‘Emmerdale’ actor Michael Parr has spoken out to defend the soap’s controversial acid attack storyline.
Michael’s character, Ross Barton, became the victim of an acid attack earlier this year, when Debbie Dingle’s revenge plan on Joe Tate went horribly wrong.
At the time, the plot attracted 366 complaints to Ofcom, with the broadcasting regulator later ruling the ITV soap did not breach guidelines.
Addressing these viewers’ concerns in an interview with the Daily Star, Michael insisted the show should be covering real life issues facing today’s society.
“I don’t know what these people think a soap’s platform should be,” he said.
“On a soap we have a bigger reach than most TV dramas, so of course we want to tackle topical issues and raise awareness. We’d be mad not to when our viewing figures are what they are.”
He continued: “I’ve seen that this is a serious problem within the UK and I want to show people the long-term affects. Reports show that there are two acid attacks in the UK every single day. And the results last for ever.
“From the research that I did there were women in India saying that they would rather be raped than to be the victim of an acid attack. It’s devastating. People need to be informed about this issue.”
After 228 complaints were made to Ofcom in the first 12 hours after the episode aired, an ‘Emmerdale’ spokesperson also defended the storyline, telling HuffPost UK: “‘Emmerdale’ has a long track record of tackling difficult and topical storylines and the unprovoked acid attack upon Ross is another example of this.
“We take our responsibility seriously when portraying what happens in these circumstances. Consequently, the storyline was researched thoroughly with medical experts at Pinderfields Hospital.
“For the sequence following Ross’s attack we adhered carefully to the NHS guidelines about how to help people who are the victim of an acid attack.
“We also specifically researched this story with one particular victim who felt it important to share what happened to him with the ‘Emmerdale’ production team.”
Michael recently announced he would be leaving his role as Ross after five years on ‘Emmerdale’.
He said on Twitter: “Have had the best few years at Emmerdale but it’s time to move on and explore other avenues.
He then jokingly added: “If I win that soap award I might stay though.”