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Early end for Enders baby swap plot


Ronnie Branning lost her baby to cot death in EastEnders

Ronnie Branning lost her baby to cot death in EastEnders

Ronnie Branning lost her baby to cot death in EastEnders

EastEnders bosses are to bring the controversial baby death plot - which has prompted more than 8,000 complaints from viewers - to an early end.

The storyline, in which Ronnie Branning loses her baby son to cot death on New Year's Eve before swapping him with Kat Moon's live newborn, has proved to be the most complained-about story in the show's history.

The grim tale has prompted 8,400 complaints to the BBC, latest figures show, and a further 374 to broadcasting regulator Ofcom.

The huge volume of complaints has surpassed that for the sudden death of Ronnie's daughter Danielle in a car crash in April 2009, which prompted concerns from more than 7,000 viewers.

Programme bosses have decided to bring the story to an end early in response to the audience's reaction, and executive producer Bryan Kirkwood has revealed the plot will have a happy conclusion, with the child reunited with its mother.

He defended the plot again today, saying it fitted into the show's tradition of "dealing with social issues in a powerful and dramatic way".

But in a blog today the executive producer admitted the plot was being drawn to a close early because of the reaction.

"Whenever we embark on a story at EastEnders we always leave it open-ended to monitor and listen to audience reaction. With this in mind we are going to bring the story to a close on screen in the spring.

"As the story progresses and Kat is reunited with her child, we hope to explore the impact of the tragic events that have befallen the characters in a way that is powerful, but true to the best public service tradition of the show."

Actress Samantha Womack is to leave the show later this year, although her agent insisted yesterday that the decision was nothing to do with the storyline.