Introduced by Guy Osborn
Special guest discussant, Craig Lapper, Senior Examiner at BBFC.
This BBC4 documentary was first shown in 2011, shortly before the centenary of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) was celebrated in 2012. As the BBC promotional material mentioned at the time, 'Lifting the lid on the world of cinema censorship, this programme has unique access to the files of the British board of film classification. Featuring explicit and detailed exchanges between the censor and film-makers, Dear Censor casts a wry eye over some of the most infamous cases in the history of the board'.
As was noted in this artsdesk review, Dear Censor stops in 1991 as files are not able to be viewed until 20 years have passed. 'Dear Censor: The Sequel', were it to be made, would be interesting, with films such as Natural Born Killers coming within its gaze. Indeed, the shifts that have occurred in recent years are marked and we are delighted to have Craig Lapper, Senior Examiner at the BBFC and one of the 'stars' of Dear Censor attending the screening and contributing to the discussion. The University of Westminster and the BBFC have a number of links. James Ferman, who is mentioned at various points during the film taught at the University during the 1970s and this connection, along with the role of our own cinema over at Regent Street (which was the first in the UK to screen an X rated film), led to us organising an exhibition with the BBFC in 2012 entitled Classified. Guy Osborn and Alex Sinclair also contributed a chapter to the BBFC/BFI book Behind the Scenes at the BBFC.
Dear Censor is being shown as part of the Film Matters season of film screenings.