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Porn film shot at Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley goes viral online

The opening scenes of the film shot at the Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley The opening scenes of the film shot at the Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley

Thursday, February 6, 2014
6:00 AM

Bosses at one of the UK’s oldest and most prestigious cinemas are reviewing their guidelines for hiring out the venue after a pornographic film shot in the auditorium was widely circulated on the internet.

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Phoenix Cinema. Picture: Polly Hancock.Phoenix Cinema. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Trustees of the Phoenix Cinema, in High Road, East Finchley, were stunned to discover an adult film had been shot inside the building when the Ham&High informed them about the seven-minute movie on 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”.

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.

Actress Maureen Lipman, a patron of the Phoenix Cinema, said she was not going to get her "knickers in a twist" over the porn film. Picture: Nigel Sutton.Actress Maureen Lipman, a patron of the Phoenix Cinema, said she was not going to get her "knickers in a twist" over the porn film. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

He said: “I was sorry to discover that a hen night party which took place at the Phoenix some years ago was not conducted with decorum and am embarrassed that a video of the occasion was put online.

“I expect those involved may feel embarrassed too. The trustees will be considering what can be done to avoid such events occurring in the future.”

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 uses 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.

Reacting to news of an erotic film shoot at the Phoenix, Ms Lipman said: “You rent out your premises to a film company and take it on trust that the company is not going to shoot a pornographic film in East Finchley.

“It’s not going to be the porn centre of Europe, is it! So I’m not getting my knickers in a twist, that’s for them to do! I’m going to try to get the film actually.

“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.”

In the past, the Phoenix has featured on BBC television programme The Culture Show, as well as 1991 film End Of The Affair, starring Ralph Fiennes and Nowhere Boy, a 2009 biopic about John Lennon’s adolescence.

Last year, Hollywood star Dustin Hoffman attended a screening of his directorial debut Quartet and described the cinema as “a gorgeous theatre”.

In 1985, following a groundswell of opposition to plans to demolish it and replace it with an office block, it was bought by the independent trust that runs it to this day.

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