The first script for the UK's iconic radio drama The Archers is set to go under hammer, offered by one of its longest-serving stars.
Now in its 60th year, the series is known to everyone in Britain whether they tune-in or not, with the theme tune immediately recognisable.
|Behind the scenes at the Archers|
The Archers opened on New Year's Day, 1951 with the then main character Dan Archer's opening line being: "And a Happy New Year to all". In the episode, Dan's son Phil argues with his brother Jack and kisses Grace, their neighbour.
No recording exists of that original show, which makes the script all the more desirable.
It was owned by Gwen Berryman, who played Dan's wife Doris from 1951-80. Following her death in 1983 the script was turned up and a second-hand book dealer in Torquay put a call through to actor Charles Collingwood, who has played Brian Aldridge in the series since 1975.
Collingwood duly bought the script for £20 or less and put it in a cupboard, until the costs of funding his daughter's wedding made him wonder if he had any other means to generate money. With the publicity surrounding the Archers' sixtieth year, he decided to take the script to Sotheby's.
The auctioneer's valuation, £3,500 ($5,700), certainly suggests that it could take the sting out of the recent nuptials. It shows the potential power of such scripts as alternative investments, as that would represent a 17,400% profit.
If anything, we think £3,500 is probably an underestimate too - though it's difficult to find comparable radio scripts which have sold at auction.
Sotheby's is expected to sell the 11-page Archers script on July 14.
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