Sunday, 24 April 2016

Professional Detachment?

Alison Newman (Detective Sergeant Madeley)

An abomination against the queen. No, not a re-issue of the Sex Pistols debut single, but the shepherd’s hut Eddie’s built for Lynda. Her main objection continues to be the shiny metal chimney cowl sticking out of the top and Ed suggests painting it black. He calls Lynda and does his best to sweet-talk her into having the hut delivered, and he and Eddie waste no time getting it positioned in her garden. While still not completely convinced, Lynda seems happy for it to stay, if not to pay, and Eddie promises to come back for the ‘finishing touches’.

There was a brief but potentially significant aside between Eddie and Ed with mention of George’s new watch. Too expensive to have been bought with just his birthday money, he told Ed that he’d been saving up his pocket money too. I think there’s more to be revealed on that one, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we haven’t heard the last of the tale of the church money.

As expected, Brian’s supporting Adam’s no-till farming proposal and gives him some pointers on how to win over the rest of the board. He needn’t have worried as the board agree the plan. After the meeting, Justin expresses concern about the stabbing to Brian, but only because it might be bad for business. Both he and Brian still seems to hold Rob in high esteem, with Justin remarking that the village can ill-afford to lose someone of Rob’s calibre.

Still unemployed and homeless, Jazzer’s sleeping on Fallon’s sofa – that’s when he’s not in The Bull, all sad and lonely, nursing a pint (there’s obviously no Wetherspoons in Ambridge). I don’t think there’s going to be better news anytime soon for Jazzer, as Jim seems reluctant to take his former houseguest back in once the repairs to Greenacres are complete.

And now all too briefly to Helen. Anna Tregorran tries to get her to talk about what happened the evening she stabbed Rob. Helen starts talking about the fact that she had to protect Henry and keep him safe, but she’s obviously still very distressed and confused and not fit to answer any questions. However, Anna’s detected an inner strength in Helen and is confident they can make progress. High hopes then for next week, when I hope to see her defence case start to come together.

Rob may be lucky to be alive, but the first time we hear him he’s as objectionable as ever. You’d have thought he’d have some humility knowing that he’d driven Helen to the edge of insanity, actually given her the knife she used to stab him, and then been brought back from the brink. At Rob’s request Pat and Tony take Henry to the hospital to see him and Pat gets to talk to Rob alone. She asks him if he wants to pass a message onto Helen and this causes Rob to cry - just as Ursula appears. She asks Pat to leave and says that in future she will bring ‘the child’ to see Rob. At least it sounds like Pat’s starting to look for signs that Tom and Kirsty might be right about Rob after all.

Back to Lynda’s garden, and it’s not long before she’s on the phone complaining. The bed’s collapsed and no wonder - it was little more than a pasting table. Eddie tries to say he’s busy, but as she hasn’t paid him yet he has no choice but to get round there, assisted by 94-year old Joe, to rebuild the bed using ‘original Victorian timber’. For some reason Lynda rejects Eddie’s offer to test its strength by bouncing up and down with her. He’s brought his tin of black paint round too so that he can paint the shiny cowl on top of the chimney that’s Lynda thinks is ruining the ambiance: “we’ll have that ambiance fixed in no time”.

There’s less reluctance from Lilian and Justin to bounce up and down on a bed together when choosing furniture for The Dower House. From the sound of it, it must have been quite a session as Justin sounds exhausted – and in the middle of Underwoods too! Lilian dissuades him from buying everything there and then, and leads him back home to do it all online because it would be cheaper. Justin remarks that he feels like Lilian’s slave, and a wistful sounding Lilian says “if only that were true darhling”! Watch it Justin, I think Lilian’s working on it.

Off to The Bull now, and Eddie’s drinking halves, which is always a bad sign, especially as this time Lynda’s finally paid him for the shepherd’s hut. The problem is he’s had to spend so much on time and materials to bring the hut up to Lynda’s standards that he’s hardly got any profit left.

Kenton runs into trouble when he expects Jolene to dress up as a dragon while he takes the lead as St. George. Jolene’s not having any of it and in desperation Kenton asks Jazzer if he would instead. Jazzer’s already made it clear that he thinks Kenton’s plan of celebrating St. George’s Day over the entire weekend is being greedy, so turns Kenton’s request down flat. I’m sure he wouldn’t complain if it were St. Andrew’s Day they were celebrating, and I’m even more sure that he’d accept Kenton’s offer of free drinks all night if it were his kilt he was being asked to wear instead of a dragon costume. He does cheer up though when he sees Kenton wearing the costume, with Jolene dressed as the saint.

I should point out for fear of offending our Scottish readers that I am aware that the kilt is not a fancy dress costume – in fact I am half Scottish myself and I do own a kilt – it’s just that as far as I’m aware St. Andrew didn’t slay a dragon, or any other mythical beast, and the wearing of a kilt seems to be the next obvious option.

Detective Sergeant Madeley could turn out to be a new favourite character of mine. It may be professional detachment, but when she goes to visit Rob in Hospital to take his statement, she gives the impression, to me at least, that she has little sympathy for him. She pushes him in his wheelchair to somewhere quiet and Rob wastes no time in trying to manipulate DSM by portraying his own version of the back-story, complete with a sprinkling of crocodile tears. He obviously hasn’t thought it all through yet, as when asked about whether there was a particular incident that triggered his stabbing, he doesn’t have an answer and asks for time to think about it. He doesn’t need time to think about blaming the pregnancy, Greg’s suicide, anti-depressants, anorexia, or Kirsty for Helen’s behaviour, as that is all part of his script.

Conveniently though it seems Rob can’t remember much about the actual day of the stabbing itself. I look forward to hearing how long he manages to carry that on for.


  1. Yes - I was much cheered by DS Madeley's cool demeanour. And Rob's torrent of vilification of Helen would have given anyone pause for thought. At one point he actually said 'I couldn't keep her under control', which one hopes might have rung a few alarm bells, and his implication that Helen was in a lesbian relationship with Kirsty was also rather over-egging the cake.

    Especially as he persistently declined to talk about had happened when he was stabbed..

    I think this is the beginning of the Great Helen Fight Back. They have made her position look as bad as it can possibly be, with hardly anyone believing that Rob is anything other than a loving husband, but that has to change soon.

    What really made me cross was Usha and Adam, both of whom have seen Rob behaving like his true sociopathic self, somehow seemimg to forget this.

    Usha saw Rob beating up the hunt saboteur, and Adam has been exposed to the real Rob several times over cricketing incidents, but both of them have talked as if it's all poor demented Helen's fault.

    I just wish someone would kill Susan Carter.

    1. Not Usha, Shula... aaaargh

    2. Yeah - BUT - problem is, neither of these two incidents, the beating up of the hunt saboteur and Rob's poor sportsmanship during cricket match has (in law) anything at all to do with his qualities as a husband. He may well be a man who is capable of violence, is sometimes unreasonable, and a poor sport, but these things by themselves don't automatically make him a bad and unreasonably controlling husband. They particularly don't in this case, when all anyone's ever heard from his own wife is what a thoughtful and caring man he is. And given Helen's previous record in the partnership stakes, her (as I saw it) propensity to refuse any advice from anyone once she had made a decision, coupled with the marked eccentricity (to put it no more strongly) of some of those decisions, the defence have a mountain to climb. Helen is still not listening to her barrister's attempt to get her to make the connection between her own lack of cooperation (yes, I know she's traumatised, and yes, I do understand why) and the danger that if it persists, she and Henry may have a long wait before they are together again, she is continuing to dig the hole she's made for herself even deeper than it already is.

      Helen has never been one of my favourite characters, but I didn't actively find her unlikeable before. Now I realise that this change in my attitude is really the fault of the SW's, apparently not having done anything about getting her psychiatric help. Either she needs it, or she doesn't. If she does, she should be having it regularly, and regular attention from the shrinks. If she doesn't, and is really "fit to plead", someone should give her a swift kick up the backside, tell her in no uncertain terms that she is making her own situation worse by her silence and her refusal even to see her own parents, to stop mucking around and give her barrister some FACTS to work on.


  2. Helen should plead guilty, be sent to a prison far way from 'Ambridge', and Rob and Ursula should relocate with Henry in tow. I'd rather write posts about Resurgam and Linda's chimney.

    1. I know it's fiction - but….these things do happen, and it is not at all unbelievable that Rob's parents are "odd" as well as their son, Ursula under husband's thumb, and in her own way just as controlling as Rob is. I know this from very unpleasant recent experience with the marriage of a close family member to a psychopathic woman, who could only function at all if her father was in tow. They are now divorced, and she living with her parents - nice cosy little coven, there. Agree totally with Steve Brissle - Helen hasn't a hope of Henry returning to live with her, in the foreseeable future, and I will be astonished if the new baby, Myson, isn't removed from her very shortly after the birth. Since the case for the prosecution is very good (yes, circumstantial, but unless Helen gets some help to recover her wits, she isn't going to be any help to her defence), and at the moment, there is no case to be made, due to lack of any knowledge of what happened between her and Rob on that night. People have suggested finding out what Dr Locke knows about Rob's past, what happened with the missing Polish worker, getting Shula to 'fess up about Rob's behaviour with the hunt "saboteur" etc. and Jess coming to the rescue. None of these events is relevant to the defence's case - courts don't have time, and it's not within their remit to mount investigations - and they won't want the time in court wasted on things that don't bear directly on the case for the defence. If Helen is going to go on like this, without any psychiatric intervention, she'll have to plead guilty to wounding with intent, and hope she gets off lightly serving 2 years of a possible 4 year sentence. Either way, it's going to be a long time before she can even think of making a home for Henry or the new baby. Doubt very much Rob would allow it, anyway. Helen's mental state is worse, of course, than before this happened, but her single-minded focus on what SHE wants is exactly the same as always.

    2. Excellent post, Cassandra, so much to think about even if The Archers at the moment often makes me want to reach for a stiff G+T at the end of the episode. Human relationships are so complex.

      On a quite different matter I am very much enjoying Lilian at the moment. My only problem with Lilian storylines is I find her hard to visualise now having read an interview with the actor. I used to picture her as looking a bit like some point on a line between Dora Bryan and Joans Sims but then her actor said that she saw her as being tall, thin and rather elegant which I'm afraid through me completely.

      The two versions shift uneasily in my mind now but I must say that it is Dora Bryan who tends to win out.