The BBFC released its Annual Report today, including details of the letters it received from the public during 2012. While The Woman In Black received the most complains, at 134, The Railway Children received its first complaint for 42 years.
What's wrong with The Railway Children having a U certificate? The complainant worried that it might encourage children to play on railway tracks, though the BBFC concluded that's unlikely, as modern railways tracks are very different from the ones in the film and have limited access. No mention was made of red flannel underwear.
The issues with The Woman In Black centered on parents considering it too scary and distressing for younger children. It had a 12A certificate, which means parents are supposed to take under-12s along only if they consider them mature for their age, but it seems likely that younger children begged to see it because it features Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe. The BBFC noted that the book on which it is based is regularly studied in schools. It was the second most popular British film of the year, after Skyfall.
Also attracting complaints was The Hunger Games, with some adults complaining that it was too violent while younger viewers complained that it was less violent than the book and that this diluted the horror on which its anti-violence message depended. Similarly, parents were troubled by Chronicle, having expected a straightforward superhero film and instead finding something that dealt with difficult issues like isolation and bullying.
The BBFC is currently undertaking an extensive consultation project with a view to developing new guidelines later this year.