Elstree Confidential: how the studios kept stars' affairs hush hush

Borehamwood Times: Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in Gone With The Wind

9:57am Friday 1st August 2014

This week we look back at the lives of two of the greatest stars of Tinseltown’s golden era. During their careers they both filmed at the old MGM British Studios in Borehamwood.

The Grim Reaper of showbiz

Borehamwood Times: Press photograph of Frankie Howerd with Elizabeth Taylor

10:08am Friday 25th July 2014

I must start by saying farewell to Hollywood star James Garner. He is best remembered for the two television series Maverick and The Rockford Files, but he was also a leading man of cinema in the 1950s and 1960s.

It wasn't just studios: a century of films and where we watched them

Borehamwood Times: Jenny Agutter shows off her International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award

11:53am Friday 18th July 2014

I love old British films of the 1940s to the 1960s, which are often in black and white, as they allow you to wallow in times gone by.

Great names who have been part of Elstree's screen heritage

Borehamwood Times: British actress Anna Neagle and her director husband Herbert Wilcox

9:55am Friday 11th July 2014

This year we are celebrating 100 years of film production in Borehamwood at several studios past and present.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E and the men in a bubble

Borehamwood Times: Robert Vaughn.

9:47am Friday 4th July 2014

I was sad to read that veteran star Eli Wallach has died just a few years short of his 100th birthday.

The voice of Captain Scarlett

Borehamwood Times: LEGACY: Francis Matthews in one of his best-loved television roles, amateur sleuth Paul Temple

10:24am Friday 4th July 2014

This week it is a bit of a pot pourri column as thoughts enter my mind after a few drinks and several hours enjoying the sun in my garden.

Where else could you see stormtroopers and Routemasters in the carnival parade?

Borehamwood Times: Elstree and Borehamwood Carnival Parade, Saturday, June 15 2014

10:28am Friday 20th June 2014

Well, the centenary celebrations of film production in Borehamwood are now beginning to take off.

The truth about red carpet film premieres

Borehamwood Times: Titanic Live

10:11am Friday 20th June 2014

I suspect some readers assume I live a life of attending showbiz parties, visiting film sets and going to film premieres, but nothing could be further from the truth.

What would Psycho be without music?

Borehamwood Times: Film: Free showing PSYCHO, USA, 1960, Cert 15

9:33am Friday 6th June 2014

One aspect of film and television is often overlooked — the importance of music to create an atmosphere.

'I told George Lucas science fiction was dead'

Borehamwood Times: Star Wars

6:21pm Wednesday 28th May 2014

I hear the new Star Wars film has gone into production on location and at Pinewood Studios, though the original home of the franchise was, of course, Elstree Studios.

Peter Cushing: talented actor and true gentleman

Borehamwood Times: Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed – Peter Cushing objected to a gratuitous rape scene added at the studio’s insistence

10:46am Friday 16th May 2014

I have just noticed it is now 20 years since the death of talented actor and true gentleman Peter Cushing.

Chatting with my old pal Darth Vader

Borehamwood Times: Darth Vader

10:38am Friday 9th May 2014

I seem to have hit a busy few months with the centenary of film production in Borehamwood — but it is all worthwhile.

Jamaica Inn: It's a bit rich for highly paid executives to blame the actors

Borehamwood Times: The BBC’s latest adaptation of Jamaica Inn, with Jessica Brown Findlay,   attracted more than 2,000 complaints about the poor sound quality

10:50am Friday 9th May 2014

I am going to start today by having a bit of a moan.

How fame - like soap - can melt away

Borehamwood Times: Barbara Windsor

1:21pm Friday 25th April 2014

I recently had a most enjoyable day filming with veteran actress Barbara Windsor for a documentary about the centenary of film production in Borehamwood.

Being part of film heritage - Mickey Rooney earned his laughter lines

Borehamwood Times: Mickey Rooney

1:11pm Friday 25th April 2014

I have been enjoying myself filming interviews with people connected with Borehamwood’s fascinating film heritage as part of the Elstree Project.

Earning your stripes in the fame game

Borehamwood Times: From Edmonton to Strictly: Bruce Forsyth

10:24am Friday 11th April 2014

I am sad to hear that Brucie has retired from Strictly Come Dancing, which is shot at Elstree Studios, albeit for reasons I fully understand for a man of his age with the pressures of live television.

Errol Flynn - the great swashbuckler who crossed the pond

Borehamwood Times: ROBIN HOOD: Errol Flynn in one of his most famous roles

4:06pm Friday 4th April 2014

I was extremely pleased to see that my colleagues at Borehamwood Museum were given special awards at the Hertsmere Mayor’s civic dinner.

Always know when it is time to leave the stage (and don't tweet while you're on it)

Borehamwood Times: The Voice judges will.i.am, Kylie Minogue, Sir Tom Jones and Ricky Wilson will film the live finals at Elstree Studios

12:21pm Friday 28th March 2014

I have just watched the first live episode of The Voice as it is now being recorded at Elstree Studios. It is great to have such hit shows being televised from Borehamwood, although I wish they would acknowledge that on the credits.

The day Peter Cushing offered to lie down in front of the bulldozers

Borehamwood Times: Multi-million pound deal to expand Elstree Studios

12:47pm Friday 21st March 2014

I was interviewed on BBC radio about Elstree studios' centenary celebrations and they asked me who of all the stars I have met was my favourite.

Celebrate the centenary in style

Borehamwood Times: Down memory lane: Alfred Hitchcock, Joyce Grenfell and the Dominion Monarch

2:02pm Friday 14th March 2014

We are celebrating a very special anniversary this year – 100 years of motion picture production in Borehamwood, or, as they would have spelt it back in 1914, Boreham Wood.

The Double Man, the Elstree 'bomb' and why the truth may never come to light

Borehamwood Times: Workers lift the fence surrounding the Mound

12:16pm Friday 7th March 2014

Are you growing weary of these celebrity trials or, as some call them, witch hunts?

Death of a pathologist

3:52pm Friday 13th December 2013

Another week gone and Christmas is fast approaching. Everybody says it, but the years seem to be passing a bit too quick.

The day Doctor Who came to town

Borehamwood Times: AGELESS: BBC Doctor Who actors, from left, William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith

4:47pm Friday 29th November 2013

Well readers, I survived the ceremony at St Albans Cathedral to bestow upon me an honorary master of arts degree.

What Michael Caine didn't say in Zulu

3:03pm Friday 1st November 2013

Hello again to all my fellow wanderers down memory lane. As promised, I will tell you about my latest showbiz adventures.

Confessions of a film nostalgia writer

Borehamwood Times: Diana Dors, who performed at the theatre

1:43pm Friday 18th October 2013

Well, I am glad you have all survived another week to join me in our weekly walk down nostalgia lane. I wonder, did any of you ever frequent those seedy looking cinemas in Windmill Street in the West End during the 1970s?

The lost treasures of Elstree - and what they'll fetch on eBay

4:17pm Friday 11th October 2013

Well, I have stumbled through another week and it is good to meet you again. This time it is a pot pourri of items that come to mind as I wait for one of my pals Nick Cole to come and cut my hedge.

The real X Factor - giving up your time for others

4:27pm Friday 11th October 2013

Well, another week has gone and I am just back from a walkabout with some fans of the old MGM Studios in Borehamwood.

Heartache of the stars of the golden age of cinema

10:20am Monday 23rd September 2013

This week I thought we should go back in time and look at five love affairs among movie stars that were destined to end in tragedy for one or both partners, proving that fame and fortune does not always equal happiness.

The day I told Tom Jones where the toilets were

Borehamwood Times: Tom Jones: I haven't heard Leanne Mitchell's album

1:11pm Friday 13th September 2013

Over the past few decades I have met hundreds of actors, usually because I have been visiting a film set, conducting an interview or hosting an event.

Honouring the stars in our town

4:55pm Thursday 5th September 2013

PAUL WELSH recalls some of the star names who have had plaques dedicated to their film careers unveiled across Elstree and Borehamwood

Oh Brother! It must be the money

4:53pm Thursday 5th September 2013

PAUL WELSH reflects on the life of Star Wars cinematographer Gil Taylor and the cost of fame as Celebrity Big Brother returns to our screens

Spotting when the stars come to town

4:51pm Thursday 5th September 2013

PAUL WELSH recalls a time when you were likely to bump into the biggest names in Hollywood and appeals for your studio memories from yesteryear

The people you meet in the pub

12:32pm Friday 16th August 2013

With the number of pubs closing it is obvious that the “pub culture” of yesteryear is on the wane and many of the survivors are really licensed restaurants nowadays.

Alas, Smith and Jones... and Frankie Howerd

Borehamwood Times: Mel Smith

2:30pm Friday 2nd August 2013

I was sad to hear that Mel Smith, the comedy actor, died after suffering ill health for several years.

Why moving abroad cost Richard Burton a knighthood

Borehamwood Times: Film expert Paul Welsh has welcomed a government review on the film industry

12:57pm Friday 26th July 2013

I had the pleasure to visit Pinewood Studios last week to meet a couple of friends and it was very pleasant sitting on the terrace enjoying the sun.

You could almost feel the ghost of Clark Gable

Borehamwood Times: The old Borehamwood Post clipping shows 247 children signed up to the club

12:14pm Friday 19th July 2013

It was a pleasure to attend the 50th anniversary celebrations at Maxwell Park Community Centre and to see so many people enjoying themselves on Sunday.

Fight to save Elstree Studios was worthwhile

Borehamwood Times: Film expert Paul Welsh has welcomed a government review on the film industry

9:10am Monday 15th July 2013

On the 18th of this month I hit the big 60, so another unwelcome milestone reached.

A send-off fit for a star

Borehamwood Times: Film expert Paul Welsh has welcomed a government review on the film industry

5:44pm Monday 8th July 2013

I have just been watching a 1980s movie entitled The Sea Wolves and it was packed with names of yesteryear that I had the pleasure to meet over the years such as David Niven, Gregory Peck, Trevor Howard, Roger Moore and character actors Martin Benson, Graham Stark, Patrick Macnee and Patrick Allen.

The house where Tom Cruise lived, and the manhole that Olive fell into in On The Buses

11:21am Monday 8th July 2013

Well, last weekend proved to be quite hectic but good fun and, thankfully, we enjoyed great weather.

'The Prince must not be photographed with Darth Vader'

Borehamwood Times: His Royal Highness the Duke of York visits studios

4:51pm Friday 14th June 2013

Well, Britain’s Got Talent is over for another year and was a big ratings success although some critics commented “Britain’s Got Foreign Talent” might have been a better title.

Britain's Got Talent judges are money for old rope

Borehamwood Times: Simon Cowell keeps weights in BGT toilet

11:50am Friday 7th June 2013

While watching Britain's Got Talent recently, I wondered why television companies paid these “celebrity” judges a reported £1million plus.

Return to the Village of the Damned

Borehamwood Times: The Village of The Damned is part of the Elstree Film Season at UHArts

12:33pm Friday 31st May 2013

Back in 2003 I attended a reunion of the Village of the Damned cast at Letchmore Heath as a sort of adviser to the BBC, which was making a radio programme about the film. It is sad no  video was made of it as the director Wolf Rilla, who was present, died a couple of years later.

The night I met the Dam Busters

Borehamwood Times: Film expert Paul Welsh has welcomed a government review on the film industry

1:50pm Friday 24th May 2013

I cannot let this month slip by without mentioning the 70th anniversary of the Dam Busters raid that took place in May 1943.

Looking back to One Million Years BC

Borehamwood Times: Bryan Forbes

12:18pm Friday 17th May 2013

It has been a sad few days with the death of two former special guests from the annual Elstree film evenings I used to organise and host from 1984 until 2008.

The wages of sin? £6,000 a time for a Hammer Horror flick and £1,000 for commanding the Death Star

Borehamwood Times: Film expert Paul Welsh has welcomed a government review on the film industry

3:31pm Friday 10th May 2013

I cannot think of a particular theme this week as I sit typing by candlelight in my attic so here is a pot pourri of thoughts.

From Borehamwood to Hollywood

Borehamwood Times: Film expert Paul Welsh has welcomed a government review on the film industry

5:08pm Friday 3rd May 2013

This week we look back at a lovely actress I had the pleasure to know and who was the only film star I can recall who actually grew up in Borehamwood.

Before they were famous

Borehamwood Times: Film expert Paul Welsh has welcomed a government review on the film industry

4:33pm Friday 26th April 2013

I see the new owners of Lucasfilm, the legendary Disney company, have announced they are planning a new Star Wars film every year.

Staying one step ahead of the obituary writers

3:35pm Friday 19th April 2013

You may not know this but the reason newspapers can print rapid obituaries when the great and the good pass on is that they keep obituaries on file, with just the need to put on a header and perhaps a final few paragraphs.

Roast beef, the Clitheroe Kid, pea soupers - and only two television channels?

Borehamwood Times: Film expert Paul Welsh has welcomed a government review on the film industry

2:27pm Friday 12th April 2013

This column is really about nostalgia and it was very nice last Sunday that a couple of strangers came up to me while I was enjoying a pint at the Mops and Brooms and said they thoroughly enjoyed these trips down memory lane.

Remembering Richard Griffiths, The Devil Rides Out and the days of 'straight to video' films

Borehamwood Times: Film expert Paul Welsh has welcomed a government review on the film industry

11:37am Friday 5th April 2013

I was sad to read about the death of Richard Griffiths, whom most readers will remember as the heavily-built actor from the Harry Potter films and the hugely successful stage play The History Boys.






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