Page last updated at 09:09 GMT, Thursday, 18 September 2008 10:09 UK

Soap abuse plot sparks complaints

Whitney Dean, played by Shona McGarty
Character Whitney Dean was seduced by onscreen stepfather Tony King

An EastEnders storyline about a character's relationship with his 15-year-old stepdaughter has prompted more than 200 complaints.

In last Friday's show, Tony King arrived in Albert Square after spending a year in jail and was shown passionately kissing Whitney Dean.

The BBC has received 163 complaints and Ofcom received 41 about the storyline.

The BBC said the plot had been created "in association with the NSPCC" and in accordance with its editorial policy.

Difficult issues

Friday's pre-watershed show was watched by a peak audience of eight million viewers.

The storyline suggests King - played by Chris Coghill - manipulated Dean - played by Shona McGarty - into a relationship before being sent to prison.

On last week's show, viewers saw him sneak into her bedroom while girlfriend Bianca Jackson, played by Patsy Palmer, took a bath.

EastEnder Tony King (Chris Coghill)
Tony King (Chris Coghill) has just been released from jail

The two then kissed, before falling onto the teenager's bed.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "EastEnders has a rich heritage of tackling difficult social issues, such as domestic violence and mental health.

"Our current storyline about child abuse is another such issue which had been created in association with the NSPCC and in accordance with BBC editorial policy."

At the end of August, the BBC received 156 complaints over scenes showing character Jase Dyer being attacked by a criminal gang and then lying dead in hospital.

At the time, the BBC said the violence was "implied rather than explicit", but admitted some viewers had found the scenes "uncomfortable".

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