Friday, 14 January 2011

Carfree: The Late Nigel Pargetter

The Archers is a radio soap opera about “an everyday story of country folk.” It enjoys a cult following among many listeners to BBC Radio 4. I’m not one of them, but I’d been told by those that are that I should feature the soap’s Nigel Pargetter as a carfree chooser. Now it’s too late. Nigel fell off the roof of his stately pile, Lower Loxley Hall, in a recent episode to mark the programme’s 60 anniversary (60 as in 60 years). So there goes an unlikely carfree icon of country life, whose funeral eulogy appropriately recorded his light tread on the planet - but probably not his heavy fall.  According to Tim Harford, the BBC’s Undercover Economist, Nigel’s falling death yodel lasted for 3½ seconds. Assuming that Nigel fell at the usual gravity-induced acceleration rate of 10 metres per second per second, then Nigel would have fallen 5 metres in the 1st second, another 15 metres in the 2nd second and 25 metres in the 3rd second. Adding up the total fall over 3½ seconds gives a distance of 60 metres. Which makes Lower Loxley as high as a 20 storey building. Just sometimes, fiction really is stranger than truth.

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