Michael Grade: “My favourite cinema was a ‘flea pit’, but I loved it”Reading time: 1'


Michael Grade, newly-appointed Chairman of the BBC, recalls his favourite cinema: the Blue Hall. “It was that small single-screener on the east side of the main Edgware Road”

Michael Grade's favourite cinema
Michael Grade

«As a schoolboy, I lived in the Edgware Road in London, near Marble Arch. There were the usual circuit houses, of course: Odeons, Gaumonts and ABCs, all within walking distance». Michael Grade is the newly-appointed Chairman of the BBC, and speaks about his favourite cinema.

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«It was a ‘flea pit’ that I actually loved. A small independent on the east side of the main Edgware Road, just before the Marylebone Road intersects. It was very old-fashioned, would show second-run movies and was always our first choice. I remember seeing The Blue Lamp there, too, quite possibly my very first outing to a cinema».

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No questions at the entrance

What I particularly liked was the fact that you could get in without any ‘awkward questions’. Nobody asked about your age. It often meant you could sneak in to see an ‘A’ certificate even though you were only 12. And, on occasion, when feeling particularly emboldened, I even managed to get into ‘X’-rated films. Of course, the circuit cinemas employed a much stricter admissions policy, presumably because they were richer. Alas, the cinema is no more, and neither is my memory of its name! Anyone out there remember it?

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The Blue Hall at 194-196 Edgware Road
The Blue Hall at 194-196 Edgware Road

(We do indeed, Michael – the cinema in question being The Blue Hall at 194-196 Edgware Road, eventually demolished in 1956 – Ed).

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