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When radio met social and made cash. Lots of cash.

That well-loved radio drama The Archers has shocked and divided its listeners over the last year or so with its harrowing depiction of Rob Titchener's coercive and controlling marriage to Helen Archer.

The programme has a loyal following on social across Twitter and Facebook, with the Sunday morning omnibus edition dubbed the ‘tweetalong’; and the outcry and dismay at Helen’s story among this audience has been visceral.

After reading Helen Walmsley-Johnson’s excellent article in New Statesman about how the storyline had helped her face some of her own demons, our own Head of Social Paul Trueman saw an opportunity. He set up The ‘Helen Titchener Rescue Fund’ on JustGiving and asked #thearchers’ loyal army of social media followers to get involved. In effect sponsoring a fictional person to raise funds for a real charity that helps women like Helen.

“I realised we could harness people’s reaction to the fiction, through the power of radio and social, and do something genuinely useful in the real world,” he says.

The Helen Titchener Rescue Fund on JustGiving raised £10,000 in 36 hours and almost £50,000 within a week, with all funds pledged to the domestic abuse charity Refuge.

“Time to do something constructive and think of all the women who are genuinely stuck in relationships like this - and much, much worse,” it says.

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Update: This story has been widely covered in national and trade media:

Telegraph: Helen Titchener's domestic violence storyline inspires Archers fans to raise thousands for charity

BBC: Archers fan from Devon 'accidentally' raises £22k for Refuge

Mirror: Archers fans' domestic abuse campaign goes viral after listeners are inspired by chilling storyline

Express: Helen Titchener's Archers storyline sees fans donate £18,000 to domestic violence charity

Daily Mail: Archers plot raises £25,000 for charity: Ardent fan uses disturbing storyline to raise awareness of domestic violence among Radio 4 listeners

The Guardian: Archers character JustGiving page raises thousands for domestic violence charity

Huffington Post: Archers Characters Spur More Than £10,000 In JustGiving Donations To Domestic Violence Charity Refuge

The Drum: Bray Leino digital copywriter raises £18k for domestic abuse charity Refuge

Fundraising UK: Archers fan raises £20,000 for Refuge in 48 hours

Charity Digital: Fundraising campaign inspired by the Archers goes viral


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