Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Like millions of Britons, I breathed a long sigh of relief at precisely 8.15 Italian time [7.15 in the UK] last night at the end of the 15,000th episode of The Archers, the long-running radio soap. Ruth, one of the main characters, was about to deceive her husband and was on her way to meet slimeball Sam in a hotel, then at the very last minute decided she couldn't go through with it. [I can't stand the Ruth character or her irritating accent, so why do I care? I don't know; I just do.] Well, the episode drove me to drink and I swear I could hear a collective "Thank god for that" all the way from Britain as the closing music came on! [The goings-on in The Archers get newspaper headlines in Britain, you have to understand, and the storylines are hotly debated. There are Archers history books, Archers cookbooks, Archers mousemats and Archers everything.]
"But what bearing does all this have on your life in Sicily?" I hear you ask. Ah, I'm coming to that: of all the things I miss, I think radio 4 is at the top of the list. Yes, I can get it on the internet, but that is not the same as having it on as a background while you are cooking, reading, working or whatever. Radio 4 has been my "aural wallpaper" all my life and I can even remember when it was called the "Home Service". There is nothing like those authoritative voices delivering world news, nothing like the "pips" at 1pm, nothing like the chimes of Big Ben at 6pm and certainly nothing as comforting as the Shipping Forecast followed by the lovely tune, "Sailing By". Yes, I do know you can download some programmes onto an Ipod but I don't have one and that seems a time-consuming process to me. As I've said before, I find it absurd that I can receive so many UK TV channels, yet cannot receive this channel which is such a mainstay of British political and cultural life via a conventional or shortwave radio, all because of the UK licence fee!
Anyway, if you ever wonder what I am doing here in Sicily, dear readers, I can tell you exactly what I am doing on Monday to Friday and Sunday evenings at 8pm Italian time: I am sitting here at the computer with my headphones on [so that I can have the volume up as loud as I like; you really can hear everything your neighbours are doing in Italian flats, because of the tiled floors] tuning into The Archers and huffing and puffing or nodding at the storylines just like so many of my compatriots. And you can bet the phone or doorbell will ring right in the middle of this precious quarter an hour! [Never mind, there's always the next afternoon's repeat or the Sunday omnibus edition!]


Ellee Seymour said...

I didn't imagine you would be listening to the Archers in Sicily - wish I had, I only seem to tune into it when I am in the car. I know it has been getting quite raunchy. Is there and Italian equivalent, I wonder?

Anonymous said...

I did a search and found the site for the Searchers. Really nice to have a serial that you can follow. Too bad it has to be through the internet. I do the same for sports in America.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Ellee. Nothing like it on Italian radio, as far as I know. A lot of the TV soaps Italians are addicted to are dubbed American ones and are shown around lunch time. Evening TV, apart from news and political analysis which I enjoy, and the odd good film, consists mainly of reality shows and daft game shows.

Anonymous said...

I blogged the story and can understand how someone could get into it. Being here in Germany, the only way I can follow some of the things I enjoy (sports being one of them) is through the internet.

Liz Hinds said...

An Archers fan as well!

I was amazed on Wednesday night when husband phoned and asked if I'd listened to the Archers. I didn't realise it had been in all the newspapers. Then son in Madrid asked the same thing. Neither of them would know anything about the Archers normally. I never really thought Ruth would go through with it anyway. And since I looked up a photo of Sam I'm surprised she was ever tempted!

(I think I might do a post about the Archers myself!)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Liz. Nice to know you are an Archers lady, too! I just looked at a picture of Sam and agree with you. People here think I am quite mad when I tell them all about the characters as if they were real, you know.

Ballpoint Wren said...

A radio soap!

We got rid of all of ours here in Southern California, and I'm pretty sure throughout the US as well.

I listen to audio books and stories on podcasts on my iPod, which, by the way, isn't difficult or time-consuming to use at all! I use it whenever I have to do some tedious chore and it makes the time fly!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Bonnie. Maybe I will get an ipod and try it, then!


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