The Last Battle, or Why <i>Makin' Whoopee!</i> Matters

Julian Petley

in Film and Video Censorship in Contemporary Britain

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780748625383
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670871 | DOI:
The Last Battle, or Why Makin' Whoopee! Matters

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This chapter illustrates the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) trying repeatedly to liberalise its guidelines relating to ‘R18’ videos, and being prevented from doing so by the then Home Secretary Jack Straw. The story of the ‘R18’ began in 1982. The differences between Section 2 and Section 3 proceedings under the Obscene Publications Act (OPA) are explained. Bernard Williams' unwillingness to recommend that sex shops should be licensed had by 1987 been amply justified. The combined efforts of Customs and the Home Secretary brought to an end the trial liberalisation period. The Makin' Whoopee! was passed by the Video Appeals Committee (VAC). It ‘may offend or disgust but it is unlikely to deprave or corrupt that proportion of the public who are likely to view it’. Straw ultimately failed to bend the BBFC to his will makes the existence of those powers no less disturbing.

Keywords: British Board of Film Classification; Makin' Whoopee; Video Appeals Committee; R18; Jack Straw; Obscene Publications Act; Bernard Williams; sex shops

Chapter.  12365 words. 

Subjects: Film

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