The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (often confused with Britain and England) is a northern European country with a Christian Anglican majority. It is one of the only European countries to not be a member of the European Union (member of the European Union from 1973 to 2020) and one of the only sovereign nations to have countries inside it. The UK is made up of four united countries: England (where the capital London is), Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is a constitutional monarchy run by King Charles III.

The UK was established in 1801 which consisted of Great Britain and Ireland. Upon the secession of Ireland from the U.K., except for most of Ulster, it acquired its present-day borders in 1921.

General censorship[]

  • A law introduced in April 2010 was thought to ban anything that had a child participating in or near to sexual acts, but it was eventually tightened up to specifically only target actual child pornography.
  • Any material criticising the British Royal Family will land the user into hot water, and several netizens have been proscribed for such actions of lèse majesté.

Book censorship[]

The term "bowdlerisation" (and by extension, the verb "bowdlerise" and the derivative noun "bowdlerism"), which is the practice of expurgating or omitting elements deemed unsuitable to children, originated from Thomas Bowdler, an English physician who published The Family Shakespeare, which was a 1818 collection of William Shakespeare's plays expurgated by himself and his sister Henrietta Maria Bowlder, which they saw as more appropriate to introduce the Immortal Bard's works for children and women in the 19th century, who otherwise would be barred from experiencing these plays at all, actively encouraging people to seek out the originals as well. One instance of such changes was in Hamlet, where Bowlder made Ophelia's death by accidental drowning rather than a intended suicide.

  • Areopagitica by John Milton was banned in the Kingdom of England for political reasons.
  • Rights of Man - this work by Thomas Paine was banned in the UK and its author was charged with treason for supporting the French Revolution.
  • Despised and Rejected - this novel by Rose Laure Allatini was banned between 1918 until 1975 under the UK's Defence of the Realm Act for criticising Britain's involvement in World War I, and for sympathetically depicting male homosexuality.
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover - this novel could not be published openly in the United Kingdom until 1961, due to its explicit language and depiction of sex (and, it's been suggested, its depiction of an affair between an aristocratic woman and a working-class man). In 1959, Penguin Books published a version and were immediately hit with prosecution under the then-recent Obscene Publications Act. The defence were able to call some of the most respected and admired scholars and critics of the day to testify on their behalf, and the prosecutor didn't do himself any favours when he asked the jury to consider whether the book was the kind "you would wish your wife or servants to read" — a rather condescending question which no doubt charmed the socks off the women and middle-class people on the jury (It is said that one member of the House of Peers drily remarked that he was not concerned about his wife and servants reading it, but he did not want it getting into the hands of his gamekeeper.). The jury returned a "not guilty" verdict, and the trial is often credited for the resulting relaxing of regulations for publishing explicit material in Britain.
  • James Joyce's Ulysses was banned in the UK until 1936.
  • The Well of Loneliness - this lesbian novel of the 1920s was banned for a "graphic depiction of lesbian sex", which consisted of the single sentence, "And that night they were not divided." It was also the subject of the highest-profile obscenity prosecution before the Chatterley case, with very different results; it never even got to a jury, and the magistrate notoriously rejected the mere concept of a defence of artistic merit in obscenity cases.
  • Boy - this novel by James Hanley about the brief life and early death of a thirteen year old stowaway from Liverpool was banned in 1934 after Hanley's publisher Boriswood lost a court case against a charge of obscenity. However, the novel was reprinted in 1992 by Penguin Books and André Deutsch.
  • Lolita - this novel by Vladimir Nabokov about a French middle-aged literature professor obsessed with an American 12-year-old girl, whom he sexually molests after becoming her stepfather, was banned between 1955 and 1959 for being "obscene".
  • Last Exit to Brooklyn - this anthology of short stories by Hubert Selby Jr. was banned in Soho for frank depictions of taboo subjects, such as drug use, street violence, homosexuality, transsexualism and domestic violence.
  • Spycatcher - this autobiography by former MI5 intelligence officer Peter Wright was banned in the UK 1985–1988 for revealing secrets, before its publishing in 1987.
  • The Love That Dares to Speak its Name - this poem by James Kirkup was banned due to its description of a Roman soldier falling in love with the crucified Christ and having sex with his corpse before the Resurrection, while also suggesting that Jesus had sexual relations with practically every other male character in the Gospels. Its publication in Gay News in 1976 led to the UK's last criminal prosecution for blasphemy, brought privately by notorious conservative activist Mary Whitehouse against the magazine's publishing company, and the editor Denis Lemon. Both were fined and Lemon got a suspended prison sentence. The criminal blasphemy law was abolished in England and Wales in 2008, but remained in force in Scotland until 2021 and continues to persist in Northern Ireland as of March 2023.
  • Lord Horror - this deliberately scabrous speculative fiction graphic novel by David Britton which portrays an alternate timeline where the Nazis won World War II, is the most recent publication to have been banned as criminally obscene in the UK, in 1991. The judge ordered the remaining print run to be destroyed. The ban was overturned on appeal the following year, but the book remains out of print.
  • 2000 AD - this controversial sci-fi comic was subject to particular political censorship when it depicted Britain being conquered by a foreign superpower, which turned out to be the Soviet Union. The government insisted that they be renamed the "Volgan Republic", so as not to offend the Russians when the invaders eventually lost to La Résistance. They also objected to a frame showing an unidentified female prime minister swinging on the end of a noose (which could be interpreted as the then-UK prime minister, Margaret Thatcher).
  • One issue of MAD had to have the a page containing a strip mocking the royal family ripped out of every copy sold in the UK.
  • The UK had a strong backlash against horror comics in the 1950s, blaming them for juvenile delinquency (using much the same logic that led to the Comics Code in the U.S. around the same time). In fact, a 1955 law was introduced specifically to ban the sale of American horror comics to children; it remains in force, although there have been no prosecutions since the 1970s.
  • Tintin in the Congo - this Tintin comic book was banned as being racist, colonialist propaganda until 2005, when it was finally released with a foreword that places the racial and colonial imagery in the story in historical context. In other countries, such as South Africa, it remains banned for the same reasons, though in the rest of Africa, even Congo itself, the story is one of the most popular in the Tintin series.
  • There have been no obscenity prosecutions against commercially-published prose in Britain since the 1970s; the last was an unsuccessful attempt to prosecute an "autobiography" (later disowned) of the porn star Linda Lovelace. In the 2000s, a man was controversially prosecuted for obscenity after posting a pornographic online Hate Fic about raping, torturing and killing the members of girl group Girls Aloud, but that one also collapsed.
  • The Anarchist Cookbook, Kill or Get Killed and Put 'Em Down. Take 'Em Out. Knife Fighting Techniques From Folsom Prison - these books are considered criminal for containing information useful to terrorists.
  • The Sun - this British tabloid newspaper was banned from the city of Liverpool after the paper published a false story accusing Liverpool FC fans of starting the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, pickpocketing, attacking victims and urinating on responding police officers (when it was actually a fatal crush caused by abysmal crowd control). The citizens responded by collecting all copies of The Sun they could find for bonfires. When an inquest in 2017 officially cleared the victims of wrongdoing, the club itself banned Sun journalists from club premises. Liverpool's crosstown rivals Everton FC followed through with their own ban (although the Sun hasn't been kind to that club either). To this day, it is pretty much impossible to buy a copy of The Sun in Merseyside.

Movie censorship[]


The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has the authority to effectively ban films by refusing to rate them or give them a classification; films cannot be legally sold or displayed anywhere in the UK without such a classification unless when exempt. They've gotten considerably more lenient since 1999; these days, they'll only refuse classifications for films with animal torture, child pornography, particularly dangerous and imitable actions, sexually alluring graphic violence, or invasions of privacy. Any film which depicts unsimulated animal cruelty, including cockfights and horse falls, is never going to be seen uncut in the UK.

There is a growing reversal in the UK, where films with primarily explicit violence that may have found itself even banned during the era of the NAVLA in the 1980s would now pass with a 15 certificate today.

Mull of Kintyre test[]


The rumoured guideline was that British media should not broadcast a phallus with a higher vertical angle than the Mull of Kintyre peninsula (highlighted in red).

As told by an urban legend, the Mull of Kintyre test or Mull of Kintyre rule was an unofficial guideline used by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to decide whether an image of a penis could be shown.[1] According to the myth, the BBFC would not permit the general release of a film or video if it depicted a penis erect to the point that the angle it made from the vertical was higher than that of the peninsula of Kintyre in Argyll and Bute on maps of Scotland. The BBFC has denied the existence of any such "test", maintaining it is merely a humorous rumour.[2][3]

The Mull of Kintyre test was said to have first been used for the release of the controversial erotic historical drama film Caligula in 1979.[4]

Video nasties[]

Films considered as 'video nasties' are generally low-budget exploitation or horror films that have been known as these in 1983. These movies were refused a classification by the BBFC, effectively banning them. The problem was that it just made people curious, and the films being on a list made it easier for people to identify the "good stuff"; as such, the BBFC has become more lenient in recent years. Many of the video nasties are still banned today, although mostly because they have never been re-submitted for a new certificate. Among these are The Beast in Heat, Blood Rites, Fight for Your Life, Forest of Fear, Last Orgy of the Third Reich, Love Camp 7, Mardi Gras Massacre, and The Werewolf and the Yeti - which have still not been passed by the BBFC. A ninth film, Snuff, was passed in 2003 but has yet to receive a home video re-release. The others have mostly been re-released uncut, although films that feature unsimulated animal cruelty, such as Cannibal Ferox and Cannibal Holocaust, still have the most graphic scenes trimmed.

Individual instances of film censorship[]

  • £1,000 Reward - this 1913 Anchor Film Company, starring and directed by Harold Heath, filmed in quarries on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, and depicted an escape from the nearby Convict Prison, was ruled by The Home Office ruled that it must not be shown publicly, presumably believing it would give real prisoners ideas.
  • The Life Story of David Lloyd George - This biopic was abandoned in post-production, and the unedited rolls of original camera negative were shelved until their accidental rediscovery in 1994, leading to the film being restored by, in effect, editing the film as it would have been had the production process not been interrupted. It is believed that the rapid decline in Lloyd George's popularity during the shooting period led to fears that the film would meet a hostile reception if released, and that as a result, its suppression was engineered by the leadership of the Liberal Party.
  • The Phantom of the Opera (1925) - banned between 1925 and 1929 because it was too horrifying for general distribution.
  • Battleship Potemkin - This Soviet film was banned because of "inflammatory subtitles and Bolshevist Propaganda". The film was exhibited in private showings and in certain localities. Unbanned after the death of Joseph Stalin.
  • The Miracle Woman - this film was briefly banned because of its attack on Christian hypocrisy.
  • Freaks - this horror film was banned for almost 30 years (1932-1963) due to the shock of the audiences during some scenes. Available from 1963 - passed with an X rating."
  • The Island of Lost Souls - this film was banned until 1958, due to its depiction of vivisections, which fell under the policy of not depicting cruelty to animals in feature films.
  • I Vinti - this film was refused a certificate by the British Board of Film Censors in 1954, and never subsequently resubmitted for theatrical or home release since.
  • The Wild One - this film was banned from distribution in the United Kingdom until 1967 as according to the censors, the film encouraged criminal activity and antisocial behavior.
  • Glen or Glenda - this Ed Wood film was rejected/banned from distribution in the United Kingdom due to its trans-related subject matter. In 1981, it was distributed and reviewed in the Monthly Film Bulletin under the title "I Had Two Lives", and in 1995, it was released on VHS uncut with a 15 rating.
  • Black Sunday - this film directed by Mario Bava was banned due to its violent content until 1968.
  • Shock Corridor - this psychological thriller film directed by Samuel Fuller was initially banned on multiple counts but mainly because the film "presents a mental hospital in a light that would be considered objectionable in this country", which BBFC secretary John Trevelyan felt was offensive to "people who have friends and relatives with mental illness". The BBFC subsequently received a letter from the distributors who objected the film's ban and tried to make 'minor deletions' to the film in order to make it acceptable, but the film was still rejected. Subsequent attempts to release the film were rejected in 1966 and 1968, but the Greater London Council passed the film with an X certificate in 1969. The film was later passed at an uncut 15 certificate on home video in 1990.
  • 491 - this controversial Swedish drama film was banned for a 1964 release.
  • The Naked Kiss - this crime film was initially banned in 1964, but was later given an uncut release for a 1990 home video release, with an 18 certificate.
  • Onibaba - this Japanese historical drama film was originally banned in 1965, but a cut version was allowed with an X certificate in 1968. All versions have been released uncut since the 1994 VHS release.
  • The Wild Angels - this motorbike film was banned in 1966, but was cut for a 1972 cinema release. Later uncut for VHS version and onward.
  • The Trip (1967) - this psychedelic film was banned due to the overall film condoning and glamorizing the use of LSD. The film was rejected by the BBFC four times between 1968 and 1988. It was not released in Britain until 2002
  • In 1969, Ken Loach was commissioned by the Save the Children Fund charity to make an hour-long documentary promoting its work. Upon viewing the rough cut, the sanctioning of film's distribution or broadcast was refused by the charity's executives, believing that it was a negative portrayal of their organisation. The dispute resulted in a court ruling to the effect that the film's master elements be preserved in the National Film and Television Archive, but that no access be allowed without Save the Children's Permission. After negotiations between the British Film Institute and Save the Children, the first public screening of the film took place at London's National Film Theatre in August 2011. Though never formally titled, the film is cataloged in the BFI's records as The Save the Children Fund Film.
  • 99 Women - this women in prison film was originally banned in 1969 under the title Ninety Nine Women. It later passed in 2007 with a minute cut due to animal cruelty.
  • Django - this western film was banned due to concerns over "the excessive violence in the film & the moral tone", and was rejected after the distributor refused to make cuts. Was released uncut with an 18 certificate for the 1993 Arthouse VHS, and then at a 15 certificate for the 2004 Argent DVD.
  • Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot - this western film was rated "X" due to its violent content.
  • Bloody Mama - this horror film was initially banned in 1970, a cut version was passed in 1971 for general cinema release, and was passed uncut in 2009.
  • Trash - this film was banned because of its drugs theme, and the potential harm it could have (mainly the encouragement of drug use among young people) because of it. A censored version was later passed in 1972, which the distributor claimed was "cinematic history down the drain", but then ironically cut more material out of the film for the film's release, on the ground that the censored material was "either boring or possibly distasteful". Both BBFC and distributor cuts added to a total of 11 minutes. These cuts were mostly waived for future releases, and the film was finally released uncut in 2005.
  • Straw Dogs - this psychological thriller film was originally rated X for the cinema with cuts in 1971, there was no immediate attempt to apply for a home video certificate following the passing of the Video Recordings Act 1984 due to scenes of sexual violence being "positively" depicted. Two attempts of distributing the edited American version of the film were both rejected by the BBFC in 1999. The MPAA-mandated cuts reduced the length of the rape scene, and the second rape that was removed for US release. This version ended up eroticizing the first rape scene, and with the new guidelines the BBFC had at that point, the US cut of the film was deemed unacceptable. The uncut version of the film was finally re-released in 2002.
  • The Panic in Needle Park - this romance drama film was banned in June 1971 by the BBFC, before being released with an 'X' rating in November 1974. A cut version, short of 57 seconds, was passed with an '18' rating on New Year's Eve 1987 for video release. In April 2002, however, a version of the film was passed with an '18' rating by the BBFC, and all its previous cuts were waived. Explicit detail of injecting drug use is no longer considered grounds to cut or ban a film, but does require restriction to the '18' category unless there is an aversive, anti-drugs message. Nonfiction material which explicitly advocates use or cultivation of substances controlled under UK law- such as in four documentary/instructional videos on cannabis and psilocybin-containing 'magic' mushrooms submitted in 2005- may still be banned.
  • Man of the Year (Homoeroticus) - This film about a three testicle man was banned in 1972.
  • Deep Throat - This film, which is one of the first story-based pornographic films, was originally banned upon its release because many individuals at the BBFC saw it as obscene. Ten years later, in 1982, the courts upheld the ban of the film on grounds of obscenity. The uncut DVD was finally given an R18 rating in 2000, which allowed it to be sold in licensed sex shops in the UK. A cut version has been sanctioned for a similar 18 certificate and a wider release.
  • A notorious video nasty is The Last House on the Left (1972), which was banned several times starting with the film's original attempted theatrical release in the UK in 1974. Anchor Bay's 2004 DVD was also forced to have cuts, but they got around this by including the deleted material in frame-by-frame photo galleries in the bonus features (the BBFC only rates motion video content), providing a link to cut scenes on a website (also outside the BBFC's control). The film was finally passed uncut in 2008, and only because of its "dated nature" by that point. This video has a detailed rundown of the film's notorious censorship history in the UK.
  • A Clockwork Orange was voluntarily not distributed by the director Stanley Kubrick, after he heard of crimes and rapes inspired by the movie and fearing for his own safety. The ban was lifted when Kubrick died in 1999.
  • Coffy - this blaxploitation film was initially banned by the BBFC for 1973 cinema release, but then resubmitted and released in a cut from in 1974. Passed 18 uncut in 1988.
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre - After its initial British release, including a one-year theatrical run in London, this film was initially banned on the advice of British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) Secretary Stephen Murphy, and subsequently by his successor, James Ferman. While the British ban was in force, the word "chainsaw" itself was barred from movie titles, forcing imitators to rename their films. In 1998, despite the BBFC ban, Camden London Borough Council granted the film a licence. The following year the BBFC passed The Texas Chain Saw Massacre for release with an 18 certificate (indicating that it should not be seen or purchased by a person under 18), and it was broadcast a year later on Channel 4.
  • Score - this erotic romance film was initially banned in 1974, the film was later passed in a censored form (removing one scene of unsimulated sexual activity) for a 2012 home video release.
  • The Dirty Mind of Young Sally - this film was banned by the BBFC for 1975 cinema release. A very short version was further cut by the BBFC for 1986 VHS.
  • Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom -This film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini, based on the novel The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade was initially rejected, but was passed with an 18 certificate in 2000.
  • Deep River Savages - this cannibal movie directed by Umberto Lenzi was originally banned and listed as a video nasty, but eventually passed with animal cruelty cuts in 2003.
  • Let Sleeping Corpses Die - this film was included in the DPP List (classifying it as a video nasty). It was later unbanned with 2 minutes cut in 1985, to be later rereleased without cuts in 2002.
  • The Mountain of the Cannibal God - this horror film starring Ursula Andress was classified as a video nasty due to an accusation of obscenity. It was later released with 2 minutes and 6 seconds cut.
  • Scum - this British film had the tagline "The film they tried to ban". It was originally shot as a television play for the BBC, but the public broadcaster decided to not air it due to the film featuring violence and suicides. The film was remade by most of the original crew and eventually distributed to movie theaters.
  • The Toolbox Murders (1978) - this film was classified as a "video nasty" under an accusation of obscenity. It was eventually redistributed with 1 minute and 46 seconds cut in 2000.
  • The Driller Killer - this film was classified as a "video nasty", it was later distributed with cuts in 1999 and, eventually, redistributed uncut in 2002.
  • The House by the Cemetery - this Italian horror film was included in the DPP List (classified as a "video nasty"). It was later approved by the BBFC with near 4 minutes cut in 1988, later, redistributed with 33 seconds in 2001 and eventually distributed uncut in 2009.
  • Sweet Movie - this surrealist comedy-drama film was banned due to unpleasant scenes involving lavatorial practices; explicit sex and nudity; footage of an adult stripping in close proximity to young children, which was considered distasteful in 1975 and thought potentially unlawful on its 1980 re-submission following enactment of the Protection of Children Act 1978; and general concerns that the film may cause offence and controversy in the country. Has not been re-submitted since, but has occasionally been shown at arthouse cinemas in large UK cities, presumably with approval from the local authority for viewing by adult patrons.
  • Maîtresse - this film was refused a British certificate because of its depiction of sadomasochism; an examiner's report said that "the actual scenes of fetishism are miles in excess of anything we have ever passed in this field". Released with an X certificate in 1981, with several minutes of cuts. Passed uncut with an 18 certificate for DVD release in 2003.
  • Confessions of a Blue Movie Star - this film was banned in 1978, but later passed with cuts.
  • I Spit on Your Grave - this rape and revenge horror film was initially banned for high levels of sexual violence. In 2001, a cut version was released with an 18 certificate.
  • Derek and Clive Get the Horn - this comedy film was banned in 1980 due to the supposed abusive overuse of swear words. Was later passed uncut with an 18 certificate for a 1993 video release.
  • Bare Behind Bars - This Brazilian women in prison sexploitation film was classified as an 18 after the distributors removed 1m 38s of explicit scenes of unsimulated sex acts (such as fellatio and vaginal penetration by penis and dildo). The BBFC were prepared to grant an R18, which would have allowed it to be sold in licensed sex shops.
  • Mother's Day - this rape and revenge slasher film was banned by the BBFC for 1980 released during the video nasty period.
  • The House on the Edge of the Park - This exploitation horror film was banned for a cinema release in 1981. Initially granted an 18 certificate in 2002, albeit one with substantial cuts totaling 11 minutes and 48 seconds. In 2011, the film was reclassified by the BBFC, and most cuts were waived. However, it is still censored with 43 seconds of cuts to sexual violence in which a razor is traced over a woman's naked body, after which her body is cut with the razor.
  • Maniac - this psychological slasher film was refused a certificate twice by the BBFC, first for a cinema release in 1981, and then for a video certificate in 1998, on the grounds of unacceptable levels of sexualised violence. Released with 58 seconds of cuts to such violence, including a strangulation and a stabbing murder, in 2002.
  • Out of the Blue - this film was banned until 1987.
  • Cannibal Ferox - this film was classified as a "video nasty". It was released for home video with 6 minutes of pre-cuts, more than 6 minutes of additional cuts in 2000. This is the only film classified by the BBFC which, after a later revision, was subject to more cuts than the ones present in the previous release.
  • Dead & Buried - this film was classified as a "video nasty". It was under trial under charges of obscenity, the accusation was later retired and it was released with 30 seconds of cuts in 1990; redistributed uncut in 1999.
  • Possession - this psychological horror drama film was banned until 1991 for its violent content.
  • The New York Ripper - this film was firstly banned due to a high level of sexual violence against women. Although it was finally released 20 years later, the film remains censored, as a breast slashing scene remains unacceptable to BBFC guidelines.
  • Love Camp 7 - this 1969 women in prison exploitation film, which was one of the first Nazi exploitation features ever made, went on to be one of the 39 prosecuted "video nasties" during the early 1980s. The film was entered for classification in 2002 and was rejected as "the whole purpose of the work is to invite male viewers to relish the spectacle of naked women being humiliated for their titillation". This film was outright rejected as there was no way to cut the erotic scenes in the film without affecting the film's narrative.
  • The Evil Dead - this Sam Raimi horror film was one of the first films deemed a 'video nasty' - the term for films criticized for their violent content by the press, commentators, police and Trading Standards authorities, some religious leaders and 'pro-family' activists such as Mary Whitehouse. Despite eventually being removed from the DPP list of Video Nasties, the film was still postponed being released until 1990.
  • Shogun Assassin - this jidaigeki film (which was a compilation of the first two films of the Lone Wolf and Cub series) was banned from 1983 to 1992 for extreme violence.
  • Faces of Death - this mondo horror film was banned for explicit gore and juxtaposing fictional deaths and real footage of accidents, but was passed with only animal cruelty cuts in 2003.
  • Zombie Creeping Flesh (Hell of Living Dead) - this horror film was swept up in the video nasties controversy and withdrawn. An attempt to resubmit the film for classification was stonewalled by the James Bulger murder case (where a two-year old boy was abducted, murdered and tortured by two 10-year-old boys in 1993) , though it was passed uncut with an 18 rating several years later.
  • Savage Streets - This teen vigilante action film was rejected in 1984. In 1987 passed 18 with cuts in 1m 4s, but then rejected again until 1991. In 2011 passed 18 without cuts.
  • Cannibal Holocaust - This horror film as well as being labelled as a 'video nasty', it was originally believed to be a snuff film. Its director Ruggero Deodato was arrested for obscenity charges and was forced to prove that nobody had died during production. Despite finally being officially released in 2001, the film received 5 minutes and 44 seconds worth of cuts. In 2011, the film was re-released and all but 15 seconds of cuts- a muskrat being killed with emphasis on blood and pain- have been restored.
  • The Exorcist - the theatrical version of this horror film starring Linda Blair passed, uncut, with an X rating, by the BBFC in 1974 and has always been able to be screened legally. The original home video of the film was released in 1979 and was not banned per se, but Warner decided not to submit the film for classification for a few years following the video nasties controversy (as they believed there was a high probability of an official ban) and the implementation of the Video Recordings Act 1984 in 1986. It was not until 1999 that the video was finally submitted and passed, uncut, with an 18 rating.
  • Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 - This slasher film was refused a UK video release by the BBFC in 1987 after the distributor refused to edit a double murder scene and shots of topless women being killed. Following a re-submission, the film was passed uncut in 2020.
  • Death Wish - Despite being initially passed uncut with an X certificate, this vigilante drama thriller film suffered censorship problems after the implementation of the Video Recordings Act 1984. Before this, the film was available on video uncut without a video classification, relying on its cinema certificate for a rating. After this, it became compulsory for all videos to have a rating, leading to Death Wish being submitted for a video certificate in 1987. James Ferman wanted to cut the controversial rape scene, but was concerned that such intervention would ruin a crucial part of the film. As such, the film was withdrawn rather than outright banned. It was later passed with minimal cuts in 2000 to the rape scene and all previous censorship was waived in 2006.
  • Hidden Rage - this film was refused a certificate after the board felt that the film's rape scenes were 'titillatory' for male audiences, feeling that cutting wouldn't be an option.
  • Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III - this horror film was banned due to graphic violence, which is particularly focused against women; passed uncut in 2004.
  • 1 Day - this film was banned in Birmingham for portraying gang warfare in said city.
  • Re-releases of Hell of the Living Dead and Reservoir Dogs were briefly held up in the aftermath, though home video classifications were finally bestowed upon Hell of the Living Dead in 2002 and Reservoir Dogs in 1995 (the latter following a theatrical re-release).
  • While Monty Python's Life of Brian had a release, the lobby groups in the UK were outraged about the film's subject matter. They knew that lobbying the government directly would just draw attention to the film, so they instead went to local councils — over which these groups exerted enormous influence — and convinced them to ban the film from theatres in their own town. Many of them did so, without having seen the film or even asking why they should ban it. A Channel 4 documentary about the film's clash with the lobby groups showed a particularly insane interview with a councilman in Harrogate who had banned the film there:
    • Reporter: Now, you've not actually seen the film?
    • Councillor: No, we haven't.
    • Reporter: What reports have you had of it? Where have those reports come from?
    • Councillor: The reports have come from the Festival of Light, and they have told us of the attitude of the American Catholic church[Notes 1](sic) and the American Jewish church[Notes 2] (sic).
    • Reporter: What do you know about the Festival of Light yourself?
    • Councillor: Nothing.
  • David Cronenberg's Crash was banned by the Westminster Council in London by (whose territory covers the main West End theatres) after a censorious campaign against it by lobby groups.
  • Visions of Ecstasy, a short film featuring Saint Teresa of Avila sexually caressing the body of Jesus on the cross, was banned as violating a British anti-blasphemy law then on the books. The film remains the only film banned in the U.K. for blasphemy, In 1996, the distributor went to the European Court of Human Rights, asking them to consider whether any anti-blasphemy law could be consistent with the right to freedom of expression, but was told that it was. The law would abolished in 2008, and the film finally got a DVD release in 2012.
  • International Guerrillas - this Pakistani spy action comedy film was refused a certificate as it characterised author Salman Rushdie as a sadistic criminal mastermind, working for an international conspiracy devoted to destroying Islam. As Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses had caused uproar and led to a fatwa being issued against him in 1988 by Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Khomeini, the BBFC banned the film on the grounds that his portrayal in the film could inflame some to violence and that they were concerned over the author's safety. However, Rushdie himself objected to the ban, feeling that "censorship is usually counter-productive and can actually exacerbate the risks it seeks to produce". The rejection was subsequently overturned following the film's appeal to the Video Appeals Committee.
  • Reservoir Dogs - this Quentin Tarantino film was submitted to the BBFC for a video release certificate in 1992 (it had been submitted for theatrical distribution, was passed uncut and shown widely in cinemas). Though the film was never formally refused a video certificate, one was not actually granted until 1995. Because of the BBFC's statutory powers under the Video Recordings Act 1984, the delay amounted to a de facto ban during this period, during which a second theatrical release took place in 1994. It has been alleged that the delay was due to political pressure applied to then-BBFC's director, James Ferman, resulting at least in part from the revived controversy over so-called video nasties that was precipitated by the murder of James Bulger in 1993.
  • The Good Son - this psychological thriller film was withdrawn due to the James Bulger murder. When it was released on video in 1995, it was given an 18 certificate, with edits made to the sequence in which Macaulay Culkin's character drops a dummy over a bridge into oncoming traffic and causes a multiple car pile-up, out of fear that children would try to imitate the stunt. The 2002 DVD has been passed uncut with an 18 certificate.
  • Natural Born Killers - this crime film had its certification delayed while the British Board of Film Classification investigated claims that the film incited violence upon release in the U.S. The BBFC later gave the film, directed by Oliver Stone, an 18 certificate. The VHS release, also rated 18, was banned by Warner Bros. until 2001. This was in response to the Dunblane massacre, which occurred shortly after it passed uncut.
  • Back in Action - This action film starring Roddy Piper was originally banned on the grounds that its extremely violent content could be harmful, as they felt that it was likely to appeal to minors, particularly those with a record of violent offending. The rejection was over turned after a heavily pre-cut version was further censored in order to remove the more brutal parts of the film (including kicks to the head and face, the smashing of heads against walls, floors and pillars and the biting of ears) and glamorising of weaponry. All cuts were waived when the film was resubmitted in 2004.
  • Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor - this martial arts film had a video certificate rejected in 1994, on the grounds that it was 'celebration of extreme violence as entertainment'. Passed uncut for a DVD release in 2004.
  • Boy Meets Girl (1994) - In spite of being allowed an uncut 18 rating on initial cinema release, this film was refused a home video certificate, due to its strong emphasis on torture. Given an uncut 18 certificate in 2001 for DVD release.
  • Mikey - this psychological crime film was rejected for a certificate and banned by the BBFC in 1996 due to the James Bulger murder case. The BBFC (on the guidance of three child psychiatrists) banned the film because it features a child as a killer (which they believed might cause children who watched it to act violently). The murder also delayed the re-release of Hell of the Living Dead for several years (see above).
  • Bare Fist: The Sport That Wouldn't Die - this documentary about bare-knuckle fighting was refused a certificate twice. In both cases, the board was concerned with how the documentary allegedly glamorised the sport, through its lengthy sequences of the fighting as well as the instructional use of achieving lethal effects, like lacing bandaged fists with glass fragments. While they didn't object to what the documentary was wanting to achieve, which was trying to legalise the sport, the content mentioned was still a concern. After the director refused to make the board's cuts, the film was initially banned in 1996. A later re-submission in 1999 was similarly unsuccessful.
  • Brave, Bashed, Battered and Bruised - this documentary about karate was banned because, according to the board, the film was 'selling the pleasures of gross violence through its unrelenting focus on the infliction of injury and pain.
  • Date with a Mistress - this film about sadomasochism was banned by the BBFC because of 'pornographic treatment of sex in the context of force, restraint and the infliction of pain'
  • Deadbeat at Dawn - this action film was rejected, with high level examiners (including Andreas Whittam Smith) taking objection to its content, In spite the fact that cuts were suggested on first submission to the use of martial arts weaponry, the Board were split over the film due to its high levels of violence.
  • Changing Room Exposed - this film was refused a video certificate by the BBFC in 1998, due to its content (consisting of footage from a men's changing room without the participants' knowledge) violating Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights which guarantees the right to privacy. The distributors later went to the Video Appeals Committee in order to overturn the decision, but withdrew from the process later on. In 2001, it was re-submitted under the title Video Voyeur under the pretense that the participants knew they were filmed. When the board didn't receive any concrete evidence for this, the film was rejected again in 2003.
  • Banned from Television - this direct-to-video film was banned as the board felt that this film's constant display of real death, injury and mutilation for entertainment was unacceptable. This was because they argued that it could desensitize people and erode their compassion towards the suffering of others, something worsened by how it could potentially get into the hands of minors.
  • A Cat in the Brain - this horror film was banned due to unacceptable amount of sexual violence. Passed uncut in 2003.
  • Hooligans - this documentary about hooliganism in football was refused a video certificate, as it glorified football hooliganism.
  • Bumfights Vol. 1: A Cause for Concern - this film was banned as its content violated the Video Recordings Act 1984 as it exploited 'the physical and other vulnerabilities of homeless people', since they were constantly being 'abused, assaulted, and humiliated' in the video according to the board.
  • Spy of Darkness - this OAV anime (Original Animated Video) was banned due to unacceptable levels of eroticised sexual violence, something worsened by how some of the victims seemed to enjoy being raped. The other three 'hentai' videos in the Darkness series were passed 18 with extensive cuts, some compulsory (to remove the kind of eroticised sexual violence which dominates Spy of Darkness) and others to graphic animations of consensual sex featuring penetration, ejaculation and semen to avoid the R18 category which would have prevented them from being legally sold outside of sex shops.
  • Women in Cellblock 9 - this 1977 Swiss exploitation action horror film was rejected over sexual violence being eroticized and images of Susan Hemingway, who was 16 at time of filming, which were considered potentially indecent (in England and Wales, indecent images of minors are illegal; the relevant age was raised from 16 to 18 by the 2003 Sexual Offences Act, which had been passed by Parliament to take effect May 1, 2004 shortly after this submission to the BBFC).
  • Traces of Death - this 1993 mondo film was banned for featuring real images of death and suffering that were deemed to have "no journalistic, educational or other justifying context" and liable to deprave and corrupt the audience (thus contravening the Obscene Publications Act) in their presentation as mere entertainment.
  • Terrorists, Killers and Other Wackos - this shockumentary was banned as it presented clips of actual injury and death with "no journalistic, educational or other justifying context for the images shown" as well as how the "undercurrent of racism and xenophobia" could potentially lead to viewers becoming more racist.
  • Struggle in Bondage - this film about bondage is rejected by the BBFC for depicting women bound and gagged, writhing and struggling against their restraints.
  • Murder-Set-Pieces - this horror film was submitted for release in the United Kingdom to the BBFC who refused to classify it on video/DVD in 2008. The BBFC stated they rejected the film because of sexual violence, sustained sadistic terror and humiliation, and focus on the graphic killing of a pre-teen child which together raised a potential harm risk and potentially breached obscenity laws.
  • The Texas Vibrator Massacre - this pornographic horror film was banned due to containing a significant amount of eroticized sexual violence, and for scenes of intercourse between characters intended to be brother and sister. The original version, (unofficially) "rated XXX" in its US release to indicate hardcore pornography, runs 96 minutes; the version submitted to the BBFC was 20 minutes shorter than this and had already had all clearly unsimulated sexual activity and sight of semen removed to satisfy their Guidelines for "18" as opposed to "R18" sex works, but the violence and incestuous set-up are considered equally unacceptable in material intended for sexual arousal of the viewer irrespective of explicitness.
  • NF713 - this film, in which a female "enemy of the state" is tortured, was banned after its primary purpose was judged to be "to sexually arouse the viewer at the sight of a woman being sexually humiliated, tortured and abused".
  • It (1990) - a showing of this horror film based on the Stephen King's novel of the same name was pulled from television after the murder of 10-year-olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in 2002.
  • Grotesque was banned by the BBFC due to a high level of sexual torture. Unlike other torture films like Hostel and Saw, Grotesque was deemed by Examiners not to have sufficiently contextualised its sadistic imagery, which let Japanese filmmaker Koji Shiraishi say that he was "delighted and flattered by this most expected reaction from the faraway country, since the film is an honest conscientious work, made sure to upset the so-called moralists." The BBFC noted that it's quite capable of telling an honest work of art, and that "the chief pleasure on offer seems to be wallowing in the spectacle of sadism (including sexual sadism) for its own sake."
  • My Daughter's a Cocksucker - this is an incest-themed pornographic film in which men perform irrumatio on women, who frequently look directly into camera and deliver lines such as "Daddy always likes it when I choke" and "Am I good enough to teach the little sister?" The Guidelines at 'R18' allow for real oral sex including 'deep throat' scenes but not a focus on images or verbal references to choking, gagging, etc. which is considered an 'abusive, degrading and dehumanizing' and potentially harmful sexual portrayal by the BBFC. In many hardcore productions such scenes are cut, but here they were so frequent- along with the also unacceptable references to an incestuous set-up- a viable work would not remain following cuts and it was instead rejected.
  • Lost in the Hood - this gay pornographic film with a plot line depicting men as abducted, brutalized, and raped by other men. The sex is unsimulated and was, in real life, consensual but "rape fantasy" sex works are not permitted by UK censors, whether or not they would likely fall foul of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008's prohibition on 'extreme pornography'.
  • The Human Centipede II was released as direct-to-video (differently from other countries, where it had a theatrical release if it was released at all) with 150 seconds of footage cut to remove sexualized violence and extreme gross-out scenes.
  • The Bunny Game - this avant-garde horror film was banned due to extensive unacceptably presented scenes of rape and sexualized violence. The eroticisation and arguable endorsement of such violence was deemed by the Board to have the potential for being highly harmful under the Video Recordings Act 1984.
  • Hate Crime - this 2012 found footage-like home invasion thriller about a Jewish family who find themselves subjected to horrific acts of violence, rape, and torture by a gang of meth-addicted neo-Nazis, was deliberately intended to get slapped with a BBFC ban. Director James Bressack, himself Jewish, was proud about the fact that his film was "officially too twisted for the UK" and once again attempted to justify it as a conscientious work designed to draw attention to the issue of anti-Semitic hate. Once again, the BBFC was not convinced, making it clear that they understood the difference between sincere art and exploitation masquerading as art. Technically the film is not "banned" in a legal sense as there is no requirement for films released solely online to be BBFC-classified, and no jury or magistrate has ever condemned it as violating one of the laws applying to online material distributed in Britain (such as containing indecent images of under-18s, being obscene, constituting incitement to hatred or glorification of terrorism.) As the same or stricter criteria are applied to video works, it would however certainly be unlawful to supply in the UK on a physical medium where the Video Recordings Act does mandate BBFC approval.
  • Gestapo's Last Orgy - this 1977 Italian exploitation film was submitted to the BBFC for DVD release by 88 Films. It was refused classification and therefore release in the United Kingdom on 26 January 2021. In its reasoning the BBFC cited the film's pervasive Nazi imagery, anti-Semitic nature and scenes of extreme sexual violence and rape. As these themes run throughout the film and serve as a central plot point, cuts were deemed unsupportable.
  • In Autumn 1972, Lord Longford and Raymond Blackburn decided to pursue a matter of pornography classification for the Swedish sex educational film Language of Love into the Court of Appeal of Lord Denning, MR, and lost the writ of mandamus against the Police Commissioner, who had refused to intrude upon the BBFC remit.
  • Black Friday (2004) - this Indian Hindi-language crime film was released in the United Kingdom with 17 seconds of the cockfighting scenes deleted. Laws in the UK do not allow any film footage of actual animal cruelty that has been deliberately orchestrated by film-makers.
  • Just Jaeckin's The Story of O was banned outright in the UK until 2000.
  • Savage Man, Savage Beast, a 1976 mondo film, was banned in its uncut form upon its release, and nearly ten minutes' worth of footage had to be removed before it could be passed (with an X rating) by the BBFC.
  • Incredibles 2: Many disability advocates, including the Epilepsy Foundation, have raised concerns that movie scenes with flashing lights, including that in Incredibles 2 of Elastigirl's fight with the Screenslaver, can trigger seizures in viewers affected by photosensitive epilepsy. As a result, several theaters posted warnings for audiences. In response to this, a re-edited version was released in the United Kingdom with all affected sequences altered so that any flashing lights and strobe effects now pass the Harding test.
  • The 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films used to be censored due to the display of nunchakus and shurikens (as possessing those weapons in the UK is illegal, even if it was released with the "Ninja" in the title, when it was released at the same time as the 1987 series.
  • Any scene depicting ninja weapons such as nunchakus and shurikens was censored. Such examples were the iconic nunchaku scene of Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon and the final fight scene of Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. Since 1999, the laws relaxed considerably though.
  • Die Hard 2 - a showing of this film in the UK was delayed and replaced with a showing of Sylvester Stallone's film Cliffhanger, due to a then-recent incident at the Glasgow Airport where a flaming car crashed into the building, and since the film was set in an airport, they thought that showing it would be in bad taste.
  • Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer - the uncut version of this film was initially banned in United Kingdom for its graphic violence. However, the BBFC finally approved the uncut version in 2003 after numerous unsuccessful appeals throughout the 1990s.
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery - the dialogue where No. 2 informs Dr. Evil about his plan to end the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales was overtaken by real-life events was cut from the British release due to an even more tragic incident involving the Princess of Wales which happened the week before the film's premiere.
  • Ichi the Killer - this film was refused classification by the BBFC, due to violent content, necessitating a censored version that cut over three minutes for it to be released in the UK.
  • Blue Story - this film which is about street gangs in London was pulled from theatres across the UK in the aftermath of a machete fight occurring during the screening of Frozen II.
  • Child's Play 3 - a showing of this film was pulled from British TV screens after the James Bulger murder. The murderers, who were children themselves, reportedly watched it before committing the crime and their actions were similar to those of Chucky in the film, which led to a period of demonisation of the Child's Play series in the media, reacting as if the films were actively encouraging murder.
  • The Towering Inferno - a showing of this film was pulled from British TV in June 2017 due to 72 people dying in a fire in the Grenfell Tower in north London two days before.
  • Island of Death - this film was banned for several years in Britain before a heavily censored version was passed by the BBFC and released on home video by Vipco. It was not until 2003 that the film could be seen there in its uncut form.
  • Pamasahe - This Filipino film about a young mother in poverty having to turn to sex work, was initially available on Amazon Prime Video, but then, it was withdrawn for infringing Ofcom's rules after a complaint that a baby was visible at the same time during a scene where sexual activity was present.

Television censorship[]

In the UK, television and radio content is regulated by the general telecommunications regulator Ofcom. They are technically able only to respond to complain about showws after their broadcast, but they nevertheless have clout as an Ofcom reprimand is considered seriously damaging to a station's reputation, and very bad and/or repeated breaches, can lead to a station being heavily fined or even shut down (The most recent example was minor Urdu-language channel Peace TV, which was closed down for rebroadcasting a programme that had previously been held by Ofcom to incite serious violence against Muslim people who practice certain types of faith-healing, amulet-making and white magic that are considered blasphemous and heretical by certain other groups of Muslims). As much "taste and decency" issues are concerned, the Ofcom also investigate claims that non-fiction works were defamatory, invasive of peoples' privacy or otherwise "unfair" according to the UK's strict requirement for impartiality in broadcast news.

The current UK record for the most complaints (over 39,000) about a TV program is held by Celebrity Big Brother, particularly the bullying and racial abuse from contestants Jo O'Meara, Jade Goody, Danielle Lloyd among other contestants directed at eventual winner Shilpa Shetty during the fifth season of the show.

In the UK, most TV content was under scrutiny from mediawatch-uk, formerly known as the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association, a pressure group founded in 1965 by Mary Whitehouse and claims a membership of 40,000 (counting dead members and anyone who sends letters to them). Said advocates for an aggressively conservative view of proper TV content and has advocated making the possession of pornography a crime punishable by imprisonment. Said group closed down on 7th September 2021.

On BBC, paid advertising is banned, due to the network being public access and funded by license fees.

Instances of television censorship[]

  • In 1976, the BBC refused to broadcast the Formula 1 1976 British Grand Prix due to one of the cars, the Surtees TS19 driven by Alan Jones, having as sponsor Durex, a condom manufacturer, as Team Surtees refused to remove the Durex logo from its cars. As result from this decision from the BBC, many British viewers missed out one of the most exciting duels of the 1976 season between James Hunt and Niki Lauda.
  • While the English Football League allowed shirt sponsorship in 1977, many football teams in England and Scotland were not allowed to show their sponsors' logos on their jerseys in televised matches until 1983.
    • Incidentally, in 1983, the English Football League allowed live football broadcasting, which said organisation resisted before said year. Back then, only the highlights of the football matches were broadcast, on BBC's Match of the Day.
  • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA: The anime was not distributed past its first season by Anime Limited due to fears of a ban in the UK.
  • Ikki Tousen: Dragon Destiny: One of its mini-OVAs was essentially banned by the BBFC through requiring the entire length of the OVA to be cut from the DVD except for the credits due to sexualized depictions of underage nudity.
  • Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation: This TV series, was made with Michelangelo not having nunchucks because of the opinion that some countries have about him, and so the censorship that the Europeans did was change the name to Hero Turtles: The Next Mutation.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt - this anime is not allowed to be shown on television at all for its extreme sexual references and strong use of bad language- Funimation tried to do a censored edition to get it on Adult Swim, with the fans backing it. However, it was ultimately rejected. That said, it is still allowed on Blu-Ray and DVD, so it's only a soft-ban.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987 TV Series): In the United Kingdom, the series was originally released under the name Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (TMHT). This was due to the controversy surrounding ninjas and related weapons such as nunchaku at the time. The intro sequence was heavily edited because of this, replacing the word ninja with hero or fighting, using a digitally faded logo instead of the animated blob, and removing any scenes in which Michelangelo wields his nunchaku, replacing them with clips from the show. Scenes of Michelangelo using his nunchaku were likewise edited out of the episodes themselves, which led the American show runners to drop the weapons from the series entirely in the fourth season in order to make the show more appropriate for the international airings. The weapons were replaced with a grappling hook called the "Turtle Line" that served as Mikey's signature weapon for the rest of the show's run. The word 'ninja' was also edited out of any speech within the show, often leading to some awkward sounding dialogue. The ban on depictions of such weapons however, was relaxed in 1999 and the 2003 TMNT series survived in the UK unchanged.
  • Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid: this anime was banned because the BBFC demanded extensive cuts to teenage sexual activity and nudity throughout to get an 18 rating. The unnamed distributor canceled their plans to release the series, and it was also pulled from the Funimation UK site.
  • Paranoia Agent - the third DVD volume of this anime was refused classifcation[5] by the BBFC due to a scene in episode 8, where characters, including a child, try to hang themselves from a tree branch for fun (until the branch snaps). 80 seconds of footage were cut for the DVD to pass with an 18 rating. The episode finally passed uncut for the 2021 Blu-ray release, also with an 18 rating.

Since the Jimmy Savile sex scandal broke up in 2012 after his death, which revealed that the late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile was unmasked as a prolific pedophile and sexual abuser whose alleged crimes dated back to the 1950s, the BBC had a fair deal of damage control to do by removing and/or destroying memorials, statues dedicated to him and his gravestone, disbanding organizations where he was involved, renaming street names and charity carrying his name, or making unavailable to the general public most of the memorials and archive footage which featured him as well removing footage and references to Savile from bios and documentaries.

  • The scandal broke when rival network ITV ran the special Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, that revealed that the BBC news magazine Newsnight was working on an investigative report on his alleged sexual abuse at the end of 2011, briefly after his nationally-mourned death. It is disputed why the Newsnight report was spiked cancelled, while the BBC was airing Savile tribute specials that Christmas.
  • Less than two years before news of the scandal broke, BBC Four began to air every Top of the Pops episode from April 1976 onward in their archive. Subsequently, any episode where Savile hosted or co-hosted was dropped from rerun rotation and made unavailable to the public by the BBC. After Dave Lee Travis, another presenter, was arrested as part of the Scotland Yard investigation into Savile's crimes, the episodes where Travis appeared in were dropped as well.

Margaret Thatcher's government (1979-1992) was very sensitive about the terrorist group IRA (specifically, the Provisional Irish Republican Army), which had blown up several of its members during the Troubles. As such, it banned the broadcast of anything said by terrorists or their spokesmen, with interesting results: While said ban prohibited broadcasting their statements, the government couldn't stop the media from actually interviewing them. This led to an unusual practice when either a politician (such as Gerry Adams, the leader) of Sinn Féin or a representative of Irish republican groups was going to be interviewed,would have his voice clearly dubbed over out of sync, so that his voice could not be heard while he does these statements. This practice, started in 1988, lasted until 1994 and was satirised by The Day Today (where the interviewee was required to inhale helium) and remembered years later by a radio episode of Dead Ringers (where the interviewer was delayed, as his questioning about the Iraq War was "too scary" for the politicians).

  • Absolute Power - this sitcom had an episode with a throwaway joke about an MP faking a heart attack to avoid being interviewed, due to the death of a Robin Cook, a prominent MP who died of a heart attack. An episode about a member of the Bin Laden family trying to buy British Airlines was also postponed following the 2005 London bombings.
  • Adventure Time - the episode "Breezy" was never broadcast in the UK due to the pervasive sexual subject matter which was considered impossible to be produced a child-friendly cut. Some episodes involving Finn losing his right arm were not broadcast in the Britain either, fearing that young viewers would find them too upsetting.
  • Are You Being Served?:
    • The Christmas special of series 8, "Roots" has a final number based on The Black and White Minstrel Show where most of the cast is in blackface, which was considered in poor taste even during its original broadcast in 1981, with most contemporary repeats have this section either omitted or cut.
    • The second episode of series 4, "Top Hat and Tails" is most commonly described as a misplaced and rediscovered episode, which, however, at least one PBS broadcast in the US described it as a "banned episode" due to a dance contest scene depicting two men dancing.
  • Betty Boop - the 1934 cartoon "Red Hot Mamma" was banned due to its depiction of Hell being deemed "unsuitable for public distribution in this country".
  • Bo', Selecta! - this comedy show in 2020 was pulled off from All 4 as agreement between Channel 4 and the author Leigh Francis, due to backlash over the show's use of blackface.
  • Bottom's Out - the final episode of the second season, where Ritchie and Eddie encountered a flasher while camping out on Wimbledon Common was shelved due to the fact that before its broadcast, a young woman was sexually assaulted and murdered on the Common. The episode first appeared in the VHS release.
  • Broomstick Cottage - this Canadian-esque 1990 cartoon was refused broadcast on British television.
  • Brum - the episode "Brum and the Pantomime Cow" was banned from reruns in 2008 because Barney Dee (who played the busker) got arrested for criminal charges. Due to this, any other episodes which featured his character got edited to remove the scenes featuring him, with the long version of the closing credits used between seasons 3 and 5 replaced with the shorter one.
  • Death on the Rock - this Thames Television documentary which suggested that the British government may have unlawfully killed some IRA members was being contemplated to be banned by the government. Which didn't work, so the government just mass-deregulated ITV and watched it get outbid and replaced (which in turn led to ITV's radical reshaping through the Broadcasting Act 1990, with Thames Television being replaced by Carlton Television and mass consolidation).
  • Deadliest Warrior: the episode "IRA vs. Taliban" as the only one of said show not aired in the United Kingdom. The government didn't ban it, but no network was willing to show it. Charlie Brooker got away with showing the intro and an abridged fight sequence on You Have Been Watching, the final outcome of the fight being the question for his panellists. Incidentally, the IRA wins this particular game of militant five-a-side with a well-placed car bomb.
  • Degrassi Junior High - four episodes of the season 1 of this series were skipped by BBC 1 due to complaints from parents about its content. One of said episodes was the one in which Spike gets pregnant, which proved to be bad timing due to Amanda Stepto, who portrayed Spike, doing publicity in the UK. However, the "banned" episodes were released on VHS and aired months later in a later timeslot on BBC 2, before the network dropped the show altogether, airing reruns instead. Degrassi Junior High is reported to have also aired on pay TV networks such as UK Gold in the 1990s, even though no information on whether season 2 and 3, or even Degrassi High was broadcast, is currently available. The BBC's Genome TV database also insinuates that only a handful of Degrassi: The Next Generation season 8 episodes were shown.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The cliffhanger of the third part of 'The Deadly Assassin' serial of the 14th season, where Chancellor Goth held the Fourth Doctor's head underwater in an attempt to drown him, was censored after complaints from "clean-up TV" campaigner Mary Whitehouse of the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association, as she stated that said ending was one of the most frightening scenes in Doctor Who, argumenting that children would not know if the Doctor survived until the following week and that they would "have this strong image in their minds" during all that time. This led to the master tape itself was edited with the original ending cut, which affected every future airing (such as the re-airing on BBC1 from 4 to 25 August 1977 seen by 4.4, 2.6, 3.8 & 3.5 million viewers, for instance) until when the series was released in home video, where said scene was reconstructed from a lower quality source.
    • The DVD release of the serial "The Two Doctors" was withdrawn from circulation due to featuring "A Fix with Sontarans", a non-cannon crossover with Jimmy Savile's show Jim'll Fix It, where its host was prominently included at the end. Two years later, the DVD was reissued without "A Fix with Sontarans", before the BBC eventually featured an edited version of the sketch on the Season 22 Blu-ray set in 2022, with any scene featuring Savile excised.
    • According to the book Who's 50, the Aliens in "The War Games" stop their kidnaps at World War I due to the writers wanting to avoid mentioning World War II, Which in 1969 was only 24 years in the past. Many people, such as Patrick Troughton (who played the Second Doctor) himself, had direct memories of fighting that war, or had lost loved ones, or had been affected by it. Said book argues that the writers felt it would have been bad taste to feature WWII because it was just too soon. As a matter of fact, the classic Doctor Who series do not did a story set during World War II until the final season (Season 26) in 1989. The fact that the wars chosen for the zones are all fortunately in the past also allows the programme to avoid anything which then was controversial like the Vietnam war.
    • After the Dunblane massacre, the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie was edited on its original BBC transmission in order to remove as much of the opening gunfight as possible. The scene has later been reinstated on the DVD release of the episode, but the sound effect of the Master breaking his wife's neck (which was also removed on the original transmission) was not restored on the DVD.
    • In the Series 8 episode "Robot of Sherwood", the death of the Sheriff of Nottingham had to be altered from the character being beheaded, which would reveal that he was a robot, to being pushed into a vat of molten gold, leaving his nature ambiguous in the final product, which also led to a Missy-in-the-Nethersphere scene involving said character getting cut. The change was due to the recent beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Stoloff by the Muslim extremist militia ISIS; as the show was meant as one of the season's breather episodes, the change was probably for the best.
    • The Series 10 episode "The Pyramid at the End of the World" aired within the week following the suicide bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, so a discussion the Doctor had with Nardole what could cause the end of the world, with lines referencing terrorism being cut, in particular the Doctor noting that "Terrorism discriminates" (as opposed to the real threat, which is a bacterial plague).
    • The Christmas episode "The Feast of Seven" of the season 3 serial "The Dalek's Master Plan" was never broadcast anywhere or anytime except in the UK on Christmas, as it would not have sense to air it except in the context of Christmas.
    • During the fan live watches during the Doctor Who Lockdown event during the COVID-19 pandemic, the episodes "World Enough and Time" and "The Doctor Falls" were originally scheduled to be screened on 6th June 2020 as the finale of the event, but the potentially unintentional offensive subtext of running a story involving a black companion being shot and mutilated at a time when the top international headline was worldwide Black Lives Matter/police brutality protests (especially given that fans were encouraged to live-tweet reactions on Twitter during these screenings) led to it being cancelled. The day it would have run the original short "The Best of Days", a canon epilogue to the story written by Steven Moffat and featuring Bill and Nardole, voiced by their original actors, was screened instead. It is set in 2020 and mentions both the pandemic and the protests.
    • Doomwatch - the series 3 episode "Sex and Violence" did not air due to its unflattering caricatures of 'clean-tv' activists such as Mary Whitehouse. In a twist of irony, this was one of the episodes which the BBC did not erase, but it was only made legally available with the 2016 release of all surviving episodes.
    • Dying for the Crown - the showing of this series on Channel 5 was pulled on 9th April 2021 due to the death of Prince Phillip earlier that day.
    • EastEnders - this programme had a storyline about May Write kidnapping Dawn Swann's baby altered due to the then-recent disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal in 2007. When the air date for a planned storyline about Lucas Johnson murdering a prostitute coincided with the high-profile murders of sex workers in Ipswich, the episodes were rewritten in order to have him kidnapping a random woman who would survive.
    • Everybody Loves Raymond: two episodes of this sitcom could not be shown before the watershed. The first is "Marie's Sculpture", due to its depiction of a large sculpture of a vagina. The second is "No Roll!", due to its detailing of Ray and Debra's sex life. Some may find it odd, because the show's native United States is more stringent with sexual humour than Britain; but actual depictions of genitalia are pretty much taboo on British TV (and the show also aired on weekday mornings, leading to further censorship).
    • Fireman Sam - the episode 7 of season 9, "Troubled Waters", was withdrawn by HiT Entertainment in July 2016, due to featuring a scene where Elvis slips over a piece of paper while he held a tray of tea. Closely, it could be seen that the paper was showing the verses 13-26 of chapter 69 of the Qur'an, as the wilfull or negligent damage on any physical copy of the Qur'an is considered an act of sacrilege in Islam, so having a page from it just lying around to be trodden on like that would be taken as a major insult. HiT later stated that they would no longer be working with Xing Xing, the animation company that inserted the controversial image. The episode was later removed from Channel 5's on-demand service.
    • Game On - the first episode of this series was intended to be "Big Wednesday" (which involved a boxing match that a boyfriend of Mandy's was participating in) on the 27th of February 1995. However, when a boxing match between Nigel Benn and Gerald McClellan ended with the latter in a coma, the second episode, "Working Girls", was aired instead. "Big Wednesday" eventually aired on 27th of March 1995, after McClellan came out of his coma.
    • Have I Got News for You:
      • One episode which aired a day after the 7 July London bombing, had the "Caption" section, where a screenshot is shown and the panel has to come up with a caption to go with it in a spot, it was shown a picture of a man holding a pink bag on an underground train while standing next to a child wearing a pink shirt, which had the caption "Gay suicide bomber kiss 10 gay kids", which made rain in many complaints and a public apology was given.
      • The episode scheduled to be broadcasted on 10 May 2019 had to be postponed by a month, due to Heidi Allen, the leader of pro-EU party Change UK, being booked on the day that the United Kingdom confirmed its participation in the EU election, because the rules which cover political coverage in the run-up to the elections mean that no one party can have more airtime than other parties.
      • It can be assumed as well that the episode starring Rolf Harris will no longer be broadcast due to him being found guilty of indecent assault through the Operation Yewtree investigations spurred by the Savile revelations.
    • Homicide: Life on the Street - a two-.parter of this series was not aired in UK due to it dealing with a hostage situation in a school, which would have been broadcasted too soon after the Dunblane massacre.
    • Hillsborough - this 2014 made-for-TV documentary, which is a 25-year retrospective of the infamous Hillsborough disaster (in which 96 Liverpool FC supporters died after the Hillsborough stadium stand's central pen crushed due to overcrowding during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool FC and Nottingham Forest played in Sheffield), was initially banned in the UK due to the reevaluation of the events of the disaster in a High Court inquest. The documentary was aired in the US on the 25th anniversary of the disaster. After the final verdict was announced in 2016, the BBC aired it with added footage of the inquest and its final verdict.
    • Hollyoaks - in this show, a storyline which would have revealed that two characters committed murder while underage and now live under new identities with police protection was dropped due to similarities to the James Bulger case.
    • It's A Knock-Out! - this comedy team sport show is unlikely to be reaired due to its long-term presenter, Stuart Hall, being convicted for sex offences.
    • Jim'll Fix It - this BBC show which ran between 1975 and 1994, whose premise was having the wishes of kids granted by Savile, was banned outright after the revelations. Interviews with the host before his death suggested that he only did the show in order to be close to his targets. The ban also extends to the skit/Doctor Who crossover "A Fix with Sontarans" (mentioned above), which was pulled when the DVD was re-released in 2014. Later, a later Blu-ray edition of said short was included on the Doctor Who season 22 had the ending scenes feature Savile replaced by an entirely new ending, divorcing the skit from Jim'll Fix It.
    • King of the Hill:
      • The episode "Leanne's Saga" was banned from Sky1 for depicting domestic violence.
      • the episodes "Propane Boom" and "Death of a Propane Salesman" were temporarily banned after the 11 September attacks due to their plots revolving around Megalo-Mart being blowing up.
    • Little Britain - this sketch show which satirised contemporary British life with low-brow humour, (which was infamous for making fun of everyone, mainly homosexuals, overweight people, invalids, old people and trans people) had its reruns pulled by the BBC in 2020 and removed its streaming copies due to its show's numerous sketches involving blackface and yellowface (such as the characters Desiree deVere and Ting Tong, who are a black character and an Asian character played by white actors). However, the network restored the show in a bowdlerised form a year later.
    • Little Princess - the episode "I Want a Baby" is not available on DVD, neither on the boxsets, due to the titular Princess' brattiness being taken to the extreme. However, the episode is still available over Channel 5's On Demand site.
    • Love thy Neighbour - this 1976 BBC smash-hit comedy was banned from TV due to its subject matter, which is a intolerant white bigot getting a West Indian neighbour and many racially-based humourism with frequent recourse to racist epithets.
    • Mastermind - an episode of this long-running BBC game show was temporarily pulled in 2015 due to one of its specialist subjects being the late Prime Minister Edward Heath, which coincided with news which broke that very week that he was implicated in allegations of historic sexual abuse. The episode aired later in the run.
    • Mickey Mouse - the 1933 cartoon The Mad Doctor was banned due to the presence of skeletons, representing "the living undead" and fell under restrictions put in place after 1931 films such as Frankenstein and Dracula were shown on British theatres.
    • Mock the Week - an episode in 2016 was delayed by a month due to the murder of MP Jo Cox, although the episode does not made mention of it (as it was been recorded before the event), the then-upcoming EU-referendum, which was widely discussed, was thought to have played a huge role in her murder (Cox supported the EU, and her murderer, who was linked to far-right groups, saw people like her as "traitors to white people"), which was proven to be correct at her murderer's trial.
    • Mr. Bean - the episode where the titular character ends up taking care of a baby had its premiere postponed by a few months due to the death of James Bulger.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - the episode "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000" was not aired in the UK at all, due to the fact that in British English, "cider" refers to the alcoholic beverage made from fermented apple juice (as opposed to the American and Canadian, which refers also to the non-alcoholic beverage), which would make the episode inappropriate to kids by UK standards. It does not help matters that cheap supermarket cider in the UK is infamous as something that underage kids illegally acquire to get drunk on. (Making the climax of the episode much, much funnier, but alas...) The episode "Bats!" also had references to Rainbow Dash craving cider cut out.
    • New Tricks - this series had the airing order of the ninth and tenth episodes of Series 9 swapped because the ninth, "Glasgow's UCOS", featured a recently uncovered child abuse scandal involving a man whose name also was coincidentally Jimmy from two decades earlier.
  • Police, Camera, Action!:
    • The 2008 episode "Less Lethal Weapons", where Michael Todd from the Greater Manchester Police was being shot at at with a stun gun to demonstrate its safety and effectivity, had two pieces of footage edited, due to Todd being tasered on camera, resulting him into being incapacitated. Since then, the cut has not been reinstated, with a deducation to him, who died two months later after said episode aired.
  • Police, Lights and Action!:
    • The two-parter "The Man Who Shot OJ" about Zoey Tur produced in 1996, never aired in reruns after 2008, for reasons not clear to many people to this day, It was not even included in the 2013-2014 rotation . Even it had a serious tone, perhaps it had references to O.J. Simpson and the Rodney King riots. Said episode still never aired on ITV1 even in 2021.
    • The 2008 episode "Less Lethal Weapons" in its original form, featured Michael J. Todd, chief of the Great Manchester, being tasered by his own force, never aired again due to his suicide in March 2008; a recut and edited version was shown instead after it aired in January 2008.
    • "Ultimate Boy Racers" was pulled from rotation since mid-2021 due to fears that viewers could imitate the violence depicted, which was football hooligans and street fighting, and never aired again since then. The episode was a semi-clip show and had also many original footage. However, it was skipped over in recent reruns from 2013-2014 onwards.
  • Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue - the episode "Go Volcanic" was skipped over by Fox Kids UK due to its depiction of a realistic firearm. However, the episode aired on GMTV, though.
  • Pingu had some episodes censored or banned due to their contents:
    • "Pingu's Lavatory Story" is a notorious example, as it features somewhat realistic depictions of the characters urinating (even though penguins in real life don't excrete in that way humans do). The episode is heavily edited, but it's still allowed to air on TV.
    • "Pingu Runs Away" and "Pingu's Dream" were banned for their heavy amounts of content which could be considered as "frightening".
  • The Chase - the Epsiode 7 of the eight season of this celebrity gameshowwas not aired due to featuring a question about The Jeremy Kyle Show.
  • The Jeremy Kyle Show - this ITV tabloid talk show was cancelled on 15 May 2019, six days after the Hampshire Police found out that in Portsmouth, the 63-year-old Steve Dymond (who was a guest in an episode of the show), was found dead and the cause was suicide.
  • Red Dwarf - two episodes were shunted to the end of series 4 due to their scheduled airdate coinciding with the Persian Gulf war:
    • "Dimension Jump" was shelved due to the protagonist Ace Rimmer would glamourise combat too much (although farcically).
    • "Meltdown" was pulled due to its anti-war slant which featured hundred of (robotic celebrity-wax) soldiers being slaughtered.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil :
    • the episode "The Banagic Incident" was banned due to the titular item being phallic-looking and the way it shooted out it's innards looked a little too on the nose seemingly according to their censors. The episode is able to be seen on Disney+, though.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • the episode "Spongebob in Randomland" had some seconds cut which actually referenced the infamous Squidward's Suicide creepypasta.
  • Silent Witness - two episodes, which were about underage girls forced into prostitution by Pakistani gangs, had to be postponed due to similarities to a high-profile case in the news.
  • Spooks - in 2005, when this show's fourth series started, whose first episodes revolved around a series of bombings in central London, two months after the July 7 bombings. The similarities between the episodes' plot and the real-life bombings were enough to cause the Head of Drama and BBC One controller to agonised over whether to drop both episodes. Both episodes were aired unedited, but preceded by warnings that they featured scenes that some viewers might have found disturbing.
  • Smuggled - this Channel 4 series based around British nationals trying to smuggle their way into Britain to test its security, had its premiere delayed due after 39 smuggled migrants were found dead in a lorry in Essex.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series - the episode "Miri", during its first BBC broadcast, led to protests over its alleged horrific nature. As a result, it and three later episodes ("Plato's Stepchildren", "The Empath", and "Whom Gods Destroy") were suppressed from BBC broadcasts of the show until the 1990s for being deemed too violent and horrific. Strangely, the BBC broadcasted much worse scenes on its own show Doctor Who scot-free.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation - the episode "The High Ground" was left out of the original BBC broadcast of the show during The Troubles, because Data mentioned that Ireland was reunited in 2024 after a successful "terrorist" campaign, in the context of a story based around a fantastic racism-based metaphorical version of Northern Ireland during The Troubles, where at the time there was a sectarian war between Catholics and Protestant paramilitaries, in which the IRA - who used violence and terror for the goal of uniting Ireland- caused most casualties. It was only from 2007 that the episode was shown uncut.
  • Teen Titans Go! had the episodes "Caged Tiger" and "Serious Business" rarely shown on the UK feed of Cartoon Network as their contents were by the BBFC as "imitable behavior" (a character messing with electrical cords and a character jumping into a toilet, respectively) until the former episode came back into regular rotation on 26 November 2017 paired with "Animals: It's Just A Word", while the latter came back on 26 March 2018 paired with "Hot Salad Water".
  • Titeuf - this Swiss-French animated series could only be broadcasted in a heavily censored edition, as the original had a way more liberal approach to children's attitude to sex and sexuality than British censors were with.
  • The Black and White Minstrel Show - the entire run of this show where the George Mitchell Minstrels in black face do a minstrel show (and ironically, the first BBC1 show to be screened in colour) will not be ever screened again or released on video due to blackface.
  • The Brittas Empire - the "We All Fall Down" episode, which ended with a line of children being electrocuted to near death, had do be delayed from its original premiere date of 26th March 1966 due to the Dunblane Massacre in Scotland. "At the Double" aired in its place and it eventually aired on said episode's intended broadcast date , the 9th of April.
  • The Crown - the production of season 6 was temporarily halted on 8 September 2022 due to the passing of the Queen Elizabeth II, who was the show's subject.
  • The Dam Busters (1955) - when the British television network ITV broadcast a censored version of this British war film, every instance of the name of a dog called "N---er" (censored due to Wikia's terms of service) removed. ITV blamed regional broadcaster London Weekend Television, which in turn alleged that a junior staff member had been responsible for the unauthorised cuts. When ITV again showed a censored version in June 2001, it was criticised by Index on Censorship as "unnecessary and ridiculous" and because the edits introduced continuity errors. The code word "n---er" (censored due to Wikia's terms of service) transmitted in Morse Code upon the successful completion of the central mission was not censored.
  • The IT Crowd - the episode "The Speech", which featured a subplot in which Doublas unknownly dates a trans woman, reacting with violence upon learning the truth was taken off air in 2020 in light of its creator, Graham Linehan's views on trans people.
  • The League of Gentlemen - this series was removed from Netflix in 2020 (due to the BLM movement) due to the character Papa Lazarou resembling a blackface caricature. The series is still available on BBC iPlayer, but with a disclaimer at the beginning.
  • The Mighty Boosh - this show was taken out from Netflix due to the show featuring of a character, The Spirit of Jazz, which was seen as blackface (even though it was meant to be Baron Samedi, as reference to New Orleans culture).
  • The Professionals - this action series had a notorious episode called "Klansmen", which had apparent Ku Klux Klan members who acted as muscle for a violent landlord against his black tenants. Said episode was banned (never shown on terrestrial TV in the UK, although it was broadcast overseas and later on UK satellite channels) because one of the two protagonists, Bodie, expressed several times extremely racist views himself (not endorsed by the plot), as well because, in an ending shock twist, the evil landlord behind the Klansmen and some of the hooded KKK members themselves turned out to be black.
  • The Saint - the airings of the colourised episodes of said series exclude the episode "The Gadic Collection" due to Peter Wyngarde portraying a villainous Turk with brownface. For the same reason, said episode is not even on Britbox.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "The Cartridge Family" was omitted by Sky One due to depiction of foolish use of firearms (particularly the scene where Bart finds Homer's gun in the refrigerator and uses it to play William Tell with Milhouse). When the show's terrestrial broadcaster, BBC Two (at the time, the show's UK terrestrial broadcaster having since changed to Channel 4), got the rights four years later they had no qualms about showing the episode uncut, and when Sky One regained the broadcast rights for this episode in the mid-2000s, they also broadcast it uncensored. The episode was available on a PAL VHS called "The Simpsons: Too Hot for TV".
    • The episode "Weekend at Burnsie's" was heavily edited by Sky One due to scenes of Homer being assaulted by animals (the crows pecking Homer in the eyes and the drug dog biting Homer in the crotch) and drug themes (Homer smoking marijuana for medical purposes). In contrast, Australia and America have aired the episode unedited, but with higher ratings than normal. Both Sky and Channel 4 have since shown this episode on very few occasions, but only after 9:00 pm with no advertising.
    • The episode "Smoke on the Daughter" did not air on Channel 4 in the UK, due to the plot of Lisa becoming addicted to passive smoke to improve her ballet skills.
    • Usually, Channel 4 censors any scenes of Moe attempting suicide, but the episode "Whiskey Business" was not aired on that network due to Moe's suicidal behavior being a central part of the plot. However Channel 4 did air it in 2019 in a late night time slot instead of the show's usual teatime slot.
    • These days, broadcast rights for different seasons rotate between Sky and Channel 4. Sky are considerably more relaxed about content than Channel 4. In fact, it's sometimes possible to see broadcasts of the same episode on both channels within a short space of time, when it can be seen just how much Channel 4 sometimes excise from their airings. [This video] shows various cuts made to episodes when they're broadcast on Channel 4.
      • It's worth noting though that both channels will sometimes skip over episodes due to their content, because both usually air episodes in the afternoons and evenings when younger kids could be watching. Episodes are sometimes aired in later slots in order to show episodes uncut. Channel 4 are known to air repeats of Treehouse of Horror episodes in graveyard slots (usually in the early hours of the morning), and Sky will sometimes air episodes at 8pm or 9pm in order to show the episodes they consider to have more adult content.
  • Sagwa: The Chinese Siamese Cat - while technically not banned, this series was not broadcast on British television.
  • Tweenies - the episode "Favourite Songs", which first aired in 2001, featured a Top of the Pops parody with Max dressed as Savile as part of the "Tweenie Chart Countdown" and the title characters singing their "favourite songs", missed the BBC's initial cut on material related to him. However, after complaints during a rerun aired on the BBC's channel CBeebies on 20th January 2013 (days after the Metropolitan Police put out a report which confirmed the worst about Savile), the network apologised (after allegations emerging that BBC underacted in regards to all the judicial complaints against its former host) and pulled the episode for good.
  • Top of the Pops:
    • Most of the episodes aired beteween 1964 and 1984 on the run of this weekly BBC music countdown series will never be broadcast again due to Jimmy Savile, one of the show hosts (and arguably, the face of the show's early days) being posthumously outed as a sexual predator whose victims were –albeit not limited to– teenagers (see above). If one of said episodes air, it will be only in the form of short clips with the audience being blurred to protect the identities of possible victims. However, clips of Savile that were uploaded to various video-sharing sites before his death and the revelation of his criminal activities are still present and TV specials which were aired performance during his tenure as presenter that did not feature him on camera.
    • Four episodes of this show which featured rocker and convicted pedophile Gary Glitter –who, besides making several appearances as an artist in the first half of the 1970s, was a guest host in the 1990s– and episodes hosted by Savile's co-worker Dave Lee Travis, were banned from BBC Four as both Glitter and Travis were arrested and convicted for sexual offences in the wake of the Savile scandal, although, since Glitter's criminal activities first came to light around the beginning of the 2000s, it is likely that any episode he hosted would have been banned. An episode from 1977 featuring a performance by Glitter was reaired, but it was before the news of the scandal broke. However, the ban applies only to episodes in which at least one of the three appear. Epsiodes where they are mentioned in passing, such as those where Glitter is part of the chart countdown for that week, are not affected, as are episodes which feature cover versions of Glitter's songs, such as "Rock 'n' Roll Part 2".
  • Yo-kai Watch - the episodes "The Sleepover" and "Yo-Kai Fidgephant" were banned on their initial releases.
    • "The Sleepover" was banned due to the scene where the boys stay up late to watch "Adult NyaKB Night", a sexy show featuring Next HarMEOWny (NyaKB) wearing bikinis.
    • "Yo-Kai Fidgephant" was banned due to its plotline of the boys having an urgent need to go to the bathroom, as Cartoon Network UK feed seems to not like episodes of animated series of such main plots, causing a few other cartoon episodes to be rarely shown there.


Advertisements are regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), a self-regulatory organisation of the advertising industry of the country. While it is a non-statutory organisation and thus, it cannot interpret or enforce legislation, its code of advertising practice broadly reflects legislation in many instances. The ASA is funded by a levy on the advertising industry rather than by the British government.

  • An early 1990s Pot Ramen commercial was banned due to it featuring a strobe effect which caused seizures among viewers.
  • A humorous KFC advert from the UK became the most controversial advertisement in the country in 2005 for featuring some people singing with food in their mouths for comical effect, which activists stated promoted bad eating manners as a results.
  • A Tiddles cat food advertising featuring blind footballers kicking a cat up a tree was banned for being "offensive to blind people".
  • In the late 2000s, Frubes aired some advertisements that featured anthropomorphized characters based on the yoghurts having their heads ripped-off by a child, followed by the tagline "Rip their heads off and suck their guts out!", which were aired until 2012, when parent groups in the UK protested online out of concern that the motto could "scare children" (despite the fact that the Frubes characters did not show even a slight bit of gore). The motto was later changed to "Rip them open and suck them up!" later that year before the entire motto was discarded.
  • Several advertisements of local soft drink Tango were banned:
    • One was in 1992, where the Orange Man ad, which featured people in the street drinking a can of Tango being later "Tango'd" (slapped in the cheeks) by a topless man with an orange-painted body. It was banned because children could imitate it, as well after the complaint from a surgeon who was treating children who got their eardrums broken for being "Tango'd"[6].
    • Another was in 2004, where the Pipes ad, in which a man wrapped inside of a carpet full of oranges on the top of five concrete tubes, both attached to a string, which at the other end was attached to a grass carpet, showing later a goat eating the grass, which makes the sheet move and the string break, making the carpet run downhill until hitting a tree, with the man still inside with the five pipes following, was banned by the ASA out of fear that children could imitate the commercial and hurt themselves[7].

Music censorship[]

  • The 1977 Sex Pistols song God Save the Queen (released to coincide with the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations) was banned by the BBC and the IBA. Most local radio stations refused to play the song. A Thames River boat party was broken up by police on Jubilee day, resulting in 15 people being arrested, including many members of the Sex Pistols entourage. Despite the pervasive censorship of the song, it managed to peak at No. 2 on the official UK Singles Chart used by the BBC.
  • The 1981 Ian Durie and the Blockheads song Spasticus Autisticus (released as a protest against the UN International Year of Disability) was banned by the BBC due to it featuring the word "spastic", which in the UK was first used to describe people with brain palsy and with the time it designated people with disabilities gaining later a pejorative connotation, was featured. It should be noted that Durie himself, who contracted poliomyelitis at age 7, composed and wrote the song as an "anti-charity" song, as the thought that 1981 being designed as "International Year of Disability" by the United Nations was condescending towards disabled people.

Video game censorship[]


  • Like for movies, video games are also rated by the BBFC.
  • Former Labour Party politician and MP Keith Vaz was known for lambasting video games he deemed as "violent" since the murder of a 14-year-old boy on February 2004, when he asked to investigate the relationship between video games and violence, saying that the parents of the victim believed that the video game Manhunt influenced the killer, although the police dismissed said claim as the the only copy found belonged to the victim. In 2010, Vaz also noted that the 2009–10 Malmö shootings in Sweden have been associated with Counter-Strike, calling on the Government to ensure the purchase of video games by minors was controlled and that parents were provided with clear information on any violent content.

Instances of video game censorship[]

  • Bomberman - this game was never released in its original form, being instead released in modded versions such as Eric and the Floaters and Dyna Blaster due to the game being made during The Troubles, where IRA terrorists were on the news for carrying out bombing attacks which claimed a number of civilians. The UK was still recovering from the IRA's wrath at the time and a game about planting bombs would be seen as insensitive regardless of context.
  • Pipeline - this BBC Micro game, had its setting changed from an oil platform to a sulphur mine in outer space, after the Piper Alpha explosion in 1988.
  • Sex Vixens from Space - this Commodore Amiga game's copies had a shipment of its copies seized and destroyed by British Customs in 1989 due to their sexual content.
  • Carmageddon - this game the first to be refused classification in 1997, due to "glamourising vehicular homicide". Later, the BBFC reversed its decision, resulting in the game being released uncensored after a lawsuit from the game's developers, SCI.
  • Hitman 2: Silent Assassin - this game was withdrawn from sales in 2002 due to religious insensitivities, as one mission involved a Sikh sect depicted as terrorists involved in arms smuggling and assassination, as well a section that many Sikhs believed it resembled closely the 1984 massacre at Amritsar Golden Temple.
  • Bully - this game, which was renamed Canis Canem Edit, was followed by a campaing to ban it, led by former Cabinet Minister Keith Vaz, which mainly happened during development, as upon release, said detractors appeared foolish when Bully turned out to be wholesome, due to the fact that the path to victory is playing morally, being a good student and taking down the titular bullies, and, differently from what they claimed, there were no firearms present in the game and nobody died. This incident caused the Jack Thompson media flareup to die down. Bully: Scholarship Edition since then, was released under its originalt title in the UK.
  • Manhunt 2 - this game was refused a rating by the BBFC, outright banning it since retailers require a rating to sell such items. This was the first such ban for a game in over a decade, and the courts eventually overturned the decision, which was bluntly justified it by stating that it wasn't even a very good game.
  • Mind Quiz - this game was recalled in the UK due to its use of the word "spastic", which is highly offensive to disabled people in the country.
  • Omega Labyrinth Z - this game was banned in 2018, due to its extremely sexualised content featuring characters who looked very underage. The UK is the fifth country to ban the game after Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.
  • RapeLay - this games is banned in Britain after worldwide media caught wind of the infamous game, for obvious reasons, Despite the game never having a release scheduled outside of Japan, and Illusion, the company behind it, outright saying they have no interest in bringing it outside the country.
  • Resistance: Fall of Man - this science fiction first-person shooter was obejct of an international controversy between the Imsoniac, game's developer, the game's publisher, Sony and the leaders of the Church of England, due to the combat scenes in the game taking part at the Manchester Cathedral. The Anglican leaders stated that its depiction was desecration and copyright infringement, stating that was inappropriate that Sony allowed players to fire guns in a city with gun problems such as Manchester, as well that Insomniac and sued Sony. Amusingly, when the Church demanded that Insomniac change the game to not depict Manchester Cathedral, Insomniac reportedly criticised them, pointing out the numerous other things that the Church did not took issues with, among these, the violent depictions of murder. The Church was, sadly, not suitably chastised. Another argument of the Anglican Church was—at least in part—that Insomniac did not get their permission, making the issue look more like a copyright dispute than a case of moral outrage. It is worth to note that, having been built in 1215, Manchester Cathedral isn't subject any kind of copyright.
  • Rule of Rose had its release postponed due to pressure from Members of the Parliament, after a moral panic story from an Italian magazine about it, alleging that sexual contact between minors takes place in the game. It did not help that the trailer at the time featured the obviously school-age Diana suggestively raising the hem-line of her dress, whilst smiling coquettishly. Added to these the European impression then that all video games are universally for children, and the outcry started. While those allegations are dubious at best, The romantic friendship between two school girls sort of this sort is a major theme, though it was likely ultimately unreleased/banned because of the adult characters doing harm to minors and the fact that the game is set in the UK.


  1. There is no such organisation called the "American" Catholic Church, at least not with the recognition of the Holy See. The councilman probably meant United States Council of Catholic Bishops (the episcopal umbrella for Catholic dioceses and archdioceses in the US), or more likely the Legion of Decency, a semi-official group that by that time had its own ratings system parallel to the MPAA's. The ratings system is still used (with small modifications) by Catholic News Service, and is now strictly advisory in nature.
  2. For that matter, contrary to what antisemitic conspiracy theories state, there is no such organisation as the "American Jewish church" either. If there were, it would not be called a "church", anyway.


External links[]