The BBC has responded to complaints from JDRF and people living with type 1 diabetes after its television drama The Syndicate appeared to suggest a character with low blood glucose was treated with insulin.
The final episode of the flagship BBC One drama, which was viewed by nearly 5.5 million people, was heavily criticised on social media for its portrayal of hypoglycaemia, with some outraged viewers pointing out that giving insulin to someone suffering from a hypo could be fatal.
A spokesperson for BBC Complaints said: ‘We regret if we have given the impression to some viewers that low blood sugar should be treated with insulin. We appreciate that type 1 diabetes is a very serious illness and we understand why some viewers raised concerns. We would always advise that anyone affected should seek medical advice on how best to treat and manage symptoms.’
The spokesperson added:
‘We acknowledge that if someone is suffering from hypoglycemia/low blood glucose (blood sugar) that an insulin injection shouldn’t be given. At no point in the programme was it stated that this is what was happening to Amy when she received the injections; much of this aspect of the story is told through recollections, and possible fabrications, by Amy. So we are left unsure if she did suffer from low blood glucose at any time – or if any of her story was true at all. This is, after all, a fictionalised drama and the intention was never to advise viewers how to treat someone who is suffering from hypoglycemia.’
Kay Mellor, writer of the drama series, had earlier hit back insisting she had researched type 1 diabetes whilst writing the series and reiterating that the programme was “in no way a medical drama”.
If you have any questions about hypoglycaemia or type 1 diabetes more generally please visit our website which includes FAQs and more information about living with the condition.