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For the rating template, see {{BBFC}}.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), originally British Board of Film Censors, is the organisation responsible for film and some video game classification and censorship within the United Kingdom.

Responsibility and power[edit]

The BBFC rates theatrically-released films, videos and some video games. Video games with specific themes or content must be submitted to the BBFC to receive a legally-binding rating (contrast advisory PEGI ratings). Other video games may be submitted at the publisher's discretion.

All videos and games rated by the BBFC receive a certificate, along with "consumer advice" detailing references to sex, violence and coarse language. If a certificate specifies that a film or video game is only suitable for someone over a certain age, then only those over that age may buy it.

The BBFC can also advise cuts for a less-restrictive rating. This generally occurs in borderline cases where distributors have requested a certificate and the BBFC has rated the work at a more-restrictive level. The final certificate then depends on the distributor's decision on whether or not to make the suggested cuts.

Current Certificates[edit]

The BBFC currently issues the following certificates:

Symbol Name Definition
Uc Universal Children Suitable for all, but especially suitable for young children to watch on their own (home media only)
U Universal Suitable for all
PG Parental Guidance All ages admitted, but parents are advised that certain scenes may be unsuitable for younger children
12A 12 Accompanied/Advisory Suitable for those aged 12 and over (cinema only); those aged under 12 are only admitted if accompanied by an adult
12 12 Suitable for those aged 12 and over (VHS, DVDs and games only). Nobody under 12 may buy or rent a 12 rated DVD, VHS or game.
15 15 Suitable for those aged 15 and over
18 18 Suitable for those aged 18 and over
R18 Restricted 18 Suitable for those aged 18 and over and only available at licensed cinemas and sex shops

Material that is exempt from classification sometimes uses symbols similar to BBFC certificates, for example an E "certificate". There is no legal obligation, nor a particular scheme, for labeling material that is exempt from classification.

History and overview[edit]

The BBFC rates some video games. Normally these are exempt from classification, unless they depict human sexual activity, human genital organs or gross acts of violence, in which case the publishers should submit the game for classification. A publisher may opt to submit a game for classification even if they are not obliged to. The first computer game to receive a 15 certificate from the BBFC was an illustrated text adventure called Dracula, based on the Bram Stoker novel, published in 1986 by CRL. The first computer game to receive an 18 certificate was another illustrated text adventure called Jack The Ripper, also by CRL, which was published in 1987 and dealt with the infamous real life murders in Victorian London. The horror in both games came through largely in their detailed prose. Had the game publishers reprinted the games' text in book form, it would not have carried a certificate, as the BBFC has no oversight over print media. Both games had numerous certificate stickers all over their covers to emphasize to parents and retailers that they were not intended for children, as computer games carrying BBFC certificates were previously unheard of. The first game to be refused classification by the BBFC was Carmageddon in 1997, however a modified version of the game was later awarded an 18 certificate.

Current concerns[edit]

The BBFC's current guidelines identify a number of specific areas of concern which are considered when awarding certificates or requiring cuts. These are theme, language (i.e. profanity), nudity, sex, violence, sexual violence, criminal or harmful actions that can easily be imitated (certain combat moves, suicidal techniques, and stunts considered criminal acts or likely to end up in injury or death fall under this category), horror, and drugs. The BBFC also continues to demand cuts of any material which it considers may breach the provisions of the Obscene Publications Act or any other legislation (most notably the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937 and the Protection of Children Act 1978).

External links[edit]