The rural soap is the longest-running soap still on-air in the world having launched in 1950 a full ten years before ITV soap Coronation Street. The Archers is still listened to by millions of viewers each day but some of its fans may have noticed a change in the storylines of late.
The “cosy” nature of The Archers has changed with darker storylines more suited to its television counter-part Emmerdale. In a new interview with the Radio Times the soap’s acting editor, John Yorke, has said The Archers is set to get “darker and bigger”.
“You have to put your characters in jeopardy because it makes you love them more…My thing has always been that every episode needs to have an arc and listeners should be left wanting more. You need a cliffhanger to drive the story in a new direction…….The fundamentals of character and storyline being vital is the same. But The Archers moves at a slower pace than EastEnders, which is absolutely right. It’s an extraordinarily important programme to a lot of people and you don’t want to break it. It needs to follow the rhythms of everyday life, but you have to balance that against the demands of drama that things happen. I want it to feel like The Archers, but be as good as it can be” – John Yorke in the Radio Times
Yorke was executive producer of EastEnders between 2000 and 2002 so certainly knows about dramatic storylines. Yorke is currently oversee’s EastEnders as well as BBC One’s other regular dramas such as Casualty, Holby City and Doctors. The Archers regular editor, Vanessa Whitburn, is currently on long-service leave but is expected to return to the radio soap over the Summer.
The bigger and bolder storylines may not go down well with all of the soap’s loyal listeners…