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.
Donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/helentitchener/
Update: This story has been widely covered in national and trade media: