The BBC has censored a gay kiss in Doctor Who episode Deep Breath for Asian broadcasters.
The cut scene shows Silurian Madame Vastra locking lips with her human wife Jenny Flint in an attempt to save her life. The episode saw the pair at the mercy of deadly clockwork droids who can only detect living people if they’re breathing. With Jenny no longer able to hold her breath, Vastra steps in to share her oxygen.
However, the moment was edited out of a version of the show broadcast on the BBC Entertainment channel in Asian countries Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
As there is only one version of the show broadcast to the entire region, the scene is said to have been cut to comply with the MDA broadcast code in Singapore, where the Asian BBC Entertainment feed is relayed from. The code states:
“Information, themes or subplots on lifestyles such as homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexualism, transsexualism, transvestism, paedophilia and incest should be treated with utmost caution. Their treatment should not in any way promote, justify or glamorise such lifestyles. Explicit dialogue or information concerning the above topics should not be broadcast.”
According to a BBC insider, a breach of this code would have apparently left the Corporation’s commercial arm BBC Worldwide liable for a fine.
BBC Worldwide has not commented on the ethical problems of the cut, but a spokesman explained that, “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 eight, but did so without detracting from the storyline.”
The censorship comes a week after Ofcom rubbished the complaints of six British viewers who thought the kiss was “inappropriate.”
“Having assessed the complaints, we can confirm that they do not raise issues warranting further investigation,” they said. “Our rules do not discriminate between scenes involving opposite sex and same sex couples.”
Doctor Who returns with episode three of series eight, Robot of Sherwood, on Saturday 6th September.