Entertainment & Arts

Paddington film: BBFC changes advice about 'sex references'

Paddington bear outside Buckingham Palace Image copyright Studiocanal
Image caption This is the first time the Paddington stories have been adapted for the big screen

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has changed its guidance about "mild sex references" in the new Paddington film.

The announcement follows reports that Paddington author Michael Bond, 88, was "totally amazed" at the BBFC's advice.

After an approach from the film's distributor the BBFC altered the term "mild sex references" to "innuendo".

The film, out in the UK on 28 November, is rated a PG.

Ben Whishaw voices the marmalade-loving bear from Darkest Peru in the live-action film, which also stars Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Peter Capaldi and Nicole Kidman as a villainous taxidermist.

Bonneville, who plays Mr Brown, told the BBC on Tuesday that he thought it "hilarious" that the BBFC had mentioned "mild sex references" in relation to a scene in which he disguises himself as a cleaning woman and is flirted with by a security guard.

"I was scratching my head thinking 'what are the censors talking about?" he said. "There were four and five year olds watching it the other day laughing uproariously, so I don't think it's going to damage any young children - or indeed any 75 year olds."

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Media captionThe BBC's Tim Muffett spoke to the film's director Paul King and actor Hugh Bonneville in Paddington station.

The film's director Paul King said he had expected the BBFC to issue a PG rating.

"I'm not surprised about that but I don't think it's a PG for sexiness. That I would find very odd," he said.

On Monday, the BBFC classified Paddington a PG with advice the film contained "dangerous behaviour, mild threat, mild sex references, [and] mild bad language".

When the decision was published, the film's distributor requested a reconsideration of the description "mild sex references" and more clarity to the frequency of mild bad language.

The BBFC said on Tuesday it had revised its wording to "dangerous behaviour, mild threat, innuendo, [and] infrequent mild bad language."

It said the mild innuendo included "a comic sequence in which a man disguised as a woman is flirted with by another man". On the language issue it refers to "a single mumbled use of 'bloody'."

Michael Bond, who has a cameo appearance in the film, had earlier told the Daily Mail: "I can't imagine what the sex references are. It doesn't enter into it with the books, certainly."

Bond's Paddington books have sold 35 million copies worldwide since they were first published in 1958.

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