Those of us avid Archer’s fans, who have been following the goings on between the hapless Helen and her abusive husband Rob these past two years, culminating in Helen stabbing Rob just after announcing she was going to leave him, will be pleased to know at long last things are finally coming to a head. Realistically, the show’s producers will likely spin the story out for a little while yet, knowing they are onto a good thing, and besides which there is a number of loose ends to tie up, having not only raised the important matter of domestic violence to a much wider audience but have attracted a new set of listeners in the process, and one concerned about things other than listening to an everyday story about country folk.
I have already discussed the story so up to now (see here), but the story now revolves around the trial that has just been taking place, which is to determine whether Helen attempted to murder her husband, tried to wound him with intent or acted in self defence. The evidence has been presented, with both the prosecution and defence having argued their cases under the watchful eye of the presiding judge, and all that is now left is for the jury to deliberate and deliver their verdict, followed no doubt by all sorts of after trial happenings, whichever way the verdict goes. This past week us Archers listeners have been exposed exclusively to the trial, void of the more mundane stuff that hardened addicts like me thrive on. This has been done in six, thirteen minutes episodes, which have been pretty intense and full of unexpected twists and turns. All that is left regarding the trial is tomorrow’s one hour special episode when the jury, comprising some well known personalities in radio and television, as they meet to decide their verdict. I will discuss what happens next in the second part of this blog post.
What has intrigued me is the intense interest in the detail of what has gone on, where there have been several unexpected twists and turns, with no doubt more to come. This interest has been evidenced in the Facebook discussions, following each episode, whereby people chip in with their opinions, with great passion even though it is just a story, on what is going on. The vast majority are hoping that Helen will be thoroughly vindicated and Rob exposed for the rotter he really is, not just in abusing Helen but all the other awful things he has done, but then life is never that simple and the Archers scriptwriters will continue to tantalize us longsuffering followers. Concerning the story so far, overall the script writers in my opinion have done a very good job, albeit disappointed Rob was not more exposed as a villain (see here). They have tackled a delicate subject, which is more widespread than many realize, very well. They have also done their homework as to how the criminal justice system works, and while one can take issue with some aspects, they have mostly got it right and have managed to squeeze in an amazing amount in the short time that they have. It has been a revelation as far as character development is concerned, not just Rob and Helen, but many others besides, who have played their parts superbly.
I have to confess, I know little about the way trials are conducted. I am aware though that the right to a fair trial is axiomatic to the British system, yet it is no guarantee that justice will be done and we are frequently reminded by the media of miscarriages of justice (which we hope will not be the case with Helen). I would like to think though my view that in the vast majority of cases justice IS done and that all the relevant truth will come out, with truth, coupled with justice, being the winner, will be vindicated. The way the lead up to the trial took place, as well as the trial itself, did raise doubts though. After all, Kirsty (Helen’s friend) and Pat (Helen’s mum), who could have said much in support of Helen, were not allowed to do so as they were called as witnesses for the prosecution. It was unpleasant to contemplate Henry, Helen’s son, having to live with Rob, but then it did look like an open and shut case. One felt that some who could have said more or do so more effectively, such as Ian (another of Helen’s friends) were not allowed to do so, because of irrelevancies that were raised. Yet, overall, as far as this trial went, most of what needed saying did get said. I for one enjoyed the drama and, while it did take a long time for things to come out, Helen did get her day in court. It struck me how important the roles of the judge and the defence and prosecution barristers are, but most importantly that of the jury, as no doubt we are about to see.
So all that is left is to wait and then sit back and enjoy (maybe not quite the right word) Sunday’s episode, hoping that the goodies will come out winners and the baddies losers, although it might be a bit much to expect Helen, along with Henry, Jack, Jess and Kaz will live happily ever after or Rob will get all his just desserts. For we all know life is neither simple nor fair, and there will be an aftermath to follow, long after the trial, which is why I am an Archers fan. Just maybe there will be more of Lynda’s latest bright idea, Joe’s not long for this world thoughts, Eddies scams, Susan’s gossip, Jill’s jam, Elizabeth’s love life, life at the Bull, the fortunes of the village cricket team, agricultural things to do with the various farms, to turn our attentions to again. I won’t be planning to leave any time soon!