Remembering the launch of The Point in Milton Keynes with 1986 BBC broadcast

Watch the BBC feature presented by Barry Norman investigating whether this was the future of moviegoing.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 12:44 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 12:46 pm

Milton Keynes was certainly ahead of the curve when it came to the future of movie-going with the construction of The Point

The Point, was the first multiplex in the nation and this BBC report from over 35 years ago, is a valuable reminder at just how quickly things change.

Presenter, Barry Norman, speaking on the BBC's flagship film programme describes the novel ideas first used in Milton Keynes, such as tiered seats and having bars, restaurants, a bingo hall and an arcade, alongside cinema screenings.

Of all the American concepts first-tested in MK, it is amazing to look back on a report, that is slightly sceptical of the now well-established ritual of snacking on popcorn.

This blast from the past is also a painful reminder of the neverending effects of inflation and the economy, back in 1986, special 'twilight' film viewings cost just 95p.

Whilst multiscreen movie theatres were in use before the Point, as Mr Norman explains being able to show the same movie on four different screens at practically the same time was still an alien concept, at least in the UK. So maybe Milton Keynes deserves some of the blame for the stranglehold Marvel and Disney have on commercial cinema now.

To celebrate the grand opening of The Point, the Milton Keynes venue, secured the rights to the UK premiere of Rocky IV. This meant a who's who of British entertainment got to comment on the new multiplex, including Ronnie Barker who cheekily said: "It's like an airport."

The Point

The decline of The Point has been well-documented and often linked to the breakaway success of the nearby Xscape. Currently, the future of the building is unknown, the building set to be demolished and redeveloped. But both a local grassroots campaign to save the building and financial uncertainty of Covid, means its future is undecided.

Barry Norman