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Friday, 4 August, 2000, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Grange Hill plans lesbian storyline
Grange Hill cast members
Cast members from TV's Grange Hill
Children's TV programme Grange Hill is set to cause controversy by featuring a lesbian storyline.

The plot will involve a pupil at the fictional London comprehensive school having a crush on another girl.

There will not be any kissing or a full-blown affair, though, the BBC insisted.

Todd Carty as Tucker Jenkins
Things have changed since Todd Carty played Tucker Jenkins in Grange Hill

A spokeswoman for the show said: "It is about a teenage girl exploring her emotions and suffering confusion over her sexuality.

"It is part of a much bigger storyline involving prejudice."

But National Viewers and Listeners' Association head John Beyer told BBC News Online: "They should not touch upon lesbianism in a children's programme.

"This is not a suitable subject for a children's soap opera and I think it may well go beyond many parents' expectations of such a series." He added: "I think this is a bit of a cynical ploy to introduce yet another controversial storyline aimed at keeping the programme in the headlines and the ratings up."

Complaints

Grange Hill is no stranger to controversy. Ever since it was first broadcast back in 1978, the programme has attracted complaints from parents concerned with slang language and storylines about drugs and shopflifting.

But it will not be the first show to deal with issues of sexuality before the watershed.

Brookside, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Emmerdale have all featured lesbian relationships, while the Coronation Street cast includes a transsexual.

The Grange Hill spokeswoman added: "We are reflecting life and feel the subject is relevant to viewers because a lot of teenagers suffer similarly.

"We have always touched on cutting-edge issues, such as racism, drugs and under-age sex."

The new Grange Hill series is currently still in production and will not be screened until next year.

See also:

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26 May 99 | Entertainment
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