I’ve received dozens of reports from people throughout Europe about the R2 Easter Egg mystery.
Everyone seems to have been able to play the second Easter Egg fine. However, a number have had issues with the MTV clip. These people all seem to live in the UK and Ireland.
Nevertheless, a (not insignificant) number have not had trouble with it. This includes people in Sweden, Finland, Germany, Norway, France and the Netherlands. No-one in the UK or Ireland has been able to play the MTV clip so far.
It could be that the MTV was the bit that fell victim to the axe of the BBFC (British Board of Film Classifications). Although, Mad_Iguana points out that BBFC has no jurisdiction in Ireland, so what’s going on still remains somewhat of a mystery. We shall continue to investigate.
Thank you to the dozens of people who wrote in and helped contribute to this report.
Update: I followed this up with the BBFC. They wrote back saying that they had never passed the MTV Spoof and that it was not included on the UK R2 release.
The full reply is below. This discusses the MTV Spoof fairly explicitly. If you are easily offended, you may wish to read no further.
“Thank you for your e.mail.
Two DVD extras for THE LORD OF THE RINGS caused the BBFC difficulties. The first was a ‘behind the scenes’ documentary in which bad language and offensive hand gestures were used by members of the cast. These would have been unacceptable at the ‘PG’ level so the bad language was dubbed out and the hand gestures removed, allowing the documentary to receive a ‘PG’. These cuts are reflected in the website record you mention (1 minute 16 seconds cut).
The second extra that caused us problems was the MTV spoof you refer to. Unlike the above documentary, however, the entire sequence was a problem at ‘PG’ and could not be saved by cutting.
The sequence in question showed a spoof of the Council of Elrond at which one of the characters announces that, after a drunken session in a piercing parlour, the Ring has been attached to his penis! We gave the distributors the option of removing this sequence entirely so that the disc could retain its ‘PG’ or, alternatively, accept a ’12’ certificate – in which case the whole box set would have to become a ’12’. The distributors decided they did not want to raise the box set to a ’12’ so they did not proceed any further with this particular sequence. This is why there is no formal record for the MTV sequence on our website – the work was simply never passed by us in any version.
We hope this clarifies the situation.”