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Saturday, 24 August, 2002, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
Complaints over TV policemen's gay kiss
Kiss between The Bill's male characters
The show's producer says the kiss was about realism
More than 300 television viewers complained after an on-screen gay kiss between two policemen in uniform.

Thursday's episode of police series The Bill, showed Sergeant Gilmore and PC Luke Ashton in a passionate embrace.

It was screened at 2000 BST, before the 2100 watershed and led to the "unprecedented" amount of calls to ITV1.

But spokeswoman for the programme Deborah Goodman defended the show's right to include the kiss.


There are gay police officers and we are reflecting that

The Bill's executive producer Paul Marquess

She said it reflected real life in Britain and was just the start of a love triangle between the two officers and another female character.

She added: "We had an unprecedented amount of complaints following Thursday's episode.

"People were disgusted they has seen something like that on The Bill. It might be because the people involved were in uniform."

"What The Bill is doing is reflecting real life - in every job there is every type of person.

"Sgt Gilmore is known as a gay character, and Luke is straight but now very confused," she said. "This will be the start of a huge angst-ridden drama."

Realism

The show's executive producer Paul Marquess said The Bill had always been famous for its realism.

"There are gay police officers and we are reflecting that," he added.


Guess what? Straight officers kiss, so do gays

Stephen Warwick
Lesbian and Gay Policing Association
Stephen Warwick, a spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Policing Association (LAGPA), said he welcomed the storyline.

"It's a big step for British television," he said. "I see it as a very positive move".

He said the reaction from viewers was not surprising. "I'm not at all surprised that there were so many complaints, the fact that they were in uniform is exactly why people complained.

"Guess what? Straight officers do it, so do gays."

Former This Morning presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan sparked controversy when they featured a live gay wedding on Valentine's Day last year.

However, a string of complaints made about the item were rejected by the ITC.

See also:

15 Jul 01 | Entertainment
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