Why watching bees can be better than the buzz of people trying to impress each other

Titanic got a standing ovation at its premiere in Leicester Square

Titanic got a standing ovation at its premiere in Leicester Square

First published in Paul Welsh
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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.

To be honest, especially in the nice weather, I would rather sit in my garden looking at the lovely flowers with the bees harvesting nectar, enjoy a good book and perhaps a bit too much alcohol.

I rarely visit film sets as the business today does not welcome visitors to closed sets and frankly, I have no idea about some of the modern stars or a great desire to meet them.

Showbiz parties are usually very boring as they are full of people trying to impress each other and as my brain tumour took out much of my hearing, I cannot even hear much of what is said, albeit probably not a great loss.

As for premieres, I gave them up some years ago having attended about 12 of them in Leicester Square. The tickets were never cheap but it was a worthwhile donation to various charities.

At first it was a great buzz to draw up in a car and walk along the red carpet but thereafter, you often had to sit through a boring film.

I can only recall three that stood out. They were Chaplin, directed by Richard Attenborough; Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, (because it was the hottest ticket in town but a boring film); and Titanic.

The latter I did enjoy and it was the only time I saw the cast and director given a prolonged standing ovation. A friend of mine named Eva Hart was a survivor of the real-life disaster and she told me the best version in her opinion was A Night To Remember starring Kenneth More in the 1950s.

The final premieres I attended were basically only fun as I took along friends who were enthralled by the red carpet experience. The last one was a James Bond premiere held at the Royal Albert Hall. I remember my buddies Mike and Nick were overawed by seeing Madonna sing the theme tune and to be within touching distance of Her Majesty.

I loved visiting film sets and interviewing stars but that is a thing of the past and I rarely even go to Elstree Studios, although I am always made welcome.

Last week, I was invited to participate in a BBC radio live four-hour broadcast from the studio. Can you believe there was no hospitality or even a fee at the end of the day? It was the first time I have sat outside in the sun to do a radio interview since one of the open days I used to persuade the BBC to do at the BBC Elstree Centre in the 1980s and early 1990s.

That died a death once the accountants and the health and safety brigade moved in.

It was great fun and it even included some surprise guests such as Rylan Clark from Big Brother, who was driving past in a golf trolley. He seemed a nice guy although the teeth were a bit overpowering.

The managing director of Elstree Studios, Roger Morris, joined me for a chat on air. It coincided with the staff of Big Brother wandering past and I suspect they thought the BBC were interviewing two veterans of D-Day as I suspect some had not yet had to worry about shaving.

The chairman of Elstree Studios and leader of Hertsmere Borough Council, Cllr Morris Bright, was also interviewed. I remember Morris as a fresh-faced reporter for the long defunct Channel One interviewing me 20 years ago and apparently, I am now to interview him for the Elstree Project archive.

Where have those years gone, especially as I doubt I have the same number ahead.

Finally, I have probably done about 100 radio interviews and about 60 TV interviews over the past 30 years.

You may think that means I am rolling in money, but from memory I was only paid for one of them. That was for appearing as a guest on a 1980s television quiz hosted by Noel Edmonds where a celebrity panel had to guess what Elstree film I was talking about.

I am not even paid for writing this column, but after 37 years I still enjoy writing it and hopefully you enjoy the walks down memory lane.

I have been blessed to meet so many stars and to have accumulated so many memories and hopefully you enjoy sharing the recollections of yesteryear.

Until next week, take care of yourself and remember, nostalgia never dates.

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