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Goodbye Lip Service, hello The Hoff’s best… film ever!

BBC Three commissions Hasselhoff clip-show, drops lesbian drama

Eden Carter Wood

Mon, 14 Jan 2013 15:26:34 GMT | Updated 4 years today

By now you've probably heard the news, as posted on Twitter by Lip Service creator, executive producer and writer Harriet Braun on Saturday, that BBC Three have confirmed that there will not be a third series of Lip Service.


"A huge, huge thank you to all the fans for all your support xx," she tweeted, following the announcement.


Also on Twitter, Lip Service star Heather Peace called the decision "very sad", and thanked her co-stars, creator Braun and production company Kudos, adding "It was an easy job because it was wonderfully written."


Numerous fans of the show including BBC news presenter Jane Hill likewise responded by tweeting their disappointment (and, often, surprise) that the popular drama has been dropped.


While the news didn't exactly surprise me - back in October when I wrote this: Re. Lip Service: An Open Letter to the BBC I must admit I held out little real hope that the show would continue. Despite this, I do find the confirmation of this suspicion tremendously disappointing.


As many have said before on countless occasions, lesbians are still woefully underrepresented on television. Just typing that sentence makes me weary; how many times need this fact be pointed out? How many times must the compulsory license fee be pointed to in relation to the BBC's debt to its LGBT viewers? Given the palpable scarcity of other scripted LGBT content currently being made, I genuinely find the BBC's decision baffling. (DIVA has contacted their press office for a comment on the decision, which we will bring you as soon as we can).


My disappointment was compounded today by a quick look at the BBC's press office website, where a number of new and re-commissions which were announced in December are listed. Among them, from Lip Service's former channel, is this:


"BBC Scotland's in-house entertainment department has been commissioned to make a 6x30min series of The Hoff's ever! for BBC Three. Each week, the comedy entertainment clip-show takes a different area of film from 'action' to 'dance' and sees a mix of stars and comedians running through the ingredients needed for perfection in that category. Actor David Hasselhoff will anchor the show from his HQ."




If that weren't enough to lightly ruffle the feathers of my growing outrage, I spotted this, news that fans of that rarest of animals, the glitzy TV quiz show can also rest easy:


"Break The Safe (8x40mins) is a new quiz show for BBC One Saturday nights. The show sees three couples battle it out to break the safe and take up to £100,000 as a 40-minute clock counts down. The show is a Thames Scotland (part of FremantleMedia UK) production and will be shot in the pacific Quay studios."


That both these programmes (neither of which appeal to me in the least, both of which strike me as horribly derivative and, sorry to say, primarily without merit) are Scottish productions (as was Lip Service, of course) feels like an extra kick in the teeth. My point, really, is not to dismiss those shows, but more to note that when scanning the BBC's archive of press releases, it becomes fairly apparent that there is some money around for programming; there are a lot of shows being produced, scripted and otherwise.


It's also disappointing in light of this BBC report, also from December.


"The BBC has published a new snapshot of the views of audiences and experts on the portrayal of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in UK programming. It confirms that the vast majority of audiences are comfortable with the depiction of lesbian, gay and bisexual people on radio, TV and online.


The research showed that many lesbian, gay and bisexual people themselves feel they are still under-represented by all UK broadcasters, not just the BBC. Experts urged for more mainstream inclusion in news and current affairs, and more creative and realistic depictions in factual and drama television."




Note that the report "urged" MORE, not FEWER depictions across both factual and creative programming. Sigh.


There's no point in crying over spilt milk, of course. Perhaps the best those of us who'd like to see more lesbian-centred drama on TV can do is tweet and/or write to BBC Three to let them know, and to watch and support the shows that we love, especially the ones that offer queer viewers some valuable representation, while they're on. Watch and enjoy them, and let the BBC (or whichever channel the show might be on) know about it. You have to hope that, eventually, they'll start really listening to us.

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