EastEnders star Kellie Bright has been talking to RadioTimes.com about the upcoming storyline that will see her character Linda Carter raped by family member Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo).
“We’ve filmed quite a lot of what you’re going to see and it’s been brilliant but hard-going,” the actress said at tonight’s TV Choice awards in central London. “It’s a very challenging storyline but an important one. And it’s obviously going to have a massive fallout.”
On the subject of how the BBC1 soap will handle the emotive subject matter, Bright added: “The point of doing the storyline is to reflect the reality of rape. We didn’t want to turn it into some kind of television spectacle. Over 90 per cent of rapes are committed by someone who the victim knows and they’re often not reported. In a lot of cases, it’s not someone being grabbed by a stranger in a dark alley, which is the image that everyone thinks of. So, for me, the draw of this plotline is that it’s someone who’s often around Linda. That’s what I’m interested in.”
The BBC1 soap has been working with Rape Crisis on the upcoming plotline which will also see Linda having to come to terms with what has happened to her following the attack. The Rape Crisis website (rapecrisis.org.uk) states that only 10 per cent of rapes are carried out by ‘strangers’, with 90 per cent actually committed by someone ‘who the survivor has previously known, trusted, often even loved’.
EastEnders viewers have already seen Dean pursue Linda over the past couple of months, with his infatuation so far remaining a secret from the rest of the Carter clan. Linda has rejected Dean’s advances and made it plain that she isn’t interested in him, but events will take a sinister turn later this year.
“It is important that these stories are told within dramas to start to change the public narrative around rape which heavily blames survivors,” Fiona Elvines, operations co-ordinator of Rape Crisis, South London said. “Equally, given the fact that each year 85,000 women and girls and almost 10,000 men are raped in this country, the subject needs to be approached factually and empathically, with a motivation not to entertain but to inform.
“The team at EastEnders, from producers and researchers, to writers and actors, have demonstrated a commitment to getting the balance right, working closely with us to create a story that tells some of the truths of sexual violence. We hope this commitment shows through and that anyone watching the show who feels they want to talk about their own experiences feels able to call the National Rape Crisis Helpline.”