Jai Ho! 'Slumdog' comes to 'Emmerdale' country

A Slice of Britain: North Yorkshire locals flock from miles around to see Danny Boyle's Mumbai tale at a hi-tech cinema set up in picturesque Arncliffe's village hall. It's all thanks to the UK Film Council – itself now a victim of the cuts

The North Yorkshire village of Arncliffe has many virtues: picturesque buildings, a traditional pub and rolling hills so postcard-perfect that for years it was the location for ITV's soap opera Emmerdale Farm. A multiplex cinema, though, is not one of them.

In fact, there can be few places in the world less likely to boast a state-of-the-art cinema than here. Yet, as I visit, its traditional limestone village hall has been turned into exactly that for a screening of Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire.

The village is one of several across Wiltshire, Shropshire and Yorkshire chosen for a mobile cinema scheme launched this month by the UK Film Council. In the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, Arncliffe is among the furthest villages from a cinema in England.

Richard Harland, 90, has driven here with his wife Elma, 82, from nearby Grassington. His freshly combed shock of white hair suggests the outing may be something of a special occasion. "Going out to the flicks is quite a different experience to watching the telly," he says, smiling enthusiastically. "It's a social occasion. I can't think when it was we last went. The road up from Grassington is very puddly at the minute, but that's better than snow. We don't get out very often unless it's something pretty exciting because it's quite an effort. There's no public transport up here."

Until now the nearest cinema was in Skipton, some 20 miles away. And that's not 20 miles of smooth, wide Tarmac, but mile upon mile of windy, dry-stone-walled, single-track lanes. That may be a trek, but with just 62 people in the village and 220 in the wider valley of Littondale, you can see why Odeon isn't jumping at the chance to expand here.

The Harlands are two of around 45 people from the valley sitting on rows of stackable chairs chatting over the strains of "Jai Ho", the film's signature tune.

The scheme means villages and remote towns can rent professional cinema equipment at a subsidised rate, allowing them to charge a small fee and, hopefully, raise money for the venue.

The results are impressive. One half of the hall is dominated by an enormous screen on stilts, several metres wide. Next to it are two oversized speakers that wouldn't look (or sound) out of place in a nightclub. Standing at the front, volunteers with baskets strapped round their necks are selling tubs of Yorkshire ice cream.

Jennie Routley, 30, known in the valley as Badger, has a particular reason to be grateful for this cinema. "I have Tourette's and I haven't been out to see a grown-up film since Titanic came out, and that's probably '97. I'm always too scared of annoying people or getting kicked out for making noise. Here everyone knows me and nobody will care."

Robin Miller, 68, is sitting near the back. He has been landlord of the village's only pub, the Falcon, since the Seventies, and is struggling to remember the last time he made it out for a film. "Oh 'eck, I really don't know", he says, "10 years? Maybe more? They're not exactly nearby and I've lived here most of my life."

The lights go down and soon everyone is transported more than 4,000 miles away to scenes of children scrambling through the crowded Juhu slums of Mumbai.

Or at least, most people are. About 40 minutes into the film, once loud chase scenes have been replaced by more subdued dialogue, Mr Miller has given his verdict. Head tilted back, mouth cavernously ajar, what begins as a telltale whistle has now become a full-throttle snore. A boy in the row in front starts giggling and it soon spreads. Soon half of the room is more entertained by Mr Miller's snores than anything of Danny Boyle's creation.

Then, as if by clockwork, the snores stop. At five to nine exactly, he adjusts his thick brown glasses, straightens his tweed coat and heads out the door. The film has an hour more to go but he's off to to open up his pub in time for the nine o'clock winter start.

As the hall lights go up, and the sound system is replaced by chatter and the noise of people humming "Jai Ho" to themselves in various keys, what seems like half the village get to work in the kitchen. In keeping with the Indian theme they are serving steaming bowls of home-cooked curry, along with slightly more Yorkshire pints of ale.

Meanwhile, back at the Falcon, Mr Miller gives his verdict on the film, or what he saw of it: "It were all right," he nods, getting up from his spot by the fire to fetch more ale for his four customers. Word has already spread about his snoring and he's taking it in good humour. "Was that you making that awful racket?" he asks, laughing.

For Kate Beard, 38, one of the village volunteers running the project, the night has been a success. "It was brilliant!" she says, as she gathers up the mountain of washing up in the hall's kitchen. "It really brought everyone together."

Her happiness is short-lived, however, as she considers the prospect that their new cinema could be over almost as soon as it began. The project is already under threat, thanks to the abolition of the UKFC under new government budgets. Money has been set aside for the pilot for the next three years, but it will be a fight to keep anything running after that.

"God knows what will happen now the Film Council is going. I hope we'll be able to carry it on. These days everyone is so knackered after work that they just go home and watch a DVD. I think villages are in danger of going the same way as cities: our primary school is closing and hardly anyone goes to church. Without schemes like this, soon we just won't know who our neighbours are."

Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits