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Bryan Kirkwood - latest on Kat and Ronnie storyline

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Lou | 15:23 UK time, Friday, 7 January 2011

In response to some of the comments regarding the current Ronnie and Kat storyline, Executive Producer Bryan Kirkwood has written the following blog post about the decision to conclude the storyline in the Spring:

 

EastEnders has a long tradition of dealing with social issues in a powerful and dramatic way.  In its 25 years it has tackled many taboo subjects from HIV to paedophilia, matching drama with public service in a way that has continually kept it as one of the most talked about shows on television.

When we embarked on the story of Ronnie and Kat it was very much with this in mind.  We researched extensively to make sure we would be both factually correct and emotionally truthful. 

We received enormous help from charities, health professionals and bereaved parents themselves, who went out of their way to advise the story-liners, writers and actors.  Our aim was – and still is – to tell a strong story that would, in the telling - raise the profile of Cot Death in the UK.

It’s clear that we’ve managed to do this, and that traffic to the FSID’s website has increased by over 500%; but we are also mindful of the fact that in doing so, sections of our audience have found the storyline challenging.

EastEnders never sets out to upset its audience; not only would it be counter-productive, it would be a breach of a long-established trust that we can deliver truthful stories that inspire debate in a way that’s acceptable to a family audience.

Although we have had complaints we have also had positive responses from people who have been through the experiences we are currently dramatising who feel we’ve done this and have contacted us to offer their backing.

A large portion of audience are watching and being supportive of the storyline so we owe those viewers the opportunity to continue to engage with it and see the storyline through to it’s rightful conclusion.

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.

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    i expect it would have bee the next christmas storyline

  • Comment number 2.

    I personally think the whole thing's been blown out of proportion.

    The cot death, and the emotions of the characters involved was spot on... But we're talking about a soap here and the drama over the baby swap is exciting, interesting and - yes - hard to watch, but it's a television, fictional drama. Any other character, it would have been far fetched, but Ronnie has motives and I applaud Eastenders for coming up with something interesting.

    I'm sure I'll get flamed, but I personally think well done. You covered a sensitive issue pretty well, and came up with a story that fits the characters... I imagine most of the people complaining probably didn't even watch the show....

  • Comment number 3.

    I think that part of the nature of the internet age is that people are easily able to mount complaint campaigns, and receive outsized attention that is not necessarily a reflection of how the majority of the audience feels.

    From what I have seen, this storyline is very sensitively handled, and beautifully acted. I haven't seen anything sensational about it. Yes, it is upsetting to see characters we like (or even love) not get what they want - we want them all to have happy endings. But I understand that happy endings would get boring pretty quickly. How many happy endings did Shakespeare write?

    And truly, when we look a why we feel the way we do, it is because the show (the writers and actors) have created these characters that we care about. If one watches the show and cares about the characters, one should trust the show to continue telling their stories.

  • Comment number 4.

    Thanks for this blog, Bryan. I don’t think EastEnders have gone “too far” with this storyline. The show has always been known for its dark and gritty storylines, it has been since it started nearly 26 years ago. EastEnders isn’t supposed to be a representation of real life or life in the East End of London. Look at the stories there’s been over the years, Murders, rapes, HIV, just to name a few. As I said, it's not meant to be representational of real life. I think both people who’ve complained and people who aren’t enjoying the story need to realise what's being portrayed is not what an average woman would do if they lost a child to cot death. They are trying to show Ronnie, who has completely lost the plot and swapped babies in a moment of desperation. Ronnie has had the toughest life in soapland, without a shadow of a doubt. 3 dead children, raped and abused by her father when she was younger, her mother walked out on her and her husband has slept with and has kids with her sister and cousin! It seems the story will conclude in April, which is interesting as Sam Womack finishes filming in May, meaning she's on-screen until July, meaning Ronnie may be around for a couple of months after Kat finds out the truth. Also, following Ronnie's departure from the square, the aftermath and consuequences of Ronnie's action will effect Kat and Alfie for some time to come.

  • Comment number 5.

    That is great news. The sooner this storyline ends the better. This might be fiction but it has affected people and I read today that poor Sam was being verbally abused on the street.
    My heart goes to her.

  • Comment number 6.

    The media has helped spin the controversy out of control, enough is enough. It is a tv drama and if people are offended they don't have to watch !

  • Comment number 7.

    Aside from the PSA's at the end of the episodes, when have they addressed crib deaths? The story from Kat's point of view has been told well, and with sensitivity, but the same can't be said about the character who's child actually died. There hasn't been any focus on why Ronnie isn't returning the baby or how she is dealing with the death of her baby. The story has ignored the issue of crib death in order to focus on the more sensational story of Ronnie kidnapping someone else's baby.

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm so glad kat is going to get her baby boy back the sooner the better she deserves to be happy, love kat and Alfie! Never miss the show! although I can completely understand why the storyline was aired! Will be sad to see Ronnie leave! Gonna miss her X

  • Comment number 9.

    From my point of view and most ppl I know who were not happy with the storyline - it was not the portrayal of cot death, it was the baby switch itself which caused upset and took the storyline too far.

  • Comment number 10.

    Bryan, you're a professional communicator, holding a senior role in one of the world's most highly-regarding broadcasting corporations, so for heaven's sake drop the mealy-mouthed euphemisms. The 6,000 plus people who complained about Eastenders did not find the story "challenging", they found it "offensive". You and the writing team got it very wrong by deciding that cot death just wasn't dramatic enough, and needed a kidnapping to make it more harrowing.
    I am pleased that the story is being truncated, though you'd have gained more respect if you admitted your mistake and apologised. A man in your position should be able to identify these crass errors of editorial judgement without the help of thousands of licence payers.

  • Comment number 11.

    i am very glad that the story line is ending, i did not like it however, i had someone say to me the 'it makes us look like baby snatchers' i do not think thats what eastenders was trying to do, i think it was trying to show just how far people will go to get what they want in this case Ronnie's desire to be a mother.

    Did anyone complain when Janine was killing barry to get his money, she killed to get what she wanted.

    i am so glad that doing this storyline has made people research cot death much more and at the end it will have done alot of good but i think they went a bit too far.

  • Comment number 12.

    Thank you Mr Kirkwood for that statement but could you please respond to the criticism about the baby swap aspect of the plot? After all this is what most people are upset about, not the cot death.

    Could you please also clarify the involvement of FSID as they have made a statement saying that they no way agree with Ronnie's actions of swapping the babies and were only consulted about Kat and Alfie's reactions to the cot death? I do therfore find your statement here and earlier statements you've made rather misleading.

    With regards the increased traffic on cot death websites, for the FSID I can assure you that a lot of it is from members aghast at the thought that they agreed with this storyline.

    I'm afraid I believe that your objective to raise the issue of cot death has been rather overshadowed by the unrealistic baby swap. Also doesn't the fact that Ronnie knows what it's like to lose a child make her more likely to give Tommy back, rather than less?

  • Comment number 13.

    Thanks for finally taking the time to issue a statement however in light of all the damage this storyline has done to EastEnders as a flagship show and brand name. Don't you think you should stand down from your post given the very heavy public backlash?

  • Comment number 14.

    I do think Eastenders have gone too far with this one. Not just that it's insensitive (which it is - and I'm not even a parent)but the writers seem to think that their viewers are so stupid we will believe any old crap. Yes it is a drama but there has to be at least some reality there too. This programme has been getting on my nerves for too long with their ridiculous storylines (stupid and unbelievable romances, Darren getting Heather pregnant, murders every 2 minutes, Phil being a suddden crack addict and then suddenly not - the list goes on and on). Just ridiculous - we might be not be expecting highbrow television from a soap opera but I resent being treated like an imbecile. I won't be watching anymore of this utter mince.

  • Comment number 15.

    sick thats what it is

  • Comment number 16.

    @MartinDFerry: He didn't say the story was being truncated. He said Kat was going to be reunited with her baby. I'm sure that was always in the plan for the storyline. They would never have created a storyline where something like that (the baby switch) was a permanent situation.

    EastEnders exists in a place where characters who do bad deeds, for whatever reason, always get their commupence eventually. You just have to wait for the story to play out. It doesn't happen right away.

  • Comment number 17.

    @MartinDFerry and Budge9, I couldn't agree more.

  • Comment number 18.

    I love Ronnie, she is my favorite character and after losing Danielle so soon after knowing she was her daughter I think it is terrible we still can't see her happy with a baby she has longed for so long. I think it is terrible that Ronnie has to go through all of this but she plays her role so well!!! I just wish happiness would come her way and I wish we could have seen James grow up and see Ronnie happy finally!!

  • Comment number 19.

    watching the cot death very upsetting.to also add the baby swap and snatch is damn well heartless. the sooner they put an end to this horrible stoyline the better.this is total totally out of order.give kat her baby back.this should never of happend.

  • Comment number 20.

    Mr. Kirkwood, when you say that sections of the audience found the storyline 'challenging', I think the word you were looking for was 'offensive'. There is nothing 'challenging' about this storyline: it is base exploitation, nothing more.
    Of course part of the problem is that Eastenders isn't, as you contest, 'one of the most talked about programmes on television'. Prior to this storyline, i've not heard people talk about it in years. So, having rinsed dry every taboo going for ratings, you are left scouring around with ever desperation for an issue that will gain your execrable little show some exposure. Well, you've achieved that. Well done.

  • Comment number 21.

    The question I have is how on earth didn't any of you see this backlash coming? an incident like this could ruin what EastEnders is as a show and to put it at risk in this manner is unforgivable. We all know what happened to Big Brother. I agree with the poster above. While I wouldn't want to see someone lose their job I think its time a new Executive Producer was in place.

  • Comment number 22.

    I cant wait to see a happy ending to this story line, i as a mother have found this very disturbing. i can see why RONNIE is leaving the show as she only ever has SAD story lines and BAD luck. she is never happy and nothing goes right for her. The cot death story was good but the fact of baby swaping I PERSONALY THINK WAS A STEP TO FAR. i found myself shouting at the tv in discust. this story needs to end soon. A friend of mine daughter died of cot death and has found this to much that she has stoped watching eastenders. Its not for the fact of the cot death but that the babys were swaped. she has said to me "when you see your small bundle of joy lying there not breathing its the most heart breaking thing in the world that all you want to do is cudle and cudle, you could never possibliy swap it for another child".

  • Comment number 23.

    Is this country becoming more and more unintelligent each day, I have to ask myself?
    A Soap is exactly that...a Soap! Can't people separate entertainment from reality anymore?
    There are many, many tragic events in life....Drama is only a depiction of those tragedies.
    My beautiful husband was killed in a horrific industrial accident. So bad were his injuries that his brother took five minutes to identify him, in the hospital Morgue. After ten days of embalming him, the Coroner allowed me to see him (on my insistence).
    When I finally saw him in his coffin, he was totally unrecognizable, like a Monster out of a Star Trek Film. It was horrific and gruesome and I still shudder when I think about it.
    Now......how many other people have had to go through such a trauma.......hundreds of thousands.....possibly millions worldwide....? Does this mean if a Drama and I repeat Drama, comes on the television, either by soap or film or a documentary even, highlighting a similar situation as I experienced with my husband and causes me painful memories, that I should write to the Television Company, shouting abuse at it? Of course not! I have the choice to watch it, turn the channel over or switch off my television.
    We all know the situation in EastEnders has happened before, many times in real life....I think the Bible, in the reign of King Solomon, records one of the earliest occasions of two Mums, two babies, one dead, one alive and the bereaved mother 'stealing' the live baby.....so why all this uproar? If you don't like it then don't watch it.(In all honesty 6,000 complaints out of an audience of 10,000,000 is hardly a majority).
    If all of the tragedies in life, and indeed there are so many, had to be avoided by writers and actors, then there would be practically no drama left to portray, at all!

  • Comment number 24.

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

  • Comment number 25.

    They over estimated the intellegence of their audience. People who watch Eastenders think its real.

  • Comment number 26.

    I think the spring is too long to wait just give the baby back and get Ronnie the help she needs, access to help in mental issues would be good to address, the baby needs to be with its mum the looks of despair on Kat and Alfies faces may be good acting but it really is too harrowing for evening viewing with a cup of tea!! a film with this content would have been resolved in 2 hours and would have been just as powerful

  • Comment number 27.

    Hello
    My complaint is about the Kat and Ronnies baby swop it's bad enough when you loss a baby to cot death but to have this plot where the baby is swapped is unthinkable. I had to turn the TV off and it left me feeling sad. The story line needs to end ASAP!!!
    I for one will no be watching EASTENDERS until the plot has been resolved.
    Is there anyone in this programme that has a happy ending?

  • Comment number 28.

    like many others i found these episodes very offensive and feel when the awards are given later in the year that you will be waydown on the list

  • Comment number 29.

    After hearing people have complained over the cot death and baby swap I would like to say that although the baby swapping is unlikely to happen in real life, the emotions of loosing a baby to cot death or any illness or accident can make people behave irrationally and with the hormones involved immediately after birth it is not surprising some people may act the way Ronnie did, it is after all a soap and is dramatised more than real life, I believe EastEnders (and other soaps) bring about awareness of important issues that some people may not know about, so well done to the story writers and actors for portraying such difficult scenes.

  • Comment number 30.

    have just read in the paper that Sam Womack was verbally abused whilst out with her two children, this is not acceptable, if this storyline was not brought up by insensitive writers her family would now not be taking the abuse that she will now get long after she has left the show. this is very upsetting, are the Eastenders Producers going to take the flack for her kids being abused in one word NO THEY WILL NOT. Writers should be made to think about how the Actors feel about certain subjects that they are asked to portray and how it will effect their everyday family life specially if kids are just having a normal day out with their mum and all of a sudden some nutter shouts abuse at her in front of them, this must have been distressing for them. Sams life has been tainted now because of this storyline, hope when she leaves she takes no notice of what is said, EASTENDERS SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF HOW THEY HAVE DESTROYED THIS WOMANS LIFE BECAUSE THEY WANTED RATINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 31.

    Mr Kirkwood, I have been a loyal EastEnders fan since it first started. There have been many strong story lines that you have screened and have gained admiration for.

    Unfortunatley, knowing someone who has had a cot death I felt for 'Ronnie' and although upsetting, it was good that the cot death story gains knowledge and helps to bring things to the forefront....Then you went and spoilt everything EastEnders have done over the years.

    I am unspeakably sickened by the 'baby swop' your programme went on to do. I felt sick, turned off and haven't watched your programme since.

    I have spoken to a lot of people and they all feel the same and have turned off from your programme.

    This is an offensive situation not a challenging one: challenging would of been to have carried forward the cot death with Ronnie. You have made cot death mothers come across as mad women!!!

    Being a mother, grandmother and former follower, I amongst thousands of others urge you to bring forward and clear up this story line urgently, the spring is to far away. Even your own actors are rebelling, so come clean, apologise and clear this up.

  • Comment number 32.

    I totally agree with ali mags xxxxx

  • Comment number 33.

    Rather they ended it a lot earlier - everyone accepts Eastenders is the most depressing soap out there and that soaps have to cram a lot of crazy action unrealistically in one square, to keep viewers interested.

    We can handle the mandatory 1 week of sheer misery and depression following a death (obviously all dandy as soon as the funeral finishes but for that 1 person who stays desperate for another couple of months). We can even handle the idea of a still-born baby, a cot death, someone's close relative dying.

    But 1 woman who has had 4 deaths from 3 children (1st one died twice, second one miscarried and now this depressing rubbish)? The Eastenders writers should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Comment number 34.

    Why Can't Ronnie Never Just Curriy On With Her Life With Jack x x x x

  • Comment number 35.

    I've heard on BBC radio the excuse made for this needlessly callous storyline that Eastenders is clearly fictional; it isn't real. All well and good, but the storylines are based in the real world, on actual events that can (and do) happen to real people (though cearly not as often or to such an extreme extent).

    The late Jon Pertwee, former Doctor Who in the mid 1970s, noted that the most horrifying, and truly disturbing stories were those based on the everyday - the alien in the tube station or the killer doll (the latter storyline got Dr Who's production team in hot water). By tacking on a melodramatic element to a story regarding Cot Death, which is very much in the reality of some people, the writing staff of Eastenders have demonstrated a shocking insensitivity to the feelings of those who have suffered an awful tragedy in their lives.

    If my memory serves me, Eastenders had a sensitive Cot Death storyline back in its earliest days. Cot death is not a taboo subject. The present Eastenders production team would appear, however, to lack both the storywriting skill and human sensitivity to produce anything of greater artistic or social merit than a Victorian 'penny dreadful.

  • Comment number 36.

    I personally think that Eastenders have done a great job and applaued them for taking on this storyline as well as the actors involved. Their performances in my opinion are spot on. Yes it is heartbreaking unnatural and disturbing and as someone who has suffered the loss of a beautiful baby myself I understand the grief and other irrational feelings associated with it is like no other - there are no words to describe it, it is a completely overwhelming and surreal experience that never leaves, you simply learn to live with it. Is it possible that whilst dealing with a loss such as this you may for a split second have an irrational thought or behave in an irrational way? Absolutely. Eastenders should not be vilified nor the cast members for their portrayal of something that happens everyday. Im amazed at the amount of controversy this has caused and would urge those who find it so upsetting to simply change the channel. In my opinion Eastenders have done nothing wrong - they're doing what I'd expect a soap to do and in my opinion they've handled this story line very well there are really more pressing issues in the world that people should be concerning themselves with that actually warrant a slot on the news, world debt, famine, war, the list goes on......just a thought.

  • Comment number 37.

    my comment to carrie king is this, yes you have had a terrible time and i personlily give my condolences, but when i switch on the soaps i take a step away from my reality. but this is not reality this just wouldnt happen, 1 baby die's and you just carry your dead baby across the road to were there is a new baby and swap it. its just disturbing. yes its a drama but as a mother i cant help but feel angry at this. just think for a second if your baby died would you swap it for another. NO NO NO. This story is bad. they should have just left it at the cot death story at least this could help people. but to swap WAS A MILE TO FAR.

  • Comment number 38.

    I too feel that this has been blown out of proportion. Of course some of the scenes following the death of the baby, and subsequent switch made by Ronnie, have been difficult and heartbreaking to watch, but that does not mean EE has gone to far.

    We are talking about a soap which is a) a work of fiction and b) has a history of tackling difficult subject matter from murder, to rape, to child abuse, none of which I see as any less disturbing than the current storyline. Just because something is difficult or dark, does not mean it should not be explored in TV drama.

    On the whole I think it has been sensitively handled, and well acted by the cast involved. I don't think it has been sensationalist or gratuitous in any way. Ronnie does not represent all bereaved mothers. She is a fictional character who has experienced a number of traumatic events in her life, which ultimately led her to react the way she did. To think that viewers will see this, and then assume that all mothers would react in the same way, is frankly, insulting and ridiculous. I also disagree that the aftermath of the baby's death has been over-looked in light of the swap. Quite the opposite. Sso far.,Kat and Alfie's grief has been central to the plot, and we have also seen that Ronnie is unable to actually mourn her child due to her own devastating actions.

    Lastly, the storyline was well publicised prior to when it began, and so viewers had the choice whether to watch or not. I will certainly be tuning in to see the development and eventual resolution of the story.

  • Comment number 39.

    This storyline is one of the most compelling one in a long time. Judging by the comments on here a lot of people agree. I think it is a shame and an insult to the loyal viewers that the storyline is going to be cut short because of a minority of viewers who do not seem to be able to separate fact from fiction. They can change the channel.

  • Comment number 40.

    I have found the storyline of the cot death and swap tragic and in the case of the swap completely unnecessary. The fact that this was the BIG XMAS STORY makes the whole thing worse - and to top it all they are looking at wrapping it up by spring!!!!! Many people have a bad enough time at Xmas and look forward to some xmas cheer on the television - instead everyone was faced with THIS! Whats wrong with the residents of eastenders having a funny, good xmas. However lets face it this type of storyline should never have been to this extent at any time of the year. Why are they waiting to the spring to wrap it up - why not by tonight. Its an utter disgrace and makes a mockery of anyone who has been through this type of situation.

  • Comment number 41.

    Hello E20Launderette: you're right that Bryan didn't say the story was being truncated - I didn't imply that he had said that in any case. It's on the front page of the BBC news website and is widely reported elsewhere.

  • Comment number 42.

    I have never written to complain about anything but I feel the sensitive story line of baby James Cot death went too far when James and Tommy were swapped. I(my sister, nieces who were watching together) felt so upset and then wondered how long the story line would go on for. This should not have happened as I feel it has distracted from the real issue of Cot death and the effect this sad event has on those left behind. In the real world would there be a post mortem etc and tests to check identities ???? I feel for the actors who have portrayed this story so well. However after reading the comments made today, I am still disappointed that the storyline is going on until the "spring" when baby Tommy will be reunited with Kat. This is still too long.

  • Comment number 43.

    i think what annoyed me about the "baby swap"is that EastEnders allways likes to portray themselves as being as "realistic" as they possibly can, and i think with a lot of their past storylines they have achieved this, but by incorporating the swap into what could have been a harrowing but masterful storyline made the situation unbelieveable (the whole ronnie picking up her phone and not using it, walking through many people in the street looking distraught clutching baby james and not one person asking her if she is ok, the midwife not starting her own investigation after james not having clubfoot after 1 day and loosing 20% of his body weight- i could go on!)but insulting to not only grieving mothers who have been in a similar situation but to the police and midwives of the UK. If EastEnders were so on the ball and wanting to be as real as possible then they would have incorporated these factors into the storyline. I like watching EastEnders as a rule but its one of those situations by trying to act something as close to realism but then completely throwing in a wildcard to spice it up when they really didnt need to for this storyline, it was like all they really wanted to do was to deliver a big shock instead of concentrating at the story at hand- the death of a newborn.

  • Comment number 44.

    I think if you dont like it dont watch if it upsets you that much dont watch it!! it's a soap at the end of the day and yes it's tragic when a child dies but dont verbally abuse Sam in the street with her kids that's just out of order i think Bryan has done a great job on Eastenders so far it's such a high profile show and he's done well. And Sam and Jessie and Shane's actin has been awesome. Also what i have always loved about Eastenders is that it's not afarid to do the hard hittin storylines Like Mark folwer's Hiv that was groundbreakin stuff And Syed being gay and a muslim.

  • Comment number 45.

    If you re listening to the public reaction, why are you not ending the storyline today or monday? Are 8400 complaints not enough?

  • Comment number 46.

    I'm afraid that when I heard about this story I wasn't excited about it and have been more happy about hearing it be cut short. This was a very fragile topic to do and then you added tack with the baby swap, this was even too much for people without children. I also think that the character of Ronnie was picked on too much and too be honest the audience would rather see her happy with her own baby and if the actress was leaving it would make more sense for her to leave with Jack and the real James.

  • Comment number 47.

    Eastenders as taken the kat and ronnie storyline too far. The cot death was really upsetting so why couldn't you have just left it at that. was there really any need for the baby swapping its awful. Although i am glad to hear that kat gets her baby back i just hope we don't have to wait too long before it happens.

  • Comment number 48.

    To Bryan im so glad that this story line will end soon.im a huge fan of eastenders and have been since day 1.i agree and have commented that the swapping of the babys was wrong.alot of pepole out here have to deal with the impact of cot death every day weather it be recent or years ago.it is hard enough to carry on after loosing a child or (brother)in my case and watching the scenes that will bring back many memories to loads of us.but as i have said the swapping was just awful and very distressing for all to watch.i know pepole are saying it is just a tv soap get over it but for a lot of us it has pulled our heart strings.and for one person i also want to say samantha womack is a brillant actress.and as for the low life pepole that are attacking her in the street whilst she has her young family with her are sick she was doing her job and found it distressing enough.PLEASE leave her ALONE

  • Comment number 49.

    At the end of the day it's a soap, and just a story, I agree with those who have said if you don't like it don't watch it. These days storylines are never kept secret. You don't have to watch a soap to know what's going to happen. Everyone was given fair warning. The complaints have been proportional to the viewers. You have to bear in mind this show is one the the most watched in the country.

    If Sam Womack was dead against the story, she could have said NO. There have been times in the past when EastEnders actresses have said no to storylines. The Peggy Mitchell breast cancer story was originally written for another character.

  • Comment number 50.


    Bryan Kirkwood still hasn't got it. It isn't the cot death story that most people are annoyed with.

    He has made a mockery of the babies death by allowing the babies be swapped.

  • Comment number 51.


    Bryan Kirkwood should resign as a mark of respect

  • Comment number 52.

    Carrie King: Life is tough, and I'm sorry for your loss. I don't think the complaints are driven by the simple depiction of tragedy. It's the decision further to dramatise cot death with kidnapping, and a burial of a dead child by the wrong family. Bryan's excuses ring hollow. This plot was not necessary to "sensitively explore the issue" of cot death and in some way help those poor souls affected by it. It was done, some may say cynically, to inject further drama and boost ratings. It is disappointing that Bryan and his colleagues can't admit this.

  • Comment number 53.

    Arielstarr - Absolutely spot on.

  • Comment number 54.

    I have been a loyal Eastenders fan since it began in the 1980's. Although the TV soap has always been known as the most depressing of all the soaps. I found myself hooked to some of the characters and kept wathing.

    However all this doom and gloom with happiness only lasting seconds, and there not been enough balance of good and bad times. I had decided that after Ronnie got some happiness with Jack I would stop watching it on a high. But then you brough Kat and Alfie back, who are just brilliant they bring such sunshine and fun to the soap. However I am just so disspointed in how the script writers have felt the need to carry on with this exaggerated storyline with the baby swap. Of course it's important to raise awareness about cot death - but there was no need to introduce Jame and Tommy being swapped, this is a step too far.

    It's a pity Kat and Ronnie didn't get a chance to enjoy their boys together before a big drama hit. I think both deserve some happiness, it's very tiring and boring all this sadness. We have enough around us with the economic recession!

    It was the same with Stacey's exit - why could she not have left with Ryan, a happy ending for her character for a change. No it had to be another sad exit!

    The spring is too far away for this to be resolved I won't be watching Eastenders anymore! It's got way too depressing, i don't think there is one happy storyline just now!

    Also sorry to hear that Samantha Womack is leaving she is a great actress!

  • Comment number 55.

    Everyone seems to think Eastenders did a terrible thing portraying this story line. People needs to be aware of what can happen in split seconds. Would it necessarily had to be in the cot? It could be left on the bed as well. You could be sitting there with your baby all day long as just as you went off to do something even get a glass of drink and next thing you know your child is gone.

    I'm not against the cot death story line because its facts of life. But what I can't get my head around is the thought of taking another person's baby and watching the parent/s of that child grieving.

    Also there were instances of giving birth in hospital and swapped their baby with someone else's because they were not happy with theirs. Even the nurses themselves swapped people's children and even sell them. How and why these things happens, I don't know but things happens. What your eyes don't see your heart won't leap, but your mind tells you something isn't right.

    Above all manner of dismay Ronnie is good at what she does and I don't like the fact she is leaving. What I am interested to know is whether she will surrender the child of leave with it?

  • Comment number 56.

    I do not like the fact that Ronnie is keep having sad story lines. This child meant alot to her, it will emotionally damage her and make her character appear like a pyshco.

  • Comment number 57.

    I am glad the current cot death storyline is to be concluded. I will start watching it again in the spring when I know I will not have to watch the awful plot.
    I know eastenders is a fictional programme that wants dramatic story lines that make ratings soar - but please keep it from turning into farce and if dealing with a sensitive storyline that is going to resonate with many in your audience keep it simple. That way the message will be more powerful and not lost in farce.

  • Comment number 58.

    Ronnie should give Kat her Baby,it's not fair on Alfie & Kat .....

  • Comment number 59.

    I think this is SICK.
    I get that's Ronnie must have been out of her mind but this is a step too far. This needs to end an soon not "in some months".
    END THIS STORY LINE AN SOON!!!

  • Comment number 60.

    As with many, it is the baby swap story line that offends me not the cot death. The inferrance that Ronnie has gone `mad` and takes these actions is so wrong!! I find this story line so irritating and will stop watching Eastenders until it is over. Next week wouldnt be soon enough!! The Spring!!! Arrgghh.... It`s a great pity as I`ve watched for years and only been entertained even by some other more serious storylines but this is not enjoyable!

  • Comment number 61.

    It is great that you are doing a cot death storyline but Ronnie taking Kat's baby was too far.
    Ok I get that you wanted to show Ronnie on the edge but you did have a chance to re do the storyline and have Ronnie put baby Tommy back.
    Shame on you.

  • Comment number 62.

    I think this was a great topic to cover! And i do see why to cut it short!! People have their opinions, but this is no reason to cut a main story short! I also love Samantha and don't want her to leave, the best two actresses have left or are leaving Eastenders, Lacey being the other actress, I hope to see 'Ronnie' back on the square soon... if she does leave! (Please don't kill her off!) However i do agree with some of the other comments saying that it has been blown out of proportion, but on the other hand thats what makes Eastenders and other soaps, it's fiction we want a big story line don't we?
    i love Eastenders!!

  • Comment number 63.

    Im a big eastenders fan as most are but im not referring to the gr8 actors or the baby death story but the baby swop "by someone so close" is a bit hard to swollow

  • Comment number 64.

    STOP THE STORY GOING ANY FURTHER SO WHAT IF ITS A SOAP IT STILL AFFECTS ME AND YEAH YOU CAN SAY DONT WATCH IT BUT THERES NO ESCAPE EVEN WHEN IM IN A QUE AT THE SHOP! ITS HARD DEALING WITH THE LOSS OF YOUR OWN CHILD WITH OUT HAVING THIS EVERYWHERE!

  • Comment number 65.

    Eastenders is not real blah blah blah! however good acting is when the actors make you feels as if it's real and for some people it's hard to switch thier emotions on and off especially on such a sensitive issue when you don't know what is going to happen next. In a 2 hours movie fine, but a tv show that children also watch, not on.

  • Comment number 66.

    i think this story line should never have been aload to go ahead its sick and you are destroying loads of peoples lives you should all be ashamed.

  • Comment number 67.

    This story line should come to an end. Now. FAST FORWARD............

  • Comment number 68.

    I have been a fan of eastenders for over a decade now, and have enjoyed some of the dramatic storyline, which of course is part of the soap opera... However I just wish this one would come to a conclusion as there is just something about it that makes me feel sick from the pit of my stomach.

  • Comment number 69.

    Bryan Kirkwood quotes the scriptwriters took advice from "charities, health professionals and bereaved parents" about this vile baby swapping story line then? I defy him to name two of them.....

    You overstepped the mark - admit it and apologise

  • Comment number 70.

    Eastenders have defenatly not gone over the top with the cot death scenes and i think that cat and alfie have played thier part extremerly good love easties but i dont want ronnies character to leave :(

  • Comment number 71.

    I think this story line is absolutely horrifying... Yes ok people were tuned on to see what Ronnie will actually so but to carry it on this long is sick... i love watching eastenders. It reminds me of stuff happening in the town i live in but because of this story line i am currently not watching it. I think Samantha is right to leave... To ask someone act this story line out you must be crazy!!

  • Comment number 72.

    This storyline has been emotional and very upsetting but that's because it is very true to life. That said, perhaps the timing was inappropriate in showing it over Christmas when families like mine, feel the loss of a child so much more. Very good though and compelling viewing.

  • Comment number 73.

    tonight episode proved true reason to sensationalise things for viewer figures. Nothing to do with cot death just truly upsetting watching Kat. Can't watch anymore till resolved.You must be making life intolerable for people really affected by cot death. Writers should be ashamed.

  • Comment number 74.

    IVE BEEN EASTENDERS FAN FOR A VERY LONG TIME AND THIS CRAP WITH RONNIE AND KAT NEEDS STOP RIGHT NOW SO FIND AWAY IN YOUR SCRIPT.THAT KAT GETS HER BABY BACK AND RONNIE GOES TO JAIL.DONT EVER THINK OF DOING SOMETHING LIKE THIS AGAIN.THIS EPISODE HAS GOT ME PISSOFF.

  • Comment number 75.

    Eastenders should end this scene by,Jack inviting Kat and Alfie over to see the baby whilst Ronnies out or sleeping. Then the babies wearing the same vest when Ronnie took him from the pub and then recognises that thats her baby.

  • Comment number 76.

    ersonally I think this story takes Eastenders out of entertainment. I think at this time of year the last thing people need is more stress from a Tv programe. I understand that this is a story line however I and several of my friends believe that this story line is taking entertainment too far. I certainly will not be watching it to the Spring before Cat gets the baby back ...Come on Eastenders you dont need this storyline to depressive at this time of year, with all the cut backs and people losing their jobs my god we dont need this....

  • Comment number 77.

    i think the kate and ronnie story is sick . this is inhuman to all the family who have lost children how cruel can this get .the producer of eastenders may have researched into cot death but stealing a child is wrong and it is a out rage to put this on national t.v . how low can one t.v show get i wonder !!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 78.

    Please, Please BBC make it stop. It is the most disturbing thing I have ever watched. In the end, I turned it off. I couldn't watch anymore. Please change the storyline as soon as possible.

  • Comment number 79.

    I love to watch eastenders however, the recent Kat/Ronnie story line is just appauling to watch.... yes i understand the issue of cot death and eastenders wanting to cover this.... but having Ronnie steal the baby is just too much....yes i understand its just "a Soap" but this is not my idea of entertainment.....Let it end ASAP or risk losing regular viewers......Its quite frankly distressing to watch and not wot we need at this time of the evening...........

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 81.

    The spring isn't soon enough, I think you should backtrack and re-do the cot death story without the swap or make Ronnie actually give Tommy back before Kat enters the pub on new years eve, even if you have to take the show off the air and show old episodes until the filming has finished.
    You have hurt alot of people and you need to do something drastic to turn it round. I have just seen Kat go into Ronnie's for the toy and it's getting really upsetting for me that she was so close. I'm not surprised Samantha is leaving, I hope alot of cast members threaten to leave. You are heartless idiots and I'm really considering not watching it again and that's something I swore I'd never do.

  • Comment number 82.

    i think the storyline between Kat and Ronnie is a serious matter.
    i read on the BBC news website that the charity that is helping with cot death gave you some ideas but you decided to change a few of them i think you really need to look at this situation and understand this has offended so many people and the complaints keep going up.and ever since this storyline has happened i can't watch it but i have always thought it was a good soap and maybe again in the future i will watch it.

  • Comment number 83.

    Me and my family used to love eastenders. But now its gone too far. at least now stupid idiotic ronnie is leaving at least the story line will hurry up. poor kat and alfie you selfish. i know its not real but i hate ronnie i am so glad shes leaving bye bye you sado!

  • Comment number 84.

    i thought it was just sick and wrong that ronnie switched the babies many of my classmates do too they could of just waited a week or something i agree with the people which are complaining about it.

  • Comment number 85.

    I dont disagree with you approaching the very taboo subject of baby death but I personally think the "baby swap" is disgusting. The story has been taken completely out of context and as far as im concerned it is dragging on far too long. I have a very close friend who recently lost a baby at 2 days old and the grief that she went through was beyond belief. Now in your programme you are allowing a mother and father to experience this grief and advertising it when it is absolutely unnessary and I am furious about it! I am a huge fan of easteneders and watch it religiously but this storyline has completely questioned my views and admiration for the show. Rather than concentrating on the main issue of "cot death" you have turned the story around to abduction of a baby so please do not preach that you had to cover a baby death story as for one episode only it touched on a baby dying. Now its all about the "baby swap". I think its disgusting and to all the grieving mothers out there that have lost babys for whatever reason you should make a HUGE apology.

  • Comment number 86.

    Hi,
    I am a midwife working in Cardiff South wales. I am in finding that women are distressed by this story, especially the babies being swapped. It is a very cruel and heart wenching story line which is genuinely causing a great deal of distress. I know some viewers find it entertaining but me and the women I look after do not. Please stop now, enough!!!!!!
    Emmerdale has also covered this storyline and raised awareness of the same points without causing such distress to the public.
    Looking forward to the end of this story line, thank you

  • Comment number 87.

    I have always loved eastenders and the way it tackled serious issues, however as an expectant mum with an 8 year old child, I feel that the Kat and Ronnie storyline is a step too far!!!!
    Both characters have acted the role brilliantly, but in my opinion the writer of this story should be sacked!!!!
    This storyline is both gruesome and upsetting and in my opinion in no way reflects how any woman would behave under the same circumstances. I think the writer should be ashamed of this ridiculous story and put it right immediately!! Kat needs to get her baby back and I hope Eastenders will take on board the upset and offence they have caused to many people!!!

  • Comment number 88.

    Hmmm personly...none of you have to agree with this and not being rude but...
    in my personal opinin i think it is totally sick to do this story line. I have never been offended my anything eastenders has done before apart from what ian beale said about whitney (she's been touched by a kiddy fiddler) anyway my point is that some people have sadly been through this touch wood no one in my family has been through it but alot of people have its very common and to see is dramatised like that! if i had gone through that and then watched eastenders and saw it dramarised i would have rung that number from the first episode when it started. If i was apart of that stpryline i would refuse to do it its just sick!!!!

    sorry eastenders crew if this was offencive but i wanted to speak my mind

  • Comment number 89.

    I think the story line is very fetching its disturbing to watch but yet it grabs your attention and makes you desperate to see the next episode the actors have researched there roles and played them out very well.
    Some people really need to remember that it is just a soap its not real life. i would also like to send lots of love and thoughts to Samantha Womack who is dealing with the harsh people out there who let there mouths run!!! Keep doing a great job all eastenders crew i love your story lines and cant wait to see the plot unravel!!!!

  • Comment number 90.

    I think the story of ronnie and cat is sick and should end very soon.....

  • Comment number 91.

    I've just watched (and have been watching this storyline for the past few weeks) the latest episode of Eastenders and I don't think I can stand to watch another one ... I implore you, please bring this storyline to an end as soon as possible. It isn't helping to bring Cot Death to the forefront of everyone's minds at all. It's disturbing beyond belief. I know this is all good publicity for the BBC and Eastenders itself ... but really ... you think this is good viewing and you really think this is helping the Cot Death cause??? I personally think not. I have never felt so anguished over a program as I do over this one. It's wrong on so many different levels :-(

  • Comment number 92.

    This storyline should end now. To let it carry on until the spring is ridiculous. I can't continue to watch this programme and I've been an eastenders fan for years.

  • Comment number 93.

    i think this storyline, has brought so much distress and paranoir to so many individuals. i mean so many people have there opinions and i love samantha for playin a good role, but personnally i feel she deserves to be happy as she has been through alot, first she lost her daughter daniela and now her son died.what will it take for her to have a good role and live happy as her sister roxy... i there was a possibilty to change the storyline i would have wanted both kat and ronnie to have lovely sons ..

  • Comment number 94.

    The producers should get their act together.

    They are trying to pass this as a "truthful" storyline - because of the cot death issue - but they conveniently attached the baby abduction to create a cliffhanger. Eastenders has changed, they should not relate the new producers' work to the quality of past ones. Look at the previous Ronnie story, where they kept us waiting forever and then killed the daughter on the day it finally came out. Creepy and depressing.

    They obviously have no clue with regards to the fact that they should counterbalance the drama with some decent happy endings. This is what Eastenders did in the past and what the new producers lack. They bring in misery, they ruin the best characters and fob the public off with the 'reality' issue.

    Now they tell us they will end this storyline in Spring. I am horrified at the fact that they were planning to take it further.

    Dear producers, you might want to consider opening your eyes to the fact that watching a soap should be enjoyable, it appears that you are trying to create mass-anxiety disorder or loose the program's viewers. Get a grip with what the public wants.

  • Comment number 95.

    Please stop the "cot death" storey line now - It upsets the whole country and you have made your unfortunate point. I suggest that you should do this and issue an apology!

  • Comment number 96.

    I am sick to my stomach regarding the story of Kat and her baby. My grandaughter is 8 months pregnant and she cries after every episode. I feel angry and anxious after watching the show. I am a recent convert to Eastenders, being a Corrie watcher and I can honestly say when this story ends I will NEVER watch again.
    The sheer arrogance of your scriptwriters beggars belief. Could someone please remind them that WE the Public licence payers pay their inflated wages!!!! They should be entertaining us, NOT upsetting us. I think in these rather austere and depressing economic times the story line should be nipped in the bud before the BBC does even more damage to its failing reputation. Please give in to Public demand..Even the Queen had to once upon a time!!

  • Comment number 97.

    IT MAKES ME SO ANGRY!!!!! WE HATE EASTENDERS. CORRINATION STREET AND HOLLYOAKS IS BEST! nearly every year eastenders wins for best soap but because of this rediculous storyline they are coming last. every one has gone off eastenders. hollyoaks or corrie to win i say! :-(

  • Comment number 98.

    Spring is too late ,end stroy line now, give Kat back her baby,

    I hope EE dont drag this out by making another horrible time for kat out if getting her baby back, let her get baby back and her and alife be happy

  • Comment number 99.

    How the last person can say this is extrordinary , we watch eastenders for entertainment and sometimes to learn about human events , which a bereavement is , but the BBC scriptwriters have twisted this story line and created emotions that real people bury and do not like to come back when they are wanting to be entertained .
    By saying anything can be used and twisted to make it more interesting is sick what is entertaining about watching a person scream in pain when you have been through the whole yourself and now it all comes back 4 times in a week and there is more to come ...

  • Comment number 100.

    you should bring this storyline to an end NOW... Ronnie nor Kat deserve this storyline, if the writer of this story had ever experienced having her/his newborn die then they would realise how insensitive this is. we have experienced this more than once in our family and i think they are sick, sick and should seek help with their physcology, putting this on the tele to get more viewers and make more money, thats what it comes down to,,, bad enough that a baby died in the story, but to steal another persons newborn and carry it on for weeks ??? you are sick in the head... none of my friends or famimly will watch eastenders again until this has concluded... maybe you should consider getting a new writer for your scripts, one with a heart and feelings instead of using other peoples misery to sell your show.....

 

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