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Wednesday, 29 March, 2000, 23:47 GMT 00:47 UK
Watchdog attacks EastEnders
Melanie, natalie
Melanie and Natalie before their weddings
BBC soap opera EastEnders has been condemned by television watchdogs for an edition which included "relentless" drunken antics, drug-taking and sexual innuendo.

The episode featured a combined hen- and stag-weekend in Amsterdam, which prompted two viewers to complain about drunken behaviour.

It also showed characters Melanie, Natalie, Barry and Ian having celebrations involving drinking heavily and trying to buy cannabis.

The Broadcasting Standards Commission said the show, broadcast in December, was unsuitable for screening before the 2100 watershed.

One viewer also complained about the sexual innuendo and drug references.

'Consequences shown'

Last year, the soap was criticised by the commission over the killing of a character, which it said was too graphic and disturbing to be shown pre-watershed.

The BBC said it would have been no surprise to viewers that the behaviour would have been boisterous considering the storyline.

And the corporation said the consequences of their drinking and quest for drugs showed that such conduct led to trouble.

But the commission decided the cumulative effect of the scenes had pushed the content beyond acceptable boundaries for a programme before the watershed.

In its latest bulletin, the commission also upheld 112 complaints against an episode of BBC comedy Goodness Gracious Me, screened last month.

The show featured a sketch in which characters try to outdo each other in their Britishness, but which saw them spreading mango chutney on communion bread, which viewers felt mocked the Eucharist.

The BBC has subsequently apologised for the offence caused.

Complaints against two editions of Channel 4's 11 O'Clock Show were also upheld due to jokes and comments which were considered offensive.

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