He was educated at Tonbridge School, and gained a scholarship to read classics at Christ Church Oxford. While at Oxford he was an active member of the Oxford Playhouse Theatre.
He became secretary of the British Board of Film Censors from 1948 to 1956, having previously worked in the Children’s Department of the Home Office. His experience of playwriting, coupled with a personal enthusiasm not only for films but also their makers and the creative process, made him a very different figure from his predecessor.
He was the first BBFC Secretary to be aware of the importance of media relations. Whereas his predecessors showed no interest in explaining or defending BBFC decisions, he made it his policy to do so, consciously promoting himself as a sympathetic figure prepared to take film-makers’ concerns on board.
This led to the creation of the X certificate in 1951, the BBFC‘s first age-restrictive category. He recognised that this was necessary at a time when an increasing number of serious films dealt with adult-oriented subject-matter.
After 1956 he concentrated on his plays, and became Chief Barker of the Royal Variety Club of Great Britain.
He lived in Balcombe, East Sussex, where he was president of the local cricket club. A memorial pavilion was erected in his name after he died in 1965, which was opened by the actor Paul Scofield in 1971.
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