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Film and Video Censorship in Contemporary Britain$
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Julian Petley

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748625383

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625383.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Film and Video Censorship in Contemporary Britain

Julian Petley

Edinburgh University Press

The first part of this book investigates the origins of the Video Recordings Act 1984 (VRA), and situates these firmly in the moral panic about ‘video nasties’ which started in 1981. The second part looks at how the Act was interpreted in the second part of the decade, and at some of its consequences for the video industry. The next part examines how the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) interpreted the amended Act. The last part concentrates on isolating the kinds of material which the BBFC refuses to pass today even in the adults-only ‘18’ and ‘R18’ categories. It is noted that VRA helped cut and ban a remarkable number of videos. The BBFC gradually became liberal, but it is still extremely strict by continental European standards. The press played a key role in the censorship process. New Labour, when in power, was instinctively interventionist and dirigiste in social matters.

Keywords:   video industry, censorship, Video Recordings Act 1984, British Board of Film Classification, European standards, press, New Labour

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