It is perhaps a tribute (though a backhanded one) to the power of the moving image that it should be subject to far greater censorship than any other artistic medium. Current technology makes it effectively impossible to censor the written word, theatre censorship was abolished in 1968, and there has never been any systematic regulation of other art forms – anyone seeking to clamp down on such events must mount a private prosecution, a lengthy and expensive process.
However, film and video releases in Britain are amongst the most tightly-regulated in the Western world. With only a few exceptions, every commercially-released film both in cinemas and on video will have been vetted by the British Board of Film Classification (originally founded in 1912 as the British Board of Film Censors), which applies age-restrictive classifications and, in some cases, recommends cutting or otherwise altering the film in order to conform to their guidelines.
These guidelines are based on
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