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The Archers delves into archives as new episodes are delayed due to pandemic

There will be three weeks of archive content as production on new content takes longer than expected.

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The Archers is planning new episodes from May 25 onwards (Gary Moyes/BBC)

The Archers is planning new episodes from May 25 onwards (Gary Moyes/BBC)

The Archers is planning new episodes from May 25 onwards (Gary Moyes/BBC)

The Archers will broadcast three weeks of themed episodes from the archives in May, as it takes longer than expected to produce new episodes amid the coronavirus crisis, BBC Radio 4 has announced.

There will be five archive episodes each week from May 3 to May 24, with new episodes planned to broadcast from May 25 onwards.

The cast are currently recording new episodes in their homes and new episodes are being written and produced in a different format, but the process is taking longer than was originally anticipated.

Jeremy Howe, editor of The Archers, said: “We know our listeners tune in to The Archers for many different reasons, not simply entertainment but escapism and companionship too.

“We’re working tirelessly in challenging circumstances on writing and producing new episodes in a different, simpler format with cast recording in their homes, but with that work taking a little longer than anticipated, we want listeners to be able to continue visiting Ambridge.

“The Archers is steeped in rich heritage and many listeners have said they’re keen to hear again, or hear for the first time, important moments in the lives of Ambridge residents, so we’re selecting episodes from the last two decades we hope will give the audience new insight or an enjoyable trip down memory lane.”

The first week of archive episodes will including four weddings, when some favourite characters walk down the aisle, and one in which Ambridge bids farewell to a loved one.

The episodes in the second week focus on key developments for a number of characters, in relation to the homes and farms that mean so much to them, particularly when some have had to leave, or have returned to, them as part of prominent storylines.

In the third week, the show will revisit significant annual traditions in the Ambridge calendar, such as Stir Up Sunday and the annual flower and produce show.

While the archive episodes are airing, the team behind the production will be working on new episodes that are being recorded “in the midst of extensive challenges posed by the continuing pandemic,” the BBC said.

PA