Saturday, April 09, 2016

Newsround Blog rarely had a good word to say about The Next Step, and from what we've seen so far, the same looks true for its spin-off series: Lost & Found Music Studios. In episode 1, first broadcast by CBBC last Monday, we saw the introduction of some of the main characters and relationships.

The series largely goes along with gender stereotypes. At the very start, for example, the boys were playing in a band whilst a group of girls bopped up and down to the music - not difficult to picture if you've ever seen some of those old Top of the Pops shows on the BBC.

Next we found out about some of the main characters' crushes. Songwriter Leia has a huge crush on Luke. Luke's friend John has a crush on Michelle, but is too shy to tell her about his feelings. John has written a love song all inspired by her, but is worried Michelle doesn't feel the same way. Luke sings the song at the party that evening, intending to call over John to join in half-way through. But his plan goes awry when Leia mistakenly assumes Luke wrote the song, and that he's performing it for her. Luke then reveals that the song was written by John.

After the performance Michelle asks Luke if he knows who the song was about. Luke tells her that she would need to ask John that question. John is hiding nearby and hears the conversation. But by the time we get to episode 2, it seems the writers forgot what happened in episode 1 -

John (narrating): Yesterday, Luke played a love song that I wrote for Michelle. She knew that I wrote it, but she didn't know it was about her. When Michelle came to talk to me after the show I had no idea what to do.

John (speaking to Luke): So let me get this straight. You told Michelle that I wrote the song for Theo.

Luke: Yeah.

John: She's supposed to believe that I wanted to have my heart broken by Theo?

Luke: Yeah - it's like a, you know, a bromance thing!

Any suggestion of one boy having a crush on another boy was quickly dismissed. So it's not surprising that BBC children's TV has been accused of homophobia and LGB-erasure. I've asked the Director of BBC Children's whether there are any plans to make CBBC more inclusive.

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