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The Archers' domestic abuse plot *SPOILERS*

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    The Archers' domestic abuse plot *SPOILERS*

    As we haven't got a 'Radio' forum, I will put it here. The domestic violence element of this is also very much a "World" concern.

    For those that don't know, one of the characters in the Archers, Helen, a single mum with a son, Henry, born to her through donor insemination. She has had probably one of the more "soap" back stories in the Archers. A previous boyfriend committed suicide, she had an eating disorderand her brother was killed. Her husband-to-be, Rob Titchener turned up and, pretty soon, started to show dodgy signs - an ex-wife who hated him, violence towards a hunt saboteur that he told another character to cover up etc.

    The abuse plot line has been very subtle over a fairly long time. First, there has been an emotional undermining of Helen while simultaneously charming her family and most of her friends, controlling her clothes, looks, movements etc. There has been, at least, one rape that led to her current pregnancy and another one since. Last week, they gave some suggestion as to the origin of his actions when his even more controlling mother turned up with some suggestions of parental abuse when he was a child.

    The most concerning issue of this, for me, hasn't been how this will end for the characters but what message the plotline will send to anyone suffering from abuse. For instance, Helen's friend suggested she phone an abuse advice line which she did. It was vitally important that, once this happened, the writers had to show that, were Helen to follow the advice of the counsellor, she wouldn't be more at risk. As it happened, after the first phone call, she persuaded herself that she was making too much of it.

    Something that has irritated some listeners has been that the denouement, so far, has been that Helen has stabbed Rob after a confrontation that involved Rob attacking Helen's son. While not the most satisfactory climax to the story, it is the most dramatic one that they could have done without getting all "Brookside". Indeed, the aftermath so far has been as far away from "Brookside" as you can imagine. Upon finding Helen, her friend Kirsty phoned the police and ambulance rather than hitting Rob over the head with a spade and burying his body under the cowshed or whatever. The representation of the police and ambulance's reaction has also been very good. Helen had to be taken to the police station and Henry had to go to her parents. That is absolutely the correct procedure.

    So far, to me, they have handled it very well while keeping it on the most dramatic extreme that they could. I am still concerned where they are going to go with a plotline that has a great amount of responsibility and potential effect but the way they have handled it so far suggests that they are going to play it right.

    There have been many complaints that this is making the Archers - known for its tweeness - has gone to Eastenders. I think it is excellent that they have addressed this, not least as it shows that such abuse is as likely to go on amongst the rural middle classes as it is anywhere else. Of course, you could say that such a thing on a radio soap opera is completely unimportant but, on the Facebook page, after they publicised the domestic abuse action line link, there was a post saying that the link didn't work. Fair play, they fixed it pretty quick but it makes you realise that someone needed to phone it straight away. There has also been loads of discussion about domestic abuse - especially the long-term subtle controlling emotional abuse in this plotline - as well as many listeners saying that they have since phoned the helplines due to it.

    The Archers' domestic abuse plot *SPOILERS*

    I remember the letter in Viz where someone had written in to say that every time he heard the theme tune to The Archers he sang "Everyone's a Nazi now, Everyone's a Nazi".


      The Archers' domestic abuse plot *SPOILERS*

      Apparently the actor playing Robsputin has been urging the scriptwriters to speed up the denouement of this story because of the grief he was getting from the public, and the harm he thought it might do his career.

      I tend to listen to the Archers cycling to work at 4 morning. I must admit that I've been cycling with hunched shoulders, cringing every time he says "darling".

      A strange thing with this plot is that for years the scriptwriters have seemed oblivious to the fact that, for a huge amount of listeners, Helen has been just about the most unpopular character in the soap. They tried to portray her as a unlucky, rather helpless figure. Listeners' forums poured forth bile about her selfishness and spoilt behaviour - for example, dumping Henwi on her put upon parents whenever the whim took her.

      As a result, for much of this story line, I felt they deserved each other and that they could maybe both drag the other into hell. It wasn't until the rape scene that I felt any sympathy for Helen at all.

      I suppose this may have been a device for them to prolong the development of the story. Certainly the drip drip nature of Rob's manipulating has been the major strength of the plotline. I haven't seen middle - class England so angry about something since University fees were hoiked upwards.

      I'm not really satisfied with the stabbing scenario. I was looking forward to Rob gradually launching his claim on Pol Pat and Tony's "empire" and hopefully murdering the insufferable Peggy for her money when she inevitably started to get pissy with him.


        Couldn't find a better thread to put this on so:

        Strewth - 69 years in the same role!