The BBC has defended harrowing scenes in Thursday's edition of Eastenders after a number of viewers complained.

Stephen Lord's character Jase Dyer died having been stabbed during a run-in with a group of gangsters, with Jase's son Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick) included in a later hospital scene featuring Jase's dead body.

In a message posted on the BBC's Points of View forum, one viewer wrote: "EastEnders tonight was disgusting. My wife was physically sick and my son of 13 years old was brought to tears."

In response, the BBC said: "While we acknowledge that this was a particularly dramatic episode, we were very careful to make sure that any actual violence was implied rather than explicit, and it was made clear from the outset that Jase's life was in serious jeopardy.

"We do appreciate that some viewers found the images of Jase's dead body uncomfortable; however, in trying to fully convey Jay's loss and depth of emotion, we felt it was necessary for viewers to see what he was seeing."

Another viewer defended the soap's producers on the message board, writing: "I never read such nonsense. This is what Britain is like today and if you can't face up to that then someone must."

This is the third occasion in 2008 in which the BBC has been forced to respond to viewer complaints, with Ofcom rebuking the broadcaster over scenes featuring a gang attack at the soap's Queen Vic pub.

And around 600 viewers complained in March after a scene in which a character was buried alive.

30/08/2008 15:32:20