Hit or miss? BBC rewrites EastEnders 'cot death' story after outcry

The BBC confirmed it was pulling the plug on EastEnders' harrowing cot death storyline following 9,000 complaints from viewers and reams of negative press coverage.

The controversial storyline saw Ronnie Branning take Kat Moon's son after her own son died just days after being born. After a media frenzy, senior executives decided to cut out several scenes and rewrite a 'happy ending' for Kat at Easter.


Peter Roberts, Senior associate director, issues and crisis management, Hill & Knowlton (and a former BBC head of comms)

Television's so-called delicate issues, which include mental health and sexual abuse, are a real challenge for primetime programme makers. Do them well and you're demonstrating your public service credentials; do them badly, you're a crass ratings chaser. I'm certain much consideration was given to the current EastEnders storyline, but the producers appear to have miscalculated the collective strength of feeling, which on a consolatory point is a testament to the programme's high regard among its audience.

Clearly, it demonstrates maturity to listen to the views of your audience, but I fear that the EastEnders response may have set a precedent for other groups to have a disproportionate influence on future content.


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