It’s been a long time coming, but Doctor Who is finally back on our TVs, bringing new Time Lord Peter Capaldi along for the ride. But the freshly minted season 8 of the long-running sci-fi adventure series isn’t without controversy, and one scene has been retroactively removed from the first episode for certain regions. There has also been an additional cut made to tonight’s episode, but for very different, well-warranted reasons.
The first episode, “Deep Breath,” featured a scene where Jenny (Catrin Stewart) and Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh) share a moment resembling a kiss. In reality, this is a life-saving moment where one transfers oxygen to the other. Given that the two characters are also romantically linked in the show, there are definitely other implications in play as well. As you can imagine, a certain segment of the population was outraged by this turn of events and loudly voiced their opinions. In the U.K., they lost this battle, but it was cut out for audiences in Asian markets.
According to reports, the episode was edited to comply with Singapore’s MDA Broadcast Code, which prohibits certain things from being shown on TV. Things including:
Information, themes or subplots on lifestyles such as homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexualism, transsexualism, transvestism, pedophilia and incest should be treated with utmost caution. Their treatment should not in any way promote, justify or glamorize such lifestyles. Explicit dialog or information concerning the above topics should not be broadcast.
As the report states, Singapore is the only country that actually complained about the content of the episode, but because only one version is broadcast across the entire region, all the other countries in the area are going to be stuck with this watered down version of “Deep Breath” as well.
Tonight’s episode, “Robin of Sherwood”—the third in season 8—has also been preemptively edited, though for entirely different reasons, and completely by choice. Radio Times reports that a scene has been removed due to recent beheadings of two American journalists in the Middle East by the terrorist group ISIS. The scene in question involves a decapitation during the climactic final fight scene between Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham. BBC’s official statement on the matter says, “In light of recent news events, we have made an edit to Episode 3 out of respect.”
The slightly altered version of “Robin of Sherwood” will air in Doctor Who’s usual timeslot, tonight at 9pm Eastern time on BBC America, though an uncut version will likely appear when season 8 appears eventually appears on DVD and Blu-ray.