I waited with bated breath for that murder scene as I listened to the Archers omnibus podcast yesterday and was disappointed to discover that I will have to bate it a while longer as it actually happened on Monday.
Of course, it turns out that Helen Titchener hasn’t murdered husband Rob, or at least he hasn’t shuffled off his mortal coil just yet, and I know this because the plot spoilers have been all over the media.
The hacks don’t usually bother much with The Archers, at least not as much as they do with tv soaps, but they sharpen their nibs whenever the scriptwriters come up with anything that doesn’t fit the comfortable, Radio 4 listening stereotype. I remember the hoo-ha when Ambridge had its first racially motivated attack, its first gay couple and, even worse, its first woman vicar.
I wrote last week about this particular storyline of domestic abuse which impressed me with the way it has built up slowly over the previous months. He was Mr Wonderful as far as most of the characters were concerned, but we all knew that Rob was a wrong ‘un from his acerbic asides, his closet homophobia, cheating at cricket and the dreadful treatment of first wife, Jess.
Helen has had her fair share on controversy thrust upon her by the producers, what with her eating disorder, her previous boyfriend committing suicide and her decision to have son Henry by donor insemination, so I suppose Rob is no more than another speedbump on life’s highway.
But from what I’ve heard and read, the denouement feels a little bit rushed. From being the downtrodden victim, Helen suddenly turns into detective (the meeting with Jess who just happened to be in Birmingham was rather contrived) and then a murderous she-wolf with a steak-knife. Or maybe my disbelief isn’t sufficiently suspended.
Anyway, we shall see if I feel the same after I’ve listened to next week’s omnibus.