An Open Letter To The BBC & Eastenders

Dear, Script Writers, Producers, BBC Management and all those involved in last nights episode of Eastenders.

I was shocked and saddened by the joke Kim made in last nights episode about Children With Diabetes.

Putting aside for just one moment the fact that it was factually incorrect, let us first try to establish what it is about Children with diabetes that you find so amusing.

Take a good long hard look at this image, of a child lying in Intensive Care after a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. (By the way this is the type that well over 90% of children have in the UK). Unfortunately 25% of children are not diagnosed until the condition becomes life threatening despite it being simple to test for. In fact each year children are dying due to a late diagnosis. Is this what you find so funny?

infant-in-bed Optimized-intensive

 

Or maybe it’s the children that are having to inject themselves 4 or 5 times a day. Can you remember how you felt when you took your child for their vaccinations? Now imagine having to inject your child multiple times a day for the rest of their life. I tell you what this Diabetes lark is sounding like a right hoot isn’t it?

Children with Type 1 Diabetes have to prick their fingers on average 10 times a day…it hurts. Even babies, take a look at this image of a baby doing a blood glucose test. Is this amusing?

baby pricking finger

How about the children that have had to make the Hobsons Choice between multiple injections every day or to wear an Insulin Pump, that constantly feeds insulin into the body? A device that is worn 24/7.  These children are kept alive by a machine.

Optimized-child insulin pumpOptimized-girl on insulin pump

Take a moment to think about all those children that are bullied in the play ground because when other children hear the word “Diabetes” they presume the child ate to many sweets. Why would they think that? Well because of the media and people like you, who do not differentiate between the types of Diabetes, and continue to perpetuate a myth.

Finally maybe you find it amusing that in the last few days, Drew Turville, a young boy who had Type 1 Diabetes, died. He had simply contracted a regular stomach bug. Catching a simple stomach upset can quickly become a life threatening condition for all children living with this condition.

I could go on and on but I think you get my point.

I would complain to Ofcom but I know what will happen, I will receive a nice letter talking about Artistic Licence. Tell me one thing though before you give me that response. Would you for one moment make a joke about Cancer or any other life threatening condition? No you wouldn’t, because it would be inappropriate. It was a sick joke!

Think about all these children for just one minute. Know that Type 1 Diabetes is an auto-immune condition, none of these children did anything to cause Type 1 Diabetes, they didn’t eat to many sweets, and their parents didn’t do anything wrong either. Type 1 Diabetes can affect anyone, it doesn’t differentiate.

Now tell me honestly don’t you think these children deserve an apology from you, for making a sick, factually incorrect, cheap joke at their expense.

Your sincerely

 

A Mother Of A Child With Type 1 Diabetes.

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40 thoughts on “An Open Letter To The BBC & Eastenders

  • February 24, 2016 at 1:16 pm
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    This has brought tears to my eyes, you obviously now know my thoughts on all this. Diabetes is never something to joke about and I really hope they listen to us and realise why.

    Stevie x

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    • February 24, 2016 at 6:22 pm
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      My grandson was 2 when diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and very poorly I commend the script writers for most issues they cover especially mental illness I was shocked and dismayed they could be so irresponsible over the issue of diabetes I actually thought I had miss heard kims comments and had to rewind BBC apologies please

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      • February 25, 2016 at 11:21 am
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        Christine, I totally agree with you. The actresses portraying Psychosis and Epiliepsy have been wonderful. I really don’t know how they think it’s ok to make fun of children with a life threatening condition.

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    • February 25, 2016 at 11:23 am
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      I really hope they listen too Stevie. It seems that JDRF and DiabetesUK are trying to get involved, fingers crossed our children get the apology they deserve. x

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  • February 24, 2016 at 1:39 pm
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    My 8 yr old son has just been diagnosed with type one diabetes I do not find her comment amusing aymt all even tho she was wrong . My little boy nearly died as he has slippes into a coma an I thought he had a normal sickness bug . Now he has 4 injections every day for the rest of his life .

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    • February 25, 2016 at 11:22 am
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      Awww Kelly I’m sorry that you’ve been exposed to this level of ignorance so early on in your sons diagnosis. I hope you find our site informative and helpful in these early weeks.

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  • February 24, 2016 at 1:50 pm
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    Well said. My son was diagnosed exactly a year ago today in the late stages of DKA despite seeing our gp a number of times previously for being unwell (including the night before admission into hospital). I am sick of the ignorance that exists about type 1. Thank you.

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    • February 25, 2016 at 11:24 am
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      Oh Louise that must have been a horrific thing to go through 🙁 No need to thank me. We are all in this together. x

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  • February 24, 2016 at 1:55 pm
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    Very well said! Can’t believe the script writers would do that!!!

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  • February 24, 2016 at 1:56 pm
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    I think the BBC should make the biggest apology that has ever been made
    And make sure it is broadcast throughout their entire networks

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  • February 24, 2016 at 2:20 pm
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    As a grandparent of two young girls who were diagnosed at 14months and 8 months I support this letter . Perhaps the BBC could do a storyline about life of a young child with type1 to show the reality of living with this chronic condition . I agree that an apology is also required .

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    • February 24, 2016 at 4:57 pm
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      I agree!! A storyline is the way forward to raise awareness of just how difficult it is for a child with type 1 to live with and manage on a daily basis. Not to mention how much pain it causes the parent to witness and manage their child’s condition.
      My son has type 1 and we have had to learn to take every day as it comes. It’s like walking a tight rope most days….

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  • February 24, 2016 at 2:22 pm
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    My lad was diagnosed T1d last year. It makes my blood boil that the media are constantly mocking diabetes and not giving the full facts about t1d and t2d. I really think it’s about time they stop mocking what they obviously know nothing about, do their research and run a story about t1d. They can help the public as it will raise awareness of what signs to look out for. Completely disgusted by their ignorance!

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  • February 24, 2016 at 2:22 pm
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    Well said! I still feel sick to my stomach every time I think about my then 15 month old grandson fighting for his life! 3 doctors and 5 nurses who didn’t give up on him.
    It was a sick comment to make and I look forward to reading the apology and assurances it will never happen again

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  • February 24, 2016 at 2:37 pm
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    I decided not to watch Eastenders any more a few months ago, found storylines etc very boring!! However i have heard the sick joke comment that was aired and im really disgusted!! I have a 24yr old daughter who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 5yrs old!! She has struggled daily with this condition and her childhood was difficult having to give up sugar! Shame on you and whoever wrote the script for this episode!! Imagine how my daughter feels and all other kids with this condition feel hearing that comment??

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  • February 24, 2016 at 2:43 pm
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    My daughter was diagnosed 8 months ago she also was very very poorly when diagnosed! We have to test every 2 hours through the night etc to get her bloods down! It is a very serious condition. Our kids go through so much everyday and are amazing, you need to appologise to our kids!

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  • February 24, 2016 at 2:50 pm
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    I’m son was diagnosed T1 5mths ago and life as he knew it has turned on its head. All the finger pricking and insulin injections take it’s toll. Really sad people find it amusing to poke fun at an illness that can take a life and create havoc so easily. 😡

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  • February 24, 2016 at 3:04 pm
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    Very well put, my son was diagnosed at the age of 12 after months of me taking him to a doctor to be told to keep a diary of the food he ate. I thought he was anorexic with the amount of weight loss he had. Not once did they check for diabetes untill I demanded a blood test to be done. He was admitted that day and diagnosed with type 1. A lot of people that do not have or know someone living with type 1 understands but that joke was cheap and nasty and it is not a laughing matter, not when I have to stay up all night to make sure my son does not hypo or when he is crying with pains in ha feet and legs or when he wants to eat things he can’t and I have to tell him no. Or if I will go to his room to wake him for school and I can’t because he is in a coma or worse dead. These are the fears I live with everyday in life. There is so much I could say here but I don’t see the point as it will be passed off as just another mother complaining about the bbc and their ignorance!!! But this is not an illness to be joked about and even if it was a fly by comment it was a rather offensive one to every child that has the illness and their family’s. Shocking!!!!

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  • February 24, 2016 at 3:20 pm
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    I do not watch Eastenders but having a daughter now 20 years old who lives with type 1 it was yet another distasteful error of judgement from the BBC. I spent time last year in email communication with the BBC regarding a similar error in the programme The Syndicate where dangerous and wholly inaccurate information about type 1 diabetes treatment was aired relating to a type 1 character. As the lady predicts in the above article – correspondence from the BBC comes back repeatedly using ‘dramatic licence’ as the excuse. I was informed that the whole of the drama department would receive copies of my email to stop this sort of disgraceful script writing from getting through to production level. Well it clearly is not happening. Can you try much harder BBC ?

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  • February 24, 2016 at 3:48 pm
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    Think the scrip writers need to read up on the condition and gain some knowledge before incorporating it in to there script . And to have people make fun is rediculas how would they feel if it happened to them or there children 😠😠😠make me sick people like that

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  • February 24, 2016 at 3:56 pm
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    This brought tears to my eyes. My son was diagnosed 13 months ago after he became seriously unwell over night and fell into a coma. He had a late stage DKA and is very lucky to be here today. He’s had a horrible year, going through many difficulties and unaccepting of his condition. He’s battled injections and hated it, battled the insulin pump and hated it, now back on injections and hating it. He’s nervous and embarrassed about people knowing he’s a T1, and why? Because idiots like to JOKE about this life threatening, horrible condition. The BBC and all involved should be ashamed of themselves. Thank you for taking time and writing this.

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  • February 24, 2016 at 4:08 pm
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    Absolutely disgusting,my daughter has been a a type 1 diabetic for 3 years now,upsetting watching her inject,getting up in the night because she is having a hypo!So for eastenders to make a off hand remark about sweets is disgraceful! Think on eastenders!

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  • February 24, 2016 at 4:22 pm
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    I too find the whole stereotyping of type 1 disgusting and fully agree. I am the mother of a 13 year old t1 who was diagnosed aged 2 and yes she was in a coma and close to death! I have to see that image for the rest of my life! And as stated it is s life threatening illness which will never go away and she is kept alive by at least 5 injections a day! I worry about her every hour of every day and simple illnesses reek havoc with her! So yes the bbc need to get their facts straight and apologise!

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  • February 24, 2016 at 4:30 pm
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    I was absolutely disgusted with the comment that came out of that characters mouth especially as my 9 yr old TYPE 1 Daughter was watching too she was diagnosed coming up 2 years now so i’m glad they found it comical and felt the need to include such an ill adviced sick comment try living in the shoes of a Type 1 diabetic or the parent of one and i bet it won’t be funny then !!!!

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  • February 24, 2016 at 5:16 pm
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    I found this distasteful and upsetting as I know several people, some children, who suffer from this terrible illness. BBC needs to get a grip and think before they put things like this on tv. I’m one angry viewer and shall not be watching Eastenders in future. We should all stop watching this programme 😡😡😡

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  • February 24, 2016 at 5:42 pm
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    My son is type 1 diagnosed at 5 hes 11 now, the diabetes comments make my blood boil, there’s no need for diabetes to be mentioned, I emailed emmerdale when they made a joke out of diabetes when my son was watching the show. I got a shitty response.., the script writers need to look into things b4 they write, is it my Childs fault he’s diabetic? Did he eat too much sugar b4 he was diagnosed? No…. Do u script writers sleep? Yes well a mother of a child who has type 1 doesn’t its a constant worry day to day you don’t know what today’s going to bring, a simple sickness bug can have our children in hospital hooked up to monitors. Stop making jokes of diabetes it’s not funny

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  • February 24, 2016 at 6:20 pm
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    I didn’t watch it. But was saddened to hear what was said. My daughter was dx in January 2016 and we have already (even close friends) had to explain it was nothing to do with what she ate! Comments like this just compounds people’s believe that it’s to do with diet. When I explained that it was a auto immune response she was shocked! Lack of knowledge and education breeds contempt!

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  • February 24, 2016 at 7:14 pm
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    My son was diagnosed at 16 months. When you nearly lose a child because they have Type 1 then a joke made like this isn’t funny, it’s a medical condition, and can’t be helped. It’s nothing to do with how much sugar my child has eaten and I think we (as parents) get fed up with justifying that are children haven’t had some kind of sugar fest to get them to the point of being insulin dependant. We fight everyday to break down incorrect views and wrong perspectives on this illness…so thanks Eastenders for adding to the misunderstandings!

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  • February 24, 2016 at 7:14 pm
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    My friend helped the scriptwriters write the fantastic script on postpartum psychosis which has done so much to raise awareness of this mental health condition. As a mum of a Type 1 teenager who was diagnosed at 12 years old weighing just 5 stone at the time I wish the BBC would get the facts right on Type 1 diabetes. We struggle on a daily basis with people’s misconceptions that we fed our children too many sweets and Eastenders can do so much to change this view so comments like Kim’s really do not help. I hope that they listen to your letter and help us in raising awareness, as you say it can happen to anyone.

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  • February 24, 2016 at 7:57 pm
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    I have never watched Eastenders and this has confirmed my decision not to. Listening to the comments raised above I find it hard to believe that a TV programme that seems to reach such a large percentage of the population can get their facts so badly wrong. The hurt caused to the children wth type 1 diabetes and their parents is unbelievable. I support and agree with all the comments above

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  • February 24, 2016 at 8:38 pm
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    I’ve been a diabetic since the age of 9, the comment used on eastenders was out of order and I knew this would cause upset.

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  • February 24, 2016 at 10:13 pm
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    Eastenders, I have watched and loved your show since it started, but having a 14 year old son who was diagnosed when he was 12 with type 1, I have never been more appalled with you. When will you ignorant script writers get it into your head that getting Type 1 diabetes is nothing to do with the amount of sweets you eat? My son lost a quarter of his body weight, his body was extremely dehydrated and he had DKA. Two days in hospital on a drip….maybe you scriptwriters should come and visit my son when he is in the middle of a hypo, cold sweating and unable to walk. An apology is the least you can do……

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  • February 24, 2016 at 11:20 pm
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    I think that your show of non sympathy to all the parents and sufferers of type one diabetes was below the belt. I have two beautiful granddaughters who through no choice of their own was diagnosed with type one diabetes at a very early age. I really don’t think that you can even begin to imagine what life my son and daughter in law have with these children. They don’t know what a full nights sleep is unless they have someone to have the children overnight which is very rare. I have to say that my son & daughter in law are the most dedicated parents to all three of their children. It doesn’t matter how weary they are they always have time for them.
    As a long running soap, what right do you have to mock type one diabetes. Would you mock Bi-polar sufferers. No I don’t think so.
    How dare you mock type one diabetics. You are mocking children who suffer who are insulin dependant That are subjected to injections for the rest of their lives as there is no known cure as yet. You obviously know nothing about it.
    Your soap is so distasteful. I could not think about watching it again. You are a disgrace to the BBC.. You should be ashamed of yourselves

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  • February 25, 2016 at 12:45 am
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    My granddaughter was diagnosed with type 1diabetes when she was 7 years she is now 18 and the trauma her mum and dad have. gone through it was so insensitive of eastenders especially as my granddaughter watched it

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  • February 25, 2016 at 11:55 am
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    I can’t see what’s funny about having type 1diabetes ?i have a granddaughter with type 1and it breaks my heart knowing for the rest of her life she has to inject herself .she is 11and so beautiful .and cleaver .she has to inject 4times a day. but she just deals with it with support of her parents. As a nan I suggest you apologies to all the brave children that deal with this every day….FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO MAKE A JOKE ABOUT..

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  • February 25, 2016 at 1:44 pm
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    BBC you are an absolute disgrace and the very least you can do is to make a full public apology. My grandson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 14. You have no idea what his life is like on a daily basis and the constant worry his mum has to ensure his condition is kept under control. Would you think this is so funny if it was your child – I think not. What other scripts do you have in mind? Maybe someone hilariously suffering a terminal illness ! Apologise and do so immediately.

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  • February 26, 2016 at 9:48 am
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    Appalled at the BBC ,so insensitive and its not funny to have Type 1 diabetes.I do hope Diabetes UK are on to this.

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  • February 26, 2016 at 12:56 pm
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    I have had Type 1 for nearly 12 years. I have a nearly 5 year old daughter and I worry every single day that she may develop is terrible illness. I have always hated Eastenders but being the nosy moo I am, I had to have a look. I find it almost scary that a company as large as the BBC don’t know the difference between T1 and T2 diabetes. It takes seconds to find out the difference on the Internet. It’s sheer ignorance that they assume all diabetics got the condition from too much sugar.

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  • February 27, 2016 at 1:48 am
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    To may people don’t understand the severity of diabetes it saddens me to think that something as big as the BBC with all the researcher’s they can’t do just a little background into this and ensure that they are giving correct information. Children with diabetes go through enough day to day. Hopefully in future they will have a little bit more research into the story line they are using

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  • March 13, 2016 at 4:27 am
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    This is just an insight in to what it is like to live with Type 1 Diabetes, yes I am sure many will say he could have worse things, but that does not mean it is okay to joke about it. By making joky references to diabetes on screen, you are opening children up to bullying and spreading more ignorance.

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