This article assesses the impact of television ownership on cinema attendance in post-war Northern Ireland. It downplays a monocausal relationship between cinema and television, and emphasises the range of social, economic and political factors that led to cinema closures. While the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II acted as a catalyst for television ownership, it did not fundamentally alter patterns of cinema attendance. This research counters claims that cinema exhibitors were unresponsive to population shifts and examines the relatively large number of cinemas that opened in Northern Ireland in the 1950s. It then examines the impact of commercial television and documents the reasons for cinema closures in Northern Ireland’s two largest cities: Belfast and Derry.
- Northern Ireland