Train of Thought Productions

Close Up: Film Classification Part One: the BBFC

Film classification happens all around the world, aiming to reflect and guide the audience that will later consume these films.  What might be familiar to a UK audiences, in terms of certificate, i.e. U, PG, 15 and so on isn’t necessarily how its done elsewhere.

We spoke to classification boards in the UK (British Board Of Film Classification), Ireland (Irish Film Classification Office), and Sweden (Swedish Media Council) to see how different countries navigate the classification process.

We would like to thank David Hyman (BBFC), Ger Connolly (IFCO) and Johan Karlsson (Swedish Media Council) for contributing to this feature.

We spoke with David Hyman of the British Board Of Film Classification

Q1. Can you explain what your job title means on a daily basis?

Q2. Can you briefly outline the different categories that you use to classify? (All ages, U,PG etc.)

Q3. What are the most typical issues you deal with?

Q4. The British Board Of Film Classification classifies film for cinema going audiences, does it classify anything else?

Q5. Are decisions made by the board ever changed or challenged?

Q6. In a landscape where audiences can subscribe to on demand film services, the increase in film piracy as well as film only channels provided by broadcasters such as Sky, is classification still necessary?

Q7. How does the classification process in the UK differ to other countries? For example are there any films that have been given a considerably different rating?

Q8. Is the UK generally more or less strict/relaxed than other countries? Specify any cultural differences that inform classification. E.g. Pride was classified in the UK (15) but differently in the US

British Board of Film Classification Irish Film Classification Office Swedish Media Council

More from our classification series

Part Two: Talking with the Irish Film Classification Office

Part Three: Talking with the Swedish Media Council

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