Saturday 26 May 2018

Archers fans raise £100,000 for domestic abuse charity amid harrowing storyline

Helen Titchener, played by Louiza Patikas, and Rob Titchener, played by Timothy Watson, from BBC Radio 4 soap The Archers (BBC/PA)
Helen Titchener, played by Louiza Patikas, and Rob Titchener, played by Timothy Watson, from BBC Radio 4 soap The Archers (BBC/PA)

Fans of The Archers have raised more than £100,000 for a domestic violence charity after another dramatic plot twist - breaking the campaign's target.

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 on Monday it was revealed he is still alive, while Helen has been arrested on suspicion of wounding.

More than £100,700 has been donated to The Helen Titchener (nee Archer) 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 increased the target to £100,000 after a deluge of donations.

The charity responded on Twitter: "We cannot thank those who've donated enough - £100,000 is an incredible amount."

One anonymous donor wrote: "Wow Wow Wow! Well done everyone. This is amazing. I have donated before but listening to the last two episodes has been so harrowing. For all the Helens and Henrys."

Another wrote: "Can't stop now. Helen is doomed, but we can ease the pain of listening by helping real people out there escape similar fates."

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 and physically abused by her controlling husband.

Rob's behaviour has included dictating what she could wear, keeping tabs on where she was at all times, and marital rape.

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.

Last month the Press Association revealed that calls to the national domestic abuse helpline have soared by nearly a fifth in a year, fuelled in part by the soap's storyline.

Press Association

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