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EastEnders: BBC defends Lola plot after complaints from social workers

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The BBC has denied setting out to portray social workers in a poor light following complaints over Lola Pearce's current EastEnders storyline.

Last week, viewers saw Lola's baby daughter Lexi removed from her care by strict social worker Trish Barnes after she was arrested for assault. The sad development for Lola followed a number of tense visits from Trish.

Danielle Harold as Lola Pearce in EastEnders

© BBC

Lola realises how much trouble she is in.

© BBC



The Guardian reports that The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has now complained over the portrayal of Trish in the plotline, branding the recent scenes "shabby" as accurate procedures were not followed.

Bridget Robb, acting chief of the BASW, commented: "It is disgraceful to see a publicly funded broadcaster deliberately spreading misinformation about the child protection process because it is too lazy and arrogant to get it right.

"We regularly give advice to programmes about social work storylines - we would like to know who advised EastEnders so badly.

"Social workers have a difficult enough job as it is. Unlike the writers and actors on EastEnders, they have to step through those front doors that no-one else wants to step through, and they do it on a daily basis, to protect children, not to target families.

"EastEnders' shabby portrayal of an entire profession has made a tough job even tougher."

Lola's new social worker arrives unannounced and at a bad time for Billy and Lola.

© BBC

Lola's new social worker arrives unannounced and at a bad time for Billy and Lola.

© BBC



One social worker complained directly to the BBC over the episode in question, claiming that it was irresponsible to show Lexi being taken away from Lola without sufficient grounds.

A BBC spokesperson commented: "It is not our intention to portray social workers in a negative light. Whilst the audience has seen how much Lola loves Lexi, and seen her behaving responsibly in caring for her baby, her social worker has not. Each time the social worker visited, she regularly saw worrying behaviour that concerned her.

"The social worker also witnessed a series of other incidents and, under these circumstances; we believe the audience will have understood why she had to act quickly to remove Lexi when Lola was arrested for assault.

"There was no suggestion that the social worker's actions arose from anything other than a genuine desire to protect Lexi, or that her concerns about Lola were unreasonable given the picture she and the previous social worker had formed over a substantial period of time.

"Although EastEnders tackles many social issues and always carefully researches the details, it is a drama and Lola's story and that of the social worker are not intended to be representative of everyone in the same situation."

Lola will be seen attempting to win Lexi back with help from her family in upcoming episodes. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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