Line Of Duty Sparks Wave Of Complaints To BBC Over Hastings’ ‘Oddball’ Comment

The BBC received more than 300 complaints over a scene in a recent episode of Line Of Duty, in which a character with Down’s syndrome was referred to as “the local oddball”.

In the first episode of the current series of the police drama, Superintendent Ted Hastings was heard questioning whether Terry Boyle, a disabled character, could have been involved in a murder.

During the scene, Adrian Dunbar’s character said: “[Carl]’s much more likely to be the gunman than the local oddball, that’s for sure.”

This comment was called out by many viewers at the time, particularly as the episode aired on World Down Syndrome Day, with a BBC spokesperson insisting that Hastings’ remark was not in reference to Terry Boyle’s disability.


Adrian Dunbar’s character made the remark during the series premiere last month

It’s now been reported (via Metro) that 323 complained to the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) about the scene in question.

Responding to these complaints, a post on the ECU’s website said: “Superintendent Ted Hastings’ comments were not in reference to the character Terry Boyle’s disability – Ted Hastings had never met Terry Boyle.

“Hastings was looking only at the evidence against Boyle, namely the press cuttings of Gail Vella found in his flat.”

BBC/World Productions/Steffan Hill

Tommy Jessop portrays Terry Boyle in Line Of Duty

They added: “The word ‘oddball’ means an eccentric person and has no meaning or connotation of disability and Hastings was referring to the stalker/obsessed fan theory of Gail Vella’s murder.”

Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio previously tweeted on the subject: “‘Oddball’ has no connotation for learning difficulties. It describes a loner, an eccentric.”

Line Of Duty continues on Sunday night at 9pm on BBC One.

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