The Ambridge Chronicles
by Jock Gallagher

Jock Gallagher - The Ambridge Chronicles

BBC Radio 4

Broadcast: Saturday 24th December 1988

"The Ambridge Chronicles" is the story of Dan Archer, who, as a young man, becomes patriarch of the Archer family as they struggle to make a success of Brookfield Farm in the agricultural depression of the twenties. Brookfield Farm is just oustside of Ambridge, a beautiful Borsetshire village nestling in the Vale of the River Am, under the watchful eye of the Hassett Hills, somewhere in the English south Midlands.

The play opens in 1914 as Dan Archer and his younger brother, Ben, join the army as World War One breaks out, much to the chagrin of Doris Forrest, who is keen on both of them. Meanwhile, trouble brews at home as Frank Archer, Dan's other brother, does not enlist because he is a conscientious objector.

Dan escapes the mud of Flanders to take over the tenancy of Brookfield Farm on the sudden death of his father in 1916. It is his younger brother Ben who is most devastated by the horrors of the Great War - try as he will, he cannot forget the stench and din of Passchendaele. On his return to Ambridge at the end of the war, he is unable to settle down to work on the farm, and chafes beneath Dan's authority. To make matters worse, both brothers are still interested in the same girl, Doris, daughter of the local gamekeeper...

Dramatised for radio by Peter Mackie from the 1988 novel, "To the Victor the Spoils", by Jock Gallagher, a prequel to the long-running series, 'The Archers'. "To the Victor the Spoils'' is Gallagher's first volume of Archers trilogy covering the period 1914-1922. It was followed by "Return to Ambridge", and "Borchester Echoes".

With Michael Maloney [Dan Archer], Holly Aird [Doris Archer], David Learner [Ben Archer, Dan's Younger Brother], Trevor Harrison [George Grundy], Ralph Lawton [John Archer, Dan's Father], Gillian Goodman [Phoebe Archer, Dan's Mother], Richard Pearce [Frank Archer, Dan's Brother], Terry Molloy [Walter Gabriel], Michael Deacon [Squire Lawson-Hope], John Dixon [Cedric Lawson-Hope], Simon Cuff [Godfrey Winstanley], Roger Hume [William Forrest, Doris's Father], Richard Allenson [Percy Hood], Sunny Ormonde [Lisa Forrest], Sam Barriscale [Tom Forrest, Doris's Brother], William Hayes [Josh Harris], Susan Jeffrey [Lisa Scroby], Martin Matthews [Jesse Plant / The Vicar], and Geoff Serle [The Wedding Photographer / Jake Burton, Proprietor of 'The Bull'].

Other parts were played by members of the cast.

Directed by Philip Martin at BBC Pebble Mill.

Re-broadcast Saturday 31st December 1988 @ 3:02 p.m.

90 minutes.


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