Friday, 9 September 2016

Helen In The Dock 5 - Bruce Shows Contempt

Michael Byrne (Bruce Titchener)

Rob and Bruce talk before court proceedings begin. Bruce is angry because the Echo, which a few months earlier had described Rob as a hero, is now branding him a rapist. Justin Bywater says he protested most vociferously against this evidence being submitted, but Bruce is scathing, telling Rob that Justin hasnt got a clue. JB refrains from giving him a kicking and reminds Bruce that I represent the Criminal Prosecution Service, not your son.

JB then spoils Robs day even more by telling him that theres a chance that ex-wife Jess might give evidence. Rob says I was certain that she wouldnt come forward. Why?asks an interested JB, Didnt you think that it might be a possibility? Rob obviously believes that attack is the best form of defence, as he says Everything that woman says is a lie - shes insane and shes never forgiven me for divorcing her. Isnt it interesting that all the women in Robs life are compulsive liars (except Ursula)? And yet Ursula is the only genuine compulsive liar.

Rob asks JB if he is going to use the statement that he (Rob) gave him about Ian Craig? JB is not convinced, saying that it might look like a smear. Cue another rant from Bruce: Look at how the other side are behaving - theyre not pulling their punches and neither should you he snarls, leaving the words you spineless milksop unspoken.

Cut to the courtroom, where Ian has just finished his character reference for Helen and is being cross-examined by JB. JB has obviously taken Bruce and Robs advice to heart, as he says that it was odd that, if Ian and Helen are best friends (as Ian testified) they didnt speak for months. JB then strikes below the belt, suggesting that Ian is angry with Rob because he informed you that your partner had been unfaithful with a Polish seasonal worker and a manager of a large estate. Ian is floundering and says that he doesnt see what that has to do with anything. You dont like Mr. Titchener. Do you? JB asks. No, I dont, but - Ian replies, only to be cut off by JB saying That will be all Mr. Craig.

Outside the courtroom, a shell-shocked Ian is approached by Shula, who has had troubles getting parked. She asks Ian questions about which court is the trial in, but his mind is elsewhere as he tells her that he has just finished giving evidence. How did it go?Shula asks brightly. In a tone reminiscent of a man who has just been told that he has a terminal disease, Ian says I dont really want to talk about it - I just want to head off home. Why? How awful was it? Shula persists. Now, there were only two two-syllable word in Ians answer, so it couldnt have been that hard to understand, could it? I bet our readers understood I dont really want to talk about it right away. Im sure youll find out soon enough, Ian says, taking his leave and adding: Words bound to get round the village. If Susan was in the courtroom, youd put your mortgage on that.

As Ian goes, Rob approaches Shula, who remarks that Ian looked as if he has just gone 20 rounds. Rob says hes surprised to see Shula there But its appreciated - words which make Shula gasp. Rob then introduces her as being a fellow member of the Hunt to Bruce, who says Its a relief to know theres at least one decent person whos on Roberts side.

Back in court, JB is arguing that Jess should not be allowed to give evidence, claiming that its a dastardly trick sprung on the Court by the Defence. In a spirited reply, in which she frequently ignores hits from Judge Loomis that hes heard enough, Anna says that, on the contrary, Jess approached them, not the other way around and she appeals that, in the interests of Justice, Jesss testimony should be heard. The Judge says that he must make his decision on the basis of the law, which begs an interesting question about what a court is for - to uphold the law, or to see that justice is done? He retires to consider his decision.

In the end, he makes the right choice and Jess is being examined by Anna. Shula is sitting next to Bruce and she asks where is Ursula? Bruce replies that she is looking after the boy and adds that she gets quite emotional which, in view of what happens later, is ironic. When he sees Jess, Bruce snorts I prayed Id seen the last of that woman.

Anna asks Jess about her romance and marriage to Rob. They met shortly after she had finished her GCSEs and Rob went to university (Jess didnt make the grades). She described him as paranoid and that he wrote letters, accusing her of sleeping around and saying that he had mates keeping an eye on her, so she stopped socialising. So why not break it off? I was besotted she replies, adding that Robs character changed when he came back for holidays and he often talked about the two of them running away together. Bruce is muttering to Shula: I warned him - I told him she was soiled goods, but he wouldnt listen. Shula is shocked and even more so when Bruce calls Jess A hussy and  A gold-digging tart. By now Shula is alarmed and, in the true spirit of News of the World journalist investigating a sex scandal, she makes an excuse and leaves. A pity really, as she misses all the later fun. What really annoyed Bruce is that, having warned Rob about Jess, he paid for the wedding.

Married life for Jess wasnt easy - she only had money when Rob gave it to her and he wouldnt buy her a car when they were in the USA and Canada, so she was isolated. Anna then asks her if Rob ever forced her to have sex. Her answer is yes and she says that sometimes he grabbed her by the throat or held her down by her wrists.

This is too much for Bruce, who shouts out Shes a liar - this whole trial is a sham!Judge Loomis calls for order, but Bruce continues to rant about how much his family did for Jess. The judge says that, if Bruce cant control himself, he will adjourn, but Bruce is in full flow, saying that Jess even tried to palm Rob off with a brat that wasnt even his! Anna complains about this unacceptable behaviour and  the Judge orders the jury to be removed and he himself will rise until things calm down. 

Why did the Judge not have Bruce forcibly removed and charged with Contempt? That way the jury, who are in and out of the courtroom so often that they might wish for a revolving door, could have stayed.

Outside, Rob says For Gods sake, Dad, what were you playing at? Robert - dont you raise your voice to me! Bruce answers. He goes on Someone has to tell the truth about these women of yours. Rob suggests that that is his job. What? More blubbing, more tears? sneers Bruce. Better than trying to bully the court into convicting Helen. Rob says, before apologising to his dad for talking to him like this.  It used to be that what happened between a man and his wife was their business - I despair of this country says Bruce, leaving us to wonder whether there is a room at chez Titchener (senior) with whips and manacles on the wall.

As we approach the end, JB drops his bombshell - during the adjournment, a juror was caught tweeting about the trial and the Judge has decided to halt the trial. What does it mean? When will it start again? asks Rob. JBs answer made my - and I bet countless millions of others blood run cold - To be perfectly frank, I cant guarantee that it will he tells them.

I tell you now - after the graft that Neil and I have put in this week, it bloody well better do (unless they decide to save time and take Rob out and shoot him, of course) as we cannot sit through another week of evidence and legal arguments and do another week of daily blogs. Lets find out where the writers live and all go and give them a not-too-friendly word of advice.


  1. Well I for one salute you and thank you for this! Although if this trial carries on like this I concede that the usual weekly bulletin will be enough.

  2. I listen to every minute of The Archers and still thoroughly appreciate the sterling job that you're doing!
    Discuss - does Shula possess any common sense/backbone whatsoever at the moment or is she just too busy being lined up as the next disaster story main character?
    I agree about the 'whispering' (more like full-blown yelling for almost all concerned) in the gallery - while some exposition of the court proceedings is required, the fact that they haven't all been summarily ejected is startling, bloody Pat can go and spend some quality time with Bruce in a cell somewhere as far as I'm concerned!

  3. As Sally168 wrote, you are doing a sterling job indeed and your hard work is greatly appreciated. I stopped listening for many years but thanks to your posts I have picked up again, at least for the trial. Afterwards I'm sure your synopses will suffice, I'm sure.
    We have a small group of old Archers fans over on Google+ and I share your posts there as many no longer listen but are sometimes interested to catch up.
    Thanks for these posts.

  4. As Sally168 wrote, you are doing a sterling job indeed and your hard work is greatly appreciated. I stopped listening for many years but thanks to your posts I have picked up again, at least for the trial. Afterwards I'm sure your synopses will suffice, I'm sure.
    We have a small group of old Archers fans over on Google+ and I share your posts there as many no longer listen but are sometimes interested to catch up.
    Thanks for these posts.

  5. I fully sympathize with your sentiment. In my opinion it would have been better to end the week on a high note with a verdict rather than waste time with this silly 'twitter' side-line which added nothing to the story and only contributed to spread the trial a little thinner. A whole week of The Archers devoted to the trial would have been more than enough for most of us, and those listeners of the Omnibus broadcast who live on Mars will have to wait another full week before knowing the verdict. I must add that I failed to be impressed by Anna's performance in Helen's defense, but I guess that's because I gained my experience of trials by watching TV or reading Rumpole and Grisham rather than by attending real trials.

    A huge thank you to the witty pair of writers of this blog for having raised to the challenge and treated us to a very comprehensive daily special for a whole week. I am sure that I speak for every reader of this blog when I say that it has made the whole experience so much better for all of us. Hopefully you won't need a 3 months break to recover from this marathon! - zoe

  6. I have found this trial itself a trial to listen to. I just want to get hold of Pat and give her a good slap...with a cricket bat. The woman is unbearable. Annas defence raises lots of questions the first is why nothing has been said about Robs need for sticks when there are plenty of witnesses to testify he attends cricket matches happily without them.
    I have a bad feeling though that this is going to be only the first part of a long saga and the writers intend dragging this out with further action against Rob or even worse.
    Tell me, the man who worked on the estate and when back home abroad and hes never been heard of again, is Rob involved?

  7. Again thank you so much for the blog. Can't wait fr the verdict tonight (hoping Nigel will reveal he isn't really dead but Rob has been keeping him locked up). Think Helen will be acquitted then Rob will be on trial, enter Charlie stage left to claim Adam, whose relationship with Ian has become rather strained.
    Is it just me or are all the children in the Archers really irritating? Henwy (aw wight daddy) has been testing my patience for a while now...

  8. Bruce and Ursula are lovely folks. They're worth ten of that bloody woman called Pat.Always bubbling and throwing her toys out of the pram.