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Tamer version of ''Portrait of a Marriage''

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Boston won’t ban lesbian embraces when PBS begins airing on July 19 the provocative BBC-made miniseries Portrait of a Marriage, about the unconventional love life of novelist Vita Sackville-West. But Boston’s WGBH, which presents British Masterpiece Theatre, is offering other PBS stations a version that ”eliminates nudity and shortens love scenes.”

A station spokeswoman cites ”differing community standards” for offering the watered-down version. Besides the two-minute erotica cut, PBS has edited 34 minutes that won’t even be seen in Boston, including one childhood scene between Sackville-West and her eventual lover, Violet Trefusis. The purpose: to keep the show ”from dragging,” says WGBH. ”Ludicrous!” retorts costar Janet McTeer. ”If Americans aren’t grown-up enough to be able to understand the program as we made it, then f— ’em, quite frankly.”

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