There's a few strange decisions that the BBFC have made. The End of the Affair being rated 18, for example. Or Gremlins as a 15. But none are quite so weird as Watership Down being rated U.
I remember pestering my mother to see it at the age of 9. I mean, this is the trailer:
It's bunnies, on an adventure. Something a bit like The Rescuers, right? Wrong. Watership Down is high octane nightmare fuel for kids. It's not just that it has bloody violence with rabbits tearing lumps off each other, there's a rabbit caught in barbed wire and even a suggestion of rape in there. Oh, and the visions that suggest rabbit Auschwitz on the horizon.
Now, I'm dead against censorship in cinema. But age ratings are a pretty good idea, especially with the younger ones. You want some drama. You need some villainy. You don't want Leporidae Goodfellas, though. And seriously, had no-one at Channel 5 seen this movie before deciding to put it on? I'd rather show Akira to little kids, which is rated 15 (no, don't show Akira to your 5 year old, although at 9, I'd have probably loved it). Akira is at least fantastic and cool, where Watership Down is just grim and depressing.
The BBFC are on record as saying that it wouldn't be a U today, but even when it was originally shown, it wasn't suitable for that rating. It should have been the old A rating (now PG).