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Old 26-03-2009, 07:19:08 PM
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MarcMorris MarcMorris is offline
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Default What is a "pre-cert"?

A "pre-cert video" (Pre-Certification) is any videotape (or laserdisc) issued in the UK before the introduction of the 1984 Video Recordings Act.

Pre-cert videos were not required by law to be submitted to the BBFC so the era was unregulated, leading to many uncut releases of videos which would have fallen foul of the BBFC's strict guidelines, and would therefore have been censored if submission to the board was a legal requirement.

However, whilst many of the larger respectable companies simply issued their previously BBFC certificated cinema releases onto video to play safe as they feared there was bound to be a clampdown at some stage, some of the smaller independent companies decided to take advantage of the unregulated video rentals market by issuing "strong uncut" versions depicting graphic violence and gore. A whole barrage of titles previously banned by the BBFC from getting a cinema release suddenly ended up uncensored on home video.

What began as a bill drafted by little known Luton Tory back bencher Graham Bright was made law after he and the tabloid press (most notably The Daily Mail) had successfully whipped the media into a frenzied hysteria over so-called "video nasties". Ban the Sadist Videos! was one of the more famous headlines they ran. When the bill was made law it became a legal requirement that all videotapes must be submitted to the BBFC for classification (and possible cuts).

The pre-cert video era is best remembered (amongst horror fans in particular) for the ensuing "video nasty" debacle in which a selection of 72 videotapes were singled out and prosecuted by the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) under Section 2 or Section 3 of the OPA (Obscene Publications Act). Of these, 39 titles were deemed by the courts to be obscene and it's those titles which formed the final "Video Nasties list.

Video releases from this unregulated "pre-cert" era have become increasingly collectible items. Whilst most can be picked up cheaply on eBay and through second hand stores and car boot sales, many titles are highly sought after. In fact some of the very hard to find titles have been known to command prices in excess of £500. There remains to this day a very dedicated pre-cert collector's market, and most of these die-hard collectors can be found lurking in this very web site's discussion forum.

Link: The Video Recordings Act, 1984

Link: About the BBFC

Last edited by FrancisBrewster; 06-08-2009 at 11:54:52 PM.
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