18/05/2017 11:20 BST

'Redwater' Star Oisin Stack Defends 'EastEnders' Spin-Off After Criticism Of Stereotyping Irish Life

'This is not a social commentary.'

Oisin Stack, who stars in the ‘EastEnders’ spin-off ‘Redwater’, has spoken out against claims the drama stereotypes Irish people. 

The show - featuring Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace as Kat and Alfie Moon - is yet to air in the UK, but debuted to Irish audiences on Sunday (14 May), only for some viewers to call out its representation of Ireland. 

Some criticised bosses for showing characters drinking Guinness and whisky chasers in pubs, while others also claimed actress Fionnuala Flanagan was putting on an over-the-top accent, despite actually being born in Dublin. 

BBC Pictures
Kat and Alfie head to Ireland in search of her long-lost son

Oisin Stack, who plays Father Dermott Dolan, has since hit back at the claims in an interview with the Irish Independent. 

“This is not a social commentary,” he said. “It’s a psychological thriller that’s meant to have a sense of suspense. Everything is meant to be heightened.

“I think if people are giving out about the realism, they’re missing the point of the genre. It’s meant to be stylised and filled with dramatic suspense.”

He added of the drinking scenes: “I don’t know about you, but most of the time I go to a pub there tends to be a few people drinking alcohol.”

‘EastEnders’ previously faced criticism with its last jaunt to Ireland in 1997, with the BBC later issuing an apology after many Irish viewers complained about negative stereotyping.

BBC/Patrick Redmond
Oisin as Father Dolan 

Redwater’s executive producer and former ‘EastEnders’ boss Dominic Treadwell-Collins admitted he was keen to right the wrongs this time around

In an interview with HuffPost UK, he said: “When EastEnders went to Ireland 20 years ago, it was famously not great and upset a lot of Irish people. I remember my family all being a bit appalled by it all.

“So when I said to my cousins over in West Cork, what I was doing, they all said: ‘Ohhh no, ‘EastEnders’ goes to Ireland, you don’t want to do that!’

“I made it my mission to rewrite those wrongs.”

‘Redwater’ airs on Thursday at 8pm on BBC One. 

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