British Board of Film Classification

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House of Cards

This month the streaming service Netflix premiered House Of Cards, its first piece of original programming. 

The political drama stars Kevin Spacey and is the second adaptation of Michael Dobbs' 1989 novel, which was previously adapted by Andrew Davies for the BBC in 1990. 

The BBC production of House Of Cards was submitted to the BBFC for video classification in October 1991. When the drama was originally broadcast by the BBC it was screened after the 9pm watershed. Centering around the Machiavellian antihero Francis "I couldn't possibly comment" Urquhart, the murderous and twisting plot features sex, drugs and violence, and the examiner report shown here demonstrates the attention that BBFC examiners paid to the themes and tone of a work.

House of Cards (1990) was rated 15 in 1991, and the new Netflix series has an overall rating of 18. As the work is only available as video-on-demand, the terms of the Video Recordings Act 1984 do not apply. However, Netflix chose to take advantage of the BBFC's voluntary "Watch and Rate" service, set up in partnership with the home entertainment industry to provide BBFC ratings for content that is only available online.

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