Bespoke Web Application
for the bbfc

British Board of Film Classification Logo

The BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) is independent and not-for-profit, and here to help everyone in the UK – especially children and families – choose age-appropriate films, videos and websites, wherever and however they watch or use them. Now, as well as classifying films released in UK cinemas and on DVD and Blu-ray, it’s providing age ratings for Video On Demand and music videos online, and helping mobile phone operators set parental controls at the right level.

From the early days of cinema, the BBFC has been giving films age ratings on their famous “Black Cards.” Audiences will be familiar with seeing the BBFC Black Card displayed on screen in UK cinemas ahead of every film showing. The Black Card includes the film’s age rating (for example, “PG” or “18”) alongside accompanying information about the type of content to expect, which the BBFC calls ‘ratings info.’

The BBFC approached IceBubble to build an online solution to generate these well-known Black Cards for internal creation and external distribution, in replacement of an existing solution.

The Challenge

The BBFC required a solution to take text entries and selections from a web page (such as movie title and age rating), and merge those with existing templates to generate a unique “Black Card”.

The BBFC required the solution to be online, hosted within Amazon Web Services and follow an existing process that used Microsoft Excel and a PHP website. This existing solution was considered no longer fit for purpose, as it was unable to generate vast quantities of Black Cards at once and the code involved was no longer supported internally.

As part of the development, extra features (such as bulk request upload and zip file download) were required to allow the team to create multiple cards at speed in response to an increased demand.

The Solution

Using the existing solution as a guide, IceBubble were able to faithfully reproduce the existing results using Microsoft .Net and Microsoft SQL server both hosted in Amazon Web Services as planned.

We included user management features, which provides the ability to bulk upload up to 1000 requests at a time and also download a collection of cards in a zip file.

Working with Ian and the Central Services team at the BBFC, we were able to ensure that the Black Cards created were an exact replica of the existing solution (with fonts and image sizing very much under tight scrutiny), much to the satisfaction of the internal teams that will use the solution.

The Result

As a result of the initial specification and the hard work within the team, IceBubble have been able to produce exactly what was required by the BBFC and deliver the solution on time and within budget.

IceBubble made it easy for Ian and his colleagues to review progress by deploying the solution to our development environment, and keeping them up to date with progress and testing along the duration of the build.

The solution created will reduce the time taken to generate Black Cards, allow increased capacity and therefore save both time and ultimately money for the BBFC.

The BBFC will deploy this solution within their local intranet for internal teams to make use of as required.

And for IceBubble, we get to remember a job well done any time we see a Black Card on cinema screens in the UK!


I have worked with IceBubble on various projects over the years.

At every stage Paul and his team have been highly professional and have taken very sparse scoping documents and come back with some amazing and innovative ideas.

Paul delivers on-time within budget and is always happy to help.

Ian Harris
Networks & IT Support Specialist – British Board of Film Classification

Technology in use for this solution

Microsoft .Net
ASP.NET Core is a cross-platform, high-performance, open-source framework for building modern, cloud-enabled, Internet-connected apps. With ASP.NET Core, you can: Build web apps and services, Internet of Things (IoT) apps, and mobile backends