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'Emmerdale' Jackson plot complaints assessed by Ofcom

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The story reaches its climax for Jackson, but its only the beginning for Aaron and Hazel

© ITV

Ofcom is to assess complaints about Emmerdale's assisted suicide storyline after receiving overnight complaints.

Last night's episode of the ITV1 soap saw tetraplegic Jackson Walsh (Marc Silcock) take his own life after drinking a concoction of drugs, given to him by boyfriend Aaron Livesy (Danny Miller). A tetraplegic is somebody who has suffered a spinal cord injury and has then lost control of arms and legs.

The media regulator has received a handful of complaints about the controversial scenes, broadcast between 7pm and 7.30pm, reports PA. However, a decision on whether or not they breached rules will not be made until the plot and subsequent outcome have played out on screen.

Aspire - a group which works to help people in the UK who are living with a spinal cord injury - has voiced its criticism of the scenes.

"It is no secret that Aspire has been outspoken on this topic since we first had an inkling of where the storyline was heading. Peter Stanford, chairman of Aspire, voiced our concerns in The Daily Telegraph a couple of months back, which caught the attention of the producers of Emmerdale," a statement on the group's website read. "Subsequently we were invited to address our concerns with them at their offices in London.

"As is plain to see, our suggestions that they move away from the suicide storyline and to show his journey back to independence in a positive light fell on deaf ears. Perhaps ratings count for more than reality."

Expanding on its negative view of the plot, Aspire's director of services Alex Rankin continued: "This storyline had the potential to be ground-breaking in its approach to disability, and to challenge misguided opinions on spinal cord injury. Instead, too often, the script has opted for poor stereotypes or sensational misrepresentation.

"I sincerely hope that the 1,200 people who will be paralysed by spinal cord injuries this year, and their families, do not find themselves believing that Jackson's story represents their future."

Silcock had previously insisted that the scenes would be purposely "horrific" so that they did not "glorify" assisted suicide.

Meanwhile, an Emmerdale spokesperson said today: "We have always made clear that our motivation with this story is to drive constructive debate over this sensitive subject. We welcome feedback and 99% of the response we have had from viewers following last night's episode has been overwhelmingly positive."

> 'Emmerdale' Q&A: Marc Silcock discusses Jackson's exit
> 'Emmerdale' assisted suicide plot blasted by charity Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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