People who watched ITV's exciting new thriller, Cheat, were so shocked and upset at the death of one its characters that they've threatened a boycott.
The opener of the four-part series, which aired on Monday night, showed the protagonist's cat brutally murdered - and viewers weren't happy.
Cheat sees university lecturer Dr Leah Dale, played by Coronation Street's Katherine Kelly, accuse student Rose Vaughan, played by actress Molly Windsor, of cheating in her dissertation.
The confrontation leads to dire consequences and Leah's cat, Betsy, is found to be missing.
Later in the first episode, Leah and her husband Adam discover the cat lying dead at the side of the road.
Fans took to Twitter to make their collective outrage known to the show's bosses.
One threatened, obviously before finishing the episode: "I swear to God anything happens to that cat I'm turning this show off @ITV."
Poor kitty. I switched off as soon as I saw Leah had a cat. Pets always come off worse in ITV dramas.
Another tweeted, "I knew the poor cat was going to get it, noooo!!!!" and someone responded, "I know! Poor kitty. I switched off as soon as I saw Leah had a cat. Pets always come off worse in ITV dramas, I've noticed. Or any dramas, come to that."
A fourth viewer blasted Betsy's death as gratuitous and insensitive, writing: "Especially with all the cats that got killed the last few years in real life I think it's so bloody insensitive for @ITV to constantly keep showing cats being murdered in these stupid dramas, IT ADDS NOTHING TO THE SHOW IT'S JUST SICK. Won't be watching the next episode."
Another furious Twitter user found the killing "predictable and horrible", tweeting to ITV: "You think killing a cat makes good tv? You think it makes people watch? It's predictable, horrible, and I hate it! #Cheat. Happens in every drama with a pet. Stop it!"
Elsewhere, viewers were also shocked by a particularly raunchy scene that took place early on in the first episode.
Within the first five minutes of the opener, Cheat had Katherine Kelly's Dr Leah performing a solo sex act while fantasising about an attractive colleague.
- Cheat will continue on ITV tonight at 9pm, with parts three and four due to air on Wednesday and Thursday
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