Cameraman behind Phoenix Cinema porn shoot insists venue bosses knew about film

12:01 07 February 2014

The Phoenix

The Phoenix


A cameraman believed to have shot a pornographic film in the prestigious Phoenix Cinema has rubbished claims cinema bosses were unaware of the explicit film shoot.

Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley. Picture: Polly Hancock.Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Freelance cameraman Charlie Johnson believes he filmed the raunchy online video in the historic cinema, in High Road, East Finchley, around seven years ago and that his employer, the website Purecfnm, would have been open about its intentions when hiring the venue.

This week, barrister James Kessler, deputy chair of the Phoenix Cinema Trust, which owns the venue, told the Ham&High he did not believe the film was part of a professional porn shoot but rather a hen night party turned raunchy. He refused to make any further comment.

But Mr Johnson did not believe the cinema had been unaware of the porn shoot taking place in its auditorium.

“I’m sure they would have been made aware [of the nature of the shoot],” he said. “We are normally very careful not to film anything which identifies the set. It’s not unusual for a film to be shot in a cinema.”

Last Thursday, the Ham&High revealed the seven-minute adult film shot in the Phoenix had been widely circulated on the internet via the Xvideos website.

The film features a group of six women sat on the Phoenix’s distinctive red seats cheering on another woman as she performs an explicit sex act on a naked man.

The film is being hyped as part of the CFNM genre of erotica, which stands for “clothed female, naked male”.

Mr Johnson, who has shot more than 2,000 adults films, as well as directing his own scenes, said the film was originally shot for Purecfnm’s “private members’ website” and had been “pirated” by video-sharing site Xvideos.

“Legally only the people who pay membership fees for Purecfnm should be able to see it,” he added.

The Phoenix, which celebrated its centenary year in 2012, is London’s oldest continuously-running cinema and is available to hire for film shoots, charity functions and private parties.

But the cinema’s executive director Elizabeth Taylor-Mead insisted the venue would “never ever knowingly allow a hire for a pornographic film”.

It has a number of high-profile patrons, including actress Maureen Lipman, comedian Victoria Wood, Monty Python star Michael Palin and film critic Mark Kermode.

Ms Lipman insisted she would not be getting her “knickers in a twist” about the film, adding: “I hope the Phoenix was looking majestic. I’d like to know which seat this went on in, because I don’t want to sit there.”

Related articles


Latest News Stories

Police attended as a group of travellers arrived at the Liddell Road site. Picture by local resident, 'Jon'

A group of travellers has moved into a council-owned site in West Hampstead, prompting a short-lived standoff with the police.

Yesterday, 14:24
Neelu Berry, who was cleared of all charges, arriving at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court yesterday

A woman has been cleared of having “vexed” a priest and disrupting a Sunday service.

Yesterday, 12:42
Actor Jim Carter joins the

Actor Jim Carter, who plays Carson in Downton Abbey, joined protestors in West Hampstead in their bid to prevent a pair of six and seven storey tower blocks being built on their doorstep.

Yesterday, 12:34
Natalia Czekaj died after being stabbed more than 20 times by James Richardson

The loved ones of a barmaid who was stabbed more than 20 times during a frenzied attack say they have been left “disgusted” by the British justice system after a judge said her killer should only spend four years in jail because he is an alcoholic.

Yesterday, 08:00
Alex Lyons with her children Oscar, five, and Benjy, three.

 Picture: Nigel Sutton

A loophole allowing families to get their children into the most popular primary schools despite living miles outside catchment areas is set to be closed by Haringey Council following complaints from parents and carers.

Wed, 13:46
Camden Borough Commander CS Penny Banham. Picture: Polly Hancock

Camden’s new top cop has criticised proposals put forward by Hampstead residents to fund their own police officers – saying it would “not set a good precedent” for the rest of London.

Wed, 11:18
Athlone House, taken in 2011. Picture: Michael Hammerson

The owners of historic Athlone House near Hampstead Heath are to take their bid to demolish the mansion to the High Court.

Wed, 09:52
A 22-year-old man was stabbed at Walker House in Phoenix Street, Somers Town

A 15-year-old boy has been arrested after a man was stabbed at a block of flats in Somers Town, Camden.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


You'll be stocked up on toiletries  for a while!

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more.

You could be splashing the cash at Topshop!

Just imagine what you could do with £1,000 to spend at Topshop.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder