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Mind the Archers

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Crippled Monkey | 00:00 UK time, Thursday, 26 May 2005

A big shout out for our colleagues over at BBC Radio 4 (where they probably don't use phrases like "a big shout out", but never mind), where the long-running soap The Archers has won the Champion of the Year award for 2005, which is given by the mental health charity Mind for the person or group making the biggest contribution to challenging the stigma surrounding mental health problems. Storylines praised by the charity included Helen Archer's eating disorder and gamekeeper Greg Turner's depression.

It's not the first time that The Archers has won plaudits for its mental health portrayals, either. Last year, the Greg Turner storyline scooped the Soap and Drama Series category prize at the Mental Health Media Awards. Not being an Archers listener myself, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on how the series tackles the subject.


  • 1.
  • At 12:00 AM on 26 May 2005, D H Kelly wrote:

The Archers is great for covering illness of all variety because when someone gets sick, it goes on for months or even years - just like in real life. Currently they have a dementia story-line which has been brewing subtly up for over a year. They've also covered conditions such as breast cancer and juventile arthritis in a similar, long-term way. Sometimes, as with the farming info, they wear their research on their sleeve and well, it is a radio soap about everyday country folk, it's hardly Chekov. But TV soaps would do well to learn from their methods when it comes to mental and physical illness. It's drama without melodrama, the way it is in real life.

  • 2.
  • At 12:00 AM on 27 May 2005, Jenny wrote:

Yes, their storylines surrounding various illnesses have always been well researched and sensitively handled. I was amazed and impressed when the story about Juvenile Arthritis began, as I was first diagnosed with it when I was four. It is such a relief that the characters affected by illnesses aren't just suddenly cured or overcome their difficulties by willpower alone. I'm so sick of programmes that infer that people are only ill because they choose to be! Congratulations to the cast and crew of The Archers!

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