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Film age rating classification

When you wish to exhibit a film to members of the public (including a private audience) and where no age rating certificate has been issued by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) we can classify the film for you. If a film has not been classified by the BBFC, it must not be shown at a premises in Plymouth without first having been classified by us. A typical example of this would be a locally made film to be shown at a local film festival. 

A distributor of a film or other party may also appeal to us against a decision of the BBFC and request that we classify or reclassify the film for local screening within Plymouth. 

If an applicant wishes to show a film which has not been classified by the BBFC then it will be for the applicant to present special circumstances justifying a departure from this policy. The Authority may agree to the showing of the film having first established its suitability for children and the applicant must adhere to any age restrictions imposed. In all such cases at least 2 months’ notice must be given in order for the Authority to address the application and advise the age restriction that will apply in that instance. The applicant must pay a fee to the Authority for the classification of a film by them. 

Applicants for licences in relation to premises showing film exhibitions will be expected to address arrangements for preventing children from viewing age-restricted films, trailers and advertisements in their operating schedules. 

A mandatory condition set out in the Act requires that where a licence authorises the exhibition of films the admission of children to any exhibition of film must be restricted in accordance with the BBFC (or licensing authority) classification. The Licensing Act 2003 also provides for a number of exemptions for certain types of film such as those exhibited for the purposes of advertisement, information or education. If the premises or exhibition of a film is not regulated by the Licensing Act 2003, it may still be necessary to comply with the recommendations issued by the BBFC or Licensing Authority regarding classification and the admission of children for example regarding community premises. 

When to apply

It can take up to 8 weeks or 2 months for us to classify a film. You are therefore advised to leave sufficient time between making your application and any event (or advertising for that event) that you may be planning.

How to apply

To apply for the classification or reclassification of a film you must apply in writing to the Licensing Team at least 8 weeks prior to the date you wish to exhibit the film. An application for certification should include the following information:

  • name of the person requesting the classification
  • proof the fee has been paid
  • name of the film maker
  • a brief synopsis of the film
  • running time of the film
  • the classification you are requesting for the film.
  • any existing classification issued by an existing classification body, whether within or outside the UK
  • information identifying the material within the film considered by the exhibitor to be likely to have a bearing on the age limit for the audience for exhibition of the film
  • language spoken in the film and whether there are subtitles in English
  • details of how any age restrictions will be enforced.

All requests must be accompanied by the film(s) in DVD format which will be retained by us.

Non-English language films

If the film contains dialogue in a language other than English an interpreter will be required for the classification. We will arrange for a suitable interpreter and the applicant will be responsible for the cost of this. The interpreter fee must be paid before the application can be processed.

Regulated entertainment

In addition to having your film classified, please be aware that you may also require a licence. Under the Licensing Act 2003 the showing of a film is classified as 'regulated entertainment'. Venues that hold a premises licence may be able to show films; if there is no premises licence in place or the licence does not authorise regulated entertainment, you may need to apply for a Temporary Event Notice (TEN). 


  • £134

Contact us

Please contact the Licensing Team by email prior to submission.