Tom Graham (Tom Archer)
No doubt about the big story of the week as Tom and Kirsty’s wedding day approached. On Easter Sunday, we had Kenton winding Tom up about some of the wedding presents - floral patterns and bright colours abound, apparently. Shula tells her twin to stop teasing and tells Tom that he’ll be fine.
On Monday Tom and Kirsty try on their rings and there is a rehearsal at the church, which Pat finds so affecting that she bursts into tears, making us wonder what she’ll be like on the day itself. The following day Kirsty leaves to go and stay at Lower Loxley, telling Tom that, on the wedding day, he is to await her arrival at the lych gate and not inside the church.
Tony has what he thinks are some nice things to say to Tom, telling him “Whatever our differences, you’ve turned out so well - your Mum and I see so much of John in you.” This rather back-handed compliment starts to prey on Tom’s mind and, on Wednesday, he appears distracted when Best Man Roy goes through the plan for tomorrow. “Dan will have more freedom at Sandhurst” protests Tom, to which Roy replies “Forget freedom mate; you’re getting married.” Tom reveals that he hasn’t written his speech yet.
A troubled Tom goes to see Peggy and tells her that he’s having doubts - his whole life changed the night that John died as overnight he had to replace his brother. He feels that everything in his life has been mapped out for him and now he’s “the heir, not the spare”. In an uncharacteristic spell of self doubt, Tom tells Peggy that he feels like a fraud and that “Now I don’t know who I am or who I want to be.” Instead of saying “You’re a pig farmer and your life revolves around sausages and Ready Meals - now go home and get some sleep” Peggy tells him that, if he really has doubts, then he’ll have to be brave and tell Kirsty tonight.
The day of the wedding dawned bright and sunny and Kirsty loved the attention she was getting, travelling to church in a horse-drawn haywain. Tom was not so happy, as Roy had lined up a vintage tractor to take them to church; unfortunately, it is similar to the one that John was using the night he died and Roy is distraught when he realises his mistake.
Kirsty arrives at the church and there’s no Tom at the lych gate, instead Roy tells her that Tom is in a bit of a state and is in the vestry with Alan. The congregation are getting a tad restive, as Patrick’s repertoire on the newly-restored organ is a bit limited. In the vestry, a bewildered Kirsty tries to make sense of what’s happening. Is it anything to do with Brenda? No. Kirsty offers to postpone the wedding and scale it down later, or even live together and, when Tom says that he can’t go through with it and can’t stay with her, Kirsty says “I’ve loved you for 15 years, Tom - did you ever love me?” Presumably the 15 years was instead of a custodial sentence?
Eventually, her bewilderment turns to anger as she tells him that she has been humiliated by riding on the haywain. Tom begins to sob and she snarls “Don’t you dare cry when it’s me that’s getting dumped.” Thursday’s episode ends with her screaming and running from the church.
Back at Lower Loxley later, Kirsty quizzes Helen about why Tom acted as he did and “Did he say anything to you?” Once again we have a case of how people in Ambridge seem incapable of telling a white lie as, instead of saying “Beats me”, Helen says “Not really” and eventually the story of how Tom rang Helen on his Stag Night comes out. Kirsty is enraged, yelling: “I don’t want anything to do with you or your precious family - ever! Just go!” That should make it interesting when Kirsty goes back to Ambridge Organics, or perhaps we can assume that she’s just handed in her notice.
Later on Tom turns up at Bridge Farm and, if he is expecting sympathy, he’s in for a disappointment as Helen tells him he’s lost her the best friend she’s ever had. Tony’s turn next, calling his son “despicable, cowardly and heartless“. Tom seems genuinely nonplussed, saying that he thought they would understand and can’t they see that it took courage to call it off at the last moment? Pat’s response is that he’s torn Kirsty apart and stamped all over her in front of 150 people. So that’s a ’no’ then, is it Pat?
Tom appeals to Peggy, only to be told that it was cruel to humiliate Kirsty in public. Tom says he’ll contact people and will pay for everything, to which Tony says that it’s not about money, adding: “If John were alive today, he’d be utterly, utterly ashamed of you.” Tom demonstrates how quick he can be on the uptake when he says “I’d better go.” “Yes, I think you should” Tony replies.
How credible is Tom’s sudden, overwhelming tide of self doubt and soul searching? After all, up to a week ago, we are talking about a man who’s opinion of himself and Olympian self confidence and self belief makes Simon Cowell look like Hamlet, so where does Tom go from here? There are a lot of fences to mend and I can see a lot of lonely nights ahead, with only a Ready Meal for company. And what of Kirsty? You can’t help feeling sorry for her, but Time is a great healer and she might come to realise that she’s had a lucky escape.