The BBC has received 167 complaints over the scene in Friday’s EastEnders in which Max Branning was buried alive by his wife Tanya.

The BBC news website reports that viewers felt the scene – in which Tanya carried out her revenge on her cheating husband with the help of Sean Slater – might have upset younger viewers and should not have been shown before the 2100 watershed.

However, the corporation defended the episode.”EastEnders is known for its dramatic and gripping storylines and, from a total audience of 10 million, the number of complaints is relatively small,” a spokeswoman said.

The episode saw Tanya spiking Max’s drink, causing him to lose consciousness. She and Sean then drove him to some remote woodland before placing him in a coffin.

However, Max – played by actor Jake Wood – regained consciousness at the end of the episode and pleaded with Tanya not to go ahead with her plan.

The soap ran into trouble last month after Ofcom ruled they had breached TV regulations in an episode which showed a violent gang attack on the Queen Vic.

It ruled that EastEnders had “sustained violence, intimidation and menace” and said that the scenes were unsuitable for a pre-watershed audience.