EastEnders criticised over blunder

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EastEnders has been criticised by watchdog Ofcom after a woman received obscene phone calls when her mobile phone number was accidentally broadcast on the soap.

Beautician Lisa Edwards' number appeared on screen last year on Ricky Butcher's (Sid Owen) telephone.

It was seen underneath a close-up of a text sent by ex-wife Sam Mitchell (Danniella Westbrook) when she arrived in Albert Square unexpectedly after being on the run in Brazil.

Mrs Edwards' number was seen alongside messages she had sent two clients, one saying "Hi babe phoning for huge" and the other stating "Hi babe got your facial b".

The number and messages appeared on the prop phone on the September 7 episode on BBC One last year and went out again on the BBC Three repeat.

The BBC said the number shouldn't have been broadcast and apologised to Mrs Edwards. It said the programme team wasn't able to discover how the number ended up in the prop phone.

After the broadcast, Mrs Edwards received calls asking if she was "Sam from EastEnders", while others reportedly asked for dates and sex.

She received 2,800 texts after the incident, but the BBC said many of these were the result of a screen grab of the phone published in a newspaper story about the slip.

As a result of what happened, the BBC now routinely clears all stored numbers from phones during the preparation of each episode and phones are immediately rechecked before their use on set to eliminate any numbers.

Ofcom said Mrs Edwards' privacy had been "unwarrantably infringed", adding: "Mrs Edwards would have no reason to expect that her mobile telephone number would appear on screen during an episode of a soap opera. Ofcom did not consider that there was any justification for broadcasting the information."

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