Coronation Street is cleared over first gay kiss

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The Independent Online

The television watchdog has rejected complaints made about the first ever gay kiss in an episode of Coronation Street.

The Independent Television Commission (ITC) said that there was nothing wrong with the scene in the soap, which depicted a kiss between the characters Todd Grimshaw (Bruno Langley) and Nick Tilsley (Adam Rickett).

The programme prompted 21 complaints from viewers upset by pre-watershed homosexual scenes when it was broadcast on ITV1 last month, but the ITC said the scene was acceptable and was an attempt to show "a young man's confusion with his sexuality".

It said: "Although gay relationships have been shown for many years in other soaps, Coronation Street has always attracted an older audience, who may be less comfortable with this behaviour.

"A young man's confusion with his sexuality, expressed in a clumsy and inexplicit manner, did not go beyond what has previously been seen in a drama at this time of the evening," the ITC report concluded.

But the watchdog did acknowledge that some sections of the viewing public still regarded homosexuality as an unacceptable subject for television. It said: "The ITC is aware that some viewers do not wish to see any representation of homosexuality on television.

"Some parents are especially concerned that any overt behaviour, such as a kiss, should be featured before the 9pm watershed when children could be watching television."

Other soaps such as Brookside, Emmerdale and EastEnders have featured storylines involving gay characters.

But although Coronation Street does feature a transsexual character, Hayley Cropper, played by Julie Hesmondhalgh, it has lagged behind its competitors.

Brookside, which is based in Liverpool, featured the first lesbian kiss on British television. Anna Friel's character Beth Jordache kissed the former Holby City actress Nicola Stephenson back in 1993.

The soap, which ends tonight on Channel 4, also shocked viewers with an incest storyline about a brother and sister who fell in love.