I survived without “The Archers” for a couple of months when I came to Australia. Couldn’t survive much longer! It’s something I definitely missed about the UK.
This is the first of a series of posts about things I have missed about the UK. As with the companion piece about things I like about Australia, I doubt many of them will be particularly profound.
“The Archers” is a radio series from the BBC. It airs in 15-minute instalments six days a week on Radio 4. It started with a 5-day pilot in June 1950. It has run continuously since 1 January 1951. The BBC describes it as “contemporary drama in a rural setting from the world’s longest running soap opera. Follow the residents of the fictional farming community of Ambridge.”
I have been listening to it since I was a child. The families and feuds and activities are as familiar to me as people in the real world. I’ve known the characters in Ambridge and its surrounding villages longer than most people in my life, apart from my family.
I lived in the countryside until I was 18. The stories have the flavours of childhood memories: the village hierarchies, the toffs, the farmers, the incomers, the classes mixing, new money, old money, old families, self-organising village events and pursuits. I love it all.
The production team has rural advisors and provides some insights into how people struggle to make a living in the countryside. It is quite an inspiration about being self-employed. There are even brushes with crime and drugs and other worries.
Mostly it is about the natural rhythm of life in England. It provides me with a moment of joy.
I admit though that it took me a while to do anything about missing it. In the UK I never listened to it live. We had a digital radio that could record programmes so I recorded the programme every day. I almost always had a long backlog to listen to while I was cooking. Recording it off the radio was not available to me here in Australia.
I thought about the iPlayer, the BBC’s on-line distribution system. However, that doesn’t like IP addresses outside the UK.
Then I realised that the podcast was available on iTunes. There is an app for that! The Podcast app is an easy way to subscribe to, download and listen to podcasts. I subscribed to the podcast of “The Archers” and I’ve scarcely looked back. I have to remember to check that the podcasts have downloaded within a week of the original date otherwise they don’t seem to be available. However, once they are downloaded, they are available forever. I have been a few weeks behind over the course of the months. At the moment, thanks to the Christmas and New Year break, I am right up-to-date!
For more information:
and the Wikipedia entry is here
To download the podcast, go here. It looks like it downloads and plays on a computer even outside the UK. However, it is available through iTunes, and the Podcast app is available there if you don’t have it on your device already. It is available also on Yahoo!, Zune, Google Reader and RSS feed, but I don’t have personal experience of them.