Becky Wright (Nic Hanson)
Helen, who apparently will play a leading part in the dramatic double-length episode to mark the Archers' 60th anniversary in January, was in moody cow mode all week. It all started off when Tony bought her a baby alarm and she'd already got one. If it were me, I'd say "oh thank you" and swiftly take it back, but not our Hel – oh no – Tony was verbally whipped, forced to don a hair shirt and do penance. "I could kick myself for not remembering that she had one" he said. No need Tony – Hel will do it for you!
She was equally miserable on Christmas Eve, for the traditional tree decorating and, when it was finished, asked to be taken home. The really lucky one that night was Brenda, who fell asleep.
Kenton threw himself into Rick Turnip highwayman role, jumping out at children and shouting "Stand and deliver!" I hope he's been CRB checked. When not doing Adam Ant impressions, he's telling everyone that Jaxx's is doing OK and he's really busy. Still got time to act the fool, though. He might do better to have a word with his partner Jim, who was going to take Heather for a meal at Jaxx's but they went to a country pub instead. So much for staff loyalty.
However, Kenton's role playing gives Nigel an idea and he surprises Lizzie in the bedroom, dressed as a highwayman. "I've never had a highwayman in my bed before" says Lizzie. Ah well, that's another profession to tick off her list. Nigel continues to irritate, telling Lynda that Harry and Fallon are behaving like good friends, meaning that they are acting like just good friends and nothing more. None of your business Nigel – you concentrate on making your children's lives miserable.
Crisis in the dairy! The strawberry yoghurt turned out to be raspberry! Vicky's reluctance to wear her reading glasses (or engage her brain) was the cause and Pat was not a happy camper when summoned to explain and apologise to the Buyer at Underwoods. She was still banging on about it on Christmas Eve – you can begin to see where Helen gets it from. Vicky was distraught but, sadly, stopped short of abandoning Ambridge in shame.
Lynda's step-daughter Flat Leaf Parsley turned up with baby Oscar. Lynda promptly explained to him the plot of Dick Whittington and showed him the sets. He's only 14 months old woman, for God's sake! Nigel said that the sight of Oscar "made him feel broody again". For the love of Heaven, no! It's bad enough that his genes are already polluting the gene pool, without siring more offspring. Having said that, he and Liz were getting sick-makingly lovey-dovey round the tree on Christmas Eve.
FLP gave Helen a job lot of baby clothes that are now too small for Oscar. Helen was deeply grateful, but you just know that she is going to have them industrially cleaned, sterilised and irradiated. Probably while Tony is holding them.
Of course, the main event of Christmas Eve was the party thrown by Susan and Neil. According to Chris, Susan is aiming for "sophisticated and stylish." Ha! And this from the woman who put the 'F' in "sophistication"! Chris adds "she's making the canapés herself" – how big a biscuit do you need for a pig's trotter?
The party starts off direly, with Jennifer, Lillian et al all wondering how soon they can decently take their leave. But then Chris and Alice out their master plan into action and put "Merry Xmas Everybody" on the hi-fi and soon people are enjoying themselves playing games such as "pin the nose on Rudolph". This style and sophistication goes down a treat with the Horrobins (as indeed did most of the booze) but even Jennifer seems to be having a good old time. Perhaps Chris and Alice spiked the punch with acid? If so, it's a pity Helen wasn't invited.
Nic took a few more steps towards sainthood when she took Clarrie shopping and then said she'd rearranged her plans (and Will's – bet he was chuffed to nuts) so that they could come over and help with (ie, do all of) the preparation on Christmas Day. "You're a smasher, you are" gushed a grateful Clarrie. But all is not well, as Emma is beginning to resent Nic's new role as the blue-eyed girl. Well pull your finger out woman and do something to help! Everything is set up for Christmas Day, with Nic and Will sharing a table with Emma and Ed – peace on Earth? I don't think so.