‘Hairy Viking’, 34, judged too young to see Trainspotting

A 34-year-old “hairy Viking” was turned away from Mareel last night – because he was deemed not old enough to watch T2 Trainspotting.

Company director Steven McKimm was on a rare night out with his fiance Joanne Nicol and have travelled from Mossbank to Lerwick to see the blockbuster.

Steven McKimm enjoys a pint in Mareel’s bar after he was refused entry to T2 Trainspotting.

But their plans were scuppered when Mareel staff doubted whether Steven was old enough to see the 18-certificate film. Because he did not have ID to prove his age he was refused entry.

He said he thought the duty manager was joking at first. But it soon became clear she was sticking to the venue’s “strict Challenge 25” policy.

“She was adamant,” said Steven, who runs a shotblasting and industrial painting firm which does work at the Sullom Voe Terminal.

“I actually thought it was a wind-up. I was waiting for Jeremy Beadle.

“I have got a big stupid beard for the [Delting] Jarl’s Squad.”

Steven was with Joanne and her brothers Marc Sherwood, 34, and Sean Nicol, 22. They had even told Sean to take ID because he looks young.

Sean was asked to prove his age, but bearded Steven never thought he would fall foul of the rules. And he did not have any photographic ID with him.

He recalls Joanne saying “I didn’t think my 34-year-old Viking would need ID” to the door staff.

Even so, they would not budge and Mareel would not refund the ticket, saying their policy is clearly advertised.

Joanne was left raging at the way the incident was handled. She and Steven have a 14-month-old boy Harrison and had arranged a babysitter so they could see the film.

When it was explained Steven did not have ID the duty manager stood her ground.

Joanne said: “I think she realised she was being a bit ridiculous but couldn’t back down. Because she had committed to this she had to follow it through.

“My partner’s mum has a pub so we understand Challenge 25 for the likes of my brother because he does look very young.”
She said the whole situation was “ridiculous” and spoiled their evening.

“I was enraged. We have a young baby and it’s the first time we have been out in ages. I thought I’m not letting this rest, this is ridiculous.

“Everyone was looking.

“He’s going to be a Viking in the Brae Up-Helly-A’ and he looks older than me.”

The Shetland Arts venue Mareel operates a Challenge 25 policy.

Steven decided to make the best of a bad job and went to the Mareel bar for a couple of beers – which were bought without the need for ID.

He said: “It was happy days. I won’t be seeing the film though because I think it was the last showing.”

Joanne posted a photo of Steven with his pint on Facebook, explaining what had happened. Scores of comments have been left supporting Steven, but Mareel remains steadfast.

The venue left a comment which read: “Hi Joanne, I’m sorry your fiancé was unable to get into Trainspotting 2 due to lack of ID.

“Our staff are legally required to ask for proof that you are old enough to watch an age restricted film if they have any doubt. We follow the Challenge 25 policy here at Mareel, so we ID anyone who appears under 25 for 18 films.

“These decisions have to be made on the spot by the staff as without ID there is no other accurate way of telling age – last night the cinema staff believed him to be under 25, whereas the bar staff were happy he was over 25, in each case staff were just doing their job.

“I’m sorry this affected your evening but we have no choice but to fulfil our legal obligations – so please, please anyone who is under 25, or may look under 25, make sure you bring ID with you, we don’t like having to turn anyone away. Esther (Marketing).

That message was repeated this morning by Shetland Arts marketing manager Lauren Doughton who told The Shetland Times judging someone’s age was “really subjective”.
“The member of staff thought he was under-25 and we absolutely support that.”

She said that Steven’s beard would make no difference to making that decision. “There are plenty of hairy lads walking around, it’s that time of year.”


Add Your Comment
  • David Spence

    • February 10th, 2017 13:20

    I am curious as to where the law is in regards to this incident ?

    Surely Mareel, are breaking the law if a person is over 18 but under the age of 25, and is not being allowed in because they do not look 25 or over (or is it 18 and over???) ?

    The law is the law, and, I think, it is not upto any organisation, place where you have to be 18 or over, to stipulate or lay down their laws as to what age a person has to be. In this case look the age of 25 or over?

    Is it 18 or over, Mareel????

    If Steven was not allowed into an 18 and over movie, why was it Mareel were quite happy to sell him alcohol?

    Why was the staff member selling him the alcohol not brought to the fore with the member of staff who was adament Steven was not 18 or over?

    Why was this a contradiction????

    Why was the member of staff selling him alcohol not reprimanded????

    I would also presume Steven would be entitled to compensation in terms of stress, travelling costs etc etc?

    • Mike Williams

      • February 12th, 2017 22:22

      The challenge 25 and 21 scheme were introduced in respect of the sale of Alcohol and Tobacco products in the UK. That scheme, is at the very least government backed, I don’t know of their involvement beyond that, but this venue is acting pretty much in accordance with everyone else who follows this scheme (which is most major chains in the uk). Whether the premises in question here has adopted that idea for films of their own accord or if the same scheme has been officially adopted for age restricted films, I don’t know, but in general the scheme is flawed.

      Take this example for instance; I attempted to buy cigarettes in a petrol station and was asked to produce ID, I didn’t have it with me. I am in my early 30’s and asked the attendant how old he thought I was, he replied “23”. Which is 5 years over the age of 18, which is the age you can buy cigarettes, but still I was refused sale, despite being of legal age to purchase and despite the cashier agreeing I was of legal age to make the purchase. The logic is obviously very flawed here and relies completely on subjectivity, but It’s treated as if “25” is in fact the age in place by law to purchase these age restricted items or services. The subjectivity is one way though, no value is given to the fact that the cashier believes the person to be 23 of whatever, that’s not important. This in practice makes “25” an unofficial law in of itself.

      In response to your thoughts on the legality of this practice, it’s safe to say the government has no issue with the scheme as is and it would certainly take some sort of landmark ruling for any of your thoughts on age discrimination etc to be looked at seriously. I agree with you on a lot of your points, but this venue isn’t behaving any different than most in the UK who follow this scheme.

      At it’s heart it’s there to protect workers and business from the legal consequences of selling to persons underage and minors from age restricted products (as they are both culpable and both would be fined). This case is especially stupid though as the Viking was then served alcohol in the same venue… if this stupid scheme is to be enforced, lets at least have some consistency or let’s have everyone need to produce ID for age restricted products or services, at least then, we don’t have this black hole of absurdity

  • Joanne Nicol

    • February 10th, 2017 13:34

    I feel that the most important point of the story has been missed. The duty manager who refused Steven entry to the film knowingly allowed him to enter the bar and order an alcoholic drink! When i said to her that we were going to the bar to order a drink her response was “i don’t work in the bar”. I really don’t think that is a responsible attitude from the duty manager. If she truly believed that he was under 25 and would not permit him entry to the film why did she think it was acceptable to go through to the bar?? The member of staff who witnessed the refusal then served Steven alcohol 10 minutes later! The whole thing is ridiculous on so many levels!
    Joanne Nicol

    • David Spence

      • February 11th, 2017 0:04

      I agree Joanne………………….but not only this…………..why did the aforementioned member of staff refuse Steven entry into an 18+ movie because he did not look old enough to be 25?……….this certainly doesn’t make any sense……….and there is a little hypocrisy, as far as I can see, in regards, as has been mentioned, Steven being served alcohol because, I presume, that member of staff thought he was over 18.

      It is certainly a good PR Stunt for/by Mareel…….. said with a little pinch of sarcasm lol

      I would like somebody explain to me why a business or premises can dismiss the national law and incorporate their own law in regards to the age of a person being allowed into such establishments. Surely they do not have that right?????

      • Chris Kowalski

        • February 11th, 2017 14:41

        Possibly because a private company can make any ADDITIONAL laws as they wish – they are generally called ‘conditions of entry’ or something similar. They cant make rules that break existing civil laws, such as, “well, we think it is OK to serve vodka to 12 years old, and it is a private premises, so there” but they CAN make rules that are MORE stringent than the existing legislation.
        For instance, in football grounds – generally (to my knowledge) there is no legislation barring the use of electronic cigarettes in football grounds (although tobacco smoking is forbidden) , same as in pubs – BUT said football grounds and pubs CAN, if they wish, ban electronic cigarettes. Just because they want to.

      • David Spence

        • February 11th, 2017 19:47

        From what I understand Chris, and I may be wrong, but the film was an 18+ rating, thus anybody 18 or over should be allowed to watch it.

        It is not upto Mareel to over-rule the law and make the rating of the movie a 25+ rating. They do not have the right, regardless if it is a private establishment, to increase the rating of the movie, in affect, to this of 25+.

        Mareel, should have asked Steven if he was 18 or over NOT if he was 25 or over.

        It is Mareel who are, in affect, breaking the law.

        What would Mareel do if Steven was 21, 22, 23 or 24, would they still ban him from watching the movie because of their age-descrimination of 25 and over????

        The Movie was 18+, Mareel were breaking the law by insisting viewers must be 25 and over.

        They have no right to do this………….private establishment or not

        If such establishments are breaching the law, civil rights and age discrimination, then they should be fined heavily for breaking the law.

  • Mike Brailsford

    • February 10th, 2017 15:29

    Morons are either short-sighted or just completely dim. I know what I go for. How do these fools get jobs, it really does my head in.

  • David Spence

    • February 11th, 2017 0:27

    Another point in regards to this issue……….

    Surely Mareel can be charged by ‘ claiming money by deception ‘ if Steven payed for a ticket to see the movie, but then denied entry to see the movie because he did not look 18 or over, and where Mareel still kept the money and not offer Steven a refund.

    I would call this ‘ theft ‘ or ‘ claiming money by deception ‘.

    Steven should have got a refund regardless of what Mareel says.

    I know Mareel will say ‘ It is 25 and over ‘………….but the law is the law……and it is 18 and over regardless to what Mareel may say.

    As far as I can see, and correct me if I am wrong, but Mareel does not have the right to over-rule national laws and replace them with their own.

  • David Lewis

    • February 11th, 2017 11:18

    The staff at Mareel dont even know or understand what the rules are.
    My 14 year old son was refused entry to a 12A film even though he was accompanied by myself, his 53 year old father. We didnt have ID for him as its not required. If he was under 12 then it would be my responsibility to ensure the film was suitable for him to watch.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 11th, 2017 14:07

    This not the first time Mareel have adopted this kind of draconian attitude to customers who use the facility. In 2014 I purchased five tickets a few days before going to see Mrs Brown’s Boys, I asked for four adult tickets and one 14 year old and was told there were no concessions I would have to buy five full tickets, so this I did. On the day of the film we all arrived, bought drinks and sweets under the watchful eye of one of Mareels staff who followed us upstairs and waited until the 14 year old was on his own and approached and asked his age. He truthfully said 14 and was told her could not go in and see the film. We asked why and were told the film was a 15 and he was 14. I said I had told the person selling me the tickets we had a 14 year old but she still sold them to me. Because of his age his parents had to go home to the west side with him so we asked for a refund for the three tickets and were refused. There also was no poster or information visible in Mareel to say the film was a 15, apparently we should have known this. When we challenged the manager on this we were accused of trying to sneak and under age child in to see the film. There was no discussion or arbitration just a draconian attitude which I see still exists.

    • Shuard Manson

      • February 13th, 2017 0:05

      The certificate is printed on da tickets….

      • Gordon Harmer

        • February 14th, 2017 7:59

        Not helpful as by then you have paid for them and Mareel will not give refunds. Now tell me who reads what is on their tickets apart from to see the number of their seat. Ticket staff should know the film classification and advise if some one asks for a ticket for a minor.

    • Matthew Simpson

      • February 14th, 2017 16:33

      You should probably know what the rating for the film is before you purchase the tickets. It’s on all the promotional material for each film. And you should also know what the refund policy is for an item before you purchase it if you are ever in doubt.

      • Shuard Manson

        • February 14th, 2017 21:52

        Kinda whit I lippened. Blame aabody but yirsel.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • February 15th, 2017 8:32

        There was no promotional material to be seen in Mareel when I bought the tickets, I already stated that. Cinemas on the mainland have visible lists of films in the foyer with the rating next to them this does not happen at Mareel, or didn’t in 2014. If goods are not delivered a refund is expected, unless of course you are Mareel where you are a law unto yourself, which has been well established with the main story here.

      • Matthew Simpson

        • February 20th, 2017 18:57

        It does happen in Mareel, there’s a screen beside the ticket desk and there are leaflets with all the film times and rating printed on them for the next couple of weeks. And don’t forget the Jumbotron™ above the main door as you enter the venue. There’s no excuse for not knowing the rating of a film before going to see it.

  • Johan Adamson

    • February 13th, 2017 9:08

    At the very least there should be an apology and a refund (whether they think they are wrong or not).

  • stephen shirmer

    • February 13th, 2017 17:06

    Did mareel ask for proof of age ? it looks like a sticky on – beard to me.

  • Johan Adamson

    • February 14th, 2017 9:00

    I used to work in Universal Stores and ask folk if they were 16 to buy fags. If they argued and said they were 16 I would just say sorry and sell them the fags, as most would. I am sure they were telling the truth. You dont just stick to your guns when you are wrong and you know you are, you have to admit it. The bar staff obviously knew this.

  • ian tinkler

    • February 14th, 2017 15:45

    Johan Adamson, “If they argued and said they were 16 I would just say sorry and sell them the fags”. Well that was a pretty stupid thong to do! Not only were you breaking the law, risking the health of children, you’re irresponsible behavior could have had the shop owner and yourself prosecuted! Better to stay quiet and appear silly that write such and dispel all doubt!- A bit like selling alcohol to underage. Now seeing a film like Trainspotting, slightly underage never, hurt a soul. It was not exactly a 10 year old seeing hard porn! J

    • Johan Adamson

      • February 15th, 2017 9:45

      It didnt happen that often, Ian, once or twice. I was asked once if I was 16 to buy fags in the Staney Hill shop once when I was 25. The lady did exactly the same thing cos I was telling the truth.


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