"If you have been affected by anything in tonight's Eastenders, please phone....."
"Hello, how can I help...."
"We do understand tonight's episode has upset a great many people. How can we help, caller?"
"Please take your time. We're here to listen. I have a list of advice lines, and I can pass you on when I know what aspect you most need help with. I'll just sit and listen for a moment, okay?"
*broken cries calm down* "Thank you for being there, I just didn't know where to start. I'm not sure what's upset me most. Is it okay if I just babble for a bit?"
"Certainly caller. There were many issues raised tonight, and my job is to find you the right support. In your own time."
"Okay, thank you. I'll just think a bit, about the bit that got me most upset. Do you have a helpline for people who've had bad breastfeeding experiences?"
"You found that part, when she wasn't able to breastfeed Tommy, distressing?"
"Oh yes, yes. The same thing happened to me, and I wasn't able to feed my baby, and I saw Ronnie tonight, and I thought... I thought, if only someone would tell her, what no one ever told me!"
"And what was that caller?"
"That you need to take your bra and dress off first. If only I'd known!" *sobs*
"I quite understand caller. Did you feel bullied by those who did breastfeed, I have a line here to a wonderful helpline paid for by an international baby food company, who understand the issues you were going through...?"
"No, no, I'm fine now, Jack was so helpful, going straight out and buying the formula, that calmed me down.... *begins wailing once more...*"
"In your own time, caller."
"Okay, I was wondering if you had a helpline about eating disorders?"
"We do... although...."
"... because clearly, with both babies being anorexic..."
"Well, you know, with both babies not needing food. Just lying there, silent, and awake, for hours and hours and hours on end, and not once crying for food. It was just so obvious that they had an unnaturally suppressed appetite. It doesn't make sense otherwise. I mean no one even checked a nappy!"
"Although, of course, that wasn't the most obvious trauma, as a viewer. Programmes just don't take their responsibility to the viewers, and their real lives, seriously... *sob*"
"That's why we are here... do you..."
"Do you have a helpline number for early signs of dementia?"
"Uhm, yes, ..."
"Oh good, that got me really upset, Roxy's memory loss."
"When she was told that baby Tommy had died, and she completely forget the 5 minutes it took to get past Ronnie, as she was sure Ronnie was telling her baby James was dead, and then she stood there crying, and couldn't bear the pain. To forget that overnight... will her storyline develop about her early onset memory loss do you know..?"
"Ehm,.. no, sorry, we don't have those details."
"Pity. *cries again* This is really helping you know, talking it out. do you have a helpline for those unable to process sizes?"
"I'm sorry, I don't understand..?"
"You know, market stall holders who sell one size baby grow for a preemie, and an 8lb whopper term, and they both fit and no one can see the difference..?"
"Ehmm,, no.... "
"Pity. I suppose that's just a silly one though.... *hysterical tears*"
"There are no silly ones, caller, all our feelings are valid...."
"That's so nice for you to say. I feel better now. I think I can actually talk about the really upsetting bits now."
"For instance... do you have a helpline for Lochia Anonymous?"
"Oh, I know it's silly, but I look at those two wonderful women, Kat & Ronnie, and I feel ashamed about my own experience. I mean there they are, in the same clothes, for over 14 hours, and they've slept in them, or run through the streets of London with a hospital gown on.. and they've not had to change their bleeding pads once."
"I'm sorry caller, we ask you not to swear, or use abusive language on calls."
"Please don't talk about *bleep* pads. Did you mean iPads?"
"No, I was talking about how ashamed I was, that I leaked after childbirth. It's obviously not normal."
"Do you want a childbirth support line...?"
"No. I'd rather just talk it through a bit longer, if that's all right with you?"
"You're in charge of the call, caller."
"Do you have a helpline for those with sight impairment..?"
"Yes, but, again, I'm not sure..."
"Nothing, I suppose I'm being silly again. Maybe I need to step back from the events and look at it as TV?"
"If you think that will help you..."
"Well, it does. Do you have any helplines about TV?
"Yes, you know, maybe a Todorov Syndrome one?"
"I'm sorry caller...? "
"Well, Narrative Structure Failure then? You know, beginnings, middles, ends, not knowing what way they should go, not knowing when to actually move onto the next scene and stop looking at the same character for too long. Emotional Pornography and Soaps Helpline..? Have you got one of those?"
*frantic key pressing* "Ehm, sorry caller, not quite sure ... just give me a moment...."
"Or maybe something to do with Cause & Effect? Logic and rational thought abuse?"
*ping* "Ah, we do have something here... the Spock's Smile Society.. they help you deal with plot twists that break inner logic for a cheap shot ending, would that help?"
*clicking of keys" "Mmm... not sure that's your best bet actually, another file is opening up.. never found this part of the system before... We do have a few on Delayed Ejaculation... how long can you overshoot the shot...?"
"That sounds like we're in the right area.... "
*excited*"Caller, I think I know which helpline you need!"
"Really? Oh Good, which one?"
"We have one named Support For Pig Shit Ignorant BBC Programme Makers. It's internal, so I can put you through directly."
"Oh, that sounds the right one, please put me through."
"Certainly. Good Luck, I hope we've helped this evening. Transferring now."
"Welcome to the BBC Support for Pig Shit Ignorance Helpline. Please listen carefully to the following options.
If you are a middle class professional, who wishes to write drama about subjects you have no research in, and no interest in, please press No 1, and leave your contact details. We will contact you shortly.
If you are a female middle class professional, willing to defend in print, all BBC storylines about how hard it is to be a career women and be taken seriously as a mother, and I formula fed, CIOd, naughty stepped and left my baby with a Nanny 18 hours a day... and all my children are just fine and we have a wonderful relationship when they come back from boarding school... press 2 and leave your husband's contact details. We will check with him if the 90 hour a week workload we'll expect of you, is fine with him. Unless you are divorced, in which case hang up.
If you are not middle class, and you are phoning to complain about a factual accuracy contained in any BBC programme, please press 3 and leave your contact details. We will get an adult literacy scheme to contact you, and they can teach you to read and write. Then you can understand our programmes betterer.
If you are a person who has experienced, directly, a situation portrayed in a BBC programme, and wish to complain about our accuracy or ridiculous attempts to shoe horn plot into any shape we desire... please hang up and eff off. We don't make programmes just for you. Try to think of the rest of the nation. You are not qualified to understand Good Drama, dickhead.
Thank you for calling the BBC. A thought before you go: have you paid your licence fee?"
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