Have we truly moved past homophobia?

The BBC are facing a row over homophobia as they cut the ‘lesbian kiss’ from their Asian airing of Doctor Who.

On the 23rd of August 6.8 million people tuned into BBC One to watch Pete Capaldi’s premier as the new Dr Who, a figure that had risen to 10 million by this morning.  Although widely received well by the audiences, a kiss between Madame Vestra and her human wife Jenny Flint.  There were six official complaints made to the BBC but Twitter went made with people stating it was ‘inappropriate’ and a ‘blatant gay agenda’.

The scene in quanigif_enhanced-25819-1409584217-1estion was depicted as an oxygen transfer rather than an interspecies kiss.  Jenny Flint, Madame Vestra’s human wife, was struggling to hold her breath to avoid being noticed by the robots attacking them.  As Madame Vestra’s lungs held a huge amount of oxygen, she transferred some to Jenny.  This scene was only shown for a few seconds before the scene carried on.  This was met with mixed views on Twitter from fans some of which that were happy to see the kiss and, as mentioned above, some thought it was a blatant gay agenda.

Ofcom have responded in a anti-homophobic way stating that it will not be investigating the complaints, explaining that they do not discriminate against scenes depicting opposite, or same sex, couples.  However, this step forward was cut short as the BBC has cut the scene from episodes that are due to be aired in conservative countries such as Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore amongst others.

This action by the BBC is a major step backwards for the UK’s progression.  When a law was passed on 29th March 2014 meaning that gay couples could be wed, the world rejoiced as a major step forward for a society who had progressed from slavery, racism and  supposedly homophobia.  The BBC released a statement following the editing of this issue stating

 “in order to comply with broadcast regulations in Asia where our BBC Entertainment channel airs, BBC Worldwide made a brief edit to the first episode of Doctor Who Series 8, but did so without detracting from the storyline”.  – http://www.buzzfeed.com


A quick glance through the broadcasting rules of Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong shows that the BBC are telling the truth. Images that promote a ‘gay lifestyle’ would be banned from their televisions, meaning Dr Who would not have been broadcast anyway. However, by editing scenes from Dr Who in order to placate those who do not believe in same sex couples, have the BBC not told them that this view is OK to have.


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