BBC defends EastEnders bipolar storyline – Daily TV round-up

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'.

Jean Slater's bipolar storyline in 'EastEnders' has been criticised (Copyright: BBC)

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]

Also in today's press

ITV presenters have been warned over product placement on the channel. 'Lorraine' fashion expert Mark Heyes has reportedly been rapped for favouring Debenhams in items on the show, for whom he is a brand ambassador. Holly Willoughby has also been 'flagged' for wearing items from her own range for Very, as has chef Gino D'Acampo. [Daily Mail]

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]

Russell Brand has ranted about the Olympics on US TV. Appearing on Conan O'Brien's talk show, he said: “I like England and I am from there. But when it involves organisation it is going to be a right balls up. Things will catch fire and people will be tripping over things, then it will start raining and the Queen will do a fart.” [The Mirror]