The Film Censor Hangs Up His Scissors

David Cooke | Posted 01.03.2016 | UK Entertainment
David Cooke

Will I miss being 'Chief Censor'? I have managed to retain my love of film, going on the weekends throughout my time at the BBFC, so this I'm sure will continue... I have been privileged to work so closely with so many films, their makers, distributors, exhibitors and of course the BBFC employees who work to classify these compelling artworks.

Why Bother Slapping a Rating on Something That's Already in the Public Domain?

Nash Riggins | Posted 18.08.2016 | UK Tech
Nash Riggins

We've got to face facts: we're living in a brave new world of free-flowing information, and age restrictions or movie-style ratings simply won't keep our children away from inappropriate materials. If anything, these hollow forms of censorship only delay serious parental conversations that are just plain inevitable.

Jurassic World: Why We Have 12A and What It Means

David Cooke | Posted 24.06.2016 | UK Entertainment
David Cooke

Films at 12A can contain a wide variety of issues, which in turn reflects what many child experts, parents and the media say about children at the pre-teen age; their interests, personalities, likes and dislikes; are extremely varied at this point on the way to adulthood.

Royal Ramblings: Certificate PG

Danny Stone | Posted 27.01.2015 | UK Sport
Danny Stone

We were lucky enough to spend some time with and learn from a BBFC examiner whose job it is to sit and review TNA and WWE content before it goes out for distribution (imagine that, being paid to watch wrestling!) and found the classification process to be impressively thorough and robust.

'Sex' Advice and Paddington Bear

Pat Higgins | Posted 18.01.2015 | UK Entertainment
Pat Higgins

In one of the strangest coincidences of all time, I had actually spent this very afternoon making weak jokes to a friend about how the new version of Paddington Bear was edgier, darker and, yes, sexier than previous versions. Turns out I was right.

The Ethics of Film Classification

David Cooke | Posted 11.01.2015 | UK Entertainment
David Cooke

It's a vast subject, made even more complicated by the sheer variety of views about what film actually is. Is it most like photography, or novels, or plays, or cartoons, or something else again? Let me pick out just three of the issues I touched on.

Film Education: How It Looks to the Under-18s

David Cooke | Posted 09.08.2014 | UK Entertainment
David Cooke

Our research allowed us to ask: Do teenagers feel the same as their parents about big issues facing them? How do they think about representations of drugs misuse, dangerous behaviour, or the sexualisation of younger people in the media? How do young people use the age ratings system (they do!) in a multi-platform landscape?

Stop the BBFC Killing Independent Film

Pat Higgins | Posted 20.05.2014 | UK Entertainment
Pat Higgins

In fact, this change of BBFC policy would probably be unnoticed by everybody except small independent distributors and the filmmakers whose films are distributed by them. Filmmakers like me.

Maintaining Public Trust in Film Classification

David Cooke | Posted 14.03.2014 | UK Entertainment
David Cooke

We believe that public consultation is crucial to continued public trust in what we do. Our new Classification Guidelines reflect explicitly concerns raised by the public during the 2013 consultation and will, I believe, ensure that we continue to be in step with what the public wants and expects in order to make sensible and informed viewing decisions.

From Silent Screen to Smart Phone: Classifying Content in the 21st Century

David Cooke | Posted 01.11.2013 | UK Entertainment
David Cooke

Today the BBFC becomes the new regulator of mobile content, replacing the Independent Mobile Classification Body, which had regulated this content since 2004. From 2 September, the BBFC will provide the UK mobile network operators EE, O2, Three and Vodafone, with a new independent Classification Framework for content accessed via their mobile networks.

The BBFC at 100: A New Cutting Edge

David Cooke | Posted 10.09.2013 | UK Entertainment
David Cooke

We launched our Annual Report on Thursday 11 July, as we regularly do at this time of year. The report looks back at the activities of the previous year, including key strands of work as well as individual film classification decisions at each of the BBFC classification categories.

'Railway Children' Gets Its Very First Viewer's Complaint

The Huffington Post UK | Posted 10.09.2013 | UK Entertainment

If you had to complain about 'The Railway Children' - what do you think you would complain about? The conservative values on show in a family that'...

Guidelines Not Guardians

David Cooke | Posted 30.04.2013 | UK Entertainment
David Cooke

People sometimes ask whether the BBFC try to lead public opinion, or to act as moral guardians. The Guideline Reviews provide the answers to those questions. Our aim is to keep in line with public opinion - in detail, and in a securely grounded way. Yes, we have expertise in film classification, but no, we do not set ourselves up as moral guardians.

A Good Day To Die, Err, Angry?

James Peckham | Posted 14.04.2013 | UK Universities & Education
James Peckham

Without getting bogged down in the logistics of each film, the entire point in Die Hard is that they are adult movies with profanity and violence abound. Controversially 5 has received this 12A rating, but why?

Insight in the Shadows

David Cooke | Posted 30.03.2013 | UK Entertainment
David Cooke

Shadow Dancer, though actually filmed in part in Dublin, also brings back the voices, streets and colours of Belfast, which I remember so fondly.

'Gay Jesus' Film Corpus Christi Sparks Complaints - Even Though It Doesn't Exist

PA// | Posted 26.12.2012 | UK

A film portraying Jesus and his disciples as gay men has caused ripples of anger and complaints to the film classification board - even though it does...

Stronger Video Games Rating System Comes Into Force

PA | Michael Rundle | Posted 30.07.2012 | UK Tech

A new simpler and stronger age-rating system for video games comes into force as of Monday. The new arrangement is designed to stop inappropriate g...

Nostalgia for the Light... and the Dark

David Cooke | Posted 23.09.2012 | UK Entertainment
David Cooke

If you have ten quid to spend on a bottle of wine, you could do far worse than to invest in one from Chile. Has the BBFC finally succumbed to product placement? No chance! The thought was planted in my mind by a mysterious juxtaposition of Chile's Atacama Desert, the least humid place on earth, and Belfast City Centre...of which the same cannot exactly be said.

A Very Poor Report

John Carr | Posted 19.07.2012 | UK Tech
John Carr

All of the UK's mobile phone networks run a system of filtering to keep web-based adult content away from children who access the internet via a mobile phone handset. The policy was first introduced voluntarily back in January 2004. It is still in place as a voluntary measure.

Reflections on the Hunger Games

David Cooke | Posted 24.06.2012 | UK Entertainment
David Cooke

The Hunger Games is a film which prompts reflection and invites comment. Given our central concern for child protection, what has the experience of classifying it been like?

'Too Scary' Alton Towers Ride Rated Unsuitable For Kids

Huffington Post UK | Posted 19.03.2012 | UK

For the first time in its history, the British Board of Film Classification has been called in by Alton Towers for advice on a new underground ride. ...

This Film Contains... From Censor To Trusted Guide

David Cooke | Posted 09.05.2012 | UK Entertainment
David Cooke

The emphasis on context is nicely illustrated by the example of The King's Speech, which the BBFC recently classified at '12A', in contrast to the 'R' rating awarded in the US (similar to a UK '18').

History Isn't Bunk, Mr Ford!

David Cooke | Posted 12.03.2012 | UK Entertainment
David Cooke

Inspired by a recent dinner with the author, I am reading, or rather listening to, my friend Jonathan Powell's second memoir of No 10, The New Machiavelli. Just as he did at Oxford, as a diplomat in Washington, and as Tony Blair's Chief of Staff in Downing Street, Jonathan writes well, and with a light touch.

The Censors Will Watch Rape All Day Long, but for God's Sake Don't Show Them Your Penis

Ross Jones-Morris | Posted 12.01.2012 | UK Entertainment
Ross Jones-Morris

Like a lingering disease cured only by cuts to the most nefarious bits of your running time, the NC-17 has long been the leper of US distribution. Many American cinema chains both refuse to promote and flat out refuse to show NC-17 rated films due to the institutionalised stigma that comes with them.

Learning From the Next Generation

David Cooke | Posted 15.11.2011 | UK
David Cooke

Teenagers are often ahead of the curve on the burning issues of classification. Their strong views on discriminatory language in films and their concern about anti-social behaviour in films and TV, for example, foreshadowed our recent Guidelines research and independent study into the use of racist and homophobic language and other discriminatory terms relating to disability.