EastEnders backlash: BBC soap receives hundreds of complaints over rabbit cruelty

EastEnders: Isaac speaks to Lola about his Schizophrenia

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EastEnders has aired some rather controversial scenes over the past three and a half decades, with some storyline becoming talking points for national debate. Although the BBC soap is no novice when it comes to receiving complaints from viewers from scenes that air on-screen, it was a recent one involving school teacher Isaac (Stevie Basaula) which prompted fans of the show to voice their outrage over what they had seen. More than 200 complaints have now been registered, with some claiming it was a demonstration of “animal cruelty”.

The scene in question came as Isaac continued to descend down a dark path having stopped taking his schizophrenia medication.

In recent episodes, the youngster has become fixated on Ruby Allen (Louise Lytton) and her father’s connection to his brother, Paul Trueman (Gary Beadle).

Knowing he had freaked the businesswoman out with his constant questioning, he decided to give the Fowler clan a rabbit as a gesture of goodwill.

He thought Mr Pickles would make a good pet for the children given Arthur Fowler (Hunter Bell) was grieving for his father.

“I read this thing online ages ago, that animals as pets and that help kids deal with grief,” he explained in the episode which first aired on June 8, 2021.

It gives them something to take ownership of and gives them some control back,” Isaac added as Ruby and Martin Fowler (James Bye) looked on with shock at the school teacher holding a rabbit.

“Babe, you can’t just buy other people’s kids a rabbit,” his girlfriend Lola Pearce (Danielle Harold) told the young man.

The family warmed to the idea of having the rabbit as a new member of their clan but those watching at home weren’t as happy.

Officially, 267 complaints have been collated as a result of the scenes airing, The Sun reports although Isaac was only seen holding the animal in his hands.

Expres.co.uk have contacted a spokesperson for the show for comment.

Not keen on the cruelty of the rabbit

EastEnders viewer

Taking to Twitter, viewers expressed their outrage over the scenes, with one writing: “#EastEnders rabbits are hard work and need more space and care than people realise, plus they cost a fortune and are not good pets for children. I would be so peed off if someone bought any kind of pet for my child.”

Another posted: “#EastEnders not keen on the cruelty of the rabbit situation… #encouragingkidstogetrabbbits #toomamyneglectedrabbits #verycomplex15yearcommitment #notgood.”

Whilst a third commented: “Gosh no, you don’t just go giving someone a rabbit or any pet out of the blue. Anyone who considers getting a pet needs to do research on how to care for it properly and make sure it’s wanted and loved. @bbceastenders #EastEnders.”

A fourth hit back as they shared: “Seriously? What world do we live in where we can’t even joke anymore? This is just pathetic. #EastEnders.”

Unfortunately for Isaac, his problems are only going to get worse as his failure to take his medication sees his behaviour suddenly change.

In recent scenes, it was revealed he had broken into the Fowler household to retrieve some items of Ruby’s, one being the photograph of her father with his brother Paul at a bar in East London.

However, in upcoming episodes, his girlfriend Lola will become terrified as his actions leave her concerned for his wellbeing.

When he arranges for them to have a lunch date, the mother of one agrees but ends up getting a surprise when her boyfriend takes her to the allotments.

Later in the week, she will head to work after receiving her surprise as Isaac continues to research into his brother’s death.

Lola will try to convince Sheree Trueman (Suzette Llewellyn) her son is absolutely fine but how much longer can she keep up the pretence?

It’s not been revealed how far things will go before Isaac gets the help he desperately needs for his schizophrenia.

With so many people wanting what’s best for him, will the once joyful character be able to get onto the road of recovery?

EastEnders continues Monday at 7pm on BBC One.

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