CBBC drama The Next Step has received complaints after it aired a same sex kiss in an episode last month.
The BBC children’s network was lauded by viewers and LGBT rights charity Stonewall for showing the channel’s first ever same sex kiss in the Canadian mockumentary-style drama.
Two weeks after the episode aired, the BBC has uploaded a lengthy statement on it’s website, confirming they have ‘received complaints about a storyline involving a same-sex kiss.’
Metro.co.uk report the broadcaster ‘will have received more than 100′ complaints’ to spark the statement, with the BBC’s complaints framework stating they will respond with a statement if ‘a number’ of complaints are received on the same issue.
The statement defended CBBC’s airing of the kiss, explaining:
‘The decision to include this moment, as part of a longer storyline throughout series 7 which has been tracking the development of a romantic relationship between two of the characters, Jude and Cleo, was taken very carefully and with much consideration, and came about after CBBC and Boatrocker (the production company who make the show) acknowledged that the series could and should do more to reflect the lives of LGBTQ+ young people.’
‘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.’
It added: ‘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 and I’m afraid we do not agree that it was inappropriate for the audience age.
‘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.’
Stonewall’s head of policy and research, Eloise Stonborough, praised the episode in a statement to Metro as ‘an exciting moment for LGBT+ representation’.
The BBC and Ofcom have been contacted by MailOnline for further comment.
The episode which saw female characters Cleo and Jude lock lips following a highly-charged duet, was also applauded by fans on social media at the time who lauded the network for its progression.
In the episode, called ‘Room Service’, Cleo, played by Dani Verayo, is left floored after her pal Summer (Sage Linder) decides to leave the troupe.
She soon seeks support from Jude, played by Molly Sanders, with the girls having a heart-to-heart, before launching into a romantic routine performed to Brave by Shane Harte and sharing a kiss.
‘CBBC JUST DID THAT! THE NEXT STEP, A KIDS SHOW, JUST DID THAT!’ gushed one viewer.
While another penned: ‘I clapped when it happened. Well done CBBC and The Next Step! This is what progression looks like.’
A third watcher tweeted: ‘on cbbc??? they wouldn’t have put ANYTHING like this on there when i was little and that was only like 10 years ago,,, we moving forward!!!’
‘YES! I’m so proud of how far The Next Step has come and how it’s helped pioneer CBBC’ shared a fourth.
‘This is the first proper lgbt couple ever on cbbc right cause I will never be over this’, wrote a fifth person.
Another person enthused: ‘When kids shoes have representation like this it honestly makes me so happy because I know there are kids out there who will feel less alone than I did thank you @cbbc @thenextstep.’