Isolated flashes of competence


How is it that Helen is so well written, with her batshittery subtly conveyed and consistent with her previous modus operandi…

…and hardly anyone else is?

She has been on stonking form recently. Poor bluddy Lee. Not that I take to him at all, you understand


I s’pose maybe it is easier to write someone being nasty than anyone being nice? That would explain why there isn’t a single character in TA who doesn’t behave unpleasantly, these days.


No that’s not it. Others may be written as unpleasant but they are not being written particularly well. imo.


Perhaps it’s because the other unpleasant characters lapse into caricature whereas Helen is all too believable.

Another thing, there is a section of the audience that believes that since Helen has suffered abuse, she must be deserving of happiness now. Afraid of attracting the wrath of those who believe abused women can do no wrong, I think the writer - it’s been Keri Davies these last two weeks - leaves it just possible for those who espouse that view to interpret her absolutely unreasonable and extraordinarily selfish and manipulative treatment of Lee as merely an expression of her understandable diffidence in starting another relationship after ‘all she’s been through’. Of course, there was nothing diffident about the way she stalked him at The Laurels.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a party line at the BBC regarding how Helen is written. Lynda and Susan are fair game but Helen must not be caricatured.


But then I doubt whether it would be permissible to have her being stalkerish either. Because, you know, all women stupid enough to remain entangled with a Rob while living in an area thoroughly infested by their own family and friends are Blameless, Innocent Victims, dammit.


We are supposed to sympathise with Helen’s mental health issues, aren’t we, so can’t she be allowed to be just a bit stalky? After all she’s been through?

I do differ slightly from your view that she could easily have left Rob because she was surrounded by family. What little sanity she had, had been undermined by meeting for the first time in her life someone who was more controlling than she was and being fool enough to marry him. After they were married, she wasn’t physically trapped - even without her car she could have decamped to Bridge Farm - but he was controlling her little by litle. Once she was in the state she was in, it wasn’t as simple as ‘why don’t you leave him?’

Mind you, her own pride and stubbornness contributed greatly to her downfall. She had been so vile to her family about Rob - from very early on when she had no idea what he was like - and so boastful when things seemed to be going well, bragging to all and sundry about the MBS and saying ‘Rob adores me’. No wonder she wouldn’t ask for help. Indeed, she turned viciously on Pat and on Kirsty when they expressed concern.


This. If she weren’t the way she is, she could have got out at an early stage. Which would of course have been a bit of a disappointment
Dearie me, how unsympathetic and unsisterly of me.

In Private Lives terms, she is a gong.


It’s a pattern which has happened in the real world, though usually AFAICT it ends with the victim either getting help or being killed. The bit which really broke my disbelief-suspenders was her attack on him.


… & that, given the evidence as it stood, that she got off it. Even with the ‘critical’ (&, frankly, unlikely) evidence from Jess she’d still have been found guilty.

Not least because she WAS guilty !


I wondered about that.

Is provocation (“he provoked me”) a defence, in English law?


If I were on the jury and heard her testimony backed up by Jess’s, I think I would have believed her and found her not guilty because she was defending herself. I’d reason that a man who would force a knife into your hand and tell you to kill yourself was capable of doing the job for you if you didn’t comply. And there was the brat who erupted onto the scene, a further indication that she was defending said brat as well as herself (remember, she’d do ‘anything’ for her boys).

And as a fly on the wall on Stab Night, I also think she had sufficient reason from what I heard to fear for her and Henwee. Doesn’t mean she wasn’t a blind fool to plan the ‘civilised’ conversation and the tuna bake. And why didn’t she call the ambulance?


I don’t think so, Fanta. It would be a mitigating factor that would affect the sentence. But her plea of self-defence was a complete defence, hence the not guilty verdict.


That would have been the bit which made me have serious doubts about the accidental nature of it all, JJ. Maybe she stabbed him because she was “in fear of her life” or “defending her child” – but she then left him on the floor to die. That was not denied, as far as I know.


No, it was explained by her being in shock. Well, there was a shocking amount of blood and custard on the floor. Have you any idea how long it took Ursula to get it out of the grouting?


A couple of weeks, was’t it?


[quote=“Fanta, post:10, topic:1496”]Is provocation (“he provoked me”) a defence, in English law?

Not generally, though there’s a case from Surrey going through appeal right now.

One thing to show is whether you had options & why you hadn’t fled.


Ah well; the only person who knew that Helen had set it all up and kept her child in the house was Kirsty, who wasn’t about to volunteer that information.


Proportionality of response is important. The initial stab could probably be got away with; the behaviour afterwards, rather less so.


Good point, but in all the legal talk there was some mention of the response not having to be judged to a nicety or something like that. Ah, here we go:

“If there has been an attack so that defence is reasonably necessary, it will be recognised that a person defending himself cannot weigh to a nicety the exact measure of his defensive action. If the jury thought that in a moment of unexpected anguish a person attacked had only done what he honestly and instinctively thought necessary that would be the most potent evidence that only reasonable defensive action had been taken…”

Self Defence in English Law


Absolutely – in the heat of the moment. It’s the sitting there weeping rather than doing anything about the situation afterwards that would be the problem. (“I just stabbed my husband because he was attacking me, help, send an ambulance” would probably have been just fine.)