Smoking scenes are to be edited out of classic Tom and Jerry cartoons, following a complaint to the broadcast regulator that they are inappropriate for a show aimed at children.
In Texas Tom, Tom tries to impress a female cat by making a roll-up cigarette, lighting and smoking it with just one hand, while Tennis Chumps sees Tom's opponent in a match smoking a large cigar.
Following the complaint, Turner conducted a review of the Tom and Jerry library to assess the incidence of smoking and the context in which the scenes appear.
Turner then proposed to Ofcom it should edit out any scenes or references in Tom and Jerry in which smoking appeared to be condoned, acceptable or glamorised or where it might encourage imitation - such as in Texas Tom where Tom uses smoking to try to impress.
I really hate to say that I told you so, but I did, in March of this year.
Only a few months ago, the photo of Isembard Kingdon Brunel had his cigar removed; how soon before it is easy to remove the cigarette from a film character's mouth? Whether you are smoker or non-smoker, consider the power of the government now. After all, the guns wielded by some characters were removed from E.T., at the insistance of Drew Barrymore, and that is the version now shown on TV. As far as many people are concerned, the actors in that film only ever had mobile phones; they never had guns.
Seriously, think about this. How soon before cigarettes are removed from film? Already they are prohibited from any Scottish film or play. When the English ban comes in next year, will there be an exemption (as there is is Ireland (for herbal cigarettes) and, even,California (an "industrial exemption" license i needed, but usually granted))? In, say, 50 years' time, smoking will be unknown, but more than that: people will never have smoked.
And so, the exorcisism of smoking from the past continues apace. And the quote that is so relevent to this behaviour, this rewriting of history?
"He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future."—1984, George Orwell.
God, I hate being right sometimes...