The Ultimate Survivor

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 (Bil 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.

With an evocative soundtrack, 3d visual effects 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.

Excerpts from The Ultimate Survivor

Ian Hislop on Student Days at the PPP video

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Extended interview with Alice Richards, an usherette at the cinema during the first world war.

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

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

The untold story of a legendary cinema

“it was the only place where I could watch the type of movie I like”

“even the run down appearance was somehow part of its character…”

“there was a very strange smell in there…”


Kevin Brownlow : Film Historian

“A fascinating film… and full of surprises.”

David Parkinson : Film Critic

“remarkably accomplished and thoroughly engaging”