Sadomasochistic Sex, this morning on BBC’s Breakfast Show


“Leonardo DiCaprio had to immerse himself in the world of glamour and greed,” said BBC Breakfast this morning in reference to the actor’s latest Golden Globe award for his performance in Jordan Belfort’s The Wolf of Wall Street screen adaptation.

In an interview for BBC1’s Breakfast show, DiCaprio said of Belfort’s book that it was written as a cautionary tale and that it reflects something within our very culture. He denied, when prompted by the interviewer, that his attitude to life is in any way comparable to that of his character, although he did allow that “the lifestyle is attractive.”

The film broke records for the amount of swearing in it, and has an 18 rating.  David Austin from the British Board of Film Classification was invited on the show to give some insight into the BBFC’s decision to update its guidelines to give “greater weight to the overall tone or theme” of a film.

In commenting on The Wolf of Wall Street’s record-breaking amount of swearing, BBFC’s David Austen claimed that: “In the classification of that film swearing is not the key issue. (…) There were several sex scenes which featured group sex and sadomasochistic sex, and the film also contains quite a lot of drug use as we just heard from Leonardo DiCaprio, including snorting cocaine from naked bodies. So those on their own put the film to 18.”

I have to admit that does not surprise me, although I was somewhat perplexed that this particular subject made it onto BBC screens at 9am in the morning. Presumably most children are expected to be in school by that time. Just hope that those who stayed behind with a cold were promptly redirected to CBBC.

How quaint too that in the context of discussing sadomasochistic sex, group sex and drug abuse, the guest was still aware of the no-swearing rule, as exemplified by the remainder of his comment: “There was a lot of use of the F-word, and there were three uses of even stronger language, including one directed from/by a man to a woman. So the language contributed to the 18 rating, but the 18 rating was already secured by sex and hard drug misuse.” 

Hard drug misuse? It made me wonder whether there are such circumstances when hard drugs are deemed to have been used appropriately. Perhaps if characters were satisfied to snort cocaine off mirrors, like any self-respecting celebrity, then it would cut the mustard with the BBFC’s expectations.

BBC BreakfastNo wonder the presenter, Susanna Reid, felt the need to apologise for the excess of information at such an early hour.

All I know is that I’ll have my “foul language” and “extreme sex” checklist at the ready for my next cinema stint.

The Wolf of Wall Street is due in cinemas across the UK on Thursday, the 16th of January.