Line of Duty hit with ‘323 complaints’ after Tommy Jessop’s character was called an ‘oddball’

15 Apr 2021, 17:43

BBC, Line Of Duty

Line of Duty has been hit with a reported 323 complaints about how it referred to Down’s syndrome actor Tommy Jessop’s character.

Tommy plays Terry Boyle in Line of Duty, who has been questioned over the murder of Gail Vella.

During one scene from the series, Ted Hastings called Boyle “the local oddball”.

And Twitter was alight with complaints – many of which are now said to have been sent directly to the BBC itself.

Tommy Jessop plays Terry Boyle in Line of Duty (Credit: BBC)

What did people say about the comment?

At the time, viewers were up in arms.

The term was used in the first episode of series six.

As a result, many complained they were “disappointed” it had been included.

The fact it was aired on World Down’s Syndrome Day made it even worse, viewers said.

Read more: Alison Hammond makes Line of Duty gaffe as Gregory Piper appears on This Morning

Now it’s said more than 300 “unhappy” viewers have contacted the BBC about the comment, which was uttered by actor Adrian Dunbar.

Hastings suggested another suspect was “more likely to be the gunman than the local oddball, that’s for sure” while talking about suspect Carl Banks.

However, writer Jed Mercurio insisted the term referred to what Barry George had thought the police perceived him as after being cleared of killing Jill Dando in 2008.

Ted Hastings made the comment that hundreds complained about (Credit: BBC)

Down’s Syndrome Association had complaints too

The Down’s Syndrome Association also said some Brits contacted them about the terminology.

A rep told the Daily Mail: “Some people have contacted us who were concerned about the language used by another character in the drama.”

Some people have contacted us who were concerned about the language used by another character in the drama.

However, they added: “To have a main character who has Down’s syndrome in such a primetime programme is fantastic to see.”

What else has Line of Duty star Tommy been in?

Tommy has appeared in Holby City, Casualty, Doctors and a touring version of Hamlet.

Read more: Alexa devices are telling Line of Duty fans they know who Jo Davidson is related to

But it’s his star turn in the BBC bent copper drama that he’s surely best known for.

Indeed, Line of Duty star Tommy is the first actor with Down’s syndrome to appear in a BBC prime-time drama.

And his talents have also been recognised by BAFTA.

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What did the BBC say about the Line of Duty comments?

A rep revealed that, at the time, “Ted Hastings has never met Terry Boyle. In the scene, he is reviewing the evidence against the character.

‘The word used in dialogue refers to an eccentric or loner, which fits the stalker/obsessed fan theory of Gail Vella’s murder.

“The dialogue has no meaning or connotation that relates to the character’s disability.”

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