BBC drama controller Ben Stephenson calls for more gay characters: ‘When gay scripts comes in, I shall definitely be commissioning it’

The BBC Commissioner admitted that the gay community was among the most poorly represented by the broadcasting house

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The Independent Culture

Ben Stephenson, the BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning, is calling for better representation of the gay community on television.

He admitted that the broadcasting house still has "a long way to go" in its portrayal of gay people, and expressed a desire to step up the number of LGBT characters in its programmes.

Speaking at the BBC Reflect and Represent session at New Broadcasting House, Stephenson said: "I would say it's probably one of the lowest [represented] areas. When a great gay script comes in, I shall definitely be commissioning it.

"The important thing is making these conversations feel creative and not about ticking a box, because no-one believes that creates good drama."

The session is a week-long event set up to encourage debate on television’s approach to diversity.


His encouraging words come just one month after Eastenders star Danny Dyer spoke of his pride in playing the role of an understanding dad, Mick Carter, who helps his teenage son come out.

"It was a real positive thing," Dyer told Jonathan Ross during an interview at the end of January.

"A lot of young gay men, who hadn’t come out yet, they saw that scene and I was getting letters from these guys saying they came out the next day because of it.  That’s a powerful thing and I was really proud to be associated with that."

Stephen Moffat was also called to explain why he cut a gay clubbing scene from the last series of Sherlock.

"Doing the drunk stuff was lovely but I regret there was one bit of that drunk stuff that was missing," Freeman told a crowd at an Apple Store event in London earlier this month. "There was the gay club scene. Why didn’t that get in? We got mullered in a gay club and all these topless guys were going by.

"I had no idea why we were there and what it was and why they didn’t have their clothes on and then it dawned on me," Cumberbatch added.

Moffat defended his decision, saying that the scene went "on and on and on".