The BBC has issued a response to complaints after a same-sex kiss on one of their CBBC shows.
An episode of The Next Step which aired in July saw two characters – Jude and Cleo – share a kiss.
It prompted a number of complaints to the BBC who have been quick to hit back.
They explained: “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 BBC continued: “We believe that the storyline, and the kiss, was handled with sensitivity and without sensationalism, following as it did the portrayal of Jude & 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.”
The BBC went on to point out that same-sex relationships have already featured in other CBBC shows such as Jamie Johnson, 4 O Clock Club, Dixie and Marrying Mum and Dad.
What’s more, contrary to what was reported in some press outlets, the BBC confirmed that the very first same-sex kiss on CBBC was in fact in Byker Grove back in the 90s.
“This moment in The Next Step is merely one story among a myriad of voices and experiences across our output,” they concluded.
Airing since 2013, The Next Step is a mockumentary style show which follows the members of a dance troupe as they compete in competitions.
You can watch The Next Step on iPlayer here.