'7de Laan' viewers 'traumatised' by episode
Despite carrying an advisory PG13V for its April 27 episode, SABC2 Afrikaans soapie 7de Laan got a backlash from its viewers after a graphic portrayal of an attempted suicide by Deon Coetzee's character, Herman Croukamp.
Complainants dragged the channel and the soapie's producers to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA. In their submissions, the viewers called the episode "ignorant", a "pathetic display", "totally uncalled-for", "shocking" and "traumatic".
The show's producer, Danie Odendaal, said the episode had carried a suicide helpline "in line with the aim of the series of not only reflecting real life as accurately as possible in this fictional series, but also ensuring that it serves the interest of the public good when this is necessary".
Odendaal said the show had a "social responsibility" and that avoiding issues of suicide would make the soapie "less credible".
He added that "it was felt that an advisory of PG13V would be sufficient to alert sensitive viewers".
In that episode, and the one following that, Herman finds himself desperately trying to get his wife, Felicity Daniels (played by Melanie du Bois), back after his affair.
Herman is drunk and starts toying with a gun, contemplating killing himself.
The following episode sees Felicity begging her husband not to do it, giving him all the reasons why suicide is not the best way to deal with his problems.