Cleo and Jules shared a kiss on Canadian teen drama The Next Step on CBBC, leading to hundreds of complaints
BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS, IMAGE VIA YOUTUBE
In what came as a monumental move forward for the CBBC last month, a teenage drama The Next Step showed the first kiss between two teenage girls falling in love with each other. It was the first time that a television programme aired on CBBC had ever shown a same-sex kiss.
The episode was watched by thousands of viewers, and despite many viewers praising the CBBC for depicting queer youth, The Metro reported that “more than 100” others wrote in to complain.
The Next Step is a Canadian drama that follows a group of teenagers who are part of a professional dance studio. The episode that features the kiss shows two friends, Jude (Molly Sanders) and Cleo (Dani Verago), perform a duet together and realise that they have romantic feelings towards each other.
The BBC explained that the decision to air the kiss “was taken very carefully and with much consideration.” They have since rejected the complaints claiming that the kiss was inappropriate for the age of the intended audience.
They went on to say that: “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”.
“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”.
“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.”