British Board of Film Classification
The BBFC is an independent company tasked with UK film,
video and games censorship. It is funded through
The BBFC role is different for cinema, home media and online.
For cinema the BBFC
historically represented the interests of the film industry to ensure
that film makers avoided legal issues
from obscenity law etc. BBFC cinema ratings are advisory and the
ultimate censorship responsibility lies with local authorities. In the
vast majority of cases BBFC advice is accepted by councils. But advice
has often been overruled to ban BBFC certificated films or to allow BBFC
For home video, DVD, Blu-ray and some video games, the
BBFC acts as a government designated censor. BBFC decisions are enforced
by law via the Video Recordings Act of 2010.
For online films the BBFC offers a voluntary scheme of reusing BBFC
vide certificates for online works. The BBFC will also rate online
exclusive material if requested. Note that the Video Recordings Act does
not apply online and content is only governed by the law of the land,
particularly the Obscene Publications Act and Dangerous Pictures Act.
The BBFC is due to relinquish responsibility for video
games in late 2011. The Video Standards Council will take over the role
and ratings will be provided using Europe wide PEGI ratings and symbols.
- John Trevelyan 1958-1971
- Stephen Murphy 1971-1975
- James Ferman 1975-1999
- Robin Duval 1999-2004
- David Cooke 2004-present
- U: Universal: Suitable for all
- PG: Parental Guidance: General viewing, but some scenes may be
unsuitable for young children
- 12A: Suitable for 12 years and over.
No-one younger than 12 may see a ‘12A’ film in a cinema unless
accompanied by an adult. [cinema only]
- 12: Suitable for 12
years and over. No-one younger than 12 may rent or buy a ‘12’ rated
video or DVD. Responsibility for allowing under-12s to view lies with
the accompanying or supervising adult.. [home media only]
- 15: No-one younger than
15 may see a ‘15’ film in a cinema. No-one younger than 15 may rent or
buy a ‘15’ rated video or DVD.
- 18: No-one younger than
18 may see an ‘18’ film in a cinema. No-one younger than 18 may rent or
buy an ‘18’ rated video.
- R18: To be
supplied only in licensed sex shops to persons of not less than 18 years.
Hardcore pornography is allowed in this category
- Rejected. The BBFC has the power to ban the sale of home media. A
rejected cinema film may be shown with permission of the local
Not that rejected home media is banned from sale. It
is not generally illegal to possess. However criminal law
makes it illegal to possess child & extreme porn.
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