Radio 4 soap, The Archers, is set to have Ambridge’s first ever civil partnership in a special edition of the BBC show next week.

But like any BBC serial drama, there is the usual high jinx and family arguments over who will attend and will the family be the same again.

Soap’s longest running gay romance, involving Adam Macy (Andrew Wincott) and Ian Craig (Stephen Kennedy), began in April 2004 with a kiss in a polytunnel that left listeners in no doubt about how the farmer and chef felt about one another.

Fast-forward two and half years and the happy couple are at it again – but this time they’re kissing in the much more romantic setting of Lower Loxley, where the ceremony takes place.

Of course, ragged nerves and family politics are customary at any wedding – and the union of Adam and Ian is no exception.

By the time they make it down the aisle, Ian has already faced the painful ordeal of ‘coming out’ to his father and brothers (something of a double-whammy for the Craig family, as the announcement was swiftly followed by news of his engagement to Adam). In the shape of stepfather Brian Aldridge, Adam also has a potential family crisis to face on his Big Day.

On first hearing the news that Adam and Ian were set to become man and husband, Ambridge’s wealthiest farmer turned audibly pale. But Brian’s reaction was hardly surprising: he has been uncomfortable with Adam’s relationship with Ian from the very beginning.

Brian says his reservations about the relationship lie in concerns for the future of Home Farm (he’s uncomfortable with the idea that his new son-in-law Ian might get his sullied chef’s hands on part of his legacy).

But Jennifer suspects that her husband’s real motives are based in homophobia and bad, old-fashioned bigotry. After all, he’s always showered stepdaughter Debbie with the love and affection of a natural father – so what’s stopping him displaying a similar loyalty to Adam?

Despite Brian’s reservations Adam and Jennifer were unprepared for the news that he wouldn’t be attending the wedding, preferring instead to sulk alone in his expensive farmhouse. Attending, and therefore endorsing, the union will take an unprecedented volte-face from Brian. But refusing to go would surely drive a wedge between the Aldridge family members.

Listeners discover whether Brian turns up for Ambridge’s wedding of the year in this episode of The Archers (BBC Radio 4, 7.00pm, Thursday 14 December). They also learn that Adam and Ian are not the only couple concerned with wedding bells!