Who DID mow down malev­o­lent Matt from The Archers?

A pre- Christ­mas race for rat­ings... and the ques­tion on ev­ery Ra­dio 4 lis­tener’s lips IT COULD BE ANY ONE OF THESE ARCHER- EN­E­MIES . . .

The Mail on Sunday - - Focus - By Alun Palmer

THERE was a time when skul­dug­gery at the Flower and Pro­duce Show would keep the vil­lagers of Am­bridge gos­sip­ing for weeks.

But no longer. As fans of BBC Ra­dio 4’s The Archers will tes­tify, life in the fic­tional town has be­come a lot grit­tier lately.

Lit­tle more than a year since He­len Titch­ener’s mur­der trial, Am­bridge is once again wreathed in blue and white crime tape.

A few days ago, dodgy busi­ness­man Matt Craw­ford was mown down by a mys­tery driver out­side the ho­tel Grey Gables dur­ing the Hunt Ball. Now Mid­dle Eng­land is gripped by the ques­tion: Who could pos­si­bly want him dead?

The an­swer, as Archers afi­ciona­dos know at too well, is al­most ev­ery­body this side of Borch­ester, thanks to a care­fully wo­ven plot that guar­an­tees ten­sion all the way to the open­ing of Lynda Snell’s Christ­mas panto.

Matt had ab­sconded to Costa Rica in early 2015, tak­ing with him thou­sands of pounds be­long­ing to his for­mer lover Lil­ian Bel­lamy and leav­ing be­hind the scrawled apol­ogy: ‘Sorry, Puss­cat.’

But since his shock re­turn to the show in April, he has at­tempted to de­stroy Lil­ian’s im­pend­ing mar­riage to lo­cal landowner Justin, is ac­cused of ru­in­ing the busi­ness run by horse en­thu­si­ast Shula Heb­den Lloyd and her vet hus­band Alis­tair, and could now pre­vent the show’s gay cou­ple, Adam and Ian, from adopt­ing a baby fol­low­ing an an­gry car-park punch-up.

Kim Durham, who has played Matt for 20 years, says: ‘ Pretty much ev­ery­body i n Am­bridge has a rea­son to want to bump him off. It has been very sub­tly and clev­erly done.’

He adds: ‘Matt is an ex­tremely self­ish and deeply flawed man. He is not a safe per­son to be around – but it has been an ab­so­lute de­light play­ing him.

‘He started off as a thor­oughly bad lot but over the years we have rounded him out nicely.

‘I don’t know if I would have a pint with him. He is a bit like Nigel Farage – you might have one pint with him but if you had two it would get un­pleas­ant.

‘ But he gen­uinely loves Lil­ian and there is a sort of weird vul­ner­a­bil­ity. Peo­ple either love him or hate him… and a lot do both.’

Archers fans are abuzz with the­o­ries. One posted a com­plex sta­tis­ti­cal study on­line that de­duced that at least 29 peo­ple could have been be­hind the wheel, be­fore nar­row­ing it down to five ma­jor sus­pects.

So who could pos­si­bly hate Matt enough to want him dead?

‘Ev­ery­one has rea­son to want to bump him off’

MARKED MAN: Matt Craw­ford (Kim Durham) has brought chaos to Am­bridge

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