The King's Speech

I saw the King’s Speech yesterday. I really enjoyed it – but the point of this post is that a while back I commented on the fact that ‘Made in Dagenham’ should have had a 12A certificate (like the King’s Speech) – and not the 15 rating it got.

I based this on the hearsay knowledge that the ‘f ‘ word was used in the King’s Speech and was thought to be an integral part of the film – and the film’s overall worthiness meant that it should be seen by 12A (ie accompanied by an adult). Having now actually seen this film – I would agree – the use of expletives is integral to this film.

In Made in Dagenham – which is the story of the women workers at Dagenham car plant who fought for equal pay – supported by their male colleagues – and which ultimately led to the Equal Pay Act – the ‘f’ word is also used. In my view in this film, the use of the ‘f’ word is just as integral to the telling of this story as are the expletives in the King’s Speech.

The differential in the certification by the British Board of Film Classification (independent body for film certification) means that more and younger folk will be able to see a great film about part of our history – ie King George VI – but not our great history of the fight for equality.

I am still at a loss to understand the differential certification.

0 thoughts on “The King's Speech

  1. The BBFC website is actually excellent, giving remarkable detail about why films get the certificates they do. They even go so far as to hide potential spoiler information behind a clickable link, so as not to ruin potential viewers’ enjoyment of the movie.

    With specific regard to the (apparently) 15 uses of strong language in The King’s Speech, they say: ‘all the examples of strong language occur during two isolated moments in which the King uses strong language at the instigation of his speech therapist. The strong language is not aggressive, sexual or directed at any other person. The uses also occur in rapid succession. In this unusual and very specific speech therapy context, it was concluded that the strong language was sufficiently infrequent, in terms of the film as a whole, to be permissible at ’12A’.’

    The full write-up is at

  2. Well said Lynne.

    According to the BBFC website, Made in Dagenham was a 15 for strong language: “The film contains several uses of strong language. Generally the uses occur as part of heated exchanges between characters, occasionally they are angrily directed.”

    Sorry, but I cannot see why there is a difference between the films, unless we start talking about the perpetuation of patriarchy that exists in films such as The Kings Speech and the challenge to the same that Made in Dagenham presents.

  3. Talking of equality issues, BBC Radio 4 will be running two features on male victims of domestic abuse today – at 14.15 and 20.00.

    Yes Lynne, it’s not just women who are victims. Going to listen?

  4. Although the BBFC issues recommendations that are almost always followed, the final legal authority for deciding who should be allowed to watch a film lies with local authorities, which licence cinemas.

    When the 2002 film of Spider-Man was released the BBFC initially gave it a 12 certificate, but several local authorities allowed cinemas to show it as a PG instead. The film led directly to the BBFC pushing through the new 12A classification.

    So the Wood Green Cineworld COULD have shown Made In Dagenham as a 12A, had Haringey Council thought it wise.

  5. Made in Dagenham should be compulsory viewing for all school children – just beep out the bad swearing.

    This film is so much more than an equal pay issue. Its message is that one should receive equal treatment even if you are illegitimate, female, trans etc.
    I found the film a very emotional experience, as a trans person.

    Our fight for equal treatment from The Establishment and society generally, goes on. The clear message is that nothing is gained without a fight and one has to ask why this is necessary in 2011?

    Perhaps the film should be compulsory viewing for government?

  6. As others as stated how the decisions has been made and is very clear why but i must ask “I based this on the hearsay knowledge” Do you base many of your decisions on hearsay?

  7. …hearsay knowledge, pledges that aren’t pledges, progressive taxes that aren’t progressive – what a wonderfully vague and changeable world you seem to live in, Lynne. Still, it’s absolutely fascinating to hear your views on use of the “f” word. Any other bits and pieces worth commenting on at the moment? That’s if you’re not too busy helping run the most destructive, Philistine, anti-people government we’ve had in living memory.

    By the way folks there are now 146 signatures on the petition to recall Lynne Featherstone MP. Please sign if you haven’t already and are a resident of the Hornsey and Wood Green constituency:

  8. You must be soooo very proud of your role in government in allowing employers to sack people with speech difficulties and other disabilities another year to fire them. What a brilliant equalities minister you are.

  9. Lynne
    How can you even mention this film at a time when the Tory-led government that you’re part of is looking to further erode employment rights in this country?

    Just to keep you informed, you’re looking to make it two years before any employee has any job security up from one year. You also want to make it harder for employees to access employment tribunals by charging a large fee.

    I have a feeling that you’re as sickened by this governments antics as we are so why not just resign as a minister?

  10. Do you think we would be justified in calling Nick Clegg a Plain liar or a “ liar?”

  11. The BBFC, like many other institutions of one kind and another, work to a set of guidelines that were drawn up in consultation with the public. Having seen both of these films, I must say that The BBFC have applied these guidelines correctly to both films and their justification for awarding these certificates is sound. Some uses of the F word in Dagenham are quite aggressive whereas in ‘Speech’ they are not and the multiple uses occur very rapidly in succession. Study the guidelines carefully (at and you’ll see the logic in the interpretation. Besides, most early teens will be able to legally watch ‘Dagneham’ on DVD as long as they don’t buy it so I can’t see what the fuss is about!

  12. Lynne,

    from what i understand you are friends with made in dagenham producer stephen woolly – pushing his commercial agenda is shameful.

  13. I wouldn’t support any campaign to recall Lynne.

    Yes she should be sacked from her equalities positions immediately for only being interested in her pet groups, but I don’t’ see any reason why she couldn’t’ work elsewhere in government or just be a constituency MP.

    She’s just been given a role she isn’t remotely suited to – that’s no reason to kick her out completely.

    Anyway she’s still in the job for now so I’ll echo Paul’s question regarding the bbc radio programmes. Have you listened to them yet Lynne – very much part of your remit. Would be very disappointed if you don’t mange to.

    the plight of male vicitms of domestic abuse today is very much the modern equivalent of those women working in Dagenham, an absolute scandal. it’s surely the the number one issue out there for anyone interested in equality.

    Here’s the iPlayer links:

  14. Lynne

    Is it true that Jeremy Hunt is having secret talks with NewsCorp?

    If it is, then it shows that the process has become biaised in NewsCorp’s favour and Jeremy Hunt should remove himself from the process. Consequently, why are NewsCorp being granted special and secret access in this way? Surely it’s unprecedented.

    What’s more, the Ofcom report should be made public even though we know that it clearly recommends referral to the Competition Commission.

    Once again, matters relating to the government you’re part of stink.