Starring: Ian Hislop, Brian Aldiss, Bill Heine, John Buckley and Mark Thompson…

The Ultimate Survivor tells the story of a remarkable survivor from a bygone age: the former East Oxford Picture Palace, on Jeune Street in Oxford, now known as the Ultimate Picture Palace or UPP.

Through interviews with cinema historian Ian Meyrick; a former owner (Bill Heine) and Oxford students including Ian Hislop (Private Eye; Have I got News for You) and Mark Thompson (BBC Director General) who recall the cinema in its 1970s heyday as the Penultimate Picture Palace.

The documentary also explores the infamous attempted screening in 1988 of A Clockwork Orange which brought the cinema, its owners and the eminent science fiction author Brian Aldiss into direct conflict with the film’s mercurial director Stanley Kubrick.

The Ultimate Survivor

With an evocative soundtrack, including music from Supergrass; 3d graphics and a compelling narrative, The Ultimate Survivor offers an imaginative and colourful look at a previously untold aspect of cinema history

The Ultimate Survivor received its world premiere at the 100th-anniversary celebrations of the opening of the Ultimate Picture Palace on 24th February 2011. – Reviews

1. The Photo-Electric Sensation of the Age

Part One takes the story from the earliest days of film shows as simple Fairground attractions, to the beginnings of purpose-built cinemas such as the UPP.

Booklet Excerpt

Moving Pictures Come to Oxford

A Visit to the East Oxford Picture Palace in 1911

Video Extras

Memories of a First World War Usherette
Extended interview with Alice Richards, an usherette at the cinema during the first world war.

2. The Tarnished Jewell

After 50 years in darkness a group of film enthusiasts breath new life into the dilapidated building and the Penultimate Picture Palace is born.

Video Extras

MI5’s Official Secrets
Trouble looms for Bill and the PPP when he tries to show the banned documentary MI5’s Official Secrets.

Not the Moulin Rouge Cinema
Unique 16mm film shows the iconic can-can legs being installed on the Not the Moulin Rouge Cinema, c.1980.

3. Section Six Cinema

The story of how a group of squatters took over the cinema and created a unique community resource.

4. Ultimate Picture Palace

New owners, new audiences and new opportunties as the cinema becomes the Ultimate Picture Palace.

Will the cinema survive another hundred years?


Cinema historian Ian Meyrick has written a booklet to accompany the film. It is available with the DVD or from the Cinema Theatre Association. Read an excerpt.