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Tuesday, 26 November, 2002, 19:30 GMT
Last reel for 1930s cinema
Projectionist Neil Thompson
Odeon projectionist Neil Thomspon checks the final reel
The curtain has come down on the last picture show at a 1930s cinema in Newcastle.

After 71 years, the Odeon in Pilgrim Street showed its last movies on Tuesday night.

The cinema will be replaced by a big new multiplex, at Newcastle's latest leisure venue The Gate, which opens to the public on Thursday.

The original Odeon has been drawing in the crowds since it was opened in 1931 by the American Paramount chain.

Strong campaign

Every James Bond regional premiere, from Dr No to the latest adventure epic Die Another Day, has been shown at the Odeon.

There has been a strong campaign to save the cinema, with English Heritage and the regional branch of the Royal Institute of British Architects hoping to rescue the picture house.

Arts Minister Baroness Blackstone reversed a decision by the Department of Culture to list the Odeon.

The minister's decision came after an appeal by Odeon owners Cinven, who claimed the listing should be reversed because of alterations when the building was divided into four screens.

Campaigners fear the original Pilgrim Street building will be allowed to decay, and some want to see it retained as a performance venue.

The new 5.5m Odeon is housed in a 70m leisure centre on Percy Street.

'Toon' popcorn

The 12-screen multiplex will admit its first invited audience at a gala opening attended by former Newcastle United and England footballer Peter Beardsley on Wednesday.

The new cinema has 2,569 seats, Dolby digital surround sound, air conditioning, stadium seating, and online ticket booking.

Staff will be serving black and white "Toon Army" popcorn in support of the Newcastle football players who are taking on Inter Milan on Wednesday night.

It will also be the first British cinema to show the new Jackie Chan film The Tuxedo.


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05 Nov 02 | Wales
27 Sep 02 | England
23 Jun 02 | England
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