All Saints: articles

Seven apologises for incest episode

CHANNEL Seven has apologised for an episode [11.16] of hospital drama All Saints that prompted an outcry for linking incest with Down syndrome. But Down Syndrome Australia will wait until tonight's episode to see whether it accepts the network's apology.

The body has sent a formal complaint to Seven about last week's episode of All Saints titled "Never Tell", in which a woman pregnant from an incestuous relationship with her brother is told her child may have Down syndrome as a result.

Down Syndrome Australia spokesman Dr Peter Sloan said, "There is no scientific basis for All Saints' grossly offensive storyline."

Catherine McAlpine, from Down Syndrome Victoria, said one boy had already been victimised in Queensland.

Down Syndrome Australia is considering legal action, a complaint to the media regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority and calling for a boycott by the show's advertisers if an apology and correction is not aired on All Saints tonight.

Responding yesterday to Down Syndrome Australia's initial complaint, Seven released a statement that said: "All Saints values its audience and has the greatest respect for their commitment to the program.

"Without reservation, to any members of the audience who have found an element of a recent story offensive, Channel Seven apologises."

A spokesman for Seven, Simon Francis, said yesterday there was "no storyline carry-over" about incest and Down syndrome in tonight's episode.

Dr David Amor, leader of the clinical genetics research group at Murdoch Children's Research Institute, said yesterday the All Saints storyline was implausible.

"There is absolutely no increase in the risk of Down syndrome or of other chromosomal conditions for the offspring of incestuous relationships," he said.

By Matthew Ricketson
June 3, 2008
The Age