The Archers, BBC and Helen Titchener v public interest: Guilty or Not Guilty?

The controlling Rob Titchener and wife Helen in The Archers: radio soap is fiction but the issue all too real

A HARROWING three-year plot line involving psychological bullying, alleged rape, a tug-of-love over a child and culminating in a woman on trial for the attempted stab murder of her controlling husband has divided followers of BBC Radio 4’s The Archers.

Was it, as David Banks puts it, an inappropriate subject for a 65-year-old radio soap which presents itself as “an everyday story of country folk”? Has it driven away many regular, traditional listeners in favour of an ever-more dramatic story line which has produced spikes in listenership but might well see long-term listener figures decline?

Or has it, in Brenda Dinsdale‘s words, done “an incalculable service by uncovering and highlighting a problem which afflicts millions of either sex and costs the UK economy billions”?

Perhaps you share Julian Cole‘s view: “clever writing; the story of cruel intimacy . . . a rising ride of misery. . . intense emotional claustrophobia [which]made for a difficult listen”?

Read them. See what our columnists think The verdict is yours. Then leave your comments below


  1. Can anyone really treat The Archers seriously since they were the only farming community in the country not to discuss the hunting debate?

  2. Surely the more this issue is out in the public domain, the less easy it is to put our heads in the sand, pretending abuse is only at the margin, whereas it’s clearly not. We are all to blame, so let’s get the conversations going, and it will be as much in the Archers, as Coro and Eastenders, it all helps expose what’s very much mainstream and unacceptable.


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