BBC bombarded with more than 100 complaints after teenage lesbian kiss in CBBC drama The Next Step
CBBC's groundbreaking same-sex kiss scene on kids TV has sparked more than 100 complaints from irked viewers of The Next Step.
The Canadian show, centred around a school for wannabe dancers, saw Cleo, played by Dani Verayo, 19, and Jude, portrayed by Molly Saunders, 18, kiss during a romantic routine.
Jude was seen pulling Cleo close as they enjoyed a smooch in the studio.
Post-transmission, the BBC uploaded a comment on its website to confirm: "We have received complaints about a storyline involving a same-sex kiss."
Yet while LGBT charity Stonewall branded the scene "important" some viewers – or parents of young viewers – did not agree, with Metro.co.uk reporting the broadcaster "will have received more than 100" complaints" to spark the statement.
Yet defending its decision to air the blossoming romance – which was praised by many show fans as "progress" – the broadcaster added a lengthy comment underneath.
It stated: "The decision to include this moment, as part of a longer storyline throughout series 7 which has been tracking the development of a romantic relationship between two of the characters, Jude and Cleo, was taken very carefully and with much consideration, and came about after CBBC and Boatrocker (the production company who make the show) acknowledged that the series could and should do more to reflect the lives of LGBTQ+ young people.
"This is an important part of our mission to make sure that every child feels like they belong, that they are safe, and that they can be who they want to be."
It added: "We believe that the storyline, and the kiss, was handled with sensitivity and without sensationalism, following as it did the portrayal of Jude and Cleo’s developing relationship and I’m afraid we do not agree that it was inappropriate for the audience age.
"CBBC regularly portrays heterosexual young people dating, falling in love, and kissing, and it is an important way of showing children what respectful, kind and loving relationships look like."
When the show initially aired, one viewer of the Canadian series said: “This is progress.
"It will show people that it is just as normal as liking the different gender.”
Brookside in 1994, with Anna Friel and Nicola Stephenson, showed the first lesbian pre-watershed kiss.
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