The BBC responded to the 'hundreds' of complaints it received for airing a kiss between two girls on a children's television show in the perfect way.
According to the Metro, 'more than 100' people complained after the Canadian drama The Next Step featured a storyline in which two teenage girls fall in love and share their first kiss.
Jude and Cleo, played by Molly Sanders and Dani Verago, act on their feelings after performing together in a dance competition.
We are very proud to be viewers of this beautiful series, finally The Next Step did it too! Love is with all its c… https://t.co/KM7nhGld1Y
— The Next Step LATAM 🇦🇷 (@The Next Step LATAM 🇦🇷)
The scene was initially praised for its positive LGBTQ+ representation, with a Stonewall charity representative telling the Metro:
Jude and Cleo's kiss on CBBC's teen drama, The Next Step, is an exciting moment for LGBT representation.
Representation can help young LGBT people understand themselves by relating to lesbian, gay, bi and trans characters, and improves understanding of what it means to be lesbian, gay, bi or trans, which helps everyone to be more accepting.
But after some viewers complained about the scene, the BBC explained its decision to air it.
The decision to include this moment, as part of a longer storyline throughout series seven 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.
They also shut down the double standards in the complaints they received...
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.
At Children’s BBC, we are proud to reflect all areas of children’s lives across our factual and fictional output.
...and pointed out that The Next Step is not the first CBBC show to depict a kiss between LGBTQ+ characters.
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 (contrary to what was reported in the press about The Next Step) the first same-sex kiss on CBBC was in fact in Byker Grove, many years ago.
This moment inThe Next Step is merely one story among a myriad of voices and experiences across our output.
The first kiss between LGBTQ+ characters in a BBC children's series was in 1994.
People praised the BBC for their "wonderful" response.
The @bbc’s response to the complaints about the same-sex kiss on @cbbc’s The Next Step is wonderful 👏🏼 https://t.co/Ze73hJDXX7
— Charlotte Andrews (@Charlotte Andrews)
Good on the BBC for its response to this. 👏