EastEnders’ producers are reportedly working closely with the NSPCC on a forthcoming child abuse story.

The children’s charity has been consulted about how to deal sensitively with the storyline, which will see Bianca’s teen daughter Whitney, played by Shona McGarty, raped by her stepdad Tony.

“EastEnders is currently planning a future storyline which will tackle sexual abuse within the Jackson family,” a spokeswoman is reported to have said. “The programme is working very closely with the NSPCC so that this subject is accurately and sensitively portrayed.”

The plot apparently starts with news of Tony’s release from prison. Whitney becomes increasingly worried and when he finally arrives the story becomes clear.

“EastEnders has successfully drawn attention in the past to a number of sensitive issues including domestic violence, rape and HIV,” the spokeswoman said.

The BBC1 soap has explored the theme of sex abuse before when it was revealed that, as a teenager, Kat Slater had been abused by her uncle and that Kat’s sister Zoe was in fact her daughter.