Where Angels Fear, whose earlier fearless report on this mystery is available here, can now exclusively reveal that Perks' demise is not quite what it seems and is part of a major shake-up designed to bring the programme into the
According to our moles inside the show, Perks' death was but a sham designed to pave the way for his eventual return to the series as the leader of a mysterious cult of dwarves, elves and small creatures with large appetites and hairy feet. Sid, or Gandalf Greyteeth as he now wishes to be known, is set to re-enter the show in the coming weeks.
Perks' transformation from beer-pusher to cult leader will be explained as a consequence of his visit to the Southern Lakes of New Zealand, the setting of much of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings cinema franchise. In one story-line, Perks will successfully challenge Ambridge vicar Alan Franks for the spiritual leadership of the village.
The scouring of the shire will begin with the old homophobe's campaign to rid Ambridge of out gay couple Adam Macy and Ian Craig. A purge of the cricket team is set to follow, as Perks attempts to use runic lore to untangle the mystery that is the Duckworth Lewis method. Eventually it is hoped that an internet spin-off of the revamped format will challenge World of Warcraft for the premier slot amongst MMPORGs
According to sources within the show, such a radical format change has become necessary to attract younger listeners. BBC chiefs are said to be worried that the programme's demographic is a very elderly one.The average age of an Archer listener is now 107 and its audience may disappear altogether within the next few months, if not weeks. As one insider said
For too long now, The Archers has concentrated on being a hard hitting documentary of English rural life, full of doom, gloom and agricultural disaster. We're hoping these changes will put the magic back into Ambridge and attract a different audience more in tune with contemporary pop-culture, or at least one that doesn't need an ear-trumpet.
Other storyline developments being considered to attract younger listeners involve Jill and Josh Archer starting a on-line pornographic video production company specialising in granny porn and 'rural pursuits' (if you get my drift). Our source also said that Pip Archer and her boyfriend Jude are to embark on a Borchester-wide murder spree after the bloody shotgun killing of parents David and Ruth in a row over Pip's decision not to complete her A Levels.
Unconfirmed sources also identified several promising storylines which were rejected in the shake-up. These included the discovery of oil under Grundy's Field (too folksy); a plane crashing in to the Bull (no-one wanted to work with Phil bloody Redmond) and a violent, internecine conflict over the attempt to obtain a wines and spirits licence for the Ambridge Village shop (apparently that had already been done in an earlier cast cull).