by Peter Kingston
2 April 1996
It's amazing what you pick up at 4 pm in the public school staff
room. The bourbon bickies are being handed round, braised tea bags
being put back in the box for another time, and everyone is mellowing
out. It's been a tough afternoon session for those of us on the
panel of guests who've been giving careers advice to the gilded
youth of the lower sixth. Inevitably talk turns to The Archers.
And pretty soon it hones in on The Slap. And unless you ahve spent
the last two months under sedation, you'll know what slap I'm talking
about the bone-crunching haymaker which that beastly bounder
Simon Pemberton lands on the fair jaw of the sainted Shula. One
of the panel members a fellow of thespian persuasion with
impeccable Ambridge connections reveals the hellish job of
capturing on tape a convincing biff. For a full 15 minutes the actors
smack themselves on the cheek, but to no avail. The boffins from
Special Effexts are brought in and vainly whip their wet haddocks
against the chintz cushions. And then, suddenly, inspiration! Simon,
aka actor Peter Wingfield, gives his thigh a Bavarian wallop.
That's it, cries the sound-recorder. It's in the can!