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Signaling a very one-sided approach to film censorship...

The BBFC announces children's campaigner Natasha Kaplinsky as new President

Link Here 30th September 2022

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has announced Natasha Kaplinsky as its new President. The newsreader, presenter and journalist is a recognised figure in British public life and is passionate about issues affecting children's rights and welfare. Natasha will take up the new position in October and will replace current President, Patrick Swaffer, who has held the post since 2012.

As President of the BBFC, Natasha will be a member of the Board of Directors and will chair the Board of Classification, which meets monthly. The Board of Classification is responsible for overseeing all matters relating to classification, including the most complex and controversial of cases.

The President also chairs the BBFC's Advisory Council on Children's Viewing (APCV), which was established in 1999 and which meets three times a year. The APCV advises the BBFC on issues concerning children and young people. Its members provide a wide range of skills and expertise connected with child welfare, and contribute to the development of BBFC policy.

The President brings a high-level approach and independence to difficult cases and policy issues. Working with a wide range of external stakeholders across Westminster, Whitehall and the media, Natasha will help to raise awareness of the trusted guidance that the BBFC delivers to UK families. She will also be championing its year-round Education and Outreach activity, and will be meeting with the BBFC Youth Panel in the coming months.

Natasha will provide a sounding board to Chief Executive, David Austin, as the BBFC continues to adapt to deliver its core mission of helping everyone choose content that is right for them and avoid what's not. Natasha and David will work in close collaboration to uphold the positive culture of the organisation and promote staff engagement.

Throughout her career, Natasha has held purposeful roles across public, private and non-profit sectors. With over 20 years of experience, Natasha has worked within both philanthropic and commercial businesses to support vulnerable people and communities around the world. She is skilled at working in tandem with national institutions as well as local charities, understanding the importance of strong partnerships to create an impact.

Amongst other pro-bono roles, Natasha is currently President of Barnardo's and an Ambassador for Save the Children, travelling widely for the organisation. In December 2020, Natasha founded the UK Women's Network, giving women and girls the opportunity to leverage their talents and resources. Natasha is also patron for a number of charities, including The Bevern Trust, a charity that cares for young adults with learning difficulties.

Natasha has an extensive record of achievements, including being awarded an OBE in the Queen's 2017 Birthday Honours List for services to Holocaust Commemoration. In 2014, Natasha became a member of the Prime Minister's Holocaust Commission, and in 2015, she was appointed by the Prime Minister to the United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial Foundation advisory board.

Natasha Kaplinsky said:

I'm delighted to be joining the BBFC in October as the new President. The BBFC is accountable to the Government, Parliament, local authorities, and to people across the UK. It is clear that it takes its accountability seriously, alongside the impartial nature of its role. For over a century, the BBFC has done fantastic work to help families have a positive viewing experience, wherever and however they watch content. It's crucial that children's welfare is at the forefront of policy decision-making and this is central to the BBFC's efforts in the Online Safety space. I am really excited to bring my knowledge and experience to help guide the BBFC in its 110th year and beyond. The challenges that young people face now in the UK are greater than ever before - and I am committed to giving voice to their needs. I can't wait for the opportunities that this next chapter will bring.

David Austin, Chief Executive said:

We are so pleased that Natasha has been appointed as our next President. She brings a wealth of expertise and a profound understanding of our core audience of parents, carers and families. With Natasha at the helm, I am looking forward to seeing how the business will continue to evolve to improve our offer to meet the needs of our industry partners and UK audiences. The influence, media insight, and vision that she will bring will really help to shape the future of the BBFC. He added: I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank Patrick for his invaluable and long-lasting contributions across his ten years as President and the support he has given me as CEO.

Patrick Swaffer, outgoing President said:

As I reflect on the last decade, I am immensely proud of everything we have achieved. The modernisation of the organisation, particularly with the introduction of our cloud-based compliance platform, Horizon, has enabled us to work more flexibly and effectively than ever before. Public trust in the BBFC remains extremely high and as a result we have seen our widely recognised age ratings extend beyond our statutory responsibilities; as encouraged by the Government in their response to the consultation on audience protection standards on VOD services. We now work with 29 online UK services to provide age ratings for content on a voluntary best practice basis, which is a remarkable achievement. As we look ahead, Natasha is the perfect candidate to lead the BBFC through what I'm sure will be yet another transformational phase fully supported by David and the excellent staff at the BBFC who have made my time as President such a pleasure.



Tad The Lost Explorer And The Curse Of The Mummy...

2022 Spain children's cartoon by Enrique Gato is the latest film suffering BBFC category cuts for cinema release

Link Here 16th September 2022
Tad The Lost Explorer And The Curse Of The Mummy is a 2022 Spain animation comedy by Enrique Gato
Starring Óscar Barberán, (voice), Luis Posada, (voice), Michelle Jenner and (voice) BBFC link 2020 IMDb
BBFC category cuts were required for a U rated cinema release in 2022.

Summary Notes

Tad accidentally unleashes an ancient spell endangering the lives of his friends: Mummy, Jeff and Belzoni. With everyone against him and only helped by Sara, he sets off on an adventure, in order to put an end to the curse of the Mummy.


BBFC uncut
MPAA PGUS: Uncut and MPAA PG rated for:


BBFC cut
run: 89:03s
pal: 85:29s
UUK: Passed U for very mild threat, violence, rude humour, language after BBFC cuts:
  • 2022 cinema release

The BBFC commented:

The distributor chose to make changes to the film to achieve their preferred U category. Mild bad language ('crap') was removed.. An uncut PG classification was available.



Watership Down...

A controversially low BBFC U rating has just been update to PG for 2022 cinema release

Link Here5th August 2022
Watership Down is a 1978 UK / USA animation adventure thriller by Martin Rosen.
Starring John Hurt and Richard Briers and Ralph Richardson. BBFC link 2020 IMDb

Based upon Richard Adam's novel of the same title, this animated feature delves into the surprisingly violent world of a warren of rabbits as they seek to establish a new colony free of tyranny and human intervention.

Uncut and U rated by the BBFC for many years.  Perhaps the BBFC's bloodiest, albeit animated, U rated film. It is surely one of the BBFC's most controversial ratings.

The U was finally uprated to PG for cinema release in 2022.



BBFC Annual Report covering 2021...

Reporting on how much film viewers love the BBFC and clamour to see its symbols everywhere online

Link Here13th July 2022

The BBFC introduced its annual report covering its work during 2021:

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2021. The Report outlines key activity and achievements by the organisation after another challenging year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the demand for trusted UK BBFC age ratings stronger than ever before, the Report presents ambitious future goals for the business.

Last year, the BBFC classified 5,431 video submissions; 1,891 online submissions; 659 theatrical films and 104 music videos. At the close of 2021, 27 Video on Demand (VOD) platforms were licensed to display BBFC age ratings in the UK on a voluntary, best practice basis. Through these industry partnerships, the BBFC provided age ratings for over 17,673 pieces of VOD content, equating to 811,178 minutes. This included issuing new in-house classifications for packaged media that can be used online and for digital-only content, as well as the self-rating partnership with Netflix. Other streaming services and platforms working with the BBFC are Prime Video, Apple TV+, Sky Store, StarzPlay, Pluto TV, YouTube Movies, Rakuten TV, amongst others.

2021 represented the busiest year of the BBFC's collaboration with the UK's four Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) since its inception in 2013. Every year, hundreds of millions of websites are classified in accordance with BBFC standards, with mobile networks restricting access by children using mobile internet services to any website that would be classified 18 under the Mobile Classification Framework . Working hand-in-hand with the Mobile Network Operators to protect young people from viewing harmful content, the BBFC adjudicated on 97 websites last year, placing 33 websites behind adult filters.

The Report also shines a light on the organisation's successful ongoing partnership with Netflix. The long-term agreement between the BBFC and Netflix means that UK families will continue to see trusted BBFC age ratings on all Netflix content for years to come. The increase in online age ratings is in line with BBFC research that showed that 91% of parents and 95% of teens want to see the same age ratings that they know and trust from cinema and DVD/Blu-ray packaging applied on video on demand (VOD) and streaming platforms.

Additional key insights from the BBFC's Annual Report and Accounts include:

  • 15 was the most common age rating across cinema, physical media and online, with the BBFC classifying 3,041 pieces of content with the age rating.

  • Discussion of classification and compliance processes, spotlighting an array of high-profile and independent film releases at each age rating category.

  • Findings from research commissioned, including attitudes towards strong and very strong language and the classification of racism and discrimination in films and TV.

  • Strength of partnerships with the industry, charities, and external organisations.

  • Creation of PSHE Association accredited resources for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 4 learners, as well as wider education and outreach activity.

  • Establishment of the BBFC Youth Panel comprising fourteen young people from across the UK, aged 16-19. The panel works in close collaboration with the BBFC to provide feedback on key classification issues, ensuring that we are meeting the needs of young people.

  • Recruitment of five new members to the Advisory Panel on Children's Viewing, contributing to discussions about the Youth Panel; age ratings on VOD services; and the publication of the draft Online Safety Bill.

David Austin, Chief Executive of the BBFC, said:

After another difficult start to the year with COVID-19 restrictions, I am proud of everything we have achieved in 2021 to help parents and families choose content well. Alongside the wider recovery of the cinema industry, it has been especially encouraging to see a significant rise in our trusted age ratings online. Our research shows that UK families want to see the same ratings that they recognise from their local cinema when watching films and TV shows online, so it is reassuring that platforms are working with us to ensure this demand is met. Now in our 110th year, we continue to deliver more of our trusted and well-understood age ratings from cinemas to streaming platforms across the UK to help families choose content that's right for them.

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