EastEnders bosses slated for making Jean Slater seem like “a crazy person”
EastEnders bosses have come under fire from some viewers who claim that the character of Jean Slater, who of course has bi-polar disorder, is made to seem “like a crazy person.”
The Sun reports that many fans voiced their complaints via social networking sites such as Twitter, with one fan writing, “Seriously disgusted and p****d off at the way EastEnders is portraying Jean as a crazy person when she is just bipolar.”
Another said, “The way Jean is treated sometimes really, really frustrates me. It’s as if bipolar = sub-human. It doesn’t.”
And finally, another Twitter user commented, “I feel sorry for bipolar people having Jean from EastEnders as a representative.”
Jean, who is of course played by Gillian Wright, has recently been depicted reacting to the fact that Michael Moon (Steve John Shepherd) stole money from her and then tried to imply Jean was “mad” by denying he ever took money from her…
However, in a recent episode, he confessed to Jean’s niece Kat Moon (Jessie Wallace) that he had in fact taken the money, but in a forthcoming episode, Jean will be seen telling her neighbours that Michael “hasn’t done anything wrong.”
But in the past, the show’s bosses and writers have been praised for their depiction of mental health issues, and in 2010, EastEnders won an award from mental health charity Mind for the way it portrayed Jean’s bipolar disorder.
However, of the recent spate of complaints, a spokesman for the show said, “We have received a total of 107 complaints from more than 16 episodes.
“As every EastEnders viewer will know, this storyline has been running for more than a month with the climax reaching more than eight million viewers.
“This story was never about Jean’s bipolar disorder but about how Michael has manipulated her.
“We always treat all of our characters as individuals and there is no suggestion that all of Jean’s characteristics are linked to her condition.
“The BBC also pointed out that viewers were already aware of the truth.
“Michael Moon is a well-established villain who is intent on destroying others for his own twisted motives.
“The storyline is completely in keeping with his character.
“The audience were aware from the start that Jean was telling the truth, even when other characters doubted her.”
What do you think? Is Jean’s illness wrongly portrayed? Personally, I’ve always thought Gillian does an excellent job in the role, and the writers give her some really important storylines, which she plays with aplomb.