Silent Witness, upsetting scenes, BBC One 22 and 23 April 2012

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Complaint

We’ve received complaints from some viewers who felt the two part instalment of Silent Witness entitled Redhill was too violent.

Our response

As programme makers we take our responsibility to the audience extremely seriously and try to make sure we strike the right balance between compelling drama without being unnecessarily graphic. Towards the end of the first episode we had established that DI Bridges and Officer Kessler had previously worked together and that he was the one very much in control. The final scene was not an attempt to gratuitously shock the audience; it was rooted in character and research, showing just what DI Bridges was prepared to do for her colleague for the sake of her family, as well as the brutality that Kessler was capable of.

We acknowledge that certain scenes may have been challenging, but we filmed and presented them in such a way as to make sure that although as a viewer the implication was there, it was never actually shown.

Silent Witness is now in its 15th series and we believe the general tone and content is widely recognised by its regular audience. It’s fair to say the show is known for tackling challenging stories and exploring adult themes and we don’t feel the content of these episodes would have gone beyond viewer’s expectations.

As well as scheduling the series after the 9pm watershed, we made sure the content was widely publicised and gave a warning before both episodes which on Sunday stated:

“...With scenes some viewers might find upsetting and violent scenes.”

And Monday:

“….With graphic violent scenes and some scenes which some viewers might find upsetting, Silent Witness.”

We’re sorry if you felt we got it wrong on this occasion.

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