10 controversial soap storylines

'EastEnders' has been at the centre of a much talked-about controversy over the past few months, with viewers complaining about the soap's baby swap storyline.

Earlier this year, fans saw Ronnie Branning losing her son James to cot death and deciding to exchange her dead child with Alfie and Kat Moon's newborn, Tommy. Not only did viewers complain to the BBC, but others - including Yahoo! users - took to the web to criticise the shock storyline.

With the baby swap plot soon coming to an end, we’ve taken a look back at some of soapland's most criticised storylines…

10. Coronation Street: Rosie Webster and John Stape's relationship (2007)
Teacher/pupil relationships are always frowned upon – and so a stir was created when Rosie started up with John Stape. So deeply does the storyline run that only recently it was claimed that Graham Hawley, who plays John, was attacked by a fan in a bar because of it. (He later denied this.)

"I hope people don't think this is what I'm like in real life," said Hawley after the first kiss was filmed.

9 Emmerdale: Plane crash (1993)
The disaster on 'Emmerdale' was newsworthy enough for killing off four characters and marking a new era in soap history. But filming a plane crashing into a small village so close to the fifth anniversary of Lockerbie was heavily criticised.

"A misuse of a tragic situation," said the Evening Standard.

8 Brookside: Nat and Georgia incest (1996)
They were brother and sister. The fact they liked each other was deeply unsettling – enough for the Independent Television Commission to order Channel 4 to broadcast an apology for showing Nat (John Sandford) and Georgia (Helen Grace) cuddling in bed.

"A scene like that in a family programme watched by children is going too far, " said Mary Whitehouse.

7 Coronation Street: Toyah Battersby rape (2007)
When Toyah (Georgia Taylor) was attacked down a dark alley the harrowing scenes stunned viewers. Jack Deam, who played the assailant Phil Simmonds, was disturbed for months.  'Corrie' was censured for failing to put a helpline number on at the end of the episode.

"A lot of children watch the show and rape is no fit subject for youngsters," said Jean Alexander, who played Hilda Ogden.

6 EastEnders: Tony abusing Whitney (2009)
Tony King (Chris Coghill) groomed his step-daughter, 15-year-old Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty), before going to prison for abusing her. ‘Enders’ received twice as many complaints that year than all other BBC programmes put together.

"Just when you thought the show couldn't get any more miserable, the writers come up with a paedophile storyline. Thanks. A new low," wrote Jim Shelley in The Mirror.

5 Coronation Street: Factory siege (2010)
In the same dreadful week that a gunman shot 12 people in Cumbria, 'Coronation Street' had scheduled a shotgun siege in The Underworld. Sometimes soap operas just aren't that important.

"In light of tragic events, last night's episode of 'Coronation Street' was postponed,'' said an ITV spokesman.

4 Hollyoaks: Youth killing (2009)
Unlike the rest of the plotlines, this was the only one to be altered because of controversy.  James Bulger’s mum Denise Fergus discovered the soap was planning to bring in two characters who had committed a crime similar to the murder of her son. The storyline was ditched days before transmission.

"I'm disgusted by what 'Hollyoaks' is doing," said Denise.

3 EastEnders: Gay Muslim characters (2010)
So provocative, it almost seems like a joke production meeting: "What’s the issue that could get us into most trouble?" And yet the relationship between Christian (John Partridge) and Syed (Marc Elliott) has so far left the BBC almost unscathed.

"The BBC received fewer complaints than when showing a Muslim eating during Ramadan," said a BBC insider.

2 Brookside: Body under the patio (1993)
The death of Trevor Jordache, stabbed in the back by the family who he had been abusing, was dramatic enough to be voted "Soap's Most Dramatic Death" by the Radio Times 13 years later. But then the eventual jailing of Mandy (Sandra Maitland) and Beth (Anna Friel) led to a protest outside Channel4.

"Free The Brookside Two!" roared the Daily Mirror.

1 EastEnders: Colin and Barry (1987)
It doesn't seem that long ago when a kiss between two men was considered outrageous. Looking back, the really shocking thing is the controversy itself. Colin (Michael Cashman) kissed his lover Barry (Gary Hailes) and the world went absolutely crazy. It was front page on all the tabloids.

"A homosexual love scene between yuppie poofs... when millions of children were watching," yelled The Sun editorial, which called the soap 'EastBenders'.