For those of you who don't know anything about The Archers, it used to be a gentle way to escape the world. Yes, awful things would happen. Every ten years someone would be crushed by their tractor, or commit suicide, or fall off a roof. There would be realistic emotional consequences, and the storyline would move on.
Since the current editor came over from the dark side (i.e. the grim TV soap East Enders) to take charge of The Archers, it has changed horribly. Now you have to brace yourself before you switch on the radio. And it's not just wusses like me who don't like it. I know this, because my sister Jen and brother Pete are also complaining.
For those of you from overseas, the current storyline has been in the media spotlight, and been praised for bringing general attention to the problem of domestic abuse, and specifically what is called coercive control. One listener started a JustGiving page and has raised more than £125,000 for the charity Refuge, which helps women escaping domestic abuse.
Obviously both of these things are good. Of course I care about social issues. So how can I be angry?
One problem is that the story has been played out in real time, so it has been going on so far for about 14 months, and it is set to continue for another year.
The real problem, though, is that I don't (didn't) listen to The Archers for realism. I listen (ed) to it to escape a world that's becoming nastier every week. Now that's been stolen from me.
Why couldn't the BBC have the same storyline on a programme that is known for being grim?
Now all I have left as escapist entertainment is Neighbours. I heartily recommend it, folks. Channel 5.
Sally from Plotting for Grown-ups agrees with me:
I really haven’t known him long enough to tell him the truth: that Neighbours is fab, that I love all the stupid plotlines – the amnesia, disputed paternity, blackmail, on-off love affairs, business wars, mistaken identities, manipulative ex-girlfriends, violent ex-boyfriends, people stuck down mine shafts, plane crashes that kill off half the street. And the characters – Paul Robinson, Karl Kennedy, Lucas, Jade – they’re like family. One day I’ll confess to him, but not just yet.