BBC removes a beheading scene from ‘Doctor Who’ after Islamic State killings


Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who. (BBC Worldwide handout)

Days after Islamic State militants beheaded a second American journalist, the BBC edited a beheading scene out of the climax of an upcoming “Doctor Who” episode, according to a brief statement from the British network.

A small portion of the scene, which featured the beheading of a character, was removed by the BBC “out of respect,” the statement said. The edited episode will be broadcast on Saturday.

On Tuesday, the Islamic State released a video depicting its brutal murder of American reporter Steven Sotloff. The grisly on-camera killing followed the similar slaying of James Foley by Islamic State militants.

The upcoming episode of the BBC’s time-traveling show was filmed in February, according to the Guardian. Set in medieval England, the episode features Robin Hood.

Called “Robot of Sherwood,” the third episode of the new season reportedly includes a climactic fight scene between Robin Hood and his traditional enemy, the sheriff of Nottingham.

The BBC re-edited that scene to remove a beheading, fearing that the imagery would be considered insensitive. According to the Telegraph, the removed footage is “several seconds” in length.

It’s not clear how the removed segment will alter the conclusion of the episode. The BBC’s statement simply reads: “In light of recent news events, we have made an edit to episode three out of respect.”

Abby Ohlheiser is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.
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