The Archers is a Radio 4 soap opera
, which as Albert Herring
mentions has six fifteen minute episodes a week, with a single omnibus
edition on Sunday mornings (just before Desert Island Discs
Though, as mentioned above, the Archers was intended as very much an agricultural soap opera, the focus has slightly moved now. Though most of the major families still work in farming, it's not made a particularly big deal of. It's much more concerned with Serious Topical Issues, such as the cannabis usage of young Ed Grundy, or the extra-marital affair of Siobhan and Brian.
In the Archer's favour, I think the acting is actually very good, especially compared to the normally rather poor standard of radio soap operas (like the World Service's Westway). It's also very relaxing, and feels pleasantly mundane; the issues - though often controversial - are rarely tackled in a sensationalist way, and it seems that whenever there's a frank discussion of drug usage, it's followed by a mundane but comfortable diatribe by Eddie Grundy about how they "didn't ought to have lost our farm".
It should also be noticed that the idea of combining "Interesting Soap Opera" with "Agricultural Advice" isn't new... Hesiod, one of the earlier Ancient Greek writers, wrote very Archers-esque works.
More useful information on The Archers, plus plot summaries, can be found at