I gather that that mighty political force in the land, the Mumsnet website, has been moaning about a storyline in BBC 1's flagship soap opera Eastenders. I'm afraid I don't watch this programme (life is miserable enough without having misery for entertainment, Coronation Street please note), but it appears that around Christmas, Eastenders featured a storyline involving a cot death and the grieving mother swapping her baby for another.
The BBC had several thousand complaints, apparently in some large part due to a campaign by Mumsnet, and as a result has curtailed the storyline. It seems this storyline was disliked by the site because of the combination of a distressing theme which would impact on some of their readers and the unlikeliness of the substitution story.
This really isn't good enough - either that anyone should think this argument worth listening to or that the BBC should actually respond to it. It is a fact of life that we all go through unpleasant experiences, and when we do it seems the TV is full of dramas related to it. When I have been bereaved, suddenly everything I saw on TV seemed to be about loved ones dying. Of course it is distressing - but we can hardly say there should never be any dramas about anything nasty happening to people because someone will be going through it at the time and will be upset. That's ludicrous.
As for the juxtaposition of unlikeliness argument this is just bizarre. Why aren't these people complaining about Midsomer Murders? After all, having a loved one murdered is at least as distressing as a cot death, and no one could argue that the Midsomer Murders set up or storylines are likely. The whole genre of murder mysteries would have to be banned, as well as any serious drama, if these emotion police had their way.
For goodness sake, Mumsnet people, understand the difference between fiction and real life. And as for you, BBC, don't be such a wimp. Next time, don't roll over and give in at the first moan. In an internet world where a site can generated hundreds or thousands of email complaints in no time there is no need to take such complaints as anything more than an indication that you are doing your job right. This is just the modern version of Mary Whitehouse moaning that Dr Who is too scary. You didn't give in to that, and you shouldn't give in to this.