 17 February 1993) (Helen Monks) was christened Philippa after David's father and Rose after Ruth's aunt: the eldest Brookfield child is known in the family as Pip, and at college as Phiz. She inherited some of grandfather Phil's musical talent, learning to play the piano and singing solos at carol concerts. Pip has a clear interest in farming, and also caring for the environment. Pip split from her first boyfriend called Jonathan, a boy she met at her YFC (Young Farmers Club) and began an affair with a much older man, a mature student at Borchester College called Jude Simpson. Her parents did not approve. Jude eventually left the country without her after leading Pip to believe that they were going on a round the world backpacking trip together.

The Grundy family

Joe Susan
Eddie Clarrie
William Emma Ed
George Keira

The Grundys were minor characters, humorous stock yokels and petty rogues, until the late 1970s and early 1980s, when they started to be developed as a working-class foil to the Archer family.

Joe Grundy (Edward Kelsey, formerly played by Reg Johnstone and Haydn Jones) heads the oldest of the well-established local families, and often provides comic relief. Joe maintained for many years that the Archer dynasty had robbed them of their estate. After years attempting to keep the family farm afloat, they were made bankrupt in 2000 - an opportunity for the mainly urban audience to witness the personal and family tragedy of farm sales - and were forced to move to a sink estate in Borchester. Joe took this especially hard and in one of the most harrowing episodes ever broadcast, bludgeoned his beloved ferrets to death with a hammer. The family moved back to Ambridge shortly thereafter. Lately he has begun to assist Oliver Sterling in the management of a new dairy herd at Grange Farm and has celebrated his ninetieth birthday.

Eddie Grundy (Trevor Harrison) is Joe's son and Clarrie's husband. During their marriage he was unrequitedly enamoured of Jolene Rogers, now Perks, his partner in a country and western double act. Eddie's hopes of a career in music appear to have been permanently dashed. He has a history of involving himself in numerous dubious money-making schemes and at one point stood trial for unwittingly selling condemned meat. He mainly makes his living by laying patios and selling novelty garden gnomes. He makes cider and keeps a pig called Barbarella. Joe has participated in some of Eddie's money-making schemes; at other times he scolds his son: legality never dictates his response.

Clarrie Grundy née Larkin (Rosalind Adams, formerly played by Heather Bell and Fiona Mathieson) is Eddie Grundy's long-suffering wife, having married him in 1982. She became involved with him after her late father Jethro employed him to remove the range in their home. Clarrie spends much of her time sorting out problems created by her husband, sons and father-in-law. She works at the dairy at Bridge Farm, where Pat Archer is a good friend, and behind the bar at the Bull.

William Grundy (Philip Molloy) is the elder son of Eddie and Clarrie. He is gamekeeper for Borchester Land[citation needed]; his boss is Brian Aldridge. In August 2004, he married Emma Carter and they had a son, George, but she harboured a dark secret. Whilst Will was engaged to Emma, she enjoyed two one-night stands with his brother Ed, including one on her hen night, leading her to believe that Ed was George's father. Eventually she left Will for Ed, taking George with her, although George was later shown by DNA testing to be Will's child. Will's existing rivalry with Ed became even more intense: to Clarrie's despair, the brothers engaged in physical tussles and bitter arguments over Emma and George. In 2008 he was left £120,000 by a relative, and bought the Carters' former home from Matt Crawford, a property his friend Roy Tucker had been interested in. Will and Ed's rivalry culminated in a fight in which Will nearly killed Ed, and Will moved temporarily to another gamekeeping job in Gloucestershire. Christmas 2008 saw Will reunite with ex-girlfriend Nic, whom he originally split from when he saw her hit George. After returning to Ambridge in Feb 2009, Will pushed for Nic and her 2 children (Jake (4) and Mia (2)), to move back in with him: they did, and in 2010 Nic started occasional bar work at The Bull, a career move which traditionally leads to expanded roles. Will's dog is called Meg.

Ed Grundy (Barry Farrimond) is the younger son of Eddie and Clarrie. Ed took up his father's interest in music and aspired to be in a band. A farm labourer, Ed secured a job in France and planned to move there secretly with Emma and George, but they were thwarted in November 2005 by Will. In May 2006, Ed mysteriously vanished after Emma left the caravan and moved into her parents' home, saying it was for the sake of her baby's health. He remained missing, despite a police investigation into his disappearance, until July 2006 when he was admitted to hospital after being beaten up while sleeping rough in Borchester. Whilst living as a vagrant, he had become addicted to alcohol and crack cocaine. Ed had a history of drug use and petty crime including joyriding. On returning to the village, Ed at first sought refuge with mentor and past employer, Oliver Sterling, who did his best to help him face his demons and abandon his vices. With the additional help of family support and counselling Ed has made major steps towards recovery, demonstrated by his increased dedication to Oliver Sterling's dairy farm. Ed now lives with Emma and George at Brookfield in the holiday cottage. In April 2011 they welcomed a new daughter, Keira Susan.

The Woolley family

Jack Woolley (Arnold Peters, formerly played by Philip Garston-Jones) is a self-made man originally from Stirchley in Birmingham who owns the village shop. Until recently he also owned local country-house hotel Grey Gables (now owned by its long-time manager Caroline Sterling and her husband Oliver), the cafe (managed by Kenton Archer) and the Borchester Echo (a local newspaper). He is now married to Peggy Woolley (see below). Jack suffers increasingly from Alzheimer's disease and is receiving treatment for it, leading Peggy to take more responsibility for the day-to-day operations of his businesses. In 2005 Peggy tried to persuade her husband to agree to his affairs being governed by power of attorney. At the same time, Jack Woolley's adopted daughter Hazel (various actresses, on this occasion Annette Badland) came over from the United States, after some years of absence. Using the cover of an Internet business and an imaginary step family, she failed in an attempt to con Jack and Peggy and gain control of the Grey Gables hotel and leisure complex. As his condition deteriorated, and after much sensitively presented soul searching on the part of Peggy, Jack was moved into residential care at The Laurels and has recently suffered a stroke.

Peggy Woolley, née Perkins, formerly Archer (June Spencer, briefly played by Thelma Rogers) is the widow of Jack Archer, Phil's elder brother. They managed (and later owned) the Bull. After many years of close friendship, Peggy married Jack Woolley. Peggy has two daughters, Jennifer and Lillian, and a son, Tony, by her first husband. She is indulgent of her grandchildren and has provided several of them with significant financial support. After Hazel's attempt to take over Grey Gables, she finally persuaded Jack to relinquish many of his business interests. She is a natural conservative and her views about her grandson's gay marriage could not be predicted. She valiantly, and frustratingly from her family's point of view, resisted all attempts to convince her that she could not continue to look after Jack with his Alzheimer's at home, but has now conceded after much heart-searching.

The Aldridge family

Jennifer Brian
Adam Macy Debbie Kate Lucas Madikane Alice Ruairí
Phoebe Nolly Sipho

Brian Aldridge (Charles Collingwood), considered by some to be the villain of the serial, is sometimes seen as one of the most interesting and subtle characters in the programme. Married to Jack and Peggy Archer's daughter Jennifer, he is primarily a farmer, but has interests in a number of businesses, including a former partnership in Tom Archer's sausage business. Brian has had several extramarital affairs during his marriage to Jennifer, including at least one with (the then) Caroline Bone (1985) and more recently with the Irish-born translator Siobhan Hathaway, which produced his only son, Ruairí. He has an uncomfortable relationship with his gay stepson, Adam, which has been the source of some friction with his wife. He was once exceptionally close to his stepdaughter, Debbie — although this relationship has become strained in the aftermath of Brian's affair with Siobhan. Currently Brian is attempting to leave a third of the farm to Ruairí, a proposal which is being resisted by Jennifer, supported by her children and mother.

Jennifer Aldridge, née Archer (Angela Piper) is the elder daughter of Peggy Woolley by her first husband, also confusingly named Jack. In early years her character was the hippy of the Archer family, her first child, Adam, being — sensationally at the time — the illegitimate result of a fling with a cowman, Paddy Redmond. She married a travelling businessman, Roger Travers-Macy, in the late 1960s and had a daughter, Debbie. She then divorced and married Brian Aldridge. With Brian she had two daughters, Kate and Alice. Jennifer has endured Brian's series of affairs over the years, partly by having one affair with her ex-husband, though Brian has long suspected John Tregorran as having rivalled him for Jennifer's affections at one time. Jennifer's current main source of worry is the behaviour of her gin-soaked, chain-smoking sister Lillian, who has moved back into the village. This concern has been shared with her brother Tony, whom Jennifer is usually keen to put down.

Adam Macy (Andrew Wincott) is the first child of Jennifer Aldridge, his presumed father being former Brookfield farmhand Paddy Redmond. Adam was adopted by Roger Travers-Macy, Jennifer's first husband. Adam lived abroad for many years, mainly in Kenya, helping breed goats, but came back to the family farm when a major relationship broke up.[7] After a year or so, he fell in love with Ian Craig, the chef at Grey Gables. Ian and Adam's liaison has elicited little moral outrage or criticism in the village, with the exception of Sid Perks, who briefly barred Adam from the Bull, now the village's only pub, and Adam's grandmother Peggy Woolley, who was distinctly uncomfortable with the relationship. Adam and Ian considered embarking on parenthood; Ian had plans to artificially inseminate his old friend, Madds, and share responsibility for the child they hoped to produce, but Madds then fell in love with another man and changed her mind.[8] The producers of The Archers maintain this was a very popular plot nationwide, although posts on the BBC's Archers message boards were mainly negative. Ian proposed to Adam and the pair entered a civil partnership on 14 December 2006.

Debbie Aldridge, formerly Gerrard, née Travers-Macy (Tamsin Greig) is the daughter of Jennifer and Roger Travers-Macy, but chooses to use the surname of her stepfather Brian. After a spell at the University of Exeter she returned home to get away from a relationship with Canadian lecturer Simon Gerrard (Garrick Hagon). Simon followed her to Ambridge and was turned away by Brian. Many years later, after a series of failed relationships, Debbie got involved with Simon again and in spite of Brian's forebodings they were married. However, Debbie subsequently discovered that Simon was being unfaithful,[9] and they divorced; Debbie then left Ambridge to work, temporarily, in France — much to Brian's dismay, for he had come to rely on his stepdaughter in the running of Home Farm. When Adam returned from Africa, a bout of sibling rivalry erupted: to a certain extent, this remains ongoing, although there are indications that Adam and Debbie are reaching an understanding. Debbie was devastated when, shortly after her split from Simon, she learned of Brian's affair with Siobhan and the birth of Ruairí. Her relationship with Brian remains strained and this strain, if anything, has become even more pronounced following the death of Siobhan and Ruairí's recent arrival in Ambridge to live with his father. Debbie is currently based in Hungary, where she runs the estate owned by a consortium to which Brian belongs. (This gives the actress, Tamsin Greig, who has moved on to other projects, the ability to appear in the show from time to time). She occasionally visits home; and the installation of a new webcam also allows Debbie to talk and appear to everyone via computer. Debbie brought boyfriend Marshall Latham for a Home Farm visit: he appeared to be an imaginative cook with some commercial awareness and a calming effect on Debbie. During the visit he shamelessly charmed Jennifer, but instant tension arose between archetypal “new-man” Marshall and the increasingly inflexible traditionalist Brian. On her recent visit to Ambridge for Alice's wedding celebration, Debbie surprised her family with the news that she and Marshall had ended their relationship.

Kate Madikane, née Aldridge (Kellie Bright, formerly played by Susie Riddell), is the eldest daughter of Brian and Jennifer. Kate inherited her mother's hippy tendency, giving birth to a daughter, Phoebe, at the Glastonbury Festival, by Roy Tucker, (with whom Phoebe lives in Ambridge), before disappearing to Johannesburg, South Africa where she has married Lucas Madikane (Connie M'Gadzah) and has another daughter, Noluthando ("Nolly") and, born July 2007, a son, Sipho (Xhosa for 'gift'[10]). She plans to take up a course at Felpersham University in the autumn of 2010, returning to live in Ambridge during this period; this has caused concern for Roy and Hayley who are worried about the potential unsettling effect on Phoebe.

N.B. Previous voice actor Susie Riddell returned to the show in 2011, this time playing Tracey Horrobin.

Alice Carter, née Aldridge (born 29 September 1988) (Hollie Chapman), the youngest daughter of Brian and Jennifer, is studying at Southampton University. Her best friend is the vicar's daughter, Amy Franks. She likes horses and has a horse, Spearmint. She is friends with both Adam and Debbie. In considering joining the RAF, by whom she was recently accepted to train at RAF Cranwell, she came into conflict with Amy's pacifist views. In 2010 she married Chris Carter (below), the farrier son of Neil and Susan: this causes unease on the part of her parents due to the accent and class disparities involved.

Phoebe Aldridge was born 28 June 1998 and lives with her father Roy Tucker and his wife Hayley.

The Pargetter family

Nigel Elizabeth
Lily Freddie

Elizabeth Pargetter, née Archer (Alison Dowling) is Phil and Jill's youngest daughter and, along with Kenton, at first rejected village life, attempting a career in publicity in London. She returned to Ambridge but endured a disastrous relationship with local businessman Cameron Fraser (which led to Elizabeth having an abortion) before finally marrying Nigel Pargetter after a relationship some years before. Elizabeth and Nigel developed their stately home, Lower Loxley, as a conference venue. Elizabeth, born with a heart defect, became pregnant and had twins, Lily and Freddie, but the strain of the pregnancy on her heart meant that she soon afterwards had to undergo a heart valve replacement operation. Elizabeth is highly critical of the way David manages the Brookfield estate, and is very concerned to ensure that her family receives its due portion of the estate. Elizabeth's mother-in-law Julia lived in the family pile until her demise in 2005. She was highly critical of Elizabeth, who was married to her son Nigel until his death from a fall in January 2011.

Lily and Freddie Pargetter (Georgie Feller and Jack Firth) are Elizabeth and Nigel's twins.[11][12] They were both born on 12 December 1999 via Caesarean section because of Elizabeth's heart condition. Freddie had to stay in a special care unit for several days as he was underweight. Before his death, Nigel wanted his children to attend exams for the Felpersham Cathedral School.

The Tucker family

(1) Betty Mike (2) Vicky
Roy Hayley Brenda
Phoebe Tucker Abigail Tucker

Mike Tucker (Terry Molloy) lost an eye in a farming accident, for which Brian Aldridge was found responsible. He was regarded as one of the most humourless characters in the village, even before the death of his beloved wife Betty in December 2005.[13] Mike was unsuccessful as a farmer, having gone bankrupt in 1985, and now runs a milk round in Ambridge. He also undertakes occasional forestry work. On New Year's Day 2007, he was run over by Helen Archer,[5] but rescued by Robert Snell. When Tom took the blame, Tucker forbade him from continuing a relationship with Brenda, his daughter. However, after finding out that Helen was driving he became more sympathetic and apologised to Tom. His plan to split Willow Farm in two, so that Roy and Hayley can have a separate home, was initially resisted by Brenda. Mike has recently married Vicky, a fellow ballroom dancer.

Roy Tucker (Ian Pepperell) was formerly part of a teenage gang which perpetrated a series of racist attacks on Usha Gupta; he gave them her address. Realising the error of his ways, he went on to gain a degree in business studies at Felpersham University and now works at Grey Gables, recently being promoted to deputy manager. He had an on/off relationship with Kate Aldridge, which resulted in their daughter Phoebe being born in 1998, but he is now married to Hayley. Roy, Hayley and Phoebe live with Mike Tucker in Willow Farm. Attempts to find an affordable home for his family met with failure until Mike split Willow Farm in two.

Hayley Tucker, née Jordan (Lorraine Coady, formerly played by Lucy Davis) comes from Birmingham and first appeared as John Archer's girlfriend. Initially her urban background led to her being unprepared for rural life. Hayley and John split up shortly before his death in a tractor accident in 1998. In 2001 she married Roy Tucker and became stepmother to Phoebe; she continues to find Kate Aldridge's visits from South Africa to Ambridge uncomfortable. Hayley works at Lower Loxley formerly as nanny to Freddie and Lily Pargetter, but now they have been at school several years, as a rather amorphous children's visitor specialist. Despite Betty's sudden death, Hayley remains unhappy at living with her father-in-law and wishes that she and Roy had a home of their own. After an 'informational' storyline of difficulty in conceiving, Hayley gave birth to a baby daughter, Abigail (Abbie) in March 2008. The birth was somewhat (the chronology as aired is contradictory) premature and Abbie was expected to remain in hospital until her original due date, although medical practice is 'until 2.5 kilos'.

Brenda Tucker (Amy Shindler) has had some controversial short-term relationships, with Debbie's husband, with Lilian's then (much younger) lover and with Lilian's son. For several years she worked at Radio Borsetshire, until leaving home in 2005 to pursue a media studies degree. She returned home when her mother died suddenly in December 2005. Feeling unable to return to university, leaving her father so soon after Betty's death, she decided to transfer to Felpersham University, planning to return to her studies in September 2006. She started dating Tom Archer following a Valentine kiss after they grew closer in the weeks after her mother's death. After graduating in 2009 she was unable to gain permanent employment, but briefly secured a PR job in Leicester, necessitating a daily commute which frustrated Tom. She gave up the effort after a few weeks and returned to the Ambridge fold to a vaguely-defined job with Matt and Lilian's new property company, seemingly unaware that Matt is out of prison on licence and banned from such roles, and that she will be at the mercy of Lilian who has long disliked her.

The Carter family

Neil Susan
Will Grundy Emma Grundy Christopher

Neil Carter (Brian Hewlett) is another business failure. Susan wanted him to be a white collar worker but he decided that he was a pigman at heart. He used to be Tom's partner in a piggery. The family lived in a caravan, after selling their house, until he finished a self-build house on his own land. He dislikes all Grundys but especially Ed, who, until his disappearance, lived in the caravan with Emma and George.

Susan Carter, née Horrobin (Charlotte Martin) briefly became the most notorious Archers character ever when her imprisonment at Christmas 1993 for shielding her armed-robber brother Clive Horrobin led to the launch of the "Free the Ambridge One" campaign. Questions were asked in the House of Commons of then Home Secretary Michael Howard. Her aspirational tendencies took a hammering when daughter Emma married into the Grundy family in 2004, but in 2006 she was approved by the Royal Mail for the position of sub-postmistress despite her criminal record. She had previously worked for several years at the village shop and post office, and as Tom Archer's assistant in his sausage-making business. Clive Horrobin returned to the village to visit their dying mother in October 2011.

Emma Grundy, née Carter (Emerald O'Hanrahan, formerly played by Felicity Jones) is the daughter of Susan and Neil Carter, who were horrified when their daughter announced she was marrying into the Grundy family. When Will discovered her infidelity with his brother, she moved with Ed and baby George to a caravan outside her parents' home. A DNA test showed that despite Emma's certainty to the contrary, George was Will's son. She returned to live with her parents, but now lives with Ed and Georgie as a family

Christopher Carter (Will Sanderson-Thwaite) is the younger offspring of the Carter family. His mother had some difficulty bonding with him when he was born with a cleft lip. Now a farrier by occupation, a few years ago he had a brief relationship with Venetia, the daughter of a prominent Borsetshire family. His mother rather desperately encouraged this, to Neil's disapproval, but the couple soon found themselves incompatible, and Christopher finished the liaison. He began seeing Alice to the barely concealed delight of his social climbing mother and the scarcely-concealed horror of Alice's mother, Jennifer Aldridge. The couple married unexpectedly in Las Vegas during a 2010 summer holiday.

Other Ambridge residents

Matt Crawford (Kim Durham) is the latest in a long line of new arrivals in Ambridge who throw their weight around and become more or less hated by all, thus preventing the scripts from becoming intolerably saccharine (some such as Jack Woolley eventually become tamed and absorbed into the cosy culture; others such as Cameron Fraser are in due course expelled). He was until recently the chairman of Borchester Land, a property development company, one of whose directors is Brian Aldridge. An outsider by birth, Matt often appears to work himself into positions of power, such as the parish council, but many villagers are suspicious of his motives. For example, when local vet Alistair owed him a gambling debt, Matt said that he would reduce the amount he owed in exchange for the administration of performance enhancing drugs to one of his racehorses. Alistair refused, and Crawford increased the pressure, forcing Alistair and Shula to take out a mortgage on the stables, which they already owned. Matt's estate manager Graham Ryder (Malcolm McKee) is often seen as his puppet and many suspected that Matt directed his unsuccessful parish council election campaign in 2003. In 2005, Matt divorced his wife Yvette and has since moved in at Nightingale Farm with his new partner Lilian Bellamy (née Archer, daughter of Peggy Woolley). In this late romance she calls him "Tiger" and he calls her "Pussy-cat". In early 2008, Crawford and Lilian were briefly separated when she suspected him of having an affair with a Borchester Land board member Annabelle Scrivener (Julia Hills); in reality Scrivener rebuffed him. The following year Crawford was indicted for fraud. He fled to Costa Rica, planning to live there as a fugitive; Lilian's unhappiness in exile persuaded him to return, however, and he served an 18-month prison sentence. Upon his release he created a real estate investment company, naming Lilian as director to circumvent the law.

The motor-bike riding Rev Alan Franks (John Telfer), the latest in a series of interestingly eccentric village vicars, was appointed to Ambridge and neighbouring parishes in 2003, moving from Nottingham where he had previously worked as an accountant and a non-stipendiary minister. He was widowed before moving to Ambridge and is the father of Amy, currently studying midwifery in Manchester. In late 2005, his blossoming relationship with Usha Gupta, a Hindu, caused some unease to some of his parishioners, including Shula Hebden Lloyd. In March 2008, Alan and Usha became engaged, to the opposition of his former mother-in-law Mabel and Usha's Aunt Satya,and her parents . They married in summer 2008 and Usha's family have warmed to the idea and attended the wedding, though Mabel did not.

Amy Franks (Vinette Robinson formerly played by Natalia Cappuccini) is the vicar's spirited daughter who is — or was until recently — a friend to Alice Aldridge. Catherine, her late mother, was of African-Caribbean descent. Amy is now studying midwifery in Manchester. She was responsible for spotting the signs of preeclampsia in the pregnant Helen Archer and probably saving the life of mother and unborn son, Henry.

Bert Fry (Eric Allan, formerly played by Roger Hume) husband of Freda Fry (a silent character), was employed for many years as a farmhand by David and Ruth until his recent retirement although he still does some casual work. The couple continue to live in a farm cottage. His portrayal is close to a stereotypical "yokel", like Jethro Larkin before him. He composes poetry and has won several ploughing contests.

Usha Gupta (now Franks)(Souad Faress, formerly played by Sudha Bhuchar) works as a solicitor in Felpersham and is one of very few ethnic minority characters in the series. On moving into the village, Usha was the subject of a harassment campaign by a racist gang which included Roy Tucker. To offer support and protection the local GP, Richard Locke (William Gaminara), then her lover, moved into her house, Blossom Hill Cottage, shortly afterwards. When she discovered that he had had an affair with Shula Hebden she ended the relationship and threw him out. More recently, some local parishioners made complaints to the bishop when Alan, the vicar, began a relationship with Usha (who is Hindu). These two threads are linked by Shula's possible involvement in this disapproval and her resignation as churchwarden. Usha was also regularly on the receiving end of 'helpful' advice about her unmarried status by her Aunty Satya (Jamila Massey), an occasional visitor to Ambridge from Usha's home town of Wolverhampton who attempted to match-make for her on numerous occasions, with cousins from home. The character of Usha is said to be based on Kamlish Bahl, sometime a leader of the Law Society.[14]

Kathy Perks (Hedli Niklaus), formerly married to Sid, now lives at April Cottage with her son Jamie. She is the catering manager at the local golf club and organises occasional film nights at the village hall. Kenton Archer started dating her, intermittently living with her, but they quarrelled when he brought his three year old daughter, Meriel, to Ambridge and expected Kathy to look after her. Miserable and alone, Kathy befriended Lower Loxley chef, Owen King (a.k.a. Gareth Taylor), but he raped her just before Christmas 2004. It took Kathy some time to trust a man again, and Kenton showed uncharacteristic patience in enabling her to rebuild her self-confidence. She finally reported her trauma to the Police in September 2007, after being informed that King had attacked another woman. He was convicted in April 2008. She has reacted to the sudden death in New Zealand of Sid, her ex-husband, as if she were the grieving widow, rather than his wife of eight years Jolene, being of little help to their teenage son and undermining her relationship with Kenton, who can do nothing right. After finding that Kenton had had a one night stand with a customer of his bar, she threw him out.

Lynda Snell (Carole Boyd) lives at Ambridge Hall with her husband Robert Snell. They moved to Ambridge from Sunningdale in 1986 and she is resented as an outsider, a do-gooder and incomer. She is a keen gardener, and is often involved in disputes with her neighbour Joe Grundy. In 2003 she acquired two llamas, Wolfgang and Constanza (named after Mozart and his wife) who have been known to roam around the village — (let's try to forget there's a llama in the room). In May 2007 Constanza gave birth to a cria which Lynda named Salieri, reassuring one acquaintance that the legend of Salieri murdering Mozart is a myth. She attempts to produce a play every Christmas (an Archers in-joke), and often drives villagers to distraction in her attempts to fill parts. In 2004-05 Lynda ran a campaign to renovate the former Cat & Fiddle pub. Despite recruiting the help of Griff Rhys Jones, the scheme failed and the building (may have) become flats. January 2006 saw Lynda elected to the parish council alongside Lilian Bellamy. According to a BBC survey, she is the most annoying character on the show, although this will be regarded as praise by the production team, as she is intended to be. There is stiff competition from characters who are not intended to be.

Robert Snell (Graham Blockey) was employed as a computer expert. He has found work in this area hard to obtain recently and has capitalised on his DIY skills to set up a small business doing general building work.

Caroline Sterling, née Bone, formerly Pemberton (Sara Coward) moved to the village in 1977, aged 22, when she was hired by Sid as barmaid in the Bull. Her career took off when in 1979 Jack Woolley offered her a job at Grey Gables and she eventually became manager. Upon Jack's retirement, she and partner Oliver Sterling managed to raise funds to buy the hotel and she is now proprietor. On her arrival she soon attracted the attention of many of the male villagers — she once had an affair with Brian Aldridge, and was romantically linked with former village doctor, Matthew Thorogood, and businessman and one-time estate owner Cameron Fraser (who disappeared with £60,000 of her savings), and she was engaged to non-stipendiary minister and vet Robin Stokes. In 1995 she married the new owner of the estate, Guy Pemberton, but after only seven months of marriage he suffered a fatal heart attack and left her the Dower House and a majority share in the Bull (which she sold to Lilian Bellamy, in order to raise funds to buy Grey Gables). When Oliver Sterling moved to the village she began an affair with him and they eventually moved into Grange Farm together. They were married in June 2006.

Oliver Sterling (Michael Cochrane) Gentleman farmer who bought Grange Farm from the estate. Employs Ed Grundy to manage his dairy herd, and has created new cheeses with Helen Archer. Married to Caroline. In March 2008 he had problems with the herd being infected by Bovine TB.

Recurring characters

Clive Horrobin (Alex Jones) is the brother of Susan Carter; he has spent much of his life in prison, but, to the consternation of many, is an occasional visitor to Ambridge. He conducted an armed siege at the village shop in 1993, in 1997 assaulted gamekeeper George Barford knocking him unconscious and set fire to the Barford's home gutting the building in 2004. In October 2011, he returned to the village to visit his ailing mother.[15]

Satya Khanna (Auntie Satya; Jamila Massey) An occasional visitation upon long-suffering niece Usha Gupta. Forever trying to give Usha unwanted relationship advice or a welcome shoulder to cry on, and architect of numerous failed matchmaking ruses. Thanks to Usha's parents' disapproval toward their daughter's lifestyle, Satya provides the main link with her family. No mean cook, Satya often arrives bearing food parcels for her culinarily inept niece.

Heather Pritchard (Joyce Gibbs) Ruth Archer's widowed mother who lives in Prudhoe, Northumberland. She is now a rare guest in Ambridge, but returned in 2008 to look after the family when Ruth had her breast reconstruction surgery. Also in contact with Professor Jim Lloyd, Alistair's father. She also returned in 2010 for Phil Archer's funeral.

Former principal characters

Over the years some of the original cast members have died, left the show or retired and their characters have had to be replaced or killed off by the scriptwriters.

Dan Archer (Harry Oakes, Monte Crick, Edgar Harrison and Frank Middlemass), son of the elder John Archer, was the first owner of Brookfield when the family bought it from the local squire. He was patriarch of the Archer family. The character survived the deaths of the first three actors before finally being killed off in 1986. Elizabeth witnessed his fatal attempt to rescue a sheep in difficulty, despite her pleading with him not to.

Doris Archer (Gwen Berryman), née Forrest, Dan's wife and mother of Phil Archer and his siblings. Her death was discovered by Shula in 1980, when she and Christine were visiting Glebe Cottage. Doris was a stalwart of village life, and provided a listening ear to an ever-growing Archer family from the 1950s to 1980.

Jack Archer (Denis Folwell) (John Archer), son of Dan, elder brother of Phil and Christine, first husband of Peggy: died 1972.

Phil Archer (Norman Painting) younger son of Dan, and long-time patriarch of the Archer family and a leading resident of the village. Phil Archer died on 12 February 2010.

Grace Archer (Monica Gray and Ysanne Churchman) was Phil Archer's first wife and the first major character to be killed off. The episode featuring her death was first broadcast on 22 September 1955. The previous night, which happened to be the night that ITV (now ITV1), the UK's first commercial television channel was launched, she received fatal injuries, trying to rescue her horse, Midnight, from a fire. This was seen as a ploy to keep loyal viewers and listeners away from the new station. Her catchphrase was "one fried egg or two, Phil?"[16]

Aunt Laura (Gwenda Wilson and Betty McDowall), New Zealander in-law of the Archer clan who fulfilled a similar dramatic role to Lynda Snell who now lives in Aunt Laura's former home, Ambridge Hall. In 1985, Aunt Laura fell in a ditch and listeners were treated to her forlorn cries while owls hooted overhead. She was found alive and spent a week in hospital being treated for pneumonia, but died of heart failure soon after being discharged on St Valentine's Day, while her friend Freddy Danby read to her from Moby-Dick.

Tom Forrest (George Hart and Bob Arnold) was Doris Archer's brother and a gamekeeper. He was a major character for many years and used to introduce the omnibus edition on Sunday mornings. In 1957, he was charged with manslaughter after shooting poacher Bob Larkin. He was cleared after being on trial.

Marjorie Antrobus (Margot Boyd) was from a colonial background in Kenya; she was the widow of Teddy. She gave a talk to the Ambridge Women's Institute in 1984, and moved into Nightingale Farm in 1985. A breeder of Afghan hounds, Marjorie let out her flat at Nightingale Farm to Ruth and later to Roy and Hayley. She was an occasionally bossy, but well-meaning do-gooder in the village. After moving to The Laurels retirement home, she was a silent character for several years before her death was finally mentioned on 13 August 2008. (Margot Boyd died on 20 May 2008.[17])

Sophie Barlow (Moir Leslie) a fashion designer who was once engaged to David and once involved much of Ambridge in her fashion shows. Inattentive listeners were confused when she appeared to turn up a few years later as the vicar: in the event, the vicar was a new character, but one played by the actress who had previously taken Sophie's part. A few years after the vicar, Janet Fisher, had in turn been written out, Sophie herself reappeared in August 2006.[18] She flirted with David and made a play to have an affair with him. When the reality of her flirting dawned on the naïf David he backed away and she returned to London. David's wife Ruth had meanwhile in exasperation at David's seeming affair fallen in love with the farm's contractor Sam.

Tim Beecham (Tim Brierley and David Parfitt), an old friend of Nigel Pargetter. Once well known for persistently failing his law exams. Nigel and Shula found themselves in court in 1984 for taking a car they erroneously believed to be Beecham's. Now a silent and seldom mentioned character.

Colonel Freddy Danby (Norman Shelley and Ballard Berkeley) lodged with Laura Archer at Ambridge Hall. A widower, he always wanted to marry her, but it was not to be. Affairs became difficult when she died, her property was left to a New Zealand relative, and the colonel was cut out.

Siobhan Donovan (formerly Hathaway, Caroline Lennon) moved in to Honeysuckle Cottage in 1999 with her husband, new local doctor Tim Hathaway.[19] Their marriage came under strain when Siobhan miscarried a much-wanted baby and Tim became close to Ambridge's vicar Janet Fisher. It collapsed completely after Tim discovered Siobhan's affair with Brian Aldridge. In November 2002, Siobhan gave birth to Brian's child Ruairí,[20] but she moved to Germany after Brian refused to leave Jennifer. Siobhan has made occasional appearances in The Archers when Brian made clandestine visits to Germany to see his son, while supposedly on business trips to Hungary. Siobhan's revelation in 2007 that she had terminal cancer, and her request to Brian to care for Ruairí after her death, brought another crisis to the relationship of Brian and Jennifer, who eventually agreed to Brian's request for them to raise Ruairí together.[21] She died from cancer on 31 May 2007.[22] and Ruairí came to Ambridge to live with his father, although much of his care falls, not without a struggle, on his father's wife, Jennifer. The circumstances of Ruairí's arrival briefly engulfed the village in gossip and, for some, scandal.

Janet Fisher (Moir Leslie), the former vicar of Ambridge and surrounding villages, was a close friend of Shula's. Ambridge was one of the first parishes to have a female incumbent.

Cameron Fraser (Delaval Astley) came to Ambridge in 1990 when he bought the Berrow Estate from Lilian Bellamy. He became quite the local villain during his relatively brief tenure which saw Mike Tucker lose an eye in an accident, Marjorie Antrobus swindled out of a sizeable portion of her savings, and a pregnant Elizabeth Archer abandoned at a motor service station as he fled overseas to escape arrest. He had also attempted to rape Shula Archer.

Walter Gabriel (Robert Mawdesley and Chris Gittins), originally a smallholder, was a friend of the Archers' and provided comic relief in the years before the Grundy family were moved to greater prominence. Walter continually tried to romance Mrs. Perkins, Peggy's mother, who he referred to as "Mrs. P". Walter Gabriel's phrase "My old pal, my old beauty" remains one of the most enduringly-remembered phrases associated with The Archers, even among non-listeners; in his later years he was also known for the exclamation "Nobody cares about poor old Walter Gabriel!".

Nelson Gabriel (Jack May), Walter's son, was for many years the most disreputable character in the village. He had a shady history. He was charged with the Borchester mail-van robbery in 1967, but was eventually acquitted. After spells in London and Spain, he opened a wine bar in Borchester in 1980 and later an antique shop (with Kenton Archer). Finally he suddenly disappeared to South America, where he died in strange circumstances.[23] He had an illegitimate daughter, Rosemary Tarrant, who when she found and introduced herself to him revealed she had become a policewoman.

Jethro Larkin (George Hart), Stereotypical yokel. His tenure came to end in 1987 when helping David fell a tree using a chainsaw. So two Larkin family members, Jethro and Bob, have met their end at the hands of members of the Archer family (see under Tom Forrest). Father of Clarrie.

Julia Pargetter-Carmichael, mother of Nigel Pargetter and sometime entertainer, died from a stroke in 2005,[24] shortly after the actress who played her, Mary Wimbush, died, also from a stroke, aged 81.[25]

Nigel Pargetter (played by Graham Seed, formerly by Nigel Caliburn who is now known as Nigel Carrington[26]) was the eccentric pseudo-aristocratic owner of Lower Loxley Hall, a mansion on the outskirts of Ambridge. Making his debut in 1983, he was once considered to be somewhat dim and irresponsible, wearing a gorilla suit at a hunt ball in 1983, inadvertently joy riding with Shula Archer in 1984 and driving an ice-cream van as 'Mr Snowy' in 1986. Initially, Nigel was romantically linked with Shula (or "Shulie" as he called her), but in 1984 he became involved with Elizabeth Archer, finding her totally unlike Shula: she tricked him in to helping her abscond from school in September 1984. On the death of his father a few years later, he strove to save his ancestral home, and involved Elizabeth, now also more mature, as his marketing manager. He saved the hall for his family. Married to Elizabeth for some years and the father of twins Lily and Freddie (born 12 December 1999), he was convicted of drink-driving in 2003. Nigel had only intermittent help from his beloved mother, Julia; more often she was a source of anxiety and friction, but she died suddenly in November 2005.[24] Nigel developed a number of vague resemblances to Prince Charles. He became concerned about the environment and tried to become "green". He also took an interest in his family history, particularly in his late Uncle Rupert. Nigel died after falling from the roof of Lower Loxley Hall while attempting, after an evening party, to take down a New Year's banner in icy conditions. The accident occurred as part of The Archers 60th anniversary broadcast on 2 January 2011.[27]

Simon Pemberton (Peter Wingfield), Guy Pemberton's caddish son, inherited the estate after his father's death. Pemberton unsuccessfully attempted to end the Grundy's tenancy of Grange Farm following their farm fire in 1996. He had a brief relationship with Shula after Mark's death, but hit her after she confronted him with evidence that he was involved with another woman. Subsequently, he came close to having a relationship with Debbie Aldridge, but Pemberton assaulted her after she confessed that she could not love him.[28] Pemberton then quickly left Ambridge after denying responsibility for his actions to Brian.[29][30]

Sid Perks (Alan Devereux) was landlord of The Bull, Ambridge's village pub. He first came to Ambridge from Birmingham where he had been sent to borstal for breaking and entering, which made obtaining his publican's licence difficult. He had previously been widowed and divorced, but his third marriage to country singer Jolene was happier. He displayed vitriolic homophobia towards Sean Myerson, a professional rival, when the latter captained the village cricket team, and again when Adam Macy began a relationship with Ian Craig, the Grey Gables chef. In early 2006, Sid and Jolene were concerned that the decision of Caroline Pemberton to sell her controlling interest in The Bull would threaten the pub's future, but were relieved when Lilian bought her share. Sid died of a heart attack on 8 June 2010, while on holiday in New Zealand, visiting Lucy, his daughter by his first marriage.

John Tregorran (Roger Hume, Basil Jones, Simon Lack, Philip Morant and Basil Jones) originally arrived in Ambridge in a gypsy caravan. Thoughtful and provocative, Tregorran was such a popular and charismatic character that listeners at Archers public events still ask about him — and about Carol Grey, whom he eventually married.

Zebedee Tring (Graham Rigby) was a farm hand at Brookside and friend of Jethro Larkin.

Annette Turner (Anne-Marie Piazza) Teenage daughter of the late Greg Turner.[31] Has been living in France with her mother Michelle and sister Sonia but after family upheavals returned to England to seek out Helen Archer. In February 2010 she suddenly disappeared from the series to stay with a grandmother in Sheffield. It was her pregnancy (by Helen's boyfriend Leon, though this was never revealed to Helen) and subsequent termination, that precipitated Helen's decision, at thirty, to have a baby by donor insemination.

Betty Tucker (Pamela Craig) wife of Mike, mother of Roy and Brenda. Betty was a popular villager who supported the family even when Mike was violent and depressed. Betty managed the village shop and kept hens and gossiped. She died suddenly before Christmas 2005. She was written out of the series when the actress who played her retired and emigrated to New Zealand.

Silent characters

The Archers is famous for its silent characters, who often play important roles in the narrative despite not being played by actors. They are numerous, and most only "appear" once or twice. Some of the better known are:

Baggy, and Fat Paul — disreputable friends of Eddie Grundy. Snatch Foster was formerly also a friend of Eddie Grundy, but ended up in prison for selling condemned meat to him.

Mandy Beesborough — Brian missed his daughter Alice's birth because he was at the races with her. She has daughters including India, whom Oliver and Caroline's foster child Carly described as having "an arse the size of a continent".

Neville Booth (bellringer) and his nephew Nathan (clear skies enthusiast and parish council candidate).

Derek Fletcher — "incomer" (only been in Ambridge since 1979) who lives on the Glebelands housing development. A former chair of the parish council, he is known for his 'NIMBY' views and collection of garden gnomes. In a standing joke, he is often described as excessively talkative.

Pru Forrest — Tom Forrest's wife. Originally Pru Harris, barmaid of the Bull. The part was originally played by Mary Dalley but fell silent during the 1970s. Norman Painting, writing as Bruno Milna, revived the character for the 10,000th episode in 1989, when Judi Dench took the role, speaking to Terry Wogan in 1989 to reopen the village shop after refurbishment.[32]

Freda Fry — wife of Bert Fry. Her cooking at The Bull is widely admired. Until she gave her notice in January 2007, she worked as cleaner at Brookfield.

(John) Higgs — Jack Woolley's chauffeur and handyman at Grey Gables. Often thought by Grey Gables staff to be rather sinister.

Shane — did the cooking at Nelson's winebar in the 1980s. He was famed for his legendary quiche.

Jessica — buxom falconer at Lower Loxley. Has been known to attract Nigel's eye.

Trudy Porter — silent for 34 years, until 4 April 2006, when listener Christine Hunt played her in a charity special, after her husband paid £17,000 to Children in Need.[33]

Eileen Titcombe (formerly Pugsley) — housekeeper at Lower Loxley. Known for many years as just 'Mrs Pugsley', until her marriage to Titcombe.

Edgar Titcombe — head gardener at Lower Loxley, who is married to the widowed Mrs. Pugsley. Noted for always wearing a battered hat. Known universally as simply 'Titcombe'.

Bob Pullen — nonagenarian resident of Manorfield Close. His weak bladder is a regular source of amusement to speaking characters.

Sabrina and Richard Thwaite — Residents of the salubrious Grange Spinney. Richard, a commuting accountant, rarely gets a mention beyond his involvement in the cricket team. Sabrina's somewhat extreme competitive streak, especially, (though by no means exclusively), when it comes to sporting activities, gets her featured at least twice a month. Often discussed in male only company due to her 'physical attributes'. In December 2010, Sabrina was heard when she played the part of the cat in the village pantomime Dick Whittington - however, she was only heard to make cat noises and didn't say any lines.


Numerous animals have been referred to during The Archers' run. They have of course been played by the "special effects department" as necessary.

Captain Jack Woolley's dog was a frequent nuisance to guests and staff at Grey Gables, and was regularly indulged by his owner. Captain died suddenly while Jack was on his honeymoon with Peggy.

Sammy Peggy Woolley's cat was always finding himself in scrapes and being indulged by his owner until he spent the last of his "nine lives".

Lone Ranger Freda Fry's stray cat who died in 2007 from a bite feared to be from an escaped snake. This led to stories of The Worm of Ambridge, a legendary monster, resurfacing — thanks to Joe Grundy's fertile imagination.

Bartleby Joe Grundy's pony pulls his trap around the area. Likes carrots and getting his oats.


  1. ^ "25 February 1998". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  2. ^ "7 May 2006". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  3. ^ Gillian Reynolds "The Archers", Daily Telegraph, 20 September 2008
  4. ^ "7 May 2004". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  5. ^ a b c "31 December 2006". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  6. ^ "29 May 2009". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  7. ^ "3 March 2003". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  8. ^ "17 September 2006". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  9. ^ "22 November 2002". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  10. ^ "Appendix:Zulu given names". Wiktionary. 2007-02-02. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  11. ^ "Lily Pargetter". BBC Radio Four. BBC. Retrieved 24 January 2011. 
  12. ^ "Freddie Pargetter". BBC Radio Four. BBC. Retrieved 24 January 2011. 
  13. ^ "16 December 2005". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  14. ^ Mendick, Robert (2000-08-27). "'I was on the brink,' says former Law Society chief". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  15. ^ "Clive Horrobin", The Archers, BBC Radio 4, 4 October 2011
  16. ^ The Archers: An everyday story of topical folk, October 31, 2009
  17. ^ Archers' Mrs Antrobus dies at 94
  18. ^ "28 August 2006". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  19. ^ "16 March 1999". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  20. ^ "14 November 2002". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  21. ^ "25 May 2007". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  22. ^ "31 May 2007". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  23. ^ "18 March 2001". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  24. ^ a b "5 November 2005". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  25. ^ "Archers star Wimbush dies at 81". BBC News. 2005-11-01. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  26. ^ "Nigel Carrington CV". Spotlight. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  27. ^ "Synopsis - 2 January 2011". BBC Radio 4. BBC. 2 January 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  28. ^ "17 April 1997". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  29. ^ "18 April 1997". The Archers. BBC Radio 4.
  30. ^ Phillip Troth; Catriona Troth (1997-09-06). "Simon Pemberton: Plot Summary, March–April 1997". Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ "26 May 1989". The Archers. BBC Radio 4. No. 10,000.
  33. ^ "Christine plays Trudy — and wins!". BBC Radio 4. 2006-04-04. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 

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