Published: 29th February 2008

BBFC Major Service Improvements


The BBFC is pleased to announce four major improvements to our service: acceptance of submissions on Blu-ray; customer selection of elements to be classified; classification of all works created by seamless branching; and improved extranet and website title displays. These improvements have required various changes to the submission form, a new version of which is attached.

1. Submissions now accepted on Blu-ray (with immediate effect)

With immediate effect, the BBFC will accept submissions made on Blu-ray discs. See attached submission criteria for full details;

Can I still submit simple linear material on standard DVD for release on Blu-ray?

Yes– you only have to use Blu-ray for material which will only play in that format

Can I still submit rough versions of picture in picture commentaries?

No- this was only a temporary '‘work around'’ solution. Such material must now be submitted in final form

My Blu-ray disc includes interactive content, is it a DVD submission or a digital media submission?

A submission will be treated as ‘'Digital Media'’ if it has content which has more interactivity than is provided by a DVD menu, or if it requires a particular games console (eg PS3 ) or a PC in order to run.

2. Customer selection of elements to be classified (with immediate effect)

Until now, the BBFC has insisted on classifying everything on the submitted disc. With immediate effect, the submitting company can request that only named elements are considered for classification. A new submission form has been introduced to facilitate this change and is attached.

How do I take advantage of this?

In order to take advantage of this facility the relevant box on the submission form must be ticked, the elements must be clearly identified on the form, the elements must clearly be '‘stand alone'’ items, and the elements must be able to be accessed separately

Will there be any charge for the other elements on the disc?

No – unlisted elements will be completely ignored. They will not be charged for and will not be included in the classification.

Can I submit a finished Blu-ray disc and just get a classification for the Blu-ray specific features?

Yes,– if you already have a classification for the main feature and other standard linear elements you can use this facility to get the Blu-ray specific elements classified without paying again for the other linear elements

3. Seamless branching (with immediate effect)

Legal advice has confirmed that the facility whereby the feature can be played with additional material (eg ‘'deleted scenes'’) edited in, including the facility to play a feature with the original ending replaced by an alternative ending, creates new video works (see section 22(3) of the Video Recordings Act). If the new video works created by use of the facility were not taken into account when issuing the relevant video certificate(s) to the feature and to the additional material, the new video works do not form part of the classified work. In such circumstances, supplying the relevant video recording would be in breach of the VRA. With immediate effect, the BBFC has therefore introduced a process which allows the industry to protect itself from prosecution over the supply of unclassified video works produced by '‘seamless branching'’. Future video certificates will cover all the possible combinations offered by '‘seamless branching'’ facilities (including 'alternative ending'’ functions) providing that a single submission has included:

  1. the feature with no additional material added
  2. the additional material as stand alone items
  3. the feature with all additional material (excluding alternative endings) branched into the feature

The elements can be submitted on:

  1. separate discs forming a single submission; or.
  2. a single disc which allows the material to be accessed as required in (a), (b) and (c)

The relevant box on the submission form ('‘Seamless branching'’) must be ticked. The BBFC will view (and charge for): the feature with no additional material added ; the additional material as stand alone items; the feature with all additional material (excluding alternative endings) branched into the feature. The video certificate will record that the determination has taken account of the video works created by means of the seamless branching facility (including the '‘alternative ending'’ function).

4. Improved Extranet and Website title displays (from 1st May 2008)

For legal reasons, the official title of a classified work must match the title onscreen. This can create difficulties for both the industry and for the public when trying to identify a particular work from a list of works on the extranet or on the website with the same title. This problem is most acute in relation to TV series which do not have an episode title or number displayed onscreen. In most cases additional identifying information (eg series number, episode number, episode title, '‘director's cut'’, '‘audio commentary version') has been recorded by the BBFC, usually on the basis of information provided by the distributor at time of submission. From 1st May 2008 this information will be displayed in the following places:

  • Extranet - list views
  • Extranet - individual work views
  • Main website - search results
  • Main website - individual work view
  • white card
  • black card

Will this only apply to new submissions?

No.– for most historic works this information is already on file and will be displayed from May 1st 2008

How can I ensure that the information I want displayed is used?

Just make sure that the information is included on the submission form. The redesigned form now invites you to include details such as episode and series numbers, and episode titles.

If you have any queries please contact the Customer Helpline by telephone (020 7440 0299) or email (