Miller's tale is a must-read

20th May 2005 at 01:00
A campaign to improve adult literacy is about to be launched around the plot of EastEnders.

Millions of viewers of the BBC soap have been following the progress of Keith Miller, a character in the drama who is unable to read and write.

Viewers have been offered an insight into the strategies he uses to conceal his illiteracy from his teenage children as well as his friends and neighbours. They have also shared the shame he felt when his family finally found him out, and watched his painful efforts to address his problem.

Now the BBC is to launch RaW, a three-year campaign to help boost reading and writing that will be linked to the Keith Miller plotline.

Eastenders' executive producer Kate Harwood told FE Focus: "We hope to help to remove the stigma associated with adults who struggle to read and write.

"It is not a negative portrayal of illiteracy.

"What I think is so strong about it is that you've got this man with tremendous intelligence and wit, and the viewers have empathy with his situation."

David Spinx, the actor who plays Keith Miller, has agreed to be the major face of the campaign, and will soon be appearing on posters and campaign material. The campaign includes a telephone coaching line - run in partnership with the Government's Learndirect service - that will offer support and advice about reading and writing.

Mr Spinx said: "I was gobsmacked when I discovered that almost one in five adults has literacy problems. It would be wonderful if I could help break down the barriers they face in overcoming their difficulties."

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