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Topics: Children's TV

Sunday, 2 September 2007

image for Has the 'Hero Next Door' gone bad?
The kind of criminal the show has grown to encompas.

Children's welsh stop motion fire fighting drama, Fireman Sam, has come under fire from the government for glamorising crime and glorifying the drugs trade.

The criticism comes after numerous complaints from within Wales were revealing a much darker past to Italian cafe owner Bella Lasagne.

In recent months the writers have developed her character history revealing the dark secret of why an Italian woman would be living in a small welsh town like Pontypandy.

The plot line started innocently enough when her Italian god farther and his welsh wife visited the town for some special event, but soon things took on a more sinister twist.

Bella began to lead a glamorous lifestyle getting a new car and designer outfits. A frequent story line involved her travelling aboard to America and the Middle East.

The on-line chat-room 'Samwatch' was a buzz with rumours including ideas such as her being recruited to MI6, her having inherited a vast sum of money, or her finding her husband who was presumed dead.

In fact the truth was far worse, she was drugs trafficking for the Welsh Mafia.

This caused a record number of complaints to the broadcasting standards authority, and questions have been raised in parliament.

The Home Secretary herself has condoned the program for "Glamorising the drugs trade."

The BBC has however said that the program will continue, and a Torchwood style spin-off series is in production.

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