Arthur Watkyn

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Arthur Watkyn
Born27 July 1907
Died31 July 1965 (aged 58)
Other namesArthur Thomas Levi Watkins
Occupation(s)Writer, Film censor

Arthur Thomas Levi Watkins (1907–1965) was a British public official who served as Secretary of the British Board of Film Censors from 1948 to 1956, then as Vice-President of the British Film Producers' Association.


Under the name of Arthur Watkyn, he wrote novels and plays.

Early life

Born in Aberystwith, Cardiganshire, Watkins was the son of Richard Edgar Watkins (1872–1947), a bank manager, the son of a brewer in Llandovery, and his wife Katherine Levi (1876–1954), the daughter of a Methodist minister, who had married in Aberystwith in 1906. He had a younger brother, Leonard. [1]

He was educated at Tonbridge School and Christ Church, Oxford. [2]


Watkins was a civil servant at the Home Office from 1941 to 1947. In January 1948, he was appointed as assistant Secretary of the British Board of Film Censors, and in July of that year succeeded Joseph Brooke Wilkinson as Secretary, with an office in Soho Square. [2] [3]

As a censor, Watkins was known for his treatment of film scripts being more liberal than that of his predecessor. In 1951, he introduced the X certificate, to allow films of a more adult nature to be screened to adult-only audiences. [4] In 1956, he left his post as censor to take over as Vice-President of the British Film Producers' Association. [5]

Writing under the name Arthur Watkyn, he was also a successful novelist and playwright. A number of his works have been adapted for film and television, including his West End hit comedy For Better, for Worse [3] and his 1952 costume play The Moonraker set during the English Civil War. He also enjoyed success with his 1958 comedy Not in the Book . His play Out of Bounds ran for 31 weeks at Wyndham's Theatre in 1962 [6] before being adapted into the West German film A Mission for Mr. Dodd in 1964.

Personal life

In 1943, in Surrey, Watkins married Elsie Florence Jackaman. [7]

In 1947, Watkins's father died in Eastbourne, leaving an estate valued at £65,328. [8] His wife died in October 1964. [1]

At the time of his death, Watkins was living at Half Moon Cottage, Balcombe, West Sussex. He died on 31 July 1965, according to his probate entry "between Amberley and Storrington". His younger brother Leonard V. Watkins, a holiday camp administrator, was his executor, and his estate was valued at £60,433, [9] equivalent to £1,197,632in 2021.

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Watkyn may refer to


  1. 1 2 "Arthur Thomas Levi Watkins 1907–1965",, accessed 8 February 2023 (subscription required)
  2. 1 2 "WATKINS, Arthur Thomas Levi, BA, secretary British Board of Film Censors; b. 1907; ed. Tonbridge and Christ Church, Oxford. Author and playwright; administrative post, Home Office, 1941-7; appointed assistant secretary to BBFC, January, 1948; secretary, July, 1948. Addresses: Office: 3, Soho Square, W.1; Private: Half Moon Cottage, Balcombe, Sussex." in Kinematograph Year Book (Odhams Press, 1954), p. 101
  3. 1 2 Wearing p. 204
  4. Mackillop & Sinyard p. 133
  5. Harper & Porter p.231-32
  6. Lachman p.123
  7. Marriages, England and Wales, December 1943: "Watkins, Arthur T. L., Jackaman"; "Jackaman, Elsie F., Watkins", Surrey N.E., vol. 2a, p. 5
  8. "WATKINS Richard Edgar" in Wills and Administrations 1947 (England and Wales) (1948), p. 193
  9. "WATKINS Arthur Thomas Levi" in Wills and Administrations 1965 (England and Wales) (1966), p. 184