Line Of Duty Creator Hits Back...

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Line Of Duty Creator Hits Back Following Controversy Over Ted Hastings Comment

Tara Walsh
Tara Walsh

03:22 22 Mar 2021


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Line Of Duty controversy

The highly anticipated sixth season of Line Of Duty returned to our screens last night.

While many praised the show on its season premiere, others criticised it over a comment made by Ted Hastings.

He described a character with Down’s Syndrome as the, "local oddball."

 

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The team were investigating the death of journalist Gail Vella.

Terry Boyle is the man accused of killing her.

He's played by Tommy Jessop, an actor with Down’s Syndrome.

 

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On last night's episode, the team began to question Boyle's involvement.

Hastings remarked that another suspect was, "more likely to be the gunman than the local oddball, that's for sure."

This line sparked massive controversy online, especially considering the episode aired on World Down Syndrome Day.

Jed Mercurio speaks up

Creator Jed Mercurio responded after the CEO of INEQE Safeguarding Group, Jim Gamble expressed his disappointment online.

In his response, he included a link to an article by the Irish Examiner about Barry George's arrest. 

He went to prison for the murder of TV presenter Jill Dando, but was later acquitted.

The quote reads, 'I was the easiest target on the case. They (police) could just say, 'We’ve got the local oddball.''

Jed later explained, 'The drama is using the term to refer to the Dando case, not to learning difficulties.'

Jim responded, 'This was the Supt in charge of Prof standards, not a suspect referring to themselves.'

 

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'It describes a loner, an eccentric.'

Jim continued, 'If you want your lead to be seen as crass & offensive this is the way to go.'

Jed defended that the word, '"Oddball" has no connotation for learning difficulties. It describes a loner, an eccentric.'

'It’s an equally fitting description for someone like Christopher Jefferies.'

The show creator revealed they work with numerous police advisers on the show.

'Line of Duty portrays policing with some of its failings,' Jed defended.

'The officer in question doesn’t work with vulnerable people and hadn’t met the suspect.'

'The ones dealing with the suspect used different, more appropriate language ...'

'I’m not sure if you’re saying no police officer would use that term (some would - and way, way worse, tbh) or that TV drama can’t use a term that, for the reasons I’ve explained, just doesn’t have the intended connotation you’ve subjectively attributed ...'

BBC speak out

A BBC spokesman released the following statement to MailOnline:

'Ted Hastings has never met Terry Boyle.'

'In the scene, he is reviewing the evidence against the character.'

 

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'The word used in dialogue refers to an eccentric or loner, which fits the stalker/obsessed fan theory of Gail Vella's murder.'

'The dialogue has no meaning or connotation that relates to the character's disability.'

A new episode of Line Of Duty season six drops weekly.

Cover photo: Twitter @Line_of_duty

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