UK & World News
Anger As Greek TV 'Censors' Downton Gay Kiss
British period drama Downton Abbey is at the centre of a row in Greece after the state television channel edited out a gay kiss from the prime time premiere of the hit show.
The country's main opposition party Syriza joined critics in condemning the NET channel's decision to axe the scene from episode one of the series.
Greeks took to social networking sites such as Twitter to complain about the move.
NET defended its decision, saying it was following parental guidance viewing rules.
The offending scene shows a kiss between a visiting duke and Downton's unscrupulous footman Thomas, played by Rob James-Collier.
Syriza said in a statement: "As incredible as it may seem for a democratic country in the 21st century, officials of the NET television channel censored the scene of a kiss between men from the TV drama Downton Abbey.
"This is, of course, an obvious case of censorship, an extreme act of homophobia and discrimination which unfortunately, after what has been happening recently, we cannot characterise as unprecedented."
Syriza's Dimitris Papadimoulis questioned whether the omission was due to pressure from the far-right Golden Dawn (GD) party or religious authorities with a tweet asking: "NET 'cut' a gay kiss on the premiere of a top TV series. Who decided this censorship? (Bishop) Seraphim of Piraeus and GD?"
Greek state television said the kiss was not censored but rather edited out to comply with rules on the time slot and parental consent label given to the show, which was aired at 10.05pm.
An unedited version will be broadcast later on Tuesday night, it said.
"The love affair between the two men... was not censored," said Costas Spyropoulos, managing director of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation.
"The kiss was not shown because of the time the programme was broadcast and the corresponding parental guidance warnings."
The latest controversy comes days after dozens of demonstrators, including Golden Dawn politicians, clashed with police outside an Athens theatre and forced the postponement of an American play that depicts Jesus and his apostles as gay.