BBFC Appoints TV Presenter Natasha Kaplinsky as President (EXCLUSIVE)

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has appointed journalist and TV presenter Natasha Kaplinsky OBE as its new President. She will replace longtime leader Patrick Swaffer, who is stepping down after 10 years.

Established in 1912, the BBFC is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization tasked with the classification of films, videotapes, discs, and online content.

Kaplinsky – a former studio presenter for BBC, Sky, ITV and Channel 5 – will take up the new position in October. As President, she will join the Board and chair the Classification Committee, which is responsible for overseeing all matters related to Classification. The Board of Directors meets monthly.

Kaplinsky will also chair the BBFC Advisory Council on Children’s Viewing (APCV), established in 1999 and meeting three times a year. The APCV advises the BBFC on child and youth issues.

The BBFC President brings independence to difficult cases and political issues, working closely with outside stakeholders in Westminster, Whitehall and the media.

In this role, Kaplinsky will also be committed to year-round education and outreach and will meet with the BBFC youth board in the coming months. She will work closely with Chief Executive David Austin.

Throughout her career, Kaplinsky has held positions in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. She is currently President of Barnardo’s and Ambassador for Save the Children. In December 2020 she founded the UK Women’s Network, giving women and girls the opportunity to use their talents and resources. She is also a patron of a number of charities including The Bevern Trust, a charity that looks after young adults with learning disabilities.

The presenter was awarded an OBE for services to Holocaust Remembrance on the Queen’s Birthday Honors List 2017. In 2014 she became a member of the Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission and in 2015 she was appointed by the Prime Minister to the Advisory Board of the United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial Foundation.

Kaplinsky said: “The BBFC is accountable to Government, Parliament, local authorities and the people across the UK. It’s clear that alongside the impartiality of her role, she takes her accountability seriously. For over a century, the BBFC has done an amazing job of helping families have a positive viewing experience wherever and however they watch content. It is vital that the well-being of children is at the forefront of policy making and this is central to the BBFC’s online safety efforts. I very much look forward to using my knowledge and experience to lead the BBFC in its 110th year and beyond. The challenges young people in the UK are now facing are greater than ever – and I am committed to voicing their needs.”

Austin added: “[Natasha] brings a wealth of expertise and a deep understanding of our core target audience of parents, carers and families. With Natasha at the helm, I look forward to seeing how the business evolves to enhance our offering and meet the needs of our industry partners and UK audience. The influence, media insight and vision she will bring will truly help shape the future of the BBFC.”

He added, “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Patrick for his invaluable and long-lasting contributions during his ten years as President and the support he has given me as CEO.”

Swaffer, the organization’s outgoing president, said, “As I look back over the past decade, I am extremely proud of all that we have accomplished. The modernization of the organization, particularly through the introduction of our cloud-based compliance platform Horizon, has enabled us to work more flexibly and effectively than ever. Public trust in the BBFC remains extremely high and as a result we have found that our widely recognized age ratings go beyond our legal obligations. as encouraged by the government in its response to the consultation on viewer protection standards in VOD services. We are now working with 29 UK online services to provide age ratings for content on a voluntary best practice basis, which is a remarkable achievement. As we move forward, Natasha is the perfect candidate to lead the BBFC through another phase of transformation, which I am sure will have the full support of David and the excellent staff at the BBFC, who made my time as President so have made pleasant.” BBFC Appoints TV Presenter Natasha Kaplinsky as President (EXCLUSIVE)

Charles Jones

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