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BBC Responds to Complaints that Torchwood is Too Gay

By on August 11, 2011

The BBC has responded to complaints from viewers that feel it is inappropriate to show gay sex on Torchwood.

Torchwood Miracle Day, the fourth installment in the Torchwood series, is a co-production between the BBC and US Cable network Starz.

Although the BBC already stood by a decision to clip a sex scene from an earlier episode, they defended their actions on the grounds that it was the explicit nature of the scene that caused concern, and not the fact that it was a gay sex scene.

It wasn’t that it was a gay scene that worried people, but just the fact that it was such an explicit sex scene full stop,” a BBC statement said at the time. 

“You can get away with scenes like that on American cable channels, but you can’t on prime time BBC One. Even though the show airs after the watershed, it has a lot of young fans who would have been shocked at the graphic nature of the sex.”

However, even without the controversial scene, some British viewers are still unhappy with Torchwood‘s content.

We’ve received complaints from some viewers who feel it is inapproprate to show gay sex in Torchwood,” the corporation said of the latest misgivings.  “We have strict Editorial Guidelines which govern the content of our programmes, and Torchwood is no exception. These clearly state:

In all BBC output the portrayal of sex, or the exploration of sexual issues, should be editorially justified and treated with appropriate sensitivity. In post-watershed content, we must be able to justify the frank and realistic portrayal of sex and the exploration of themes and issues which some people might find offensive.”

Captain Jack Harkness is an established character in the series. We felt the content was justified in terms of the context and character and would be within the expectations of regular viewers. We aim to depict relationships whether heterosexual or homosexual in an honest and realistic way. These scenes are not meant to cause offence.”

Whether some British fans like it or not, it looks like the BBC is not about to step back from its decision.


  1. Lisa

    August 28, 2011 at 5:41 am

    Thumbs up to BBC!! It was about time somebody dared to put a homosexual relationship with soft sex scenes on a TV series. We all say that we have no problem with homosexuality but, in truth, everybody complains about it the moment it is shown on TV (and it’s _THE_ BBC!!). Sounds like hipocrisy to me…

  2. Darren

    August 29, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Why do we need to see that sort of stuff. It’s wrong and has no real meaning to the Torchwood story. I know that Captain Jack was gay, in earlier seasons he kissed a few guys (that didn’t have anything to do with the story at all). I love my Sci-Fi shows and look forward to gizmo’s, gadgets, time travel, space and all that. Watching two guys doing that sort of stuff makes me sick.

  3. Steve Deans

    August 29, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    No one complains when it’s a guy and a girl or even when it’s two girls, or a guy and two girls … sorry what were we talking about again?

    I don’t really see the problem with Torchwood’s sex scenes so long as they are part of the story in some way, or highlight a character’s personality or journey.
    I think it’s hypocritical to say yes allow it but only if its between a male and a female.
    There have been shows that are FAR more ‘gay’ than Torchwood – Queer as Folk for example. As I recall, that show did pretty well.

  4. Lux

    August 29, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    I find it hard to imagine people are still having a problem with gay sex on TV. I thought we were over all that like 10 years ago.
    I agree with Steve Deans. Queer as Folk was an amazing ground-breaking show and Gale Harold was the best thing on it.

  5. JocelynCarneige

    August 29, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    I second that.
    … even though we’re supposed to be discussing Torchwood not QAF ;o)

    Captain Jack’s HAWT! I don’t care who he’s doing it with. I wanna watch it!!

  6. CindyL

    August 29, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    The thing that annoys me about Torchwood is that in the beginning Jack was suppose to be ‘omnisexual’ but now he’s just gay. They seem to have dropped any pretense he likes women.
    I don’t mind a little man on man action but I would love to see Jack in a male/female relationship for a change.