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Should councillors use their powers to classify films?

Often people are surprised by the wide array of powers that Councils have. For instance there is our seldom used power to vary at local level the film classification by age to make it more or less restrictive than the guidance from the British Board of Film Classification The Local Government Information Unit have an interesting about this in their magazine c'llr. They point out that the Monty Python's Life of Brian was shown in Aberystwyth for the first time this year, having been banned for 30 years. A Plaid Cymru councillor, Sue Jones-Davies had a personal motive in getting the ban overturned. Cllr Jones-Davies played Judith Iscariot in the film appearing naked.

Since the 1970s local bans have become more unusual. In recent years Councils have normally liberalised the BBFC ruling lowering the age limit allowed to view. Stirling let 12-year-olds see The Ketchup Effect. Sheffield and Bristol allowed 15-year-olds to see The is England - despite the violence and racist language.

Shadow Culture Minister Edward Vaizey has urged Councils to use this power more widely. For instance he thought The Dark Knight was too violent for 12-year-olds.


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