NEW ARRIVALS: Zoe Lucker plays Carol Barry, a mother of three badly behaved children whose father is in prison, in the BBC's Waterloo Road.
The antics of the new Barry family – criminal and disruptive Liverpudlians – have provoked a barrage of complaints.
The series about a fictional school, which is filmed in Greenock, Inverclyde, has now been condemned as "offensive and closed-minded".
After the new family made their debut on Thursday night, BBC Radio Merseyside was inundated with complaints.
In the series, Carol Barry is shown as a struggling single mother of Barry Barry and his sisters Kacey and Dynasty, whose father is in prison.
The Barry children, played by Liverpudlian actors Brogan Ellis, Carl Au and Abby Mavers, have previously been expelled from other schools after assaulting teachers.
Angry viewers took to social networking sites to voice their anger about the characters and questioned the writer's portrayal of Scousers.
One Twitter user said: "Why are Scousers always made out to be so bad? Always a single mum and the dad is in prison."
Another tweeter added: "The Scousers on Waterloo Road are so stereotypically based. Most Scousers are not like that at all."
George McKane, founder of Yellow House, a Liverpool charity that works with young people, said: "I can only assume that the viewing figures for Waterloo Road have been going down and the writers were desperate for some sort of shock factor.
"It's terribly lazy writing to fall back onto these kind of outdated negative stereotypes, which we hoped had been eradicated."
Mr McKane described the criminal family stereotype as offensive and outdated.
He added: "These characters do not represent the people of Liverpool, and it's offensive and closed-minded to pigeonhole Liverpudlians in this way."
Waterloo Road is filmed by Shed Productions for BBC Scotland and was relocated from Rochdale in January last year. The location shift was explained in the plot by some of the teachers and pupils moving to set up an independent school in Scotland.
Cameron Roach, head of drama at Shed Productions, denied portraying Scousers in a negative way and urged viewers to stick with the family.
He said: "I think the criticism of the Barry family casting is hugely outweighed by the positives. Last night Barry Barry was trending worldwide on Twitter.
"I would ask people concerned about it being a stereotype to stick with us because there will be surprises. The Barry children will come good in the next few weeks, and viewers will see a different side to them."
Mr Roach added that the desire to have a family from the north-west of England on the show stemmed from its relocation to Scotland.
He added: "When we were casting the new family we did a search across the whole of the north-west as we had just relocated from Salford to Scotland. We wanted more voices from the region on the show and came across three brilliant actors in Brogan, Abby and Carl.
"It just so happened that they were from Liverpool and, as we normally do, we built the family around the children."
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