Features

Death in Rural Paradise

The death of two fictional characters whose lives are set against rural backgrounds will surely rock the nation this coming week.  One is the innocently funny ‘Alice Tinker’ who has not been reprised on our screens since the last Vicar of Dibley was made in 2007, and the other is ‘Nic Grundy’ in the Archers. 

In the case of Alice, the ‘real life’ death of Emma Chambers at the age of 53, who played her so brilliantly in the Vicar of Dibley, is a shock.  She was one of the foremost comic actors of our time, nailing so completely the art of the double entendre and making it all look so very effortless. 

As if I wasn’t left reeling enough from this sad news, a Sunday morning omnibus visit to Ambridge left me in shreds. BBC Radio Four’s Archers character Nic Grundy was killed off in a horrific and all too realistic depiction of the speed and virulence of sepsis.  The NHS website probably crashed as listeners grappled for information and anybody who sustained a graze or open would during the course of their travail this week, will be reaching for the antiseptic wipes. 

Back in the real world, Emma Chambers was young, with a full life of challenging, ‘older funny women’ roles ahead of her for sure.  ‘Nic Grundy’ in the Archers depicted an active, modern young working mother in her mid-30s with a sense of community and a heart of gold. The Archers is going to be painful to listen over the next few days. 

Such things act as a timely reminder that while challenges are waiting for us around every corner, your health and wellbeing are top of the list. To rest is to repair and for those of us who spend our lives on the road, running around after family and working to capacity for our passion, should take heed and take care.