Bid to lower rating of 'positive' film

EFFORTS could be made to lower the rating of a film depicting life in Britain in the early 1980s so it can be shown to Colchester youngsters.This is England, directed by Shane Meadows, is a coming of age drama that has been handed an 18 certificate by censors.

EFFORTS could be made to lower the rating of a film depicting life in Britain in the early 1980s so it can be shown to Colchester youngsters.

This is England, directed by Shane Meadows, is a coming of age drama that has been handed an 18 certificate by censors. According to the British Board of Film Classification, it contains “very strong racist violence and language”.

But, after Bristol City Council agreed to grant the film a 15 certificate due to its “positive educational message”, one Colchester Borough Councillor is looking to get the film reclassified in this region.

Each local authority is responsible for rating films shown locally but usually accepts the guidance of the BBFC.


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But films may be reclassified upon request - if the licensing committee is given a good enough reason and agrees.

After hearing of the Bristol decision, Colchester councillor Tim Young said he felt compelled to try to make it accessible to local youngsters.

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He said: “It does seem that this is important subject matter and teenagers should be able to see this film. “I haven't seen it yet but I have asked our licensing committee to have a look at it and give it some thought.

“Because of the subject matter and the importance of it we should be looking at it like Bristol did. All I'm saying is that we should make a local decision on this.”

He added: “We've got a lot of young people in the town and I think we can take a lead here on this - an important film should be viewed by the people who need to see it. I think the message of the film is quite anti-racist.

“I was hoping that the Colchester Film Society might get it down and I always hope the Odeon might show a film that isn't a Hollywood blockbuster.”

Ron Stone, chair of Bristol's licensing committee, said he believed the film delivered a “positive, educational message about racism and its impact” and that young people aged 15 to 18 would benefit from being able to see it.

He added: “The committee felt it was important that the certificate matched the audience for which it was created. We believe we are the first local authority in the country to have taken such an enlightened view on this particular film.”

However, the decision would be subject to a lengthy process of meetings and screenings in Colchester, and with few cinemas in the area likely to show the film, the possibility of the change of rating appears doubtful.

Simon Harvey, the borough council's licensing manager, said that as although the committee had the power to overturn the BBFC's decision, it would require a “sound” reason to do so.

He added: “Requests to have films reclassified are very rare and I can't remember the licensing committee meeting to consider such a request.”

nTim Young is standing for re-election for the St Andrew's ward in the council elections on May 3 alongside Rebecca Price (Lib Dem), Andrew Senter (Green), and Alex Wilson (Conservative).

elliot.furniss@eadt.co.uk

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