- Mary Poppins’ age rating has been raised from U to PG
- The use of a “racially offensive” word was the reason given for the change.
- BBFC says some scenes may be ‘inappropriate for young children’
Generation after generation enchanted, it is a practically perfect film in every way.
But now, at the risk of parents telling them to go fly a kite, censors have ruled that Mary Poppins may no longer be suitable for young people to watch alone.
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has raised the age rating for Julie Andrews’ 1964 story about the magical nanny from U to PG because it apparently contains “discriminatory language.” This relates to the use of the word Hottentots, a term considered racially offensive.
Admiral Boom, played by Reginald Owen, who believes he is a naval commander in charge of a ship, uses the word twice in the film. On the first occasion, he is seen hanging from the roof of a ship and asks one of Banks’ children if they are “going to fight the Hottentots.”
Later in the film, when the chimney sweeps, whose faces are blackened by soot, dance on the roof, the admiral exclaims, “We are being attacked by Hottentots.” Then he aims fireworks at them.
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has raised the age rating for Julie Andrews’ 1964 story about the magical nanny from U to PG.
The issue relates to the use of the word Hottentots, a term considered racially offensive to the Khoikhoi people (pictured).
According to the BBFC guidelines on PG content, “some scenes may not be suitable for young children”
According to the BBFC’s guidelines on child-friendly content, “some scenes may not be suitable for young children.”
They add that while children of any age can watch it, parents are advised to consider whether the content may upset “younger or more sensitive children.”
The BBFC looked at the historical context (the film is set in early 20th century London) but the fact that the language is not condemned means it now exceeds the guidelines for a U film.
The BBFC said: “We understand from our research into racism and discrimination… that a key concern for… parents is the possibility of exposing children to discriminatory language or behavior which they may find distressing or repeat without realizing the possible crime.”
He added: “Content with immediate and clear condemnation is more likely to receive a lower rating.”
The BBFC recently reduced Brad Pitt film Fight Club from 18 to 15 despite “sequences of graphic and brutal violence”.