Emmerdale under fire as 'disgusted' viewers bombard Ofcom with complaints over Tom King storyline

Tom King in Emmerdale, played by James Chase
-Credit: (Image: ITV)


Emmerdale has faced a wave of backlash after scenes this week showed Tom King (played by actor James Chase) abusing his dog, Piper, on the soap.

With the show currently following a storyline of Tom's coercive behaviour towards his wife Belle Dingle (played by Eden Taylor-Draper) the harrowing scenes saw the character abuse Piper with a substance which made her unable to move. This was done by Tom in a bid to get his wife's attention and closeness by making their dog appear unwell.

However, many viewers turned to Ofcom to share their disdain for the scenes, with the regulator receiving a total of 330 complaints last week. Some also took to X, formerly Twitter, to share their thoughts, with one fan writing: "# Emmerdale The Tom King storyline has gone way past being the coercive narcissistic outing storyline now - I’m disgusted it’s going this far @ITV @Ofcom @emmerdale I worry about the heads of these writers - enough - we get it."

Emmerdale dog Piper
The harrowing scenes saw the character abuse pup Piper with a substance which made her unable to move -Credit:ITV

Another wrote: "I’m disgusted by the latest emmerdale storyline involving Tom king and euthanising a innocent dog it’s very poor taste just because the script writers think it will grab votes."

The storyline over recent weeks has followed Tom as he has been systematically gaslighting Belle, making her believe she's the one at fault, when in reality, he's the mastermind of manipulation since they tied the knot.

Appearing on This Morning, James admitted that the scene with the dog Piper was particularly difficult for him to film. After being awarded the 'Best Villian' gong on the daytime show's one-off award ceremony, James said: "Best villain, that's kind of a dream come true in a way I think. I love playing villainous roles, and this one is definitely the most challenging I have ever played. Certain scenes like syringing the dog was not... I really didn't like it, which is a good sign."

Emmerdale characters Belle Dingle and Tom King
The show is currently following a storyline of Tom's coercive behaviour towards his wife Belle Dingle -Credit:ITV

While actress Eden, who brings Belle to life on screen, recently spoke out about the intense scenes, cautioning fans: "I think you can expect to see everything escalate throughout the episode. You'll see how easily Tom can switch on and off and how he truly feels and his anger towards Belle. You'll get a glimpse into Belle's terrifying reality."

The actress also discussed the storyline's significance in shedding light on such a traumatic issue, saying: "People have reached out which I think is a great sign that everything is resonating in some way."