Academic Archers book out!

The Archers in fact and fiction: Academic analyses of life in rural Borsetshire, edited by Cara Courage, Nicola Headlam and Peter Matthews, is published today by Peter Lang.

Academic Archers front cover.jpg

The book takes an academic perspective on BBC Radio 4’s The Archers and life in Ambridge and Borsetshire and comes from the Academic Archers conference held in February this year. Each chapter is based on one of the conference papers, reaching across academic disciplines and topics from analyses of rural accents and archelogy, through to back pain and the ergonomics of the tractor, a Shakespearian understanding of character Rob Titchener, and issues of social care and class.

In a twist to the academic peer review, each chapter closes with a peer review from the character that is its focus or that is closest to the topic, responses ranging from praising, the humble brag to the indignant and confused.

Cara comments: ‘It’s been to joy to work on this book and thank you to everyone that has been a part of it. As with everything Academic Archers it’s been a fun process, the peer reviews in particular have brought tears of laugher.’

We are doing this out of a love for the programme, and of our subjects, the day intended to join the two to illuminate and explain life in Ambridge and using the programme to talk about wider social issues too.’

Nicola continues: ‘We always knew that there were a lot of Archers fans out there in academia, Academic Archers has formed a place for us and all fans of the programme to talk about the issues it raises in more depth’.

Peter also comments: ‘The response from Archers listeners has been overwhelmingly positive and we’re looking forward to the responses to this book and to the next conference.’

The book is available in bookshops and online

For more on Academic Archers, please visit its Facebook page - - and join in the conversation there and via #AcademicArchers. 


Book chapters

Cara Courage, Nicola Headlam and Peter Matthews - Introduction to Academic Archers: The Birth of a New Academic Community

Lyn Thomas - The Archers and its Listeners in the Twenty-First Century: Drama, Nostalgia and the Rural Everyday

William Barras - Rural Voices: What Can Borsetshire Tell Us about Accent Change?

Neil Mansfield and Lauren Morgan - Tony Archer the Farmer: The Toll of Life as an Agricultural Worker and Changing Technology in Modern Farming

Abi Pattenden - Seeming, Seeming: Othello, The Archers and Rob Titchener

Helen M. Burrows - An Everyday Story of Dysfunctional Families: Using The Archers in Social Work Education

Carenza Lewis and Clemency Cooper - Dig The Archers: What Community Archaeological Excavations Can Achieve in Places like Ambridge

Philippa Byrne - The Medieval World of The Archers, William Morris and the Problem with Class Struggle

Chris Perkins - Mapping Ambridge

Peter Matthews - Lynda Snell, Class Warrior: Social Class and Community Activism in Rural Borsetshire

Jo Moriarty - The Death of Heather Pritchard: An Everyday Story of Inadequate Social Care

Deborah Bowman - From Dr Locke’s Boundaries to Carol’s Confession: On Medical Ethics in The Archers

Samantha Walton - Cider with Grundy: On the Community Orchard in Ambridge

Katherine Runswick-Cole - The Dis/appearance of Disability in The Archers … or Why Bethany had to go to Birmingham

Nicola Headlam, with Cara Courage and Peter Matthews - Conclusion: Academic Archers as a Fine-Detailed, Open, Cross-Disciplinary Space