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Isidingo's Oscar-copy shooting death 'reflects life in SA'

2014-04-04 13:02
Cape Town – The SABC3 soap Isidingo is defending its controversial, ripped-from-the-headlines Oscar Pistorius shooting death storyline, saying the weekday soap doesn’t “shy away from prevalent subjects” and reflects life in South Africa.

As South African viewers are reacting negatively to a fictitious shooting death in Isidingo, inspired by the real-life case of Oscar Pistorius killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the show says the weekday soap is "inspired by the things people are thinking about and talking about".

SABC3 and Isidingo viewers are unhappy with what they say is a shameless exploitation of the real-life tragedy when the paralympic athlete shot and killed his girlfriend on 14 February, Valentines Day, last year.

He is now in the dock on a charge of premeditated murder – a case which resumes in the North Gauteng High Court on Monday.

On Monday night Isidingo viewers saw the character of Bradley, an athlete with aggressive tendencies, shoot and kill his own father who he mistook for a burglar in the dark after his dad was standing behind a door.

"Isidingo is inspired by the things that people are thinking about and talking about," Rohan Dickson, Isidingo's head writer tells Channel24.

"The Oscar trial, like many other issues in the country at the moment, has unearthed a number of themes – some universal, some specific to South Africans. Where better to explore these themes than in the fictional context of television?"

"We are interested in the themes, not the fact of the trial. Isidingo has always reflected the moral conflict, social issues and contextual storylines of the day in dramatic form, and this is no different," says Dickson.

"If our programmes reflect how people feel, it deepens how they feel about the show and develops our relationship with our audience".

'Responsibility to reflect life in South Africa'

Asked why the storyline was developed and introduced, Dickson says "to entertain our audience".

"We want them to talk about what they're seeing on the screen and an honest reflection of life in South Africa is a way of stimulating that".

"We don't shy away from tackling prevalent subjects. I believe Isidingo has a responsibility to reflect life in South Africa in the most authentic and dramatic way possible. It's what sets us apart from all the other soap operas".

Will there be a court room drama for the character of Bradley in Isidingo similar to the sensational Oscar Pistorius murder trial, beamed to The Deep's fictional inhabitants on the fictional ON.TV, with Bradley helped by his wealthy uncle Barker Haines?

"What happens to Bradley Haines is original and true to his character and circumstances," says Dickson.

"It is a fictitious storyline that is not dictated to by any actual events. The audience can expect thrills and surprises that will be unlike anything they have experienced in real-life or on TV".

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