KEIGHLEY'S historic cinema has warned it needs customers back to ensure its future.

The Picture House, in North Street, was hit hard by the pandemic.

And other factors such as streaming channels have had an impact on the business.

Owner Charles Morris was speaking as the cinema prepares for its annual, traditional festive screening of the classic movie It's A Wonderful Life.

The 1946 film is being shown on Christmas Eve, at 5pm.

Mr Morris says: "We always try to be upbeat in this business, but we still have a long way to go before attendances reach pre-pandemic levels.

"Everybody says 'there is nothing like seeing a film on the big screen' but people need to realise that if they wait until the next James Bond film comes out, there's a distinct chance we might no longer be here.

"Film distributors put a lot of movies onto streaming channels during the pandemic and have continued to do so to a fair degree. And many people have got out of the habit of going to the cinema. Plus the disruption of the pandemic meant there were, and still are, gaps in the flow of new films.

"However, I've always said 90 per cent of the public would enjoy 90 per cent of the films we show, if only people would give them a chance. We need a lot more patrons than we're getting at the moment. We have a very good team at the Picture House who are full of bright ideas and have been arranging a lot of special events. We are doing our bit, but we need our patrons back.

"We've survived 110 years – it really would be nice if we can continue."

Produced and directed by Frank Capra, It's A Wonderful Life stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his personal dreams and whose thoughts of suicide on Christmas Eve bring about the intervention of his guardian angel Clarence Odbody, played by Henry Travers.

In addition to the Keighley screening, there is an earlier showing that day – at 11am – at sister cinema The Plaza, in Skipton.

Mr Morris says: "The film really gets you in the Christmas mood, and there’s nothing like seeing it in the company of a lot of other happy filmgoers. We will be serving mince pies too."

For more details about Picture House screenings, visit