Who the hell are Oliver and Caroline?!

(73 Posts)
Hiphopopotamus Sat 29-Jun-13 00:55:32

So I've recently got into the Archers, and I thought I had reached a point where I had everyone and their families sorted. I'm listening to this weeks catch ups, and bloody Oliver and Caroline pop up. Who the hell are they?!

BoreOfWhabylon Sat 29-Jun-13 01:18:37

Caroline's been around for years and years, Oliver arrived more recently

*Caroline Sterling*, née Bone, formerly Pemberton (Sara Coward) moved to the village in 1977, aged 22, when she was hired by Sid as barmaid in the Bull. Her career took off when in 1979 Jack Woolley offered her a job at Grey Gables and she eventually became manager. Upon Jack's retirement, she and partner Oliver Sterling managed to raise funds to buy the hotel and she is now proprietor. On her arrival she soon attracted the attention of many of the male villagers — she once had an affair with Brian Aldridge, and was romantically linked with former village doctor, Matthew Thorogood, and businessman and one-time estate owner Cameron Fraser (who disappeared with £60,000 of her savings), and she was engaged to non-stipendiary minister and vet Robin Stokes. In 1995 she married the new owner of the estate, Guy Pemberton, but after only seven months of marriage he suffered a fatal heart attack and left her the Dower House and a majority share in the Bull (which she sold to Lilian Bellamy, in order to raise funds to buy Grey Gables). When Oliver Sterling moved to the village she began an affair with him and they eventually moved into Grange Farm together. They were married in June 2006.

*Oliver Sterling* (Michael Cochrane) Gentleman farmer and huntsman who bought Grange Farm from the estate. Initially he employed Ed Grundy to manage his dairy herd, but has since sold the enterprise to Ed and retired properly. He has created new cheeses with Helen Archer. Married to Caroline. In March 2008 he had problems with the herd being infected by Bovine TB.

(From Wikipedia)

Somethingyesterday Sat 29-Jun-13 01:24:50

You've done this to stop me sleeping haven't you?

Caroline (nee Bone) resident aristocrat. Related to a titled somebody whose name I forget. Got it - Lord Netherborne -I might be making that up but fairly certain. Shula's best friend, so similar age. She started life as Social Secretary at Grey Gables when Jack Wooley owned the place. Then was promoted to a management role and was really running Grey Gables by the time Jack retired.

She married the then owner of "the Estate" and was extremely happy - then suddenly widowed. (I'm not specifying dates because it could have been any time from late seventies to early nineties. Can't recall. (It's late...) She became engaged to the then Vicar but pulled out after a serious accident. She is Will Grundy's godmother.

Oliver came into Ambridge as the buyer of Grange Farm when the Grundys lost it through bankruptcy. But he's been unexpectedly lovely, particularly supportive of Ed Grundy through bad times. He now employs him as herd manager (on the very farm that Ed grew up on.)

So - Caroline and Oliver got together. Jack got Alzheimer's and Peggy decided to sell Grey Gables. Caroline sold The Dower House to Matt, to raise money to buy Grey Gables, and moved into Grange Farm. Oliver, very clumsily, proposed. Was scolded by Shula. Proposed better. Caroline and Oliver are now married.

When they bought the hotel Roy was employed as manager. But he was poached by Elizabeth and , as times were hard, Caroline refused to replace him, so has been running herself ragged ever since. Hence the argument in Thursday night.

Is that enough?

Somethingyesterday Sat 29-Jun-13 01:26:20

BofW Nooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!! I've been tapping keys for AGES!!!

BoreOfWhabylon Sat 29-Jun-13 01:32:23

Yours is much better than mine though grin

Somethingyesterday Sat 29-Jun-13 01:45:33

It's frightening how much detail has faded from my memory.

BofW how long have you been listening? My parents had the Archers on as far back as I can remember, I missed chunks at school, took it up again as an undergraduate, missed chunks when out of the country pre-Internet, have listened ever since. Most of the "background info" is made up in my head, so what the SWs do is merely "suggestive" to me....

Hipho I'm not certain I would persevere if I were starting now.... I hope they'll make it worth your time.

BoreOfWhabylon Sat 29-Jun-13 03:17:51

Something you remembered much more than I did, which is why I cut and pasted!

I listened as a tiny child with my grandparents (so probably got imprinted then). Then life and travels got in the way for aeons a long time. Took it up again intermittently when I returned to the the UK in the 90s. Got hooked from around the time of the Kathy rape story - which was when I found the BBC messageboard. It is much more interesting when you have the chance to point and laugh discuss with others. I know no one in RL who listens. I tend not to mention it because people think I'm odd if I do grin

PseudoBadger Sat 29-Jun-13 06:10:57

This is the problem with the nature of TA these days! You go weeks with the same characters and the others just fade. They barely even get name checked.

Bluestocking Sat 29-Jun-13 08:12:01

I thought the row on Thursday was most unconvincing. Of all the Grey Gables employees you could trust to take care of two children until their relatives arrive, Linda would have to be top of the list. Caroline should have handed over to Linda and gone out with dear old Olly Foxbreath. I imagine him dressed up for the evening in a pair of those awful red trousers that Sloaney men wear.

R4 Sat 29-Jun-13 08:24:08

I am shocked and appalled by the OP.

Not the OP's fault. Entirely the fault of the scriptwriters and their 'episodic' storylines these days. Caroline has been around for yonks, how could you not know of her existence!shock

I'm sorry that this story has been your introduction to her because I think she is fab. I don't do role models but if I did then Caroline would be it. Normally she is poise, elegance, class and professionalism personified. I do hope that she hasn't caught that nasty disease going round Ambridge called Characterconfusionitis.

Somethingyesterday Sat 29-Jun-13 08:51:53

It wasn't even weeks without C/O - they've been forgotten for months and months.

Everything about their return was artificial. (I say this having DEMANDED that the SWs bring them back...) The lunch dialogue was ridiculously formal - the characters sounded like distant business acquaintances. And the whole date night cancellation argument made them both look silly.

I hope this presages the introduction of a new manager for Grey Gables and not its closure and the disappearance of two of my favourite people.

BoreOfWhabylon Sat 29-Jun-13 11:37:28

I am wondering if the clunking dialogue heralds a new story line, wherein cracks appear in the sterling marriage and Caroline seeks comfort in the arms of Brine (they have previous for this). Brine hasn't been up to any shenanigans for a loooong time, but I'm sure there is life in the old dog yet!

Caroline's engagement to Robin the vicar was before her marriage to Guy and tragic widowing when he had a heart attack. Incidentally Guy's evil son Simon had a fling with both Shula and Debbie I think - and hit Debbie. Caroline also had a pretty serious relationship with the doctor, Matthew back in the 80s. That was going on when I started listening. She was with Shula when Daniel was born (Shula's husband Mark died in a car crash when he swerved to avoid Caroline, lying in the road after being thrown from her horse.)

Ablababla Sat 29-Jun-13 11:42:52

I've been listening for about 18 months and thought exactly the same thing! Seem to remember Grey Gables being mentioned a lot as a child but not recently.

Somethingyesterday Sat 29-Jun-13 12:33:44

* Northern* Do you remember the terrifying phone call between Caroline and Guy - when he was having the heart attack? And then her racing home and seeing him through the window? And his words as he realised what was happening? So long ago I may have imagined it all.

I definitely remember crying for a week when Mark died....

It's episodes like that Hipho that keep me going through the - mostly - thin times we've suffered lately. I don't know if you started listening AFTER Nigel's death? I can't even begin to feel light hearted about that. It was UNFORGIVEABLE and really broke the trust between SWs and the listener. Utterly, utterly ridiculous and unbelievable. I never feel now that they have a secure hold on the story.

Somethingyesterday Sat 29-Jun-13 12:51:35

Sorry! Obviously you started listening more recently - or you would have come across them before.

The problem is that the SWs never really seem to know what to do with Oliver - outside his brilliant relationship with Ed Grundy. So most of his interaction with Caroline (and indeed with other Ambridge residents) borders on the comic and pointless.

I've often wondered what they're going to do regarding Oliver and Caroline's conflicting loyalties to different Grundy brothers. I've waited for this potentially fabulous story to explode for at least a decade. Perhaps I missed it?

Brillig Sat 29-Jun-13 18:43:06

I have a bit of a soft spot for Oliver although he's so ridiculously posh. The actor who plays him (Michael Cochrane) is brilliant.

There was a fluffy comedy about a doomed pantomime on TV at Christmas with John Bishop - in fact I think he wrote it as well - and MC was in it as the pantomime dame. He spent the whole thing in a gigantic neon dress, a fright wig, and huge falsies. V amusing to hear Oliver Sterling's voice booming out from behind the disguise grin

IndridCold Sun 30-Jun-13 18:26:27

grin at the awful red trousers! Why do posh men like them so much? Oliver would definitely be the type though. He also has a tie pin with a fox's head on it - I know this to be true.

Ponks Mon 01-Jul-13 15:17:47

Anyone know if Oliver & Caroline are still fostering children on & off? (I have been an irregular listener since the awful throw-Nigel-off-the-roof-for-some-publicity debacle.

Bluestocking Mon 01-Jul-13 15:39:35

Posh men and red trousers are one of life’s enduring mysteries but I can vouch for the fact that the preference starts when they are young. I work at a university which is famous for its posh students and as soon as there’s a glimmer of sunshine, the boys are all out in red shorts and those Havaianas.

IndridCold Mon 01-Jul-13 16:15:20

I think they abandoned the fostering when they bought Grey Gables due to SWs getting bored lack of time.

Bluestocking I think the taste for red trousers is handed down from father to son. On older men the colour has sometimes faded to almost a flesh tone, which gives the disturbing impression of trouserlessness when glimpsed fleetingly out of the corner of your eye.

JessieMcJessie Wed 03-Jul-13 06:08:31

The Brine/Caroline affair is a key bit of Archers history. So it made me chuckle tonight when Brine agreed just a teeny touch too wholehearteldly with Jenny's statement that someone as classy and elegant as Caroline was the ideal "Swishing" hostess. (I also laughed out loud at JD's relegation of Susan to cloakroom attendant. )

Agree that Olly and Caroline's conflicting loyalties to the Grundy brothers is a storyline that ought to be explored. I also like the scenes in which Caroline has to be all boss-like towards Linda, you don't get many authentic workplace moments in TA (tho Susan teaching Vicky how to make yoghurt was a good one)

Fiderer Wed 03-Jul-13 07:19:05

There was an episode of Morse where he goes to the Randolph Hotel and "Caroline" is on reception. Made me grin

Somethingyesterday Wed 03-Jul-13 08:19:53

JMcJ flowers

- although hmm to you don't get many authentic workplace moments.

I've tried this sentence with the emphasis on authentic and then on workplace and then on authentic workplace....

Still can't make it work. Please clarify. (Possibly with full, annotated references to Chris's accident, Brookfield stock movement, Eddie's patio laying and other relevant instances. (Marks will be deducted for any tactless reference to Lonely Cow.)

JessieMcJessie Thu 04-Jul-13 10:31:39

What I meant was "instances of people acting like real people do in real jobs in real life". I suppose I forgot that farms are workplaces, but I have no idea how normal farmers behave and communicate. Perhaps I should have said "non-farm workplaces".

It's all "ooh, Brenda make me a cup of coffee" and "ooh Roy, what WILL we do if the Plastics Conference people cancel?" and just strikes me that all the characters in TA have too much personal friendship/history to act towards each other like real bosses and employees do. I suppose that the ridiculous Brine/Rob dairy staffing weight throwing around yesterday was an attempt...

Somethingyesterday Thu 04-Jul-13 11:02:24

D'you know it's never really struck me before. I guess they do pretty much all work with family and / or people they know. Strangers are mostly silent.

But how would you put a huge organisation on radio? We would never know who anyone was!

ppeatfruit Thu 04-Jul-13 12:43:03

"OOOar me beauties there be a stranger in t' Bull tonight watch yer step" something grin

I totally agree about the falseness of the row with Oliver and Caroline; she could always have called for Tracey to do the childcare!!!

harrietspy Thu 04-Jul-13 13:00:05

The thing is with the Austerity Archers - I'm assuming BBC has radically cropped the actors' contracts to cut costs - is this: pre AA, you'd never know if a tedious conversation about the shop rota or a milk churn was going to turn into something semi dramatic because most characters were pootling about on the scene. Now we have this clunky swinging spotlight on a few characters, so we know something major is going to happen to Oliver and Caroline, whereas before it could have been a rumbly bit of poshness in the background. I now spend less time listening and more time speculating. (Not that I mind that) But it does mean that when old established characters are flung into said spotlight every few months, they have to be reintroduced and we have to hear more establishing stuff eg Oliver's retired, Caroline's busy and newer listeners don't know who they are, so nobody wins. Bring back the Archers of Affluence!

Somethingyesterday Thu 04-Jul-13 13:11:33

Harriet "Well said that man!"

PseudoBadger Thu 04-Jul-13 13:25:38


imademarion Thu 04-Jul-13 13:33:55

If they get rid of either of them, I really will stop listening.

I've been considering hurling put the radio at the unspeakable New Clarrie bollocks, the Saint Pip/Devil Pip saga and Helen's Eternal Quest of Whining at Everything, a direct inheritance from Moany Tony.

It's lazy and insulting scriptwriting. I LOVE TA because shag-all happens to loads of great characters.

I do not need to be patronised with one-dimentional foolery and dull cliff-hangers.

LondonMother Thu 04-Jul-13 14:01:02

The really odd thing is that they don't have contracts. Every single member of the cast is hired by the episode as and when needed with no guarantees about how long the work will carry on. This is what we were told on the old BBC messageboard, anyway. It certainly still seemed to be still the case when poor old Nigel was chucked off the roof, as his character's actor was simply told a week or so before the final episode was recorded that this was about to happen and he would no longer be needed in the future. Accordingly, I have to assume that the decision to focus on a smaller number of characters for weeks and weeks and weeks [e.g. Lilian and Paul which was almost unendurably tedious] has been made from choice and not necessity.

ppeatfruit Thu 04-Jul-13 15:04:32

Hear Hear imademarion!! When you thunk of the huge pay offs they've given to the hopeless board members and managers they've had to 'shuffle off' it makes yer blood boil to think of the penny pinching that's going on in TA. angry sad

OliviaMMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 12-Jul-13 13:19:37

OMG Caroline and BRIAN?!?
when was this?
does Jennydarling know?!

JessieMcJessie Fri 12-Jul-13 17:27:51

Yes, Olivia, I am afraid so. I believe it was in the 80s, probably round the same time that Mike Baldwin was getting hot and heavy with Deirdre Barlow. Certainly both are memories of my teenage years. I can't remember if JD knows, someone else more knowledgeable than me will no doubt remember.

LondonMother Fri 12-Jul-13 18:13:03

Jennifer does know, and so does Peggy. If I recall correctly, she threatened to horsewhip Brian.

JessieMcJessie Fri 12-Jul-13 18:37:46

That was over Siobhan. Though Peggy's ire may have been magnified due to his being a repeat offender.

LondonMother Sat 13-Jul-13 09:09:09

You're right, Jessie! The affair with Caroline was so long ago now - quarter of a century? - that frankly my memory of it is very hazy. I'm now wondering if Peggy did know. Of course, she wasn't married to Jack Woolley then, and so wasn't Caroline's employer or employer's wife, as she was later.

campion Sun 14-Jul-13 16:26:11

Brian tried to make hay with Betty Tucker when she was the Aldridge's cleaner. I seem to remember it was by their swimming pool. Anyway, Betty was having none of it but she was boring

The affair with Caroline was only ever referred to in a passing remark along the lines of 'Not again, Brian. Get stuffed' ( I paraphrase) and we assumed it had happened in the medium past.

Caroline still being obsessed with Grey Gables doesn't ring true these days. She is, after all, the poshest character by far and should be spending more time with Oliver and the gee gees in their twilight years (O and C's).
And she wouldn't have kept changing her name every time she got married- at least, not professionally.

Those scriptwriters. Pah!

Somethingyesterday Sun 14-Jul-13 17:19:19

Oooh! I remember Brian and Betty. Was funny. But I thought I remembered Brian and Caroline having illicit meetings. Perhaps I imagined that.

I don't think it's unrealistic for Caroline to be pre-occupied with Grey Gables. She's sold her inheritance from her first husband to pay for it. She's worked there almost all her adult life, had to persuade a sceptical Peggy that she could manage it and probably wants to keep things going as Jack would have wanted.

I'm glad they've brought her back - even though it's probably only temporary. Trying to make Lower Loxley the centre of village life has never worked. It's so artificial to pretend that everyone in Ambridge pops over there every other day.

OliviaMMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 14-Jul-13 19:57:57

Brian and BETTY TUCKER?!?
Are there more?!?
I am not sure I can take it

JessieMcJessie Mon 15-Jul-13 06:35:53

campion are you sure? I recall the Brine/Caroline affair being played out on air and a major storyline. Can anyone else remember?

R4 Mon 15-Jul-13 08:34:43

I agree with JMcJ. It's a long time ago so I can't remember detail but I do remember that it was played out, not merely mentioned in passing. The only definite I can recall is a scene on a picnic blanket.
I believe that it was my first encounter with CharacterConfusionitis. It's so unlike her, isn't it.

curlew Mon 15-Jul-13 08:35:55

Are we reaping up for a heart attack for Caroline, do we think?

curlew Mon 15-Jul-13 08:38:12

Gearing up, I meant.

Somethingyesterday Mon 15-Jul-13 12:46:44

curlew That would be such a cruel thing to do to her! Is back pain a symptom??

I am fearful of anything that leads to the closure or sale of Grey Gables .... But it does seem to be building towards something like that.

Oh! Olivia Do you remember Caroline and Nigel??? Was very brief!

Theas18 Mon 15-Jul-13 12:52:28

It's more like who HASN'T Brine had an affair with!

Ido like a dose of Auntie Cardboard as she was known in mustard land, but I'm not sure I can take too much of it though.

Baaaaadddd things are going to happwn to nice Brenda aren't they sad

campion Mon 15-Jul-13 15:57:25

Oh dear! My extensive Archers memory must be getting selective. I've obviously blocked out the more horrific scenes somewhere along the way.

Caroline. How could you?

Brenda nice??

Theas18 Mon 15-Jul-13 16:07:24

I think she turned " nice" so they can have nasty things happen!

mummytime Mon 15-Jul-13 16:24:30

I always found it amusing that the actors playing Brian and Shula are married in RL.

snice Mon 15-Jul-13 16:31:02

I have asked this before so apologies but can anyone explain what happened to the long storyline about Oliver and Caroline fostering children-they talked about it and trained then nothing happened did it?

Did the SWs decide they were just too posh?

snice Mon 15-Jul-13 16:31:54

oh and while I'm here-where the hell is Kathy?

JessieMcJessie Mon 15-Jul-13 16:34:20

mummytime all the more ironic that Shules is about the only Ambridge woman that Brine hasn't had an affair with!

curlew Mon 15-Jul-13 16:35:09

I want to know about Kathy too- where was she when her best friend Pat needed support? After all those hours Pat spent listening to her whine on.......

curlew Mon 15-Jul-13 16:37:18

Remember, Shula has Jesus to help her resist the advances of the ineffable.Brian.

Kiriwawa Mon 15-Jul-13 16:38:56

They did foster a few children snice - there was an incident with one of them I think, typical 'troubled teen' stuff.

Is it really 2 years since Roy left GG as Oliver said? I'm shocked!

harrietspy Mon 15-Jul-13 16:40:17

I don't think we've had a major health-related storyline (human health, that is) for a while, have we? Caroline's number has come up in storyline bingo, I think.

Brian was being very supportive of Brenda the other day... wink Thank god she's off to Russia.

curlew Mon 15-Jul-13 16:42:21

Actually, no, not heart attack- cancer. We've had heart attacks, but only one cancer that I remember.

Somethingyesterday Mon 15-Jul-13 16:54:58

Snice as Kiriwawa says they did foster a few children. With a few stereotypical problems. And they did seem to just abandon the story.

"Young people" are only ever allowed into the village as outsiders if they represent some issue. The Vicar has had some brushes with kids with homelessness / drugs issues, (gone.) Pip had a no-good lower class school friend (gone.) Jamie had no-good schoolfriends, (gone.) I'm trying to think of any others in the last few decades...

snice Mon 15-Jul-13 17:30:36

yes, and anyone in the village who is dodgy eg. Jazzer has a character transformation and becomes a 'loveable rogue'!

TallGiraffe Mon 15-Jul-13 19:03:47

I'm with curlew, cancer or a stroke.

R4 Mon 15-Jul-13 21:23:06

Caroline is deffo due some health scare. Oliver was hurrumphing the other day about his retirement not being what he had hoped: they were supposed to be off globetrotting which they can't do if Caroline has <insert illness of choice here>.

Somethingyesterday Mon 15-Jul-13 22:27:00

Caroline is deffo due some health scare.

I hope it is simply that the health scare is a cue for them to temporarily sail off into the sunset - while Grey Gables is turned over to new characters and / or purposes.

Would be rather sorry if it was anything worse...

Lomaamina Tue 16-Jul-13 20:41:14

Hang on but aren't they lining up Kenton for something to go wrong? All this out-of-character caring behaviour? Or is he going to join the circus or summat as he and joyleen (I have such a sexy voice even when I'm changing barrels) are having too much happiness together?

harrietspy Tue 16-Jul-13 20:50:42

I think Kenton is going to propose to Jolene.

Lomaamina Tue 16-Jul-13 21:00:47

Aha harrietspy I think you may be onto something. The lovable rogue is finally settling down/has grown up etc... (love your name by the way - adored the book!)

Somethingyesterday Tue 16-Jul-13 21:29:59

Lomaamina I have to say, while eyeing up speculative hats for the double wedding at The Bull, an evil voice in my head was remembering how overflowing with love and happiness Nigel was just before New Year.....

But I'm sure Kenton is saved by the fact that they have only lately deprived Jolene of a husband.

R4 Fri 19-Jul-13 18:16:26

Is there some dreadful disease going round Ambridge ... or have they got a new acting coach. Or perhaps new microphones?
We had months of Brenda huffing and puffing and sighing.
Then Lillian started.
Now Caroline's doing it too.

Is 'much sighing' meant to convey deep emotion and distress or summat. It's doing my nut in. Grrr

harrietspy Fri 19-Jul-13 22:13:51

On radio acting, R4, there's a great bit in this 'Radio 4 in 4 minutes' about The Archers.


I say this every time I come across a thread about the Archers, but enough was enough for me when the gorgeous John Archer was killed off beneath his beloved tractor. I live in the countryside, proper farming countryside and I was thinking only today of poor John, when I saw all the tractors.

But anyway, since I can see there are some other veteran Archers listeners here, does anyone remember who else Brian had an affair with, around the time of his affair with Caroline? I don't mean 'Ruuury's' mother. Wasn't it Susan?

Oh, I've read the whole thread now. Betty of course. blush

Hang on though re: Kenton
Didn't he half propose to Kathy at the same time as Tom and Brenda/Tom and Kirstie?
and then un do it all with much relief all round???

Somethingyesterday Sat 20-Jul-13 00:47:56

Yes, that happened Olivia. It may have been Christmas or New Year or some other celebration.. He and Kathy got a bit carried away by jollity and kind of proposed to each other. When the drink wore off they each admitted that, given their past marital mistakes, they couldn't really be doing with any more old new borrowed blue.

Poor Kathy.

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