David Aaronovitch is quite interesting about The Archers.
The thing with soaps is, everybody is interested in everybody else. In real life, I remember nosey neighbours used to be a nuisance; nowadays, they’re almost inconceivable: people don’t pop in for a cup of tea anymore – we all just stop in our own houses, watching telly, blogging maybe…
But the characters in soaps just love solving other peoples' problems. Partly, that’s the nature of drama; but it’s also why millions of people are soap-fans. It’s a sense of community which we’ve lost in reality. In Eastenders for example, almost everyone lives AND works within a few yards of each other. In London? It’s absurd; but dramatically, soap-operatically, that’s the appeal.
That’s why Owen had to walk. You can and should have a villain in a soap community. But not an unrepentant rapist. That would be too close to home. It’s a cheerless thought that in real life you might have one down the street. Luckily, he won’t be popping in for a cuppa.