28/04/2017 10:31 BST

‘Emmerdale’ Rhona Goskirk Rape Scene Defended By The Soap’s Boss

'I don’t think we ambushed the audience in a gratuitous way.'

‘Emmerdale’ boss Iain MacLeod has spoken out in defence of a divisive rape scene that aired earlier this week, with Rhona Goskirk being assaulted by her new husband Pierce Harris on their wedding day.

While the “difficult to watch” episode was praised by the majority of fans on Twitter, a handful complained to Ofcom, and Iain has now addressed critics.

He said (via Digital Spy): “It was a nerve-wracking thing to broadcast, because it’s obviously very dark, uncomfortable territory.

Viewers have seen Pierce force himself on Rhona before 

“But the reaction to it has been, on the whole, positive and we’ve had direct communication from people who have said this echoes closely with their own experiences. They were quite moved and pleased we had covered that subject area.

“On the other side of it, I know some have said it’s too much for a 7pm timeslot.

“My response to that is ‘Emmerdale’ has always covered hard-hitting subjects and I think soap has a responsibility to cover hard-hitting subjects.

“The content of that episode was heavily flagged both over the long-term story – you’d seen it coming for months – and during the episode itself.

Jeff Spicer via Getty Images
Executive producer Iain MacLeod 

“I think the scene that led up to it clearly sign-posted that the outcome was going to be unpleasant, so I don’t think we ambushed the audience in a gratuitous way.

“I felt it was earned, truthful and unbelievably well acted by Zoe Henry and Jonathan Wrather.”

62 people complained to Ofcom and - as is standard procedure - the broadcasting watchdog will now decide whether to investigate.

Meanwhile, a number of organisations have praised the soap for the storyline, including Rape Crisis.

Shortly after Monday’s (24 April) episode aired, a spokesperson for the charity told Metro.co.uk: “The most important things are that they try to raise awareness and understanding by avoiding replicating victim-blaming myths and stereotypes and, crucially, that they give clear warning, as ‘Emmerdale’ did yesterday, so that survivors can make an informed choice about whether to watch.

“Anyone who was affected by yesterday’s ‘Emmerdale’ can visit rapecrisis.org.uk for details of their nearest specialist support services and other useful information. You are not alone.”

Catch up on all the latest soap news and spoilers here.

  • Rape Crisis services for women and girls who have been raped or have experienced sexual violence - 0808 802 9999
  • Survivors UK offers support for men and boys - 0203 598 3898
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