EastEnders working with Comic Relief
Spoiler alert - if you don't want to know details of future storylines you may decide it's best not to read on.
Over the coming weeks, with her stepmother Bianca absent and with no-one else around, Whitney's life takes a downward spiral. Alone and and vulnerable she falls for the charms of an unscrupulous man who ultimately sexually exploits her for his own financial gain.
In line with it's long tradition of tackling social issues, EastEnders has been working with advice from charities funded by Comic Relief since last year to devise a storyline that explores a growing problem that faces many young women in the UK.
The issue is one that the charity has been working on for a number of years, both in terms of funding projects that help those who have been subjected to this devastating experience and raising awareness of the issue.
The storyline will culminate in a special ten-minute episode which is being featured as part of Comic Relief's Night of TV on Friday, 18th March.
Gilly Green, Head of UK Grants at Comic Relief, said: "It is vital that we continue to alert young people to the dangers if we are to stop them being exploited and the opportunity to work with EastEnders will make a huge audience aware of this issue.
"We have been working with the Eastenders script writers and some of the young women from projects we support to ensure the story reflects the reality of young people caught up in sexual exploitation."
Kevin Cahill, Chief Executive of Comic Relief, said: “We have worked over many years with EastEnders in all kinds of ways. It’s been a real pleasure this year to work together on a piece of serious drama, in the best traditions of public service, which will highlight an important issue."
Bryan Kirkwood, EastEnders Executive Producer, says of the storyline; "This is undoubtedly a challenging story for EastEnders to tackle, but it's also an important and topical one. The dangerous predicament that Whitney finds herself in is fast emerging as the awful reality facing many young women in Britain today.
Whitney, after all that she's been through over the past few years, is exactly the kind of vulnerable girl who would be targetted by the likes of Rob (the character who exploits her) . And as Whitney is a character the audience has invested in, we will hopefully engage the audience and raise awareness of sexual exploitation in the UK."
For more information on:
Comic Relief, go to: http://www.comicrelief.com
BBC Red Nose Day, please see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/rednoseday/