The BBFC was established in 1912, this was set up in order to make judgements in order for it to be accepted nationally. To start with theboard had to earn trust from local authorities and parliament. The filmindustry are not supposed to be an influence the decisions and mustnot have pressure groups. The Statutory will have more of a decisionwhen it comes to appeals or authority, banning films or passing them also putting the age limit on viewing of films rather than the board.
1950’s There was a growth in television ownership (adult/family cinema audience.The “X” Category was created to stop children under the age of 16 to not be able to view films which have sexual encounters. X - incorporated old ‘H’ and limited audience to those over 16 years
1960’sChallenges to the Obscene Publications Act (1959), “The British Board of FilmCensors cannot assume responsibility for the guardianship of public morality. Itcannot refuse for exhibition to adults films that show behaviour that contravenesthe accepted moral code, and it does not demand that „the wicked‟ should alsobe punished. It cannot legitimately refuse to pass films which criticise „theEstablishment‟ and films which express minority opinions”. There are films thathad to be passed as “X” which was suitable for those aged 16 or older.
1970’sIn the 1970‟s the idea was that this would protect adolescents frommaterial of a specifically adult nature and would permit more adult films tobe passed uncut for an older, more mature audience. It recognised theearlier maturity of many teenagers by giving them access to certain filmsat the age of 14, without being accompanied by an adult. It also indicatedto parents the difference between films wholly suitable for children of allages, which would continue to be classified „U‟, and those which, while notgenerally unsuitable, might contain some material which some parentsmight prefer their children not to see. The age limit on X certificate wasraised from 16 to 18. The advisory U (suitable for children) and A (Thoseaged 5 and older admitted, but not recommended for children under 14years of age and AA Suitable for those aged 14 and older.
1980’SThe film achieved notoriety in the USA and arrived in the UK with thereputation of being „the most controversial film of the eighties‟. It wasseized by Customs and Excise officials when it came into the UK and then seen by the BBFC together with lawyers and Customs officials so that any footage that was in danger of breaching UK laws could be removed. At this stage all sexually explicit material was removed in order to conform with Customs regulations (specificallythe Customs Act 1876), and further cuts made to material which was potentially actionable under the Obscene Publications Act - the later including sexually violent material.
1990’S Parliament supported an amendment to the Video Recordings Act,contained in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which requires the Board to consider specific issues, and the potential for harm, when making video classification decisions. The 1990s also saw rapid developments in the world of computer games, which seemed to become more realistic and sophisticated with each passing year. Although the majority of video games were automatically exempt from classification, those that featured realistic violence against humans or animals, or humansexual activity, did come under the scope of the Video Recordings Act. From 1994 the BBFC started to receive some of the stronger video games for formal classification, which necessitated a different way of examining(because it was impossible to see everything that might happen in a game). Standards continued to evolve, with due consideration of recent relevant research, shifts in public attitudes, and the developments in comparable media such as terrestrial, satellite and cable television and the internet. In 1999, the Board re-examined the issues, in particular the perceived harmthat under-age viewing might cause. It was decided that in view of changing public attitudes and the increased media sophistication of young viewers,the video was unlikely to prove harmful to the majority of the likely audience and it was accordingly classified „18‟ uncut.
2000’S The BBFC published a new set of Guidelines based on an even more extensive research programme than the one which resulted in the 2000 Guidelines. Over 11,000 people contributed their views on the BBFC‟s Guidelines, 7000 more than in 1999/2000. Public support for the BBFCwent up from 59% in 2000 to 63% in 2004. The outcomes of the research. The BBFC‟s Guidelines do not distinguish between films on the basis oftheir language or country of origin. However, given that the film was in theEnglish language and had been made by a well known British film-maker, it achieved a wider release and attracted more attention than previous explicit films. While the BBFC has been producing Consumer Advice for films which appeared on the website, it was the introduction of the „12A‟ category which saw it making its appearance on film posters, TV advertisements and in cinema listings for „12A‟ films. This is particularlyhelpful for parents deciding what films are suitable for their children, and in particular whether to take children younger than 12 to a „12A‟ film. Use ofbad language on screen provoked a range of responses, reflecting varying tolerances in the general public. Portrayal of sexual activity, however caused less concern than previously.
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