In this chapter, we consider how the character of Rob Titchener has been developed in The Archers, moving him from hero of the hour to villain of the piece. We draw on a critical disability studies’ perspective to argue that ability and disability have been crucial in turning the character of Rob from the desirable and attractive man who first arrived in the village into a national hate figure, despised by all. We begin this analysis by introducing critical disability studies and studies of ableism as fields of academic inquiry. We then draw on these resources to offer an analysis of the ways in which ability and disability were used as a narrative device to develop Rob’s character. We question the ways in which ability and disability are used to denote ‘good’ and ‘evil’ in the development of characters in cultural texts like The Archers, and end with a plea to scriptwriters to engage differently with dis/ability and to consider the impact of the stories we tell on the everyday lives of disabled people.
Runswick-Cole, K. and Wood, R. (2017), "Bag of the Devil: The Disablement of Rob Titchener", Courage, C. and Headlam, N. (Ed.) Custard, Culverts and Cake, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 329-343. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78743-285-720171027
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