The Archers – BBC Radio 4

The Archers is a radio soap opera and is BBC Radio 4’s “longest-running drama” (Independent, 2011).  It fits the BBC Radio 4 remit by providing a “wide range of other speech output including drama” (BBC Trust, 2016) The episode I listened to was from back in 2013 when Bridge Farm’s dairy herd was sold. There are three main storylines running through, aimed to entertain the intelligent Radio 4 target audience, “Radio 4 is to be a mixed speech service, offering in-depth news and current affairs and a wide range of other speech output including drama, readings, comedy, factual and magazine programmes.”, (BBC, 2016)

This programme was grounded in factual research to ensure it sounded realistic for the viewers. The writer for The Archers, Carol Solazzo, visited a farm’s cattle sale due to the fact she will have had to understand exactly what it would have sounded like on a farm and what people talk about whilst visiting a farming auction. There is “no way a writer could conjure scenes like this out of the imagination” (The Archers. 2013). Carol wrote a blog about her research int this episode, she said “I took lots of notes during the auction, listening out for phrases and jargon used to talk about the cows, and at one point I recorded some of the patter on my phone“ This shows how much research they must do for just one episode to immerse the audience as much as possible.

Overall, I found that the ‘The Archers’ try and use current affairs to embellish their storylines with added drama to keep the audience engaged. For this episode, in particular, the writers did their own research at actual farms so they would be able to mimic the atmosphere to be as realistic as possible for the listeners.

Bbc.co.uk. (2016). BBC – BBC Radio 4 – BBC Trust. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/our_work/services/radio/service_licences/bbc_radio_4.html [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018].

The Archers. (2013). Researching the Bridge Farm sale. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thearchers/entries/0dbf3e94-efaf-345c-95c2-307d4f6243c6 [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018].

The Independent. (2011). 60 things you never knew you wanted to know about The Archers. [online] Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/features/60-things-you-never-knew-you-wanted-to-know-about-the-archers-2173365.html [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018].

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