Channel Seven has confirmed that a lesbian kiss scheduled to be aired today has not been censored, despite reports to the contrary.
The drama, which is broadcast in the UK on Five has received complaints from Christian groups and seen 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.
Speaking to Australian news provider Same Same, Bevan Lee, head of creative drama and development at Channel Seven, said an artistic decision had been made to show the kiss as warm and intimate, rather than “lusty” as this was felt to be more natural to the story line.
He explained: “The kiss, as played, was two part. A very gentle, loving, sensual, tender kiss from which the two women pull back and then there’s another, more lusty follow up.
“There was a lot of discussion, artistic and not censorish, about where to finish the scene. We finally settled on the conclusion of the warmer, intimate kiss and not the more lusty follow through because we felt it was more in keeping with Charlie getting there by degrees rather than one kiss making her comfortable straight away with the full on pash.
“I think the version that airs is much truer to the tone of the build up to the moment over the last few weeks. The decision taken was artistic and had nothing to do with running from the conservative right. This work was done before the article about the lesbian story and conservative reaction to it even broke in the Herald Sun and on Today Tonight.
He added that he was “saddened” as a gay writer that the storyline had been reduced to a “facile argument” about six seconds of missing screen time.
However, journalist Amanda Meade of The Australian, who broke the original story about the ‘censorship’ said she stands by her story.
“The facts are there was a more passionate kiss which was cut out and a tamer one was left in,” says Meade.
“It has not gone to air yet. What Lee said is that his decision to cut the more passionate kiss was made independently of any media storm – and before Today Tonight and The Herald Sun did the story. My information is that they went back and re-edited the scene after the stories came out.”