The house where Tom Cruise lived, and the manhole that Olive fell into in On The Buses (From Borehamwood Times)
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From On the Buses to Eyes Wide Shut, why film nostalgia is a growth industry for Elstree
11:21am Monday 8th July 2013 in Paul Welsh
Well, last weekend proved to be quite hectic but good fun and, thankfully, we enjoyed great weather.
On Saturday I joined visiting On The Buses fans for their annual trip to Borehamwood to celebrate the 1960s TV series.
The connection with Borehamwood is that the three spin-off films were shot at Elstree
Studios and many of the location scenes were shot around the town.
The event was organised by Craig, Steve and Rob, who took the 70 fans to look at sites such as the manhole in Bullhead Road that Olive fell into, and Betty’s house in Whitehouse Avenue.
I like watching the reaction of local residents wondering why 70 people are photographing a manhole cover but that is part of the fun.
People travel from all over the country and in the afternoon Anna Karen, who played Olive, together with one of the writers and others involved in the show came along to chat to fans.
The next day, Elstree Screen Heritage launched its first classic Elstree film and TV locations tour on a 1965 Routemaster bus kindly supplied by Dean Sullivan and driven by his manager Steve. Seventy fans joined us, along with our museums officer.
I played the role of tour guide and we started off by visiting the private estate known as High Canons near Shenley, which has featured in a number of TV series and films since the 1950s and most recently was used in the filming of the last episode of Poirot. In fact, when we visited a film crew was at work shooting a fashion advert for a Christmas release.
The large house and 120 acres were rented by Tom Cruise when he was filming Eyes Wide Shut in the 1990s.
We then visited the old St Botolph’s Church where they shot Hammer’s To A Devil A Daughter, and then eventually reached Letchmore Heath for a walkabout. The village, of course, is most famous for featuring in the 1960 movie Village Of The Damned, starring George Sanders.
Then it was back through Elstree village past the old pubs that once served drinks to such diverse characters as Alfred Hitchcock, Simon Cowell and Bette Davis to arrive at the Edgwarebury Hotel, now owned by the Laura Ashley company and called The Manor.
The building was originally a private house and then a country club and has been used since the 1930s as a film location. It is best remembered for Hammer’s The Devil Rides Out with Christopher Lee and the comedy School For Scoundrels starring Terry Thomas.
After a lunch break at the Mops and Brooms we did a walkabout of various locations in Borehamwood and a quick visit to Elstree Studios where we were met by a group of Star Wars stormtroopers to provide a fun photo opportunity.
I think everyone enjoyed themselves and that was reward enough for myself, Brian, Bob, Jenny and Ben, who helped on the day as these events don’t just happen.
I spent the evening in a pub garden with some of the fans and it is great to hear how interested they are in the films and TV series shot in our town.
Movie tourism is a big growth area and we should embrace it, but the kindness of people buying me drinks meant three pints of Guinness, a double whiskey and five vodkas spread across the day did my liver no favours. My trouble is I can resist anything but temptation. It was a special day and all that talking does dry the throat.