Welcome to Pre Certification Video, the ultimate source for information on UK pre-cert videos and rare video releases from around the world.
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We maintain the world's largest database of UK pre-cert video releases which currently lists
on VHS, Betamax, V2000, laserdisc and CED disc, issued between the earliest days of the home video format until the end of 1985. We also have an Australian pre-cert video database in progress, Watch this space for future additions!
A "pre-cert video" (Pre-Certification) is any videotape (or laserdisc/CED) 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 Ł500. 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
The owners of pre-cert.co.uk are urgently searching for original magazines and memorabilia from the early days of the home video industry, in particular video trade magazines and video company catalogues.
If you have any of the following magazines you are happy to part with please contact us. These will be invaluable additions to our archive and will help us to expand the site considerably. We'll gladly pay for anything offered.
We're also searching for video releasing company catalogues, stock lists, video sleeves, in-store posters, promo items, in fact anything which will assist us in adding to our growing archive and improve our database.
- Video Business
- Video News
- Video Retailer
- Video Trade Weekly
- Video Week
- Music and Video
- Popular Video
- Television and Home Video
- Video: The Magazine
- Video Review
- Video Today
- Video Viewer
- Video World