I have followed the Archers on Radio 4 since the mid 1980s, the last twenty years or so through the weekly podcast. It is the only ‘soap’ I have followed since I gave up on Coronation Street when it started increasing the number of episodes each week many, many years ago.
Soaps are supposed to be enjoyable entertainment, combining drama with a fun insight into the lives of people you don’t really know. In a sense, watching a soap makes you a voyeur. When the soap starts to take over your leisure time by increasing the number and lengths of episodes it encroaches so much on your real life that it becomes a constrictor on your home and social activities.
Okay, that has been mitigated a little by Sky+ which allows you to record episodes to watch at your leisure, but it is still eating deeper and deeper into your family life. That is why I gave up on TV soaps. They took too much of my spare time.
I continued to enjoy the Archers because it has never varied its six, fifteen minute episodes and they are accumulated to produce a ninety minute weekly omnibus. I tended to listen when I was cooking or in the gym.