Doctor Who’s “Weird Lesbian-Lizard Perv Trip”

Of all the reactions to the series eight premier, Deep Breath, (don’t like the titles, don’t like the new music, can’t understand Peter Capaldi (my mum. Mum, you live on the Scottish border!)), the oddest one is the complaints about Vastra locking lips with Jenny.

Tuesday 26th 2014, The Independent runs a story with the headline “Doctor Who lesbian kiss sparks Ofcom complaints over ‘weird lesbian-lizard perv trip’“. The story reports that six people complained to Ofcom (the UK’s communication regulator) about a lesbian kiss in Saturday’s episode. The scene in question features the Silurian character Madam Vastra transferring oxygen to her human wife, Jenny, because the former can store more oxygen in her lungs.

Just to be clear, the character of Jenny was holding her breath, so that killer clockwork droids from the future wouldn’t recognise that she was alive, and kill her. The episode was at pains to point out that the couple love each other.

Also, this kiss of life administered lasts less than three seconds of screen time.

The original story is on the website Pink News and quotes one reviewer who makes the spectacular claim that “the BBC seem to want to become a porn channel and are slowly edging into it.”

The Independent article also features a selection of tweets from various viewers of the episode, with differing opinions about the ‘kiss’, but they didn’t include my favourite one: The former Goodie Bill Oddie was prompted to send this missive to his followers:

Bill Oddie tweet

It raises some questions about the quality of porn Bill Oddie has had access to, and how satisfying he finds two-half seconds titillation in a seventy-odd minute programme.



Some of the morally-outraged calling it porn is weird. Presumably they don’t complain to Ofcom about hetero-sexual couples kissing, so why does it only become porn when it’s same-sex or homo-sapien/homo-reptilia kissing?

Or do these people find scenes of resuscitation powerfully erotic? For them I include this racy little video from 1962:

Cambridge Dictionaries defines ‘soft porn’ as “books and films showing sexual activity that is less extreme than other material of the same type”, so there you go, Oddie, knock yourself out.

In 2012 two people complained to Ofcom about The Angels Take Manhattan because of ‘suicide and self-harm’. Now, I don’t think there’s anything in that episode that promotes suicide or self-harm; but three times more people thought that a character saving her wife from being stabbed through the neck with a rusty blade by sharing air was a worse thing to show on screen than Amy and Rory throwing themselves off the roof of a building.

This year is the twentieth anniversary of the first pre-watershed lesbian kiss on British television, which was shown on Channel 4 soap opera Brookside. But in 2014 the BBC still received at least two complaints about a gay kiss between two males on Eastenders, according to gaystarnews.

It may seem odd to take the time to complain about something you’ve watched on TV instead of just turning it off and not watching it again. And you’re right. It is. Nobody has the right not be offended, and as usual, Stephen Fry puts it best:

“It’s now very common to hear people say “I’m rather offended by that”, as if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually no more than a whine. “I find that offensive”. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. “I’m offended by that”, well so fucking what.”

It makes me wonder how often do people take the time to contact the BBC about something they do like and approve of?

Here is a link to a form to send positive to feedback to the BBC.


Postscript: The BBC cut this scene when for Asian broadcasts.

But an even bigger scandal was brewing at the BBC. The Great British Bake Off attracted thirteen Ofcom complaints, with a further eight hundred and eleven expressing their dissatisfaction directly to the BBC. They were not, as you might imagine, complaining that the Corporation were passing off a baking programme as prime-time entertainment; but rather that a grown man threw his cake in the bin after stropping about someone taking his ice cream out of the freezer. This, if anything, merely highlights once again that complaints about TV shows, and the people who make them, really aren’t worth worrying about.

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