Novels about The Archers

Not the miscellanies, which are useless for lack of an index, but for instance Jock Gallagher’s “back story” trio set after the first and after the second world wars plus the one about Elizabeth’s time at the Echo (presumably set in 1986), and Joanna Toye’s three novels which cover events at a gallop from 1951 to 2000.

I’m never sure how much attention Gallagher paid to what had actually been broadcast when he wrote his so I would check them very carefully, but I assume that Toye had access to the archives when she was writing Hers, so how accurate do people feel that they are likely to be?

For instance, in the 1968-86 one, she has Jennifer laughing to scorn the idea of her having an affair with John Tregorran, because he was fifteen years her senior. That would make him born in about 1930, nearer in age to Peggy (1924) and Jill (1930), which would fit with his marriage to Carol and her being Jill’s contemporary. Would I be safe to trust the information elsewhere in those novels? So far it does seem to match what is in The Book of The Archers and The Archers Encyclopaedia, and in Lowfield.

Until you run into a glaring discrepancy, trust them. As you will notice glaring discrepancies more than most would, I think it is fair to say, that’s probably as safe a policy as any.

And since it was Jock Graham who claims to have seen the need for establishing coherent back-stories for the characters, it seems reasonable to assume that he would consistent with his own work. Joanna Toye recently compiled The Ambridge Chronicles, with full access to the archive and original scripts, so again we can probably assume that her previous work was properly researched.

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I think what I am going to do is compile what I can without using the novels, and then read each novel in turn, using it to add to the entries I already have for the people in it. It seems to make sense.

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