Mary Poppins’ Age Rating Changed In UK Over ‘Discriminatory Language’


The classic film “Mary Poppins” has undergone a significant change in the United Kingdom. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has raised the age rating of the movie due to the presence of discriminatory language, which is considered unsuitable for younger audiences.

Key Takeaway

The age rating of “Mary Poppins” has been raised in the UK due to the presence of discriminatory language, specifically the use of the term “Hottentots.” This change aims to protect younger audiences from exposure to such language and behavior.

Discriminatory Language in “Mary Poppins”

The specific term in question is “Hottentots,” which has been deemed offensive and inappropriate. This term has historical significance in Britain, as it was used by European colonizers in Africa, particularly in reference to the Khoikhoi, an indigenous group from Southwestern Africa. The term “Hottentots” is considered racially charged and is no longer in common usage.

In “Mary Poppins,” the term is used during the iconic “Step in Time” number, led by Dick Van Dyke’s character, Bert, the chimney sweep. The character Admiral Boom, portrayed by Reginald Owen, uses the term “Hottentots” in the film, contributing to the BBFC’s decision to change the age rating.

Impact of the Age Rating Change

As a result of the age rating change from U (equivalent to rated-G) to PG, parents and guardians are now alerted to the presence of discriminatory language in the film. This adjustment aims to prevent younger audiences from being exposed to such language and behavior, which could perpetuate unintentional repetition.