BBFC Classification

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  Warning: According to the BBFC this article is only suitable for adults...

BBFC details policy about the number of uses of the word 'cunt' in a 15 rated film


Link Here 4th August 2013

Worlds End DVD Simon Pegg The World's End screenwriter, Edgar Wright, asked the BBFC about how many light hearted uses of the word 'cunt' are allowed in a 15 rated film.

Senior Examiner Craig Lapper provided an interesting and detailed reply about current BBFC policy.

The BBFC's Guidelines at 15 state:

The strongest terms (for example, 'cunt') may be acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable .

As a general rule, it is highly unusual for the BBFC to permit more than three or four uses of very strong language at 15 in a feature length work. In terms of context, it is more likely that we would pass throwaway, matter-of-fact, or comic uses than uses that are aggressive, personally directed, or accompanied by complicating factors such as violence, threat, racism, or a power imbalance (for example, male to female uses are more of a problem than the other way around). In an extreme case, even a single aggressive use can push a film to 18 (for example, if a man were hitting a woman and calling her a cunt, or a man of one race hitting a person of a different race and using very strong language in combination with racist terms). Similarly, putting several uses together in a very short space of time may breach the 'repeated section of our Guidelines and cause problems at 15. It is generally better if uses are spread out somewhat.

As you say, we passed a single use in SHAUN OF THE DEAD because the use in question was throwaway, unthreatening, and essentially a term of endearment amongst friends ("Can I get any of you cunts a drink?"). In the case of HOT FUZZ we actually permitted two uses, one spoken and one written. First of all, we see the word 'cunt' on the list of prohibited terms on the swearbox in the police station and then we hear 'What a cunt' when a man tells his friend about a man who sold drugs to kids. In the first case, the use was written (which reduces its impact) and of course lacked any aggression. In the second case, the use was not aggressive and was not personally directed but instead uttered about a person who is not present at the time.

So, the answer to your question is that it is possible to receive a 15 with three or four uses, provided they are not aggressive or threatening or complicated by any kind of power imbalance. However, it's best not to concentrate them together into a short outburst and we'd certainly caution against more than three or four uses.



  All Categories
Criminal Law

The BBFC will not classify material which it believes to be in breach of the criminal law.

Imitable Techniques   January 2006 re the film The Mechanic

Although it's possible that we might cut a criminal technique if it contained genuinely useful information (ie something you couldn't easily work out for yourself) we don't tend to cut lock picking and hotwiring from films and videos anymore as the police have advised us that:

  1. the techniques shown in films are usually lacking crucial details,
  2. the techniques shown in films often don't work on modern locks
  3. the easiest way to break into a car is to smash the window!

So, in theory we might remove something (and certainly wouldn't allow, say, a detailed instructional video informing you how to pick locks!), intervention with films and TV programmes is nowadays far less likely on the grounds you cite.

Multiple Certificates

Thanks to Liberty Stink on the Melon Farmers Forum

The highest category awarded to any component of a DVD work (be it a trailer or a 'making of' documentary) must be the classification of the DVD as a whole.

It should also be noted that this is a common practice of distributors to achieve a more desirable, ie higher, category by placing a '18' rated trailer or other material on the DVD. However, no law has been broken if this is the case.

Physical Effects

Photo or pattern sensitivity, motion sickness and reactions to low frequency sound

A small number of viewers are sensitive to flashing and flickering light, or some shapes and patterns, and may experience seizures or other serious physical effects. In addition, some viewers experience feelings of motion sickness or other symptoms when viewing works which feature hand held or otherwise moving camerawork, or which feature very low frequency sounds.

It is the responsibility of film makers and distributors to identify works in which such issues may arise and to ensure that, when required, appropriate warnings are given to viewers.

Such effects are therefore not normally taken into account when reaching a classification decision. However, if it is obvious during viewing that the work is highly likely to affect a significant number of viewers, the BBFC may advise the distributor of the need to ensure that appropriate warnings are in place. In extreme cases, assurances regarding the display of appropriate warnings may be required as a condition of classification.

 

 

U cert

Universal

Suitable for all

PG cert

Parental Guidance

General viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children

General

It is impossible to predict what might upset any particular child. But a ‘U’ film should be suitable for audiences aged four years and over. ‘U’ films should be set within a positive moral framework and should offer reassuring counterbalances to any violence, threat or horror.

The previous Uc certificate has now been dropped. If a work is particularly suitable for a pre-school child to view alone, this will be indicated in the Consumer Advice.

Unaccompanied children of any age may watch. A ‘PG’ film should not disturb a child aged around eight or older. However, parents are advised to consider whether the content may upset younger or more sensitive children.
Theme
  • Treatment of problematic themes must be sensitive and appropriate to a younger audience
  • When more serious issues are featured, (eg domestic violence), nothing in their treatment should condone the behaviour)
Language
  • Infrequent use only of very mild bad language.
  • Mild bad language only
Nudity
  • Occasional natural nudity, with no sexual context.
  • Natural nudity with no sexual context.
Sex
  • Mild sexual behaviour (e.g., kissing) and references only (e.g., to 'making love').
  • Sex may be suggested, but should be discreet and infrequent.
  • Mild sex references and innuendo only.
Violence
  • Mild violence only.
  • Occasional mild threat or menace only.
  • Moderate violence, without detail, may be allowed, if justified by its setting (eg historic, comedy or fantasy).
Imitable Techniques
  • No emphasis on realistic or easily accessible  weapons
  • No potentially dangerous behaviour young children are likely to copy.
  • No glamorisation of realistic or easily accessible weapons.
  • No detail of potentially dangerous behaviour which young children are likely to copy.
Horror
  • Scary sequences should be mild, brief and unlikely to cause undue anxiety to young children. The outcome should be reassuring.
  • Frightening sequences should not be prolonged or intense. Fantasy settings may be a mitigating factor.
Drugs
  • No references to illegal drugs or drug misuse unless they are infrequent and innocuous, or there is a clear educational purpose or anti-drug message suitable for young children.
  • Any references to illegal drugs or drug misuse must be innocuous or carry a suitable anti-drug message.
Discrimination
  • No discriminatory language or behaviour unless clearly disapproved of.
  • Discriminatory language or behaviour is unlikely to be acceptable unless clearly disapproved of or in an educational or historical context. Discrimination by a character with which children can readily identify is unlikely to be acceptable.

 

  12 cert

Suitable for 12 years and over.
No-one younger than 12 may rent or buy a ‘12’ rated video or DVD. Responsibility for allowing under-12s to view lies with the accompanying or supervising adult.

12A cert

Suitable for 12 years and over.
No-one younger than 12 may see a ‘12A’ film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult.

15 cert

No-one younger than 15 may see a ‘15’ film in a cinema. No-one younger than 15 may rent or buy a ‘15’ rated video or DVD.

Theme
  • Mature themes are acceptable, but their treatment must be suitable for young teenagers.
  • No theme is prohibited, provided the treatment is appropriate to 15 year olds.
Language
  • Moderate language is allowed. The use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’) must be infrequent.
  • See article from telegraph.co.uk. Interview with David Cooke. There is a maximum of 4 uses of strong language for a 12A.
  • However there are exceptions. About Time and Senna feature five uses of strong language ('fuck'), which occur in different comic situations and with no undue aggression.
  • There may be frequent use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’).
  • The strongest terms (for example, ‘cunt’) may be acceptable if justified by the context.
  • Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable.
  • Senior Examiner Craig Lapper outlined a limit of 3 or 4 uses of the word 'cunt' assuming them to be non aggressive, non sexual, and not based on power imbalance. In addition these allowed used must be grouped together.
Nudity
  • Nudity is allowed, but in a sexual context will be brief and discreet.
  • Nudity may be allowed in a sexual context but without strong detail.
  • There are no constraints on nudity in a non-sexual or educational context.
Sex
  • Sexual activity may be briefly and discreetly portrayed.
  • Sex references should not go beyond what is suitable for young teenagers.
  • Frequent crude references are unlikely to be acceptable.
  • Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail.
  • There may be strong verbal references to sexual behaviour, but the strongest references are unlikely to be acceptable unless justified by context.
  • Works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation are unlikely to be acceptable.
Violence
  • Moderate violence is allowed but should not dwell on detail.
  • There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if justified by the context.
  • Sexual violence may only be implied or briefly and discreetly indicated, and must have a strong contextual justification.
  • Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury.
  • The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable.
  • Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable.
  • There may be detailed verbal references to sexual violence but any portrayal of sexual violence must be discreet and have a strong contextual justification.
Imitable Techniques
  • Dangerous behaviour (for example, hanging, suicide and self-harming) should not dwell on detail which could be copied, or appear pain or harm free.
  • Easily accessible weapons should not be glamorised.
  • Dangerous techniques (eg combat techniques, hanging, suicide and self-harming) should not dwell on imitable detail.
  • Easily accessible weapons should not be glamorised.
Horror
  • Moderate physical and psychological threat may be permitted, provided disturbing sequences are not frequent or sustained.
  • Strong threat and menace are permitted unless sadistic or sexualised.
Drugs
  • Any misuse of drugs must be infrequent and should not be glamorised or give instructional detail.
  • Drug taking may be shown but the film as a whole must not promote or encourage drug misuse.
  • The misuse of easily accessible and highly dangerous substances (for example, aerosols or solvents) is unlikely to be acceptable.
Discrimination
  • Discriminatory language or behaviour must not be endorsed by the work as a whole.
  • Aggressive discriminatory language or behaviour is unlikely to be acceptable unless clearly condemned.
  • The work as a whole must not endorse discriminatory language or behaviour.

 

  18 cert

No-one younger than 18 may see an ‘18’ film in a cinema. No-one younger than 18 may rent or buy an ‘18’ rated video.

General

In line with the consistent findings of the BBFC’s public consultations and The Human Rights Act 1998, at ‘18’ the BBFC’s guideline concerns will not normally override the principle that adults should be free to choose their own entertainment. Exceptions are most likely in the following areas:

  • where the material is in breach of the criminal law, or has been created through the commission of a criminal offence
  • where material or treatment appears to the BBFC to risk harm to individuals or, through their behaviour, to society – for example, any detailed portrayal of violent or dangerous acts, or of illegal drug use, which may cause harm to public health or morals. This may include portrayals of sexual or sexualised violence which might, for example, eroticise or endorse sexual assault
  • where there are more explicit images of sexual activity which cannot be justified by context. Such images may be appropriate in ‘R18’ works, and in ‘sex works’ (see below) would normally be confined to that category.

In the case of video works (including video games), which may be more accessible to younger viewers, intervention may be more frequent than for cinema films.

Sex Education
  • Where sex material genuinely seeks to inform and educate in matters such as human sexuality, safer
    sex and health, explicit images of sexual activity may be permitted.
Sex
  • Sex works are works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation. Sex works containing only material which may be simulated are generally passed ‘18’. Sex works containing clear images of real sex, strong fetish material, sexually explicit animated images, or other very strong sexual images will be confined to the ‘R18’ category. Material which is unacceptable in a sex work at ‘R18’ is also unacceptable in a sex work at ‘18’.
  • Further clarification has been received from Peter Johnson, Senior BBFC Examiner: The situation remains as follows: extreme close ups of genitalia; shots offering a view up a distended vagina or anus; clearly unassimilated shots of oral-genital or oral-anal contact (especially shots showing clear sight of contact of lips or tongue with anus, labia, clitoris, penis or scrotum); and clear sight of real, sustained masturbation are restricted to the 'R18' category and must be cut to obtain an '18'.
Mail Order
Adverts for hardcore media
Under the Video Recordings Act 1984 it is illegal to offer to supply an 'R18' classified video work other than in a licensed sex shop. This prohibition includes offers to supply by mail order from websites based outside the UK: making the offer in the UK is an offence in itself even if the supply would originate from abroad. It is also illegal to offer to supply an unclassified video work unless that work is exempt from classification. Hardcore pornography is, by its nature, not exempt from classification.

i) A simple website or postal address with no suggestion (verbal, text or pictorial) that goods or services can be purchased from it (eg “www.productionhouse.com”) will normally be passed uncut unless the title itself implies that goods can be purchased from the address (eg “www.buystuffhere.com”) in which case (ii) applies.

ii) A website or postal address accompanied by a suggestion (verbal, text or pictorial) that goods or services can be purchased from it (eg “Products are available in our online store www.productionhouse.com”) will normally be cut if a visit to the website reveals that it appears to be offering R18 material or its equivalent (or stronger) by mail order.

NB “by mail order” involves an offer to sell a tape, disc, chip or other storage device by means of the post or a parcel or courier service or similar. An offer to supply hardcore material by video-on-demand (streaming, downloads, etc) or other manner in which no physical product changes hands does not count as mail order supply of a video work.

Sexual Violence

In late 2012 the BBFC canvassed the opinions of 35 film viewers. They were shown several high profile films that had proved the most contentious for the BBFC in the last couple of years and asked them whether they should have been banned or cut. See details of the survey. The BBFC then published new guidelines as a result of these 35 opinions:

This response covers both fictional and documentary (for example "extreme reality" works) which contain sexual and/or sadistic violence.

Intervention is likely in relation to any depiction of sexual or sadistic violence which is likely to pose a non trivial harm risk through, for example:

  • making sexual or sadistic violence look appealing

  • reinforcing the suggestion that victims enjoy rape

  • inviting viewer complicity in rape or other harmful violent activities.

Intervention may also be required in cases where a depiction is so demeaning or degrading to human dignity (for example it consists of strong abuse, torture or death without any significant mitigating factors) as to pose a harm risk. 

Material of this nature might also be considered obscene.  When considering intervention on the ground of obscenity, the BBFC will take account of the defence of public good and the significance of the overall nature and purpose of the work in establishing whether or not a work is likely to be found obscene.

The BBFC will also take into account the right to freedom of expression established under the Human Rights Act 1988.

The decision as to whether and how to intervene is complex and subject to a number of aggravating or mitigating indicators which need to be balanced out in order to arrive at a decision. 

These indicators are listed below. They are a guide to assist BBFC Examiners in making recommendations in relation to works which are on the edge of suitability for classification according to the BBFC's Classification Guidelines.

The indicators are not designed to be a tick list. No one indicator will of itself necessarily determine the classification of a work. Examiners will balance the indicators and use their judgement when deciding which course of action to recommend -- passing the work uncut; passing the work with cuts; or determining that the work is unsuitable for classification.  The presence of one or two aggravating indicators will not necessarily lead a work to be cut or even rejected, if the mitigating indicators outweigh them. Nevertheless, if Examiners recommend not intervening, they will highlight any aggravating indicators in their reports and justify why they do not lead to intervention.

Each factor listed below is expanded with possible examples of when the factor might come into play.

AGGRAVATING FACTORS

Does the depiction make sexual or sadistic violence seem normal, appealing, or arousing?

For example, the perpetrators are characters with whom the viewer might identify.  The scene is shot in a way which might invite the viewer to identify with the perpetrator(s).    Violence is glamorised in a way which could arouse the viewer.  The scene places an emphasis on the sexual pleasure of the perpetrator(s). The sequence offers a "how to" guide on how to perpetrate sexual or sadistic violence.  The sequence has the potential to raise concerns about the enactment of sexual fantasies, particularly among vulnerable viewers.

Is the depiction likely to appeal especially to impressionable or vulnerable viewers, including young men and gang members, with the result that it might influence their behaviour or attitudes in a way which may cause harm?

For example, there is a gang mentality at play which suggests that sadistic or sexual violence can be a bonding experience within a group.

Does the depiction perpetuate any suggestion that victims enjoy rape?

For example, the depiction suggests that women may become sexually aroused through being raped or that "no" means "yes".

Is the depiction of sexual or sadistic violence gratuitous, including in terms of excessive length and/or detail?

For example, the depiction is out of step with what is required by the narrative.  The work does not have much of a narrative.    Rape features a focus on eroticising detail, such as nudity.  The scene wallows in gratuitous violence. 

Are children involved in the sequence?  

Participants in the 2012 research felt that the rape of children, or the juxtaposition of images of children with sexual violence to be potentially more harmful than any other form of sexual violence.

Does the depiction amount to an unacceptable degradation of human dignity?

For example, the sequence features strong, including real life, abuse, torture, killing or other violence without significant contextual justification or other mitigating factors to the extent that it offers human suffering as entertainment in itself?  Might the sequence be considered significantly to erode viewer empathy? 

MITIGATING FACTORS

Does the work make it clear that the violence depicted is not condoned? 

For example, the perpetrators of sexual or sadistic violence are punished within a work's narrative.  The narrative is balanced.  (For example, it does not contain 80 minutes of graphic rape followed by two minutes of mild rebuke.)  The viewer is invited to identify with the victim(s). 

Does the work or scene lack credibility in a way which undermines its power?

For example, the work is dated and/or ridiculous.  The depiction of sexual or sadistic violence is comic and unlikely to be taken seriously.  The sequence is otherwise risible.  Low production values can add to the lack of credibility.

Is the scene discreetly shot?

For example, it leaves some detail to the imagination.  The scene only as long as the narrative requires it to be.  The treatment is in keeping with the narrative.

Is the scene narratively justified?

For example, it is based on a true story or carries a strong anti-rape message.  What the viewer sees is necessary to explain character motivation.  The work raises awareness of an issue of public concern in a responsible way. 

Where there is any nudity is it outside the context of rape?

Most participants in the 2012 research felt that merely combining violent images with nudity, even sexualised nudity, was not necessarily a problem in itself. These viewers drew a clear distinction between rape, where eroticising detail could be potentially harmful, and violence which is shot in a titillatory way.

 

  R18 cert

To be supplied only in licensed sex shops to persons of not less than 18 years

General
The 'R18' category is a special and legally restricted classification primarily for explicit videos with clear views of real sex between consenting adults. Such videos may be supplied to adults only in licensed sex shops. 'R18' videos may not be supplied by mail order.
Sex The following content is not acceptable:
  • any material which is in breach of the criminal law including any material judged to be obscene under the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act [Melon Farmers' comment: The BBFC previously published the obvious examples of bestiality, necrophilia & defecation. The authorities also dubiously contend that fisting and urolagnia are also obscene. Urolagnia is defined as pissing during a sex scene. Pissing when not related to sex is acceptable and is in fact passed in R18s]
  • material (including dialogue) likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive material (eg paedophilia, incest, rape) which may include adults role-playing as non-adults.
  • the portrayal of any sexual activity which involves lack of consent (whether real or simulated). Any form of physical restraint which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of consent
  • the infliction of pain or physical harm, real or (in a sexual context) simulated. Some allowance may be made for mild consensual activity.
  • Penetration by any object likely to cause actual harm or associated with violence
  • any sexual threats, humiliation or abuse which does not form part of a clearly consenting role-playing game. Strong abuse, even if consensual, is unlikely to be acceptable.

These guidelines make no distinction between heterosexual and homosexual activity.

[Melon Farmers' comment: The BBFC previously confirmed that the following content was acceptable. They now hold that it is sufficient to say that "clear views of real sex between consenting adults" are acceptable and have removed the following list from their guidelines. The Melon Farmers' believe that it is still useful to readers to continue to publish the list of acceptable content

The following content, subject to the above, may be permitted:

  • aroused genitalia
  • masturbation
  • oral-genital contact including kissing, licking and sucking
  • penetration by finger, penis, tongue, vibrator or dildo
  • non-harmful fetish material
  • group sexual activity
  • ejaculation and semen]
BDSM
The S&M genre is not prohibited in its entirety – some allowance is made for clearly consenting role-playing games where it is clear that no one suffers any real injury or significant pain. However, such material may be given an ‘R18’ certificate rather than an ‘18’ even in the absence of explicit sex, depending on the detail and treatment, on the grounds that its presence in general shops may offend public sensibilities. Focus on activities such as urination or bondage could confound public expectation at ‘18’ and/or encourage potentially harmful imitation on the part of uninitiated viewers.
Enemas
The Board's policy is that you can show enemas in 'R18' tapes. However, you must not see any faecal matter being emitted and the fluid from the enema must not be released onto (or into) another person. This position is based on the latest advice from the police and the CPS. Their position is, in turn, based on a number of recent cases in which enema tapes were found obscene by juries.
Female Ejaculation

The BBFC responded to research on female ejaculation submitted to the BBFC by Feminists Against Censorship:

If I may clarify our position, the Board does not in fact take any view on whether or not female ejaculation exists. As you admit in your letter this is a controversial and much-debated area with a range of views being taken amongst medical professionals. At the most basic level, however, the Board is content that the pornographic tapes so far presented to us as examples of 'female ejaculation' are in fact nothing other than straightforward scenes of urination masquerading as 'female ejaculation'. This has been confirmed by a female sexual health expert who the Board has consulted on a range of issues relating to videos intended for the 'R18' category.

Quite the opposite of attempting to confront the issue of female ejaculation in a reassuring, sympathetic or informative light, the tapes in question appear to be nothing more than a cynical attempt on the part of porn distributors to get around the constraints imposed on urolagnia in sex tapes by the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act. It is worth noting that the kind of material that the Board has been cutting is regularly sold as 'orolagnia' in other European countries (France, Germany, Netherlands, etc) where there is no equivalent legal restriction on the use of urine in sex videos. Indeed, although videos featuring urolagnia are very much in evidence on the continent, videos purporting to show 'female ejaculation' seem to be invisible. Perhaps female ejaculation is less exciting (or profitable) to pornographers and their viewers than urination? Generally speaking sex videos of the type encountered at 'R18' neither seek to inform nor educate about female (or male) sexuality but merely offer graphic (and grossly distorted) views of sex for the arousal of viewers. Indeed, as you acknowledge in your letter "much of the material [the Board] passes with an 'R18' certificate does not necessarily represent the sexual experiences of all women".

To conclude, the Board remains open minded about the issue of female ejaculation but we have yet to be presented with any pornographic video that has convinced us - or our medical advisor - that it consists of anything other than an excuse to display scenes of urolagnia. Such scenes are regularly found obscene by juries in the UK and therefore cannot be classified.

Women Love Porn

8th October 2009. See article from eyeforfilm.co.uk

Female porn film-maker Anna Span announced triumphantly to the world that she had won a historic victory with the passing for viewing in the UK of her DVD, Women Love Porn which includes a woman clearly ejaculating .

This, she claimed, was as a result of scientific evidence that she had presented to the BBFC to the effect that female ejaculation is a real phenomenon - and wholly different in form and origin from urination.

This distinction is important, as according to the BBFC, depiction of urination in a sexual context (also known as urolagnia) is illegal under UK obscenity law - and they will not pass films for viewing that contain such material.

So the obvious conclusion must be: the BBFC now recognise female ejaculation.

Not so, according to a spokeswoman for the BBFC. She explained: In this particular work, there was so little focus on urolagnia, that the BBFC took legal advice and the advice was that taking the work as a whole there was no realistic prospect of a successful prosecution under the Obscene Publications Act and therefore the BBFC passed the work. However, were the focus on urolagnia to be more significant in other works, they would require cuts.

Annual Report 2009

25th July 2010

The BBFC stated their position in the 2009 Annual Report:

In consultation with enforcement agencies and in order to ensure intervention is consistent with current interpretation of the legislation, the BBFC may pass brief and isolated examples of limited sexualised urination, so long as there are no harm concerns under the VRA and only in certain contexts where there is no realistic prospect of successful prosecution under the OPA.

The BBFC updated their current position in the 2010 Annual Report:

In consultation with enforcement agencies and in order to ensure intervention is consistent with current interpretation of the legislation, the BBFC may pass brief and isolated examples of urination as a part of sexual play, so long as there are no harm concerns under the Video Recordings Act 1984 and no realistic prospect of successful prosecution under the Obscene Publications Act.

Email from the BBFC

September 2010, Thanks to Sergio:

The BBFC makes no distinction in practice between examples of urination / urolagnia and squirting or female ejaculation when they appear in sex works.

Our position is consistent with the enforcement agencies and based on current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959. Under the Crown Prosecution Service guidance and through our own consultation with the Police we are aware that examples of urolagnia (eg. urinating onto another person, ingesting urine) in sex works are likely to be found obscene. The BBFC is obliged to refuse classification to any material which it believes to be in breach of the criminal law.

Material which will not be found obscene under the OPA, for example urination aside from sexual activity or where more borderline cases are very brief and occur no more than once or twice, are likely to be passed at R18. It's very unlikely that urination or female ejaculation will be passed at 18 in a sex work.

Fisting
The BBFC routinely cut fisting as the authorities have defined fisting to be obscene. They claim that juries regularly find such scenes to be obscene.

The BBFC define fisting as penetration with all five digits beyond the last knuckle

Hot Wax
On police/CPS advice, the BBFC disallow scenes of hot wax dripping on genitals or the anus. There is no prohibition on less sensitive parts of the body.

Comment from beaunidl on The Melon Farmers' Forum

Wrong ! Just watched Tarrant On TV, and at 10:22pm on 12 Oct 2006 there was a piece which clearly showed molten wax being dripped on the tip of a limp willy. The penis ended up coated with a wick in the end (a human candle). The domatrix then lit the wick and the sub blew it out, on the 3rd or 4th attempt.

Titles
In particular the BBFC have a chip on their shoulder about the word 'teen' in R18 titles.

The title of a work is likely to be seen by many members of the public who would never choose to watch the contents. It will be displayed on packaging and promotional material, and will appear on the BBFC's website database. The potential for offence is therefore significantly greater than for language which appears in the body of the work itself, which is encountered only by those who have chosen to view the work in question. The degree of offence likely to be caused will depend to some extent on how likely the public are to come across the title by accident.

In addition to considerations of 'offence', the BBFC is also concerned about titles which apparently promise illicit pleasures even though the material itself is neither harmful nor illegal. In future, therefore, the BBFC may ask for changes to a title of a work if it falls into one of the following three categories:

  1. It suggests that sexual participants may be under 18 or that illegal sexual activity (eg incest, rape) is being depicted. Words such as 'schoolgirl', 'scout', 'teenager', 'very young' and 'child' are unlikely to be acceptable if the title has sexual connotations unless the title as a whole makes it clear that the content is not concerned with the presentation of sex involving under-18s.
  2. It suggests that the content may be degrading, dehumanising or humiliating. Words such as 'bitch', 'whore' and 'slut' may be unacceptable if used in a context which appears to degrade women.
  3. It is likely to cause unusual offence to a significant proportion of those who are likely to come across it. The use of pornographic language in a title is unlikely to be acceptable at 18. Particularly crude or explicit titles are unlikely to be acceptable even at R18.
Mail Order
Adverts for hardcore media
Under the Video Recordings Act 1984 it is illegal to offer to supply an 'R18' classified video work other than in a licensed sex shop. This prohibition includes offers to supply by mail order from websites based outside the UK: making the offer in the UK is an offence in itself even if the supply would originate from abroad. It is also illegal to offer to supply an unclassified video work unless that work is exempt from classification. Hardcore pornography is, by its nature, not exempt from classification.

i) A simple website or postal address with no suggestion (verbal, text or pictorial) that goods or services can be purchased from it (eg “www.productionhouse.com”) will normally be passed uncut unless the title itself implies that goods can be purchased from the address (eg “www.buystuffhere.com”) in which case (ii) applies.

ii) A website or postal address accompanied by a suggestion (verbal, text or pictorial) that goods or services can be purchased from it (eg “Products are available in our online store www.productionhouse.com”) will normally be cut if a visit to the website reveals that it appears to be offering R18 material or its equivalent (or stronger) by mail order.

NB “by mail order” involves an offer to sell a tape, disc, chip or other storage device by means of the post or a parcel or courier service or similar. An offer to supply hardcore material by video-on-demand (streaming, downloads, etc) or other manner in which no physical product changes hands does not count as mail order supply of a video work.
Urolagnia

Urination is permissible in at least R18 sex works but only when it is shown separately to any sex scenes. The BBFC describe urination in sex scenes as urolagnia and routinely cut it out.

Hobosoup adds that:

Sex, Wives & Videotape by Viv Thomas in 2003. Includes a scene of a man and woman in a bathtub, the woman stands over man and urinates onto his face and into his mouth.

If I remember correctly the BBFC said it was a mistake and once given the certificate it couldn't be revoked.

Ian G comments:

I was going to mention the pissing scene in Taxi Zum Klo. Of course, that's 'different', its not a "sex work" so it doesn't get cut like R18.

 

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