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2015: Oct-Dec

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A word about the BBFC...

Ricky Gervais lets the BBFC knows what he thinks of their 18 rating for Derek: The Special

Link Here6th December 2015
Derek [The Special] is a 2014 UK TV comedy drama by Dominic Brigstocke.
Starring Ricky Gervais, Kerry Godliman and David Earl. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

Ricky Gervais recently had the Christmas 2014 special episode of his series Derek passed by the BBFC -- with an 18 rating. Other episodes from both series were passed 15, some for uses of the word cunt. He was offered a 15 rating for the special if he bleeped some of the language but he declined, taking an uncut 18. He wittily explained the rating in a Facebook post:

They slapped an 18 Certificate on me because I refused to bleep the bad language... I just hope no 17 year olds get to see it and have their lives ruined. The certification board said the reason it got an 18 certificate was because of too many cunts. I couldn't agree more.

What's funny about this is that all of his four live stand-up DVDs are all 18 for multiple uses of cunt, but one, Fame , was passed 15 which similarly contained multiple uses of the word (it's three or four, I don't remember the exact number, but a number not far removed from the number in the Derek special).

Interesting to see a prominent celebrity posting about first-hand experience with the BBFC.



UK parents want the same age ratings for VOD films as cinema films...

Do the BBFC know something we don't about a vacancy for the job of internet censor?

Link Here 1st December 2015

Research shows 85% of parents consider it important to have consistent classification on and offline

Research conducted on behalf of the BBFC shows UK parents want to see the same classification information provided for films at the cinema and on DVD/Blu-ray, applied to film and video content available on VOD services. At present 55% of parents say the ease of checking age ratings on film or video downloads is variable.

The research involved parents, adults over 18, and children, from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and builds on similar research carried out in 2011 to measure attitudes toward the classification of streamed/downloaded videos.

Inconsistent age labelling methods across different online services, may explain why viewers do not always find it easy to check age ratings online. VOD content labelled with BBFC age rating symbols was noticed and correctly recalled by 7 out of 10 viewers, whereas only 9% noticed plain numeric or text age rating labels. The research also showed prominent display of identifiable and trusted age ratings next to film titles on VOD, and before the prompt to buy, stream or download content, is the most helpful form of labelling. David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC said:

Parents with children who watch VOD content continue to expect to find BBFC age ratings online. 85% of parents say it is important to have consistent classification on and offline and this figure rises to 91% among parents whose youngest child is under 10 years old. Although improvements could be made to increase the number of platforms using BBFC age rating symbols it is encouraging to see 78% of adults find BBFCinsight information useful with our free BBFC app having greatest appeal as a source for classification information.

Online classification checking is now approaching the level of checking undertaken by parents for cinema films with 81% checking age ratings for VOD content. Further research into age ratings for music videos online published in September (2015) shows 78% of parents also value age ratings for online music videos.



Tit for Tat...

After British press mockery of Indian film censors cutting Spectre, a local newspaper points out a film that was cut by the BBFC but was uncut in India

Link Here27th November 2015
Thoongaavanam is a 2015 India thriller by Rajesh M Selva.
Starring Kamal Haasan, Prakash Raj and Trisha Krishnan. Youtube linkBBFC link IMDb

The British press have been mocking India over the last week with the news that the Indian film censor cut James Bond's kissing scenes in Spectre.

So perhaps as a little bit of a riposte, an Indian newspaper has pointed out an example where BBFC cuts were made for cinema release for a film that the Indian censors passed uncut.

Actually the claims in the Indian newspaper are slightly inaccurate, as the newspaper reports:

The Indian Censor Board has competition from unexpected quarters: their conservative British counterparts.

In the line of fire is Kamal Haasan's new thriller Thoongavanam that has been granted a 15+ certification by the British Censor Board. And that, too, only after the huge action sequence between Kamal Haasan and his leading lady Trisha was toned down. Kamal Haasan said:

It was very surprising. The Indian Censor Board had no objection to my taking on Trisha man-to-man...or man-to-woman in a one-to-one combat.

In fact the UK BBFC category cuts were required for a 12A rated 2015 cinema release. The BBFC would have passed the film 15 uncut but the distributors wanted a 12A, so accepted the cuts. The BBFC commented:

The distributor chose to remove shots of strong violence and bloodshed (in this instance, a scene of suffocation, shootings, sight of blood spurts and sight of bloody injury detail) in order to achieve a 12A rating. A 15 without cuts was available.



Contributing to the end of censorship conflicts...

David Austin announced as the new director of the BBFC from March 2016

Link Here24th November 2015

The BBFC has announced the appointment of David Austin OBE, as the new Director of the BBFC.

Mr Austin is currently Assistant Director at the BBFC, coordinating the BBFC's policy work and leading on its public affairs outreach. He is also responsible for managing the BBFC's research, communications and education programmes.

He will be taking up the post on 12 March 2016, when the current Director, David Cooke, retires.

David Austin said:

I am delighted to bring my expertise as both a Film Examiner and Assistant Director to the role of BBFC Director. It is vital for the BBFC to continue to consult the public regularly and to meet their expectations of both classification and the ease with which they expect to be able to access to classification information, enabling them to make informed decisions about what they and their family watch at the cinema, on DVD or Blu-ray and online.

Under David Cooke and in partnership with the home entertainment industry in particular, the BBFC has transformed its remit to reflect the needs of a digital society, bringing its expertise in child protection and information provision online. I am greatly looking forward to continuing to work with my colleagues at the BBFC, the Presidential Team, the Council of Management and the Board's advisory bodies and stakeholders to ensure the BBFC continues to act as an expert and trusted guide to film, DVD/Blu-ray and digital platforms.

David Cooke said:

I am delighted that the Appointments Panel, consisting of Graham Lee and Maggie Carver from the Council of Management and Patrick Swaffer and Alison Hastings from the Presidential Team, have appointed David. David has been a close colleague for over eleven years, and has pioneered many key initiatives such as our contract with the Mobile Network Operators, our partnership with international colleagues for classifying User Generated Content, and our partnership with the music industry and platforms for classifying physical and online music videos. I am sure that David will take the BBFC from strength to strength in serving the public, and the cause of child protection, in the internet age.

David Austin received an OBE in 1999 for his contribution to helping end conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. David joined the BBFC in 2003 as an Examiner following a career in the Diplomatic Service, serving in South Asia, Central Africa and the former Yugoslavia. He moved to the role of Assistant Director, Policy & Public Affairs in 2011, overseeing the most recent public consultation of the BBFC Classification Guidelines in 2013; the introduction of the BBFC Mobile Classification Framework used by UK Mobile Network Operators in 2013; and the BBFC's partnership with the UK music industry and Vevo and YouTube to bring age ratings to online music videos in 2015.

Graham Lee, Chair of the appointments panel and Chairman of the BBFC Council of Management said:

We are very pleased, that after a rigorous, open and transparent selection process, we have been able to appoint a candidate who has done so much in recent years to build and develop the important services carried out by the BBFC.

The post of Director was filled through open competition.



Campaign: Make the BBFC watch paint dry...

Having fun with a crowd funded film of drying paint intended as 14 hours of dreary 'entertainment' for BBFC examiners

Link Here19th November 2015

The British Board of Film Classification (previously known as the British Board of Film Censors) was established in 1912 to ensure films remained free of indecorous dancing , references to controversial politics and men and women in bed together , amongst other perceived indiscretions.

Today, it continues to censor and in some cases ban films, while UK law ensures that, in effect, a film cannot be released in British cinemas without a BBFC certificate.

Each certificate costs around 1000 for a feature film of average length. For many independent filmmakers, such a large upfront can prove prohibitively expensive.

Luckily, there's a flipside to all of this: while filmmakers are required to pay the BBFC to certify their work, the BBFC are also required to sit through whatever we pay them to watch.

That's why I'm Kickstarting a BBFC certificate for my new film Paint Drying -- a single, unbroken shot of white paint drying on a brick wall. All the money raised by this campaign (minus Kickstarter's fees) will be put towards the cost of the certificate, so the final length of the film will be determined by how much money is raised here.

For instance, if we raise 108.59, the film will be one minute long. If we raise 526.90, it'll be an hour long. And so on.

I've shot fourteen continuous hours of footage, on crisp 4K digital video. This should provide enough material for the film, as long as this campaign doesn't raise more than 6057.

If the campaign surpasses that figure, I'll reshoot the film with a longer runtime -- which would also allow Paint Drying to overtake Jacques Rivette's Out 1 (with a runtime of 775 minutes) as the longest film ever rated by the BBFC.



Offsite Article: How 12A is the dishonest film rating that betrays children...

Link Here 12th November 2015
The Daily Mail's Brian Viner adds another whinge at the very popular 12A rating

See article from



Offsite Article: Sex, violence and religion: The films banned by councils...

Link Here 8th November 2015
The BBC speaks of notable films where local councils overruled BBFC ratings

See article from



Offsite Article: Death to the 12A Rating...

Link Here7th November 2015
Film director Pat Higgins is unimpressed by the 12A rating for everything

See article from

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