EastEnders avoids probe after viewers compare show's bus crash to terror attacks

EastEnders will not be investigated by the broadcasting watchdog over complaints that a bus crash on the hit soap mirrored recent terrorist attacks in Berlin and Nice.

Ofcom said it would not take further action because the episode did not show graphic details and was part of a long-running storyline.

Viewers objected to the storyline, which saw a bus crashing in Albert Square after the driver had a heart attack, saying it was insensitive in the light of real-life incidents of vehicles being deliberately driven into crowds.

EastEnders (BBC)

In total there were 44 complaints across two episodes as some viewers compared the scene to the Berlin attack, when 12 people died after a lorry was driven into a Christmas market in December.

Of those objections, 33 were made following the initial broadcast on January 23 while a further 11 complaints were received by Ofcom after the follow-up episode which showed the scene’s aftermath.

An Ofcom spokesman said: “We considered 33 complaints that scenes of a bus crash were offensive, in light of recent actual events. However, we found that the episode was not graphic or explicit, and was part of a long-running storyline.”

Lacey Turner on EastEnders (BBC)

Meanwhile, the watchdog said also said they would not be investigating Coronation Street over complaints that a scene involving the birth of a stillborn child was distressing.

The incident relates to an episode in which Kym Marsh’s character went into labour at 23 weeks into her pregnancy, resulting in the death of her baby Ruairi at birth.

A spokesman said: “We understand that the scenes were upsetting to some viewers, but we found they were handled sensitively. We also took into account the programme’s established role in presenting sometimes challenging and distressing social issues.”

Chloe Ferry (Ian West/PA)

Celebrity Big Brother will also face no further action over its latest series despite “a number of complaints” being received about heated exchanges and tense situations.

Ofcom said Channel 5 had “broadcast clear and appropriate warnings” and had “intervened appropriately” when required. They added there had been 24 complaints that Chloe Ferry had “sexually assaulted” fellow housemate John Grimes – of Irish duo Jedward – by rubbing her buttocks on him.

In addition, two programmes are facing investigations by the regulators including the Victoria Derbyshire show over the use of offensive language before the watershed.

Ofcom are also investigating Ian Payne’s LBC show and whether it breached rules on offensive material after Payne read out a tweet from a listener on Christmas Day who expressed happiness over an air crash as the Russian passengers had died as a result. Both incidents received one complaint each.


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