Copyright 2002

[ August 29th 2002 ]

The 12 rating for films is to be scrapped and replaced with a new category allowing younger children to see them, the British Board of Film Classification announced today. Under the new 12A rating, children under that age will be allowed into cinemas as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

It will be up to parents to decide whether their children are mature enough to see particular films. The 12A classification will have exactly the same guidelines as the 12 rating. It allows scenes of nudity and "soft" drug taking, although both must be brief and justified in the context. Scenes of violence are also allowed if they do not dwell on detail and there may be "occasional gory moments".

Sexual activity may be implied and rare instances of strong language are permitted. Announcing the change, BBFC director Robin Duval said: "The BBFC receives a steady stream of letters from parents asking why they cannot make the decision about whether their child can see a 12-rated film. We know that the development and maturity of children varies considerably and parents know best what their children can deal with. "It is important, however, that young children have an adult with them in case they are disturbed by anything they may see."

Recent Hollywood blockbusters to carry the 12 rating include Spider-Man, The Mummy and its sequel The Mummy Returns, and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. The majority of letters sent to the BBFC have been from parents wanting to take their young children to see the 12-rated James Bond films. The change, which takes effect from tomorrow, means that under-12s will probably be able to see the forthcoming 007 movie Die Another Day, starring Pierce Brosnan, which is out in November and is awaiting classification.

One of the first films to carry the new 12A rating will be The Bourne Identity, a thriller starring Matt Damon which is released early next month. A BBFC spokeswoman stressed that parents should check the guidelines for the new rating before taking their children to the cinema. "It is important that parents look at the consumer advice before they see the film. "We don't think any of the films we pass at 12A will be suitable for very young children. This change is really aimed at the parents of 10 and 11-year-olds," she said.

The change is being introduced after extensive research and a pilot exercise in Norwich when children under 12 were allowed to see 12-rated films with an adult. The research found that 70 per cent of people supported the new rating as long as children were accompanied by an adult and consumer advice was easily available. Similar advisory ratings are in place in most of Europe, the US, Australia and Canada. The 12 rating was introduced for films in 1989 and videos in 1994. It will remain in force for videos.

Films will now carry a new orange 12A symbol and consumer advice will be available on advertising, through cinema listings and from the BBFC website. Any films classified before today's announcement which are already in the cinemas will continue to carry a 12 certificate but under-12s will be able to see them in the company of an adult.

Copyright (c) 2000 - 2023 is not owned or operated by CDE Entertainment Ltd.
Lara Croft and Tomb Raider are trademarks of CDE Entertainment Ltd.
Materials in this web site are trademarked and copyrighted properties of their respective owners.