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Monday, 29 October, 2001, 17:37 GMT
Film censor relaxes rules for children
AI is one of the films subject to the new classification
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is to allow younger children into films rated 12 - if accompanied by an adult.

An experimental scheme, under way in Norwich, is testing a new category, PG-12, which allows "responsible adults" to override the age restriction on 12-rated films - if they watch with the children.

The 12-year old age group is probably the most difficult to gauge

BBFC spokeswoman
The new rules apply to all four of the city's largest cinemas and began operating on Friday.

Films affected by the new classification will include AI, Moulin Rouge, Planet Of The Apes and Legally Blonde.

Opinion surveys

The BBFC experiment was preceded by audience research, and while the test is running film-goers will be interviewed as they come out of screenings.

There will also be opinion surveys on the streets of Norwich.

PG-12 symbol
Norwich film posters will carry the new classification
A BBFC spokeswoman told BBC News Online that deciding the distinction between PG and 12-rated films was often a problem, and that the new scheme might provide a solution.

"The 12-year old age group is probably the most difficult to gauge - children have so often developed differently by this age.

"We do get some complaints from parents that they can't take their children to 12-rated films, and we know that there's some interest in making this an advisory rating.

"The fact is, the difference between what's acceptable for a PG film and a 12-rated film is not very great," said the spokeswoman.

Further trials

Norwich film posters will explain the new category and the experiment will run until 13 December.

Further trials will be carried out over the next six to eight months in other towns chosen, like Norwich, because they are some distance from the next big city.

The BBFC says that it does not want to create a situation where children were coming in from neighbouring towns just because a film had been given a different classification where the new rating was being tested.

See also:

26 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Censors snip French shocker
19 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Whitehouse against censorship changes
14 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Censors relax film guidelines
22 May 00 | UK
Green light for porn films
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