The BBFC has, after an appeal by the distributor of The King's Speech against the original '15' rating, applied its formal reconsideration process to the cinema release and classified it '12A' with the Consumer Advice 'Contains strong language in a speech therapy context'. The BBFC's language Guidelines for '12A' state: 'The use of strong language (for example f***) must be infrequent'.
In the case of The King's Speech there are two isolated instances where the character of King George VI uses strong language several times at the instigation of his therapist during the speech therapy sessions he is undergoing to alleviate his stammer. The strong language is not aggressive and not directed at any person.
The Guidelines state that
'because works from time to time present issues in ways which cannot be anticipated, these criteria will not be applied in an over literal way if such an interpretation would lead to an outcome which would confound audience expectations'.
After careful consideration by the President and Director of the BBFC, the Board took the view that the way the strong language is presented in The King's Speech did not contravene the language Guidelines at '12A' and that the public would understand why the Board has reached this decision.