EastEnders has of course never shied away from controversial storylines, and a forthcoming plotline will see Roxy Mitchell accused of neglecting her daughter Amy.
The story begins when Roxy – who’s played by Rita Simons – leaves Amy with Ben Mitchell (Joshua Pascoe), however, when he lets his attention slip for a few minutes, toddler Amy starts running a bath for her dolls…
And she promptly falls in and nearly drowns.
So there’s of course an emergency dash to hospital, where a devastated Roxy has to defend leaving Amy with teenager Ben to Amy’s dad Jack Branning (Scott Maslen).
And there’s worse to come when it transpires that doctors find an old injury to little Amy’s arm which was untreated…
Frantically, Roxy will try to explain that the injury was the result of a fall, and that at the time, it didn’t seem anything more than the usual bumps and scrapes a toddler faces.
But it seems the hospital staff and Jack suspect there could be something more sinister going on, and Jack immediately applies for, and gets, a residence order so that Amy will be in his custody.
This of course leaves Roxy devastated, and desperately fighting to get her daughter back, but it also raises a question of how social services and hospitals are portrayed when it comes to dealing with injuries to children…
And I’m sure there’s going to be lots of criticism about this plotline, given that it may make some parents wary of taking their child to A&E if they get a bump on the head, fearing their kid could be whisked away by over zealous social workers!
However, of the storyline, Rita told All About Soap magazine, “It turns out Amy had a fall earlier in the week. Roxy thought she was fine at the time…
“But the social worker sees that, coupled with this incident, as neglect.
“Jack then makes out Roxy’s a bad mother and takes Amy away from her.”
Rita went on to explain that she thinks Jack is being “hypocritical” in suddenly coming over all fatherly, given that he has various children scattered to the winds who he never sees.
But actually, if I may digress a minute, on the point of soapy babies and toddlers, there’s something that’s always kind of irritated me; the fact that they conveniently disappear when their parents are busy!
For instance, since Tanya Branning learned she had cancer, we’ve barely seen little Oscar. The Masood’s baby Kamil is around more than most soapy babies, but he too can often be ‘asleep’ for weeks on end…
However, getting back to the story, Rita said that Roxy will stop at nothing to get Amy back…
She said, “She will fight… and she has Phil, Shirley and Christian to support her.”
How much clout a former junkie criminal and homophobe like Phil can have with social services remains to be seen!
Do you think this storyline will have viewers up in arms about how social services and the medical authorities deal with supsected neglect or abuse?
Let us know!