I started my week by watching over five hours of films and TV content. I watched all of this on my own in my office. Compliance Officers have to view a range of films and TV programmes and today the first thing for me was a horror film. Although it was a bit scary, it wasn't too bloody, and there were also some funny bits, so I decided to recommend a 12 classification. Once I finished tagging the content and writing up my analysis, I sent it to my manager to read and approve the rating. If a rating is borderline or raises some difficult issues then sometimes the content is watched again in full by other people, including the Chief Executive. After the horror film I watched a couple of television episodes from an old series from the 1990s. I then viewed an episode from a brand new series that hasn't been released online yet, so I didn't know much about the programme and had to concentrate hard to make sure I understood the story!
In the afternoon I watched some content that will be available to stream on video-on-demand services, like Amazon Prime. I view and tag this content in the same way as anything we rate at the BBFC.
This morning I was viewing a film in our special cinema where I work. Unlike films available on streaming services, we watch films that are being released in the cinema in teams, so today I was viewing with another Compliance Officer. We were both looking forward to it as it was a big blockbuster. The film had some tricky issues so we had a long chat after the screening about what age rating we were going to recommend for it. After we agreed between us, we both wrote our analysis. I then watched a short nature documentary before lunch.
Instead of viewing, I spent the afternoon doing some work on music videos. To help everyone make safer viewing choices online, some UK record labels submit new release videos performed by British signed artists (like Little Mix or Stormzy) if the videos are likely to contain material that isn't suitable for children under 12. Some of the issues the BBFC looks out for include any moments of violence, or rude words that might be in song lyrics. Where a submitted music video is rated 12 or higher, the official BBFC age rating is then displayed on YouTube or Vevo.
This morning I had two important meetings. Firstly I met up with my team to talk about what we've done in the past week. We then went to the weekly Compliance Meeting. This meeting takes place in a large room where all the Compliance Officers and other members of the BBFC team meet to discuss the films that have been watched in the past week. We talk about any issues that may have come up in certain films. Each week a Compliance Officer brings a few clips from content that they have rated. We all watch the clips and discuss the issues and the age rating, so it's a really good way of sharing experiences and learning from each other.
After the meeting, I wrote some long ratings info for a couple of films I have rated this week. We write long ratings info for all films we rate and it includes detailed information about a film’s content. This is important as our ratings info helps people, including parents, choose content well and make informed decisions about what they or their children should watch. You can learn more about ratings info here.
This morning I watched some Netflix content as part of our special partnership with them. The public have told us that it’s important to make sure that BBFC ratings are as present online as they are offline (like at the cinema or on DVD packaging), and so it’s really important that we try and make sure this happens by working with the industry.
In the afternoon, I was back in the cinema. I watched a French film followed by some trailers. Trailers take special concentration as they are fast-paced and sometimes it's difficult to make sure that you've seen everything, so we'll often watch a trailer more than once. We also have to remember that people watching trailers in the cinema haven't actually chosen to see them – they've come to see the main feature film – and so we are sometimes a bit more cautious about the age rating we give them. You can have a go at rating a trailer for yourself here.
Today I watched films and TV all day. People often ask if I am bored of watching films all the time but the answer is no! I still find it exciting to see films before they come out in cinemas, or watch films that I would never normally have the chance to see.
I spent the morning watching an old black and white film in my office. I was then asked to go to our cinema to carry out a cuts check. A cuts check is when a Compliance Officer re-watches scenes from a film in order to make sure that specific shots have been removed. Sometimes film companies ask the BBFC to suggest possible cuts for their film so that they can get the age rating that they want, for example a 12A rating in the cinema.
After lunch I wrote up my morning reports and watched a couple more episodes of a video-on-demand TV show. I then viewed a British film to be released on DVD. The company who submitted the film wanted a PG rating, but I had to give it a 12 as there were some scenes where the violence was too strong for PG.