Thursday, 6 January 2011


A TV soap is not something I would usually blog about but since they've been doing this cot -death/baby switch story line I've had so many people asking me about it and if I've been watching or just avoiding the whole thing. I think they're expecting me to say how awful I think it is and how I've been sobbing while watching, or that I've switched off in disgust and made official complaints etc - so I've decided to blog about it as it's clearly something people want to talk about.

For those of you who haven't watched it, heres a brief summary of whats been happening (bear in mind, Eastenders made it clear a few months ago that this would be the big christmas/new year storyline so we were all warned about it)....

Kat and Ronnie both delivered baby boys on the same day. Kat had her family with her and named her baby Tommy. Ronnies husband Jack was struggling to get a flight home so missed the birth of his son, James. The next day, it's new years eve. Everyone is the Vic partying apart from Ronnie who is at home with baby James and Kat who is in hospital following a bleed as her placenta had separated - so Kat has hardly spent any time with her baby. Ronnie wakes from a nap and discovers baby James has died. She picks him up, tires to find her phone but can't, bangs on the neighbours doors for help but they are all at the Vic so no-one answers. She makes her way over to the pub, holding her dead baby and after hearing baby Tommy crying, finds herself in the nursery with him. Tommy is alone, as everyone is downstairs in the pub bringing in the new year.

The episode ends here and begins with Ronnie walking back to her flat holding a baby to her chest, as she did in the previous episode. We later learn that she has switched the babies - remember she is in shock at the death of her own child (after having a miscarriage earlier in the year and discovering her long lost daughter only to have her die in her arms) and it is made cleat later in the episode when Ronnie realises what she has done and tries to take baby Tommy over to the Vic. On her way over, Jack returns home and takes 'his son' into his arms, as we hear Kat screaming as she returns from hospital to discover her baby has died. Ronnie has got caught in a situation she cannot get out of.

In the following episodes, as Kat and Alfie grieve for their baby, Ronnie struggles with the guilt of what she has done, refusing to breast feed 'James' or allow anyone near him. She doesn't leave the house for several days and everyone is worried about her. The health visitor notices there is no sign of the club foot reported in James' discharge notes but shrugs it off as a mistake. Ronnie manages to say the words 'it's Tommy' to her sister Roxy, but Roxy assumes that Ronnie is just having a lot of anxiety over what has happened to baby Tommy and tries to calm her fears.

So that's where we are. Ronnie has a baby which isn't hers, though she didn't consciously switch the babies, and Kat is mourning the loss of her child, instinctively knowing that something doesn't add up. The BBC has received nearly 4,000 complaints over the storyline, with people on social networking sites reporting their disgust at how the story has been handled and how insensitive it is to people who have lost babies to SIDS.

Now, forgive me for getting a bit ranty here, but
1. IT'S A SOAP - its not real life
2. we knew this was going to happen, so if it's effected you/someone you know then don't watch it
3. should soaps stop having characters die, or be raped, or whatever else just because it might upset someone?

If the storyline had involved Ronnie deliberately swapping the babies in a pre-meditated way then yes, I could understand people getting so upset over it, but the writers have done it in a way to demonstrate the mad things that people do when they're in shock/grieving/mega hormonal after birth/have gone through all the traumatic things Ronnie has. The whole point of it is that she does it without realising and then gets caught in a snowball unable to get out of the situation - and we can see she's trying. She tried to return the baby and she tried to tell Roxy. The actress playing Ronnie is reportedly leaving the soap later this year as she felt uncomfortable with the storyline, and many of the writers and actors involved also felt uncomfortable. We'll I'm sorry but aren't soaps there to cover stories of this nature. They're not sensationalising anything, they're not making out to be a glamorous and wonderful thing, they're raising awareness of a difficult issue which is what soaps are renound for doing. Everytime a soap does something a bit challenging, they are either commended for bringing into the public awareness or they are vindicated for 'doing it wrong'.

With all the awful things going on in our country and all around the world, have people really got nothing better to do than moan about FICTIONAL characters involved in FICTIONAL storylines in a TV soap. We should all get a grip.

Oh, and for the record, no I do not find it upsetting because it's not real. It's a drama. It's meant to be dramatic and have some grasp on reality but it doesn't mean I'm going to sit at home clutching my bump and crying into a babygrow and then become a super paranoid over protective mother just incase some crazy grieving lady swaps her dead baby with mine. NO because I can detatch what I watch on television from goes on in my own life and if I did get completely freaked out and distressed by it, then I'd like the men in white coats from the funny farm to take me away please. I'm not saying that SIDS isn't an awful thing and yes I'd be heartbroken if it happened to me, but I'd also be heartbroken if my partner died in a tram crash like on Corrie, or in a fire like on Hollyoaks, or if I was framed for murder like on Emmerdale. It doesn't mean that I'm going to watch these things happening and assume it will happen to me. If we all reacted like to the things we see on TV and in films the world would cease to function, so people, get a grip, stop moaning and turn it off if you don't like it. No-one is forcing you to watch it after all!!

No comments:

Post a Comment