Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lessons in love

The Controller of BBC Children's says content should be treated in a way appropriate for children. Duh - he was talking about children's TV, wasn't he?

Sadie J doesn't have any "adult themes" and so fits the bill perfectly -

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

There are no outsiders - part 2

Which side of this 'debate' is BBC Children's really on?

Well Gus wants to be a forensic scientist, so he would have to appraise all the available evidence before reaching his verdict.

Let's see what we have.

Firstly, we have what looks like quite a supportive piece of fiction, where the anti-gay argument is easily torn to shreds at almost every opportunity. Faced with this evidence alone, Gus would doubtless conclude that the BBC Children's department favours diversity and treating all people as equal.

But I don't think Gus would rely on a single piece of evidence. He'd know that the more data he can find, the more likely he'd be to arrive at the truth. So he'd have to delve a bit deeper, and it wouldn't take Gus long find out that Newsround Blog is an excellent resource to help with his research.

Take, for instance, the quote shown on the 2nd January 2013 blog post. The second paragraph begins "It has given us continued confidence to ..."

A forensic expert like Gus would check the facts. Anything he wasn't sure about he'd set out in his notebook and try to find out the answers. He might well contact BBC Children's to ask for a bit of help.

If it then turned out that the only supposedly gay-inclusive programme BBC Children's could come up with to support their claim of "continued confidence" was actually made about four years ago - and it did not, in fact, include anything recognisable as LGB portrayal - Gus might then start to have serious doubts over their intentions.

Gus would almost certainly conclude that BBC Children's has endemically treated some people as outsiders, though of course he could not be certain that things are not changing for the better. But his trusted source of up-to-date information and data would give him very little cause for optimism.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

There are no outsiders - part 1

Archbishop Desmond Tutu: There are no outsiders

Are gay people normal? I do wish the BBC children's department would make its mind up on that score. Because if they are normal, shouldn't they be treated the same way as anyone else, and not as outsiders?

Gay parenting, more precisely gay fostering, was a topic up for 'debate' in a recent episode of CBBC's drama The Dumping Ground. A synopsis of "What Would Gus Want?" is in my blog last Saturday.

The 'debate' kicked off when the kids at Elm Tree House discover that prospective foster couple, Ronnie and Dawn are actually two women rather than a man and a woman that they'd expected to see.

Johnny is the chief protagonist for the homophobes.

Johnny watches the arrival of Ronnie & Dawn

Carmen: Johnny, did you see them?

Lily: What are they like?

Johnny: Let's just say Tyler's gonna wish he had never asked us to bring them here.

Lily: Why?

Johnny: It's two women - they're gay.

Carmen: What's wrong with that?

Johnny: Well everything. They're not proper parents.

Carmen: Johnny, that's a horrible thing to say.

Lily: I agree with him.

Carmen: Lily?!

Lily: What? I'm not being anti-gay. I'm just saying all kids need a dad.


Shortly afterwards the kids talk about the idea of having gay parents, and what is normal -

Johnny: I couldn't believe it when I saw they were gay!

Gus: Why does that matter?

Johnny: Because it shouldn't be allowed.

Elektra: Well that's disgusting.

Johnny: Why? It's not normal.

Frank: Some people think I'm not normal. Are you saying I shouldn't be allowed?

Johnny: Of course not. You're different.

Elektra: Well, he's not exactly normal, is he?

Gus: I am.

Faith: Leave it, Elektra.

Elektra: No, I'm sorry, you're completely out of order.

Johnny: I'm not. Come on, Tyler, you wouldn't want two mums would you?

Tyler: Course I would. It'd be so cool.

Johnny: I don't care what he says. Kids need a mum and a dad.

Elektra: Ah yes, cos that worked so well for you, didn't it? Your mum got a lovely new dad and let him do whatever he wanted, and then stuck you in care.

Johnny: It wasn't like that.

Elektra: Then why are you here?

Tee: That's enough!

Faith: I love it. A bunch of care kids arguing about what's normal - as if we'd ever know.

A little while later Gus speaks to Mike -

Mike: Gus, I want to talk to you about Ronnie and Dawn.

Gus: I want to talk to you about being normal.

Mike: Ronnie and Dawn are perfectly normal.


But which side of this 'debate' is BBC Children's really on?

..... to be continued

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Dumping Ground

Synopsis of Episode 5 - What Would Gus Want?
(The issues raised by CBBC will be examined in a future blog)

Care worker Mike has met a couple, Ronnie and Dawn, who want to foster Gus. But Gus, who has Asperger syndrome, is unhappy about being fostered. Mike suggests that Gus meets the couple and then decide.

Tyler is jealous, and hopes to be fostered by the couple, if Gus turns down the opportunity.

Gus agrees to meet the couple, in the hope of helping Tyler. When the couple arrive at Elm Tree House, all the kids there are surprised to find out that the couple are both women.

Johnny thinks the gay couple would not make proper parents, and Lily agrees. A heated 'debate' amongst the care kids ensues. Elektra is shocked by what she sees as Johnny's prejudiced attitude, and his younger sister, Tee, is also disappointed with Johnny.

Meanwhile, the couple are chatting to Mike and Gus in another room. It seems evident that Dawn, like Gus, has Asperger's. Gus informs Ronnie and Dawn that he doesn't actually want to be fostered and suggests they foster Tyler instead. But Dawn says "We don't want Tyler. We wanted you. If you don't want us there's no point in continuing." They leave, but the kids at Elm Tree House are still arguing amongst themselves.

Gus thinks over the fostering idea and tells Mike he's changed his mind and wants to meet Ronnie and Dawn again. They both go round to the couple's house where Gus and Dawn ask each other pre-prepared questions from their notebooks.

Gus cannot quite decide whether or not he wants to be fostered. Faith explains he would get more attention if he lived with the couple, and that would help him achieve his goal of a career as a forensic scientist. Gus is persuaded despite some late misgivings. He has concerns about the disruption of moving his belongings. The other kids devise a plan to help him make the move.

Gus goes to live with the couple, and the care kids resolve all their differences. Frank suggests they all go bowling to help cheer them up now that Gus has gone.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Shortly before stepping down as BBC Director-General, Mark Thompson spoke at a Stonewall 'Education for All' conference. But six months on, and his assurance of a more inclusive BBC has, it seems, come to nought.

So far this year, there have been two very important stories relevant to LGBT viewers. Firstly, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Christians who both thought they were entitled to discriminate against gay people. But what did Newsround say? Precisely nothing. They did, however, report at length on Christians wearing crosses at work.

Secondly, there was President Barack Obama's Inauguration yesterday. Obama's support for gay people was covered on Mark Mardell's report for BBC News. But, once again, Newsround failed to tell younger viewers about that support. Perhaps an injudicious oversight on the part of Newsround reporter, Ricky Boleto? Or is it, instead, further evidence of a continuing discriminatory policy by current CBBC bosses?

Ricky Boleto tells Joe Tidy about Barack Obama's Inauguration speech
Newsround on 21/1/2013 at 6.50pm

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Several people I'm aware of complained about BBC Christmas Day news coverage. I was not amongst the complainants, but did ask Robert Pigott for his views about how the Archbishop of Westminster's Christmas Message was dealt with. I contacted Robert on 29th December 2012, providing him with a transcript of the first news report at 1pm - the report about the Archbishop of Westminster's "Christmas Message."

Here is the substantive part of my email to Mr Pigott -

I've been reviewing the BBC's Christmas Day news reports, and wonder if you can help me with one or two queries.
The BBC news at 1pm on Christmas afternoon was introduced by Chris Eakin.
Chris Eakin: The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has used his Christmas Message to make his most outspoken attack yet on the Government's proposals to introduce gay marriage. The Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, said the process had been undemocratic and shambolic. Our Religious Affairs Correspondent, Robert Pigott, reports.
Robert Pigott: (strains of 'Once In Royal David's City') With carols, candles and Holy Communion, Roman Catholics at Westminster Cathedral heralded the coming of Christmas. The Church's leader in England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols told them that Christmas was a reminder that human lives could be raised to an entirely new realm. But Archbishop Nichols claimed that this Christmas the Christian ideal of marriage was under threat. He accused the Government of behaving in an Orwellian fashion, and using undemocratic means to create a new sham version of marriage.
Viewers then saw Vincent Nichols (not in the main body of the Cathedral) say the following: "Frankly the process is shambolic. There was no announcement in any party manifesto. There's been no Green Paper, there's been no statement in the Queen's Speech. And yet here we are, on the verge of primary legislation. From a democratic point of view it's a shambles."
After that you were shown speaking to camera (apparently as people were just leaving the Cathedral)
Robert Pigott: This was Archbishop Nichols' strongest attack yet on the Government's plans for gay marriage. There was real anger in his passionate criticism of the Government's plans, and a call to Catholics to join the political struggle against them. ......
Now, I'm not entirely clear that what the BBC reported the Archbishop as saying in his Christmas Message was indeed said to congregants at a service in Westminster Cathedral . Please could you clarify that point?
The other thing I'd like to know, relating to the above question, is precisely how the interview with Archbishop Nichols came about?
I look forward to hearing from you, and would appreciate it if you could treat this as an urgent request. Thank you.

I sent a reminder to Mr Pigott on 7th January and then again on 9th January. But instead of a reply from Mr Pigott there came a response from the BBC's complaints department, which you can read in my blog last Monday.

The complaints department, as you will see, draws attention to what it says is the difference between Vincent Nichols' "Christmas message" and his "homily." The BBC said "There is a clear distinction between the two."

However if you check the actual words used by Mr Pigott, you will appreciate that he never used the word "homily" in the context of this report. So it seems the BBC is trying to pull the wool over people's eyes. Furthermore, the BBC has still not explained exactly how the interview came about and, until such time as they do, it would be reasonable in all the circumstances to assume collusion between the Corporation and the Roman Catholic Church.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Next Friday, 25th January 2013 will, it seems, be one of those exceptional occasions when a CBBC drama portrays anyone who is romantically attracted to another person of the same sex. Episode 5 of The Dumping Ground: "What Would Gus Want?" is to be broadcast at 5pm, and then repeated at the weekend. (see blogs on 2nd and 3rd January 2013)

The Director of BBC Children's spoke about the 'mission' of CBBC at a conference last September. Here is part of what he had to say -

Joe Godwin: Our vision - actually more specifically our mission - is to create unforgettable content to inspire all children across the UK ... It's on everything we do, it's on all the noticeboards around the building. And I'll explain what that means. I know 'Mission Statement' has got a bit of a bad reputation as being something somebody came up with when they hadn't got enough work to do. But this has some purpose: It's to remind us why CBBC and CBeebies need to be different from all those other children's channels.

Joe Godwin: 'Unforgettable' is about ... the power of high quality children's television to stay with children for their entire lives. That's why we will be talking about things from our childhood later. Because at its very best, it can inspire you to think differently, to do things differently, and create memories and stories and associations that stay with you forever. So 'unforgettable' is about quality.

Joe Godwin: 'Inspire' is because I want most of our content, as much as possible, to have a purpose to it. Again this is about why the BBC's children's channels are different to all the others. It has a purpose - and that purpose could be to inspire you to think about something. It could be to inspire you to do something, it could inspire you to admire somebody, it could inspire you to change the way you behave to people. ...

In February 2012 Mr Godwin suggested that The 4 O'Clock Club was one of the unforgettable programmes that kids would be talking about to their own kids in thirty years' time.

Teacher Mr Thorne greets his colleague, Miss Poppy
from The 4 O'Clock Club (18/1/2013)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The British Broadcasting Corporation is well aware that the term "homosexual" can cause offence. Even as long ago as 1996 Producers' guidelines were advising that "gay" and "lesbian" should be used in preference.

"Homosexual" is, however, the word of choice for those who do not believe in equal rights. Google phrases such as "homosexual rights" and "homosexual marriage" and you'll see that most of the results yield web pages with anti-gay sentiments.

So, bearing this in mind, why we are still hearing the word on the BBC news channel? It was repeatedly used during yesterday's BBC news reports about the ECHR rulings. And, more to the point, why was the word used by the BBC's gay employees?

BBC news on Tuesday 15/1/2013 at 11am

The Corporation is reputed to employ proportionately more gay people than in the general population. I'm not sure it is true, but that was the stated belief of BBC journalist Andrew Marr in "From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel" - Safeguarding Impartiality in the 21st Century.

In my view that would also explain the BBC's decision to emphasise the single Christian victory in the European Court of Human Rights, and play down the losses by the two Christians who believed they had a (presumably God-given) right to discriminate against anyone who doesn't think and behave in exactly the same way as themselves.

It is interesting to check out BBC news from July 2008, when a vast amount of airtime was devoted to reporting "devout Christian" Ms Lillian Ladele's victory in her industrial tribunal. Here is just one such report.

Newsround's coverage at 4.20pm and at 6.50pm completely avoided mentioning tho two cases relating to anti-gay discrimination, as did Newsround's web write-up. One could easily be forgiven for suspecting the BBC, and most especially its Children's Department, does not respect all people equally.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Out of the blue received an email shortly after midnight (00.18am) It was sent from - Case number CAS-1864515-KWGH47

Thank you for contacting us. Robert Pigott has passed on to us for a response.

The cue to Robert's piece referred to Archbishop Vincent Nichols' "Christmas message", not to his homily. There is a clear distinction between the two.

Robert's script said correctly that Archbishop Nichols had used his homily to warn that the Christian ideal of marriage was under threat. In fact, the archbishop specified that the government itself was itself the cause of this threat.

His report then switched to what was clearly a television interview, and not the homily, in which Archbishop Nichols described the government's actions as "shambolic" and explained why he felt the process of introducing gay marriage had been undemocratic. Robert's address to the camera also clearly referred to the interview and not the homily.

The interview was carried out shortly before Midnight Mass solely to provide material for the BBC's coverage of Christmas messages on Christmas Day, as is our usual practice. The questioning was prompted - by agreement with his staff - by the reference in the homily to marriage and the alleged threat to it by the government. Its use in that way was entirely clear to, and intended by, Archbishop Nichols. It did, therefore, constitute a Christmas message, as distinct from his homily, to Roman Catholics.

We hope that addresses your concerns.

More about this development in a future blog

Monday, January 07, 2013

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Dancing on Ice starts this evening on ITV1 (6.15pm) and, according to Newsround's website, the twelve celebrities taking part in this series will include Gareth Thomas:-

Welsh rugby player Gareth played more times for his country than anyone else. The former Welsh captain hit the headlines in 2009 when he revealed he was gay. Now a movie's being made about his life.

It is true that Gareth "hit the headlines" in 2009, when he came out as gay. However I can confirm that the news was, at that time, kept well away from Newsround viewers. The rest of the BBC, however, was very keen to make Gareth's 'coming out' into a huge story. You see, a few days earlier the Corporation had attracted the ire of millions for publishing a web 'debate' entitled "Should homosexuals face execution?"

But they can always rely on their loyal gay staff to help out in difficult times. So not only did we see countless BBC interviews with Gareth Thomas, but we also saw newsreader Jane Hill 'out' herself as a lesbian in BBC staff magazine, Ariel. The story was then widely reported in the UK press.

If all these efforts were supposed to pull the wool over people's eyes to prove the BBC is a diverse-friendly organisation, the truth was revealed, once again, on Christmas Day 2012 when the Catholic Church was given free rein to spout their anti-equality message, without even the pretence of balance.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Yesterday's news reports about CofE and gay bishops on the main terrestrial TV channels -

BBC News at Six (lead story)

Fiona Bruce: The Church of England agrees for the first time to allow gay men to become bishops. Even those in a civil partnership will be eligible. While welcomed by some, the move is already proving controversial.

Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham: I think it's good news for clergy who are in civil partnerships, who are now able to become bishops.

Prebendary Rod Thomas: It will be much more divisive than what we have seen over women bishops. If you thought that that was a furore, wait to see what will happen the first time a bishop in a civil partnership is appointed.

Fiona Bruce: Also on tonight's programme ....

Fiona Bruce: Good evening, and welcome to the BBC News at Six. The Church of England is, for the first time, to allow gay men to become bishops, but only on condition they remain celibate and repent for any homosexual relations in the past. The move is likely to prove divisive with traditionalist Anglicans. And for women, the ban on becoming a bishop remains. Here's our Religious Affairs correspondent, Robert Pigott.

Robert Pigott: This is a church under pressure, divided about fundamental issues and under attack from a secularising society. In recent months it's been battered by a series of events, leaving it increasingly isolated from mainstream life. In November Anglicans were locked in bitter recriminations as their attempt to introduce women bishops ended in failure. (short clip of Maria Miller speaking in the Commons) Last month the Government exempted the church from presiding over future gay marriages, prompting anger among progressive Anglicans. That followed the collapse of an attempt to create agreement in the worldwide Anglican Communion about how to approach homosexuality.

Robert Pigott: The bitter dispute about homosexuality in the church began with the appointment of the cleric, Jeffrey John, as Bishop of Reading. He stood down, but the issue led to a steadily deepening rift in the church. Attention surrounding the dispute gives the decision by Anglican bishops all the more significance. There's been an angry reaction from conservative evangelicals. They've said that they will bring in their own bishops from overseas rather than serve under a gay bishop at home.

Prebendary Rod Thomas: It will be much more divisive than what we have seen over women bishops. If you thought that that was a furore, wait to see what will happen the first time a bishop in a civil partnership is appointed.

Robert Pigott: The church says future bishops in civil partnerships must acknowledge any active homosexuality in the past, and repent of it and promise to be celibate in future. Progressive Anglicans say the church's concession is partly an acceptance that it's far adrift of mainstream attitudes to homosexuality.

Bishop of Buckingham: I think it is a problem for a national church if it falls out of step with the moral instincts of a large number of people in the country, who are very committed to equality and to treating people fairly, and feel that perhaps our conventional practice has not been fair or just or moral.

Robert Pigott: Progressive Anglicans say the concession represents only a small step towards sexual equality in the church. But given the tension surrounding sexuality in the Church of England, it's also a very symbolic one and will lead to further angry division among Anglicans.

Fiona Bruce: Well Robert joins me now. Robert, this is clearly going to be controversial. And these rules about gay bishops having to be celibate - I mean how is that enforceable?

Robert Pigott speaking to Fiona Bruce - BBC News at Six (4th Jan 2013)

Robert Pigott: Well in a sense it's not, Fiona. In one way it is. That is if clergy are going to be asked not to teach that active homosexual sex is OK - so that could be monitored. But how can the church possibly tell whether they're going to keep a promise to remain celibate? Several clergy who've been in civil partnerships have frankly refused to make such a promise, and have made a great show of not doing so. And certainly Jeffrey John - the person who set all this off in a sense - he refused to acknowledge whether he'd had any past homosexual acts. And certainly refused to repent of them as the rules suggest. But in a way the church is in a very difficult position. It's very aware of being isolated and on a limb, separate from society. And I think they also worry that possibly the way they treated Jeffrey John when he went for a job as Bishop of Southwark, and decided that he couldn't be appointed because of his homosexual past, possibly because of his civil partnership, they decided that they might be on very dodgy ground as far as employment law was concerned. So I think the church is very nervous. That's why it's preempted a study set up specially to look at this problem of civil partnerships. The report hasn't yet come out. But the House of Bishops has come up with this decision anyway. So I think that suggests quite a lot of anxiety.

Fiona Bruce: OK, thanks very much.

ITV News at 6.30pm (third story after man with hand transplant and news that girl who was targeted by the Taliban is out of hospital)

Alastair Stewart: .... The Church of England says 'yes' to gay bishops. But serious divisions remain.  .....

Alastair Stewart: The toxic issue of homosexuality for the Church of England was re-ignited tonight after the Church dropped its opposition to gay men in civil partnerships becoming bishops. They must remain celibate, but evangelical Christians are still threatening to fight the significant change of policy in the General Synod. Neil Connery has our report.

Neil Connery: The Church of England will soon see Justin Welby take over as the new Archbishop of Canterbury. But at the start of this new year the age-old issues of sexuality and faith remain a source of strife. Today the church announced it will allow gay clergy in civil partnerships to become bishops if they promise to be celibate. The move follows similar practices in place for those wanting to become clergy. Vicar Gareth Jones welcomed the move as a sign that the church was in touch with modern society. 

Gareth Jones: I think it's a positive reflection on a church which is seeking to be more transparent. It's not really a hidden matter that we have gay men and women within the church. We always have done. I've often said to my congregation here that if it wasn't for our gay clergy the church would collapse. 

Neil Connery: The issue has split the church for many years, and was highlighted in 2003 in a row over gay cleric Jeffrey John becoming Bishop of Reading. He was forced to step down from the role after protests from traditionalists. 

Neil Connery: The news today follows the church's decision in November not to allow women to become bishops, and the ongoing tensions over gay marriage.

Peter Tatchell: The caveat that they must be in celibate relationships strikes me as grossly unfair.

Neil Connery: This decision by the Church of England's House of Bishops to allow gay clergy to become bishops if they promise to be celibate represents a major concession. But conservative evangelical Anglicans have already said they'll fight the move. Neil Connery, ITV News, Lambeth Palace.

Note that the ITV News at 10.15pm was very similar to above 6.30pm report, but was then shown as the fourth story.

Channel 4 News (7pm - second story)

Krishnan Guru-Murthy: The Church of England is to allow gay clergymen to become bishops, so long as they promise to remain celibate. It's a question that has divided the church for decade at least, and comes amid the ongoing row about gay marriage. Let's go live now to Lambeth Palace and our correspondent Simon Israel.

Simon Israel: Yes, Krishnan, well this about-face decision has emerged, yet it was in a press release back last year, just before Christmas that it was actually announced. It's only just caught the attention of everybody today. But, in effect, the House of Bishops has decided that any male member of the clergy in a gay partnership can now apply to be a bishop. And that is something that tonight a statement from Lambeth Palace made clear. And I'll read that "The House [of Bishops] believed it would be unjust to exclude from consideration for the episcopate anyone seeking to live fully in conformity with the church's teachings on sexual ethics or other areas of personal life and discipline." Well this is hardly a sudden U-turn, more a snail's pace transition from the days going back a decade to 2003 when, you may remember, Jeffrey John had to withdraw as Bishop of Reading under pressure from the Archbishop of Canterbury then, Doctor Rowan Williams. Well, today, the decision has been welcomed by some members of the clergy.

Father Gareth Jones (Vicar of Great Ilford): Personally speaking I think it's a positive step - and it's a step towards greater transparency within the church. You know, it's no surprise to a lot of people that, like in society, we have gay men and women and straight men and women, so we do within the church.

Simon Israel: So, another attempt to bring the church into the modern era. And so soon after the Synod turned the plan to introduce women bishops into an embarrassing failure to embrace equality. And I suspect that this decision on gay bishops is also going to have a rough ride. Already some of the traditionalists are talking about it being a divisive decision. And I quote from a particular organisation, Reform, tonight that said "if the church doesn't stick to the authority of the Bible, it is difficult to see what the church is in business of doing."

Krishnan Guru-Murthy: Simon Israel at Lambeth Palace.

BBC News at Ten (lead story - see clip below)

Thursday, January 03, 2013

I contacted the Corporation on 11th December 2012 to ask about any diversity advances in children's programmes.

My email -
A few days ago the Member of Parliament for Monmouth, David Davies, said he believed "most parents would prefer their children not to be gay." 
Whether or not David Davies is right, the prevalence of prejudiced attitudes on the part of parents is quite troubling. So I was wondering what BBC Children's is doing to help kids feel OK about themselves, no matter what their sexual orientation.
Please could you advise of any recent CBBC drama series, or any in the pipeline, which actually include lesbian, gay, or bisexual portrayal as part of an inclusive approach? I believe that, in the past, such portrayal was considered appropriate by the BBC.

The BBC did not respond to the part of my enquiry about helping kids feel good about themselves but I was told about one programme - The Dumping Ground - which, the BBC said, "features a same-sex couple that would like to foster one of the young residents. The drama allows the characters to debate the topic and address the prejudices surrounding the issue."

However, it now seems the characters do more than just debate the topic and address the prejudices. According to the Media Centre website "Johnny and Elektra come to blows about whether gay couples should be allowed to adopt."

So what we really have here is a children's TV programme, scripted by adults, with at least one young person championing the prejudices of bigots.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

A new Tracy Beaker spin-off called The Dumping Ground will begin its first transmission run this Friday on the CBBC channel at 4.30pm

Apparently the series will at some point include "a same-sex couple that would like to foster one of the young residents." Characters will, I'm told, debate the topic and address the prejudices surrounding the issue.

The following is taken from "Portrayal of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People" published by the BBC in late 2012: