updated 12/30/2010 11:31:53 AM ET 2010-12-30T16:31:53

North Koreans got a rare treat this week: a state TV broadcast of the British soccer film "Bend it Like Beckham."

The 2002 film starring Keira Knightley and Jonathan Rhys Myers was a break from the regular programming of news, documentaries and soap operas. Western films are largely off limits in the isolated country.

The broadcast, monitored in Seoul on Dec. 26, appeared to be edited; it was only an hour long.

In a tweet Thursday, British Ambassador to South Korea Martin Uden called the broadcast the "1st ever western-made film to air on TV" in North Korea. The British Embassy arranged it.

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

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