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UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
UK film classification 2010
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UK film classification 2010

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Overview of the background, history and operation of film and video classification in the UK.

Overview of the background, history and operation of film and video classification in the UK.

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  • Clue: it's not the one with the strictest rules…
  • You see highest levels of cuts and bans during those periods where social change is at its most fervent. Filmmakers push at the boundaries, and the system is forced to adapt. The last film to be banned was The Last House of the Left, from 1972.
  • DE Bill is at Re[ort Stage in H. of Lords. When I first delivered this lecture, three years ago, the third point was a very real threat, but it has abated somewhat with BBFC Online.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Film classification in the UK Jim Barratt 8 March 2010
    • 2. Aim <ul><li>Introduction to UK film and video classification </li></ul><ul><li>Overview </li></ul><ul><li>Why study censorship? </li></ul><ul><li>Brief history </li></ul><ul><li>Legal considerations </li></ul><ul><li>BBFC structure </li></ul><ul><li>Mechanics of classification </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges </li></ul>
    • 3. Why study censorship? <ul><li>It is intrinsic to the film business- the way films are </li></ul><ul><li>made, marketed, distributed and consumed </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of the classification system informs film making and marketing decisions, and the way audiences approach films </li></ul><ul><li>Example: PG-13 f-word </li></ul><ul><li>Boundary setting defines the limits of acceptability and film makers and marketers sometimes like to push against boundaries </li></ul><ul><li>Example: 9 Songs (2005) 'The most sexually explicit film in the history of British cinema' ( The Guardian ) </li></ul>
    • 4. <ul><li>Charlie's Angels (2000) </li></ul>This is England (2007)
    • 5. Brief history <ul><li>Key trend over time= liberalisation and rationalisation </li></ul>Moralistic paternalism Bureaucratic protectionism <ul><li>Unwritten rules </li></ul><ul><li>Shared values, rigid moral code </li></ul><ul><li>We know what's best for you </li></ul><ul><li>Published guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>Public consultation </li></ul><ul><li>Child protection </li></ul>
    • 6. 1912 Social changes Censorship changes 1920s 1930s 1940s British Board of Film Censors established Prohibits 'indecorous, ambiguous and irreverent titles', 'unnecessary exhibition of under-clothing' etc. 1932- introduction of 'U', 'A' and 'H' symbols Pre-war: Victorian values Inter-war years: General strike, Depression and decline of the empire
    • 7. 1950s Social changes Censorship changes 1960s 1970s 1951- 'X' category introduced The Wild One (1954) Release delayed for 13 years for 'spectacle of unbridled hooliganism' 1960- Lady Chatterley's Lover trial Post-war prosperity & birth of the teenager! Baby-boomers come of age; sexual and social liberation The dream sours: economic downturn and social unrest 1970- 'X' raised to 18
    • 8. <ul><li>1980s </li></ul><ul><li>Home video takes off </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Video nasties’- DPP list </li></ul><ul><li>Video Recordings Act 1984 </li></ul><ul><li>Name changed to British Board of Film Classification </li></ul><ul><li>‘ A’ becomes ‘PG’, ‘AA’ changes to ‘15’ and ‘X’ becomes ‘18’. ‘R18’ introduced for films to be shown in private members clubs or sold in licensed premises </li></ul><ul><li>‘ 12’ rating added in 1989 ( Batman ) </li></ul>
    • 9. <ul><li>1990s </li></ul><ul><li>Juvenile crime and video violence </li></ul><ul><li>Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 </li></ul><ul><li>1998- Andreas Whittam Smith becomes President and steers Board towards greater openness and transparency (published guidelines) </li></ul><ul><li>Consultation led to relaxation of sex restrictions at ‘15’ and ‘18’. Portrayal of real sex was allowed at ‘18’ provided it was ‘exceptionally justified by context’ </li></ul>
    • 10. <ul><li>2000s </li></ul><ul><li>‘ 12A’ replaces ‘12’ for film- parental responsibility </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer advice </li></ul><ul><li>Byron Review of child safety in the digital age (2008) </li></ul><ul><li>BBFC Online </li></ul><ul><ul><li>63% of adults (74% of parents) are concerned about downloading video material which does not come with independent content advice and labeling. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>84% of adults (91% of parents) want to see BBFC film and DVD classification on downloadable / streaming films and other digital audiovisual content. </li></ul></ul>
    • 11. <ul><li>“ We give the public information that empowers </li></ul><ul><li>them to make appropriate viewing decisions for </li></ul><ul><li>themselves and those in their care. We help to </li></ul><ul><li>protect vulnerable viewers and society from the </li></ul><ul><li>effects of viewing potentially harmful or </li></ul><ul><li>unsuitable content while respecting adult </li></ul><ul><li>freedom of choice.” </li></ul><ul><li>BBFC Vision Statement </li></ul>
    • 12. Cuts and rejections over the decades <ul><li>Question: </li></ul><ul><li>Which decade saw more films cut and </li></ul><ul><li>banned than any other? </li></ul>
    • 13. Source: BBFC
    • 14. Legal considerations (1) <ul><li>Video Recordings Act 1984 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Requires BBFC to have special regard for any harm to those likely to view a video and any harm to society through the behaviour of those viewers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is illegal to show any scene ‘organised or directed’ to involve actual cruelty to animals (e.g. Snatch 2000) </li></ul></ul>
    • 15. Legal considerations (2) <ul><li>Protection of Children Act 1978 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is illegal to show indecent photographs of a child (under 18) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Obscene Publications Act 1959 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is illegal to show a work that is obscene. A work may be found obscene if, taken as a whole, it has the tendency to ‘deprave and corrupt’ a significant proportion of the audience. </li></ul></ul>
    • 16. BBFC structure President & Vice Presidents Director Council of Management Heads of Policy & Press Examining team Administration Advisory Panel on Children's Viewing Consultative Committee Video Appeals Committee Senior Examiners
    • 17. Mechanics of classification <ul><li>Films are submitted by distributors and classified for a fee. </li></ul><ul><li>They are viewed by two examiners, who write a report recommending a classification. </li></ul><ul><li>Others are involved if decision is not forthcoming or likely to be controversial. </li></ul><ul><li>There is no automatic right of appeal for film decisions ( End of the Affair , 1999; Honest , 2000; This is England , 2007). </li></ul>
    • 18. Challenges <ul><li>To the organisation: </li></ul><ul><li>Legal reforms (e.g. Digital Economy Bill, video games and PEGI). </li></ul><ul><li>Changing market, falling revenues. </li></ul><ul><li>To the system: </li></ul><ul><li>Availability of unclassified works (e.g. piracy, grey imports etc.). </li></ul><ul><li>New formats that bypass the system (e.g. downloads, mobile applications etc.). </li></ul>
    • 19. <ul><li>www.BiggerPictureResearch.net </li></ul>

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