North Korea bends it like Beckham in UK film first

Bend It Like Beckham actresses Keira Knightley and Parminder Nagra The 2002 film starred Keira Knightley (l) and Parminder Nagra

North Korea's state-run television has broadcast British film Bend It Like Beckham.

In a tweet, the UK Ambassador to South Korea, Martin Uden, said it was the "1st ever Western-made film to air on TV" in North Korea.

Originally released in the UK in 2002, the film was broadcast across North Korea on 26 December.

Although the original is 112 minutes long, the version broadcast was cut to 104 minutes, suggesting some editing.

It was a rare treat for North Koreans whose state television normally broadcasts animations, hagiographies of its leaders and images celebrating the country's army, model farms and model villages.

Mr Uden said the broadcast had been arranged by the British embassy.

During the film, a message was broadcast saying that it was being shown to mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between North Korea and the UK.

It was reportedly the first time that North Korea has observed such a diplomatic anniversary by showing a film from that country.

Bend It Like Beckham features a sport beloved among North Koreans, but it also depicts some taboo topics - like interracial relationships, homosexuality and religion.

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