The Archers: Ten fun facts you may not know

Some former members of The Archer cast.

Some former members of The Archer cast.

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The Archers celebrates its 65th anniversary tomorrow as the longest running broadcast drama in the world.

The BBC Radio 4 programme had already been a fixture for nine years when Coronation Street made its debut on ITV in 1960.

Three actors from the BBC Radio farming soap The Archers in 1983 Sarah Conrad (voice of Archer's Caroline Bone), Jack May ( Archer's Nelson Gabriel) and Desi Angus (Kilbreck's Jenny Stewart).

Three actors from the BBC Radio farming soap The Archers in 1983 Sarah Conrad (voice of Archer's Caroline Bone), Jack May ( Archer's Nelson Gabriel) and Desi Angus (Kilbreck's Jenny Stewart).

The Archers was originally conceived post-Second World War as a dramatised public information programme to help farmers increase production when food was still rationed in the UK.

As the show marks another milestone, here are 10 fun facts about The Archers.

1. The programme was the brainchild of Godfrey Baseley, who had produced Dick Barton for the BBC.

2. In September 1955, 20 million listeners tuned in when Grace Archer died in her husband’s arms after she tried to rescue a horse from a barn fire.

3. Five weeks of Archers episodes are recorded in the course of just eight days. Each 13-minute programme is completed in just two hours of studio time.

4. Guest stars appearing as themselves have included Princess Margaret, Sir Bradley Wiggins, John Peel, Sir Terry Wogan, Britt Ekland, Dame Edna Everage, Alan Titchmarsh, and the Pet Shop Boys.

5. Felicity Jones, Oscar-nominated for her performance as Jane Wilde Hawking in The Theory of Everything, began her career playing Emma Carter in 2000.

6. To recreate the sound of a farm gate closing, the team swiftly collapse an ironing board. They have used the same one since the 1950s.

7. The series was originally recorded on discs which could not be edited. If an actor made a mistake, they had to start recording from the start. The Archers is now made digitally.

8. Few recordings of the early episodes survive, but BBC Information and Archives still have the original scripts.

9. The theme tune was not specially written for the show. Composed by Arthur Wood, the piece is called Barwick Green from his suite My Native Heath.

10. In order to keep continuity in The Archers, a careful note of all sound effects, including doorbells and telephone ringtones, is kept by the production team.

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