Home Movie From Banned Nunchucks to Sausage Hyperlinks: Why the UK Hated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

From Banned Nunchucks to Sausage Hyperlinks: Why the UK Hated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

From Banned Nunchucks to Sausage Hyperlinks: Why the UK Hated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


By 1986, the Martial Arts Fee, underneath the steerage of the UK authorities, had established new pointers for the sale of kit designed to forestall it falling into the palms of minors. Two years later, 14 ninja-style weapons have been banned within the UK, together with swordsticks, blowpipes, footclaws, and knuckledusters to call only a few as a part of the Felony Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons) Order 1988.

Whereas there have been comparable considerations over the recognition of ninja weapons amongst youngsters within the U.S. with the New York Occasions working a bit on the harmful “throwing star” fad of the time, it by no means amounted to any formal laws like what was seen within the UK. However that wasn’t sufficient for some. They didn’t simply need to stop youngsters from seeing or buying ninja weaponry; they needed to ban the phrase “ninja” altogether, and one cartoon particularly was about to fall foul of this new campaign.

In accordance with The Tribune Journal, from as early as 1986, British politicians have been elevating considerations over “Ninja-style toys, that are marketed as appropriate for youngsters from the age of three upwards” that “when used, or tailored, can turn into an offensive weapon.” It was towards this backdrop in January 1990 that the unique Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon collection first aired within the UK, almost three years on from its U.S. debut and with a number of notable modifications.

The obvious got here with the identify, which was up to date to the seemingly extra palatable Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. This, in flip, required the present’s intro sequence and iconic theme tune—written by Two and a Half Males creator Chuck Lorre—additionally having to be altered considerably to take away any point out of ninjas. One of the crucial important modifications within the episodes themselves got here with the character of Michaelangelo, who wielded nunchaku within the U.S. model of the cartoon. Quite than substitute these weapons with a extra acceptable different, nevertheless, censors opted to easily minimize any sequences involving nunchucks altogether, lowering the character’s function within the course of.

By the point the present’s fourth season rolled round, showrunners had taken the choice to switch the nunchaku with a “Turtle Line” grappling hook.  Desirous to keep away from any additional controversy by any means, the BBC additionally moved to excise any mentions of the phrase “ninja” whereas phrases like “let’s kick some shell” and “bummer” have been additionally omitted. It was an odd resolution, not least as a result of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics had been in circulation for a number of years by then, full with the identical vernacular, whereas the toy line that includes all the quartet’s unique weaponry had already hit the cabinets.

The choice to take away the phrase “ninja” from all episodes didn’t simply influence UK broadcasts both. The identical edited variations of episodes additionally aired in international locations like Austria, Belgium, Germany, and Norway. Although later iterations differed, the unique run of episodes would solely formally revert again from Hero Turtles to Ninja Turtles in 2009, following the discharge of the primary two seasons on DVD.



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