Sexing Up Ambridge

Up Ambridge way. There was a minor media storm earlier in the month as to the BBC being told not to turn the Archers into a rural East Enders. I do not listen to The Archers and so this was somewhat of a non-event for me. It was therefore to my surprise when I came back from court one day to find an email from colleague as to a legal issue in The Archers which was the cause of much debate. I was informed that a character in The Archers was being pursued for maintenance from the Child Support Agency although said character was convinced that the child was not his. My colleague, displaying a rather deceitful streak in her character, wondered what would happen if the putative father got someone else to take the DNA test for him? Setting my colleagues mind at rest I explained that firstly (being a bit of a pedant) the CSA no longer exists and has been replaced by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS). If a purported father disputes paternity then the CMS can make arrangements for DNA testing. Both parents need to agree to the test, and why not if the man wants to prove that he isn't the father and the mother wants to be proved right. The CMS have a number of accredited companies who will carry out the test. The cost is about £250.00; the fee needs to be paid upfront by the purported father and will be reimbursed to him if he is found not to be the parent. But what about the issue of a potential fraud? The person named as the parent must choose a doctor to carry out the test, the testing kit is sent to the doctor, it is the doctor who takes the sample and sends it back to the testing company. Crucially, the doctor will also take evidence of the identity of the person being tested. It has indeed been known to happen that a putative father has sent a friend to the doctors with fake ID. The test would of course come back negative but when challenged and the doctor is asked to produce a copy of the ID, then the truth will be discovered. But what about The Archers? Well my colleague has a theory - SPOILER ALERT - Rob has been named at the father, he caught Adam (who is about to convert his civil partnership into a same sex marriage), with someone other than his civil partner. Adam and Rob are about the same age and my colleague believes that Rob will blackmail Adam to take the test for him. To be continued ½..

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