Archers domestic violence storyline prompts fans to raise almost £100,000
Fans of The Archers have raised almost £100,000 for a domestic violence charity after another dramatic plot twist on the daily radio programme.
The BBC Radio 4 soap shocked listeners when Helen Titchener stabbed her abusive husband Rob in front of her young son Henry.
In another dramatic episode today it was revealed he is still alive, while Helen has been arrested on suspicion of wounding.
More than £94,000 has been donated to The Helen Titchener Rescue Fund - a JustGiving page set up to raise money for the domestic violence charity Refuge.
Paul Trueman, who started the campaign, originally planned to raise £1,000 but has increased the target to £100,000 after a deluge of donations.
One anonymous donor wrote: "I was a Helen and I was given refuge, with my children. Hopefully my small donation will help another Helen. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Fans took to Twitter to express their shock after Monday's "harrowing" episode.
Rachael O'Byrne wrote: "Oh my god that #Archers episode was so harrowing. If you're suffering Domestic Abuse contact Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247".
Siobhan O'Neil posted: "Harrowing #archers episode, after weeks of insidious behaviour from Rob. Getting DV (domestic violence) talked about like this can only be a good thing".
The daily soap, set in the genteel village of Ambridge, usually focuses on the comings and goings of the farms and village shops.
Fans have been listening with growing horror as Helen was psychologically bullied, raped and slapped by her controlling husband.
She had told Rob she was planning to leave him because of his controlling behaviour.
But erupting into a fury, Rob handed Helen a kitchen knife, saying it was her "only way out" and she stabbed him in the tussle that ensued.
The hard-hitting storyline has won widespread praise from charities who have credited the "Archers Effect" with helping to raise awareness that domestic abuse affects all sorts of people, including middle-class independent women in sleepy villages.