Friday 23 February 2018

EastEnders writer speaks out over 'Poles go home' graffiti scene

The writer said the soap had a responsibility to tackle hard-hitting topics in a responsible way
The writer said the soap had a responsibility to tackle hard-hitting topics in a responsible way

An EastEnders writer has hit back at racism accusations over his decision to feature the graffiti slogan "Poles go home" on the show.

Denying any political motivation, Leo Richardson said that the soap has a duty to reflect reality and that viewers who were offended by the scene were the ones who most needed to see it.

Tuesday night's episode saw Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) cleaning the scrawl off the doors of the Queen Vic pub as Polish shop-owner Konrad said: "This is the Britain we live in now."

Responding to an outpouring of angry Tweets accusing him of racism and "Brexit-bias", Richardson wrote in a Huffington Post blog: "That story was rooted in reality.

"Now, more than ever, in a divided world, it is the job of artists, of writers, of TV comedy and drama, not only to entrain us, but to reflect the things happening in our world, on screen.

"To reflect the lives of people who are under-represented, so we can understand those who we didn't before."

As a fan of the 32-year-old BBC soap before he joined its team of writers, he said it was its "social realism" and "challenging topics" that drew him to the show.

He continued: "In the last two years alone, Lee Carter's mental health story, Stacey Fowler's postpartum and the Linda Carter rape storyline have all been praised by charities and organisations for bringing an awareness to a larger audience and tackling those stories correctly and in a real way."

Following the episode's broadcast, Richardson took time to respond to Twitter attacks, such as @Gabrielka_J's post: "'It's the Britain we live in now' is not acceptable in a supposedly apolitical soap, please sack tonight's script-writer."

Richardson replied: "This troll. Criticising the show I work on because it did a story about the very real racism Polish people have experienced post-Brexit."

Press Association

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