• Alice calls Phoebe to hear a friendly voice. Chris wants to meet on Wednesday regarding their divorce. Alice would a love a night out to forget her troubles. Phoebe promises to sort it. Phoebe phones Lily for some advice but catches her at a bad moment and Lily moans about how bored she is with her job. Phoebe’s concerned about going out with Alice in case she wants to drink. Lily offers to come too and says she knows where they could go where there isn’t a big focus on alcohol.
    Jolene and Kenton look ahead to Valentine’s Day and agree to book a singer well-known at The Bull. But when they tell Fallon they’re disappointed by her reaction. They agree they could have another think. With Kenton out of the way, Jolene asks Fallon what’s bothering her. Fallon shares her worries over Harrison’s preoccupation with being baptised and thinking about the meaning of life. Jolene tries to reassure Fallon but fears it could lead to the end of their relationship. As Fallon goes to leave, Kenton offers his alternative ideas for Valentine’s Day. Jolene isn’t impressed and Fallon suggests sticking to what works. But Kenton’s keen to put on a different and unique event. Fallon suggests asking people what they want and choosing the best suggestion, which excites Kenton – that’s bound to get people talking. Problem solved!

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  • Jim collars Jazzer to pay his rent, hoping that he hasn’t fallen back into his old, careless ways. Jazzer admits to Tracy that he’s really skint but doesn’t know how it happened. Tracy points out he was far too generous with Christmas presents. He even got Tracy two presents: a necklace and an oven. Tracy offers to help Jazzer with his accounts and gives him a notebook to write down his spending. Jazzer reluctantly agrees to give it a go. Later, he proudly shows Jim he’s written nothing in his accounting book which shows he’s not spent anything today. With his rent still owed, Jim’s not impressed.
    Fallon tries to tell Harrison about Hazel letting the flat above the shop again but he’s preoccupied. When she asks him what’s up Harrison explains playing Jesus in The Passion has got him thinking about his own baptism as a baby. Fallon’s surprised at Harrison’s reaction to finding out that his own christening was cancelled. He worries about the implications for being his nephew’s godfather and for playing Jesus, but Fallon reassures him he’s fine. Later, Fallon tries to understand how Harrison is feeling about not being baptised. He wonders about perhaps doing it now, which Fallon finds funny. Harrison tells her this isn’t a joke; it’s important to him.

  • Roy levels with his dad. He knows it looks like the family’s nagging about his health, but it’s because they’re scared for him. After all Betty died from a heart attack. Before Mike can respond they’re interrupted by Phoebe with an invitation to tour the rewilding area. Out in the woodland Mike admits the pre-diabetic diagnosis is a reminder the clock’s ticking. It’s been easier to pretend it wasn’t happening, but he needs to get his act together now. You have to grab life and see where it takes you. Phoebe’s thoughtful. Later having packed his bag to leave, Mike reassures his son. Roy was spot on – and Mike wants to be around for Bethany and Vicky. Plus he has his own improvement project back home; Roy won’t recognise him next time he sees him.
    Peggy’s called at the flat to apologise to Hazel for the conversation she overheard yesterday. She doesn’t want Hazel to regret moving to Ambridge and wants her to be happy. Hazel’s adamant she’s leaving; she’s been seeing Ambridge through the rose coloured spectacles of nostalgia. She’s going to re-let the flat. Later Tom confesses to Peggy that he and Natasha need to find their own space – Bridge Farm isn’t going to work out for them. When Peggy breaks the news that Hazel’s leaving the flat, Tom’s incandescent. He confronts Hazel and points out the unfairness of the situation, adding that Natasha’s pregnant. Hazel softens for a moment, before admitting she’s already let the flat to someone else.

  • Alice is coming to terms with the news that Stella and her father have withdrawn the offer of work at Home Farm. She assures Brian it’s not his fault and that she’s not upset. Admitting to Amy that although she’s sure Ed had his reasons for speaking to Stella, she feels she stands little chance of finding work in her position. Spotting a judgemental Sabrina in the distance only serves to bear out Alice’s fears. Amy rushes to Alice’s defence, sending Sabrina running. Alice doesn’t know what she’d do without Amy.
    Hazel confesses to Peggy she’s finding living in the flat above the shop uncomfortable, and the shop volunteers unfriendly. Peggy sympathises and recommends she finds somewhere more suitable to live. Tony pops in and is wrongfooted to find Hazel there. He’s not warm with her but remains polite. Out of her earshot he asks Peggy to a belated birthday tea for Pat, whilst acknowledging it’s likely to be full of talk about the expected twins. Peggy’s delighted to accept, but asks if lonely Hazel might be invited too. Tony’s appalled. He reminds Peggy how manipulative Hazel’s been over the years; in turn Peggy reminds him she’s all Hazel’s got. As Tony hesitates, Hazel comes in and it’s clear she’s overheard the conversation. She won’t go where she’s not welcome. She wishes she’d never moved to Ambridge. Everyone in the village is petty and mean spirited, and a chunk of her father’s money had gone to a ludicrous scheme. She’s had enough.

  • Josh is coming up against costly and time consuming obstacles to his tree planting scheme. He’s wondering whether his parents might pay for the necessary geophysical survey as part of their stake in reducing Brookfield’s carbon footprint. Pip’s not sure they’ll agree, and is later proved right.
    Mike’s finished the paint job at the Brookfield bungalow, and Pip’s horrified to see the grey walls. Josh is rumbled as Mike declares Josh told him he was moving in. Pip and Josh have a sibling showdown, and Mike intervenes. He points out how lucky they are, and that they’ll live to regret their squabbling. Life’s too short to bicker with your family. Ashamed, the pair apologise. When Josh later considers throwing in the towel and giving up on the tree planting, Pip buoys him up. Planting trees would really help cut net emissions, and benefit Brookfield in other ways. Encouraged by Pip’s support Josh wants to seek her advice on another idea he’s had.
    Alice has an awkward encounter with Ed, who’s keen to get away. He’s not happy to learn Alice will be doing some work at Home Farm. He tells Stella about the difficulty last year over Alice accusing him of coming on to her, and his subsequent temporary sacking for Alice’s mistake over the wheat storage. Stella acknowledges Ed’s concern, and thanks him for raising it. She calls Brian.

  • Roy gets suspicious when Mike takes on another handyman job in Ambridge. He asks Phoebe for her opinion but she’s busy with work. Roy’s heard from Susan that Mike’s due to take part in a marathon. Phoebe suggests Roy just talks to Vicky to find out the truth. Roy discovers that Mike is actually supposed to be doing a Couch to 5K programme which has been prescribed because he is pre-diabetic. Roy’s furious and he collars Mike when he returns home. Mike refuses to be spoken to like a child and heads out for his planned curry. Roy’s stunned his dad is making this choice. Mike tells Roy he’ll do as he pleases.
    Tom and Natasha wait nervously for an antenatal scan after their A&E visit yesterday. They tell themselves it will all be fine. Meanwhile, at Bridge Farm Tony tries to distract Pat with her birthday cards. She opens one from Hazel who has bought Pat a place on a cheese tasting workshop. Tony can’t believe Hazel’s gall. Tom and Natasha return and share the good news that both are doing well. They have to clarify that they’re not talking about Natasha and the baby but in fact twin babies. Tony and Pat are over the moon.

  • Brian doesn’t want Alice to approach Stella about work until he’s spoken to her. But Alice wants to fight her own battles and her buddy’s agreed work would be good for her. She lays out her case to Stella, and is clear that her problems with alcohol wouldn’t affect her work, but to no avail. Later Brian shares with Stella that he’s only just managed to forgive Alice himself but at the same time he realises she must be allowed to rebuild her life. Thoughtful Stella offers to give Alice a couple of mornings a week on a voluntary basis. Brian thanks her.
    Pat’s celebrating her 70th birthday a day early, and all the family are coming for lunch. One of Tom and Natasha’s gifts to Pat is a bathroom cabinet, which he constructs immediately. Meanwhile Pat’s feeling increasingly uncomfortable living with Tom and Natasha – she’s like a guest in her own home. Tony advises her not to make a fuss on her special day. But on discovering Tom has filled the cabinet with her and Tony’s things, Pat vents about all her annoyances. This delays Tom from clearing away his tools and Natasha trips over them. Pat feels terrible. Tom announces he and Natasha will miss lunch – they’re going to hospital to be sure the baby hasn’t been harmed by Natasha’s fall.

  • The Oliver Awards are in full swing at Grey Gables, with Alan presiding over proceedings. Lily and Susan are among the winners, and Lynda gets singled out for praise for her production as Alan reads out a fulsome message from the Bishop. Modest Kirsty wins a special award and reluctantly gives a speech, admitting that now she’s done this, she’s pretty much ready for anything. She raises a glass and they all drink a toast to Ambridge.

    Alice admits to Amy while they’re out walking one of Amy’s dog charges that she’s feeling more positive. Amy’s pleased – her own solution to mood boosting is exactly this, walking the dogs. Alice feels yesterday’s playground incident represents progress. Amy agrees – and there may be more tests but Alice will learn to avoid the triggers. Alice can see that dog walking is suiting Amy. She muses that she needs something more to do herself – she has way too much time on her hands. She shares the thought with her mum, suggesting to Jennifer that she might go back to work. Jennifer counters that work is stressful, and stress is to be avoided. But Alice reckons not being busy is even more stressful for her. She wants to use her brain. She wonders about part time work at Home Farm. Jennifer promises to discuss it with Brian. Alice believes it could be what she needs to get her life back on track.

  • Tony’s not keen on Natasha’s special roast coffee – and he won’t be able to sneak into the kitchen to make his usual blend until later. He and Pat agree it’s taking some getting used to having Tom and Natasha at Bridge Farm.

    Amy finds cold Alice on a bench at the playground. Alice has texted her for help. To her relief Amy sees Alice hasn’t touched the vodka she’d bought. But Alice can’t agree with Amy’s praise for her restraint, because the intent was there. And she still thinks she’ll feel normal again if she drinks it. Amy insists she’s not seeing that in Alice. And whatever her buddy Lisa said to her during the night has worked. They have to decide what to do next. At Alice’s request, Amy tips the alcohol away. Alice explains the trigger had been Chris asking for a divorce. She’s proved how predictable she is by nearly relapsing. Amy counters that stopping herself is a colossal milestone for Alice. Her coping strategies worked, no matter how tempted she was and how natural it felt. She needs to learn now how to deal with the stress triggers. Alice reckons Amy’s saved her life. Amy replies that it was all Alice. As they smash the empty bottles into the bin, Alice resolves to keep hold of the real Alice, and make it work.

  • A prospective client for the yoghurt at Bridge Farm is due with no-one but Susan available to show her round. Clarrie’s off sick and Susan’s at a loss. Tony’s tied up fixing a fence with Johnny, but promises to sort it. Adam’s drafted in, though Susan’s not happy with such a novice. Adam promises to stay out of the way and act as background support. The client, Lorraine, is impressed with the taste and texture of the yoghurt, and with the set up as a whole. Susan’s relieved, until the issue of hazard analysis is raised, under an acronym which blindsides her. Experienced manager Adam steps in and takes over. As the client leaves it’s clear she thinks Susan’s the trainee rather than Adam, leaving Susan fuming. Adam laughs that the main thing is she loved the product.

    Lilian and Alice chat in the tackroom after a ride. They’re interrupted by Chris, who insists Lilian stays around to hear what he has to say to Alice. He wants their divorce done as soon as possible. He needs Alice to think about citing some instances of unreasonable behaviour. Shocked Alice can’t. And what’s the rush? Chris insists he’s barely coping and can’t live uncertainty anymore. Alice refuses to call Chris unreasonable, so Chris states he’ll just have to cite her behaviour instead. He leaves, asking Lilian to look after Alice. Alice doesn’t blame Chris, and states firmly that he’s doing the right thing. Concerned Lilian keeps checking on Alice, who declares she’s fine, before ordering two bottles of vodka.

  • As they digest Mike’s signature dish of breakfast pancakes, Roy looks forward to a day off while Mike declares he’s making a start on Brookfield bungalow. Roy thinks Mike will be keen to get home by the weekend; Mike’s sanguine about timescales for the job. As he prepares the first room at the bungalow, Josh arrives with some bold replacement paint choices. He wants to put his own stamp on the place – it’s his turn to have his own place now. Mike tucks in gratefully to the cupcakes Josh has brought along from Jill. As they work away together, Mike praises Josh for his ideas and energy, recommending he enjoys himself while he’s still free of responsibilities. Inundated with homemade food and offers of dinner at the Bull after work, Mike’s in his element.

    Tony’s finding Tom’s clumsiness around the house a bit much, but Pat thinks they should cut him some slack. She’s delighted he and Natasha are taking her shopping for a 70th birthday present. With Natasha feeling delicate it’s left to Tom to help Pat in her choice of a coat and blouse. Once home Pat wonders why Tony isn’t joining them to watch a film Natasha’s recommended. He’s keen to sweep out the packhouse, and spend time with his model railway. Pat eventually convinces him to spend some precious family bonding time with Tom and Natasha, before they’re swamped with a new baby. He’ll watch the soppy love story, but expecting him to enjoy it will be way too much!

  • In the post production glow of The Passion, Mike’s hailed the hero for ensuring Harrison’s cross was safe and secure. Susan berates Mike for having lured Neil out drinking on a work night earlier in the week. Mike reckons they should be looking at winding down at their age, but Susan counters that Neil’s perfectly happy at Berrow at the moment; senior management suits him. They banter for a while before Susan good-naturedly agrees to Mike taking the last sausage roll. Susan and Kirsty agree that luck was with them for today’s performance – though Susan insists most of it was down to Kirsty’s clever planning and preparation. And now they can all finally get back to life as they know it.

    Chris and Alice are at the Lower Loxley arboretum with Martha. As they reminisce about happier times Chris goes in for a kiss. Shocked Alice pulls back and is wrongfooted. Chris maintains Martha deserves to have them both, in a proper family like before. Alice counters they can never be like a normal family – she’s an alcoholic. She loved being married to Chris, but it’s not like that now. Chris believes they still make a great team. Alice reiterates that she needs all her energy to focus on herself at the moment. Upset Chris feels she’s making it all about her again and not what he might want. Alice gently apologises. This is the best way; they can’t be together. They say goodbye and distraught Chris closes the door on Alice.

  • 2/2 The Passion
    Queen of Ambridge amateur theatricals, Lynda Snell, takes charge of this brand new adaptation of the Mediaeval dramas. Join the cast of The Archers for the second part of this unique promenade production around Ambridge, portraying the life of Jesus from baptism through to the Resurrection.

    Adapted by Nick Warburton
    Director …. Kim Greengrass
    Executive Editor …. Jeremy Howe
    Technical Producers …. Andy Partington & Vanessa Nuttall
    Production Coordinators …. Sally Lloyd & Andrew Smith

    Jesus …. James Cartwright
    Mary …. Alison Dowling
    John the Baptist …. Ian Pepperell
    Peter …. Charlotte Martin
    John …. Nick Barber
    Andrew …. Ryan Kelly
    Judas …. Ian Pepperell
    Caiaphas …. Paul Copley
    Annas …. Katie Redford
    Pontius Pilate …. Nick Barber
    Malchas …. Alison Dowling
    1st Torturer …. Annabelle Dowler
    2nd Torturer …. Charlotte Martin
    1st Soldier …. Katie Redford
    2nd Soldier …. Ian Pepperell
    Mary Magdalene …. Annabelle Dowler
    Joseph of Arimathea …. Paul Copley

    Other parts played by members of the company.

    A BBC Audio Drama Birmingham production.

  • Ruth catches up with Stella who really enjoyed being in the first of The Ambridge Mystery Plays. Meanwhile Ruth is please that the complaint made to Borsetshire Animal Protection about the outwintering cows isn’t being followed up. They bump into Usha and Ruth introduces her and Stella. Usha asks if Ruth would like to come to a salsa class this evening and Ruth extends the invite to Stella. Later, while waiting for Ruth, Stella laughs at Usha’s tale of her Christmas hibernation and the village gossip that she and Alan had split up. Flustered Ruth joins them, feeling the least glamourous of the three. She was delayed by an argument between Pip and Josh over who will move into the Bungalow – she can’t see how it will end happily.

    Before Ruairi heads back to London, Jennifer tells both him and Alice how proud she of how they’ve got on with one another. Ruairi is gracious, saying it’s been a good opportunity to set the record straight. Jennifer also tells Alice how well she did while Kate drank too much alcohol. Alice assures her she had no problem with Kate’s actions.

    Just before Ruairi leaves Alice checks he really meant what he said yesterday. Ruairi says he’s actually grateful to Alice because now he knows who he can trust and who cares for him. When Alice asks what their parents will think, Ruairi twists the knife. How could she cause them even more pain? And whose side will they take? On her return from dropping Ruairi at the station, Jennifer senses something up with Alice. Alice admits it’s because of Ruairi but then swerves the truth by saying she will miss him just as Jennifer will.

  • The Aldridges gather for a Christmas Day with Ruairi. Adam thanks Ruairi for his generosity with his gifts. Alice opens a travel voucher from Ruairi. He says she can use it to get a long way from Ambridge. Jennifer thinks it’s been a perfect day and Alice and Adam agree. Later, Alice tells Ruairi how much it means to her that he’s forgiven her. Calmly he tells her he’s done nothing of the sort. He says he will never forgive her and that his behaviour in front of the rest of the family is all an act. Alice pleads with him but Ruairi is steadfast; he’s being working out who he wants in his life and Alice is not included.

    At Kirsty’s request, Alan speaks to Harrison who is feeling overwhelmed by playing Jesus in The Passion, the second of The Ambridge Mystery Plays. Alan explains that while people believe in Jesus’ divinity, he was also an ordinary, fallible human being. Harrison is keen to know more about what the Bible says about Jesus.

    Harrison tells relieved Kirsty that Alan has helped him see he can portray Jesus. Being part of The Ambridge Mystery Plays has made them both think about what they believe in. While they may not subscribe to a formal religion, Kirsty believes in the power of love and kindness while Harrison believes in trying to do the right thing. Harrison hands over a Christmas card for Kirsty that was sent to Borchester Police Station, it’s from Blake and Jordan. Kirsty takes it as a sign that she and Harrison are doing something right.

  • Ruairi catches up with Ben and Beth. Ben is in awe of Ruairi going skiing over Christmas and then having an extra family Christmas being put on for him. Ruairi’s Christmas gift to Ben and Beth leaves them stunned – a supercar driving experience. Beth can see how much Ben and Ruairi feel for one another though they’re not saying it and she gets them to admit they love one another.

    Kirsty shows Harrison and Mike the cross for The Passion. It’s in need of repair and Mike offers to fix it. Meanwhile, Harrison confesses to Kirsty that he doesn’t feel up to playing the part of Jesus.

    Mike collects wood from the Bungalow for the cross repairs and gets chatting to Ruth about the future of the place now that Bert has died. Both Pip and Josh are lobbying Ruth and David for it to be their home. She doesn’t know who will win out but is certain the place needs sprucing up. Mike takes a look around and is happy to take on the work, it means he can extend his Ambridge visit. He says he’ll take Jill’s home bakes and beer as payment.

    Back at Willow Farm, Mike reflects on his move to Birmingham with Kirsty. He didn’t like the idea of leaving Ambridge at first but he’s now settled there. Mike’s eager to repair the cross for The Ambridge Mystery Plays but Kirsty’s worried that Harrison might pull out of the role – how can they put on The Passion without a Jesus?

  • Jennifer praises Alice for all the Christmas cooking she has done and her ability to not drink while people around her are. They’re interrupted by a phone call from Ruairi who needs a lift from Hollerton Junction. Jennifer is over the moon he is home while Alice shows her uncertainty about seeing Ruairi. Jennifer reassures her that she now has the opportunity to make amends.

    Jennifer clucks around Ruairi who asks for a mushroom omelette – he can’t make them like her. Alice joins them and apologises for her behaviour before going to rehab. Ruairi chooses his words carefully in reply. In private with Jennifer, Ruairi apologises for not being in touch very much since leaving for university. They have a frank conversation about Brian’s affair, Ruairi joining the Aldridge family and how Alice’s drunken words affected Ruairi. Ruairi’s now clear what’s important in his life. When he admits to being homesick for an Aldridge Christmas Day, Jennifer insists nothing would give her more pleasure than hosting one for him.

    While out with Martha, Chris comes across Harrison taking a dip in the Am. He’s trying to acclimatise in preparation for his baptism as Jesus in The Passion, the second of The Ambridge Mystery Plays. Chris tells Harrison about Mike who is visiting Ambridge over New Year with Vicky and Bethany. Chris thinks it’s a mad idea to be doing The Passion outdoors in winter, he was cold enough when he played Jesus in Spring. Harrison worries that it will be a disaster and Chris advises he tries out the cross before the full rehearsal.

  • Alan congratulates Lynda and Kirsty on a wonderful performance of The Nativity – the first of The Ambridge Mystery Plays. After Salieri took on the role of the donkey, Lynda angles with Alan for Constanza to take part in the church’s nativity play next year. They marvel at Susan’s audacious entrance as First King. When Alan congratulates Susan, she can’t hold back her concern for him believing that Usha has left him. Clarrie, who believes the same, delivered festive food to the Vicarage and Susan goes to get more for Alan to take home.

    Alan catches Usha up with the performance of The Nativity. Usha has loved staying out of sight over Christmas. Alan is starting to feel uncomfortable about people believing that their marriage is over. Usha decides to come with him to The Bull for The Nativity’s after-party. Susan is shocked to see her and Usha teases her about gossip being made out of thin air. Usha sees it as a lesson for Susan while Alan admits he’s had his own lesson in taking time for his own family over Christmas. Usha agrees to have Susan and Clarrie over for a meal to repay their culinary generosity.

    Lynda’s eager for The Passion to be just as successful as The Nativity. Kirsty’s sure all those involved are motivated - the Oliver Awards being an added incentive. Putting the performances on has been a long road. Lynda thinks the best is yet to come.

  • 1/2 The Nativity
    Queen of Ambridge amateur theatricals, Lynda Snell, takes charge of this brand new adaptation of the Mediaeval dramas. Join the cast of The Archers in a unique promenade production around Ambridge, telling the Christmas story with warmth, humour and festive cheer.

    Adapted by Nick Warburton
    Director …. Kim Greengrass
    Executive Editor …. Jeremy Howe
    Technical Producers …. Andy Partington & Vanessa Nuttall
    Production Coordinators …. Sally Lloyd & Andrew Smith

    1st Angel …. Sunny Ormonde
    2nd Angel …. Katie Redford
    God …. Carole Boyd
    Isaiah …. Timothy Bentinck
    Mary …. Molly Pipe
    Joseph …. Nick Barber
    Herod …. Timothy Bentinck
    Messenger …. Sunny Ormonde
    1st Shepherd …. Ryan Kelly
    2nd Shepherd …. Trevor Harrison
    3rd Shepherd …. Katie Redford
    1st King … Charlotte Martin
    2nd King …. Ryan Kelly
    3rd King …. Katie Redford
    1st Soldier …. Charlotte Martin
    2nd Soldier …. Trevor Harrison
    Simeon …. Carole Boyd

    Other parts played by members of the company.

    A BBC Audio Drama Birmingham production.