WHAT A LOAD OF PORK PIES; Ireland's Full of Drunkards, Dimwits and Donkeys According to EastEnders

By Kierans, John | The Mirror (London, England), September 24, 1997 | Go to article overview

WHAT A LOAD OF PORK PIES; Ireland's Full of Drunkards, Dimwits and Donkeys According to EastEnders


Kierans, John, The Mirror (London, England)


Top BBC soap EastEnders' portrayal of the Emerald Isle caused national outrage following Monday night's "Irish" episode.

The BBC was inundated with complaints from angry Irish people all over Britain and Ireland.

And all day yesterday angry viewers bombarded local and national radio stations claiming the episode was an insult to Irish people everywhere.

The angry reaction stretched from official channels like the Irish Embassy to holiday chiefs who fear the effect the show may have on the tourist trade.

Monday night's programme revolved around a trip by Pauline Fowler, played by Wendy Richard, to meet her long lost half-sister Maggie.

The half-an-hour show featured well-known landmarks in and around Dublin, but Irish viewers immediately saw red when cows, sheep and donkeys were shown wandering the streets.

Then there was an unhelpful hotelier who refused to book the Fowlers in because he had a reservation only for a clan called Towler.

Added to that were the local people who were all portrayed as resentful.

In a bar, Pauline was met by a drunk who made suggestive comments, before pouring his pint over her and demanding that she pay for it.

To add insult to injury it transpired that the drunken Irishman" was actually the husband of Pauline's half-sister.

And then she discovered that Maggie lived in a house with four families and spent all her time looking after an army of kids.

A BBC apology last night could not pacify the countless viewers who claimed the scenes and the tone of the episode were an insult to the Irish spirit.

Karen McGuire, 28, from Tipperary, said: "It was nothing like life in the real Ireland of today. When did you last see a donkey walking along our streets?

"The EastEnders production team haven't got a clue about modern Irish society, they are living in the Dark Ages."

And on the streets of Dublin the anger was just as strong.

Mary O'Neill, 32, from Balbriggan, fumed: "I found it very upsetting. We certainly are not a country of drunks. I will never look at this trash again."

David Moroney, 26, of Tallaght, said: "Pauline's half sister was pathetic. You would never in this day and age see so many people living in the one house."

Eugene Hanratty, 35, of Crumlin, said: "It gave the impression Irish people are bitter, rude and unfriendly when this is not the case."

And the condemnation of EastEnders swept the Irish airwaves.

Scores of indignant Irish people called radio phone-in shows to express their fury.

One woman caller said: ""It was rubbish - typical stage Irish. I turned the programme off. …

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