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UK – BBFC issues new Classification Guidelines

By Jonathan Salt

On 13 January 2014, the British Board of Film Classification (“BBFC”) published new classification guidelines (the “Guidelines”) for the certification of films which will come into force on 24 February 2014.

Use of Language

The Guidelines give more flexibility for the presence of strong language in films seeking a 15 certificate after research suggested the context of the use of strong language, rather than frequency, was more important to viewers.  Additionally, as a result of the public consultation findings, there will be a “tightening up” of the permitted language used in films to be given a U certification (suitable for all).

Theme and tone

The Guidelines give greater weight to the theme and tone of films which are issued with 12, 12A or 15 certificates. This includes the BBFC giving increased attention to the psychological impact of horror, and the inclusion of strong visual detail such as gore.

Director of the BBFC, David Cooke, stated: “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.”

The new Guidelines are available here.

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