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Private Investigator Greece | Gay kiss cut from period drama [17/10/2012]

A screengrab of the scene cut from ERT's broadcast of Downton Abbey (YouTube)

The Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) has come in for criticism over its decision to cut a scene of two men kissing from a British period drama.

The first episode of award-winning Downton Abbey was aired on Monday on ERT's second channel, NET, at 10.05pm.

The scene in question, which lasts between 8 and 12 seconds, shows a nobleman, Thomas, kissing a footman.

In a statement, ERT said the scene was cut because of the time the programme went out and the label that had been given to the show.

"The love affair between the two men, as shown in the drama, was not censored. The kiss was not broadcast due to the watershed and the suitability rating given to the programme," said ERT's general director Kostas Spyropoulos.

The television watershed is used by broadcasters to distinguish between programmes intended mainly for a general audience and those programmes intended for an adult audience. ERT's statement did not state what the station's watershed is. In the UK, it's 9pm.

Spyropoulos said that when the episode is repeated on Wednesday at 1am, "the scene will be broadcast as normal with the appropriate rating".

ERT had given the drama a blue certificate, meaning it is "suitable for children over 10 years of age [with] parental guidance suggested for those under 10". The ERT statement gave no explanation why the episode was not provided with a higher certificate.

ERT confirmed to the Athens News that the repeat of the first episode will be given an orange rating, meaning that the programme is suitable for chidlren but parental consent is necessary.

Spyropoulos also confirmed that all subsequent episodes of the first, second and third season will be broadcast regularly on Mondays and Fridays at 10.05pm.

The American-British production describes the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family in the early part of the twentieth century.

The Athens News contacted London-based Carnival Film & Television, which produces Downton Abbey, by phone and email for its comment on ERT's cutting of the kissing scene and is awaiting a response.

Not the first kiss

In 2003, the National Council for Radio and Television (ESR) fined Mega TV for showing a gay kiss between Christos Loulis and Kostas Kappas in Christoforos Papakaliatis' series Close your eyes (Kleise ta matia).

The decision was overturned three years later by the country's supreme administrative court, the Council of State, which ruled that the scene simply showed homosexual sexual desire and was not necessarily pornographic or profane.

ERT's most recent decision comes less than a week after religious extremists and neonazis violently picketed an Athens theatre over a play, Corpus Christi, that depicts Jesus and the apostles as gay.

The scene that ERT said it could not show after 10pm with a blue certificate (YouTube) Link:[http://www.athensnews.gr/portal/1/58684]No data