Censors block eight films from video release

EIGHT FILMS have been banned from current release on video by the British censors because of uncertainty over new classification rules, writes Jason Bennetto.

The decision by the British Board of Film Censors comes after a climbdown by Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, who agreed last month, to issue stricter controls and penalties for video 'nasties'. An amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill is being drafted by the Home Office. But fears that the censors might breach the new regulations and face court action is causing a log jam.

The films, whose classifications for video have been postponed, include Reservoir Dogs and Bad Lieutenant, Michael Winner's violent Dirty Weekend, and Beyond Bedlam, a psychological thriller.

James Ferman, the board's director, said: 'It will clog up the board if a decison (by the Home Office) is not made soon.' The Home Office is expected to draw up a new amendment in the next few weeks after being forced to make an 11th-hour compromise with David Alton, the Liberal Democrat MP, who was seeking tough restrictions on violent videos that might influence children.

Mr Alton withdrew his amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill that had threatened to defeat the Government in a vote.