ENTERTAINMENT
28/02/2015 09:10 GMT | Updated 02/03/2015 15:59 GMT

'Emmerdale' Viewers File Complaints Over Alicia Metcalfe Sexual Assault Episode, While Natalie Anderson Defends Controversial Storyline

ITV
Emmerdale

A number of 'Emmerdale' viewers have complained to Ofcom over a recent storyline that saw Alicia Metfcalfe sexually assaulted by 14-year-old Lachlan White.

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On Thursday night, fans of the ITV soap were shocked to see the teenager taking advantage of Alicia, played by Natalie Anderson, when she'd had a few too many drinks, and had fallen asleep.

The hour-long episode was aired at an earlier time than usual of 6.45pm to allow for a football match, with some viewers feeling like it was too much for a pre-watershed moment, although they were warned about potentially upsetting scenes that "some viewers may find difficult to watch".

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Alicia faces up to what has happened to her

A spokesperson for the broadcasting regulator has confirmed they've received 47 complaints about the storyline so far, explaining: "We are assessing these before deciding whether to investigate or not."

Nothing of the sexual assault was actually shown, rather it was implied, much like a similar storyline that rocked 'EastEnders' last year, when a rape scene was alluded to but never actually seen by viewers.

Meanwhile, actress Natalie Anderson has defended the storyline, insisting that it sparks an interesting debate about consent.

She has told the Daily Star: "Alicia does dress sexily, but that is her right as a woman.

"Yes she was far too drunk for her own good. And yes, Lachlan is a child with difficulties. But no matter what, she was assaulted at that was wrong."

"I am so proud of Emmerdale for highlighting this issue and felt so compelled to tell this story."

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