DOWNTON Abbey star Maggie Smith packed in the fans this month at Keighley’s Picture House cinema.

Almost 180 people attended a special afternoon showing of Dame Maggie’s latest movie, Lady In The Van.

David Pedrick, the North Street cinema’s new manager, said Maggie’s name on the poster was one of the main reasons why so many people went along.

He said: “We had 179 for the screening, 100 more than the previous biggest attendance for a Monday matinee, which was Philomena in 2014.

“The matinees will all be on Mondays during term-time from now on, with plans to show classics alongside current films.

“There are always two films to choose from. All are welcome and a free cup of tea and biscuit is redeemable with every ticket, while stocks last.”

Mr Pedrick said the regular matinees – previously held only every few weeks – is one of several developments at the Picture House.

He added new high-tech equipment has been installed so the cinema can screen live broadcasts of prestigious performances by the likes of the National and English National Opera.

And autism-friendly screenings, which feature innovations such as reduced sound and no flashing lights, continue to draw a dedicated crowd.

Mr Pedrick said: “The screenings are on the last Saturday of every month in the first matinee slot, showing the most recently released film rated ‘U’.

“There are no restrictions on attendance, and it has become popular with mothers and young children.”

Mr Pedrick said Keighley Film Club, which hosts a special screening once a month on Sunday evenings, is also going from strength-to-strength.

He added: “There was a record attendance of 60 for the film Amy this month, and the previous attendance record was 45 for Rocky Horror.

All people are welcome, but members of Keighley Film Club receive a concessionary ticket rate of £5 for all other Picture House screenings.

Mr Pedrick said Keighley filmgoers should check the Picture House Facebook page for up-to-date information, giveaways and competitions.

He added: “Our Facebook page recently reached 1,000 likes and continues to gain followers.

“We recently gained more than 11,000 post-reach after the official Facebook page of the Amy Winehouse biopic shared one of our listing posts.”

Mr Pedrick has worked at the Picture House for several years and became manager following the departure of Bob James for another job.