Well, we have held onto the wreckage for another week only to watch people going mad buying petrol. Why are so many people so gullible? I blame the media stoking up a minor problem for cheap headlines. I was driven past an enterprising pub that had a board outside saying beer is running out so drop in now, which amused me.

I am a great fan of Strictly Come Dancing because it is filmed at Elstree Studios. I was once invited to watch a recording until they told me how long it takes as they record the results show the same evening and pretend it is actually happening the next night. That is too long for me. I think the last show I watched being filmed at Elstree was Dancing On Ice back in about 2007, I think. I was invited as a guest of an old actor mate Andrew Lancel, who you may remember from The Bill and Coronation Street. That meant we could have a drink in the bar beforehand and during the interval Bradley Walsh whisked us off for a private drink. I have no idea who was on the show but it must have included somebody from The Bill and Corrie, which is why Bradley and Andrew were invited.

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For a later recording they used our local community centre adjacent to the Studio as a holding area for the audience who had queued outside for hours as the free ticket did not guarantee entry. They always issue more tickets than seats. I helped give tea to the poor souls as a volunteer so saw both sides of these occasions.

Regarding Strictly, I hear the launch show attracted the lowest ratings in 10 years, although still very healthy. I think part of the problem is such a lacklustre group of celebrities. I cannot believe after the awful unemployment within showbiz over the past 18 months this is the best the BBC can do. I increasingly despair of BBC management in general, who are very well paid but seem so out of touch with the public whilst they endlessly tick politically correct boxes. Can you imagine them commissioning Dad's Army or 'Allo 'Allo! today? Now I hear their managing director has been given a huge pay rise. Being the highest paid officer on the Titanic did the captain no good.

My last thought for this week is to say I miss my old friend Dame Barbara Windsor. She was such a lovely lady and so genuine, unlike some stars I have known. The last time we met was when Elstree & Borehamwood Town Council invited her to switch on the Christmas lights. Pretty straightforward, you would think. Firstly the Town Mayor lost his notes and gave Babs a terrible introduction. Then when they had introduced Babs they failed to provide a dais so the public could see her, so they got this lovely but elderly lady to balance on a chair. Her husband and myself were standing aside but raised eyebrows at each other. Then the lights went on before she pushed the switch. Afterwards Babs was all smiles and joked with me saying "Paul, this could have been a scene out of a Carry On movie." She deserved such a better ending health wise and due to Covid did not have the showbiz send off she so deserved.

Until next time, remember there is no truth in the rumour that mistletoe will be in short supply this Christmas and don't worry - Easter eggs will be on the shelves soon.

  • Paul Welsh MBE is a Borehamwood writer and historian of Elstree Studios