My last blog post (Am I Rob Titchener? The Archers Trial of the Century) was rather long and serious, concerning the trial, this week, of Helen Titchener in Radio 4 soap The Archers. I thought I would balance things up with a look at DumTeeDum, the Archers Fan Podcast. (If you don’t know what The Archers is, take a look at the beginning of the last post. I give a description of the drama.)
DumTeeDum is a weekly podcast, discussing the previous weeks events in The Archers, along with current themes in the show and predictions of future plot lines.
Now I’ll be honest, I’ve only recently discovered the podcast, so have only heard a few episodes. When I first downloaded I was ready to dislike it. I thought I’d find it annoyingly middle class and smug, rather like The Archers. And….well, it is a bit to be honest. But despite that I found myself enjoying it and have become a regular subscriber. (The title incidentally derives from the the theme tune of The Archers, which, of course goes.’ Dum Tee Dum tee dum tee dum’ etc..)
What I like about it is the genuine feel of community. The regular hosts Roifield Brown and Lucy Freeman have a warm and friendly style, bantering together in an engaging and charming way. They marshal a gang of Archers fans who regularly ring/ email/ text/ tweet into the show, as well as wandering off topic as the whim takes them. It does come across, at first, as a little clique-y, with lots of inside jokes about character names and regular contributors but once you get beyond that it is fun. And, as a lonely Archers Fan in a scary world, it is lovely to listen to the opinions of other like-minded people. It is a surprisingly global podcast with contributors from all over the world. There is a general structure to it, from a comedy monologue by Lucy summing up the weeks events, segments on the Forum, Facebook and Twitter activity of the week etc.
What strikes me when listening, just as when I’m listening to a podcast like Plumbing the Death Star or West Wing Weekly, is how fans quite often seem to actively dislike the thing they claim to love. Whether it’s comic book fanboys tearing apart the latest Superhero Movie, or tweedy middle class Archers fans, they complain about how they dislike this character and that plot-line, how it has become too serious, or too trivial. I guess it’s just the same as Star Trek fans arguing over Original Series or Next Generation, or Star Wars fans bickering about original trilogy versus the prequels. (Original Trilogy obviously, what are we? Animals?) My thought on this is that we are always trying to recapture that initial feeling that made us fall in love with something, that first bite of the apple, and nothing that follows on from that can ever really be as sweet.
Whatever we feel about it, if you are a listener, a fan, of The Archers I would recommend giving this a try. It might not be the highlight of the week, but it’s an enjoyable hour in the company of witty people. (If only for the wonderful nickname of Hooty Jill they’ve given Jill Archer.)
You can find DumTeeDum on the usual podcast places, ITunes and so on, or direct from their website DumTeeDum.
If you are not an Archers listener, but think you might want to be, this is definitely the week to jump on board, with ‘The Trial’. Check out my last blog entry for more on that.