More than 80 people took exception to Hollyoaks during a recent episode featuring self-harm in teenagers, and took to Ofcom to complain about it.
However, Ofcom have responded to the complaints, deciding to rule out action against the show, saying the issue was handled in a “sensitive manner.”
The episode in question featured students Lily Drinkwell, Yasmine Maalik and Peri Lomax.
They had been called in to headteacher Sally St Claire’s office to discuss self-harm.
Lily, who had recently been harming herself, had asked her friends to keep quiet on the matter, which they did.
Later, the girls all made a pact to self-harm together while keeping it a secret from their parents and guardians.
Show bosses were hoping the issue would raise awareness of a very serious subject.
The soap also created a special support video for young people, who were encouraged to seek help through appropriate channels if they felt the episode had resonated with them.
The episode had also been produced with careful guidance and collaboration from charities like Mind, the Samaritans, who signed off scripts.
And while many viewers praised the show for its bravery in tackling such a difficult issue, others felt it was not suitable for daytime broadcasting, leading to 88 Ofcom complaints.
However, the communications regulator released a statement which read: “We assessed complaints that a storyline about self-harming was unsuitable before the watershed.”
“While we appreciate this story may have been challenging to watch for some viewers, we found that its intention was to raise awareness of mental health issues. The subject was handled sensitively, and self-harming was not condoned or glamorised.
“We considered that the scenes involving self-harming were sufficiently limited for pre-watershed audiences.”
It’s not the first time Hollyoaks has broached controversial topics, having in the past run storylines about domestic abuse, rape and drug use.
The self-harm storyline will be continued over coming episodes, with the consequences of the teens’ actions being fully explored.