Published: 21st December 2020

BBFC Podcast looks back over a year in film with Chief Executive, David Austin

  • In the final episode of the year, the BBFC Podcast reflects on the film industry in 2020 and the impact of Covid-19.

  • Listeners can find out about the classification of films such as Tenet, Jojo Rabbit, Parasite and Flash Gordon.

  • David Austin shares his hopes for the cinema industry in 2021.

Today, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has released a podcast reflecting on 2020 as a whole and the impact COVID-19 has had on the cinema industry.

In the episode, the BBFC’s Chief Executive, David Austin along with the BBFC’s Senior Policy Officer, discuss a range of cinema releases including Jojo Rabbit, Parasite, Tenet and the recent re-release of the 1980 film Flash Gordon. 

They also provide insight into how the BBFC has adapted during the pandemic, from moving to classifying content from home - the first time in the regulator’s 100 year history - to the drop in theatrical submissions and the subsequent rise of content on streaming services. 

The BBFC has conducted key research over the last year, including into how it classifies and highlights domestic abuse. David Austin discusses the impact of this research, and the changes the organisation has made; Christopher Nolan’s Tenet had 9 seconds of domestic abuse cut from the film by the distributor to achieve a 12A rating,

The podcast also looks forward to the future beyond 2020, giving listeners an insight into upcoming research that the organisation is undertaking, inlcuding a project into how the BBFC should classify racism and other forms of discrimination. Recent reclassification of films such as Flash Gordon are also discussed, as in June of this year the film was reclassified from its previous A rating to a 12A, and discrimination was highlighted in both the long and short ratings info for the film.

David Austin, Chief Executive at the BBFC, said: “It has been a difficult time for everybody this year, and the BBFC is no exception. We’ve had to adapt to watching theatrical releases away from our Soho Square office, for the first time in our history and we’ve seen a significant drop in theatrical submissions. Our new submission and classification platform, Horizon, has helped us transition to home working and continue our vital role, in helping parents and families get the age ratings and ratings info so they can choose content well.”

David Austin also shares his own hopes for 2021 in the episode. He added: “I believe there will always be a place for the big screen experience and I can’t wait until the day that we can watch films together in the cinema again.”

Listen to the episode in full on Spotify, Soundcloud and on the BBFC website.