BBC 'needs more gay hosts and less homophobia'
Study produced for BBC says drama, news and even children's TV needs more homosexual content
MORE GAY presenters, actors and comedians should appear across the BBC, and less time should be given to "homophobic" views on BBC News, according to a study seen by the Daily Mail.
Solitaire Consulting, who produced the study for the BBC, claimed that all genres of programming, including children's TV, should regularly feature non-heterosexual people. News and drama were named as the biggest areas for improvement. It was also important to help gay minors by "incorporating representation within programming for children who are going through their formative years".
However, the same study shows that 20 per cent of heterosexual male viewers thought there were already too many gay people on the BBC.
The report coincides with the government's debate over whether to allow gay marriages in churches.
Clare Luke, who produced the Solitaire report, recommended bolder storylines featuring gay characters in dramas and soaps, while documentaries need more homosexual presenters and portrayal of gay people in history.
More than one in ten men and women are "uncomfortable" with the portrayal of gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the media generally, said Luke's report.
At the BBC, the "biggest risk" comes in comedy programmes when homosexuals are the focus of a joke. This was judged as being only truly acceptable when the comedians themselves were gay.
The BBC can point to several gay presenters on popular TV and radio comedy shows including Stephen Fry, Graham Norton, Paul O'Grady and Sandi Toksvig.
There are many notable gay presenters across the BBC's other outputs, including newsreader Jane Hill, presenter John Barrowman and Byker Grove star Andrew Hayden-Smith.