Who we are

The trusted go-to guide

At the BBFC, our focus is on helping children and families choose well by providing them with the guidance they need to help them choose what’s right for them and avoid what’s not.

With the huge growth in film, video and online content, and in how and where we can watch and use it, this is becoming more important than ever.

Through our experience, regular consultations and research, we are careful to reflect the views of people right across the country. We understand what matters to families and apply this knowledge in setting our standards.

We take the integrity and impartiality of our work very seriously and over the more than 110 years of our history, we have increasingly come to be recognised as the go-to guide that people can trust.

The structure of the BBFC and its management is designed to both reflect and reinforce this.

The BBFC Board

The BBFC Board is made up of seven Directors who each bring expertise from a variety of disciplines including the cinema, television, video on demand (VoD) and media industries and from public service, social welfare and charity roles.

The seven members include four Statutory Classifiers: our President, Vice Presidents and Chief Executive, who are designated by the Government to collectively classify films and series under the Video Recordings Act 1984 (VRA) and are responsible for all policies relating to classification. It also includes three Independent Directors, who advise us on our organisational strategy and the administering of our financial affairs.

Current members are: Natasha Kaplinsky OBE (President, BBFC and Chair, BBFC Board), Murphy Cobbing (Vice President), Lord Patel of Bradford OBE (Vice President), David Austin OBE (Chief Executive), Gloria De Piero (Independent Director), Darren Jobling (Independent Director) and John Stanley (Independent Director).

Natasha Kaplinsky

President, BBFC and Chair, Board of Directors

Natasha Kaplinsky OBE is one of television’s best-loved broadcasters. Natasha has previously worked as one of the anchors for ITN network and was the Face of Five, anchoring the channel’s main evening news programme. She has also been the co-host of 6 O’Clock News and BBC Breakfast. Throughout her career, Natasha has held purposeful roles across public, private and non-profit sectors. With over 20 years of experience, Natasha has worked within both philanthropic and commercial businesses to support vulnerable people and communities around the world.

Murphy Cobbing

Vice President, Board Director

Murphy is a former BBC news and documentary producer of 20 years standing. She has also worked for the independent TV production company, Liberty Bell, and the Newcastle Evening Chronicle. She was born and raised in Gateshead and spent most of her career in journalism in the north east of England. Until recently, she was a trustee and Vice Chair of the Tyneside Cinema, the only purpose built newsreel theatre in the UK still operating, and also a trustee of the North East Circus Development Trust.

Lord Patel

Vice President, Board Director

Lord Patel of Bradford OBE is a qualified social worker and in March 2018, was appointed Chair of Social Work England, the regulator for all child, family and adult social workers. He was previously a Senior Independent Director of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and Chair of the Mental Health Act Commission, and a Commissioner of the Healthcare Commission and the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse. He has also authored a number of national reports, including The Patel Report into Prison Drug Treatment.

David Austin

Chief Executive

Our Chief Executive is David Austin. He is responsible for making executive decisions on behalf of the Board of Classification, ensuring the execution of policy, management of the BBFC, and handling external relations with the industries and people we serve, as well as other relevant bodies. David joined the BBFC in 2003 as an Examiner after a career in the Diplomatic Service, serving in South Asia, Central Africa and the former Yugoslavia. In 2011, he became Assistant Director, Policy and Public Affairs, before becoming Chief Executive in March 2016. He is a member of the Board of the Cinema Advertising Association (CAA).

Gloria De Piero

Independent Director

Gloria De Piero was a political journalist for 15 years working for the BBC and then ITV’s breakfast programme GMTV. She interviewed most senior politicians during that time including Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and David Cameron as Leader of the Opposition. She was elected as the Labour MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire in 2010 but did not stand for re-election in 2019. She spent most of her time as an MP on Labour’s front bench and Shadow Cabinet.

Darren Jobling

Independent Director

Darren has software innovation encoded in his DNA, launching his career in the games industry where he pioneered the creation of racing simulations for industry giants such as Electronic Arts, Activision and Take Two. In 2014, he ventured into uncharted territory with the launch of ZeroLight, quickly earning it a spot amongst the Top 100 Start-Ups in the UK. As the visionary force behind ZeroLight, Darren leads a team that creates digital marketing platforms for global mobility leaders, including VW, Mitsubishi, Lucid Motors, and BRP. His commitment to innovation has not only elevated ZeroLight to industry leading status, but has also cultivated robust strategic alliances with the major players in the technology sector. Recognised as one of the Most Ambitious Business Leaders in the UK, Darren continues to shape the future of digital innovation at the intersection of commercial applications and cutting edge technologies.

John Stanley

Independent Director

John has over 35 years of experience within transactional, physical and digital media, within Film, TV, Games, Music and Branded products businesses to bring to the BBFC Board. He is the former EVP & MD at Warner Bros. where he spent 15 years leading the Home Entertainment division in the UK, Eire, Spain and Nordics. During his career John has led commercial entertainment businesses through format transitions, from physical tapes to discs and on to digital streaming/downloads. He also helped drive the industry within traditional Retail outlets and managed the birth of E-commerce and Broadcast media companies as they entered the transactional Video and Games industries. John was Chairman of the Home Entertainment Industry council for three years and is an industry expert across International and US Film and Games operations. Prior to his time at Warner Bros, he was at 20th Century Fox in senior Sales, Marketing and Managing Director roles. He began his career in commercial positions in the Music Industry, initially in Retail and then with CBS Records and Polygram Music.

BBFC Global Ambassador

In this newly created role, Col is responsible for representing the BBFC internationally with key stakeholders, contributing closely to the development of the international aspects of the BBFC’s strategy including its work in the AI space.

Col Needham

Global Ambassador

Col Needham is the Founder and CEO of IMDb, the world’s most popular and authoritative source for information on film, TV, and celebrities. Born and living in the UK, Col has had a lifelong interest in both technology and entertainment, having now seen over 15,000 films. Col published the first version of IMDb online in October 1990 and IMDb became a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon in April 1998. IMDbPro, the essential resource for entertainment professionals, launched in 2002 and continues to empower its members to launch and grow their careers. Col is a board member of Into Film in the UK and Film Independent in the US. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bristol in 2018. Col has been a jury member for leading film festivals around the world, including the Mumbai Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, South By Southwest, and the Tribeca Film Festival.

The Executive Leadership

The Executive Leadership team is empowered to make executive decisions in the Chief Executive's absence.

Dave Barrett

Deputy CEO

Our Deputy CEO is Dave Barrett. As well as deputising for the CEO in his absence, Dave is responsible for the management of all parts of the classifying process, focusing on the speed and effectiveness of the service, the quality of classifying decisions for BBFC customers, and on the most efficient performance management of the whole BBFC operation. He is also the advisor on business services to the Chief Executive. Dave became Deputy CEO in July 2019 after holding a number of BBFC posts including Chief Operating Officer.

Siobhan Smedley-Wild

Finance Director

Our Finance Director is Siobhan Smedley-Wild, who is responsible for ensuring that appropriate and effective financial controls and reporting are in place. Her remit covers the Finance, HR and Facilities departments. Siobhan joined the BBFC in April 2017. She is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, and before joining the BBFC, was Finance Director at Take 2 Films and a Senior Financial Accountant at British Land Company plc.

Faye Harcourt

Director of Marketing and Outreach

Faye Harcourt is our Director of Marketing and Outreach and is responsible for all outwardly focused activity and reputational management of the BBFC brand. Her remit covers the marketing, communications, education and research departments. Prior to joining the BBFC, Faye held a number of senior marketing roles in the media industry, working for some of the worlds biggest entertainment companies including VICE, Viacom International Media Networks and NBCUniversal.

Other Principal Officers

Sarah Peacock

Compliance and Education Manager

Sarah Peacock is our Compliance and Education Manager, with day-to-day responsibility for the BBFC's education provision and managing a team of Compliance Officers whose main role is classifying content submitted to the BBFC. Sarah joined the BBFC in 2014, working as a Compliance Officer and an Education Officer, before becoming Compliance Manager in 2018.

Chris Davies

Compliance Manager

Chris Davies is our Compliance Manager, managing a team of Compliance Officers whose main role is classifying content submitted to the BBFC. Chris joined the BBFC in 2014, working as a Compliance Officer and Senior Compliance Officer, before becoming Compliance Manager in 2020. He has a PhD in Film Studies.

Edward Lamberti

Policy Manager

Edward Lamberti became our Policy Manager in 2020, after having been Operations Manager for several years. Edward has day-to-day responsibility for the BBFC’s policy objectives, including statutory and non-statutory regulation, online safety and child protection. Edward has a PhD in Film Studies from King’s College London and is the editor of Behind the Scenes at the BBFC: Film Classification from the Silver Screen to the Digital Age (2012).

Tom Cairns

Head of Business Services

Tom Cairns is our Head of Business Services. He is responsible for managing the BBFC’s continuing development of digital services for video on demand (VoD) platforms and other non-statutory uses of our ratings and compliance expertise. Tom joined the BBFC in 2010 and has more than a decade of experience of working with brands and content, including for the BBC, 3 Mobile, the FA Premier League, MTV, Universal Music and Sony Music.

Compliance Officers

Compliance Officers view content and recommend classifications, cuts and other actions, such as proof of age checks for performers. They carry out a range of tasks, including writing content advice, data entry, and checking online platforms to ensure voluntary compliance with BBFC classifications. They tend to be graduates, but this is not always the case. No specific qualifications are required, however experience in relevant areas such as media regulation, law or child development is important.

Associated Bodies

The Advisory Panel on Children's Viewing (APCV)

The APCV was set up by the BBFC in 1999 to provide advice on issues relating to classifying content for children. The panel consists of members with a range of relevant professional expertise and responsibilities.

The Video Packaging Review Committee (VPRC)

Established in 1987, the VPRC is administered by the BBFC. It is a voluntary system, designed to prevent offence to members of the public caused by explicitly violent or sexual imagery being displayed in public places on the covers of videos and DVDs. It also checks that submitted video packaging complies with relevant legislation regarding the display of age ratings.

Cinema posters for films classified with an age rating of 18 are also reviewed by a joint BBFC-industry body.