The Woman in the Wall viewers hit out at BBC for making a ‘thriller’ out of a tragedy
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The BBC is facing backlash over its new series The Woman in the Wall as viewers claim it's made a 'thriller' out of a real-life tragedy.
Run by Catholic nuns, the institutions operated from the 18th to the late 20th centuries and saw thousands of women incarcerated for a number of reasons, including having children outside marriage, being sent by the judicial system, or arriving from psychiatric hospitals.
While there, the women and girls were forced to carry out unpaid labour while also being subject to psychological and physical maltreatment, according to Justice for Magdalenes Research.
Many women died in the institutions, but many survivors have since spoken out about their experiences to demand justice.
The Woman in the Wall offers a dramatised look at the laundries, with a description for the show reading: "Murder, mystery, morality. One woman's traumatic past threatens to expose Ireland’s most shocking and darkest secrets. Gothic detective story with Ruth Wilson and Daryl McCormack."
Viewers are introduced to Wilson's character, who we learn has suffered from sleepwalking ever since she was incarcerated in a convent at the age of 15.
The series is set to continue over the coming weeks, but viewers have already found some issues with the story and the way it draws upon the real-life events.
Writing in the Irish Independent, Reviewer Pat Stacey argued that 'using the Magdalene Laundries as a thriller hook is a bad call.'
He continued: "Leaving that forgivable clumsiness [of the dialogue] aside, the more serious issue with The Woman in the Wall is whether the suffering of the incarcerated women at the hands of the vicious, sadistic nuns who ran these hellholes is best served by being the hook for what is essentially a blood-and-thunder thriller."
Viewers at home shared a similar view, with one X user writing: "The Woman In The Wall quite possibly up there with one of the worst tv shows I've ever seen. All over the shop. Ridiculous and far fetched and very insulting and insensitive to any woman who was in a Magdalene Laundry."
Another commented: "Obviously the real stuff is a tragedy. However, this TV mess is truly awful. Goodnight. #TheWomanInTheWall."
With only two episodes currently available to watch there's a lot more of The Woman in the Wall to come, and though the series obviously isn't for everyone, it has also received praise from a lot of viewers.
One viewer argued that if the series 'raises awareness of the Magdalene Laundries and the damage they caused', then 'all credit to it'.
The Woman in the Wall is available to stream now on BBC iPlayer.