The creator of Last Tango in Halifax has said she made a mistake by killing off a popular lesbian character.

The TV show dramatically killed off heavily pregnant Kate (Nina Sosanya) in a car crash last year, just after finally marrying partner Caroline.

Some have criticised the trend of killing off lesbians on TV – known mockingly as ‘Dead Lesbian Syndrome’ – where popular lesbian TV couples are nearly always denied happy endings.

Sally Wainwright spoke about the issue in an interview with Queer as Folk creator Russell T Davies at Edinburgh TV Fest.

Wainwright said: “It was a shock. I didn’t realise how attached the audience had become to that relationship and to those two characters.”

Of the criticism, she said: “I found it hard and I regretted it. I do think I made a mistake. I wished I had found a better story.”

Davies said: “It might be one of my least favourite things that you ever wrote, partly because it was off-stage… I think you were trying to make the point that death is random and off-stage, but it had the effect of it being an off-stage death.

“It’s really unfortunate that you walked slightly into the world of those lesbian deaths, that extraordinary numbers of lesbian characters end up being killed off.

“What people miss is that Caroline is alive and the heart of the drama and she’s a lesbian as well, but it’s tough getting criticism.”

He added: “You know, I could have told you that you were going to have that flack! [When I found out] you were doing that story… I gasped! Because I know the gays quite well, I thought ‘oh my god that’s going to be trouble!’

“I’m kicking myself [for not warning you].”

Wainwright added: “I was on the cusp and wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do. You worry afterwards if you could have worked harder or if it was a lazy choice because those were the criticisms.”