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BBC research prompts calls for greater normalisation of homosexuality on TV and radio

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The publication of a BBC report has led to suggestions that the corporation change the way in which it portrays homosexuality, across its television and radio output.

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of homosexual lobby group Stonewall, said that the research showed “that both gay and heterosexual licence-payers want to see more realistic, incidental representations of gay people on their TV screens. We recognise that the BBC has taken some steps forward in recent years and we’re very pleased that it now intends to build on that progress.”


Tim Davie, the BBC's head of audio, who chairs a working group on improving coverage of the homosexual community, said that the research would help achieve more ‘authentic and diverse’ portrayals.

The report considered the views of heterosexual and homosexual viewers on how homosexuality should be portrayed in the corporation’s output and was based upon a survey of more than 1,600 people, discussion groups involving 500 and a public consultation that generated more than 9,400 responses.

18% of respondents felt ‘uncomfortable’ or ‘very uncomfortable’ with homosexual scenes. Some, particularly men and over 55s, were “highly resistant” to intimate content such as kissing, hugging, hand-holding and bedroom scenes.

‘Uncomfortable’ heterosexual audiences also saw TV for children as a “no-go area” for homosexual portrayals..

However, homosexual respondents were keen to see more overt depictions of homosexuality and greater prominence given to homosexual and bisexual themes in popular shows.

The corporation said it would review the research again in two years to see if it had “moved forward” in the eyes of its audiences.


The Report

Daily Mail