The BBC was forced to edit out a section of the latest episode of Doctor Who to remove a scene that featured a kiss between two female characters.
The Deep Breath episode, which was the first outing for Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, was edited to comply with broadcasting regulations in Singapore, from where the BBC Entertainment feed for Asian territories including Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia is transmitted. Singapore has strict rules relating to subplots involving “homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexualism, transsexualism, transvestism, paedophilia and incest”.
In a statement BBC Worldwide said:
“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.”
Hong Kong LGBT activist Betty Grisoni is quoted in the South China Morning Post as saying:
“This obvious case of censorship is outrageous and viewers in Asia have been left out of the buzz created by the kiss among Doctor Who fans around the world…This is not about tolerance, it is about equality.”
The scene, which includes a “kiss” between human character Jenny Flint and Silurian lizard woman Madame Vastra, in order to hide from droids capable of detecting the oxygen in their breath, led to six complaints to British media regulator Ofcom after it was broadcast in the UK. However, the watchdog has said that they will not review the scene as their “rules do not discriminate between scenes involving opposite sex and same sex couples”.