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January 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Thousands of fans of Britain’s long-running soap EastEnders have filed complaints with the BBC, which has carried it for 26 years, with OFCOM, the British TV watchdog, and on Facebook and Twitter, about its current storyline. On Friday, one of the principal characters discovers that her baby has died of sudden infant death syndrome and switches him for another baby. The London Daily Express quoted one typical posting on Twitter that said, “Whoever wrote this must be young, childless and trying too hard. Shame on you.” On Facebook, a woman whose four-month-old daughter died of SIDS wrote: “When I found out EastEnders was doing something on cot death I was happy as you are treated as a criminal when your baby dies. But when I found out the story-line, I was disgusted. Why do the BBC do a story line so we’re all made out to be baby-snatchers?” In the Daily Mirror, another woman who lost her child to SIDS commented, “We wouldn’t kidnap another to replace our own. You are belittling this traumatic time by making it ‘more dramatic’. Is finding your baby dead not dramatic enough? This story will reinforce the stereotype that bereaved mothers ‘go mad and steal babies.'” While the BBC said that it had been working with the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths, the foundation said that its involvement related only to providing research about SIDS. “FSID had no involvement in the baby-swap plot line. The actions of Ronnie [the character who swapped her dead baby with a live one] are in no way endorsed by FSID as a typical, or even likely, reaction of a bereaved parent.”