The EastEnders paedophile plotline has been cleared of breaching broadcasting rules by watchdog Ofcom.

The story, which ran from September to December last year, drew 90 viewers’ complaints, the majority saying the subject matter was not appropriate for a pre-watershed audience.

The plot involved Bianca Jackson’s (Patsy Palmer) partner Tony King (Chris Coghill) abusing her 15-year-old stepdaughter Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty).

It was also revealed that he had begun sexually abusing her when she was aged 12.

Ofcom found the BBC ensured the focus of the story remained on the concept of grooming and did not disproportionately dwell on the physical nature of the abuse.

The regulator said: “Ofcom considers that the broadcaster treated the subject matter appropriately and sensitively.

“Such storylines which reach a large audience can actually have a positive impact.”

Meanwhile the British Comedy Awards, broadcast in December on ITV1, was found by Ofcom to have breached broadcasting guidelines.

A Highland Spring representative was invited by host Angus Deayton to ‘say something about Highland Spring’ when introducing nominations.

The representative said the sponsor tries to make ‘people feel better’ all year round.

Ofcom found the show breached a rule which states that there must be no promotional reference to the sponsor, its name, trademark, image, activities, services or products or to any of its other direct or indirect interests.

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