We have received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy with scenes of violence in the Mick Carter prison storyline.
We're aware that any scenes of violence and unpleasantness can sometimes be upsetting for some of our audience but occasionally it's necessary to the narrative. EastEnders has a long established relationship with its audience who have come to
expect big dramatic moments such as these and as our regular viewers will know, the scenes in question were part of an ongoing storyline which has seen Mick pushed to his limits after he was falsely imprisoned.
We are always extremely mindful of the content within an episode and the time slot in which it is shown. All of our content, including language must be editorially justified and we're always careful to film and edit scenes in such a way that they
do not exceed reasonable expectations for the programme -- with much of the violence being implied rather than explicit.
It's also important to note that EastEnders is a fictional drama but, like society, it's made up of many different character types. We feel the scenes in question are crucial aspects of the overall storyline of Mick's time in prison, and that
they were not included gratuitously.
Tony Hall, the BBC's director general, has repeated his call for global streaming companies, Netflix and Amazon to suffer the same censorship as the UK's traditional broadcasters -- or else risk killing off distinctive British content. He said to
the Royal Television Society's London conference:
It cannot be right that the UK's media industry is competing against global giants with one hand tied behind its back.
In so many ways -- prominence, competition rules, advertising, taxation, content regulation, terms of trade, production quotas -- one set of rules applies to UK companies, and barely any apply to the new giants. That needs rebalancing, too. We
stand ready to help, where we can.
Hall will use the speech to warn that young British audiences now spend almost as much time watching Netflix -- which only launched its UK streaming service in 2012 -- as watching BBC television and iPlayer combined.
Citing Ofcom figures, Hall warned that Britain's public service broadcasters have cut spending on content in real terms by around £1bn since 2004. He said that global streaming companies are not spending enough on British productions to make up
the difference, while their UK-based productions tend to focus on material which has a global appeal rather than a distinctly British flavour. Hall added:
This isn't just an issue for us economically, commercially or as institutions. There is an impact on society. The content we produce is not an ordinary consumer good. It helps shape our society. It brings people together, it helps us understand
each other and share a common national story.
A number of TV broadcasters, mobile network and internet service providers has urged the UK government to introduce a new internet censor of social media companies. In a letter to The Sunday Telegraph, executives from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4,
as well as Sky, BT and TalkTalk, called for a new censor to help tackle fake news, child exploitation, harassment and other growing issues online. The letter said:
We do not think it is realistic or appropriate to expect internet and social media companies to make all the judgment calls about what content is and is not acceptable, without any independent oversight.
There is an urgent need for independent scrutiny of the decisions taken, and greater transparency.
This is not about censoring the internet:[ ...BUT... ] it is about making the most popular internet platforms safer, by ensuring there is accountability and transparency over the decisions these private companies are already
taking. The UK government is aware of the problems on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Last October, it introduced an Internet Safety Green Paper as part of its digital charter manifesto pledge. Following a consultation
period, then digital secretary Matt Hancock (he's now the health secretary) said a white paper would be introduced later in 2018.
And in a comment suggesting that maybe the call is more about righting market imbalances than concern over societal problems. The letter noted that its signatories all pay high and fair levels of tax. The letter also notes that
broadcasters and telcos are held to account by Ofcom, while social media forms are not, which again gives the internet companies an edge in the market.