Well, it’s been a strange and eventful day. I generally avoid doing reviews on this blog because I’ve always been irrationally afraid that the person whose art I’m insulting will read what I have to say. It’s never been a big worry, because my online profile is pretty low, but now it’s happened.
I woke up this morning to find that my post about The Archers from the very first 12 days of Christmas had been shared on social media by the official Archers page. I now find myself in the confusing position of being both slightly star-struck to be tweeted by Lynda Snell, and horrified that I know who Lynda Snell is. And apparently I’ve displeased the fandom.
I was scared of a backlash when writing about Trump, Brexit and mental health, but somehow I never saw this one coming. Sadly, some of the comments on Facebook have been unpleasantly personal (my favourite piece of vitriol is “remarkably pretentious in that someone of no discernible talent or success should believe that their opinion should be so important”). I don’t think it’s wise to get into comment battles, so I’ll just respond on here to the most common criticisms…
1. “If you don’t like it, switch it off”
Well, yes. Trust me, you’ve never seen a human being move more rapidly towards an off button (yes, I have heard of those) than I do when The Archers comes on. But if you’d read the whole post you’d realise that my whole gripe is about being dragged kicking and screaming into Ambridge. I’m surrounded by family members whose constant Archers chat has transformed the show from an inoffensive, heart-warming soap that happens not to be my thing, into a looming 7pm menace.
2. “What makes you think your opinion is so important?”
I just write stuff on here that I think my friends and family might find interesting or entertaining; I’m pleased that the BBC decided my thing was worth sharing, but I didn’t ask for it. But hey, thanks for the thousands of views, angry Facebook people.
3. “You’re out of date, there was a storyline about actual Issues in The Archers this year”
Given that my post is two years old, I have no idea why it was shared yesterday, but at the time of writing literally nothing had ever happened on the show. I rest my case.
4. “You’re clearly too stupid to appreciate it”/”was this man dropped on his head as a baby”/”can you even read”/”Twat.”
All I have to say to these people is that Rowan is a girl’s name too, dammit.
5. “There’s no need to be so nasty”
I’m pleased to see that the people actually involved in the show seem to have taken my rant in the tongue-in-cheek spirit in which it was written. To be honest, I think a show that’s managed to be on Radio 4 daily for fifty years can probably look after itself; it’s certainly got some pretty vociferous supporters. However, I genuinely try not to publish things I wouldn’t say to the person’s face, and perhaps I went a little far in my criticism. If I’ve actually hurt anyone’s feelings, I’m sorry, especially having just been on the receiving end of some borderline internet hate mail. That said, I’d still cross hot coals to avoid listening to The Archers…