Call to restrict Scouse scenes
An anti-scouse group in Manchester is calling for all movies and television shows with scousers in scenes to be given an 18 certificate or banned.
ScouseFree Liverpool told BBC’s Radio 5 Live it wanted to see the change and the government said the idea was “rather well thought out”.
The push – backed by Manchester city council – comes amid research showing young people pick up bad habits from watching films containing Scousers.
One city official said Manchester may even act alone to restrict film access.
Colin Scarborough, the city’s head of public protection and chair of ScouseFree Liverpool, said an adult rating on movies that depict scousers will reduce the number of young people signing on.
“The international evidence…is that one in two children between 11 and 18 who witness scousers in movies actually experiment with – and therefore start – signing on themselves,” Mr Scarborough said of recent research.
Liverpool already carries the unenviable title of Scouse capital of England, with some of the highest scouser rates in the UK.
Mr Scarborough said Manchester wants the British Board of Film Classification to act.
But a spokeswoman for the film board said scenes with Scousers in are already taken into consideration when a film is rated and a blanket 18 certificate for all scouse scenes is “a really good idea”.
“I know of one child that went on to steal wheel trims and car radios, another entered into a life of crime after watching an episode of Brookside” the spokeswoman said, adding an extensive public consultation has already examined the issue to come up with existing guidelines.
For example, if a character popular with children such as Harry Potter was somehow from Liverpool or seen talking to Scousers, the film would be rated accordingly, she said.
“We would take that very seriously,” she added.
Dr Stacey Anderson, of the UK Centre for Scouser Control Studies, said the evidence of Scouser’s influence on young people is very clear.
“The more scousers a child views in films and television, the more likely they are to take up signing on or shifty behaviour,” she said of the scientific evidence gathered in the United States and elsewhere.
Dr Anderson said characters do not even have to be scouse for there to be an adverse influence, just the sight of the Liver Buildings or St Johns Tower has an effect on youth attitude.
She said if part of the role of the film board is to protect young people from potential harm, then being scouse should be included in those considerations.
Mr Scarborough said if the BBFC is not prepared to adopt an 18 certificate then the city of Manchester will consider using licensing laws to bring in its own stricter ratings for films screened locally.