Listeners of popular BBC Radio 4 soap The Archers, have been left aghast after being asked to complete a ‘tasteless’ Downs syndrome poll by the broadcaster on Facebook.
This asked fans to vote on whether the popular Mike and Vicky Tucker characters in the serial should abort their Down’s syndrome baby.
A recent plotline in the drama depicted the Tuckers receiving the results of an amniocentesis, informing them that their unborn child had the syndrome.
Subsequently a message appeared on the shows official Facebook page inviting listeners to have their say reading: ‘Mike and Vicky’s dilemma makes up this week’s vote: should they go through with the pregnancy?’
A barrage of criticism duly followed with comments on the poll ranging from ‘distasteful’ to ‘disturbing’, ‘offensive’ and ‘tasteless’.
Initially, the BBC sought to defend the poll, writing: “Sorry you feel this way. The polls tend to reflect the storylines that are most talked about in the programme, and this is Vicky and Mike’s dilemma. The result of the poll doesn’t affect the outcome of the storyline.”
However it later buckled under the weight of public opprobrium and deleted the poll.