Timothy Watson (Rob Titchener)
The week began with Helen gazing out of the window and telling Kirsty that Bridge Farm has never looked so beautifuland she is delighted to be home. Meanwhile, Rob isn’t so happy as he reads stories online about the trial “Helen’s made the whole world believe her lies” he tells Ursula, thus underlining once more his infinite capacity for self-delusion. He’s worried that Helen will take Henry from him, but Ursula says that they don’t know that yet. Rob continues to wallow in self-pity, saying how much suffering Helen put him through and now his good (?) name and reputation is being dragged through the mud.
This being a Sunday, it’s Henry’s day at Bridge Farm, so Rob takes him. “Remember Daddy loves you” Rob says as he knocks on the door. “And I love you Daddy” Henry replies. Pat answers the door and Rob asks if he could see Gideon. He is expecting the answer ‘no’ and he’s spot on, as Pat coolly replies “I’m afraid that’s out of the question.” Rob practically begs, at which Pat says “Bye” and shuts the door. Back home with Ursula, he tells her about Pat’s refusal, saying “Whatever they think of me, I’m the child’s father” and “Whatever the Archers think, Gideon will always be a Titchener.” Ursula is right behind him, calling Pat ‘heartless‘ and ‘rotten to the core’ and telling Rob that he deserves to have both boys by his side.
At Bridge Farm, Henry refers to Jack as ‘Gideon’ and Helen tells him that that is a nickname Rob uses and the baby’s name is Jack. There were tears (of joy) when Helen hugged Henry for the first time in ages. Henry wants to know when Daddy is coming to get him, saying “I can’t wait to tell daddy about Jack.” Better duck when you do, Henry. Helen tells her mother that she used to love it when Henry called Rob Daddy, but now it makes her feel sick. “I won’t feel truly free until Henry’s back with me for good.” Helen adds.
Someone else who isn’t happy is Ian, following the revelations in court of Adam’s infidelity. Adam is frantically trying to make it up to his husband, suggesting a holiday, but Ian leaves to go to work. Things aren’t much better there, as Lilian and Justin are having a meal. Lilian says that Ian must be reeling about the revelations about Adam’s roving eye. Unfortunately, Ian is within hearing distance and Lilian apologises. “Don’t worry,” says Ian, “You’re not the first to talk behind my back.” Later on, back at home, the atmosphere between Adam and Ian is distinctly cool. Ian says luckily, he’s got a thick skin “But other people’s pity is my limit.” Adam tells him that nothing happened between him and Charlie, but Ian is more concerned that Helen is fighting for her children this week and, if she loses, he doesn’t know how she’ll cope.
Lilian asks Justin if he still believes that Rob is the right man for the Estate Manager’s job? Justin says he’ll mull it over and call Rob later in the week. Personally, I wouldn’t have thought that it would have taken much mulling, but there you go.
Wednesday is the start of the Family Court Hearing and the Judge is the same one that presided over Helen’s trial. Incidentally, a legal expert said on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hourthat this scenario would be highly unlikely to happen in real life, but I suppose it saves another actor’s salary. Rob’s solicitor claims that Helen presents a danger to the children and is volatile, unpredictable and unreliable. Furthermore, although Rob is not genetically related to Henry, he is the only father that Henry has ever known. He also brings up her mental health problems (she had anorexia after brother John’s death) but Helen puts up a spirited defence and manages to bring the subject round to Rob’s controlling influence. Later on, Helen tells Pat that she can never forgive herself for what Henry has been put through. “None of this is your fault” Pat reminds her daughter, adding that she should remember that Kaz told her that this is where she has to be strong. In a determined voice, Helen says “The hold that Rob has got on Henry can’t last. Henry’s heart is mine – I know it is.”
And so to Friday and the judge gives his verdict – and pretty damning it is too. He says that the Social Worker believes that Rob has caused significant harm to Henry and the judge’s opinion is that both children should live with their mother, aided by Pat and Tony. “No!” exclaims an anguished Rob, but the judge continues, saying that he believes that Rob represents a danger of posing a risk of harm for the future. Because of this, as he has no biological connection with Henry, he has no visiting rights. However, Rob is Jack’s father (the words ‘the poor little sod’ remain unuttered) and as such, has a right to see him. Because of the risk of harm, these visits will have to be supervised. “No, you’re all wrong!” shouts Rob.
We learn from Anna talking to Helen that the supervision will probably be Pat and Helen, as Jack knows them. Even worse for Rob, it will be limited to three hours on Sunday and one hour during the week. Helen thanks Anna for all her efforts and gives her a present. Anna says it was important for her to win the case and now she’s going on holiday with Carol, to Austria. She and Helen hug and part.
Rob’s cup runneth over – he tells Ursula that Anna had the judge in her pocket and she kept making eyes at him. Rob then gets a text from Justin, saying that he’d like to see him next week and Rob, who is conscious that no contract has been offered or signed, doesn’t think that this is to discuss the size of his salary. Never mind Rob, perhaps you can get a job in the Bridge Farm shop. “What did I ever do to deserve this?” he wails. Well, Rob, if you just cast your eyes back over the past couple of years of this blog, you might get a clue. Ursula shows that she isn’t a reader of this blog when she tells her son – unbelievably – “You’ve done nothing wrong!” Rob asks “How will Gideon ever know me? I can’t bear it” and he rushes off to the car, moaning.
Pat approaches Ursula, who turns on her, saying “Are you happy now? You’ve destroyed him – he’s lost everything because of your daughter.” Instead of saying ‘yes I am happy and he’s not lost everything – he’s gained a reputation as a control freak and a rapist’, Pat is icily angry. “How dare you?” she challenges Ursula, and goes on: “You should be ashamed of yourself and of him. Your son is a disgusting human being and you colluded with him; sitting back while he goes round terrorising and abusing women like Helen and Jess for no reason except his sad, sorry ego.” “Don’t you speak to me like that!” Ursula protests, to which Pat calmly replies “I’ve finished, actually” and, in a final, (sadly, only metaphorical) knife-twisting moment, adds “Would you please have all Henry’s things ready – I shall be round to collect him at six o’clock sharp” before walking away.
As the family celebrate back at Bridge Farm, emotions run high and Tony makes a speech, praising his daughter after all she’s suffered. They toast Helen, who, in a voice faltering with emotion, thanks them all, especially Kirsty, telling her friend “You literally saved my life.”
Although the Family Court hearing was the biggest story of the week, it was by no means the only one. Josh sold his laptop online, which annoyed Rooooth, as it had been a present from her and David. Josh sold it to get money for his ‘business ventures’. He needs his phone charger and he remembers that he lent it to Pip, so he goes over to Rickyard Cottage and goes into the kitchen, where he is surprised to see a naked Toby making breakfast (I hope he wasn’t frying sausages). Toby is quite surprised too and, when Josh asks “Are you two an item?” he replies that it’s his and Pip’s business.
Let’s consider Josh’s question. His sister has a man with no clothes on making breakfast in her kitchen and he asks if they are an item. I suppose Toby could have said “I’m practising for an audition for ‘The Naked Chef’ “, or his clothes might have caught fire when he flambéed the pancakes, but the most likely explanation is that he is bonking Pip and you don’t have to be that bright to work it out, do you?
When Rooooth starts giving Josh a hard time about selling the laptop, he diverts his mother by telling her that Pip and Toby are “quite close”. Quite close? I’d say they were touching in about half a dozen places. Anyway, this has the desired effect as Rooooth leaves Josh alone and, next time she sees her daughter, she asks her about the relationship. Has Toby told anybody? Pip suggests that Rooooth asks him herself and gets all moody, saying that it doesn’t matter and it’s her business. David enters the farmhouse and Pip is on the way out. “What’s with the moody teenager act?” he asks his wife and she tells him about Toby. “Toby who?” David asks, obviously forgetting that there’s only one character for each name in Ambridge. When Rooooth explains, he is thunderstruck, saying that he cannot believe Pip would go out with that idiot. He knew he shouldn’t have rented them Hollowtree and gets on the quad bike to go over there – if Rex and Toby haven’t been keeping the fences in good repair, he could evict them. Sadly for David, the fences are in excellent nick and Pip is there, looking after the goslings. She knows full well what David is up to and asks why has everyone got it in for Toby? David remarks that Toby has a knack of getting what he wants and the atmosphere between father and daughter is not good. Later on, Pip talks to Rooooth, saying that “My relationships are my business. My personal life is not up for discussion.Don’t expect an invite for Sunday lunch any time soon, Toby.
I cannot believe how soft Oliver Sterling is. He spends all week wondering if there is any way that he and Caroline can buy a villa in Tuscany without selling Grange Farm. He’s so worried about Joe, whose only wish is to die in what he describes as “my home” but which is, in fact, Oliver’s home. You all know my preferred solution to this problem, but Oliver finds a way of raising funds and one that allows him to rent out Grange Farm to the Grundys at a rent well below market value, naturally. If I were Caroline, I’d bang his head sharply against a wall or two – however did he succeed in business?
At least now Eddie won’t have to rely on the charity of William, who went berserk when he learned that Eddie took George ‘foraging’ for pheasants. Will’s temper is not improved when Eddie explains that he was just ‘teaching him the old ways’ and how pheasants weren’t just for the Toffs, but the peasants were entitled to one or two birds.
Let’s go back to the joyous celebrations at Bridge Farm. Tom drives Kirsty home and he thanks her for being such a good friend to them all. He then says that he doesn’t want her to go and kisses her. Tom apologises, but she grabs him and kisses him back. “Do you want me to come in?” he asks. “Yes. Yes, I do” she replies and there are more sounds of kisses. Be careful Kirsty – last time this happened, Tom ran off to Canada and came back with a different voice.
And so, the Helen/Rob saga appears to be over and more than two years of shouting at the radio and wishing harm to Rob has come to an end. Helen is happy and the family is there to protect her. What will happen to Rob? Anyone else would be well away from Ambridge by now, but he’s so arrogant and deluded, that he thinks he’s in the right, plus he’s got Jack – sorry, Gideon – for four hours a week. And, should he go, who would we hate then, as people commenting on the blog have been asking?