Louisa Lytton opens up about EastEnders’ endometriosis storyline
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Viewers of the BBC soap tuned in on Thursday to find that Ruby (played by Louisa Lytton) was diagnosed with endometriosis. The widely undiagnosed condition affects 1.5 million women in the UK, and the impact can be felt for life. The scene was an emotional one, with Ruby recently having lost a baby due to a miscarriage, but fans of the show have pointed out a huge issue in the storyline, with many saying the diagnosis was overshadowed by Ruby’s scheming.
Ruby’s ongoing feud with Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner) has been getting darker, with the former wrongly blaming Stacey for the loss of her baby, which viewers know had actually happened before Stacey confronted Ruby at work.
The confrontation led to Ruby tripping and falling down the stairs, and although Stacey hadn’t pushed her, she is now awaiting a sentencing which could see her serving a year-long prison sentence after Ruby claimed she was attacked by Stacey.
Ruby’s devastated partner Martin (James Bye) joined her at her gynaecologist appointment in last week’s episode, where the couple were dealt the further blow that they may be unable to have a child.
It seemed Ruby was about to change her mind about pursuing the legal proceedings against Stacey after Jean Slater (Gillian Wright) revealed to her that she was dying of cancer unbeknownst to Stacey, and wanted to spend her last few months with her daughter.
Jean had approached Ruby to see if she’d decided to have a rethink about Stacey’s court hearing, with the desperate grandmother saying: “She [Stacey] used to talk about you all the time. She adored you, you were so close.
“I know you’re hurting Ruby, but will Stacey going to prison really make you feel better? She didn’t mean to harm you, you must know that.
“Whatever happened was an accident – a mistake. Please, please Ruby.”
It seemed things would work out for the Slaters after Jean’s situation seemed to give Ruby some perspective. She said: “You shouldn’t be punished for what she did.”
She then said she would call the police officer handling the case to end it before a delighted Jean ran off to give Stacey the good news.
But following the diagnosis, Ruby changed her mind again.
This left fans feeling frustrated that the storyline about the sometimes-debilitating condition was downplayed by Ruby’s nasty decisions.
One took to Twitter to say: “#EastEnders I want to care for Ruby’s endometriosis storyline, but I can’t. When you give an issue based storyline to a villain, no one is going to have sympathy and no one is going to care about that character going through their diagnosis.”
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Another echoed this, adding: “So glad #eastenders are doing an endometriosis storyline but they have completely ruined it already with the villain edit of Ruby’s character using it as a revenge ploy for Stacey. People won’t feel sorry for her/take the condition seriously. #eastenders.”
“Really wish the miscarriage and endometriosis story wasn’t tied up with a revenge against Stacey story. Many won’t feel the sympathy they should for those who suffer these terrible things I fear. #EastEnders,” one more added.
One fan said: “I feel terrible because I just can’t feel bad for Ruby. How could she do that knowing about Jean’s diagnosis. It’s beyond cruel.”
Another pointed out that the diagnosis wasn’t an accurate portrayal of the condition, with one person saying: “#Eastenders Ruby having endometriosis can have issues and problems. But l still managed to have 3 healthy children naturally. That doctor storyline is rubbish not believable.”
Some organisations have welcomed the storyline, with Faye Farthing, from Endometriosis UK saying: “It’s a huge step forward to see EastEnders tackle endometriosis head on, a UK soap first that will no doubt help end the stigmas associated with the condition.
“We’re delighted to have been working closely with EastEnders on this story, and hope it will go a long way in removing the taboos and help anyone experiencing symptoms feel empowered to seek help – as latest statistics show 62 per cent of women aged 16-24 have never heard of endometriosis and 80 per cent would put off going to the doctor with symptoms.”
It seems likely that Stacey will face time in prison over the ongoing dispute, but will she find out about Jean before going to jail?
EastEnders continues on Monday at 8pm on BBC One.
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