BBC defends "racist" remarks on EastEnders

EastEnders has been defended by the BBC after a comment made by show returnee Shabnam Masood was branded 'racist' by viewers.

Tuesday night's episode (January 14) saw Shabnam tell her father Masood Ahmed that he should never have dated Carol Jackson because she is white.

Shabnam had fiercely opposed Masood's relationship with Carol since returning to Walford, and was satisfied when Carol made the choice to end the romance.

After the break-up, Shabnam told Masood: "Carol can see the obvious even if you can't. It's not right you being with a white woman."

The BBC has now confirmed that it has received viewer complaints over the remark, but fans will see the storyline develop further tonight (January 15) as Masood sternly rebukes Shabnam for her comments. "EastEnders has a rich history of tackling social issues. The show does not advocate racism or intolerance in any way; in fact it seeks to challenge these negative views.

"Shabnam has returned from Pakistan with a renewed religious faith, devoutness and with some strong views. In this episode Shabnam's comments came from her personal beliefs, but as viewers will see in future episodes, she is strongly challenged on her views by her father Masood.

"Drama often requires an oppositional voice or view-point in order for another character/s to express their feelings, and challenge a particular sentiment or standpoint. This is the case in the episode which will air on 15 January, when Masood makes it very clear that he finds her views unacceptable."

Shabnam returned to Albert Square in Monday night's episode (January 13) with new actress
Rakhee Thakrar in the part.

Speaking to Digital Spy about the Shabnam and Carol story this week,
Thakrar said: "It comes down to what she believes her dad should do with his life. Secretly, Shabnam has a very tiny wish her parents would get back together - she is a real family girl and that would just make her so happy if her mum and dad got back together.

"That's the major reason and is what is driving her opinion on his relationship with Carol."