Reports are circulating that British Prime Minister David Cameron wants to toughen rules on what broadcasters can show before 9 p.m. so that children won't be exposed to "indecent" scenes, like the 1994 lesbian kiss on the soap Brookside, a first on U.K. TV.
Understandably, supporters of gay rights are fuming, but the report in the Daily Mail actually distorts the facts (shocker). While Cameron is supporting a review that's expected to recommend the scenes be banned before 9 p.m., it would actually apply to all sexual content, not just homosexual canoodling. The confusion started when the paper published this quote from a "source close to the inquiry":
"It is hard to protect children in the internet and mobile-phone age but we have to do something.
For some parents, what has been considered acceptable in the past – such as that Brookside kiss – is not appropriate for children to see early in the evening."
Most British soaps, including Emmerdale , Eastenders, and Hollyoaks have featured gay couples, and the somewhat erroneous report has angered Brooke Vincent, who plays a lesbian on Coronation Street. She Tweeted:
"I swear David Cameron's meant to be supporting equal rights. I just think if same-sex kisses are what he is prioritising and concentrating on changing, our country's in trouble."
The new regulations would pull "sexually suggestive" scenes that are currently allowed on daytime TV, but it's unclear what exactly that would mean. Programs shown between 5:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. aren't supposed to show sexual scenes unless there is a "serious educational purpose." A similar rule would be devastating to daytime TV in America (if we weren't already killing of our soaps) as it would be difficult to argue that there's educational value in Erica Kane's bedhopping. (Well, I did learn as a kid that lovemaking usually takes place by a fireplace, and everyone wears their underwear under the sheets.)
In addition to a ban on certain types of on-screen kisses, there may be stricter rules against sexy dance routines, like the Christina Aguilera/Rihanna X Factor performances that traumatized young Brits last year. Restrictions on sexually explicit billboards are also being considered.
In the past, Cameron has warned that exposing kids to adult themes can "take away their innocence." Parents all over the world get worked up about how much sexual content their kids are being exposed to, but if Cameron really does want to ban scenes like the Brookside kiss, he may be taking things a bit too far. (You can watch it here, but you'll have to ignore the silly sound effects. Only the parody is available on YouTube.) Maybe my moral censors have been burnt out by seeing too many rear-entry scenes on Game Of Thrones, but the Brookside snogging only seems slightly raunchier than the royal wedding kiss.
'Indecent' Lesbian Kiss Scenes Face Watershed Crackdown [Daily Mail]
Brooke Vincent Lashes Out At PM [The Sun]