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Rumpy pumpy turned OFF Archers fans.

SAUCY storylines have proved a turn-off for fans of long-running Radio 4 soap The Archers.

Almost 200,000 listeners deserted the rural drama in the wake of a number of controversial and raunchy storylines, audience figures released yesterday revealed.

Many fans were particularly upset when much-loved character Ruth Archer (played by Felicity Finch) risked her marriage by conducting a clandestine affair with herdsman Sam Batton (Robin Pirongs).

Figures for the last three months of 2006 - when the Ruth/Sam plotline peaked - reveal a weekly audience of 4.44million, down 169,000 on the previous quarter and 197,000 down on the same time the previous year.

Listeners bombarded the station with complaints when Ruth was tempted to cheat on her husband of 18 years.

One wrote on the Radio 4 website: "I thought The Archers was supposed to be a radio series on an agricultural theme, not an audio version of a Jackie Collins novel."

The storyline reached its height last November in the 15,000th episode of the rural soap, when Ruth went for a night of passion with Sam but backed out at the last minute.

Ruth's infidelity was not the only storyline that proved controversial.

Many listeners were also unhappy when Ambridge hosted its first gay wedding in December.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 2, 2007
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