Archers addicts everywhere: Henry needs to be told

Once again my apologies to readers outside the UK.  This blog is going to be about The Archers, a very annoying but to me rather addictive radio soap about people living in a fictitious village in the middle of England.  Although important things like Brexit rarely get mentioned, all sorts of domestic dilemmas do.  We have had deaths of various sorts, domestic abuse, numerous infidelities, gambling addiction, gay marriage and now surrogacy.  Chef Ian and farmer Adam, having weathered many difficulties in their relationship and now married, are contemplating having a child.  First of all it was by adoption but Ian, having been reminded by solo mum by sperm donation Helen, that he always wanted a baby of his own, is now thinking that surrogacy might be the answer.  On Sunday Ian announced that he had been in touch with a wonderful organisation that holds events all around the country.  This group is clearly modelled on Surrogacy UK and it is great that the couple seem to be keen on doing their surrogacy in the UK (for now anyway).  This is all fine and lovely BUT…

What about Helen and her son Henry who will be eight in January.  Now that husband Rob is well and truly out of the picture (long, long story involving coercive control and a stabbing) isn’t it about time Helen started to explain to Henry about his beginnings.  Does he tell children at school that his dad (he called Rob, who had parental responsibility ‘Dad’) has gone away; why does Helen allow Henry to continue to think that he is biologically linked to horrid Rob?  Of course his brother Jack is (Rob raped Helen) but Henry deserves to be told the truth and with the support of family all around him, could manage it.

Like Ian and Adam, Helen could turn to an organisation set up for families just like hers. The Donor Conception Network exists to give support and guidance to ALL families by donor conception.  She could even come to a Telling and Talking workshop or at least buy the Our Story book and Telling and Talking booklet, although with Henry’s age she would probably need both 0 – 7 and 8 – 11.

Dear UK readers, would you consider joining DC Network by emailing the BBC, tweeting or writing on the Archers blog about the failure of the scriptwriters to take on the the ‘telling’ of Henry?  It’s setting a very bad example by not doing so.

Update at 17th October:  It appears Henry may have been told already!  In a very recent instalment when Adam was explaining to him how it might be possible for two men to have a baby and spoke about the many different ways families could be made…Henry said, “Like the way my mummy had me”.  So the scriptwriters have got away with making it no big deal when putting a focus on the ‘telling’ could have been such wonderful publicity for the value of ‘telling’.  Shame.


About oliviasview

Co-founder and now Practice Consultant at Donor Conception Network. Mother to two donor conceived adults and a son conceived without help in my first marriage.
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2 Responses to Archers addicts everywhere: Henry needs to be told

  1. polly says:

    Oh Olivia! if only we had The Archers here in Oz!! Am delighted to hear that issues surrounding ART are being shared through mainstream entertainment outlets in UK.
    Hopefully this will help listeners to have an informed understanding of DC/surrogacy; the unimagined repercussions rather than ‘romanticised’ perceptions of alternative families.

  2. Lucia Grounds says:

    Sadly Polly ‘The Archers’ is doing exactly the opposite. Failing to realistically reflect donor conception and surrogacy, making adoption seem like just too much trouble. It is immensely frustrating, although I have to keep reminding myself that this is a soap opera and dramatic story and effect always trump realism or in depth reflection of issues …..’sigh’ !

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