How Margaret Thatcher changed the Ninja Turtles

Originally published at: How Margaret Thatcher changed the Ninja Turtles | Boing Boing


The classic magic ingredient: racism.

The UK censors loathed Asian martial arts. No Bruce Lee either (until the weirdo J.Edgar Hoover type last appointed to the position retired in 2001) including the 1993 biopic.


I was the animatronc puppeteer for Donatello (purple mask, wooden staff) with Leif Tilden in the costume, for Secret Of The Ooze. At the time of shooting I don’t recall if anyone one was too concerned about the use of nunchucks in the film - and the sausages were supposed to be a funny substitute.

One of these days we’ll figure out how to run a society with no hierarchical authority dictating how we are allowed to perceive the world we live in. In the meantime - smoke weed, eat pizza, practice martial arts, wear masks and stick it to the man - or woman - or whomever deems themselves superior and in charge. And if you ever meet a fascist - punch 'em in the head - with a sausage.


To be fair to Thatcher (which is something I never ever been before, I still despise her) she wasn’t really resposible for this change. The BBFC is a non-governmental organisation which on the whole does a pretty good job. It does have the odd weird classification from time to time, maybe this was such a thing. The are more often criticized for their liberal views than anything else.

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Were the Canadian martial arts of Casey Jones curtailed? Did they draw his hockey stick as a rake?


Yes, the same chief censor was largely loathed in turn by UK governments (up to and including Tony Blair’s) because he was fine with porn and by the end was passing all of it uncut. The tabloids hated him as well; he became their scapegoat for all the stuff they wanted banned (everything0

No-where on Earth is the doublethink of “defend free speech, ban this sick filth” more elaborately detailed than the UK political/media scrum.


Worth mentioning that Ferman (or at least the BBFC under Ferman) thought that showing blood on breasts was a rape trigger. That seems perilously close to a personal admission of some sort.


When Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became an animated series in the US, it had already changed from something really cool into something kind of watered-down and juvenile. The comic book series by Eastman and Laird was violent (resulting in actual deaths sometimes!) and the turtles used profanity. It was a much darker and more interesting than the pizza-loving, cowabunga-screaming turtles of the animated series after it got a safe makeover. It’s a shame that something that was so mild got censored even further.


And wasn’t even in office when the BBFC banned nunchaku completely (“After reported outbreaks of violence involving martial arts weapons”).


When you have a single person in charge of censorship, their decisionmaking always ends up painting a portrait and the portrait is usually sexual.

I was going to use “British headmasters measuring schoolgirls’ knee-to-skirt distance” as an example, only to find that the top hit is someone who makes them get on their knees for him when he does it.


Keanu Reeves GIF

That’s cool! Thanks for sharing and contributing to my childhood sense of humor.

Ok, my adult sense of humor.


It’s not for nothing that people in the UK call them “bangers.”


They may have thought that at the Goodies Ecky Thump episode was a documentary

ETA: they are attacking each other with black puddings


The BBFC have “Enter The Dragon” as one of their case study films (an interesting section of their website) - And seem to pin the overly censoring nature of such classifications at the door of Stephen Murphy, the BBFC Secretary.

That being said it was certificated in 1973 - with cuts, and in 1988 most of the cuts were reinstated.


As I recall when the “new” man took over, his demand was tantamount to “take out the nunchaku, and we’ll pass it”. i.e. the generic censorship interests that banned the movie in the first place were replaced by the oddly specific censorship interests that later allowed it (the violence is fine, so long as there’s no nunchaku)


Seems fair to despise her.

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