Paris in the Winter
3 March 2005
It wasn't just Brian who made a journey to France this week. Tuesday's episode, in which he unexpectedly met Siobhan, was recorded on location at SIMA - the Paris agricultural show.
Ken Collard, Caroline Lennon, Michael Harrison,
Charles Collingwood, Julie Beckett, Sarah Morrison
The recording involved a 24-hour round trip from the usual production base in Birmingham. Director Julie Beckett, scriptwriter Keri Davies, broadcast assistant Sarah Morrison and sound recordist Michael Harrison toured the show early on Sunday morning to find suitable locations for the three intended scenes. The skeleton script was then re-written to include topical material and other references from the show, such as the freezing weather and a calf-clipping competition.
After the actors had been given a chance to rehearse the new dialogue, the scenes were recorded in the three chosen locations - on an exhibition stand at which Siobhan was supposedly working; in one of the restaurants at the Parc des Expositions, home to SIMA; and near the small livestock area as Brian desperately tried to entertain the stranger that was his son Ruairi.
Keri stood in as a spot effects person, rattling coffee cups and cuddling a coat as Ruairi clung to his mother. And a translator stood by, listening to the background chatter of the exhibitors and visitors - we didn't want someone saying (in French): "Look, the BBC are recording a radio drama. Don't they use a furry microphone!"
Recording in the restaurant
It was a welcome return to the programme for Caroline Lennon (Siobhan). She and Charles Collingwood (Brian) were joined by actor Ken Collard, who is half German. Ken used his second language to good effect as Dieter, Siobhan's disapproving boyfriend who came as such a shock to Brian.
Back at the Mailbox the following day, the new scenes were edited into the rest of the episode, which had been recorded in January.
Archers editor Vanessa Whitburn said: "We don't record on location very often, but when we do it enables us to portray a very realistic atmosphere, and to incorporate material that we would not otherwise know about. We have recorded at the Royal Show several times, but this is the first time we've gone on location at SIMA."