One of my little joys in life is listening to the Archers. Very Radio 4, I know, but I’ve been tuning in for years, recording the omnibus edition to listen to in the car, first on cassette, then on CD and now as a podcast. Some things change change, but the Archers doesn’t. Or does it?
I’ve only recently noticed that there is now an Ambridge Extra, two 15 minute episodes a week that cover storylines that are only hinted at in the main programme.
I assume that Ambridge Extra is aimed at a new and younger audience because the episodes I’ve listened to have all featured the lives of the teenagers and twenty somethings in the cast.
The ironic thing is that Ambridge Extra often takes us away from Ambridge, whether it is following Jamie Perks’ adolescent angst at school in Felpersham and Alice Carter in her final year at Southampton University.
The storylines can be a bit odd, some might say politically motivated. For example Alice and the student loan shark.
By ‘student loan shark’, I mean a student who loans money to other impoverished students at extortionate rates and demands repayment with menaces. This isn’t to be confused with the Student Loan Company, although it would be an easy mistake to make.
But the programme is becoming as addictive as the main event and I’m having to find even more driving time to listen to it.
It has a different take on the Barwick Green theme tune as well. I’m not quite sure how to describe it, a sort of country/folk version is my best stab, so I’ve included a recording below so you can make up you own mind.