Mobile phone useCall to fine noisy mobile pests at shows

19 June 2006

A close-up of a young woman using her mobile phone.

Almost seven out of ten people would like to see a person fined if their mobile rings during a show at the cinema, theatre or opera.

The Which? poll of more than 1,000 adults comes after actor Richard Griffiths - best known for playing Uncle Monty in the film Withnail and I - reportedly shouted at a Broadway audience after mobile phones rang during a performance of The History Boys.

The British actor has in the past stopped performances at London's National Theatre when mobile phones have gone off, and once threw a member of the audience out of a West End play for failing to switch of their phone.

Ban on mobiles in theatre

In New York, a city council ban on mobiles in theatres passed in 2003 made it illegal to use phones during a performance while in a museum, cinema, gallery or concert. Anyone found breaking the law is fined US dollars 50 (GBP 26.50).

Now actors in the UK are believed to be lobbying the government to permit the use of electronic screening to block mobile phone signals from theatres.

The Which? survey, carried out in June, found that 26 per cent would not support a fine system while 6 per cent were undecided.