EastEnders’ Dot Branning is an example of a Christian television character living out their faith in a “day to day way”, according to an ‘offensive’ claim by a BBC executive.
Dot Branning, formerly known as Dot Cotton, is well known for her chain-smoking, having “an endless capacity for gossip” and hypochondria.
But Danny Cohen, the controller of BBC1, said: “She is a single example of someone who lives out her faith on television in a charitable way.”
Mr Cohen made the comment after he was challenged to identify ordinary believers on television who weren’t “freaks, geeks or antiques” at the Church and Media conference earlier this week.
But Revd Hayley Matthews, chaplain for the new media centre MediaCity UK, said: “I don’t think Dot Cotton is very representative of Christians. I think a lot of people would be offended by that.”
Earlier this month it emerged that the Corporation’s own research had found that the BBC is widely regarded as displaying an anti-Christian attitude in its programming.
According to viewers, the BBC uses “derogatory stereotypes” of Christians which portray them as “weak” and “bigoted”.
The BBC report, carried out as part of the corporation’s diversity strategy, said: “In terms of religion, there were many who perceived the BBC to be anti-Christian and as such misrepresenting Christianity.”
It added: “Christians are specifically mentioned as being badly treated, with a suggestion that more minority religions are better represented despite Christianity being the most widely observed religion within Britain.”