BBC pulls suicide drama after Bridgend deaths

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The Independent Online

The BBC has pulled a drama about the suicide of a teenage girl from its schedule following the spate of deaths in Bridgend.

The drama, entitled Dis/Connected, is about the "emotional build-up" to the suicide of a teenager and a group of young people thrown together by the death. It was to be aired on BBC3 at 9pm on Monday.

The programme's withdrawal follows this week's discovery of the body of16-year-old Jenna Parry, who is the 17th young person to have apparently killed themselves in the area of South Wales in the past 13 months. The BBC decision comes a day after academics joined police and relatives of those who have died in blaming the deaths on elements of the media.

Specialists from the department of psychiatry at Oxford University have said evidence links the suicides to "the appearance of news reports, fictional drama presentations on television and suicide manuals".

Sue Simkin, the co-ordinator of the centre for suicide research at the university, said: "There is clear evidence that reports in the media that give descriptions of the method of suicide and romanticise the deceased by giving descriptions of the attention they receive in the form of condolences and online obituaries give rise to other suicides."

A BBC spokesman said: " Dis/Connected is a drama aimed at a young audience which deals with the emotional build-up to the suicide of a teenage girl and the effect it has on her friends.

"While the drama deals with the issue with sensitivity, after careful consideration we have decided, given the recent tragic events in Bridgend, to postpone the transmission of Dis/Connected until a later date."

No new date has been confirmed, he said.