'Downton Abbey' movie nearly rated 12A due to homophobic language during police raid on gay club

Producers appealed to have the rating lowered to PG


Words: Steve Brown

The Downton Abbey movie was almost rated 12A because of homophobic language used by police during a raid on a gay club.

In the movie adaptation of Julian Fellowes hit costume-drama we see gay butler Thomas Barrow visit a gay bar in York but during the scene, police invade and use slurs such as ‘pervert’ and ‘queer’.

Although the film shows the harshness of 1920s England for LGBTQ people, the Irish Film Classification Office tried to rate the film 12A, meaning only those over the age of 12 could see the film unless accompanied by an adult.

Director of IFCO, Ger Connolly, told The Times: “My decision came down to the use of words like ‘pervert’ in the context of a character’s sexuality.

“For me, that moved it into a 12A rating.”

However, the producers of the film appealed the decision and got the rating reduced to a PG.

Connolly continued: “The appeals board felt an audience familiar with its characters would have been aware of the storyline about a gay character, so they changed the rating to a PG.”