The Australian broadcasting network Seven have allegedly censored a lesbian kiss due to be shown during its soap opera Home and Away.

The drama, which is broadcast in the UK on Five has received complaints from Christian groups and see Australian ratings drop as a result of its lesbian storyline.

Policewoman Charlie Buckton, played by actress Esther Anderson is depicted falling in love with Joey Collins, played by Kate Bell, who works on a trawler.

The Australian reports that Seven have cut some of the more intimate, close-up shots of a kiss between the two actresses. But sources close to the programme told the newspaper that the entire scene, including the censored shots were no more intimate than a scene featuring a heterosexual kiss.

The show is broadcast in Australia at 7pm and is officially rated PG and attracts a young audience of around one million viewers. Australian media reports that ratings have slipped by one hundred thousand since the controversy around the storyline began.

Australian media commentator David Knox said that the PG ratings did not discriminate between gay and straight content. “It’s sad that in 2009 a kiss is considered more threatening to advertisers and family values than stalkers, serial killers and kidnappers, all of which sustain Summer Bay story-lines on a regular basis.”

Unlike British soap operas that have regular gay and lesbian characters and story lines, Australian television is rather conservative.

Anderson, who said she had talked with gay friends in the lead-up to filming, believes young viewers will accept the scene.

She explained: “You learn pretty much everything at school. I don’t think it’s like I’m lifting the lid on something they don’t already know about.

“To me there’s no difference – love’s love.

“The fact that your partner’s the same sex is no different. You just want to be loved. She (Charlie) happens to find love with a girl.”