Thousands of children watched a CBBC show last month where two teenage girls engaged in an explicit kissing scene in Canadian drama The Next Step. The Next Step follows members of a competitive dance studio, and during its latest episode friends, Jude (Molly Sanders) and Cleo (Dani Verago) performed a duet to Brave by singer Shane Harte, where it became clear there was much more than a friendship boiling between them. There has been praise for the episode by pro-LGBTQ activists and complaints by others.
Taking to its website, the BBC stated: ‘We have received complaints about a storyline involving a same-sex kiss.’ While the BBC hasn’t revealed the number of complaints they have received, 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.’ The statement went on to add that the BBC believe the storyline was ‘handled with sensitivity’ and that it wasn’t ‘inappropriate for the audience age’.
‘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,’ the statement continued. ‘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.’
The statement concluded with the BBC explaining that The Next Step isn’t the first show to air a same-sex kiss. The statement added: ‘At Children’s BBC, we are proud to reflect all areas of children’s lives across our factual and fictional output. Same-sex relationships have already featured in other CBBC shows such as Jamie Johnson, 4 O Clock Club, Dixie and Marrying Mum and Dad, and the first same-sex kiss on CBBC was in fact in Byker Grove, many years ago.
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This content was sourced from Unity News Network.