The BBC has defended an ‘EastEnders’ storyline concerning bipolar disorder sufferer Jean Slater following complaints that she was cruelly treated and depicted as 'a crazy person'.
Viewers wrote in to voice their objections over the plot, adding that the portrayal of the illness was 'unrealistic'.The storyline saw Jean, played by Gillian Wright, being framed for theft by manipulative Michael Moon, making the rest of the Square think she was heading for a breakdown.
107 people wrote in to air their views, with many more taking to Twitter.
“Seriously disgusted and p****d off at the way 'EastEnders' is portraying Jean as a crazy person when she is just bipolar,” said one, while another added: “The way Jean is treated sometimes really, really frustrates me. It’s as if bipolar = sub-human. It doesn’t.”
“It is important to note that Jean Slater is not intended to be representative of everybody with bipolar disorder,” said a BBC spokesperson.
“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 bipolar, her medication, the impact it has on her and those around her, and attitudes and prejudices towards her.
“We have received a total of 107 complaints from over 16 episodes. The storyline was never about Jean's bipolar disorder but about how Michael has manipulated her.” [The Sun/Daily Telegraph]
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ITV and the BBC have axed their magic shows. Both 'The Magicians' and 'Penn & Teller: Fool Us' will not return to screens, according to reports, after experiencing diminishing audiences. [The Sun]
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