The storyline of Helen and Rob Titchender has made The Archers officially more popular than Eastenders and Coronation Street this week. Well on social media, at least.
Millions tuned in and downloaded The Archers podcast on Sunday 3rd April to follow the attempted murder of Rob Titchner his wife, Helen Titchner (nee Archer). Avid listeners to The Archers were fully aware that something nasty was brewing between narcissistic Rob and his pregnant wife, whose confidence Rob has gradually eroded through a mix of mental and physical abuse. But it seems there’s nothing quite like a stabbing to grab the Great British Public’s attention; even those who have previously considered the program to be for the retired or farmers in tweed jackets.
According to statistics from the Telegraph, the show’s hashtag, #TheArchers, has been used on 101,831 occasions since March 5, compared to 63,554 for #EastEnders, 41,678 for #Emmerdale, and 28,446 for Coronation Street’s official hashtag, #Corrie In April alone, #TheArchers has had 41,637 mentions, nearly eight times as many as the television soaps.
A new type of listener
According to the London Metropolitan University, the average age of a listener to the Archers is 56. I’m not the average age of an Archers listener. Now 36, I started listening to the program at 25 when my first child was born, usually while I was washing up or cooking. I found the program easy listening, factually interesting and also enjoyed to imagine the characters and location of Ambridge. Whilst I’ve been able to convert a few people to the program, many of my peers still consider it to be for old people.
I’ve also been a big fan of the new storylines, despite some fans whining that the story was straying too far into the dramatic, and in some cases making them “lose the will to live” (bit dramatic, David).
But it seems the new type of listener to The Archers is younger that the 56 average and usually watches TV soaps, and it seems many are suddenly finding the idea of listening to a story and using their imagination to picture characters, scenes and locations, something very appealing.
Time will tell if these people continue to listen once the story returns to the hum-drum of Berts pogonias and David’s poor milk yields, but it’s fair to say that many new people have begun to consider The Archers as a genuinely interesting radio soap. Let’s hope people turn to this brilliant program and that The Archers officially more popular than Eastenders and Coronation Street is a story we keep on hearing.