I must start yet again by mourning the passing of some well-known film names. The first is the superb writer Brian Clemens, who started his career at the old Danzigers Studio in Elstree village in the mid-1950s. He went on to create such hits as The Avengers and The Professionals, not to mention many hits on both side of the Atlantic.

A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brian on camera for Elstree Screen Heritage at his home. What a gentleman! Afterwards he took me aside and said how much he had enjoyed the interview as we covered so much about his career.

Brian recalled: “When I went to work at Danzigers they would say write a 30-minute or one-hour thriller but you must incorporate standing sets such as a restaurant, submarine and railway station as we need to reuse standing sets. After that nothing phased me.”

We must say goodbye to Australian actor Rod Taylor, best remembered today for the cult Hollywood science fiction film The Time Machine, but Rod made several movies in the 1960s at MGM Borehamwood, including The VIPs, co-starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. They were often seen at the old Thatched Barn, now the Holiday Inn and the old King’s Arms at Stirling Corner, which is now a Harvester restaurant.

Lastly, farewell to 1950s pin-up Anita Ekberg, who has died aged 83 and apparently penniless. Anita filmed in Borehamwood and was at one time married to 1950s heartthrob Anthony Steel. Some say her lifestyle ruined his career and when I attended his funeral I noticed she was not present and nor were any old stars except Maurice Denham, that great character actor who was living in the same retirement home.  Shortly before his death, Anthony had been found living in a one-bedroom flat, living off social security. Two stars of the 1950s who met sad ends.

On a happier note, I hear, subject to planning permission, the area at the back of Elstree Studios is once again to be used for outdoor sets.

For years it was known as ‘the mound’ and occupied acres of unusable land due to Brent Walker contaminating it with traces of asbestos. That has all now been removed and flattened. A company owned by Sony Pictures Television plans to erect big standing street sets of post-war Westminster, including big houses and bombed-out streets, for a new multi-million pound ten-part series called The Crown, directed by Stephen Daldry, and recalling the Queen’s relationship with 10 Downing Street over the years. It is due for release in 2016 and the set may stand for six years.

It reminds me of visiting exterior sets built in that area over the years, from the old ITC street set used in The Saint and other series to the castle built for Val Kilmer’s Willow, the Victorian street set created for Young Sherlock Holmes and Stanley Kubrick’s Overlook hotel exterior for The Shining.

Finally, I hope you will join me for another screening of the marvellous From Borehamwood to Hollywood documentary compiled to celebrate the centenary of film production in Borehamwood. The screening will be held at 2pm on Sunday, February 8, at 96 Shenley Road. Tickets are free, but limited, and are available at reception.