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Diary of a Comedy Writer: The Howl of the Archers

I don’t know about you but I felt a bit guilty about laughing at the organic Vimto being spilled on the wedding dress when I heard The Howl from the Vestry on The Archers.

Oof, it was ‘orrible it was. I expect actress Annabelle Dowler is still having to gargle with the Listerine after letting rip with the cry of humiliation when Tom ‘my sausages’ Archer told Kirsty he was saying ‘I don’t’ at their ridiculously OTT wedding.

I had been skipping episodes precisely because the wedding prep was getting on my wick. You get enough of that nonsense in real life without enduring it on BBC Radio 4. After the altar-jilting episode, though, I was all ears for the omnibus edition on Sunday – and it was an education in writing clues.

It started with Tom and Kirsty appearing to get equal billing with Jesus at the Easter morning church service. It was hard to tell what the vicar was more excited about, the resurrection – or the wedding. It’s this week everybody! Them! Them over there! What could possibly go wrong!

Then the betrothed went to try on the wedding rings. How does it feel Tom? “Tight.” Uh-oh.

Tom’s dad Tony made a big speech to his second son. Tom was very nearly as good as his other son, the dead saint. Dead St. John would have been, well, dead proud of how Tom had turned out. Ready to take up the whole family’s livelihood and haul it onwards. Why, this wedding was just the start.

Then – oops! – the best man accidentally ordered the kind of tractor that killed St. John to get the groom to the church. Could happen to anyone.

By the time Kirsty was on a haywain being hauled through the streets by a horse in front of everyone – everyone Tom – you knew it had one too many hallmarks of someone being taken to the gallows.

Then it was all downhill to The Howling for poor old Kirsty.

Riveting writing, it was.