BBC’s The Archers ventures to Whitby

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The role of Whitby in the long-running radio soap

The Archers has led to a

huge response from the

programme’s listeners.

Pickering’s steam railway also made an appearance in the show, which was re-broadcast in the weekend edition.

The surprise spotlight on North Yorkshire’s visitor hot-spots on Radio 4 centred on the character of partying widow Lilian Bellamy, played by Sunny Ormonde, and her mother Peggy Woolley, played by June Spencer, taking a holiday.

The Archers, which was previously based on farming storylines, seldom ventures out of the Ambridge area around Dorchester, and there have been scores of comments about the Whitby references on the programme’s message board.

According to the script, Peggy, a former publican, wanted to re-visit the town where her soldier boyfriend Jack proposed to her in 1943.

But Lilian, whose favourite phrase is ‘Don’t drown the gin, darling,’ is not keen on the break because she is busy developing a new relationship with Paul Morgan, who has gone to Dubai instead.

Mother and daughter have bemused listeners by booking into a “top class hotel with Spa” near the seafront, where they admired the harbour view and enjoyed fish and chips, with the fish described as being “probably caught that day” and with “excellent” batter.

Despite the “awful weather” and a bad leg, Peggy romps up the 199 abbey steps after visiting a jet shop, and talks about the Goth visitors, the wartime weekend re-enactment events and the North York Moors steam railway, wanting to book the Pickering to Grosmont route. Lilian is less keen but refers to Bram Stoker’s Dracula link with the town.

Janet Deacon, area director of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The Archers has a dedicated listenership, and the coverage by the Radio 4 programme over recent episodes is a great boost for Whitby and for the Pickering steam railway.”