Telling it straight

Viewers force gay characters off sitcom

The BBC axed a lesbian storyline from a prime-time sitcom because viewers found the idea distateful.

Focus groups called in to analyse Dawn French's sitcom Wild West said they didn't like the thought of her portraying a homosexual.

So when the show returned last week, writer Simon Nye had her character Mary going on the prowl for a male partner.

Before the first series went out, French said: "I relished the chance to play a gay woman because I think it's about time gay female couples can be as ordinary as any other couple on the telly."

But it seems viewers don't agree.

Co-star Catherine Tate, who plays Angela, told today's Independent: "It seems the focus groups didn't like the idea of Dawn, well... it was all a bit too scary, two ladies in bed. "

The move comes as the writers of soap-operas are coming under fire from reactionary newspapers about the amount of homosexuality in their storylines.

Published: 23 Mar 2004

Today's comedy-on demand picks

COMEDY STORE PLAYERS

The UK's longest-running improv team are putting a show online for the very first time since they started in 1985. They will be live-stream an hour of Sunday night footage from their archives from 7.30pm.

The line-up will feature Paul Merton, Richard Vranch, Neil Mullarkey Josie Lawrence, Lee Simpson and Andy Smart.

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