Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

EastEnders scenes spark complaints

Scenes featuring Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) using crack cocaine attracted complaints

Phil Mitchell's crack cocaine binge on EastEnders has attracted more than 200 complaints.

Phil (Steve McFadden), who was kicked out of the Queen Vic for attacking mum Peggy, was seen in the seedy scene on Monday with addict Rainie Cross.

Rainie, played by Pulling actress Tanya Franks, unwrapped the crack to smoke in a pipe.

Later, Phil was seen vomiting, pinning Rainie down and throwing whisky over her face after she taunted him over his kids.

Around 230 people criticised the BBC over the episode, while others rang to praise what they said was a realistic storyline.

A spokeswoman for the soap said: "EastEnders has a strong history of tackling difficult social issues and we worked closely with drug and alcohol charities, including Addaction and Drugscope, on the development of this storyline.

"The episodes do not in any way glamorise or encourage the use of drugs and details of a BBC helpline were provided at the end of the episode for any viewers affected by the issue."

DrugScope chief executive Martin Barnes said: "A portrayal of substance misuse in EastEnders which sensitively reflects the impact that drug use has on Phil, his family and friends could really help people understand some of the issues many families go through in real life."

He added: "We hope that the storyline may lead people who are struggling with drug problems to seek help."

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