The BBFC – even more money for nothing!

Interesting what you find you, isn’t it. Having had to fork out more than £700 to the BBFC, and having signed and returned the form saying that I accepted the ‘18’ rating and the ‘consumer advice’ saying: ‘contains strong sex, sexual violence and very strong language’, they seemed to be taking a very long time in issuing the final certificate; so I contacted them to find out what was going on.

Back came the reply that I had to submit the packaging – to send them three copies of the DVD cover artwork which they would have to pass, and they sent me a link so that I could download the submission form.

‘Hang on,’ I thought, ‘What’s all this, you don’t have to submit covers of books to anyone?” Ah, yes, but as they explained, this was completely voluntary. I didn’t actually have to submit anything – I just had to tell them I wasn’t and they’d issue the certificate.
But they also informed me that:

“You should be aware, however, that by opting out of this scheme, which is registered as a Restrictive Trade Practice acceptable to the Office of Fair Trading, the product of your company may be refused handling by wholesalers and/or retailers who are members of the Video Standards Council (VSC).”

So there you have it. You send them the artwork, they look at it, they say, “That’s OK – here’s your certificate – and you can now go ahead and add a VSC logo to the cover as well.”

And then they ring you up and say, “That’ll be £41.28. Do you want to pay by credit card?”

What?! More than £700 so that someone can take your film home and spend 90 minutes watching it is bad enough. But over £40 to look at your cover as part of what they call a voluntary scheme – but one which, if you don’t comply with it, means that the main retailers and renters won’t handle your film! This isn’t a voluntary scheme, it’s a government sanctioned protection racket!

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