The BBC has announced that actress Heather Bell is to reprise her role of Clarrie Grundy in The Archers. Rosalind Adams is stepping down after 25 years to spend more time with her family with Bell – who originated the character – returning to BBC Radio 4’s long-running rural saga to take over.Bell will reprise the role she first voiced in the late 1970s next month. Clarrie is the long-suffering wife of loveable rogue Eddie, and mother to warring brothers Will and Ed she first voiced in the late 1970s next month,
Heather brings with her a wealth of experience in radio, television and theatre, having worked in repertory companies all over Britain, in London’s West End and in playing many leading roles on Television. Her rich history of radio work began at drama school where she was a runner up in the BBC Carleton Hobbs Award for Drama and later was cast as Mercy O’Callaghan, Tracy’s au pair, in the long running serial Waggoner’s Walk, with the part of Tracy coincidentally played by Rosalind Adams.
“I am really excited to be returning to Ambridge, catching up with old friends – will we even recognise each other after all these years? – and working with such a great team again. At the same time, I’m quite terrified about stepping back into Rosalind’s big shoes and living up to the task of making sure I stay true to Clarrie for all those discerning Archers listeners. Clarrie has always been a fun part to play, and even though as people we are totally different, I perhaps feel closer to her now that I am a grandmother myself, so I’m looking forward to meeting my radio grandchildren, my sons of course, and I can’t wait to work with those two talented daughters-in-law.” – Heather Bell
Vanessa Whitburn, Editor of The Archers adds: “We are delighted that Heather will be returning to Ambridge with all her skill and enthusiasm for the part. We were set the challenge of finding an actress who could continue with the great work that Rosalind Adams has done down the years, ensuring Clarrie retains her special place in listeners’ affections, and we are incredibly lucky to have tempted Heather back.”
Audiences will be able to hear Heather return as Clarrie on Sunday 10 February 2013 for her son Will’s 30th birthday celebrations. Heather originally joined the cast as Clarrie Larkin in 1979 when Clarrie’s father took a job at Brookfield Farm and moved the family to Ambridge. She married local ‘ne’er do well’ Eddie Grundy, and as a couple they form the matriarch and patriarch of one of Ambridge’s best-loved families. Clarrie spends much of her time sorting out problems created by her husband, sons and father-in-law.
In 2011, Clarrie was at the centre of one of the key storylines in The Archers’ 60th anniversary year, when she was found to be responsible for an outbreak of E.coli at Bridge Farm Dairy.
The Archers is broadcast at 1900hrs Sun – Friday on BBC Radio 4, 92-95fm, 198 longwave and on digital radio and television.