It is important that the BBFC’s classification standards are in line with what the public expects and that its decisions take account of what the public finds acceptable at each age category.
Therefore every 4-5 years, the BBFC carries out a major public consultation exercise to find out what the public thinks about the age rating of films and videos before they are released and whether the BBFC’s classification standards meet public concerns.
The BBFC adjusts its standards and criteria in response to any changes in public attitudes.
These standards are laid out in the BBFC’s Classification Guidelines which can be downloaded below. The Guidelines detail what is acceptable at each age category, from U to R18. They also set out the laws and principles which impact on the BBFC’s work.
There are two key principles which guide us when we apply the Guidelines:
- First, films and videos should be allowed to reach the widest audience appropriate for their theme and treatment.
- Second, adults should be free to choose what they see, provided it remains within the law and is not potentially harmful.