doctor-who-lesbian-kissHong Kong:  Gay rights activists say they are outraged at BBC’s self-censorship in cutting a lesbian kiss scene in the first episode of the Doctor Who series premiered recently in Hong Kong

There was n the kiss between lizard-woman Madame Vastra and her human wife Jenny Flint, which the BBC says it cut to comply with broadcasting regulations in Asia, according to

Local gay-rights groups described BBC’s self-censorship as “outrageous” and “scandalous” and that is was unfair not to treat the kiss as the same between a man and a woman.

The BBC Worldwide’s London-based compliance team made the cut to conform with laws against same-sex relations and broadcast content in Asian countries such as Muslim majority Malaysia and Indonesia.

Viewers in South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore also watched the same censored version.

The new series of the British science fiction television program Doctor Who premiered in Hong Kong, a day after the UK showing Aug 23 on BBC One, the entertainment channel.

Betty Grisoni from Les Peches, the LGBT organization in Hong Kong told it was likely the cut had been made with countries like Malaysia and Singapore in mind, rather than Hong Kong.

“This obvious case of censorship is outrageous and viewers in Asia have been left out of the buzz created by the kiss among Doctor Who fans around the world,” Grisoni said.

“The story line of the show has included this lesbian couple for over three years now without any censorship and the only time that they show a physical sign of affection, which is already outrageous in itself, it is censored.

“Including LGBT couples in a TV programme is becoming incredibly popular even in Asia, which is in itself a good thing. However, these couples need to be portrayed as equally as heterosexual couples would, public display of affection included.

“This is not about tolerance, it is about equality.”

Agreeing, John Erni, chairman of the Pink Alliance, also told “When relevant to the story line, a kiss between same-sex characters and a kiss between opposite-sex ones should be treated by censors in the same manner.”

Jeanne Leong, director of communications at BBC Worldwide Asia, said as an international broadcaster the BBC had to comply with the broadcast regulations of the countries in which its channels were aired.

As there was only one edit for the whole of the region, the broadcast had to comply with the regulations of the strictest country, the official pointed out.

In the past, the BBC compliance team has not only cut same-sex kisses from popular shows but also edited or pixelated scenes showing characters smoking, drinking, nudity and characters wearing revealing clothing.