Friday 22 March 2019

Three Girls and Apple Tree Yard spark calls to BBC Action Line

EastEnders and Holby City also featured issues which viewers sought help for.

Three Girls (Sophie Mutevelian/BBC)
Three Girls (Sophie Mutevelian/BBC)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Storylines in dramas Three Girls and Apple Tree Yard helped prompt over 127,000 calls or online visits to the BBC’s Action Line service for support on issues of sexual abuse.

Calls and online visits to the Action Line, which provides contacts for organisations which can help, shot up to 431,000 in 2017, up from 280,000 in 2016.

Around 127,000 were about sexual abuse, sparked by storylines in Three Girls, based on the true stories of victims of grooming in Rochdale, and Apple Tree Yard, which featured a rape storyline, as well as other programmes.

Ben Chaplin as Costley and Emily Watson as Yvonne Carmichael in the BBC1 drama Apple Tree Yard (Nick Briggs/BBC)

The BBC said EastEnders, The Archers and Holby City also prompted calls or online visits.

Medical drama Holby City raised issues around LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) domestic abuse, as well as bullying, bereavement, cancer and organ transplant.

It resulted in 6,455 viewers seeking support and information either online or by telephone.

Radio 4 soap The Archers’ miscarriage storyline generated 7,024 page views, whilst references to post-traumatic stress disorder on EastEnders resulted in 3,939 calls and website visits.

EastEnders' Albert Square (Andrew Stuart/PA)

Imagine… She Spoke The Unspeakable highlighted the subject of FGM, after which 204 viewers contacted the Action Line for information.

Controller of BBC drama Piers Wenger said: “The BBC’s produced some outstanding drama over the past year which has really connected with audiences.

“It’s important that we tackle difficult subject matters and I’m pleased that through the Action Line we’ve been able to give so many people vital information, help and support.

“The BBC’s public service role means we’re uniquely placed to help audiences deal with these difficult issues.”

The BBC Action Line also includes a number of permanent information lines for some issues, as well as dealing with issues addressed in programmes.

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