EastEnders bosses have made last-minute changes to the soap’s harrowing New Year’s Eve episode about cot death to avoid upsetting viewers.
Programme chiefs said they have made ‘small edits’ to certain scenes in the show, which sees Ronnie Branning lose her day-old baby before swapping it with Kat Moon’s newborn son, without altering the content of the story.
Executive producer Bryan Kirkwood said: “We’re very aware of the need to deal with such an emotive subject matter as sudden infant death syndrome sensitively in what is a very powerful, dramatic storyline.”
Shots of distraught Ronnie, played by Samantha Womack, touching the cold hand of her dead son have been edited out.
EastEnders producers have also toned down the sound of Kat’s baby crying, which attracts Ronnie’s attention as she clutches her lifeless son in Albert Square.
In a further change, they edited a scene which showed new mother Kat (Jessie Wallace) in blood-soaked pyjamas after husband Alfie (Shane Richie) finds her haemorrhaging in her bed.
Bryan went on: “These are small edits which we have made being mindful of viewer sensitivity, but which will in no way detract from the compelling drama, dialogue or performances.”
An EastEnders insider said: “We didn’t want one scene to overshadow a really powerful story.”
Producers made the changes following a preview screening of the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day episodes.
The soap has worked with the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) to ensure the story is portrayed accurately.