Charlie Hebdo: BBC criticised for airing 'sniper' Silent Witness episode in wake of Paris shooting

The BBC insists the storyline was 'different' from the tragic events in France

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The Independent Culture

The BBC has been criticised for airing a violent episode of Silent Witness, in which a sniper goes on a killing spree, just hours after news of the tragic Charlie Hebdo massacre broke.

Last night’s instalment of the hit crime drama saw a sniper gun down eight people including a female detective before making his getaway.

Earlier in the day, 12 people were murdered in Paris, including two police officers, and the suspects remain at large.

More than six million people tuned in to Silent Witness on Wednesday, which opened with the assassination of three people at a petrol station.

But while many enjoyed the tension of part two of “Sniper’s Nest”, others took to social media to voice their opinions on the “bad timing” of its broadcast.

“Should it not have been pulled due to the tragic events in Paris?” one viewer wrote, while another accused the BBC of being “very insensitive”.

Gunmen broke into the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo yesterday, stormed the editorial meeting and shot dead multiple journalists after calling out their names individually.

Emilia Fox stars as forensic pathologist Dr Nikki Alexander in Silent Witness, which first arrived on TV screens in 1996.

“Sniper’s Nest” was a two-part episode that first aired at 9pm on Tuesday night.

“The background and storyline in Silent Witness was very different to the tragic events in France,” a BBC spokesperson said.