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Anime and Manga
- Cartoon Network UK banned two episodes of Yo-Kai Watch after their initial airings: "The Sleepover" note and "Yo-Kai Fidgephant". note
- The BBFC essentially banned one of the mini-OVAs for Ikki Tousen: Dragon Destiny, requiring the entire length of the OVA to be cut from the DVD except for the credits due to sexualized depictions of underage nudity.
- The distribution company Anime Limited hasn't released past the first season of Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA in the UK out of fear of cuts or even an outright ban from the BBFC.
- Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid was essentially banned because of the BBFC demanding extensive cuts to teenage sexual activity and nudity throughout to get an 18 rating. The unnamed distributor canceled their plans to release the series, and it was also pulled from the Funimation UK site.
- The Tintin comic book Tintin in the Congo was banned as being racist, colonialist propaganda until 2005, when it was finally released with a foreword that places the racial and colonial imagery in the story in historical context. In other countries, such as South Africa, it remains banned for the same reasons, though in the rest of Africa, even Congo itself, the story is one of the most popular in the Tintin series.
- The UK had a strong backlash against horror comics in the 1950s, blaming them for juvenile delinquency (using much the same logic that led to The Comics Code in the U.S. around the same time). In fact, a 1955 law was introduced specifically to ban the sale of American horror comics to children; it remains in force, although there have been no prosecutions since the 1970s.
- David Britton's and Michael Butterworth's graphic novel Lord Horror, a deliberately scabrous Alternate History Nazi Victory book, is the most recent publication to have been banned as criminally obscene in the UK, in 1991. The ban was overturned on appeal the following year.
- The sci-fi comic 2000 AD was always controversial, but it was subject to particular political censorship when it depicted Britain being conquered by a foreign superpower, which turned out to be the Soviet Union. The government insisted that they be renamed the "Volgan Republic", so as not to offend the Russians when the invaders eventually lost to La Résistance. They also objected to a frame showing an unidentified female prime minister swinging on the end of a noose.
- One issue of MAD containing a strip mocking the royal family had to have the offending page ripped out of every copy sold in the UK.
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has the power to effectively ban films by refusing to rate them or give them a classification; films cannot be sold or displayed in the U.K. without such a classification. They've gotten considerably more lenient since 1999; these days, they'll only refuse classifications for films with animal torture, child pornography, particularly dangerous and imitable actions, sexually alluring graphic violence, or invasions of privacy.
- Island of Lost Souls (1932) was banned until 1958 because of scenes of vivisection, which fell under the policy of not showing cruelty to animals in feature films.
- The Video Nasties refer to a series of gory horror films to which the BBFC refused to give a classification, effectively banning them. The problem was that it just made people curious, and the films being on a list made it easier for people to identify the "good stuff"; as such, the BBFC has become more lenient in recent years. Many of the Video Nasties are still banned today, although mostly because they have never been re-submitted for a new certificate.
- A very notorious Video Nasty is The Last House on the Left (1972), which was refused classification numerous times beginning with the film's original attempted theatrical release in the UK in 1974. Even Anchor Bay's 2004 DVD was forced to have cuts, but they got around this by including the deleted material in frame-by-frame photo galleries in the bonus features (the BBFC only rates motion video content) and providing a link to cut scenes on a website (also outside the BBFC's control). The film was finally passed uncut in 2008, and only because of it's "dated nature" by that point. This video has a detailed rundown of the film's notorious censorship history in the UK.
- Monty Python's Life of Brian did get a classification, but the Moral Guardians in the U.K. were outraged at the film's subject matter. They knew that lobbying the government directly would just draw attention to the film, so they instead went to local councils — over which these groups exerted enormous influence — and convinced them to ban the film from cinemas in their own town. Many of them did so, without having seen the film or even asking why they should ban it. This Channel 4 documentary about the film's clash with Moral Guardians showed a particularly insane interview with a councilman in Harrogate who had banned the film there:
- Reporter: Now, you've not actually seen the film?
Councillor: No, we haven't.
Reporter: What reports have you had of it? Where have those reports come from?
Councillor: The reports have come from the Festival of Light, and they have told us of the attitude of the American Catholic church and the American Jewish church.note note
Reporter: What do you know about the Festival of Light yourself?
- For a while, any scenes that depicted ninja weapons, like nunchucks or shuriken, were censored. This included Bruce Lee's iconic nunchuck scene in Enter the Dragon.
- The movie 1 Day has been banned (or so says its poster) in Birmingham for portraying gang warfare in said city.
- The movie Mikey, the story of a psychopathic 9-year old boy who murders people, was refused classification by the BBFC, at least partly due to the real-life James Bulger murder case. Re-releases of Hell of the Living Dead and Reservoir Dogs were also briefly held up in the aftermath, though home video classifications were finally bestowed upon Hell of the Living Dead in 2002 and Reservoir Dogs in 1995 (the latter following a theatrical re-release).
- The film Freaks was banned for almost 30 years in the United Kingdom, because audiences were too shocked by some scenes in the film.
- Stanley Kubrick voluntarily withdrew his film A Clockwork Orange (1971) from distribution in the U.K., after hearing of copycat crimes and rapes inspired by the movie and fearing for his own safety (likening himself to the film's Reclusive Artist). The film was un-banned on Kubrick's death in 1999.
- Just Jaeckin's movie adaption of the 1954 The Story of O novel was banned outright in the UK until 2000.
- The Human Centipede II was released Direct-to-Video (unlike other countries, where it saw a theatrical release if released at all) with 150 seconds of footage missing to remove sexualized violence and extreme gross-out scenes.
- David Cronenberg's film adaptation of the J.G. Ballard novel Crash was banned by Westminster Council in London (whose territory covers the main West End cinemas) after a censorious campaign against it by Moral Guardians.
- Japanese filmmaker Koji Shiraishi tried to invoke this (and No Such Thing as Bad Publicity) with his 2009 torture porn film Grotesque; it would have to be really bad for the BBFC to ban it, so he tried to make it as bad as possible. He was successful; the BBFC did ban it, which let him say that he was "delighted and flattered by this most expected reaction from the faraway country, since the film is an honest conscientious work, made sure to upset the so-called moralists." The BBFC noted that it's quite capable of telling an honest work of art, and that "the chief pleasure on offer seems to be wallowing in the spectacle of sadism (including sexual sadism) for its own sake."
- The same thing happened with the 2012 film Hate Crime, a Found Footage-style home invasion thriller about a Jewish family who find themselves subjected to horrific acts of torture by a gang of meth-addled neo-Nazis. Director James Bressack, himself Jewish, took pride in the fact that his film was "officially too twisted for the UK" and once again attempted to justify it as a conscientious work designed to draw attention to the issue of anti-Semitic hate. And once again, the BBFC was unconvinced and made it clear that they understood the difference between sincere art and exploitation masquerading as art.
- Visions of Ecstasy is a short film which features Saint Teresa of Avila sexually caressing the body of Jesus on the cross; it was banned as violating a British anti-blasphemy law then on the books. The film remains the only film banned in the U.K. for being blasphemous. In 1996, the distributor went to the European Court of Human Rights, asking them to consider whether any anti-blasphemy law could be consistent with the right to freedom of expression, but was told that it was. The law would be repealed in 2008, and the film finally got a DVD release in 2012.
- International Guerillas is a Pakistani movie made in response to the controversial book The Satanic Verses by depicting its author Salman Rushdie as an over-the-top sadistic mastermind out to destroy Muslims and it was denied a release on the UK on grounds that it would risk Rushdie's safety and incite violence. While Rushdie disliked the movie, he opposed the ban due to his commitment to free speech even if it was used against him. The ban was eventually revoked and he later commented that if it remained in place, it would have evoked the Streisand Effect by making people even more interested in wanting to see it. He was right; while the movie was quite successful in Pakistan, it's virtually unknown in the West.
- In general, any film depicting unsimulated animal cruelty, including cockfights and horsefalls, is never going to be seen uncut in the UK. Unfortunately, those same cuts also tend to spread to the rest of Europe as well.
- The novel Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H Lawrence could not be published openly in the United Kingdom until 1961, owing to its explicit language and depiction of sex (and, it's been suggested, its depiction of an affair between an aristocratic woman and a working-class man). In 1959, Penguin Books published a version and were immediately hit with prosecution under the then-recent Obscene Publications Act. The defence were able to call some of the most respected and admired scholars and critics of the day to testify on their behalf, and the prosecutor didn't do himself any favours when he asked the jury to consider whether the book was the kind you would wish your wife or servants to read — a rather condescending question which no doubt charmed the socks off the women and middle-class people on the jury.note The jury returned a not guilty verdict, and the trial is often credited for the resulting relaxing of regulations for publishing explicit material in Britain.
- The pioneering 1920s lesbiannote novel The Well of Loneliness by Radcliffe Hall was banned for a "graphic depiction of lesbian sex", which consisted of the single sentence, "And that night they were not divided." It was also the subject of the highest-profile obscenity prosecution before the Chatterley case, with very different results; it never even got to a jury, and the magistrate notoriously rejected the mere concept of a defence of artistic merit in obscenity cases.
- "The Love That Dared to Speak its Name" by James Kirkup is a notorious poem which describes a Roman soldier falling in love with the crucified Christ and having sex with his corpse before the Resurrection, while also suggesting that Jesus had sexual relations with practically every other male character in the Gospels. Its publication in Gay News in 1976 led to the UK's last criminal prosecution for blasphemy, brought privately by notorious Moral Guardian Mary Whitehouse against the magazine's publishing company, and the editor Denis Lemon. Both were fined and Lemon got a suspended prison sentence. The criminal blasphemy law was abolished in England and Wales in 2008, but remains in force in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- There have been no obscenity prosecutions against commercially-published prose in Britain since the 1970s; the last was an unsuccessful attempt to prosecute an "autobiography" (later disowned) of the porn star Linda Lovelace. In the 2000s, a man was controversially prosecuted for obscenity after posting a pornographic online Hate Fic about raping, torturing and killing Girls Aloud, but that one also collapsed.
- Margaret Thatcher's government was very touchy about the IRA, which had blown up several of its members. As such, it banned the broadcast of anything said by terrorists or their spokesmen, with interesting results:
- While the ban prohibited broadcasting their statements, the government couldn't stop the media from actually interviewing them. This led to the odd practice where a politician (like Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein) would be interviewed, but their voice would be clearly dubbed over out of sync. This practice was satirised by The Day Today (where the interviewee was required to inhale helium) and remembered years later by a radio episode of Dead Ringers (where the interviewer was dubbed over, as his questioning about the Iraq War was "too scary" for the politicians).
- The government tried to ban the Thames Television documentary Death on the Rock, which suggested that the government may have unlawfully killed some IRA members. It didn't work, so she just mass-deregulated ITV and watched the company in question get outbid and replaced.
- The "IRA vs. Taliban" episode of Deadliest Warrior was the only one of said show not aired in the United Kingdom. The government didn't ban it, but no networks were willing to show it. Charlie Brooker did get away with showing the intro and an abridged fight sequence on You Have Been Watching, the final outcome of the fight being the question for his panellists. Incidentally, the IRA wins this particular game of militant five-a-side with a well-placed car bomb.
- Once again for issues relating to The Troubles: the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The High Ground" was left out of the original BBC broadcast of the show because of Data mentioning that Ireland was reunited in 2024 after a successful "terrorist" campaign, in the context of a story based around a Fantastic Racism-based metaphorical version of Northern Ireland.
- The first BBC broadcast of the Star Trek: The Original Series episode " Miri" led to protests over its alleged horrific nature. As a result, it and three later episodes ("Plato's Stepchildren", "The Empath", and "Whom Gods Destroy") were suppressed from BBC broadcasts of the show until the 1990s for being considered excessively violent and horrific. Strangely, the BBC was happy to broadcast much worse scenes on its own show Doctor Who.
- Since the Jimmy Savile sex scandal was revealed in 2012, most of the memorials, organizations, and archive footage featuring him have been removed, destroyed, or made unavailable to the general public. This includes every episode of Top of the Pops which Savile presented or co-presented.
- Two episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond couldn't be shown before the watershed in the UK: "Marie's Sculpture", which featured a large sculpture of a vagina, and "No Roll!", which detailed Ray and Debra's sex life. Some people find this odd, because the show's native United States is even more stringent with sexual humour than Britain is; but actual depictions of genitalia are pretty much taboo on British TV (and the show also aired on weekday mornings, leading to further censorship).
- Fox Kids UK skipped over the Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue episode "Go Volcanic" due to the realistic appearance of a firearm, but it would air on GTMV though.
- The Wikipedia article for the Scorpions' album "Virgin Killer" — which featured a naked ten-year-old girl on the cover — was blacklisted and blocked by the Internet Watch Foundation in December 2008, since it was considered to be "potentially illegal" according to the Protection of Children Act 1978. After four days of blocking, this decision was reversed.
- In May 2012, the UK's High Court ordered ISPs to block The Pirate Bay. However, it is rather simple to get around this block.
- In 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron imposed infamous Internet filters that block out pornographic material. Or rather, what they detected to be pornographic — for instance, League of Legends came under a false alarm because some of its files have "sex" in their filenames. The filters aren't mandatory; you can opt out with a simple phone call to the ISP.
- A law introduced in April 2010 was thought to ban anything that had a child participating in or near to sexual acts, but it was eventually tightened up to specifically only target actual child pornography. People with DVDs of South Park or uncensored copies of Dragon Ball can breathe a sigh of relief.
- An Urban Legend in the West Midlands says that music by Girls Aloud is banned from a School Disco at a school in Sandwell, West Midlands, for "Satanic influences on children" and "inducing nightmares in children". Whether it's censorship or not, well, no one can agree. There is doubt over the authenticity of the story, but it still circulates to this day.
- Split Enz's Six Months In A Leaky Boat was censored by BBC Radio in 1982 due to Unfortunate Implications associated with the Falklands War. In fact, the song was about Captain Cook's voyages to New Zealand and songwriter Tim Finn's grapple with depression.
- Many punk bands, particularly the Sex Pistols, were refused radio play due to their then-shocking impact on the music scene or because of controversial lyrics. There are convincing conspiracy theories that the official singles charts were deliberately rigged to ensure that the Pistols' anti-monarchist "God Save the Queen" would not reach Number One.
- During the Gulf War, the BBC banned radio play of Carter USM's song "Bloodsport for All", about racism and bullying in the army.
- BBC Radio banned Frankie Goes to Hollywood's song "Relax" on 13 January 1984, only for it to blow up in their face when "Relax" raced to #1 on the charts two weeks later and proceeded to stay there for five weeks. The sheer embarrassment forced the BBC to back down.
- The BBC narrowly avoided doing the same with Obligatory Bondage Song "Master and Servant" by Depeche Mode in the same year, as the one staffer who was in favour of censorship was away on vacation on the day the other staffers voted against censoring it.
- N.W.A.'s album Niggaz4Life was the subject of a criminal obscenity prosecution against the group's UK record company, which ended in an acquittal by magistrates.
- Two punk records have been found criminally obscene in court: The Anti-Nowhere League's B-side "So What" (due to extreme Vulgar Humour) and Crass's album track "Bata Motel" (due to graphic descriptions of violence against women in the context of a feminist protest). There were unsuccessful attempts to prosecute the politi-punk band Flux of Pink Indians' album The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks (due purely to its Intentionally Awkward Title) and various album covers and poster art by Death Metal label Earache Records (due to Gorn pictures).
- Bobby Picket's Monster Mash was banned from shortly after its release in 1962 to 1973 because the Moral Guardians thought it was too scary.
- Radio stations, including the BBC, have refused to play Captain Ska's song "Liar Liar". It shouldn't be hard to figure out why; the song is critical of prime minister Theresa May, and broadcasting laws have strict regulations that take effect when an election (in this case, the abrupt election called in 2017) is called — which requires impartiality in coverage of parties and candidates, and bans any discussion, predictions, or reporting on an election on Election Day until polls are closed.
- The BBFC refused to give a rating to Manhunt 2, effectively banning the game since retailers require a rating to sell such items. This was the first such ban for a game in over a decade, and the courts eventually overturned the decision. Amusingly, they rather bluntly justified it by stating that it wasn't even a very good game.
- The BBFC initially refused classification to Carmageddon because it glamorized vehicular homicide (the player could run over human pedestrians). However, a censored version rated 18 was released with zombies as the targets instead of humans. Later, the BBFC reversed their earlier decision to refuse classification to the uncensored version, resulting in its release.
- In 2018, Omega Labyrinth Z became the first game since Manhunt 2 to be banned in Britain, due to extremely sexualised content featuring characters who looked very underage. The UK is the fifth country to ban the game after Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.
- The Mickey Mouse cartoon The Mad Doctor (1933) was banned because of there were skeletons present, which represented living undead and fell under restrictions put in place after 1931 films like the original Frankenstein and Dracula were shown in United Kingdom cinemas.
- In 1934 the Betty Boop cartoon "Red Hot Mama" was banned because its depiction of Hell was unsuitable for public distribution in this country.
- The Thatcher-era United Kingdom censored the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to make it "less violent." Mikey's nunchucks were digitally erased, and the word "ninja" was replaced with "hero" in the title. For whatever reason, the movies also kept the original Ninja Turtles name, despite being released when the 1987 cartoon was still airing, but any scene with Michelangelo's nunchucks had to be cropped or blurred out, as the U.K. had (until 1999) a rule against showing Stock Ninja Weaponry. Laws have relaxed considerably since then, though, and the 2003 cartoon survived unchanged there
- Canadian-esque children's cartoon Broomstick Cottage, first broadcast in 1990, had been refused from broadcast on British television.
- The Simpsons:
- The episode "The Cartridge Family" was omitted from the Sky One broadcast because of its multiple depictions of foolish use of firearms (particularly the scene where Bart finds Homer's gun in the refrigerator and uses it to play William Tell with Milhouse). When the show's terrestrial broadcaster, BBC Two (at the time, the show's UK terrestrial broadcaster having since changed to Channel 4), got the rights four years later they had no qualms about showing the episode uncut, and when Sky One regained the broadcast rights for this episode in the mid-2000s, they also broadcast it uncensored. The episode was available on a PAL VHS called "The Simpsons: Too Hot for TV".
- Sky One heavily edited the episode "Weekend at Burnsie's" due to scenes of Homer being assaulted by animals (the crows pecking Homer in the eyes and the drug dog biting Homer in the crotch) and drug themes (Homer smoking marijuana for medical purposes). In contrast, Australia and America have aired the episode unedited, but with higher ratings than normal. Sky have since shown this episode on very few occasions, but only after 9:00 pm with no advertising.
- The episode "Smoke on the Daughter" has not aired on Channel 4 in the UK, due to the plot of Lisa becoming addicted to secondhand smoke to improve her ballet skills.
- The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Shanghaied" is banned in the country for being Nightmare Fuel.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The episode "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000" has not aired at all in the UK, as in British English, the word "cider" refers exclusively to alcoholic drinks. By UK standards, the episode was considered highly inappropriate for kids. To make matters worse, cheap supermarket cider in the UK has a reputation as something that underage kids illegally acquire and get drunk on. The episode "Bats!" also had references to Rainbow Dash craving cider cut out.
- As well as being banned in a few other countries, the following Pingu episodes were either heavily censored or banned from airing in the UK due to some of their content.
- "Pingu's Lavatory Story" is one of the most notorious examples, as it features somewhat realistic depictions of the characters urinating (even though penguins in real life don't excrete that way). It's heavily edited, but it's still allowed to air on TV.
- "Pingu Runs Away" and "Pingu's Dream" were banned due to their heavy amounts of Nightmare Fuel.
- Swiss-French children's cartoon Titeuf could only be shown in a tortuously edited form, as the original had a far more liberal approach to children's attitude to sex and sexuality than British Moral Guardians were happy with.
- The Teen Titans Go! episodes "Caged Tiger" and "Serious Business" were rarely shown on the UK feed of Cartoon Network, since both episodes contained characters who had potty emergencies that were Played for Laughs until the former episode came back into regular rotation on November 26, 2017 paired with "Animals: It's Just A Word", while the latter came back on March 26, 2018 paired with "Hot Salad Water".
- The Adventure Time episode "Breezy" was never broadcast in the UK due to pervasive sexual subject matter (both innuendo and overt) that was considered to make it impossible for a child-friendly cut to be produced.
- Some of the episodes revolving around Finn losing his right arm have not received UK broadcasts either over fears young viewers would find them too upsetting.