Student Review: Film and Video Censorship in Modern Britain

November 3, 2011

Author: Julian Petley

Edition: First

Publisher: Edinburgh University Press

Pages: 240

Price: £75.00 and £24.99

ISBN 9780748625383 and 25390

As the British Board of Film Classification will reach its centenary in 2012, it seems an appropriate choice to highlight a book that examines the regulatory process for screen media in the UK.

Here, Julian Petley urges us to understand that film censorship as a concept is more wide-ranging than just cuts and bans. He illustrates how, via censorship, authorities can suppress opportunities for public enlightenment.

Whereas the majority of Film and Video Censorship in Modern Britain is composed of newly published material, some chapters were first published many years ago. Nevertheless, this does not have a negative effect on the text's coherence. It is clear that the author has meticulously researched the subject over a period of many years in order to understand the issues to this degree.

This book could be seen as a critical review of the BBFC, and it will no doubt inspire academic discussion and debate about the necessity and effectiveness of our censorship system. In addition, Petley considers the potential consequences of film censorship.

A detailed description of the censorship process makes the book particularly useful, as it thereby becomes accessible even to those who have no prior knowledge of the subject matter.

Speaking with my student peers in mind, it should be noted that the book is written in a concise and simple style. I am not suggesting that Petley's writing lacks sophistication; on the contrary, he should be complimented on having the rare ability to deliver often quite complex facts, figures and opinions without losing the reader's attention.

Petley's impressive and detailed analysis draws on multiple in-depth case studies as well as interviews with two former directors of the BBFC, James Ferman and Robin Duval. This range makes for a thoroughly enjoyable and consistently interesting read.

Film and Video Censorship in Modern Britain provides a critical evaluation of the current censorship process as well as making rational suggestions to amend it.

Who is it for? The book will be best used to build on students' existing knowledge of the subject and inspire further debate.

Presentation: Clear, concise and logical.

Would you recommend it? Yes, it is a definite must-read for all those who seek to write on the issue.

Highly recommended

Propaganda and Persuasion

Authors: Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O'Donnell

Edition: Fifth

Publisher: SAGE

Pages: 464

Price: £39.99

ISBN 9781412977821

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