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2013: Jan-March

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Offsite Article: Deputy Dawson and the Propaganda Kid...

Link Here23rd March 2013
BBFC acts as sheriff in 'wild west' of internet TV. Worrying to note that Tesco VOD service has banned 18 rated films and Sainsbury is expected to follow suit

See article from



Offsite Article: BBFC has persuasion job over online ratings...

Link Here15th March 2013
Online-only shows, such as Netflix's House of Cards, are not legally covered by BBFC ratings so the organisation is on a mission to persuade.

See article from



Extract BBFC Opens its Tombs...

Archive document reveals script censorship for the 1959 Hammer version of The Mummy

Link Here13th March 2013

The Mummy is a 1959 UK horror by Terence Fisher
With Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Yvonne Furneaux. YouTube icon IMDb

The BBFC writes:

Dusting off the ancient archive files for the 1959 Hammer production of The Mummy, starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, we find documents which detail script advice given to Hammer by the BBFC.

Recurring elements of the script to be noted as potential classification issues include the various instances of throttling and the sounds of bones crunching.

...Read the full article



Updated: Just Asking...

The BBFC is publishing an online survey as part of its review of the Film Classification Guidelines.

Link Here1st March 2013

From Friday 1 March for six weeks, anyone will be able to complete the survey on the BBFC website, helping to contribute to the large scale public consultation exercise the BBFC carries out every 4-5 years. The review ensures the BBFC Classification Guidelines for age rating films are in step with public opinion.

The survey asks the public to give their views on the age ratings of recent cinema and DVD releases. It also captures how often respondents visit the cinema, watch films online and whether they usually watch films with a particular age rating. The survey takes around 10 minutes to complete.

David Austin, Assistant Director of the BBFC says:

The online survey is an important part of the Classification Guidelines review process. We're keen to hear from adults and young people about whether they agree with BBFC age ratings for recent films and DVDs and how frequently they watch films both at the cinema and at home.

The results of the online survey will be processed alongside the results of nationwide focus groups, telephone interviews and specialist research, giving the BBFC the views of around 10,000 members of the public. The updated BBFC Classification Guidelines will be published at the end of 2013. The previous BBFC Classification Guidelines Review was carried out in 2009.

Update: The Survey is now live

1st March 2013. See survey from



Extract: The House of Cards (1990)...

BBFC publish examiners report from the archive

Link Here18th February 2013

The BBC production of House Of Cards was submitted to the BBFC for video classification in October 1991. When the drama was originally broadcast by the BBC it was screened after the 9pm watershed. Centering around the Machiavellian antihero Francis 'I couldn't possibly comment' Urquhart, the murderous and twisting plot features sex, drugs and violence.

...See article with archive material contributing to the 15 rating.



Updated: Is it time for a 15A/PG-15 rating?...

With Die Hard 5 and Taken 2 cut to get a broader rating, is it time that UK and US ratings boards took another look at the system?

Link Here17th February 2013

If, reluctantly, we accept that cinemas and distributors are looking for certificates that don't involve refusing someone a ticket (heck, that might require an usher), then can those of us who want to see our films unsullied at least have another option? Can we - as was suggested by one of our readers (JP) here - have in the UK a 15A certificate, that keeps the parental option open, but also prevents studios chopping films to fit in with existing guidelines?

...Read the full article

Comment: Some Things Are Just Not Meant For Children

17th February 2013. See  article from

The other reason a 15A or PG-15 certificate would not be good for adult cinemagoers, is that there are sometimes things that are simply not aimed at, or intended for children. Sometimes films are made, that are made by adults, for adults, and only for adults.

...Read the full article



Whipping Up Some Good Publicity...

Fay Weldon claims that she was duped into campaigning for Michael Winner's The Wicked Lady to be passed uncut

Link Here10th February 2013

The Wicked Lady is a 1983 UK adventure drama by Michael Winner.
With Faye Dunaway, Alan Bates, John Gielgud. YouTube icon IMDb

UK censor James Ferman requested cuts for the UK cinema version to the infamous horse-whip fight between Faye Dunaway and Marina Sirtis claiming that shots of whipped breasts should not be passed by the BBFC.

However he was overruled following protests by Michael Winner who was supported by Kingsley Amis, Karel Reisz, and Fay Weldon (among others) after they viewed a private showing of the film.

Fay Weldon has now claimed that she had been duped into supporting Winner. She claims that the 'uncut' version that she supported after a private viewing was in fact a cut version.

The film was passed uncut for cinema, but the offending whip fight was cut for the subsequent video release.

...Read the full  article



The Information Age...

BBFC outline their age verification policy for website trailers and adult film information

Link Here6th February 2013

The BBFC and MyMovies have announced an extension to their existing partnership that sees the digital agency providing a comprehensive film content and video technology service for the new BBFC website. The recently launched platform brings film ratings with detailed BBFCinsight content information and resources for parents, teachers and students, under one roof for the first time, with MyMovies being the BBFC's preferred supplier for official video and image requirements across a diverse range and depth of titles.

Once provided, all film trailers are age rated by the BBFC, with only trailers rated U, PG, 12A and 15 available. To protect children no trailers rated 18 are made available on the website and to help protect teenagers from accessing unsuitable content, trailers rated 15 also require users to submit their date of birth before viewing. Users also need to enter their date of birth in order to search for, or access information about adult films.



Advertising Film Censorship You Can Trust...

BBFC release advert promoting detailed film information known as BBFCinsight

Link Here31st January 2013

The BBFC is pleased to release a new animated advert to help promote BBFCinsight, the detailed information provided about every film rated by the BBFC. The advert explains why BBFCinsight is useful, where the public can find it and what sort of detail it contains.

BBFCinsight gives parents a clear idea of how and why films have been rated and what issues the films contain. It is displayed on the BBFC website and free BBFC Apps under the title and running time for each film. A short summary of BBFCinsight is also printed on DVD boxes and cinema posters.

The new BBFCinsight advert is rated U and is being featured before theatrical releases free of charge by Pearl and Dean and DCM during the remainder of January until the end of March. It will also be available online on the BBFC website.

David Austin, Assistant Director of the BBFC says:

We'd like to thank DCM and Pearl and Dean for placing the advert in front of thousands of cinema-goers and the Cinema Exhibitors' Association for their support on this and wider BBFC projects with cinemas across the UK. The advert shows how BBFCinsight can help parents make informed and safe viewing choices. BBFCinsight not only gives information about the age rating issues in a film, but also other details parents have told us they like to be aware of, themes of divorce or bereavement that may not impact on the age rating, but might upset some children.

The BBFCinsight advert, produced by Create advertising, follows closely the launch of a new BBFC website which allows users to search for BBFCinsight, watch trailers for new films and sign up to receive regular BBFC newsletters. The website also holds information and resources for parents, teachers and students including a regular BBFC podcast.



Worthy but Dull...

Podcast 10: BBFC gives a platform to Childnet International and FACT

Link Here31st January 2013

This episode features some good banter about the ever colourful film director Michael Winner who died recently.

But then it gives platforms to worthy and well spoken speakers from Childnet International and FACT about child internet safety and video piracy. Inevitably they end up just preaching the bleedin' obvious, and it's deadly dull. Perhaps the BBFC should have interviewed the Daily Mail editorial department on how to properly deal with these important issues.

A nice coda from Michael Winner though.



Extract: Impressionable Minds...

BBFC archive reveals how the Prime of Miss Jean Brodie got saddled with an X certificate

Link Here26th January 2013

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was classified X by the BBFC in January 1969.

Twentieth Century Fox asked the Board to reconsider in order to allow a wider audience to appreciate the film, believing that an X certificate implied that a film was more extreme or adult than they considered their production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie to be.

BBFC Director John Trevelyan explains to Fox, in a letter published here, that the X certificate will remain due to the potential for the eponymous teacher to influence young girls, and that in a sense our decision is a compliment to the film and to [Maggie Smith's] performance .



Offsite Article: The BBFC have stepped in to protect us, not a rape or act of sadistic violence too soon...

Link Here22nd January 2013
Academic welcomes the new Tom, Dick and Harry rules on sexual violence that have just come into force at the BBFC

See article from



Offsite Article: Educated in Moral Harm...

Link Here17th January 2013
Lucy Brett, Head of Education at the BBFC, interviewed by GeekChocolate

See article from



Offsite Article: From the BBFC Archives...

Link Here11th January 2013
Revealed: Censors gave 1979 classic Alien adults-only rating as teenagers would be confused about sex and reproduction due to pulsating egg scene

See article from



Historical Ratings...

Roman Polanski's Tess uprated from PG to 12

Link Here10th January 2013

Tess is a 1979 France/UK drama romance by Roman Polanski.
With Nastassja Kinski, Peter Firth and Leigh Lawson. IMDb

UK: Passed 12 uncut for a discreet scene of sexual violence for:
  • UK 2013 BFI RB Blu-ray/R2 DVD Combo at UK Amazon released on 18th March 2013

Tess was originally classified A (PG) for cinema release in 1980 and was subsequently classified PG for video release in 1987, before the 12 certificate was introduced. This cinema and DVD/Blu-ray re-release is rated 12 for a discreet scene of sexual violence.

In a key scene Tess is raped by her cousin Alec, with whom she goes on to have a reluctant but consensual relationship. Tess tries to fight Alec off as he kisses her, starts to unbutton her dress and then lies on top of her. However, the scene cuts away and no further detail is shown. The scene exceeds the terms of the PG Guidelines today and is more appropriately rated 12 where the Guidelines state sexual violence may be implied or briefly and discreetly indicated. The scene has a strong contextual justification in terms of the film's narrative.

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