Greetings and salutations again! Yes, the Geordie Boy is back with yet more drivel for you to read! Well, if I’m proclaiming my heritage by saying I’m a Geordie, I should have started with “Ye Areet? Why Aye Man, haway lets gan doon the toon!” But thats just a stereotype which is rather… naff in my opinion!

Anyway, down to business. Before I get to the topic itself, a little backstory on how this column came to be, I was speaking on Twitter to someone I follow who works for another website. We were discussing a DVD which is (as far as I know) only available on Region 2 (UK, Europe) DVD called “Video Nasties”. It’s a documentary/look at the ’72 videos that changed Britian’s censorship laws’.

Video Nasties are basically very explicit movies which were released back in the early 80’s which featured extreme scenes of blood/gore/sex/nudity. Back then the UK didn’t have movie classification for videos. These videos were then banned completely, some of them were released with cuts and the new classification came into place. The ones which were banned are still banned to this day and may never be realesed in any format in the UK.

But the movie classifications are what I’m going to talk about, two of which is exclusive to video which I’ll go into, but basically this is about the censorship laws in the UK and how stupid they can sometimes be….

E – Exempt (Video Only)…

Technically this isn’t a classification, any videos that come under this are mainly concerts or documentaries which haven’t been shown on TV.

U – Universal, Suitable for all…

This means anyone is allowed to watch this movie, no swearing, sex, violence or anything that may be classed as ‘harmful’. Yet funnilly enough, according the British Board of Film Classification (The BBFC who regulate the certificates in the UK) they say under the Sex part, that “Mild sexual behaviour (for example, kissing) and references only (for example, to ‘making love’).” is allowed!

There used to be a Uc which was aimed at smaller children, there you’d find the Under 4’s style kids shows you see on Nick Jnr, like Blues Clues and Barney the Dinosaur. Though personally I think Barney should be banned… that show just scares the HELL out of me!

PG – Parental Guidance, Some scenes may be unsuitable for younger viewers…

This rating is probably universal, I know they have this in Austrlia and in America too, movies here will have some form of violence in them, mainly mild or comic and may have the odd very mild swear word, like Hell, Damn or Bugger!

12 – Suitable only for people aged 12 or over (video only)

12A – Persons under 12 must be accompained by an adult (Cinema only)

Generally these movies have somewhat stronger violence than a PG movie plus there maybe stronger swear words used as well…

Now, this rating has caused a fair bit of trouble since its inception when it was introduced back in 1989.

This rating was first used for the Tim Burton Batman movie, some people thought it was a good idea, some thought it was a bad idea. However… when Batman was realeased on video in the UK, it went to a 15 certificate (thats next) which meant if 13 year old Jimmy missed seeing it on the big screen, it was illegal for him to rent or buy the movie himself! This cuased a lot or outrage to say the least. Eventually the 12 certificate came to video but I can’t remember when, BUT… the 12 certificate in the cinema became the 12A certificate in 2002. So now any child who want’s to see a 12A movie has to accompanied by an adult, but when the movie comes out of video, it then becomes illegal for them to rent or buy them movie! Go fig!

15 – Suitable for persons aged 15 or over

This is when it starts getting serious, blood, violence, swearing, drug use, nudity (all unde the term ‘mild’) are all featured in this movies. But when we get to here, I myself get a little confused, take for example the movie Paul (which I reviewed in my last column) That movie contains the ‘F’ word a hell of a lot yet its considered one of the strongest swear words around. Infact, the strongest swear word of them all, the ‘C’ word, is used two other Simon Pegg / Nick Frost movies, Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, they are both 15 certificate movies, but as the word is only used once in both movies, they probably could get away with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a prude, I do swear myself, but using really strong language a lot in movies is in some respect dumbing down our language. But hey, that’s just my opinion, lets move on!

18 – Suitable for persons aged 18 or over

You ain’t seeing these movies unless your legally an adult in the UK and can leagally go for a pint or three after seeing the movie in question with this certificate.

The violence and drug use can be graphic, the swearing can be excessive, nudity? HA, get your kit off and lets see your bits! Practically anything goes in these movies, your gory horrors, your violent movies, even a bit of rumpy pumpy! You get it all in these movies. The video nasties I mentioned earlier were all put into this certificate, well, the ones that were allowed. As I said, 72 movies were banned, 39 were rereleased with cuts/edits, the other 33 are and probably will be banned forever for being too excessive! But there is one more rating over the 18 certificate….

R18 – Restricted 18 – “To be shown only in specially licensed cinemas, or supplied only in licensed sex shops, and to adults of not less than 18 years.”

These are basically your hardcore pornography movies. Or as the BBFC put it…

“The ‘R18’ category is a special and legally restricted classification primarily for explicit works of consenting sex or strong fetish material involving adults. Films may only be shown to adults in specially licensed cinemas, and video works may be supplied to adults only in licensed sex shops. ‘R18’ video works may not be supplied by mail order.”

So thats your certificates in the UK. Now if you transfer those certificates to TV for when movies are shown, this is when it gets a little stupid…

U, PG type movies can be shown at any time, U are normally shown earlier in the day with the PG’s taking a slot in the afternoon or early evening.

12’s are shown in the evening, around 8pm is an ‘optimal’ time to show them and depending on what happens in the movie, 15’s can also be shown from that time.

18’s can only be shown after 9pm, which in the UK is called “The Watershed”, it basically means kids should all be in bed by this time and safely tucked up in bed. But guess what, even 18 movies can be edited/dubbed.

The best example of this is RoboCop. When this movie is shown on UK TV, it becomes of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen! A lot of the violence is cut, for example when Murphy gets his hand shot off and the gang blast him to bits, that bit is heavily cut. The scene goes, thug stands over Murphy doing the ‘tracking’ sound with his gun before blasting his hand off, then all of a sudden he’s on his knees being shot to death. The scene where the cocaine is snorted from the prostitute’s chest is cut out and when the guy who drives into the vat of acid and comes out looking like an extra from a zombie movie before being splattered is also cut out.

But what makes the movie funny is the dubbing! The ‘F’ word is replaced with “Freak”, but its not just the fact the word is dubbed, its the voice doing it, it sounds NOTHING like the actual actor! So one of the lines at the start of the movie has Clarence Bodiker uttering the line “You’ve burnt the FREAKIN’ MONEY!” The bathroom scene where the line “I even once called him…. A$$hole” is redubbed into “I even once called him… Airhead!” (The word is the only one dubbed, you can tell its another person saying the word Airhead and they sound NOTHING like the actual actor)

Robocop is an 18 certificate movie, yet, the censors in the UK insist that whenever this movie is broadcast, which is always after 10pm at night, that its dubbed and edited! WHY? At that time of night, kids shouldn’t be up, so let the movie get away with all the violence and swearing! I honestly don’t understand why it happens!  It just does, because England is too stuck in its prudish ways and needs to get with the times!

But as ever, thanks for reading, if you have any questions about this, post them in the comments below and don’t forget to rate this as well for me. I’m already working on my next column as well, hopefully get that up in the next few days as well!

Till then, enjoy!

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