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British Board of Film Classification

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The British Board of Film Classification system (BBFC for short) is used for rating films, TV programmes and some video games in the UK. Video Games are required to be classified under the Video Recordings Act.

The BBFC system has 7 current ratings, but only the 12, 15 and 18 ratings are usually used for games, though U and PG can and have been used. The Uc rating was retired from use in 2009, and was replaced with the BBFCInsight system, which guides parents on which content is particularly suitable for young children. This is a list of rating systems the BBFC has used, both past and present:

Image Rating Restriction Status
BBFC-E Exempt from classification This title is exempt from BBFC classification. This rating is not official, but has become the de facto logo on media under which BBFC classification does not apply. de facto
BBFC-Uc Universal for small Children Suitable for everyone, with particular suitability for young children Advisory, Retired
BBFC-U Universal Suitable for all ages Advisory
BBFC-PG Parental Guidance May be unsuitable for young children Advisory
BBFC-12 12+ Suitable for those aged 12 and up. Enforced
BBFC-12A 12+ Used in theatres only. Suitable for those aged 12 and up; those under 12 may be admitted if accompanied by an adult. Enforced
BBFC-15 15+ Suitable for those aged 15 and up. Enforced
BBFC-18 18+ Suitable for those aged 18 and up. Enforced
BBFC-R18 18+ Used to rate pornographic material only. Titles rated R18 cannot be sold by mail, nor can they be on display to the public. Enforced

The R18 rating has never been used for video games, as this is restricted to pornographic material, with the added stipulations that material given such a rating must never be on public display, nor can the content be sent to customers via the postal system.

12A is only used in cinemas for films that would normally be rated as 12 on VHS, DVD, HD-DVD or Blu-Ray release. 12A stipulates that under-12s are permitted entry to see the film, provided they are accompanied by an adult. 15 and 18-rated films do not permit entry to anyone not at the minimum age required under any circumstances.

The 12, 15 and 18 age ratings are the only legally-binding ratings given to content; selling a video game, film or TV programme rated as such to anyone under the age directed by the rating assigned to that title is a criminal offence. Uc, U and PG are advisory ratings, with no minimum age rating stipulated under the law.

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