Actor Jeremy Irons opens Blackfriars cinema in 1993

Jeremy Irons being welcomed to Blackfriars by the Mayor and Mayoress Couns Keith and Joyce Dobson, Michael Hancock, managing director of Palmer and Bell, and arts centre director Sue McCormick.
Jeremy Irons being welcomed to Blackfriars by the Mayor and Mayoress Couns Keith and Joyce Dobson, Michael Hancock, managing director of Palmer and Bell, and arts centre director Sue McCormick.

Here we turn back the clock 25 years to when Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons came to Boston.

Irons came to the town to officially open a cinema at Blackfriars Arts Centre in September 1993.

The film chosen for the launch event was Waterland, starring Irons.

The actor said when he was invited to open the cinema and heard that Blackfriars was intending to show Waterland, he said they didn’t have to show one of his films – he would have come anyway simply because a cinema was being opened in 1993 Britain in spite of the Conservative government.

He apologised for arriving late, though, having been ‘defeated’ by the miles between Oxford and Boston.

Much of Waterland was shot on location in the marshes around Holbeach, a landscape which appealed to the actor.

Jeremy Irons and his secretary with arts centre director Sue McCormick (left) and John Beaven, chairman of the Blackfriars Council of Management.

Jeremy Irons and his secretary with arts centre director Sue McCormick (left) and John Beaven, chairman of the Blackfriars Council of Management.

He said he had also taken the opportunity to visit Boston while the film was being shot.

“I love Boston because it’s got such a maritime feel about. I love ports,” he said.

Irons won his Oscar at the start of the decade for a role in Reversal in Fortune. The following year he would lend his voice to The Lion King, still one of the highest grossing films of all time, before playing the villain again in Die Hard with a Vengeance in 1995.

He was joined on stage by props from Waterland – beer bottles, eel baskets, and more – supplied by Boston company Trevor Howsam Ltd.

I love Boston because it’s got such a maritime feel about. I love ports.

The cinema screen had been greatly assisted by a corporate sponsorship deal with Palmer and Bell.

Irons said: “Thank you, Palmer and Bell, for your far-sightedness. I will now look at Vauxhall in a new light.”