BBC children’s chief defends transgender show after Tory MPs call for it to be censored

Nick Duffy November 2, 2016
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The BBC children’s director has defended a transgender kids’ show, after a Conservative MP pressured the broadcaster to pull it down.

Tory MP Bone, made the demand after the Mail on Sunday ran a misleading story about CBBC show Just A Girl.

The children’s show follows 11-year-old Amy on her journey to begin living as female.

The newspaper claimed the show was “‘sowing the seeds of confusion” into young viewers’ minds and encouraging children to get “sex changes” – even though under-18s do not receive hormones or gender surgery in the UK. Teenagers can receive drugs to delay the onset of puberty, but their effects are entirely reversible.

Mr Bone, who has consistently voted against every single LGBT rights measure in Parliament, fumed: “It is completely inappropriate for such material to be on the CBBC website and I shall be writing to BBC bosses to demand they take it down as soon as possible.”

Another Tory MP, Julian Brazier, also slammed the show.

But the BBC’s Children’s director Alice Webb hit back at the comments yesterday while appearing before the House of Lords.

Asked about the controversy by Lord Allen of Kensington, Ms Webb insisted: “Just A Girl is a show primarily about bullying, which is a hugely important issue.

“We look at [age-appropriateness] very carefully, we take expert advice from psychologists about the content that we put together, we put it together in a format which is appropriate for the age and we cover the story line in language that we think is appropriate as well.

“We make sure that if there are questions children or parents have, they can get support – and underneath [on the website] there are a number of links you can follow.

“Our role is to convey information in an age-appropriate way, which we believe we have with that one, and I’m very proud of that show.

“[We have to] make sure that we are stimulating conversation, that’s part of our public service role, but we will do that by speaking to experts and we have our own people who have decades of experience about telling stories to children in an age-appropriate way.”

Related topics: Gay, LGBT, Trans, Transgender

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