The first book to take an academic perspective on BBC Radio 4’s The Archers,co-edited by Dr Peter Matthews, University of Stirling, Cara Courage and Nicola Headlam, University of Oxford, has been published.
The Archers in fact and fiction: Academic analyses of life in rural Borsetshire, brings together 13 essays from various academic disciplines that use life in Ambridge and characters from The Archers to illuminate research findings for a general audience and comes from the popular 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 mechanics 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.
Dr Peter Matthews, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Stirling, said: “The response from Archer’s listeners has been overwhelmingly positive and we’re looking forward to feedback on this book and to the next conference.”
Dr Cara Courage from the University of Oxford, said: “It’s been a joy to work on this book and thank you to everyone that has been a part of it. 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 Headlam from the University of Oxford, said: “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.”
The book is available now for pre-order from John Smith, the University Bookseller, and Dr Matthews will be hosting a reading and Q&A session on Monday 9 January at the bookshop, including listening to the 2pm broadcast of the Archers. To sign up to the event please click here. The book is also available for pre-sale and as an e-book here.
The second Academic Archers Conference is being held at the University of Lincoln, 17 to 18 February 2017, and will feature presentations and a field trip. Speakers will be announced in December with tickets on sale soon after.