Line of Duty ‘hit with 323 complaints’ after Down’s Syndrome character Terry branded ‘local oddball’

Line Of Duty has received 323 complaints about Down’s Syndrome character Terry Boyle being branded the ‘local oddball’. 

The term was used during the first episode of series six, with many viewers taking to Twitter to say its inclusion was ‘disappointing’ – and made worse by the show airing on World Down Syndrome Day.  

More than 300 people have now contacted the BBC to say they were ‘unhappy’ with the use of the phrase which was said by Adrian Dunbar’s character Superintendent Ted Hastings.

Oh dear: Line of Duty has reportedly received 323 complaints about Down's Syndrome character Terry Boyle [played by Tommy Jessop] being branded the 'local oddball'

Oh dear: Line of Duty has reportedly received 323 complaints about Down's Syndrome character Terry Boyle [played by Tommy Jessop] being branded the 'local oddball'

Oh dear: Line of Duty has reportedly received 323 complaints about Down’s Syndrome character Terry Boyle [played by Tommy Jessop] being branded the ‘local oddball’

MailOnline has contacted the BBC for a comment.

Towards the end of the episode, Hastings suggested another suspect was ‘more likely to be the gunman than the local oddball, that’s for sure’ while talking about suspect Carl Banks, sparking a furore on Twitter.

However, following the episode airing on March 21 the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) said it was ‘fantastic’ to see an actor with the condition in the show – and this was ‘the most important part’ about it.

Writer Jed Mercurio insisted the term ‘oddball’ referred to what Barry George had thought the police perceived him as after being cleared of killing Jill Dando in 2008. 

Unimpressed: The term was used by Adrian Dunbar's character Superintendent Ted Hastings (right, with Martin Compston as Steve Arnott) during the first episode of series six, with many viewers taking to Twitter to say its inclusion was 'disappointing'

Unimpressed: The term was used by Adrian Dunbar's character Superintendent Ted Hastings (right, with Martin Compston as Steve Arnott) during the first episode of series six, with many viewers taking to Twitter to say its inclusion was 'disappointing'

Unimpressed: The term was used by Adrian Dunbar’s character Superintendent Ted Hastings (right, with Martin Compston as Steve Arnott) during the first episode of series six, with many viewers taking to Twitter to say its inclusion was ‘disappointing’

The 55-year-old also pointed out Hastings had not met Terry, played by actor Tommy Jessop, when he used the term, and the show was intended to ‘portray policing with some of its failings’.

Elliott Rosen played Mr Boyle in series one, but Jessop took it over in series five and became the first actor with Down’s syndrome to appear in a BBC primetime drama.

A DSA spokesman told MailOnline: ‘The most important part about Line of Duty last night was that one of the main characters in the drama has Down’s syndrome.

‘Tommy Jessop, who played the part of Terry Boyle, has a very impressive CV and has been recognised by Bafta for his skills as an actor.

‘To have a main character who has Down’s syndrome in such a primetime programme is fantastic to see. Some people have contacted us who were concerned about the language used by another character in the drama.

Interview: Terry Boyle, played by Tommy Jessop, was labelled an 'oddball' during the episode

Interview: Terry Boyle, played by Tommy Jessop, was labelled an 'oddball' during the episode

Interview: Terry Boyle, played by Tommy Jessop, was labelled an ‘oddball’ during the episode

Reaction: The labelling of Terry (right) was described by viewers as 'uncomfortable' and 'poor form' on Twitter

Reaction: The labelling of Terry (right) was described by viewers as 'uncomfortable' and 'poor form' on Twitter

Reaction: The labelling of Terry (right) was described by viewers as ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘poor form’ on Twitter

‘The reality is that people who have Down’s syndrome sometimes do experience hurtful language and we all have a responsibility to speak up when we witness this. It’s important that we all continue our efforts for greater inclusion and acceptance.’

Despite this, the reference sparked an immediate surge of outrage on Twitter, with Barnardos assistant director of children’s services Michelle Dougan among those criticising it.

She tweeted: ‘I love Line of Duty, but found the term ‘local oddball’ used to define the suspect with Down’s really uncomfortable. Yes, I know it’s drama, but come on, let’s be respectful and change how everyone is viewed and identified in our world.’

Jim Gamble, boss of Ineqe safeguarding group, added: ‘Especially on the day that it is, but also on any day, the script writer of Line of Duty needs to reflect on the line referring to a suspect with special needs being referred to as the ‘local oddball’.’ 

Staffordshire Police Chief Inspector John Owen said: ”Local oddball’. C’mon! We talk about stigma, changing the language and equality. This applies to all, including those with #DownSyndrome. Very poor. #BBC #LineofDuty #DownSyndromeDay.’

And Mick Finnegan, a Royal College of Psychiatrists adviser and campaigner for people with disabilities, tweeted: ‘It’s great that Line of Duty is back.

Defence: Line of Duty writer Jed Mercurio defended the line in the script for series six

Defence: Line of Duty writer Jed Mercurio defended the line in the script for series six

Defence: Line of Duty writer Jed Mercurio defended the line in the script for series six

‘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.’

However, creator Mr Mercurio hit back at the criticism in a series of tweets, pointing out it was actually a reference to the case of TV presenter Jill Dando, who was murdered in 1999.

After Barry George was acquitted of her murder in August 2008 following a retrial, he said: ‘I was the easiest target on the case. They (police) could just say, ‘We’ve got the local oddball’.’

Mr Mercurio referred to this quote and told Mr Gamble: ”Oddball’ has no connotation for learning difficulties. It describes a loner, an eccentric. It’s an equally fitting description for someone like Christopher Jefferies. 

‘The drama is using the term to refer to the Dando case, not to learning difficulties. We work with numerous police advisers. 

‘Line of Duty portrays policing with some of its failings. The officer in question doesn’t work with vulnerable people and hadn’t met the suspect. The ones dealing with the suspect used different, more appropriate language.’

He continued: ‘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.’ 

A BBC spokesman told MailOnline at the time: ‘Ted Hastings has never met Terry Boyle. In the scene, he is reviewing the evidence against the character.

‘The word used in dialogue refers to an eccentric or loner, which fits the stalker/obsessed fan theory of Gail Vella’s murder. 

Reference: Mr Mercurio posted a series of tweets defending the use of the word in last night's episode, saying it was a term used in the Jill Dando case

Reference: Mr Mercurio posted a series of tweets defending the use of the word in last night's episode, saying it was a term used in the Jill Dando case

Reference: Mr Mercurio posted a series of tweets defending the use of the word in last night’s episode, saying it was a term used in the Jill Dando case

‘The dialogue has no meaning or connotation that relates to the character’s disability.’ 

Nearly 10million people watched the first episode of series six on BBC One last night, with the average audience being 9.57million and the peak at 9.69million.

This beat the finale of series five which got a 9.1million average in May 2019, while it was also higher than the first episode of series five which had 7.8million in March 2019.

Explained: Mr Mercurio defended the term, saying it was a reference to what Barry George (pictured) had said the police had thought of him as after being cleared of murdering Jill Dando in 2008

Explained: Mr Mercurio defended the term, saying it was a reference to what Barry George (pictured) had said the police had thought of him as after being cleared of murdering Jill Dando in 2008

Tragic: Jill Dando was murdered on her Fulham, London, doorstep in 1999

Tragic: Jill Dando was murdered on her Fulham, London, doorstep in 1999

Explained: Mr Mercurio defended the term, saying it was a reference to what Barry George (left) had said the police had thought of him as after being cleared of murdering Jill Dando (right) in 2008

Link hienalouca.com

Advertising:

Tips to Find Low Priced Luxury Holiday Package Deals Fast

For most families, it has already been a common practice to spend the Holiday season in a foreign location. This is caused by the aviation market changes which have given a lot of benefits for people who travel a lot. Airfares going to different tourist destinations are becoming more inexpensive. What does this mean? If there is a perfect time to purchase luxury holiday package deals, now it the right time! Based on the market trend nowadays, you can save both money and time when you go for a luxury holiday. There are countless offers that combine travel and accommodation in one package which is a lot cheaper than getting separate deals. Aside from that, it is also risky to individually book the services that you need for the vacation. You might end up missing out on some important details of the trip. Unlike when you take advantage of luxury holiday package deals, you can be sure that everything is organized meticulously and according to what you really need. Nonetheless, you would still need to carefully select the package that would fit your needs. Review the following tips in getting packages that are reasonably priced. · Normally, luxury tour packages include accommodation, flight travel and transportation to individual tourist destinations. It would be best to choose the complete package so you won’t have to worry about other vacation elements. In addition to that, these are the packages that have the biggest discounts. · You can get big mark down prices, if you will purchase more packages. It is not a bad idea to share the wonderful moment with your loved ones. By doing so, you would not only enjoy, you will also save more money. You can even use your savings for other activities on your vacation. · It would be best to know how much you are willing to pay for the luxury tour packages. You can already work around your budget. You have to stick to your budget. If not, you might end up spending a lot and you will be left with less money for your vacation. · Prices may vary depending on the destination of the tour. You can do a research about places that are attractive yet inexpensive. There are thousands of destinations and you just have to choose wisely. · There are packages that include recreational activities. This means that you are paying for all the activities when you purchase these packages. The right thing to do is to make sure that the activities that are included would be the ones that you really enjoy. There is no sense in paying for activities that will not really make your vacation memorable. If you are going with friends, you should also consider their preferences so that you can be sure that everyone will enjoy the trip. There are other ways on how you can be sure that you are getting the best deal for your luxury holiday vacation. No matter how you choose to do it, you have to get adequate information about the packages. This will help you determine whether it is worth the price.

(Total views: 62 Time, 1 visits per day)

Leave a Reply