Mixed reception to new ITV series
500 complain that Jekyll and Hyde ‘too scary’ for kids
New television drama Jekyll and Hyde prompted almost 500 complaints from viewers who felt it was “too scary” for its early evening slot.
The first episode in the ten-part series was shown on ITV on Sunday at 6.30pm, well before the watershed. ITV received 280 complaints and Ofcom, the media watchdog 212.
Written by Charlie Higson, it featured scenes of violence and computer-generated images that some felt were unsuitable for a family audience.
ITV said it had warned viewers about the scenes, but viewers took to social media to criticise the broadcaster’s decision.
A statement from the broadcaster said: “ITV issued a warning before the transmission of Jekyll and Hyde advising parents that it included some violence and scenes that younger children may find scary.”
It is set in 1930s London and based on the classic novel by nineteenth century Edinburgh author Robert Louis Stevenson. It follows the story of Jekyll’s grandson, Dr Robert Jekyll, who has a monster called Hyde within him.
The first episode was watched by an average of 3.4 million, peaking at 3.6 million. As well as the brutal slaughter of Jekyll’s foster parents in Ceylon, it included a mugging of a woman, a violent bar fight by a raging and drunken Dr Jekyll, and the shooting of a half-human, half-dog creature called a Harbinger.
Among those who commented on social media was one viewer who said it “scared my kids”. Another said it was “not for the eyes of young children”, while a third described it as “too violent and scary when young children are still up”.
In its defence were those who said it was no scarier that Dr Who or Scooby Doo. Some said that children watch scarier films which are rated PG.
Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom said it would assess the complaints “before deciding whether to investigate or not”.