An episode of Eastenders involving a gang attack on the Queen Vic pub has been deemed too violent by broadcasting regulator Ofgem.

The BBC1 soap was declared to have breached broadcasting guidelines by showing scenes of "sustained violence, intimidation and menace" to an audience before the watershed.

In the episode a gang, which the character Jase Dyer (Stephen Lord) used to belong to, invades the Albert Square pub and attacks drinkers.

Heavily-pregnant Honey Mitchell (Emma Barton) tries to defend Jase from the gang but is knocked over and goes into premature labour.

The episode finishes with it unclear whether the unborn baby has survived the attack.

BBC1 first aired the episode at 19:30 GMT on November 13th, prompting 78 complaints for viewers Disturbed by the levels of violence.

Ofgem ruled the violence exceeded pre-watershed levels and that the BBC had failed to protect children from inappropriate scheduling.

"The violent content and its duration exceeded many viewer's expectations for a drama which is transmitted an hour and a half before the watershed on BBC1 when children are likely to be viewing," the watchdog said.

"Although EastEnders is not made specifically for children, it does attract a significant child audience and any portrayal of violence needs to be carefully considered with this in mind."

25/02/2008 14:48:18