BBC love song dedication radio show accused of ignoring gay couples

two women standing against a stone brick wall, one woman in a white top has her arm over the shoulder of the other woman in a pink top. they both have short hair

A married lesbian couple is not happy a BBC love song dedication radio show has not featured more LGBTI couples.

Beryl Sanderson and Sarah Carmody were driving around on Sunday 6 January when the popular BBC Radio 2 show, Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs came on.

It’s the first time in years the women had listened to the show. The Sunday programme is a ‘blend of classic love songs, dedications and real-life romance stories’.

‘(We) stopped listening a couple of years ago after a Valentine’s episode where there was no same-sex couples mentioned, and we just felt really sad and upset about this,’ Sanderson told Gay Star News.

The couple always enjoyed ‘the sentiment behind the songs’ on the show and listened because of an interest ‘in people and their lives, the romantic bits’.

But listening again after all that time, the women felt disappointed by the lack of LGBTI representation. They complained to the BBC about what they felt was not an accurate representation of Britain’s population.

‘After listening on Sunday I just felt really sad that Radio 2 thinks it’s acceptable to exclude a whole proportion of our society and wanted to know why they thought it was OK,’ Sanderson said about her written to the complaint to the BBC.

‘It’s not ok. I suggested they rename the show heterosexual love songs as this represents what they do.’

steve wright sitting in a radio studio in a suit and glasses holding a red coffee mug, he is smiling

BBC Radio 2 host, Steve Wright | Photo: BBC

The BBC responds

A member of the BBC Complaints team promptly responded to the women’s complaint. The BBC staffer assured them ‘there is no discrimination on the programme and requests are chosen on the merit of the correspondence and how interesting and moving the production team feel it will be to the listeners’.

‘I understand you feel that LGBT couples are discriminated on the programme,’ the BBC staff member said.

The BBC staff member replied saying senior management had received their complaint in an overnight report.

‘These reports are among the most widely read sources of feedback in the BBC and ensures that your complaint has been seen by the right people quickly,’ the staffer wrote.

But the women did not feel satisfied with that response.

‘They haven’t considered the complaint at all, I would like to know how many same sex couples had nominations read out on Sunday 5th Jan, and how many heterosexuals had requests read out?’ Sanderson said.

Sanderson said she felt the BBC hadn’t listened to her at all, they she felt excluded and that ‘it’s almost like the BBC doesn’t think same sex couples exist’.

‘In terms of direct discrimination they do not represent the population of the UK or the licence payers,’ she said.

‘Their response implies that the audience (and production team) do not consider same sex couples to be “interesting or moving”.’

Sanderson and Carmody think the more LGBTI couples could improve the show.

‘They (could have) the same as the heterosexual stories, stories about relationships, love and life. Nothing different just inclusive,’ Sanderson said.

Gay Star News has reached out to the BBC for comment and will update the story when it replies.

Author: Shannon Power

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