Plaza Cinema

70 Duncan Road,
Gillingham, ME7 4JS

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Interior of the Plaza, Gillingham

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in Gillingham, Kent. The Plaza Cinema was opened on 12th October 1931 with Maurice Chevalier in “Monte Carlo”. It was designed in a Neo-Classical style by architect E.J. Hammond. The proscenium was 28 feet wide, and the cinema was equipped with a Western Electric(WE) sound system.

It was closed on 29th November 1980 with Michael Caine in “Dressed to Kill”. The building was converted into a studio for Southern Television, which opened on 4th March 1982. They had moved out by the early-1990’s, and the building became a Laser gaming room. This had closed by 2000, when it had been demolished and an Aldi Supermarket now operates from the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

KitGreen on September 27, 2014 at 7:27 am

It was Southern Television’s successor TVS that converted the building.

TVS acquired the former Plaza Cinema in Gillingham, Kent as a stop gap measure between the commencement of broadcasting and the completion of Vinters Park (Maidstone Studios). The theatre was quickly converted for television use ready for the start of broadcasting. The decision to operate a television theatre was against the trend in television at that time as both the BBC and Thames Television were to dispose of similar facilities in the next two years.

Production at Gillingham was limited. It was used for several quiz shows and it was the base of the regional afternoon magazine show Not for Women Only and TVS filmed the UK inserts for Fraggle Rock there. TVS sold the theatre in 1988 to an independent production company. For a period afterwards the site was used for other activities before being demolished to make way for redevelopment. A campaign to have it listed failed as the large-scale conversion for television production had made it unsuitable for listing.

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