Melon Farmers Original Version


2011: April-June

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30th June   

Updated: Changing Appeal...

BBFC changes the Video Appeals Committee rules
Link Here

The following message has appeared on the main page of the BBFC website::

The BBFC has updated the structure of the independent Video Appeals Committee and the rules governing how it functions. The new rules will apply to any video work submitted to the BBFC for classification on or after 1 July 2011.

Update: Appealing for Details

30th June 2011.

Thanks to Shaun who has written to the BBFC asking for details of this change:

Could you please provide (for the readers of the Melon Farmer's web site) any more information on this please?

What does it mean? There seems to be no further explanation on the BBFC web site.

How can the V.A.C. be in any way independent of the BBC if you [the BBFC] are free to change the rules by which it operates or its structure ? That it is supposed to be independent doesn't make any sense whatsoever if you can do that.

Update: Ignored

9th August 2011. Thanks to Shaun

The BBFC did not respond to requests for details about new Video Appeals Committee


21st June   

Judging a Censor by its Complaints...

BBFC reports on its tiny post bag
Link Here

It seems to have become a tradition for the newspapers to summarise censor's annual reports via a top 10 of complaints. It seems a strange way to judge BBFC censorship, given that there are no more than handful, but perhaps the near total lack of complaints should be seen as a public show of support for a year of realistic decisions.

  • The Lovely Bones : 24 complaints

    Complaints about the 12A classification decision.

    Based on Alice Sebold's best-selling book, The Lovely Bones follows teenager Susie Salmon in the afterlife after she is murdered by a local serial killer. Many found the film to be a shocking and upsetting experience. The scene in which young Susie is entrapped by the killer, and the subsequent sequence in which the killer soaks in a bath after the murder, were compared by some complainants to scenes in 18 rated horror films.

    We recognised that the theme of the film is a distressing one and that some scenes would have a strong impact. It was felt that the film was right on the 12A'/'15 borderline. Our Guidelines for 12A state that mature themes are acceptable, but their treatment must be suitable for young teenagers . The Lovely Bones lacked any explicit detail of the murder and any sexual elements were downplayed. The audience's sympathies remain entirely with the family and the film had many positive messages about life. It was also recognised that many teenagers would be familiar with the book, and the film presented a valuable precautionary warning to the 12 14 age group. After very careful consideration the Board judged that The Lovely Bones could be accommodated at 12A .

  • Inferno : 23 views supporting no cuts for animal cruelty

    A campaign run by a couple of online forums led to the BBFC receiving 12 pleas for the film Inferno, by cult director Dario Argento, not to be cut on the grounds of illegal animal cruelty. When the BBFC determined that the scene in question did not breach the legal tests for animal cruelty and passed it uncut, we received 11 emails thanking us for our decision.

  • Kick Ass : 21 complaints

Complaints about the 15 rated violence and the one use of very strong language uttered by a child character in the superhero . Some believed the nature of the violence, despite its comic and hyper-real tone, was more appropriate at the adult rating and that it trivialised torture and knife crime. Some expressed the opinion that its comic treatment actually exacerbated its impact and would encourage teenagers to violence. The fact that it was often child characters who perpetrated the violence was an aggravating factor for some.

The Board's view was that the fantastical and tongue-in-cheek nature of the situations in Kick-Ass would be self-evident to most audiences; and the film did later demonstrate the brutal consequences of violence. Overall, there was a lack of focus on injuries and suffering, and an absence of any sadistic or sexualised element to the violence which allowed the film to be rated 15 .

  • The Hole : 19 complaints

Parents felt the marketing of The Hole (rated 12A') as a 'family adventure film did not prepare them sufficiently for what was actually a horror film for young teenagers.

Two brothers, with the girl next door, release a malignant power when they open a seemingly bottomless hole in their cellar. While the film contains some scary moments and occasional gory images, permitted at 12A , these were felt to be alleviated by the comic banter between the teenage characters and the fantasy element throughout. The film also contained messages about facing your fears, taking responsibility for your actions and valuing family and friendship which were considered important for young teenagers. The film's Consumer Advice clearly stated that it contained sustained moderate horror .

  • Toy Story 3 : 12 complaints

    Parent complained believed the film to be too dark and upsetting to be rated U , ie suitable for all.

    The one-eyed Baby Doll character was compared to the Chucky Doll character in the horror film series of the same name, while the scene in which the beloved toys head towards a landfill incinerator and bravely face their death before being rescued at the last minute were cited as distressing aspects in a film which lacked the sunnier aspect of the previous two Toy Story films. When classifying the film, the Board recognised that it contained some intense moments as the toys face a number of dangers on their journey. But these were counterbalanced by the comedy, the now familiar camaraderie of the toys and the overall happy ending which sees the toys reunited and passed on to their new, younger owner.


17th June

 Offsite: Not Too Keen on the BBFC?...

Link Here
Full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse
Interview with Alan Jones about Human centipede II and Frightfest

See article from


15th June   

Waiting Game...

BBFC hand over of games to the VSC said to be delayed, possibly until Christmas
Link Here

  The ghost of Christmas yet to come

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has admitted that complex technical points are behind the ongoing delay to legal implementation of PEGI age-ratings for video games in the UK.

Negotiations between the Government, overseen personally by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, the Video Standards Council, and the BBFC, are understood to be at a delicate stage. But sources familiar with the matter said there was optimism that the system could still be passed into law by Christmas .

As revealed by in January, a complicated debate over packaging regulations had thrown a spanner in the works, with the BBFC's role in particular requiring definitive clarification. The main sticking point remains the issue of linear (i.e. trailer) content, which regulations require is rated by the BBFC.


15th June

 Offsite: The Ridiculous BBFC...

Link Here
Full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse
Interview with Tom Six about The Human Centipede II

See article from


14th June

 Offsite: Irreversible...

Link Here
The critical reception of a 'rape film'

See article from


13th June   

Update: Censorship Bounty...

Eureka Entertainment and Bounty Films issue press release about the BBFC ban on Human Centipede II
Link Here
Full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

Press Release on behalf of Eureka Entertainment and Bounty Films: Re The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) :

Within the last week, the BBFC announced that it had rejected and was unable to classify for release on DVD, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence).

Bounty Films, and its UK distribution partner Eureka Entertainment Ltd., are disappointed by the decision of the BBFC to deny the film a classification certificate. While both companies respect the authority of the board, we strongly disagree with their decision.

In support of their decision, the BBFC issued a press release that gave an unprecedented level of detail regarding certain scenes contained within the film. Whilst it appears customary for the BBFC to issue press releases in support of its decision making, the level of detail provided therein does seem inconsistent with previous releases where the statements have been more concise. We are concerned this may be prejudicial to our forthcoming appeal.

The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is adult entertainment for fans of horror films. If a film of this nature does not seek to push boundaries, to challenge people and their value systems or to shock, then it is not horror. The subject matter of this film is in line with not only the genre, but other challenging entertainment choices for adult consumers.

We respect those who have different opinions about both the film and the genre, and whose opinions may differ to our own, but we hope that the opinions of the adults for whom this product is intended will also be considered. The adult consumers who would watch this film fully understand that it is fictional entertainment and nothing more.

Classifying and rating product allows the public to make an informed choice about the art and media they wish to consume. Censoring or preventing the public from obtaining material that has not been proven to be harmful or obscene, is indefensible in principle and is often counterproductive in practice. Through their chosen course of action, the BBFC have ensured that the awareness of this film is now greater than it would otherwise have been.

Having taken advice on these matters, and in accordance with BBFC guidelines, we will be submitting our appeal to the Video Appeals Committee in due course.


10th June

 Offsite: I don't want to watch Human Centipede II...

Link Here
Full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse
But I want the right to watch it

See article from


9th June   

Sexualised Violence, Sexualised Children and Fucking Speech Therapy...

BBFC Publishes its Annual Report for 2010
Link Here

Sexual violence, strong language and the sexualisation of children were the three dominant classification issues for the BBFC in 2010. At the same time the BBFC continued to work with the industry to develop voluntary content labelling strategies for online and Video On Demand (VOD) content outside the Board's traditional statutory regulatory role. Announcing the publication of the Annual Report for 2010, David Cooke, Director of the BBFC, said:

A number of the BBFC's classification decisions were the subject of public and media debate in 2010. The significant cuts to reduce sexual and sexualised violence in I Spit on Your Grave and A Serbian Film in order to obtain an '18' rating prompted some commentators to suggest that the BBFC had suddenly tightened its policies. In both instances, the decisions were firmly in line with our published classification Guidelines which result from extensive and regular consultation with the public. The '15' and '12A' classifications, given respectively, to two highly praised British films, Made in Dagenham and The King's Speech , also prompted lively debate in the media about the Board's language policies. It is clear that the public still expects us to be vigilant on language issues: the distinction between the two films was that The King's Speech involved an exceptional context, that of speech therapy, for which there was no equivalent in Made in Dagenham.

The third area of debate was the sexualisation of children. As a result of public concern, the Government launched a review into the commercialisation and sexualisation of children. The BBFC submitted evidence to the consultation covering how we deal with the sexualisation of children in works submitted for classification. One area where this is of concern is some music videos. Most music videos are exempt from classification, but some distributors do submit them to us on a voluntary best practice basis. The well recognised and trusted BBFC symbols and content information on these works mean that parents can make informed decisions about which material is appropriate for their children. We are working with the home entertainment industry on ways of better informing consumers about the content of such video works.

The fact that our symbols and content advice are well recognised and trusted is proving attractive to companies providing video content in the online and Video On Demand world. The voluntary service set up in partnership with the home entertainment and film industries in 2008, continues to expand and attract new members. In addition we have also launched a voluntary scheme we call Watch and Rate for works not covered by statutory regulation, to be distributed as VOD only. Watch and Rate offers robust child protection online and allows the industry to test the market for a particular product by trialling it online before going to the expense of pressing and distributing DVDs.

We have also begun providing compliance services to companies supplying VOD and other online services. We are able to perform this role because of the unrivalled expertise we have built up over many years fulfilling the statutory responsibilities accorded to us by Government.

Providing detailed information about the content of works we have classified is central to the role of the BBFC now and in the future. Our Consumer Advice and Extended Classification Information (ECI) are available on both our main website and our website specifically for parents. We are looking at ways of bringing that information to even more consumers. One way we are doing that is via the BBFC's free App for iPhones which enables access to ECI wherever you happen to be. This has been very well received and, by popular demand, we will be rolling out an Android version very shortly.

We are looking forward to our centenary year in 2012 which will see us working even closer with industry customers to make classification (whether statutory, voluntary, physical or digital) easier and quicker, while maintaining the same rigorous levels of child protection and provision of information and support to a standard and richness which we believe to be a world-leader.


8th June   

Update: British Viewers at the End of the Food Chain...

Human Centipede II passed R18+ by the Australian film censor
Link Here
Full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse
The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is a 2011 Netherlands/UK horror by Tom Six which has just been banned by the BBFC.

It is interesting to note that the film was passed R18+ for public exhibition in Australia. R18+ is equivalent to the UK 18 rating. The Australian censors do not mention cuts or modifications so presumably it is uncut


8th June   

Update: Eureka!...

BBFC ban on Human Centipede II to be appealed
Link Here
Full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

There's a twitter message doing the rounds that says that Bounty Films and Eureka! film distributors will appeal against the BBFC ban on Human Centipede II (Full Sequence).


8th June   

Comment: Harmful Bollox...

Delving a little deeper into the BBFC ban on The Human Centipede II
Link Here
Full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

An interesting piece by Jane Fae who analyses the BBFC's justification for banning The Human Centipede II alongside the Video recordings Act, Obscene Publications Act and Dangerous Pictures Act.

Was the decision to ban Human Centipede 2 correct in law?

See  article from by Jane Fae

Those boldly proclaiming on the internet that they'll be getting their own copies of this movie anyway should beware. Without a BBFC rating, a depiction of rape involving barbed wire wrapped round someone's penis sounds very much like a realistic depiction of an act likely to do serious harm in a sexual context.

In other words, extreme porn , possession of which is a criminal offence, liable to punishment by means of a fine, community service or prison. You have been warned!

...Read the full  article

Too obscene to be seen?

See  article from  by Jane Fae

So how do the BBFC know what is obscene - and therefore ought not to be released into the public domain: they ask the experts (aka police and CPS lawyers) what sort of material juries are likely to consider obscene. So, according to these experts, juries in many parts of the country would find the practice of urolagnia (aka golden showers ) obscene.

We asked the CPS if they had any stats as to when the last prosecution in respect of this practice happened. They don't. What we do know, however, is that prosecutions for obscenity are a dying breed. A report from the CPS themselves has just 82 charges under the Obscene Publications Act reaching the magistrates' courts in 2009-10. It is likely that not all of these succeeded or were continued.

Yet the BBFC steadfastly refuse to rate films containing this practice - even extending the ban out to anything that features what they consider to be female ejaculation which, again, with very little evidence, they maintain is no more than pee - and therefore quite unshowable.

...Read the full  article

Hopefully though Human Centipede II does not count under the Dangerous Pictures Act. The BBFC didn't note it as a 'sex work' so presumably they didn't see it as primarily intended to sexually arouse. And hopefully the barbed wire rape falls short of explicit or 'realistic'.

Film critic Kim Newman offered up a very plausible angle about the BBFC ban. See article on

He reminds us that one of the founding aims of the BBFC is for it to protect the film industry from prosecution. Given that the Crown Persecution Service have steadfastly held on to their own definitions of obscenity, then the concept of eating shit is still something that falls within their definition.

With this in mind, it seems that BBFC may be wise to ensure that film makers and retailers are protected from the risk of prosecution.

Surely this has got to be a lot more credible reason for a ban than bollox about harm to viewers. It is pretty near impossible to conceive examples of what 'harm', the BBFC is alluding to. Surely a surreal, unbelievable and uncopyable concept of a surgically created human chain is one of the least likely foundations for fears about taking inspiration for real world evil acts. Perhaps the BBFC are thinking more along the lines of people suffering heart attacks induced by extreme 'outrage'.

Judging by the amount of internet chatter on the subject, then this could be the first ban of a popular work since the ban on the game Manhunt . Presumably this will therefore be the first banned work that could result in mass censorship avoidance via internet download. It will be interesting to see if this will pose any challenge to the UK censorship system/

But maybe if Kim Newman's right and the major objective if for the British film industry to avoid prosecution then, all will have worked fine. The fact that anyone will be able to watch it anyway, no doubt doing no-one any actual harm, will quickly fade away into old news.


7th June   

Update: Not Real...

Director Tom Six comments on the ban of The Human Centipede 2
Link Here
Full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse
The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is a 2011 Netherlands/UK horror by Tom Six just banned by the BBFC.

Director Tom Six commented to :

Thank you BBFC for putting spoilers of my movie on your website and thank you for banning my film in this exceptional way. Apparently I made an horrific horror-film, but shouldn't a good horror film be horrific? My dear people it is a fucking MOVIE. It is all fictional. Not real. It is all make-belief. It is art. Give people their own choice to watch it or not. If people can't handle or like my movies they just don't watch them. If people like my movies they have to be able to see it any time, anywhere also in the UK.


7th June

 Offsite: Hard Decisions...

Link Here
Murray Perkins of the BBFC talks about the censorship of R18s

See article from


6th June   

Update: BBFC Heads Planted Firmly up their Arses...

Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) banned
Link Here
Full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse
The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is a 2011 Netherlands/UK horror by Tom Six. See IMDb

The BBFC has rejected the sexually violent, and potentially obscene DVD, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) This means that it cannot be legally supplied anywhere in the UK. The decision was taken by the Director, David Cooke and the Presidential Team of Sir Quentin Thomas, Alison Hastings and Gerard Lemos.

The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is a sequel to the film The Human Centipede (First Sequence), which was classified 18 uncut for cinema and DVD release by the BBFC in 2010. The first film dealt with a mad doctor who sews together three kidnapped people in order to produce the human centipede'of the title. Although the concept of the film was undoubtedly tasteless and disgusting it was a relatively traditional and conventional horror film and the Board concluded that it was not in breach of our Guidelines at '18 . This new work, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), tells the story of a man who becomes sexually obsessed with a DVD recording of the first film and who imagines putting the centipede idea into practice. Unlike the first film, the sequel presents graphic images of sexual violence, forced defecation, and mutilation, and the viewer is invited to witness events from the perspective of the protagonist. Whereas in the first film the centipede idea is presented as a revolting medical experiment, with the focus on whether the victims will be able to escape, this sequel presents the centipede idea as the object of the protagonist's depraved sexual fantasy.

The principal focus of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is the sexual arousal of the central character at both the idea and the spectacle of the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture, and murder of his naked victims. Examples of this include a scene early in the film in which he masturbates whilst he watches a DVD of the original Human Centipede film, with sandpaper wrapped around his penis, and a sequence later in the film in which he becomes aroused at the sight of the members of the centipede being forced to defecate into one another's mouths, culminating in sight of the man wrapping barbed wire around his penis and raping the woman at the rear of the centipede . There is little attempt to portray any of the victims in the film as anything other than objects to be brutalised, degraded and mutilated for the amusement and arousal of the central character, as well as for the pleasure of the audience. There is a strong focus throughout on the link between sexual arousal and sexual violence and a clear association between pain, perversity and sexual pleasure. It is the Board's conclusion that the explicit presentation of the central character's obsessive sexually violent fantasies is in breach of its Classification Guidelines and poses a real, as opposed to a fanciful, risk that harm is likely to be caused to potential viewers.

David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said:

It is the Board's carefully considered view that to issue a certificate to this work, even if confined to adults, would be inconsistent with the Board's Guidelines, would risk potential harm within the terms of the VRA, and would be unacceptable to the public.

The Board also seeks to avoid classifying material that may be in breach of the Obscene Publications Acts 1959 and 1964 (OPA) or any other relevant legislation. The OPA prohibits the publication of works that have a tendency to deprave or corrupt a significant proportion of those likely to see them. In order to avoid classifying potentially obscene material, the Board engages in regular discussions with the relevant enforcement agencies, including the CPS, the police, and the Ministry of Justice. It is the Board's view that there is a genuine risk that this video work, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), may be considered obscene within the terms of the OPA, for the reasons given above.

The Board considered whether its concerns could be dealt with through cuts. However, given that the unacceptable content runs throughout the work, cuts are not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification.


4th June   

Old School Thinking...

MP calls for sex education films to be rated by the BBFC before being shown in schools
Link Here

Sex education films shown in schools should be subject to the same age ratings as Hollywood movies, a Northampton MP has claimed.

In April this year, a group of about 40 parents met at the Guildhall in Northampton to express concern that sex education films shown to children in schools were sometimes too graphic. They raised particular objections to cartoons showing graphic depictions of people having sex and other sexual acts.

The Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire, Andrea Leadsom, raised the issue in the House of Commons at the time and has now called for educational films shown in schools to be classified by the BBFC. She said:

We can get back to the aim of sex and relationship education, to teach our children to look after themselves and form healthy relationships in a safe environment in the future when they are emotionally ready to do so.

I have an enormous sympathy with the desire to protect the young from inappropriate material and believe that most teachers and governors have the interests of their pupils at heart.

The question is where to draw the line. What is the right age to begin sex and relationship education and what is the right material to be showing our young people?

After the parents' meeting in Northampton, the group pledged to bombard the county's MPs and councillors with letters expressing their concerns about sex education videos.


31st May   

A Tendency to Deprave and Corrupt...

Ex BBFC film censor jailed for false expense claims
Link Here

Former Conservative peer Lord Taylor of Warwick has been jailed for 12 months for falsely claiming £ 11,277 in parliamentary expenses. He claimed for travel between a home he used in Oxford and Westminster, as well for overnight stays in London.

Taylor listed his main residence as a home in Oxford, which was owned by his nephew, while he actually lived in a flat in Ealing, west London. He said he had made the false claims in lieu of a salary , and had been acting on colleagues' advice.

Jailing him, judge Mr Justice Saunders said the expenses scandal had left an indelible stain on Parliament .

Taylor was a former vice-president of the British Board of Film Classification serving from 1998 until 2000. He was appointed during moral times when the Government were keeping a close eye on BBFC presidential appointments. This was to ensure a bit of Jack Straw imposed morality after James Ferman had started the hardcore legalisation ball rolling by passing a few hardcore snippets in R18 videos. So much for their selection of moral high grounders.


29th May   

BBFC Bahraini Cooperation...

Bahrain gives the BBFC a lesson in 'proper' censorship
Link Here

President of the Information Affairs Authority (IAA) Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa conducted a visit to the BBFC as part of his visit to London.

During his meeting BBFC Assistant Director David Austin presented Shaikh Fawaz with a detailed briefing on the duties of the BBFC related to regulating and classification of films.

Austin also reviewed with IAA president the independency of the board financially and administratively along with means of monitoring movies and its final endorsement.

Meanwhile, Shaikh Fawaz reviewed with Austin various means of cooperation between the IAA and the BBFC making use of its expertise in the Kingdom of Bahrain through the study of privatization of film classification.

Bahrain shows off its censorship expertise by destroying 100,000 publications


Following directives of the IAA's President Shaikh Fawaz, Bahrain's Publication and Publishing Directorate in coordination with the Public Prosecutor destroyed more than 100,000 publications that are contrary to the laws and regulations.

This action is considered the largest of its kind since the past five years, which included the seizure of large numbers of computer software, CD-ROMs and films in violation of the law regulating the press, printing and publishing and the copyright law and that related to rights and intellectual property laws.

The Director of Publications and Publishing Censorship, Nawaf Mohammed Al Mawadh,  said that this process comes in the framework of the keenness of the Kingdom of Bahrain's commitment to international covenants and laws, and to protect the market and society from counterfeit and indecent publications, which are incompatible with the teachings of religion and morals of society.


16th May

 Offsite: Hanna vs the BBFC...

Link Here
Blogger has a go at the BBFC over the 12A certificate for Hanna

See article from


10th May

 Offsite: The Gorno Man...

Link Here
An interview with BBFC senior examiner, Murray Perkins

See article from


9th May   

Press and Public Relations...

A vacancy at the BBFC
Link Here

The BBFC is advertising for a Press and Public Relations Officer

Salary £ 32,857 - £ 38,125

Function: To advise principal officers of the BBFC on media handling and publicity; to manage press and publicity policy generally; to coordinate and develop internal communication systems; and to support the BBFC's public affairs and policy work.


5th April

 Offsite: The Latest Nastiest Film of All Time...

Link Here
The Daily Mail's Chris Tookey has a rant at the 12A certificate for Sucker Punch

See article from

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