The BBC censored a scene in the tv series, “Dr Who” in order “to comply with the MDA broadcast code in Singapore.”
The deleted scene in the sci-fi series, being shown in the United Kingdom, was of Madame Vastra, a Silurian lizard-woman, "kissing" her human wife, Jenny Flint.
The particular episode of the series, titled “Deep Breath” and shown on BBC 1 channel last Saturday, was portrayed as an “oxygen transfer” between Madame Vastra and Flint, who were trapped in a room with killer clockwork androids who detect life forms by their breaths.
When Jenny Flint struggled to breathe Madame Vastra helped her survive by sharing her own oxygen.
The scene was edited out of the version of the show broadcast on the BBC Entertainment channel in several Asian countries, namely Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
The deletion by the BBC was to comply with “broadcast regulations” across the region.
According to Pink News:
A BBC spokesperson told Pink News: “In order to comply with broadcast regulations in Asia where our BBC Entertainment channel airs, BBC Worldwide made a brief edit to the first episode of Doctor Who Series 8, but did so without detracting from the storyline.”
As there is only one edit of the show for the entire Asian region, it was edited to comply with the MDA broadcast code in Singapore.
The code states: “Information, themes or subplots on lifestyles such as homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexualism, transsexualism, transvestism, paedophilia and incest should be treated with utmost caution.
The lesbian scene is the first in the show’s 51-year history. Its removal has angered gay rights campaigners, who accused BBC executives of giving into homophobia.
Campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “The BBC should not bow to censorship demands from other countries.”
“If these countries are bigoted and are not willing to show same-sex love, they have no right to demand that the BBC conforms to their standards of prejudice.”
Richard Lane, of gay rights group Stonewall, added: ‘It’s a great shame that some audiences were not allowed to see the episode in full.”
Sebastian Brook, editor of Dr Who Online, said: “Lots of people are saying it was a kiss but it wasn’t. It was an oxygen transfer and should have stayed in all editions.”
George Dixon, BBC Worldwide’s global editorial director, said: “When preparing shows for international transmission, we occasionally have to make edits to ensure we’re not breaking any local broadcasting rules.”
Jeanne Leong, director of communications at BBC Worldwide Asia, said that as an international broadcaster “the BBC had to comply with the broadcast regulations of the countries in which its channels were aired.” (SCMP)
As there was only one edit for the whole of the region, the broadcast had to comply with the regulations of the strictest country, which apparently was Singapore.
Here is the “kissing” scene, which lasted just a few seconds.