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Ben Miller defends trans character in Moving Wallpaper

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Actor Ben Miller has said that there no was intention to offend people with a trans character in ITV drama Moving Wallpaper.

Ofcom received 85 complaints over alleged transphobia in an episode of the programme screened last month.

Viewers complained that a trans character, Georgina, was the subject of a barrage of taunts such as “She’s a walking GM crop, it’s not natural” and her identity was derided by the other characters, who referred to her as “it” and ‘joking’ about her “hairy hands, stubbly face and Adam’s apple”.

A Facebook group of 438 members argued that production company Kudos “blatantly flouted official guidelines in order to use a transsexual character as the butt of cruelty”.

Miller, who plays TV producer Jonathan Pope in the series, told PA: ” While on the one hand I would hate to feel that people were offended by comedy, I also think we have to realise when we are offended by something that other people are not necessarily offended in the same way, or that that doesn’t necessarily mean that that material shouldn’t be shown.

“It simply means that we have found it offensive and quite often that is simply a necessary function of comedy.”

He continued: “I find Songs of Praise quite offensive, but I don’t want Songs of Praise not to be broadcast on television because I think other people who like Songs of Praise have a right to watch it and simply because I find it incredibly irritating and patronising I think that’s my problem. It’s not Songs of Praise’s problem.

“So I think… the fact that people have been offended, people in the transgender community have been offended, by that episode of Moving Wallpaper I think is a great shame. We want to make people laugh, we don’t want to upset people.”

An ITV spokesman said last week: “Moving Wallpaper is a well established satirical comedy now in its second series. All material broadcast was in the context of the nature of the programme and there was absolutely no intention to offend. ITV has a strong record in the positive portrayal of lesbian, gay and transgender characters.”

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