The Archers: Elizabeth: Depression
In 2019, BBC Radio 4’s The Archers dedicated an entire episode to character Elizabeth Pargetter receiving therapy for the first time. Elizabeth (played by Alison Dowling) has depression and the special single-scene episode follows her as she finally recognises that she needs support. During the week the episode aired, BBC Audience data showed that The Archers was the “most appreciated” show on BBC Radio. The Archers team also set up an Action Line to support listeners affected by her story. 1,700 people called the action line when the episode was on air.
Elizabeth storyline moved The Archers’ audience with the authentic and realistic depiction of what it feels like to seek help for the first time. The therapy episode was a key moment in this long-running story, made even more special by featuring such a popular and loved character.
Lucy shares her thoughts
Lucy is Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing at the Film and TV Charity. She previously worked for the Mind Media Advisory Service for a number of years where she provided advice to programme makers on how to portray mental health sensitively and accurately. We asked Lucy to share her thoughts on what it was like working with The Archers on Elizabeth’s story.
“We hope that our listeners can relate to the storylines and that the experience of hearing other people is useful for them and that they are encouraged to find out more, or seek help if that’s what they need.”
Jeremy shares his thoughts
Jeremy is the Editor of The Archers. We asked him to tell us what it was like to work on the episode and why depicting mental health stories on the show is important.