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Mild peril and frequent jousting

I suppose they're trying to be helpful (from The Guardian)

In 1993, Jurassic Park became the first film to be released with a warning line. It scraped past the British Board of Film Classification with a PG rating because the distributors agreed to admit that it might be "unsuitable for young children". Four years later, the BBFC began supplying "consumer advice lines" on its website, starting with Jurassic Park 2, which it described, less than snappily, as: "Passed PG for scary scenes of violence that may be unsuitable for sensitive children or those under eight."

This information, it has to be said, has become increasingly colourful. There is the ever popular "contains mild peril", which was applied to March of the Penguins, as if it were a film about running with scissors. Then there was "contains mild language and horror, and fantasy spiders", which accompanied Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and even "contains moderate emotional intensity" (Swimming Upstream), a damning review if ever I read one. Anyone thinking of taking their children to the new Jack Black movie, Nacho Libre, should consider that it "contains moderate and comic wrestling violence" - words that might as easily describe an average child's day.

Sadly, following the results of a BBFC focus group, the board is trying to cut down on some of its strangest phrases. "Mild peril", for instance, is being replaced with "scary moments". "Moderate torture" too now finds itself out of favour, as some people see it as a contradiction. "Can you have 'moderate' torture?" asks Clark. How about a Chinese burn? "Possibly ..."

Before I let her go, I ask Sue Clark, the BBFC's head of communications, to settle the controversy over A Knight's Tale. This film's consumer advice line, "contains frequent jousting", is considered a masterpiece among fans of the genre, although there are those who insist the words were never used. According to Clark, that description was indeed considered, but ultimately rejected. "We have to be careful not just to produce a piece of information for the sake of it," she explains, before admitting, "I have to say, I do laugh at some of them."

Not as much as you might laugh when reading the description of a film on a dodgy DVD, but that's another story.


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"Can't I have just a little peril?"

"No, it's too perilous."

-Monty Python


The Beeb should include a warning for most of its own programmes: "Contains bad English spoken by illiterate wankers."


RE: Jurassic Park movies - Lawyers being eaten by dinosaurs is not scary. My boys (about 5-6 at the time) chorused "Tastes like chicken!"

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