Eastenders

 Eastenders TV programme complaints



25th January
2008
  

Cutting Edge Television...

Complaints about EastEnders over knife attack

EastEnders logo More than 200 viewers have complained over an EastEnders episode this week that featured a violent knife attack on a 13-year-old boy.

Tuesday night's edition, which aired on BBC1 at 7.30pm, saw character Jay Brown lured into a football game where he was stabbed by a gang of youths.

At least 200 people have since complained to the BBC, while a further seven contacted media regulator Ofcom.

A BBC spokeswoman defended the storyline, saying it did not glamorise the use of knives: EastEnders has always tackled difficult issues and we acknowledge that some viewers could consider this storyline challenging.

However, we aim to reflect real issues and during this storyline the audience will see Jay's torment through to him deciding not to yield to peer pressure like his father did many years ago. This is part of a long-running storyline that in no way glamorises the use of knives, or portrays violence in a positive light.

 

26th February
2008
  

Update: Turning Very Ugly at the Vic...


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Ofcom whinge at EastEnders

EastEnders logo Ofcom has criticised an episode of EastEnders in which a pregnant woman went into premature labour after a gang attacked the Queen Vic pub.

The media regulator said the BBC1 soap breached broadcasting regulations with a sustained, intense and high level of violence that was inappropriate for a pre-watershed programme.

Ofcom, which received 78 complaints about the episode, rejected the BBC's defence that viewers had been warned about the scene by an on-air announcement immediately before the show.

At the start of the episode the channel's continuity announcer told viewers: And first a powerful EastEnders as a peaceful night is shattered. Things are about to turn very ugly at the Vic.

The BBC said the high level of complaints was down to viewers' fears that Honey had lost her baby, rather than the violent scenes themselves.

But Ofcom said that only 13 out of the 78 complaints about the episode had referred to Honey's baby.

Although EastEnders is not made specifically for children it does attract a significant child audience, and any portrayal of violence needs to be carefully considered, the regulator added.

The programme started with the gang attack on the Queen Vic. This involved a sustained, intense and high level of violence, destroying parts of the pub with hammers and bottles and glasses smashing into the furniture, to intimidate the locals, some of whom were injured.

Regular viewers of EastEnders are aware that this soap deals, on occasions, with tough social issues. This is balanced, however, with the expectation that it will be suitable for children to view, who form a significant minority of the audience.

 

24th March
2008
  

Update: Buried by Complaints...


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EastEnders gets noticed over burial alive scene

EastEnders A scene in BBC One soap EastEnders which showed a character being buried alive has prompted 167 complaints.

The episode, shown at 8pm on Friday night, showed character Max Branning being buried alive in a coffin by his wife and her lover.

Viewers complained that it should not have been shown before the 9pm watershed because children could find it disturbing.

The BBC said the number of complaints was proportionately small. EastEnders is known for its dramatic and gripping storylines and, from a total audience of 10 million, the number of complaints is relatively small, a spokeswoman said.

In the episode, viewers saw Max's wife, Tanya, spike his drink, causing him to collapse. She and her lover, Sean Slater, then drove Max to woodland where they buried him alive in a coffin.

 

26th March
2008
  

Update: Buried by Apologies...

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BBC apologise about man buried alive in EastEnders

EastEnders The BBC has apologised to viewers for a Good Friday edition of EastEnders in which a character was apparently buried alive in a coffin. The broadcaster did not wait for the TV censor Ofcom to investigate the programme, which sparked 167 complaints.

Viewers said the scenes of philanderer Max Branning being placed unconscious into a coffin by his wife Tanya and her lover, were inappropriate for a pre-watershed programme watched by families.

The BBC said: The burial is in no way glamorised or glorified, rather we see that when pushed to the edge, Tanya’s behaviour becomes out of character, and indeed that it’s Tanya herself who ultimately suffers because of her actions. Once again we are sorry that you did not enjoy these episodes.

The scenes were carefully filmed and edited in order that Max’s ordeal was in the main implicit, rather than explicit, whilst still retaining their powerfulness. The character ultimately escaped alive.

 

13th May
2008
  

Buried under Complaints...

BBC watchdog has a whinge at Eastenders

Eastenders logoEastenders scenes in which a love-cheat was drugged and buried alive by his wife have been criticised by the BBC's complaints unit.

The corporation's internal watchdog said the storyline involving the characters Max and Tanya Branning caused unintentional upset among a segment of the audience.

The BBC had previously defended the Easter holiday episodes after they prompted more than 150 complaints.

They claimed they had taken "great care" to flag up the nature of the episode before it was broadcast.

Regulator Ofcom is investigating the shows, in which Max was eventually let out, after 118 viewers complained.

 

24th June
2008
  

Update: Buried by Complaints...

Ofcom whinge at the burial alive in EastEnders

Eastenders An EastEnders storyline which involved a live burial has been ruled "offensive" by Ofcom.

The TV censor received 116 complaints from viewers who thought the scenes, featuring character Max Branning, were "unsuitable" for the time of broadcast.

The BBC said the storyline, aired in March, was crafted in a "responsible manner" and took into account any pre-watershed audience "sensitivity". But Ofcom has ruled that the BBC was in breach of its rules.

'The BBC noted that the two episodes involved "no explicit violence" and the lead up to the burial scenes were "carefully paced with several indications of the direction of the storyline offered". However, the Corporation admitted more than 600 complaints had been made following two pre-watershed episodes which saw Branning drugged, put into a coffin and buried alive by his wife, Tanya.

Ofcom said the scenes of the burial alive had a seriously disturbing element to them. Overall the storyline and its treatment had more in common with a dark psychological thriller than a pre-watershed drama. Further, in our view, the information supplied at the start of the programmes did not adequately prepare viewers for the extent of the distressing scenes that followed. For the reasons already stated the scenes of Max being buried alive were offensive and not justified by the context.

 

30th August
2008
  

Update: Sick of Whingers...

Another episode of EastEnders winds up the complainers

Eastenders The BBC has defended violent scenes in EastEnders following complaints from viewers.

The episode saw the death of character Jase Dyer, played by Stephen Lord, with one viewer complaining that his wife was "physically sick" while his 13-year-old son was reduced to tears.

While we acknowledge that this was a particularly dramatic episode, we were very careful to make sure that any actual violence was implied rather than explicit, and it was made clear from the outset that Jase's life was in serious jeopardy,
said the BBC on its complaints website.

We do appreciate that some viewers found the images of Jase's dead body uncomfortable; however, in trying to fully convey Jay's loss and depth of emotion, we felt it was necessary for viewers to see what he was seeing.

EastEnders was also criticised by Ofcom for an episode in February featuring a gang attacking the Queen Vic pub, during which one of the characters went into labour.

The corporation published a response today following complaints from viewers that the episode "contained too much violence".

This was the climax of a long-running story involving Jase and his former 'firm', and we believe this was the outcome that many viewers would have been anticipating in the context of this storyline, the BBC said.

While issues of violence and knife crime may be in the news currently, they were not glamorised or glorified in any way within this episode. Rather, we saw the devastating consequences of such actions and the clear message was that crime does not pay.

Update: 130

31st August 2008

Around 130 people are reported to have complained.

 

17th September
2008
  

Update: EastEnderophiles...

Latest story line gets the complainers writing

Eastenders The Scenes of a paedophile preying on a teenager in pre-watershed soap EastEnders has led to scores of complaints.

Viewers have hit out at what has been dubbed the most controversial story-line on the show ever, featuring a man's relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

Viewers were introduced to new expendable character Tony, boyfriend of Bianca, who has just been released from prison.

The character of Tony King, will abuse his stepdaughter Whitney Dean in a new EastEnders plot. But his character is shown have a romantic relationship with schoolgirl Whitney, who is the step-daughter of Bianca.

Tony has been shown kissing the girl passionately after sneaking into her bedroom while his girlfriend was in the bath on Friday night's episode.

The programme depicts the girl's character as a willing participant in the romance, something which has also upset some viewers.

There have already been almost 70 complaints to the BBC and Ofcom and the storyline has only just been introduced on the long-running soap.

One said: 'I am totally disturbed by tonight's episode...I can barely talk. The storyline with Whitney & Tony is terrible. I am aware this type of abuse is going on in some homes but is this really the only way to get the message across.

Another added: I too find this quite distasteful for a programme scheduled in the early evening...I watch soaps for enjoyment, not for public service messages.

The BBC said the episodes had been incredibly carefully thought through and that the broadcaster had worked with the NSPCC on the storyline.

Update: More

18th September 2008

The BBC has now received 138 complaints and Ofcom 27 about the storyline.

Update: Even More

19th September 2008

More than 200 complaints have been lodged with the BBC and Ofcom

 

3rd October
2008
  

Update: Snack Attack...

Whinges about treatment of Ramadan in EastEnders

Eastenders The BBC has received around 110 complaints over EastEnders' treatment of the Muslim festival of Ramadan.

The September 11 episode of the soap saw Masood Ahmed (Nitin Ganatra) snacking on a chapatti during daylight hours behind his market stall 'Masala Masood'.

When confronted by Jane Beale (Laurie Brett), Masood branded himself a bad person , before going to on explain how difficult he is finding fasting when he's selling food all day.

The BBC has defended the scene, which sparked complaints from viewers, and has issued a statement. It said: We would like to assure viewers it was not our intention to insult Muslim or Islamic values.

Within shows such as EastEnders we try to treat our characters as individuals with their own sets of behaviours and opinions, regardless of their religion, race or sexuality and, as in real life, they do not always strictly follow all the laws, traditions and customs of their religions.


Although Masood is a practising Muslim, he has his own fallibilities as a human being. Our intention was never to focus primarily on the religion, but on the character's ability to meet the standards he aspires to in life.

 

10th October
2008
  

Update: Kiss and Make Up...

BBC dismiss complaints about EastEnders gay kiss

Eastenders More than 150 people who complained after two gay men kissed on BBC soap EastEnders have been told by the corporation that they treat gay and straight relationships in the same way.

Christian Clarke (John Partridge) and his new boyfriend Lee Thompson (Carl Ferguson) kissed on bench in Albert Square's gardens during Tuesday night's episode.

They were spotted by Christian character Dot Cotton (June Brown) who commented: the Lord's not the only one with eyes.

In response to 145 complaints, some about the fact that the kiss had been shown before the watershed, the BBC said: EastEnders aims to reflect real life, and this means including and telling stories about characters from many different backgrounds, faiths, religions and sexualities. We approach our portrayal of homosexual relationships in the same way as we do heterosexual relationships. In this instance, Christian is enjoying the first flush of romance and we've shown him being affectionate with his new boyfriend in the same way any couple would. We also aim to ensure that depictions of affection or sexuality between couples are suitable for pre-watershed viewing. We believe that the general tone and content of EastEnders is now widely recognised, meaning that parents can make an informed decision as to whether they want their children to watch.

 

25th November
2008
  

Update: Whingers Stabbed in the Back...

Ofcom rejects complaints about EastEnders stabbing

Eastenders logo An EastEnders episode that featured a violent stabbing was acceptable for a pre-watershed audience, Ofcom has ruled.

The TV censor has rejected 45 complaints that an episode of the BBC1 soap broadcast on 28 August was too violent.

The episode featured the death of ex-football hooligan Jase Dyer, who was stabbed in the chest by his former gang leader Terry Bates.

The BBC itself received 134 complaints from viewers but defended the scenes on the grounds that the violence was implied rather than explicit.

 

5th April
2009
  

Update: EastEnders Rundown...

Whinges about a car accident in EastEnders

Eastenders logo 'Shocked' viewers have complained to the TV censor after a 'violent' EastEnders special.

Now Ofcom have launched a probe into Thursday's hour-long episode. The latest instalment ended in the shock death of Archie's estranged grand-daughter Danielle Jones, played by Lauren Crace, when she was run over by Albert Square bad girl Janine Butcher.

Danielle was then seen dying in the arms of her mother Ronnie Mitchell, played by Samantha Janus, just minutes after telling her she was her daughter.

Ofcom confirmed they had received complaints about the violent content and the fact the show was aired before the 9pm watershed. A spokesman said: The complaints were mostly about the violent nature of the show and the horrific death at the end. It was broadcast before the 9pm watershed cut-off, so we're looking into complaints about that too.

 

14th October
2009
  

Update: Buried Alive by Complaints...

BBC is to research the level of violence in its programmes

Eastenders Annual 2009 Tim Randall BBC management is to conduct a study into the level of violence in its programmes after 'concerns' were raised by the BBC Trust and viewers about an EastEnders storyline that showed a character being buried alive.

Speaking at a Westminster Media Forum seminar in London on offence and standards on television, the BBC director of editorial policy, David Jordan, said that the issue of violence on TV was second in importance only to swearing for viewers: We thought we might be detecting a greater sensitivity to the threat of violence and being scared, Jordan added. There was a particular episode of EastEnders where someone was buried alive. Nobody was hurt. Nobody was brutalised, but somebody was buried alive.

He was referring to two EastEnders episodes screened on BBC1 over the Easter weekend last year in which a philandering character, Max Branning, was buried alive by his estranged wife, Tanya.

Jordan said that both the BBC Trust and Ofcom had noticed this trend for viewers to have a lower tolerance threshold for TV violence: We thought we should have a look at what levels of violence are acceptable but also in news programmes too to see what is expected. Do you sanitise things ... it's not something we've looked at for a while .

Jordan said he expected the research into violence to be carried out by the end of the year.

Channel 4's viewers' editor, Paula Carter, revealed at the same event that complaints to the broadcaster are falling. The number of complaints made to Channel 4 is declining. In the year so far they are 20% down, Carter said. She explained that the main reason is because of the declining popularity of reality show Big Brother.

Carter also revealed that of about 200,000 to 250,000 calls or emails made to Channel 4 in a year, only about 10% are complaints about issues of strong language: Our biggest single issue is in fact scheduling ... If people feel we didn't deliver a programme at the time expected, .

 

14th July
2010
  

Update: Twisted Version of the Christian Faith...

Eastenders winds up the nutters with a crazed killer preacher storyline

lucas johnson Hundreds of angry Christians have blasted the BBC over the storyline in long-running soap, Eastenders , which sees Pentecostal preacher Lucas Johnson turn into a crazed killer.

Viewers have complained that the plot is offensive to their faith, with others questioning whether the channel would air a similar storyline with a Muslim cleric.

They story has seen devout Lucas fail to help dying ex-wife Trina, strangle love rival Owen to death and most recently, murder his wife, Denise after confessing all transgressions to her.

A BBC spokesman has called the plot challenging but said: There's no suggestion Lucas' behaviour is connected to those of the Christian faith. The BBC said on it's website: Lucas is a very damaged and dangerous individual who has created a twisted version of the Christian 'faith' in his mind.

 

22nd July
2010
  

Update: Qur'an Slammed on EastEnders...

With predictable whinges from the easily offended

Eastenders logoThe BBC have defended an episode of EastEnders following complaints from viewers who said they were upset by a scene in which a Muslim character slammed down a copy of the Qur'an.

The gay character of Syed Masood, played by Marc Elliott had been struggling with his love for Christian Clarke (John Partridge) in the face of disapproval from his devout family. He dropped the religious text in frustration during the episode, screened earlier this week,

The BBC said yesterday that it had not intended to cause offence, but merely to demonstrate Syed's utter confusion .

 

14th August
2010
  

Update: A Crack at EastEnders...

350 complaints about a drug related story line

Eastenders Mitchells Naked Truths VHS Hundreds of viewers have complained to the BBC about scenes featuring EastEnder Phil Mitchell using crack cocaine which were shown before the watershed.

The plotline has the character, depressed after his family broke up, bingeing on the class-A drug.

Viewers saw Mitchell surrounded by litter in a smoky room, clutching a whisky bottle. Obviously high and drunk, he asked a friend for another pipe , while in a later scene he was accused of being off his head on crack .

The troubled character, played by actor Steve McFadden, goes wild on a crack binge with fellow drug addict Rainie Cross (Tanya Franks) after losing custody of his daughter Louise.

More than 350 people made formal complaints about the half-hour episode which went out at 8pm, while scores more inundated online message boards to voice their 'disgust.' Critics said scenes showing drugs and drug paraphernalia were not appropriate before the watershed, when there could be children watching.

A spokesman for the show said: EastEnders has a history of tackling social issues. 'We are working closely with drug and alcohol charities, including Addaction and DrugScope, to make sure that we sensitively reflect this difficult issue.

The episodes do not in any way glamorise or encourage the use of drugs and details of a BBC helpline were provided at the end of the episode for any viewers affected by the issue.

Such storylines can really help in promoting an understanding about drugs and the problems they cause. In no way is it a glamorous portrayal. Instead, it shows the damage drug use can have on a person, their family and their friends.'

 

8th January
2011
  

Updated: Moon Baby...

3400 complaints about baby stealing plot in EastEnders

eastenders whinge bookAround 3,400 viewers have complained to the BBC about an EastEnders storyline involving cot death and a baby swap.

In an episode on New Year's Eve, Ronnie Branning swapped her deceased baby for the new born son of Kat Moon.

Complainants have branded the hard-hitting plotline insensitive , irresponsible and desperate . The complaints have been received since the storyline was revealed in November.

One midwife described it as so far from realism it will be the last time I will watch this programme.

EastEnders executive producer, Bryan Kirkwood, said: We appreciate this is a challenging storyline and have taken care to ensure viewers were aware of the content in advance of transmission.

Update: Ofcom Unimpressed

7th January 2011. See  article from  digitalspy.co.uk

Ofcom has confirmed that it is unlikely to launch an official investigation into EastEnders ' baby swap storyline.

According to the Daily Mail, the TV censor Ofcom has so far received 374 complaints.

However, a spokesperson for Ofcom said: We assess whether programmes have gone against the Broadcasting Code. At the moment, we don't think that's the case. The clause it might go against would be 'general harm and offence'. The representative added that Ofcom will wait until the storyline is over before making a final decision over whether action will be taken.

Meanwhile the Independent notes that more than 6,000 EastEnders complaints have now been logged with the BBC.

Update: Gone Soft

8th January 2011. See  article from  mirror.co.uk
See also article from  secure.wikimedia.org

BBC logoEastEnders bosses are to end the cot death storyline on a tender note to avoid distressing easily distressed viewers.

With complaints to the BBC standing at 8,400 – the most in the show's 25-year history – scriptwriters will make the conclusion soft and emotional .

 

10th January
2011
  

Updated: Moon Baby...

3400 complaints about baby stealing plot in EastEnders

eastenders whinge bookAround 3,400 viewers have complained to the BBC about an EastEnders storyline involving cot death and a baby swap.

In an episode on New Year's Eve, Ronnie Branning swapped her deceased baby for the new born son of Kat Moon.

Complainants have branded the hard-hitting plotline insensitive , irresponsible and desperate . The complaints have been received since the storyline was revealed in November.

One midwife described it as so far from realism it will be the last time I will watch this programme.

EastEnders executive producer, Bryan Kirkwood, said: We appreciate this is a challenging storyline and have taken care to ensure viewers were aware of the content in advance of transmission.

Update: Ofcom Unimpressed

7th January 2011. See  article from  digitalspy.co.uk

Ofcom has confirmed that it is unlikely to launch an official investigation into EastEnders ' baby swap storyline.

According to the Daily Mail, the TV censor Ofcom has so far received 374 complaints.

However, a spokesperson for Ofcom said: We assess whether programmes have gone against the Broadcasting Code. At the moment, we don't think that's the case. The clause it might go against would be 'general harm and offence'. The representative added that Ofcom will wait until the storyline is over before making a final decision over whether action will be taken.

Meanwhile the Independent notes that more than 6,000 EastEnders complaints have now been logged with the BBC.

Update: Gone Soft

8th January 2011. See  article from  mirror.co.uk
See also article from  secure.wikimedia.org

EastEnders bosses are to end the cot death storyline on a tender note to avoid distressing easily distressed viewers.

With complaints to the BBC standing at 8,400 – the most in the show's 25-year history – scriptwriters will make the conclusion soft and emotional .

Update: BBC response to complaints

10th January 2011. See article from  bbc.co.uk

BBC logoWe appreciate this is a particularly emotive storyline and as with all such sensitive subject matters, we approached it with great care and attention, seeking guidance and advice from a number of experts in this field in order to ensure as realistic a portrayal as possible.

EastEnders has a long history of exploring difficult issues, and the storyline regarding Ronnie and Kat follows in this tradition.

We acknowledge that for some members of the audience this storyline will have particular resonance and significance, however we can assure viewers that it's not our intention to cause distress or upset, and we have ensured that key episodes are supported by the BBC Action Line in order for those affected by the storyline to be able to obtain information regarding sources of further help and advice.

It's important to note there is absolutely no inference that Ronnie's actions are in any way typical of a bereaved mother of a newborn baby. In her grief and desperation at the discovery that her much longed for baby has passed away, and finding herself in the exceptional circumstance of being alone with her neighbour's newborn son, Ronnie acted on impulse in the heat of the moment, without really knowing what she was doing, or considering the consequences or repercussions. On a wider sense, we were careful to select Ronnie, who we felt was the only character capable of acting in this way in a believable manner, following all the difficulties she's experienced in her life and the emotional toll this has put on her.

Over the coming weeks, we will see Ronnie and Kat each coming to terms with the loss of their babies, and explore how they re-build their lives in the wake of such tragedy. Viewers will see the situation resolve itself over the coming months.

We were careful to signal the nature of the content of the episodes to the audience in advance through publicity, programme billings, and continuity announcements.

 

14th June
2011
  

Update: Uncomfortable Viewing...

Viewers complain about EastEnders scene with two gay men chatting in bed

Eastenders Theme New Version 2009 An EastEnders episode that showed a gay couple apparently naked in bed has sparked an audience backlash.

At least 125 viewers complained that a scene featuring the characters Christian Clarke and Syed Masood was inappropriate for the show's pre-watershed slot.

The pair were lying in bed together, with no tops on, and bedclothes pulled up to their chests. The two characters, who are trying to adopt and are planning a civil ceremony, also shared a brief kiss.

They were seen joking about getting matching rings and not changing their names when they tie the knot. Syed was seen with his arm draped around his partner as they cuddled up in bed in the short scene.

Some viewers said the broadcast made for uncomfortable viewing and was guilty of confusing their kids .

In a statement, the BBC said it approached the portrayal of gay relationships in exactly the same way as it did heterosexual scenes and the scenes were suitable for pre-watershed viewing. It said it could not discriminate by treating gay characters differently to other people shown in the programme.

 

1st August
2011
  

Update: Handled with Kids Gloves...

Ofcom dismiss complaints about the New Year EastEnders storyline

Eastenders logo Eastenders
BBC 1
31 December 2010, 20:00, 1 January 2011, 20:30; and various episodes to 14 April 2011, 19:30

EastEnders is a long-running and well established drama with a record of tackling controversial and, at times, highly sensitive social issues.

Over two episodes, the character Ronnie Branning lost her new born son James to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome ( SIDS or cot death ). The programme showed the stunned Ronnie cradling her dead child in Albert Square as the New Year festivities went on around her. On being alerted to the sound of another new born baby boy crying in the Queen Vic pub, Ronnie entered the building and made her way to the crying baby, Tommy, who had just been born to the character Kat Moon. Ronnie then swapped her dead baby for Tommy. The episodes that followed explored the experience of the characters Kat and Alfie Moon, who believed it was their baby Tommy who had died of cot death, and Ronnie became withdrawn and tearful.

Ofcom received 1,044 complaints from viewers, most of which were received in the days following the episodes broadcast on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Complainants were concerned that the baby swap storyline was an inaccurate, insensitive and sensationalised portrayal of the behaviour of a mother who has lost a baby from cot death. Others commented that, in addition to the storyline being distressing and horrific particularly for those parents affected by SIDS, the scheduling of the broadcast was inappropriate, particularly given it was broadcast pre-watershed on New Year's Eve.

The storyline concluded in April 2011 when Ronnie could no longer cope with her actions and confessed to Kat and Alfie, returned baby Tommy to them and turned herself in to the police.

Ofcom considered the material with reference to Rule 2.3 of the Code:

In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by context ... Such material may include, but is not limited to, ... distress ... Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach

The main issue raised by the baby swap storyline, as referred to by complainants, was that the drama presented the baby swap in an offensive manner because it appeared to suggest that a mother who has suddenly and tragically lost a baby through cot death would react by stealing another baby to replace that loss. This was considered to have the potential to generate great distress. Any offence was potentially heightened not just by the time of the broadcast, which was pre- watershed, but also because it was scheduled on New Year's Eve. Ofcom acknowledged that the broadcast on New Year's Eve, when taken in isolation, was clearly capable of causing offence.

Ofcom went on to consider whether the material which had the potential to generate offence was justified by the context provided by the broadcaster. Ofcom first considered the character of Ronnie as depicted in the programme and whether the storyline did suggest that it was the loss of her baby alone that was critical in her motivation for swapping the baby. While Ofcom noted that this was the immediate shocking event that preceded the baby swap, there had also been a number of other events in the storyline leading up to her taking this action which arguably contributed to her behaviour. These included: her losing the daughter she had been forced to give up for adoption at 14, her desperation to have a baby and the tragedy she had experienced when she had miscarried, and the recent revelation of sexual abuse by her father. Ronnie's state of mind at the time of the swap was revealed in full to viewers in the episode following the handing back of baby Tommy to his mother Kat, when Ronnie talked to a police psychiatrist and discussed her personal history.

Whilst the loss of baby James was a catalyst, Ronnie's reaction was born out of extreme personal trauma in her life and not as the direct and sole consequence of losing her baby. It is Ofcom's view that the broadcaster did not intend the storyline to suggest that her actions were a typical response of a mother who had experienced SIDS and therefore sufficient editorial context was provided to viewers.

The BBC advised that the programme makers consulted the Foundation for the Study of Infant Death ( FSID ).

Ofcom considered that for the regular EastEnders audience, the storyline would not have exceeded their expectations given that the soap is known for presenting a range of challenging and, at times, controversial issues. For those less familiar with the programme it is Ofcom's view that the publicity surrounding the storyline and the guidance provided by the broadcaster before the start of the programme would have provided additional context thereby limiting the degree of offence likely to be caused by the baby swap storyline.

Ofcom concluded that the broadcaster provided sufficient context overall to justify the potential offence. Consequently, there was no breach of Rule 2.3.

 

 Update: Polarised Opinion...

BBC answer whinges about EastEnders story line featuring bi-polar disorder


Link Here 3rd July 2012  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

Eastenders The Slaters Detention DVD Complaint

We've received complaints from some viewers unhappy with certain aspects of the EastEnders storyline involving Michael Moon and Jean Slater.

BBC response

We acknowledge that some viewers have concerns about the Michael and Jean storyline, and that some feel the depiction of bi polar, as portrayed through Jean Slater, is unrealistic. It is important to note that Jean Slater is not intended to be representative of everybody with bi polar disorder. We treat all of our characters as individuals, with their own sets of behaviours and opinions, and there's no suggestion that all of Jean's characteristics are linked to her condition.

We work closely with a number of experts in the mental health field to ensure that we are as accurate as possible when it comes to Jean's bi polar, her medication, the impact it has on her and those around her, and attitudes and prejudices towards her.

Michael is a well-established villain, intent on destroying others for his own twisted motives, and the current storyline is completely in keeping with his character. The audience were aware from the start that it was Jean who was telling the truth even when other characters doubted her. In Friday's episode Alfie, Kat and Janine learned the truth, and Jean was completely exonerated.

 

 Update: Brawlers Out of their League...

Ofcom to consider whinge about EastEnders bar brawl


Link Here 11th September 2012  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

eastenders bar brawl video Ofcom is to investigate a recent EastEnders scene on the grounds that it may have been too violent .

The scene, which took place in an August 31 edition of the soap, saw a fight erupt amongst the Queen Vic football team after they were told they had been kicked out of the local pub league.

The scene lasted for nearly two minutes and featured furniture being thrown, glasses being smashed and the pub being left in total disarray.

Broadcast reports that Ofcom received a single complaint about the episode, with a viewer saying it was too violent for the timeslot.

 

 Update: Child Snatcher on EastEnders...

Social workers 'outraged' at being being portrayed in a negative light


Link Here 10th October 2012  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

child catcherThe British Association of Social Workers (BASW) is engaged in a battle with the BBC over a storyline in EastEnders .

The TV soap featured a social worker removing a baby from a teenage mother, Lola, apparently without sufficient grounds to do so.

Many social workers took to Twitter and Facebook to say the episode made a mockery of their profession.

Bridget Robb, acting chief of the BASW, called the storyline shabby and said it had provoked real anger among a profession well used to a less than accurate public and media perception of their jobs .

The BBC responded to complaints:

It is not our intention to portray social workers in a negative light. Whilst the audience has seen how much Lola loves Lexi, and seen her behaving responsibly in caring for her baby, her social worker has not. Each time the social worker visited, she regularly saw worrying behaviour that concerned her. The social worker also witnessed a series of other incidents and, under these circumstances; we believe the audience will have understood why she had to act quickly to remove Lexi when Lola was arrested for assault. There was no suggestion that the social worker's actions arose from anything other than a genuine desire to protect Lexi, or that her concerns about Lola were unreasonable given the picture she and the previous social worker had formed over a substantial period of time. Although EastEnders tackles many social issues and always carefully researches the details, it is a drama and Lola's story and that of the social worker are not intended to be representative of everyone in the same situation.

 

 Update: It's Not Right...

EastEnders tackles some difficult issues, and inevitably receives a few whinges


Link Here 18th January 2014  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints
Eastenders logo The BBC published a response to complaints, notably avoiding explaining what the complaints were about.

In fact the complaints were about statements by Shabnam Masood, played by newcomer Rakhee Thakrar. She told her father Masood Ahmed, that he should not be dating Carol Jackson because she is white. After the couple's break-up, Shabnam is heard telling him: Carol can see the obvious even if you can't. It's not right you being with a white woman.

The BBC responded:

EastEnders
BBC One, 14 January 2014

Complaint

We received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy with a comment made by Shabnam during EastEnders on 14 January 2014.

The BBC's response

EastEnders has a rich history of tackling social issues. The show does not advocate racism or intolerance in any way; in fact it seeks to challenge these negative views.

Shabnam has returned from Pakistan with a renewed religious faith, devoutness and with some strong views. In this episode Shabnam's comments came from her personal beliefs but as viewers will see in future episodes, she is strongly challenged on her views by her father, Masood. Drama often requires an oppositional voice or view-point in order for another character/s to express their feelings, and challenge a particular sentiment or standpoint. This is the case in the episode which will air on 15 January, when Masood makes it very clear that he finds her views unacceptable.

Update: Complaints dismissed

4th February 2013. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Ofcom decided to take no action after receiving 87 complaints about the episode shown on 14 January.

 

 Update: Vetted by 'Experts'...

BBC explains that controversial EastEnders rape story line was tackled as uncontroversially as possible


Link Here 8th October 2014  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

Eastenders logo EastEnders
BBC One, 6th October 2014

The BBC confirmed it received 278 complaints about the episode, 0.0038% of the peak audience of 7.3 million. Queen Vic landlady Linda Carter was raped. She was attacked by Dean Wicks in the episode which went out on BBC1 at 8pm.

Complaint:

We received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy with an EastEnders storyline in which a character is raped.

The BBC's Response:

EastEnders has a rich history of tackling difficult issues and Linda's story is one of these. We worked closely with Rape Crisis and other experts in the field to tell this story which we hope will raise awareness of sexual assaults and the issues surrounding them. We were extremely mindful of the content of the episode and the timeslot of the programme and at no point were there any scenes of a graphic nature - in fact the attack on Linda was implied and never explicit. We took great care to signpost this storyline prior to transmission, both through on air continuity and publicity, and we ensured the episode was followed by contact information for the BBC Action Line which is able to direct callers to organisations which can offer further help and support.

 

 Update: Inoffensive...

Ofcom dismisses whinges about a rape storyline on EastEnders


Link Here 7th January 2015  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints
Eastenders Replica Albert Square Inches TV censor Ofcom has cleared the BBC of breaching broadcasting rules over a rape storyline, which prompted a few complaints.

The episode, shown in October, featured scenes from before and after the rape of Queen Vic landlady Linda Carter, played by Kellie Bright.

More than 90 people complained to Ofcom about the episode, while more than 250 complaints were made to the BBC.

Ofcom have now responded that said graphic content had been avoided and that warnings had been given to viewers. A spokesman said:

After carefully investigating complaints about this scene, Ofcom found the BBC took appropriate steps to limit offence to viewers. This included a warning before the episode and implying the assault, rather than depicting it.

Ofcom also took into account the programme's role in presenting sometimes challenging or distressing social issues.

 

 Update: Dead Serious...

A few EastEnders complaints about gay fun in a funeral parlour


Link Here 21st July 2015  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints
eastenders gay coffinA few EastEnders viweres were 'shocked' when the BBC soap aired a gay sex scene in a funeral parlour on Friday.

TV censor Ofcom received 48 complaints after Ben Mitchell (Harry Reid) was seen getting frisky with Paul Coker (Jonny Labey) in front of an open coffin containing a dead woman's body.

Twitter was inevitably 'awash' with 'shocked' comments from a few viewers criticizing the storyline, branding it disgraceful and distasteful .

The scene, which saw both teens strip off their shirts when their romp was interrupted by Paul's grandparents leading to Ben hiding under the coffin.

A BBC spokesperson responded:

The millions of regular EastEnders fans who tune in each week know and expect dramatic storylines. We are always mindful of out time slot in which we are shown and the scenes in question were implied and not explicit.

 

 Updated: Dead Serious...

A few EastEnders complaints about gay fun in a funeral parlour


Link Here 22nd July 2015  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints
eastenders gay coffinA few EastEnders viweres were 'shocked' when the BBC soap aired a gay sex scene in a funeral parlour on Friday.

TV censor Ofcom received 48 complaints after Ben Mitchell (Harry Reid) was seen getting frisky with Paul Coker (Jonny Labey) in front of an open coffin containing a dead woman's body.

Twitter was inevitably 'awash' with 'shocked' comments from a few viewers criticizing the storyline, branding it disgraceful and distasteful .

The scene, which saw both teens strip off their shirts when their romp was interrupted by Paul's grandparents leading to Ben hiding under the coffin.

A BBC spokesperson responded:

The millions of regular EastEnders fans who tune in each week know and expect dramatic storylines. We are always mindful of out time slot in which we are shown and the scenes in question were implied and not explicit.

Update: BBC responds

22nd July 2015. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

BBC logoThe BBC has published a response to the whinges about EastEnders:

EastEnders, BBC One, 16 & 17 July 2015

Complaint

We received complaints from viewers who felt the scenes between Ben and Paul in the Chapel of Rest were inappropriate.

Response

We do appreciate that for some members of the audience the scenes in the Chapel of Rest might have a particular resonance, but it wasn't our intention to cause any distress or upset to our viewers with Ben and Paul's storyline.

When the Cokers were introduced as funeral directors, it was inevitable that their work would feature in storylines, and that in keeping with the tone of the show, these would range from serious to light-hearted. We try very hard to be true to our characters and keep their comments and actions as authentic as possible, sometimes this will include actions others find disagreeable.

We approach our portrayal of homosexual relationships in exactly the same way as we do heterosexual relationships; ensuring depictions of affection or sexuality between couples are suitable for pre-watershed viewing. In this case we were careful to ensure the scene was implied rather than explicit, but we appreciate all of the feedback we've received.

Update: Ofcom inevitably not interested

6th September 2015. See  article from dailymail.co.uk

Ofcom said it assessed the complaints but concluded they didn't raise issues warranting further investigation . Its decision continued:

We found the scenes were justified in the context of a long-running plotline and sexual contact between the characters was implied rather than overt. Our rules don't discriminate between scenes involving opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

 

 Update: Whingeing bastards...

A few complaints about the word 'bastard' being used on EastEnders


Link Here 1st August 2015  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints
Eastenders logoAbout 30 EastEnders viewers have whinged after a character used the word 'bastard' before the watershed. The character Carol Jackson called her brother Max Branning a bastard at 7.58pm during the latest episode of the BBC1 soap.

A spokesman for Ofcom said it had received 29 complaints and will look into it.

And of course there were the inevitable trivial tweets. Eg Cameron Jolley tweeted:

Can someone tell me why Carol called Max a bastard on EastEnders tonight? It's meant to be a family soap.

A spokeswoman for EastEnders said:

We are always mindful of the time slot in which we go out. As our regular viewers will know, Carol has been pushed to her limits by her brother and her unusual outburst reflected her frustration.

 

 Update: Never ending whingeing...

A few viewers are wound up by strong language on EastEnders


Link Here 14th January 2017  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints
Eastenders logoA few angry EastEnders viewers have lodged complaints with TV censor Ofcom after two characters in the BBC One soap used strong language before the watershed.

Sharon Mitchelll 'shocked' these viewers by calling Phil a stupid bastard  and smashed a cup in fury.

Michelle then had her turn at swearing while complaining about husband Tim no longer finding her attractive. She said:

However hard I worked out, however many times I skipped breakfast and lunch, all I had to do was look at a bagel. I might as well have shoved it down my trousers and sellotaped it to my arse.

She then slammed Walford's residents, accusing them of all shagging their neighbours.

Ofcom received 86 complaints.

An Ofcom spokesperson said: We will assess these complaints before deciding whether to investigate or not. Usually a phrase used to denote a rapid consignment to the waste paper bin.

Update: Binned

6th February 2017

And indeed Ofcom confirmed in its February 6th Complaints Bulletin that it had binned the 119 complaints about this episode.

 


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