THE Wem-born presenter and farming journalist Sybil Ruscoe has been reflecting on one year since she became involved with a British institution – the Archers.

She became the long-running BBC radio drama’s farming and countryside advisor in spring of 2022, borne out of her rural upbringing and her long stint on Radio 4’s Farming Today.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Sybil – who is a regular visitor back home to Wem with sister Hazel – told of how she has helped the show, which covers the daily lives of the people of Ambridge, develop a younger following.

The Archers is reportedly the top performing on-demand show on the BBC Sounds app and has a new under-35 audience - but Sybil's appointment last year, aimed at developing a younger audience, has been met with opposition over some of the storylines she has either introduced or advised writers to explore.

But to that, she said: “One of the great things about The Archers is that everyone has an opinion about it.

“Generally older listeners want more older characters and younger listeners want more younger characters.

“I like it when people stop me on the street. I see it as like being a journalist on a local paper.


“I want to hear – we are a public service broadcaster, everybody pays for us and they are entitled to their opinion.

“Ambridge has to be like every village in the countryside.

“Things change, people die, new people are born or move there. Often we don’t want change but it comes anyway.

“And as a drama that wants to remain relevant, The Archers has to change too.”

Sybil added in the interview that while she was not involved with the programme at the time of Brexit, and accusations of the show being too politicised, she says her approach is that it has to be balanced.

She added: “My whole career in journalism has been about telling both sides of the story, about balance and about being impartial.

“I know farmers who can’t find people to pick fruit – I know country pubs that can’t find workers.

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“So, while you can’t be political, you have to cover the stories behind the politics.

She added: “There is a quiet agricultural industrial revolution going on.

“We are at a new stage and with every change, there are going to be casualties.”

Since her appointment, Sybil has managed to secure one cameo – fellow presenter Rylan Clark who came for the Ambridge Eurovision talent contest.