Only minutes ago, the UK's biggest soap opera premiered an epilepsy storyline. EastEnders character Nancy Carter just had her first seizure. Epilepsy Action's acting PR manager Louise Cousins explains how the organisation advised on the script and even visited the famous set
Epilepsy Action staff have recently paid a visit to Walford, E20, to visit the cast and crew of BBC1 soap EastEnders. One of the programme's current storylines involves new character Nancy Carter (played by Maddy Hill), who has epilepsy. Avid followers of the soap will have seen tonight's episode (28 January) in which Nancy had a seizure in the park while out walking her dog with friend, Dexter.
The EastEnders' cast and crew were keen to represent a seizure in the correct way and make sure that the scene was as true-to-life as possible. So they called on Epilepsy Action! The production team contacted the organisation's press office, who arranged for the researchers on the programme to speak with someone on our advice and information team. The team consulted on the script and explained what happens before, during and after a seizure. They also discussed how living with epilepsy can affect someone's day-to-day life.
We were then asked to attend the filming of the seizure. Our media officer, Caroline Simpson, along with consultant neurologist, Dr Hannah Cock, visited the set. Hannah was on hand to offer advice to the actors and crew, to make sure the seizure was portrayed correctly.
Caroline said: 'It's great that such a high-profile programme like EastEnders is raising awareness of epilepsy. I really enjoyed visiting the set, meeting the fantastic cast members and crew and seeing all of the famous Albert Square landmarks! Most of all, itís reassuring to know that the programme makers are committed to representing epilepsy in the right way. They spent lots of time ensuring that the scenes were as true-to-life as possible.'
Look out for Caroline's full article, detailing her behind-the-scenes trip to the infamous Albert Square in the March edition of Epilepsy Today (print). Alternatively, Epilepsy Action members will also be able to read it online in a few days!