is a stock reply but it does give some indication of BBC thinking so I
thought I would post it.
Thank you for your comments regarding the BBC's screening of Thelma and Louise. As
you probably know, both the BBC and ITV are required to exercise control over the content
of all their output. Every feature film we show is considered individually and in some
cases scenes containing excessive violence bad language or explicit sex may be considered
unacceptable for television viewing. Film makers themselves recognise that alternative
versions may be required for different audiences and they chose to undertake the task
themselves at the shooting stage, as in the case of "Beverly Hills Cop" and
"The French Connection".
We are not in the habit of making cuts, and we only do so for a small number of
controversial films over the course of the year. In general
load of bollocks, they cut practically every modern film intended for a mature audience. A
brief survey shows that between 30% to 80% of post watershed films are cut on BBC1),
we try to match films to time slots so that the need for editing is minimal. However, we
know from experience that excessive violence, explicit sexual scenes and excessive use of
strong language are still offensive to many viewers when presented as entertainment in
their own homes and available at a mere press of a button. You may have noticed that to
avoid this as much as possible, we have improved our "family viewing" warnings
and now provide modern cinema certificates in the film pages of RADIO TIMES. We also aim
to tell viewers if we have cut a film and explain why.
On BBC-1 we normally edit unacceptable language. Having said that, there are some
exceptions when a film may be shown on BBC-1 uncut. Usually this decision is only made
when we feel it involves a prestigious film of serious intent which is highly regarded by
the public as having high artistic merit. Even then, it is only permitted if the language
is used in a justifiable context and it is scheduled well after the 9.00pm
BBC-2 has a slightly different policy, although they are obviously still bound by the
BBC's guidelines of taste and decency. A film is far more likely to be shown unedited on
BBC-2, particularly when a suitable context is found, such as an item on "Moving
Pictures", for instance. As I have already explained, however, some films are
produced in more than one version by the original film producer in agreement with the
director, and we often show both the cut and the uncut versions at various times while it
is under licence, depending on its slot.
I hope I have been able to clarify a very complicated situation. I would like to assure
you that we do take a great deal of care when taking a decision to edit films to ensure
that the cuts are as minor and unobtrusive as possible. At the end of the day, we have to
balance the need to respect the wishes of both the film-makers and the general audience.
Your further comments have been registered and will passed on to those directly
Thank you for your feedback.