Many years ago when anyone wanted sex on TV or film all they had to do was lose an acceptable amount of clothing and wait for either a cheeky smash cut or for the whole screen to demurely fade to black before doing the horizontal mamba
These days sexuality is as organic to a character as breathing in and out- and in our oh so knowing, gritty, realistic modernity sex should reflect the world around that character from the avaricious little plebs in Skins to the Victorian tickle your fancy of Tipping the Velvet.
So it comes as no surprise (What? I did say we were knowing) that several viewers have complained about the appropriateness of showing a gay sex scene in Torchwood: Miracle Day episode Dead of Night- leading to this rebuttal from the BBC complaints department:
“In all BBC output the portrayal of sex, or the exploration of sexual issues, should be editorially justified and treated with appropriate sensitivity. In post-watershed content, we must be able to justify the frank and realistic portrayal of sex and the exploration of themes and issues which some people might find offensive.
Captain Jack Harkness is an established character in the series. We felt the content was justified in terms of the context and character and would be within the expectations of regular viewers. We aim to depict relationships whether heterosexual or homosexual in an honest and realistic way. These scenes are not meant to cause offence.”
The question shouldn’t be: ‘Is it appropriate to show gay sex post watershed?’ Instead it should be: ‘Is it appropriate to show sex scenes post watershed?’ and the answer would be yes given the suffix of content and the nature of the material shown.
Regardless of the sexuality there are rules as laid out by the BBC above that govern sex on TV and that scene didn’t break any of them.