BBFC News

 1999

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5th December

  Whittam Smith vs Duval

So who did cut Fight Club ?

Both Robin Duval and Whittam Smith were heard at recent BBFC roadshows loudly announcing to anyone prepared to listen that the decision to cut was theirs and theirs alone. The likelihood, of course, is that the order to snip came from Whittam Smith (influenced no doubt by the awkward campaign mounted by Bare Fist producer David Monaghan) with Duval making it his own in order to save face. Perhaps they should get their shirts off and punch the hell out of each other to settle their differences for once and for all.

And these people have the power to censor what we see in our cinemas and on video. Truly frightening.

3rd December

  The Perils of Penelope

A n interesting bit of information comes from a source at Channel 4. It seems that Penny Averill, recently appointed Deputy Director of the BBFC (and formerly a minion at C4) has had her eye on a job at the Board for some time. In 1994 when James Ferman sacked all the examiners for challenging his autocratic ways and being too argumentative (surely that's what they were paid for) thousands applied to fill the vacant posts. Among those applications was one from a certain Penny Averill whose aspirations in those days clearly went no further than the lowly position of examiner. Ferman, to give him credit, at that time applied a policy of only hiring intelligent, articulate people who were up to the job (this policy slipped a little in later years) and in 1994 poor penny was not offered a job. Furious at this rejection, Ms Averill wrote an outraged letter to the Board asking for an explanation. A reply came, eventually, from a certain Margaret Ford, Deputy Director who politely informed the prospective examiner that the jobs had gone to more able applicants. Five years later Penny sails into Ford's job.

What can this all mean? And what could Penny Averill have done in the intervening five years to turn her from a woman rejected for an examiners job to someone considered suitable for the second most important full-time job in the Board. If she wasn't fit to be an examiner in 1994 how can she be a fit person to occupy a position senior to all examiners.

The truth lies in the power struggle between Robin Duval and Andreas Whittam Smith. Duval clearly didn't want a Deputy director who would be any threat to him and appointed the under-qualified Averill while he himself had been appointed by Whittam Smith to fulfil the exact same function. The job should surely have gone to someone from the film industry who knew about the film and video market and who had actually watched a few films. And while all this goes on, the good people of Britain have to put up with this nasty group of narrow minded nobodies telling them what they can and cannot watch.

Shameful.

29th November

  Whittering Shite about Gay Skinheads

Skin Flick is a 1999 US gay skinhead film by Bruce LaBruce (Millivres Multi Media). It recently passed through the BBFC in a pre-cut softcore version. It suffered  then suffered a further 1:48s of cuts at the behest of the BBFC

A little background article from the director spotted on www.brucelabruce.com : Hey kids! Listen up! Not so long ago, I made my first legitimate porno. It was commissioned by Cazzo Films, a German porn production company. The working title was Gang of Foreskins , but since then it has been known variously as Even Skinheads Get the Blues , A Comedy of Aryans , and No Skin Off My Ass Part Two before I settled on the final title, Skin Flick . It will exist in both hardcore and softcore versions, the latter designed primarily for the more prudish Japanese and British markets. The hardcore version may be known as Skinhead Blue (my choice) or Skin Gang (Cazzo's lame choice). I shot it in jolly old London and posted it in grumpy old Berlin. It features a cast of international porn stars, including my new discovery, Tom International. It also unleashes on the world my new female superstar, Cameltoe!. The softcore version will premier in New York on May 14th, and if I'm not assassinated, I may keep showing it around after that, or maybe it will just go directly to video, fulfilling one of my life-long dreams.

The video certainly received a rough time at the BBFC. At times it seemed to be teetering on the brink of rejection, at other times it seemed possible that it would be banished to sex shops. The BBFC are always looking to impose their brand of moral censorship on us and hence they are none to keen on films that explore marginal life styles. When it comes to gay issues, the BBFC record is not particularly commendable either. They recently had to fend off accusations of homophobia over the Mates sex education video. This affair also served to highlight the fact that gay films are generally treated more harshly than similar heterosexual films, eg Frisk was banned whilst Henry Portrit of a Serial Killer was cut. Perhaps the BBFC ought to extend their laudable multi-cultural employment policy to cover alternative sexual preferences as well.

Anyway this video caused much debate at the Board due to its violence, rape scenes and explicit detail that goes slightly beyond what the BBFC generally pass at 18. Whittam Smith seemed keen to consider the video for an R18 certificate on grounds of explicit detail but surely the skinhead violence would not sit very happily with the 'no violence' policy for sex videos, (along with the 'no sex' policy of course). There are hardly any gay licenced sex shops in which to sell it anyway so this clearly stupid idea went nowhere. As far as I can make out, this was one of Whittam Smith's more unilateral ideas and it unsurprisingly received scant support from anyone else at the Board.

14th November

   Whittering Shite on the London Programme

Whittam Smith recently appeared on the London Programme which was shown on local ITV. The background to the interview is the examination of a booming sex shop market in London. Licensed sex shops seem to have finally found a market in that they can now sell hardcore material in magazine form. Their R18 video product is still totally devoid of sex and so there is still plenty of demand for the plentiful unlicensed sex shops openly selling hardcore videos.

The following interview was interspersed between other threads of the debate: These videos [ie R18 videos] have only, I think, one purpose, they are basically masturbation aids, they're erotic aids if you like. They have no plot, nothing's going on, all you see is explicit sex in a variety of ways. I think it is a pity there are only 80 licensed sex shops because many many local authorities won't license them. As we have this category, we would like many more outlets so that the scope for a black market or selling unlicensed pornographic videos is much much less. Even though this material is sold in licensed sex shops, and that's very carefully monitored and is very strict, none-the-less its viewed in the home. So the question is always in the back of my mind, what happens if children or young people get hold of it. What is the likelihood and level of harm. Very difficult questions to answer by the way. They [the disputed R18 videos] are frankly, to most peoples tastes, 95% of people's tastes, are undoubtedly grossly indecent and offensive but that's not what we are about in the R18 category. In the pornographic market they [the porn makers] are permanently pushing, pushing at the limits, that's their position.

(Note that he spoke with passion at this point, like a shell shocked war veteran describing the receiving end of a bloody siege when heavily outnumbered) There's a battle going on between the distributors of pornographic material in the licensed sex shops who wish to push our guidelines. That's their commercial interest. Their commercial interest is to push our guidelines. At the moment they're finding that the Video Appeals Committee is agreeing with them. We have our very clear duties and we are considering how to handle them in light of this, to me very unacceptable decision, which they have reached. I don't honestly think that the guidelines will ever dramatically change because at the root of them, we are saying to ourselves harm, harm to society, harm to viewers, harm to society through the actions of viewers, and that isn't something that alters very much.

   The Melon Farmers Reply

Whittam Smith has clearly made no effort to understand what drives the demand for porn. I wonder when the BBFC ever spoke to consumers of porn?

Licensed sex shops have traditionally been a failure because they have not been able to sell any more graphic depictions of sex than that found at the local newsagent. The license itself becomes a cast-iron guarantee to the customer that no sex material is for sale in these premises. I am sure that if they were allowed to sell a product that people want to buy, then there would be a lot more shops opening up. Councils would be badgered, lobbied and bribed (not in a sleazy sense) to grant more licences. The only reason that there has been a bit of a boom lately is that hardcore magazines have recently become acceptable for sale.

To think that consumers would ever elect to spend their hard earned cash on the purile product sanctioned by the BBFC is preposterous. Watching the top of a head bobbing up and down or else watching a vase of flowers obscure the action is actually worse than no sex at all. It serves only to continually remind the viewer that some holier-than-thou censors think they know what is best.

And as for the supposed 95% of the population who supposedly find porn grossly indecent and offensive... clearly bollocks, a totally dishonest representaion of reality. (Note the absence of the word obscene though)

It is interesting to note that the only contention of obscenity these days is that of Jack Straw & the Home Office who corruptly reckon that obscenity is defined as 'liable to seizure by magistrates and customs'. No longer any need to prove that it 'depraves and corrupts'.

The BBFC refuse and are unable to produce any evidence of harm to adults of pornography and so they are now left only with the argument that it could cause harm to children who get to see it. In practise in terms of supply and demand, this line of debate is tired and grossly overused as an excuse. This is readily provable in that the likes of the BBFC never champion adult rights where adult exclusivity can be guaranteed, eg the cinema.

So porn is legal to own, no longer illegal to sell, no authority has produced any evidence of harm to adults and if I buy any there is absolutely no chance that it will fall into the hands of kids anyway. That a trio of nutters could presume to try and stop it purely for their own personal agendas is as outrageous as it is obscene.

5th November

  Home Truths about Home Office Lies

An excellent exposé in today's Guardian reveals that BBFC and Home Office denial of state interference in censorship is a pack of lies. Julian Petley has revealed the very detailed Home Office guidelines issued to the BBFC on the subject of R18 videos.

He also reveals the corrupt way in which the Obscene Publications Act has been twisted to maintain the persecution of porn even though the authorities can no longer attain successful prosecutions from jury trials. Instead porn is now denied to the British population soley on the justification that some individual magistrates and customs officers may find offence. Furthermore, despite intense questioning, neither the Home Office nor the BBFC seem willing or able to provide any justification of what harm adult consensual porn is supposed to do in the first place.

It is a corruption of democracy when enforcement authorities are allowed to dictate the law rather than to abide by the law. Shame on the Home Office, and shame on the BBFC, you are making Britain a truely shit place to live in.

1st November

  Pitifully Restricted 18

The Holy Trinity (Holier than thou that is)  have been beavering away to produce a totally unnacceptable set of porn guidelines for the next few years. I do not know which planet Straw, Duval & Whittam Smith are on, but I can confidently predict that hardly any British people will be viewing videos edited down to these ludicrous, illegal and repressive guidelines.

The BBFC site carries an on-line questionnaire on the subject of their proposed guidelines. Why not go and partake. They have hidden away the form on the the 27th October news release from the recent decisions page. 'R18' To be supplied only in licensed sex shops to adults of not less than 18 years .

The 'R18' category is a special and legally restricted classification for videos whose purpose and content is mainly sexual activity. Such videos may be supplied to adults only in licensed sex shops, of which there are about 80 in the UK. 'R18' videos may not be supplied by mail order.

The following content is not permitted :

  • Sexual depictions in breach of the Protection of Children Act 1978
  • T he portrayal of any other sexually illegal act
  • The use of any form of physical restraint which prevents participants from withdrawing consent.
  • Any element of violence including the infliction of pain, real or simulated
  • Threats or humiliation (However it is perfectly acceptable that these guidelines will humiliate the British people and will only have the slightest effect if backed up by dire threats of persecution)
  • Explicit images of penetration (oral, vaginal or anal) and masturbation
  • Ejaculation, defecation, urination (unless directed at the British population of course when it is to be encouraged); or bestiality
  • Close-ups of genital or anal detail

The following content, subject to the above, is permitted :

  • Erections (but not in close up or showing any detail of course!)
  • Manipulation of genitalia stopping short of masturbation (but not in close up or showing any detail of course!)
  • Semen (but not on faces)
  • Mild, non-violent fetish activity
  • Group sexual activity (as long as it does not show any sexual activity that is!)

These guidelines make no distinction between heterosexual and homosexual activity, subject to the requirements of the law. (However sexism is apparently acceptable as one can see male genitalia but not female genitalia).

24th October

  Unilaterally Whittering Shite

To the astonishment of just about everyone involved in the recent BBFC/R18 fiasco, Andreas Whittham-Smith the elderly and aloof President of the Board (he only pops into the BBFC a couple of times a month) unilaterally decided that the Board will challenge the Video Appeals Committee decision in the Courts. The appeals committee recently ridiculed the board's attempts to prove that semi-hardcore sex videos were potentially dangerous because children 'might' see them and ordered the BBFC to pass seven titles which had been banned. Whittam Smith both hates porn himself and is under orders from Church-going Jack Straw not to pass any more hard-core sex and plans to spend £150,000 trying to overturn the VAC's decision at judicial review.

This begs the question "what is the VAC for?" if not to act as a court of appeal for the Board's decisions. BBFC examiners were so incredulous and, fearing that a challenge to the VAC would undermine the whole classification process, wrote a unanimous letter to Whittam Smith imploring him not to go to judicial review and to pass the videos. He ignored their pleadings, citing his view that the Board must protect the sanctity of the 'guidelines' which were 'published' last year. These guidelines were cobbled together as a PR exercise last year and have no basis in law and by suggesting that no one may challenge these recently written 'rules' (written by Whittam Smith off the top of his head) he seems to be reinforcing the age-old tradition of the Board - make it up as you go along and don't be held accountable for anything.

21st October

  Dinosaur Ford Leaves Jurassic Park

BBFC staff are counting the days to the retirement of much-disliked Deputy Director Margaret Ford who has reached retirement age (funny how so many of the BBFC's senior staff are at or beyond pensionable age) Ford has not just spent the best part of ten years being James Ferman's (and now Duval's) lackey but has also repeatedly frustrated efforts to introduce more up-to-date policies at the BBFC. She repeatedly tried to stop the reform of the out-dated weapons policy (all that stupid cutting of chain-sticks and throwing stars) and has always tried to keep a lid on how much sex was passed.

Ford was, for many years before she joined the BBFC some 20 years ago, a school teacher and her schoolmistress style of management made her an unpopular boss as she spent much of her time checking up on people, telling them off, saying no to even the most reasonable requests and basically treating people like children.

Ford's successor, Penny Avril takes over at the beginning of November although Ford is expected to stick around part-time till the end of the year to help her successor settle in. With yet another senior post changing hands there are virtually no people left with any experience and the organisation is becoming ever more chaotic.

19th October

  Duval's Poor Sounding Concessions

From the Guardian website

After 87 years deciding what is best for the audience, the BBFC is to consult film-goers (ie those handpicked from the likes of the NVLA) on how much sex, violence and swearing there should be on British screens. (And then continue deciding what is best for the audience)

In a new policy of openness its recently appointed director  Robin Duval has said that under new guidelines, the board, which has long been criticised for making seemingly arbitrary cuts, would  clearly state what is and is not permitted. If there was, much to  our surprise, strong evidence that we had got it wrong in some respect, either too relaxed or too restricted, then we would  respond , he said. The new guidelines will be sent to all those involved in the film industry, including groups that represent the film-going public and those who have an interest in film censorship. (Much to his surprise?, the BBFC are well aware of the enormous black market in porn, possibly millions of people voting with their feet, how much evidence do they need?)

Duval said that the board would not consider changes that were detrimental to the film itself, nor would it consider any change to the current rules about the portrayal of drug-taking. We have so much evidence that drugs have a harmful influence on adults that we would not respond to that call."

But there would be a more relaxed attitude to pornographic films. For example the constraint on screen masturbation, which until now called for prohibition " on a clear sight of masturbation ", will be redefined as " the manipulation of the genitals at the point at which it becomes masturbation". (I have heard of some pretty pathetic concessions in my time but this is truely pitiful. What is the the legal justification for such a prohibition? and what harm can be caused by such a portrayal?)

Last month there was an outcry in the Lords when the board passed French film Romance   which contains graphic shots of an erect penis, oral sex, sadomasochism, masturbation and rape, but the decision to pass the film was a reflection of a desire to have a more relaxed approach to hardcore pornography.

Duval said that the new rules, which will be finalised by spring next year, are in response to potential legal challenges in British courts when the European Human Rights Act comes into operation next year. Under the Act, restrictions on freedom of speech - which includes BBFC's classification system - must be set out clearly. (If he keeps up these ideas of niggardly concession, then those potential legal challenges will be guaranteed because the BBFC will be acting both illegally and repressively)

18th October

  Fisticuffs at the BBFC

Earlier on in the year the BBFC banned David Monaghan's documentary: Bare Fist: The Sport That Wouldn't Die. Perhaps they didn't realise that a major Hollywood film, Fight Club starring Brad Pitt would soon be covering very similar territory. It is one thing to ban a small British offering but another to ban a high profile Hollywood film. The trouble for the BBFC is that, assuming that Fight Club gets their seal of approval then the arguments for banning Bare Fist look decidedly weak.

Unsurprisingly, David Monaghan is justifiable angry with the BBFC and is fighting back with all fists flying. He argues (edited): The BBFC have now put themselves in a hideous position, of having to ban the Brad Pitt film outright, as they have done to mine, or pass Fight Club and set (yet another) precedent that will have them lose on appeal, with payment of huge damages to me for the unlawful refusal of certificate. The banning document is on the net at the BBFC's web site, which is being used to set a whole new legal process of pinning a ban on the web, without notification to a film maker, their career is ruined. The BBFC are running a two faced censorship agenda of crushing local film makers, while supporting the work of Hollywood. Jack Straw has again become directly in the censorship process, although the whole system was set up to stop politicians using it as an excuse to control intellectuals, thinkers and film makers in Britain. Straw has ordered a judicial review of the Video Appeals Committee's decision to uphold the right of seven porn films featuring "real sex" to have R-18 certificates. Straw's personal intervention in this moral issue is making Labour far more moral policemen in ordinary people's bedrooms and living rooms than the Tories ever were. The passing of old 70s film ( Exorcist, Driller Killer , etc) is a cover. Duval is far more savage than Ferman was, and is unwilling to even discuss the legality of his cuts with British film makers. So unsure is the BBFC of its legal footing, Duval has appointed a firm of solicitors to deal with all correspondence with me. He has never accepted even one phone call from me, the man he is banning. This is a real nasty fuck-over by Whittam Smith and Duval, using lies about what is in my film. They do this time and time again to set up illegal and political bans on perfectly acceptable films. They are bad news. The following letter was sent to Duval yesterday. The screening at 333 was stopped after intervention by the BBFC but I will be showing the film to audiences at secret locations in defiance of the BBFC in order to show up their illegal actions and lies about my film.


To Robin Duval, Director & Andy Smith, President
Re: Jailing a film maker

As you will be aware, I am trying to sort out your unlawful use of a web site press statement as a method of legal service on Bare Fist . Your inability to understand basic premises of law concerning notification confounds me as much as your instance on lying about the content and intent of my film on this statement to justify your political ban. You could have had to courtesy of using my name.

In the meantime, I give you details of an opportunity you have to have me arrested for showing the documentary you have banned. I will hold a public screening at 9pm on Thursday, September 30, at the Mother Bar, 333 Old Street, London, Hoxton. The audience will pay a penny to have me jailed and protest your hypocrisy. At the showing, I will be tell the audience of the regime of lies, secrecy and racism run by your organisation. As I am a supporter of free speech, I invite you to come along, or send a representative, to explain to the audience why they are too irresponsible to see this documentary. Alternatively, it may be to your nature to send a policeman to shut me up.

I fully expect you to lie about the existence of this protest against your censorship regime. I would, however, warn you that the lies on the web site about my film containing "instructions" to commit murder are libellous. They will be pursued after my victory at the Video Appeals Committee.

I do hope you enjoy giving a certificate the bare fist violence of Brad Pitt's The Fight Club . This forthcoming piece of double faced hypocrisy will of course be presented to the Appeals Committee and to the public as yet another example of your political suppression of documentary journals in favour of Hollywood glamorisation of violence.

Regards

David Monaghan
Writer and Director: Bare Fist - The Sport That Wouldn't Die


Statement & Petition

WATCH A DOCUMENTARY!
JAIL A FILM MAKER!

Support out fight against the political suppression of Bare Fist - the Sport that Wouldn't Die

You are about to take part in an exercise in democracy - and have two British film makers jailed for two years.

The video you are about the see has been banned by the Blair Government, via its politicised censorship apparatchik, the British Board of Film Classification.

Stop, You're Killing Me! To justify an illegal ban on the film, the censor put a press statement on a web site on June 21, 1999, telling lies. The censor says the documentary has instructions on how to commit murder, and that it contains "gross violence" - defined in law as images murder, torture or killing. The film contains no such scenes, and the government censor is lying to justify an illegal ban.

The censor banned the documentary under a 1994 amendment to the Video Recordings Act, which can jail film maker for portraying "criminal activity". This is despite the fact that bare fist boxing is not a crime in Britain. And it is despite the fact the documentary has less violence than Hollywood movies.

But the film does give a voice to the culture of Gypsy men in the UK. And Jack Straw doesn't like Gypsies. It also reveals the government's own policy of making boxers use gloves has killed boxers. The government doesn't want you to know this.

To challenge Jack Straw's censorship regime, you are asked to pay one penny to the film maker's David Monaghan and Heidi Easton. Police can then arrest them under Britain's censorship laws, which are worse than any in Europe.

The film makers are doing this, because their livelihoods have been ruined by dishonest film censorship regime of the British government. We also believe in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948. Article 19 of those Rights says:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers"

After seeing the film, you are invited to sign a petition. This will go to Andy Smith and Robin Duval, Jack Straw's hatchet men from the British Board of Film Classification, and to the home secretary. You'll be kept informed of our struggle to allow the British adults the freedom to see this sports documentary.

Yours in freedom of expression
David Monaghan Heidi Easton
Writer & director Producer/director: Bare Fist: the Sport That Wouldn't Die

18th October

  Duval Plans a Purge

Robin Duval is finally feeling a little more secure as Director of the BBFC, having finally got rid of James Ferman, the ex-director who hung around like a bad smell until April, five months after he was supposed to have handed in his keys and gone home.

Having appointed himself a rather inexperienced deputy director and a spin doctor. Duval is now turning his attention to the examiners. To give him credit, James Ferman always ensured that his examiners were intelligent, independently minded and professional. Duval wants none of that and is currently planning a restructuring (purge) which will promote examiners who are 'on-message' and will do his bidding while getting rid of those who question policy and challenge the management's decisions. It's all being done under the guise of 'progress' and 'new' senior posts are being created (reserved for lackeys) and although everyone will be invited to 'apply' for them the chances of any of the trouble-makers getting any of the jobs are pretty slim (like liberal people getting tickets to the roadshow).  It's all going to happen over the next few weeks so let's see just how manipulative Duval turns out to be.

Interestingly, it seems that Duval hasn't let Whittam Smith in on his plan and it is likely the two men will lock horns over the issue. Duval resents Whittam Smith's interference in the day to day decisions of the Board and sees appointing his own yes-men to key positions as a way of lessening Whittam Smith's power over the organisation.

14th October

  Freedom of Information

The Guardian has been running an excellent campaign to try to embarrass the Government into beefing up their pathetic excuse for a Freedom of Information Bill. The paper today reported some limited success with news that a few of the more outrageous clauses are being deleted.

Now given that the BBFC are agents of the state when it comes to video censorship surely this means that they will have to make public wholes swathes of interesting material. I would love to see some of the minutes of meetings where policy decisions are made. (Although I suspect that most such meetings have only one attendee) Alexander Walker is already calling for the currently secret examiners reports to be made available. They too would make a fascinating read. (I would like to make the first bet that they would reveal a fair few unilateral decisions by the BBFC bosses, Dave Gregory of Exploited had some interesting tales to tell about Whittam Smith's unilateral ban of Deadbeat at Dawn for instance)

updated, 14th October

  BBFC Roadshows a sham and a waste of money and if you're a trouble maker you won't get it in

After promising that last year's 'roadshows' would be a genuine consultation with the public from which lessons would be learned and results published, the BBFC has refused to say what lessons were learned and no results of any kind have been published. The events are rumoured to have cost over £50,000 - a total waste of money. The roadshows did, however, give people people the opportunity to give these shites a piece of their minds - remember Whittam Smith's humiliation when asked if he had ever seen any porn?

This year's events are even worse.

Robin Duval (with the help of his ferocious PR woman) is determined that this year the events are to operate solely as public relations exercises and that the only purpose of the process is to make the board look good. He is particularly anxious that the London event (where he will be preening himself) must be a success. Whereas last year anyone could turn up - a sensible idea if you want a genuinely 'public' event. This year the events are ticket-only affairs with invitations going to the likes of the NVLA and the Mother's Union. Worse still, BBFC staff were aghast when Robin Duval issued an edict that he PERSONALLY would vet all applications for tickets. As the phone requests, e-mails and letters pile up they are all being passed to his office where he sits sifting through them looking for signs of trouble makers. No one is sure what criteria he is using but we suggest that people write in without identifying themselves as having links to anti-censorship organisations or being journalists etc. Just pretend you're a housewife with two kids who thinks there's too much sex in films. Your ticket will be with you by return.

   BBFC Reply

I was intrigued to read your various pieces about the BBFC public presentations around the country, and I thought it only fair to disabuse you (and presumably, therefore, your readers) of the idea that we will be showing any hardcore pornography at these events. We will not. Sorry to disappoint anyone. We will be showing a series of film clips which illustrate various classification issues and asking the audience to consider the guidelines that we use for classifying films and videos and give us their views on any changes they think we should make. Hope that's cleared that up.

The events are by invitation only, as you correctly point out, but not for the machiavellian reasons that you put forward, but simply because of the sheer volume of people wanting to attend. (By the way, thank you for all the free publicity). There will be a lot of disappointed people, particularly for the London event, for which we have already received over 650 requests for tickets, with a maximum capacity of 255. So you see, if we had made it first come first served, the next headline on Melon Farmers would have been Mass riot at the British Library as hundreds of Melon Farmers fans fail to gain access to BBFC Roadshow! Because of the huge level of interest shown we are considering running further events in London, possibly in the new year. In the mean time there are a few places available at the other venues.

Regards

Sue Clark

Head of Press and Publicity

   The Melon Farmers Reply

I myself was intrigued about your idea that I had suggested that the BBFC roadshows would feature hardcore. I have not knowingly made such an assertion.

I am glad to hear that so many people have requested to attend the roadshows but I am again intrigued about how it has become so popular bearing in mind the desultory attendance at last year's events. I am alarmed to hear that such an oversubscribed event isn't been handled as first-come-first-served and would therefore like to know by what mechanism the tickets are being allocated. Perhaps you could alleviate my fears by providing an indication of anti-censorship bodies that have been invited.

Regards

The Melon Farmers

 

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