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A tragic new year

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Matt Humphreys | 20:35 UK time, Friday, 31 December 2010

As new year celebrations kick in around the Square this year, the lives of two new mothers - Kat and Ronnie - and those around them are set to take an unexpected and heartbreaking turn. When Ronnie discovers that her child has died, her world falls apart. In a daze, her distress goes un-noticed by all the party goers in the Vic, and she acts in the heat of the moment, making a terrible decision to swap the newborns.

As with all major events in the Square, the storyline has been in the planning for months. EastEnders researchers worked with The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) on the the potrayl of Kat and Alfie when they are bereaved by cot death, and you can hear from Shane Richie in the video below on how he approached playing his character after meeting directly with bereaved parents.

Firstly in the video, Simon Ashdown (EastEnders Series Consultant) talks about the development of the storyline and Ronnie's actions.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

Here's how to get more information on issues related to this storyline...

BBC Health: What is cot death, and what causes it? Plus, advice and support information.

BBC Health: Support information for bereaved parents

Sands is an organisation which supports anyone affected by the death of a baby during pregnancy or after birth.

The Child Death Helpline is a national charity that offers support to anyone affected by the death of a child of any age, from prebirth to adult, under any circumstances, however recently or long ago.

The Compassionate Friends is an organisation of bereaved parents and their families offering understanding, support and encouragement to others after the death of a child or children.

Cruse Bereavement Care exists to promote the well-being of bereaved people and to enable anyone bereaved by death to understand their grief and cope with their loss.

The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) is the UK's leading baby charity working to prevent sudden deaths and promote health. FSID funds research, supports bereaved families and promotes safe baby care advice.

The Association For Post Natal Illness Is a national charity offering support and information for women suffering with Post Natal Depression

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    RONNIE SHOULD GIVE KAT'S BABY BACK AS IT WAS REALLY UPSETTING AS I LOST MY SISTER OVER A COT DEATH AND IF MY MUM DONE THAT I WOULD BE FURIOUS SO GIVE HER BACK NOW!

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    I think that Ronnie has had a lot of bad luck over the years, Dannielle, Archie, Jack on, Jack off, the fire, falling out with Rox and her mum etc etc-and a lot more.
    I think that the writers should make it so that in 2011, Ronnie's luck changes because I think it's kind of unfair because Ronnie is always getting the bad things and she would've been great as a mum, because everyone else gets good luck you know. Roxy's baby suvived-Kat's baby has survived etc etc.
    So please make it so Ronnie's luck changes.

  • Comment number 4.

    i agree with Emilie fenton. it is upsetting.taking other people's baby is really upsetting. wont you feel upset that your giving your OWN baby
    to sum1 else.

  • Comment number 5.

    The producers of Eastenders have stooped to their lowest level ever. A really bad story line to end the New Year and an even worse one to start the New Year. It is very sick and will not be viewed on my TV

  • Comment number 6.

    I think That ronnie should get found out and that alfie and kat should get there baby back .

  • Comment number 7.

    What an awful, awful way to end the new years eve episode, especially as we are facing a very difficult 2011. Shame on you writers and producers.

  • Comment number 8.

    I am shocked at Eastenders for this storyline, i no cotdeath is a serisouse matter but this was inappropriate and distressing i for one am appauled that the bosses ok'd this, christmas is a time for family, joy not death destruction adulty and murder..comon...talk about lowerin the tone :(((

  • Comment number 9.

    I am really sick of EastEnders punctuating each holiday period with its own brand of misery. I understand it is drama but for goodness sake we can have drama without it going into the depths of despair. I also find it quite insulting to the viewers that we are manipulated so, with this melancholic miserable morass. I am beginning to wonder if we are being set-up for Ronnie Mitchell's suicide. Probably by Easter or maybe they will drag the misery out until next Christmas.

  • Comment number 10.

    Easily the sickest storyline the BBC has sunk to so far - sensationalising COT death is revolting. Shame on you BBC for using other people's devastating pain to boost your viewing figures.

  • Comment number 11.

    this was the lowest of low story lines from eastenders and has left me so upset on new years eve i cant explain. anyone who has come anywhere near this kind of situation would be even more deeply disturbed not only is it a cot death to endure and deal with but a baby stolen. I will not follow eastenders anymore as i cant cope with te raw grief.

  • Comment number 12.

    I think the writers have dont a quiet poor job to be honest. ronni has been through alot and i am very dissapointed she has to steal kas babyand her baby dies. my 5 year old daughter was watching this and she was crying because of ronnie. she understands what she has been through,with archie,danielle,and everyone. i just hope one day kat will discover or ronnie will have another baby. woow. some very extrodinary episode. i do love eastenders,i am a massive fan, but does it have to end like this?

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Whilst naturally I agree that the death of a newborn whatever the circumstances is the most awful unimaginable experience anyone could go through, I actually think its incredibly brave of EE to approach this subject. There will always be people who believe that such storylines should never be played out, however like it or not that is the role of soaps. Since soaps began their role has been to portray life which as sad as it is includes the ups and downs of life as we experience it. Many many people will watch these forthcoming episodes and will perhaps learn something. I hope that the storyline is done in such a way that it reminds new parents about cot death, measure you can take to try and prevent it. Not only that but it will also show a mothers grief and for some people it may help when trying to understand people going through similar experiences. So again done in the right manner and sensitively it can be educational and may just may help someone in the future who has watched it.

    with reference to another comment I am surprised you let your child watch EE given the complicated and at times distressing storylines, particularly today. If your child was upset then I am afraid that is your responsibilty for judging the programme suitable for them to watch. There was plenty of adverts on BBC alerting you to the imending storyline so its not like you wasn't warned.

    BBC I hope you give this storyline as much care and sensitivity it deserves, don't drag it out, but don't miraculously and abruptly stop the storyline in the same manner you did with Phil and his drug issues.

  • Comment number 15.

    I am furious with the writing and this storyline in particular. What a disgraceful way to end the year ...I have watched Eastenders since day 1 and have to say there have been some harsh yet good storylines. This time I am insensed by the calous nature of the storyline and wonder whether the show is worthy of watching in 2011 and onwards. It's about time in the current climate that we could see some light hearted, positive drama. This storyline needs to turnaround rapidly if viewing figures are to remain high!!! All my facebook friends are as livvid as I am!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 16.

    As upsetting as it was i must praise Sam Womack's acting, she conveyed the script outstandingly well and you could really feel the emotion but EastEnders that was a bit harsh, why can't ronnie be happy just for once? *Sad face*

  • Comment number 17.

    i'm sorry but this storyline is just wrong on so many levels as any mother or mother to be out there would agree... as i'm expecting my first baby in 5 weeks i'm totally freaked out.. i thought seeing poor kat bleedin 2 death was bad till the scenes with ronnie and baby james i had 2 switch it as i was sick 2 my stomach.. wat a horrible storlyline..

  • Comment number 18.

    I think it's a bad thing that Ronnie took Kat's baby. Even though she's had a lot of bad luck she just can't do that. This is seriously ruining Ronnie. I think that Kat is going to notice that's not her baby and Ronnie will get found out.

  • Comment number 19.

    I am in shock over tonights episode, and totally appalled. I cannot believe that the writers would do this to Ronnie after everything she has gone through it's utterly sick. Having been an avid fan of eastenders for many years - I will no longer watch it, it's far too upsetting and Certainly not good viewing.

  • Comment number 20.

    as the mother of a deceased baby, and friend to many who have lost babies, to sids and stillbirth, let me make one thing perfectly clear. At no time, did I want to "steal" or " swap" my baby for anyone elses. For Eastenders to assume this is a natural reaction of bereaved parents, is not only shocking, but shows a real lack of compassion and understanding of bereaved parents. To highlight babyloss is one thing, and yes, this awful subject needs to be bought to the publics attention. But to do it in such a terrible way? No. Ask any recently bereaved parent if they would act as Ronnie has, and they would all tell you the same thing...we couldnt stand to look at another baby, hear another baby, and as for swapping ours for a live one...? No, not one bereaved parent I have spoken to would even dream of doing that. The EE production team has got this storyline so wrong. Their research is flawed, their need for ratings has overtaken their need to get this right. Bereaved parents have a hard enough time as it is, and now, thanks to EE, we will quite possibly be thought of as babysnatchers.
    A terrible mistake EE production team. Quite terrible.

  • Comment number 21.

    This was absolutely disgraceful to put this out on New Years Eve. BBC writers of Eastenders - you should be ashamed of yourself and it will be a miracle if some poor bereaved woman out there does not kill herself! Should it happen I hope you get sued for the lack of responsibility on your part. How dare you put that story line out as this character has been through quite enough already. This is totally bad judgement on your part and I am reeling with shock. I, myself had a cot death over 20 years ago and can assure you that this is far too sensitive an area for a supposedly programme of entertainment to even attempt to cover. I'm ashamed of you and think heads should role for this. L. Green

  • Comment number 22.

    can I just add, that I am lucky enough to of had 4 wonderful children since I lost my first one, and that after their births, I took in every single feature they had. For EE to think that no parent would recognise their own baby, is awful. Do the production team think the general public are that stupid to believe that Kat wouldnt know the baby she found dead in his cot isnt hers?? The EE production team are taking us all for fools. And they should be ashamed.

  • Comment number 23.

    I was very disappointed with tonights episode, I have eastenders for years and have loved it but i am now seriously thinking about not watching it any more. People dont just watch soaps for the drama everyone likes a happy ending and Ronnie deserved that much.

  • Comment number 24.

    I have just placed my 1st complaint to the BBC! I have been an Eastenders fan since it began & for the 1st time I was compelled to put it off! I think this eves storyline was poorly handled in so many ways.
    Kat's situation was horrendous & she should have been in a hospital after giving birth in a pub cellar! What she has to still go through is terrible.
    Ronnie's situation was awful, does she not deserve any happiness at all? I think both situations portray the NHS badly as she was out of hospital immediately with no community support & as a new mum where were her family, it may be a soap but it's a very sensitive issue! As a mum of two little ones & also having dear friends who have been in Ronnie & Kat's situations & have tragically lost babies I think tonight was really devastating, grieving parents only want their babies & it's really low that Ronnie has been portrayed as so unstable!
    Sort it out Eastenders, tonight was not light relief but harrowing & it would be good to see some festive cheer on Eastenders rather than constant doom & gloom!!

  • Comment number 25.

    I was seriously moved by the storyline tonight, I am glad in a way that they showed this storyline, maybe not at this time of year but at the end of the day. This is to help parents that have lost their little ones through this and also help parents - to - be in a way that at least they can be aware of this happening.

    I totally agree with Tiahahnya about the comment of little children watching this programme, I seriously don't understand what the world is coming to but certainly no child of mine regardless of age would be watching it at all.

  • Comment number 26.

    Having just lost my baby I found this extremely upsetting to watch and this should not have been shown this time of year when we are trying to enjoy our family time together. It has put me in a huge depression that Eastenders tries to get it's ratings by dealing with such a sensitive subject and to top it all mix that with stealing someone elses baby. It's not good enough just putting up a helpline at the end - do you think that helps us get over the loss of our child? No it does not. Nothing does. I shall not be watching Eastenders any more it is always depressing this time of year but that is just a ridicuously depressing epsisode.

  • Comment number 27.

    I cannot fault any episodes of EE, I congratulate the producers for having great story lines for the individual characters, however in saying that I do think that Kat would recognize her own baby, so that is a tad unbelievable. But down here in Oz we love the show, keep up the great work !

  • Comment number 28.

    It was a highly emotional episode. I honestly believe the subject of cot-death should be handled by the show as they have covered the subject before and the writers have covered dark subjects before such as murder, drugs and rape so why should this one single though highly emotive event be condemned?

  • Comment number 29.

    Terrible. HORRENDOUS!! All Eastenders had to do was finish the year with 'cot death' and that would have been a realistic and emotionally powerful story. BUT to add ANOTHER STUPID story ALONG WITH it, this 'baby swap'... HOW UNNECESSARILY STUPID is that. Of all its stupidity, a small example is, what idiot mother, gaurdian (father), godmother, grand dad...whatever, all together will not notice a baby swap.
    Cot death is tragic enough, so portray it realistically!! WHY add another (stupid) tradegy with it, to emphasise this tradegy, i.e the baby swap. Its not like all cot deaths always follow another tradegy.
    SHAME on easenders producers, SHAMEEEEE!!!!

  • Comment number 30.

    this storyline is disgusting. its so upsetting eastenders need to sort this out before the next episode on mon!!!!!

  • Comment number 31.

    i think this was upsetting but it gets across to people how painful loosing a baby really is but i thought ronnie stealing Kat and Alfie's baby was wrong she should give it back but i bet Jack will finally noe the truth..

  • Comment number 32.

    why do Eastender's storywriters have to stoop so low all the time? I love the show, but it's reaching a point where it's like depression central! This story line is in awful taste, and is really unpleasant. Do your writers not bother to listen to the show's fans? There was uproar when Danielle died, and this was your chance to have some happy storylines instead of the perpetually miserable ones, all written to win ratings wars! I for one wont be bothering to watch it in the new year, it's become predictibly miserable, bring back some smiles and I'll be back in a shot!

  • Comment number 33.

    cot death is painful so i think the eastenders crew is just showing how painful it really is i think it is a good idea but i feel sorry for Kat and Alfie as thats there baby but i feel more sorry for Roniie loosing all her children like danielle ..that was horrible when you took her out of eastenders i didnt understand why u didnt let ronnie have aleast a week with her daughter


    i would love to star in eastenders :)

  • Comment number 34.

    I was so disturbed by tonights storyline (in respect of Ronnie loosing her baby to a cot death and then going on to swap the dead baby) that I had to come on here to see if I was alone with my utter disgust.

    I haven't got the strength to read threw these comments because the storyline repulses me.

    I had considered asking what script writers were thinking when they came up with this story line, but to be honest ... I dont want to know the answer.

    Someone needs to be held accountable.

    Happy New Year eh?

  • Comment number 35.

    I THINK RONNIE SHOULD GIVE THE BABY BACK TO KAT, OTHERWISE IT WILL GET OUT OF HAND, IT WAS DISTURBING WATCHING THAT TONIGHT AND REALLY SAD. IT WAS REALLY TRAGIC RONNIE LOST HER BABY, BUT ITS EVEN WORSE THAT SHES GOT KATS BABY.

  • Comment number 36.

    @Pinkjinx There has being happy stories throughout the festive season this year and tonights episode was filled with happiness to balance out the darkness

  • Comment number 37.

    As a person who has had a misscarriage that is bad enough let alone to think what people go through when they loose a baby. Thios story line is the worst that Eastenders have done for as long as I can remember. I understand that they have done their research but have they not thought about how upsetting it is for people who have lossed. :(

  • Comment number 38.

    omg tonight estenders was sad!!!.... why do they have to make a storyline like this.... its terribal ... and why would ronnie do that too kat?. and ronnies baby looks about 3 mouths and kats lookes like it was just born soo they would find out enyway bye loooking at it.. omg lol....
    it was funny monday or tuseday night with roonie and jean. when jean was daceing and singing too that song and roonie was just standing there i could not stop laughing lol i love estenders when its good not when someting happens really bad like tonight.. i would love to be in estenders i would wont to know wat people are like behind the sences lol


    plez make estenders happyer ..... :)

  • Comment number 39.

    i feel sorry for kat and afie now :(

  • Comment number 40.

    I have just watch the episode of eastenders it really upset me im pregnant myself and cant imagine what anyone losing a baby would be going through i really dont think i want to watch eastenders again for how distressing its goin to be i know its not realy but may effect alot of people out there who have lost babies i hope they sort this out !!

  • Comment number 41.

    I should probably add that I have also lost several babies through miscarraige and stillbirth. At no time have I EVER wanted to swap my baby for another. To those of you that think this is a realistic storyline and EE should cover such issues, believe me it is definitley not. I have no problem with soaps addressing difficult issues, but if anyone needs educating on this devastating subject (and that includes BBC writers)then please refer to the original cot death portrayed by EE near the start of the soap - much more realistic and sensitively handled.

  • Comment number 42.

    I WENT RONNIE AND JACK TO BE HAPPY I LOVE THEM I LOVE KAT AND ALFIE BUT RONNIE AND JACK ARE SO GOOD TOGATHER I WHAT THEM TO BE HAPPY

  • Comment number 43.

    i have just watched eastenders and i was so upset.i wont watch it again till itss all over with the cot death sceans and stuff i dont no how people who have been though that have coped when they have watched it and ronnie swopin the baby with kats is horrible she should give that baby back and tel her the truth .andrea

  • Comment number 44.

    I refused to watch the programme as it is very sad that eastenders (which i have watched for years and enjoyed the controvesial story lines) would go to this level. Its one thing seeing a cotdeath but to have baby kidnapping is outrageous.

  • Comment number 45.

    story lines r story lines and fiction is fiction but the fact of the matter is using cotdeath and ronnie the way they have especially at this time of year is beyond a joke and if some of the comments r true about this possibly leading to ronnies suicide or something is taking things far to far i for 1 have now decided to rethink my tv viewing as eastenders have really dissapointed me and i will not be watching as this storyline is going to drag on and cause many problems within the square

  • Comment number 46.

    I am still physically shaking after watching tonight's episode. I admire the fact that EE chose to approach the subject of cot death but to have Ronnie swap babies is outrageous! I am 15 weeks pregnant and my nerves feel raw after tonight's show. Having just read above that EE did research for months on how to handle grief and bereavement from cot death is commendable but not for the wrong parents! It feels completely unjust for the writers to let Kat and Alfie go through this! If Ronnie swaps babies, and I guess you've done it now, then EE must redeem itself by having found out immediately and Tommy returned to his parents! The first few hours/ days are extremely important for a mother to bond with her baby and I feel disgusted that the writers have decided to take that away from Kat and Alfie. Shame on you - I hope you're prepared to lose veiwers!!

  • Comment number 47.

    Well if you think about it Kat hasn't really seen her baby.

  • Comment number 48.

    Brilliant episode!
    Beautifully acted, beautifully wrote!
    I know this is a sensitive subject and will no doubt upset people but a cot death can happen any day of the year and can effect all types of people. I think ee are trying to make it clear that these actions are typical of all people but of ronnie who we have seen go through some terrible times.
    I think we maybe need to realise that they are not only showing the tragic loss that kat and alife will suffer, but also the ongoing problems of ronnie.

  • Comment number 49.

    Like all the other comments I am utterly sickened and truly appalled by tonights episode! I am a first time mum and feel so distressed by tonights viewing. I would like to make clear that it has caused me undue upset and worry!

  • Comment number 50.

    To all those who are saying that the Eastenders team are disgusting for using this particular topic, i could not disagree more.

    i think it is good that they are broadcasting this, as it gives a better understanding of what parents go through having lost a baby. it is a good way too give awareness. The Eastenders team have always been very good at raising awarness, whether it be for bipolar or downsyndrome, and this is no exception.

  • Comment number 51.

    I'm disgusted with this evenings eastenders i mean its a appauling how the hell can ur producers come up with a storyline like this???As if kat or alfie wouldnt know what their baby looks like when i watched it back kat and alfies baby had a slight birthmark on his forehead for 1!They would surely realise that it isnt kats son!Fair enough cast the cot death as yes it does happen in so many peoples lifes everyday but how can u cast a storyline of a cot death and let the mother swap her dead son for another living baby????What sort of mother would rather leave their own flesh and blood even if they have passed away just for somebody elses child thats living!!!!!I dont find it realistic what so ever....Fair enough if ronnie was mental then yes but what kind of mother wouldnt want to organise her childs furneal the last thing she ould do for her child???Sorry BBC but u should be ashamed of this espiode.I think alot of people are going to be so upst over this as there is women going through this at this very moment and having to watch this crap on tv!Not to mention worring all the pregnant mothers or mothers that have just had babies!!What if a single mother iswatchin this and puts the baby into bed with her thinkin that they will safe and rolls onto the baby etc...I dont think u really thought this through.

  • Comment number 52.

    I hope these stupid producers read this and change this horrid story line poor kat nearly died and now she thinks her child has died because of ronnie.I will not be watching eastenders until kat gets her baby back (justice must be done) it is just wrong putting this as the new years story line we hoped it would be something happy but no wayy because it eastenders of course it has to be depressing and sad.....
    And as for next years soap award i know who it WONT go to and that will be eastenders

  • Comment number 53.

    As a mother of two young children and someone who is 8 months pregnant I found it very hard to watch EE tonight and don't think I will be able to follow this storyline as I found it too upsetting. I understand what EE are trying to do by making people aware of the issue of cot death and SIDS but surely it would be better to use a soap such as EE as a platform to educate people on the preventative measures and infant CPR which where not touched on at all

    I am an emt and a member of the red cross for the past 20 years, I am also an instructor in first aid and basic life support and it's a standard part of the course we teach.

    As for Ronnie switching the babies I do not know Amy mother who would not recognise their own child my husband said the same, all babies do not look the same when they're born...

  • Comment number 54.

    Eastenders should change their writers i'm sick of all the sadness. We all get so attached to the characters and there's nothing but trauma, could we not have a happy new year. I've watched Eastenders for over 20 years but there is a limited i've had enough.

  • Comment number 55.

    Having thought about tonights episode more, I'm still a litlle undecided as to the storyline with Ronnie. On the one hand it does seem a little far fetched and having looked around on the internet I cannot find any true life stories that reflect this storyline. That said on the other hand as a mother I can sort of understand Ronnie's position. Taking into account her life story and in partcular her previous child being taken from her, surely it would make sense that she has the most strong sense of wanting to nurture a child, in other words an extremely overpowered sense of motherhood. Perhaps more so than other new mums. Think about it for a minute and what I'm trying to say will make sense. Think of your own feelings when you became a parent and how you had this overwheliming desire to love and nurture your baby. Ronnie needs to psychologically fulfil that role. Also isn't this part of a serious kind of post-natel depression beginning, I think its called postnatel psychosis.

  • Comment number 56.

    I have watched Eastenders religiously for eleven years now, and I'm shocked and appalled by this storyline. Yes, I do think the cotdeath issue could be touched upon to educate and inform...but why now? Why at this time of year, after a terrible 2010 and the producers REALLY think this is a way to ease us into 2011? And also, why does everything have to happen to Ronnie? She's been through so much, and she deserved happiness. But everytime she gets it, it's taken away. This storyline shouldn't have been done with these characters, nor should it have been done until maybe later next year.

  • Comment number 57.

    I have watched Eastenders from the first episode and whilst there have been story lines I have found weak or disappointing, as well as many amazing ones , I have never felt the need to write to the BBC before. Tonight, I was stunned and horrified by the cruel abysmal developing story line of the tragic New Year babies. Clearly, the A writers team responsible for the superb Christmas episodes have handed over to the Z team! To write in the style of a 13 year old as we will no doubt see the break down of Kat and Charlie's developing relationship, the light and shade which both Samantha Womack and Jessie Wallace are more than capable of demonstrating in their fine acting ,will yet again descend to screaming....no light or shade needed in that type of writing. Indeed I believe the reason offered for Danielle's death was the inability to write for Ronnie if all went well for her! I guess the clever writing required to see the potential fun of 2 little boys born so close together and growing up together on the square is a task too far...perhaps fun is not a dramatic nuance the writer's are familiar with?
    I was amazed by the clever writing for Lacey Turner,Gillian Wright and Charlie Brooks. Perhaps a Dallas shower moment is required, or a rapid cutting room floor all nighter? This is a really huge mistake Eastenders. Deal with huge social story lines but not so pathetically.. This really is not up to standard and truly offends. Sorry to go on I feel so stongly.

  • Comment number 58.

    evil ronnie.... pleaseeeeeeeeeee give back kats baby... :)

  • Comment number 59.

    I know it is very sad what has happened to Ronnie. She deserves a little baby boy to love and to look out for, she has wanted a child to love, I know the Dannielle accident was a tragedy but please Ronnie give Kat and Alfie back Tommy! Ronnie is not evil to swap children, she was just so upset and it was a moment of madness as no one would answer to her cries for help on the square. She should not put every one through this, especially for poor Kat and Alfie, Their first child together and every thing is working out for them eventually! Also Jack who will love a child not knowing it isnt his. Please make Alfie and Kat do something like weigh the baby and realise it isnt theirs! Or just make Ronnie confess out of guilt. I know you cannot make James live since his death has already been aired but please change this twisted story line!!

  • Comment number 60.

    I aa/was a huge fan of Eastenders, having watched it from the very beginning and I never thought I would reach this decision but, from tomorrow (after tonight's episode), I have decided not to watch it again. Not because I don't think cotdeath shouldn't be covered, heartbreaking though it is (having lost a nephew to cotdeath), but because I feel it has become totally unbelievable. We all need some sense of justice in our viewing and Ronnie just doesn't deserve what has happened. It's also totally incredulous. We also need some sense of balance between bad and good things happening and recently EE has just not delivered that. And where has the humour gone? Sorry EE, it's the end of the road for me. I won't be watching as this poorly conceived storyline is revealed. So sad to be leaving.

  • Comment number 61.

    What a thoroughly miserable episode of Eastenders to finish 2010 and no doubt the first episode of 2011 will be equally depressing. Sadly after watching the programme for many many years I have decided that enough is enough - the storylines get worse and worse - especially where Ronnie is concerned.

  • Comment number 62.

    New years eve's ep of EE was hard to watch and New Years day will be also. I personally think the writing of this ep was good Sam Womack was outstanding. Viewers who want light relief should stick with Corrie. EE is always down beat and miserable and always will be. We wouldn't have it any other way. Whether this is a storyline to far, time will tell. It depends on how this is handled in forthcoming ep's. To say i won't be watching the show anymore is a little harsh and ott.

  • Comment number 63.

    that is sooooo sad. i know that ronnie has had a hard time- she's unlucky with babies- i did start crying when james dies- but she is OUT of her mind to take kat's baby- kat is one of her best friends now- and Alfie- he is just such a nice guy- i can't believe she would do that- i can a bit, i do hope that this will work out some how- gd story line, SAD but gd xxxx

  • Comment number 64.

    yeah eastenders has gone too far now. don't get me wrong i love the programme but these silly little crazy parts that they just throw in instead of some haapiness is just depressing not exciting like the producers think

  • Comment number 65.

    please can we have some happiness this year but no it's EE. there have been few happy moments on albert square this year and many depressing ones e.g:lucas and denise, phil on drugs, phil losing his kids, bradley dying(what a celebration for 25 yrs i know lets kill bradley branning, owen murdered, lucy getting an abortion and lying to jane, syed cheating on amira with christian and i could go on but i won't. 2010 has been the most depressing year for albert square and since it's a new year shouldnt that be left behind ? NOOO let's have one of the craziest most unbelievable depressing storylines ever EE get some new writers........ QUICK !!!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    I am so disappointed with this storyline. This is so wrong for Ronnie’s character. It has now gotten to a point where the tragedy thrown on this one character is ridiculous and looses all impact. The writers and the producers should have given Ronnie a break and taken her in a new direction. This woman has lost three children and a father in less then two years. They have completely ruined her character. Such a shame because Ronnie is a great character and Sam is a fantastic actress. Her performance tonight was brilliant. It is such a huge let down that they have come up with yet another tragedy for her. Sam performance was fantastic but the storyline is not creative, just plain sick. There is only so much you can out up with a character being tortured in such a way. I feel so let down. Ronnie’s child shouldn’t have died again. We as an audience are so invested in the characters and Ronnie is one of them. It is quite sadistic what the writers keep doing to this character. One second of joy is followed by months and now a life time of extreme tragedy. Shame on you EE! It is time to come up with some fresh and exciting storylines. Unfortunately it might be too late for Ronnie as you have ensured to kill her character with the death of her third child.And this has got nothing to do with EE portraying hard hitting issues. It is great that EE have decided to portray cot death, but to add a baby swap is insulting. No mother will leave her dead child behind and please stop using Ronnie’s past history to justify this. Ronnie won’t do it either.

  • Comment number 67.

    i think that ronnie should'nt take kats baby like kats nearly died and there has being enough saddnes in ronnies life should u not give her some happines like daniella dies her dad and her ma like u should give sum1 eles some bad luck 4 once and on the radio it said that use were not going through with the cot death like how would u think if some mothers just lost ther babys over cot death i think u should'nt went through wi this i amd awfuly discusted in all of use >:( >:( :(

  • Comment number 68.

    The only problem with this is that im all worried about cot death with my lil boy now on 2nd Dec this year he was born hes 1month tomorrow just keep my eyes on him constant now

  • Comment number 69.

    Personally i believe that the production team have done a bang up job, just because it's a hard hitting subject and one that hasnt been approached before. The actors made an impact with their acting and i was immersed in the story line. my family and i have not been affected by sids and to be honest we havnt had to worry about it for a couple of years. This story line highlights the fact that it does happen and it an happen to anyone. Ronnies reactions i believe we not of a normal rational woman and that her actions were based on her life of misery and a a desperate act of wanting to be happy for once. I for one take my hat off to the cast and crew of this story line, one for having the balls to do it and to the cast for putting a lot of hard work into the research of the feelings and reactions. Although im not looking forward to tonights episode i cant wait to see the eventual outcome in episodes to follow.

  • Comment number 70.

    I love eastenders but along with a lot of friends and family i will not watch this again until Kat gets her baby back i think its a sick thing to do and eastenders have gone to far. I think your rating will go down for this x

  • Comment number 71.

    Difficult for the actors, less so for the scriptwriters. Lazy, horrible story. I've watched Eastenders since the 80s but I'm really in two minds whether I want to continue. I'm definitely taking a break for a few weeks while this plays out.

  • Comment number 72.

    This has to be the worst story line ever put forward by Eastenders. Shame on you! Sort out this sickening story line. It is so far from reality that it is not even making a point about cot death which I guess was the idea.

  • Comment number 73.

    Whilst I respect that an issue such as this needs to be addressed I feel that realistically Ronnie as a character has been through too much and unfortunately although I probably will be the only one, Eastenders will now never be a part of my viewing anymore. Having been through enough heartache of my own I no longer wish to be laden down with depressing and cruel twists of fates that Eastenders portray on a regular basis. At least with other soaps you get a slight glimmer of hope and enjoyment.

  • Comment number 74.

    Was I the only one to be appalled by the programme last night? Why of why do the writers spoil a brilliant programme with such unbelievable storylines! And why do they all have to heap dismay and unhappiness at what should be a joyful time of year?
    Many years' ago Eastenders was praised to the hilt for handling the first television cot-death sensitively and compassionately. Last nights episode turned that on its head, making amockery out of a dreadful, devastating situation. I find it hard to believe The foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths has had anything to do with this ridiculous storyline, and quite frankly, I dont care how its going to progress, I'm so appalled I wont be watching again anyway.

    Come on writers, get back to writing wholesome, exciting but believable plots!

  • Comment number 75.

    I applaud the scriptwriters, producers, directors and actors for being brave enough to tackle such a sensitive subject as SIDS. Awareness needs to be raised. I do hope the next few episodes will mention things like not leaving your baby alone to sleep that help to reduce the risk of such tragedies.

    Having said that, I think the baby swap storyline is wholly deplorable and irresponsible. It portrays parents who have lost a baby as irrational babysnatchers. Parents in this extremely sad position are often isolated and others find it hard enough to know what to do or say or how to behave around them. Giving the impression that they might behave like this is a cruel and unecessary sensationalist ploy purely aimed at increasing ratings.

    Christmas and New Year is an especially hard time for those who have experienced any loss, but the loss of a child or baby is the ultimate pain.

    Unfortunately, some one in BBC HQ is probably now rubbing their hands together in glee at all this negative publicity around the storyline because it will ultimately lead to more coverage of Eastenders and probably more viewers tuning in to see what all the fuss is about. Benefitting from the grief of parents in this way is sick. I am furious that my licence fee is being used in this way.

  • Comment number 76.

    Having just had chance to read through all your comments - and I'm so pleased to see I'm not on my own in complaining about this awful all time low episode - I notice that many of you are saying that this subject should be aired on tv. Can I point out that in the early days of Eastenders, they were at the forefront of bringing previously 'untouched' issues of social concern to the forefront. The difference then was that, when the taxi driver and his wife lost their baby on the programme due to cot death, The Foundation For the Study of Infant Deaths worked very closely with the producers. Also, all sudden infant death and bereavement support groups were notified about the programme beforehand, to enable us to forewarn parents, and be available to p[rovide back-up support after the shock waves of the programme.

    Sadly, on this occasion, the current producers have gone for a hard hit, when in reality, it is the hardest hit of all, and doesn't need sensationalising.

    The onky way to right the wrong, vote with your finger and choose another channel later today!

  • Comment number 77.

    i think it sick what eastenders is doing changing babies when one has died it sick and twisted it shouldn't be aloud to do all the parents out there that has loss babies have to sit and watch this sick show it wrong wrong wrong

  • Comment number 78.

    i think ronnie should give kat's baby bk i mean it's just not fair but hopefully ronnie comes to her senses and gives the baby back

  • Comment number 79.

    As soon as I heard about this storyline my heart sank. As the mother of a little girl who died suddenly and unexpectedly at 4 days old I hoped they would handle the story of baby death sensitively and in a realistic way. Sadly they chose to go for the sensational angle of baby kidnap to raise viewing figures. This is a terrible choice by EE writers and producers.

  • Comment number 80.

    There used to exist the phrase "with a flick of the wrist" which expiated the struggling hero of any need to explain how he escaped scott free from an impossible dilemma, and always with his credibility intact. I believe that this whole storyline is a magnificent 5 minute scam that the BBC have deliberately timed to fall upon the cusp of the weekend so as to give the maximum psychological impact to its nation of viewers by stretching the effect of time to an agonising one-photo-forward slowness as we all wait to see what is going to happen on Monday.
    But the baby hasn't yet been seen to be actually dead.
    Why jump the gun?
    Please don't be nation of losers Whoever told you that EastEnders is always so tragic? The baby could still give a sharp cough and a hiccup and everything would fall back into place as it was before Friday.
    A notion might have been aired for appraisal, but it wasn't necessarily being imposed upon us like one of Cat's almost visible woofies.
    Unless of course, that is what you actually want?

  • Comment number 81.

    Firstly i'd just like to say well done to Ronnie - amazing acting, it must of been really diffcult working with this sort of material. I was upset by the fact the baby died, it was chilling. But to steal Kat's baby...BBC, c'mon. Why can't you just let Alife, Kat , Ronnie and Jack have a happy family? I love eastenders and will continue to watch it in 2011, EE were brave to come up with a story line as fragile as this.

  • Comment number 82.

    Aww I feel so bad for Ronnie after all she has been through in her life. I hope she gets pregnant again and this time it all works out!

  • Comment number 83.

    I don't think that you can say these things about the producers and wrters as other soaps can be just as depressing take the corrie 50 year week for example.

  • Comment number 84.

    i am truley disgusted with eastenders for this storyline. I can understand them wanting to portray cotdeath, but swapping babies??? That is so low n sick. The writers of eastenders need a word with themselves. New years eve should have seen jack coming back to ronnie n them celebrating the new year as a family. Can safley say after this that eastenders will not be on my tv until this storyline has ended.

  • Comment number 85.

    I couldn't watch it when Ronnies baby James passed on and you can't blame her for stealing baby Tommy but i wouldn't in a million years do that! I feel so sorry for Kat and Alfie! RIP JAMES JR!

  • Comment number 86.

    Hi this is the second time ive watched this program ,my wife and daughter watch it without fail.t it about time the BBC stopped all this doome and glume ,
    Surely its about time we had some happeness on this programme.
    Last year there was a story line were ronne lost her daughter ,then she losses her baby ,ive seen some sory lines but this isnt right.
    BBC YOU HAVE MADE A MISSTAKE .WITH THIS STORY LINE.

  • Comment number 87.

    They havnt made a mistake with storyline. It may be upseting but you cant tell them they have made a mistake because they talked long and hard about this storyline!!!! i think its a great storyline it brings out the derperat side to ronnie and the vunrable side to kat i think this is going to be a great storyline when kat and alfie find outt!!! oh and i hope lacey comes back in a few years she was a EE ledgend!!! xxx

  • Comment number 88.

    I think the story line you have chosen for the new year disgusting,what about all the people who have lost a baby during the year,whoever wrote this story line should be FIRED

  • Comment number 89.

    I don't know why I watch Eastender's anymore. It seems that the very bad get with murder or almost murder (Janine, a most despicable character). I liked Stacey but she's gone so no happy ending there. Now the writers of Eastender's have really surpassed themeselves with the latest Ronnie/Kat storyline and the swapped babies. Please give Ronnie a break! As for Kat she is a great character and I was delighted when Kat and Alfie returned. Now the whole thing is just ruined. Thanks for nothing and a Happy New Year!

  • Comment number 90.

    I always watch EastEnders and am a big fan. I feel really sorry for Ronnie though, something always happens to her. I don't understand why one baby had to die, especially Ronnie's and making Kat and Alfie go through thinking they have lost a baby is really cruel. I just hope that Ronnie sees sense because I don't see how she can carry on knowing that she has someone else's baby. But I will carry on watching it as EastEnders is very addictive. I would just like to give a massive praise to Samantha Womack who plays Ronnie because I think she is a fantastic actor with the things she's had to deal with.

  • Comment number 91.

    Now that ive watched the episode i dont think they should of done this story its sad and all! i think kat will no about this in the story! x

  • Comment number 92.

    Samantha Womack was absolutely brilliant!

    I don't like the storyline, I care about the character so much that I want her to be happy. Losing three children in less than two years is shocking. I just hope Sam gets noticed at the awards, she's so underrated.

  • Comment number 93.

    If I'm perfectly honest, I think the vast majoroty of the commenters have not understood the storyline. Obviously, cot death is a terribly tragic thing to happen to anyone, and I am sorry if that has happend to anyone (A friend of mine's baby daughter died of cot death), but I don't think that EastEnders where trying to say that it is a natural reaction to steal someone elses baby, but they are exploring Ronnie's mental health. Ronnie is obviusly an extremily disturbed charecter (who wouldn't be after all she has been through) and this storyline is showing what lengths she'd go to to have her own child.

    And as for all the people who have said that they expect comedy from EE, it's a soap. It's ment to relisticly portry life, and in life there's sometimes comedy and sometimes tragedy, and if you don't want to see the downs as well as the up's, switch over. Simple as.

  • Comment number 94.

    ouch. okay, it physically hurt to see ronnie lose james. ive watched eastenders for years now and ive grown really fond of ronnie, and always hoped she'd have some happiness after danielle. but now the writers do this to her?! and have her swap james for tommy? this isnt fair on the character, or her fans. sam is an amazing actress, its just ashame she has to always play ronnie greiving and hurting. come on eastenders, let ronnie be happy! you care about the viewers? good, allow them to finally see ronnie smile and keep her smile! PLEASE?

  • Comment number 95.

    i think this episode was among other things very disturbing and distressing. the fact that ronnie as a character has had such a traumatic storyline since the beginning was bad enough but it was incredibly harsh to see her go through the pain of losing another baby. as for the cot death and 'baby snatch' story line BBC you should be ashamed of yourself. to put this horrible storyline out in the christmas period of all times is bad enough but the actual idea of introducing such a sinister storyline in the first place is awful. the fact is that this show is usually aired at 7:30/8:00 at night so a wide audience of ALL ages is tuning and this storyline is far to distressing to be airing at this time. the only thing i can say positive about this whole episode is that the acting by samantha womack was amazing.

  • Comment number 96.

    Knowing what was about to happen to Ronnie and her son, I chose not to watch the episode last night, as I can't see any enjoyment in it. Why was this storyline necessary. I doubt I will be watching it now for awhile.

  • Comment number 97.

    Surely the BBC could, just for once, have resisted their onslaught into the dire and the gloomy and the desperately sad story lines for East Enders? By the law of averages it is not unlikely that two families living within a few yards of each other could actually have babies and for both of them to still be breathing by the end of the episode. Already, for the sake of viewing figures, this quarter square mile has had more deaths, murders, near deaths and other serious crime than would ever occur naturally without attracting the attentions of the Crime Squad. A happy ending for Ronnie and Kat (albeit an extremely irrating character) would not have been cheesy but what the majority of us would have been really glad to see. Back in the old days we used to applaud EE for being quite like real life. No more, not anything like it. It's just an arena for writers to outdo each other with horrors of every kind.

  • Comment number 98.

    I think it is very brave of EastEnders to be showing a storyline like this and I say good on them! I say ignore all the complainers they are just finding a way to get a dig at the show.

  • Comment number 99.

    I have thought long and hard about this storyline and whilst I applaude soaps for raising awareness and tackling difficult storylines I cannot feel anything but let down by EE for this take on babyloss.

    I feel (At 12am on 01 Jan 2011, 11:Starlighter5 wrote) sums it up perfectly.

  • Comment number 100.

    I felt sorry for ronnie losing her baby as she all ready lost danielle and had a misscarage however she should not of took kats baby. Kat ans Alfie are 2 of the best characters and ronnie should just give them there baby back and just accept the fact that hers has gone she can't go around stealing other babies just to make herself happy, a thought she was kats friend, who would take someone elses baby and who would take there friends baby! I HATE RONNIE FOR DOING WHAT SHE HAS DONE!!!!!!!!!!

 

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