CBBC’S The Next Step star Molly Saunders has hit back at the “sad and disappointing” complaints over the channel’s first lesbian kiss.
While many viewers praised CBBC for showing the ground-breaking kiss, there were a few that felt it was inappropriate.
The Next Step is a Canadian drama following a professional dance studio and in the particular episode featuring the kiss, friends Jude, played by Molly Saunders, and Cleo, played by Dani Verago, realise they’re falling in love with each other.
Aired on CBBC last month and watched by thousands of viewers, it was met with huge praise by many of its viewers.
However, according to The Metro “more than 100” viewers wrote in to complain about the kiss.
Addressing the furore, Molly said: “I think it’s sad and disappointing that people can still be sad about something like this. But I think that the BBC and [production company] Boat Rocker dealt with this really well. I think they stood by what aired.”
The BBC rejected the complaints and said that the decision to include the kiss “was taken very carefully and with much consideration”.
The broadcaster wrote: “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”.
Speaking to Digital Spy about it, actress Molly talked about the impact of the kiss and why she felt it was so important.
She told the website: “I was so honoured to be playing a role like this. I knew it was going to be so important for so many young teens. And I think with this show, scenes like this are so important.
“The show is very much about showing everyone’s experiences throughout a teenage life. I think it was really special, because it’s something that the show hasn’t done before.
“In the relationship, there are lots of bumps in the road, but Jude and Cleo always find a way to bring out the best in each other. As you see in the duet, there are lots of moments where we’re kind of teasing each other. That’s what sparked the relationship in the first place. So I think that was really special to see throughout the duet.”