BBC Ten O’Clock News Chief Political Correspondent, Mark Mardell, loves the UCI Sutton, in Surrey. He likes going to his favourite cinema with his family
Mark Mardell, what is your favourite cinema?
As a youth, my favourite cinema was an old triple-screen affair just around the corner from where we lived in Sutton. Now long gone, all I remember was three screens crammed into a small box and the-then fashionable amoeba-like psychedelic imagery up on the screen before performances.
Other early memories include coming home after seeing Flight of the Condor. It was an ‘AA’-rated (or adult) feature which promised nudity and all sorts. My dad was furious at my going off to see that! Also, when I lived in Clapham, I’d frequent the wonderful Picturehouse there.
My regular cinema today, however, is the UCI Sutton at the St. Nicholas Centre, which we attend perhaps every couple of weeks. Being close to where we live makes it convenient, and particularly as our cinema-going these days tends to revolve around the kids. So it’s important, too, that the cinema stocks plenty of ice creams and confections.
Why do you like going to cinema?
I like that in an age when there’s so much media exposure, Cinema still represents something of a treat for our kids. But maybe we’re spoiling them too much. The first time we took my [now, middle] daughter to see Ballet, her first words were: “Dad, do they sell popcorn..?”!!
The other thing I like about the UCI Sutton is its varied programming. Its six screens mean that there’ll always be something good showing at any time you’ll choose to go there. And, though I’ll see a lot of stuff on DVD, I tend to watch films like Donnie Darko and Mulholland Drive, in addition, of course, to the usual family stuff: The Incredibles and Harry Potter being the most recent.
What I really don’t like is any film or adaptation being made ‘too Hollywood’. I mean anything too formatted, with the obligatory car chase or else predictable ‘sunset love story’ ending.
What about personnel?
While guiding you to your seat can be a challenge for staff these days, I observe the UCI team to be both helpful and friendly. Indeed, on one occasion, when they’d run out of a particular ice cream we’d ordered, they kindly went the extra mile and brought it in to us after the film had started. I can’t readily compare with other cinemas, but the seats are comfortable enough, have big cup-holders. There always seems to be plenty of room for the kids on your lap. And, though I wouldn’t wish to single out UCI in particular, cinema-going can be quite expensive for a family of five but still represents good value.