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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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The Last Battle, or Why Makin' Whoopee! Matters

The Last Battle, or Why Makin' Whoopee! Matters

(p.129) Chapter 11 The Last Battle, or Why Makin' Whoopee! Matters
Film and Video Censorship in Contemporary Britain

Julian Petley

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter illustrates the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) trying repeatedly to liberalise its guidelines relating to ‘R18’ videos, and being prevented from doing so by the then Home Secretary Jack Straw. The story of the ‘R18’ began in 1982. The differences between Section 2 and Section 3 proceedings under the Obscene Publications Act (OPA) are explained. Bernard Williams' unwillingness to recommend that sex shops should be licensed had by 1987 been amply justified. The combined efforts of Customs and the Home Secretary brought to an end the trial liberalisation period. The Makin' Whoopee! was passed by the Video Appeals Committee (VAC). It ‘may offend or disgust but it is unlikely to deprave or corrupt that proportion of the public who are likely to view it’. Straw ultimately failed to bend the BBFC to his will makes the existence of those powers no less disturbing.

Keywords:   British Board of Film Classification, Makin' Whoopee, Video Appeals Committee, R18, Jack Straw, Obscene Publications Act, Bernard Williams, sex shops

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