The BBC has received around 40 complaints over a homophobic attack scene in EastEnders.

In the episode, broadcast last Thursday, gay character Christian Clarke, played by John Partridge, was attacked in his flat after his affair with Muslim character Syed Masood was revealed.

In the scenes, Christian is seen begging for mercy as the Muslim gang beat him.

According to the Sun, some viewers complained children may have been upset by the pre-watershed scenes, while others said they could fuel copycat attacks.

A BBC spokeswoman said the corporation was careful to ensure shows were “appropriate for their time slots”.

The truth about Syed and Christian’s relationship emerged last week, months after Syed was forced by his family to go through with a marriage to a woman.

Details of the violent attack on Christian emerged last week.

The Muslim Public Affairs Committee has already criticised the gay storyline and said last year that the BBC had missed the chance to present a “normal friendly Muslim character” to the British public.

On the latest plot, spokesman Tahir Shah said: “EastEnders is famous for its gritty and realistic storylines but we cannot condone such violence from a Muslim character.”