HC Deb 21 April 1948 vol 449 cc1810-1
45. Mr. Driberg

asked the Prime Minister if, in view of the varying standards applied by the British Board of Film Censors, who withhold licences from serious works of cinematographic art while permitting the public exhibition of films condemned by responsible critics as unworthy of the British film industry, he will appoint a Royal Commission to investigate the standards and methods of the Board and to consider the desirability of abolishing censorship altogether or of replacing the present Board by a statutory body of impartial and educated persons.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

It is the general practice of the licensing authorities to accept the certificates pf the unofficial Board of Film Censors, but the ultimate responsibility for deciding whether a film shall or shall not be shown rests on the licensing authorities. I do not think there is any such case for the appointment of a Royal Commission, as is suggested by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Driberg

Without bothering to name one particularly notorious film, which will be a disgrace to the British film industry wherever it is shown, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether, without necessarily appointing a Royal Commission, he could find some way of ensuring that we had a consistent film censorship which did not allow such a scandalous film to be shown while rejecting serious films?

Mr. Gallacher

Would not the Prime Minister take the iniative in arranging a conference of those interested in the British film industry, to work out plans for developing the industry independently of the tough stuff that comes from America?

The Prime Minister

That is a rather different question.

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