EastEnders writer Leo Richardson has hit back at critics of a storyline he wrote featuring racist graffiti being removed from the Queen Vic doors.
Scenes broadcast on Tuesday saw Mick and Johnny cleaning a Poles Go Home scrawl from the pub – a scene that resulted in tweets accusing the BBC of being anti-Brexit.
As Mick aimed a hose at the slur, new Polish Albert Square resident Konrad Topolski was seen saying, “It’s the Britain we live in now”.
Following the broadest, some viewers were quick to express their displeasure on social media:
#eastenders That scene about the poles out spray painting.. How bloody biased was that, hang your head BBC
— John Moran (@Noncompos) February 21, 2017
@bbceastenders "It's the Britain we live in now" is not acceptable in a supposedly apolitical soap, please sack tonight's script-writer
— GAMJ (@Gabrielka_J) February 21, 2017
Now, following an exchange on Twitter, Richardson has defended his script, pointing out that EastEnders has a rich history of tackling challenging topics.
Explaining how the storylining process works, he wrote on Huffington Post: “That story was rooted in reality. That’s how the main soaps generate a lot of their stories.
“A diverse array of writers, from all over the country get together with their story team and producers on a regular basis and they talk about what they’re seeing.”
Going on to comment on the soap’s role as a socially realistic drama, he added: “Now, more than ever, in a divided world, it is the job of artists, of writers, of TV comedy and drama, not only to entrain us, but to reflect the things happening in our world, on screen.
“To show us not only what is familiar, but also wildly different. To reflect the lives of people who are underrepresented, so we can understand those who we didn’t before.
“If getting a brief glimpse into the mind of a man struggling to find his place in the country he lives in makes you uncomfortable then perhaps you needed to see it.”
EastEnders continues tonight on BBC1 at 7.30pm.
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