A steamy scene on the soapie Home and Away has been deemed too raunchy for New Zealand.
An industry watchdog has found the scene involving adult characters Martha and Liam in an episode that aired on March 24 breached broadcasting standards.
The program has a G rating and airs at 5.30pm.
In the scene, Liam, played by Axle Whitehead, and Martha, played by Jodi Gordon, were filmed kissing as he takes off her bathrobe, leaving her dressed in only her bra and pyjama bottoms. He then leans back on a table as she straddles him before being interrupted by another character.
The Broadcasting Standards Authority ruled the scene “raunchy and sexually charged” and inappropriate for a predominantly children’s timeslot.
It concluded New Zealand’s network TV3, which broadcasts the show, had shown “disregard” for its G classification and the television guidelines.
“In our view, the scene was raunchy and sexually charged and went well beyond the level of sexual activity that should be included in a G-rated programme,” the BSA said.
It is the first time that a complaint about sexual content in Home and Away has been upheld.
TV3’s broadcaster TVWorks argued that as long as references to sex did not go into any detail and visual portrayals were limited to kissing and other initial indicators such as the removal of a robe, child viewers would not be alarmed or distressed by such scenes.
It said that the program had screened in a timeslot that was not considered to be predominately children’s viewing time on TV3.
TVWorks maintained children’s viewing time on TV3 was between 3pm and 4.30pm on weekdays and that Home and Away was broadcast in a line-up of programs aimed at an older G audience.
However, the BSA did not accept that argument.
“There is no distinction between children of different ages within the G classification; all G programmes must be suitable for unaccompanied children of any age,” the BSA said.
Children’s normally accepted viewing times extended until 8.30pm.
The watchdog also pinged a scene in American comedy-drama series Hung which depicted oral sex, following a complaint likening it to “soft porn.”
It found scene, in which a woman is shown to place her legs on the shoulders of the show’s lead character, male prostitute Ray, was “prolonged, explicit and gratuitous, leaving nothing to the imagination and designed solely for the purpose of shocking and titillating the audience.”
Lobby group Family First NZ said the welfare and protection of families had finally been put before the rights of broadcasters when it came to sexual and offensive content.