BBC’s Line Of Duty Slammed For ‘Offensive’ Comments

BBC’s Line Of Duty Slammed For ‘Offensive’ Comments

BBC’s Line Of Duty Slammed For ‘Offensive’ Comments Image Credit: BlogSpot

BBC’S Line of Duty slammed for ‘offensive’ comments on World Down Syndrome Day

The much-anticipated first episode of the sixth season of the BBC’s hit show Line of Duty certainly went off with a bang, but not the kind television bosses would necessarily like. Outraged fans took to social media blasting the BBC minutes after the show aired and one of the main characters made a derogatory remark about a character with Down syndrome.

On the episode, AC-12 Superintendent Ted Hastings, played by Adrian Dunbar, referred to murder suspect Terry Boyle, played by Down syndrome actor Tommy Jessop, as a “local oddball”.

To add insult to serious injury, the show debuted on the anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day, Sunday, March 21.

Mick Finnegan, a Royal College of Psychiatrists adviser and campaigner for people with disabilities was among those shocked viewers that tweeted.

“It’s great that Line of Duty is back,” he wrote.

“However, calling a character with Down’s Syndrome ‘the local oddball’ on World Down Syndrome Day doesn’t sit well with me.

“Great the actor was given the opportunity but language is key to acceptance and understanding.”

Another said: “Solid return for #LineofDuty but surprised to hear the phrase ‘local oddball’ used when referring to a character with Down’s Syndrome – and on #WorldDownSyndromeDay.

“A misfire by the BBC on this occasion.”

But the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) said today it was “fantastic” to see an actor with the disability in the show, and that this was “the most important part” about it.

Equally, the show’s bosses defended the scene and said that the comments were in no way intended to be offensive, and insisted that the term ‘oddball’ has “no connotation for learning difficulties. It describes a loner, an eccentric.”

Responding to the social media critics, Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio said: “We work with numerous police advisers. Line of Duty portrays policing with some of its failings.

“I’m not sure if you’re saying no police officer would use that term (some would – and way, way worse, tbh) or that TV drama can’t use a term that, for the reasons I’ve explained, just doesn’t have the intended connotation you’ve subjectively attributed the main reason being a reference to a real case of police mishandling of a vulnerable suspect.”


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Sarah Keane

Former teacher and health services manager with a Degree in English, Sarah moved to Spain from Southern Ireland with her husband, who runs his own car rental business, in 2019. She is now enjoying a completely different pace and quality of life on the Costa Blanca South, with wonderful Spanish and expat friends in Cabo Roig. Sarah began working with Euro Weekly News in 2020 and loves nothing more than bringing all the latest national and international news to her local community.