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
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
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 best...film
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
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.