Thankfully all the politics and voting is now over and we can once again concentrate on the other side of showbiz that we call motion pictures.

I guess ever since the era of John F Kennedy, we have moved towards marketing and image being as important as substance in the world of politics.

Can you believe the Americans once voted in actor Ronald Reagan as president? He had come a long way from working at Elstree Studios in 1948 in support of newcomer Richard Todd in The Hasty Heart.

The wrap party for the film took place at the old Spiders Web hotel on the way to Watford, and at the time Ronald complained about the bitter winter and lousy food, but time tempers memories.

When we celebrated the 70th anniversary of film production in Borehamwood, back in 1984, I received a letter of congratulations from Mr Reagan and he waxed lyrical about the importance of Elstree in the history of movies.

I hate the way politicians are trained nowadays in the ways of the media. How to gesture with your hands, how to engage with an audience, and even on body language. Could you imagine Winston Churchill or Harold Wilson being elected today?

The reverse seems to have happened in the movies. No longer are stars asked to change their names and can appear in public looking like they have just slept on a seat on the Embankment. Today, actors are more real than in the ‘golden era’ of Tinseltown, but sometimes you miss the glamour of showbiz when stars seem to be from another world.

It was, of course, a more innocent era even into the 1960s, when studios protected their investment and film magazines created fantasy lives.

Sometimes a star would emerge and enchant the world without a great need for too much fantasy.

One such person was the lovely Audrey Hepburn, who enchanted cinema-goers for a couple of decades, although she made fewer than 30 films. However, they did include classics like Breakfast At Tiffany’s and My Fair Lady, to name but two.

Her autograph and photographs remain highly collectable and at great cost. Audrey currently appears on our television screens in an advert, more than 20 years after her death. Audrey entered showbiz in the late 1940s as a dancer in London and at one point was earning an amazing £150 a week in that post-war era. How did she make the leap into films?

Well, years ago, I knew an acting couple named Dulcie Gray and Michael Denison. In the 1940s, Dulcie made her break in those old romantic Gainsborough films. During the war her husband Michael was at home on leave, and as Welwyn Studios were testing actresses but were short of actors to speak the lines in the tests, Michael was invited to help out.

A few years later, Elstree Studios were casting for an unknown to star in a film, and the late Bob Lennard, my old friend, was the casting director. Bob asked Dulcie if she knew the man who had helped out at the tests as they were now interested in casting him and Dulcie was able to say ‘yes, he is my husband’.

Not long after, Dulcie and Michael were at the famous Ciro’s nightclub in the West End and spotted an enchanting young lady in the dance chorus line. They insisted to Bob that he came and saw her and he too was taken by her talent.

The rest is history. Bob persuaded the ABPC Board, which ran Elstree Studios, to sign her to a three-year contract at £12 a week with a guarantee of one film a year. They had no idea what to cast her in and when they did in one film called Young Wives Tale, the star Helen Cherry told me years later that the director considered her so wooden as to have no future as an actress.

However, she was then spotted and cast in Gigi on Broadway and then the powerful Hollywood studio Paramount in 1951 wanted her to star in Roman Holiday, albeit for the modest fee of £2,500.

They came to an arrangement with Elstree that meant ABPC would make millions over the next few years without ever having to use Audrey in a film and she became an overnight star.

Not all her films held happy memories for her, such as Sabrina.  Her co-star Humphrey Bogart thought she was a waste of space and made it known. Luckily her other co-star William Holden, who Bogart nicknamed smiler as a put down, was more comforting and they apparently enjoyed a romance during filming.

However, Audrey is often best remembered for her latter years as an ambassador for UNICEF and her untiring work to feed the starving children of the Third World. She put her career behind her and devoted her life to that cause, generating much-needed publicity.

Tragically, whilst still only in her early sixties, Audrey was struck down by terminal cancer and the world mourned her passing in 1993.

Elstree Studios benefited financially but lost out on not using a talented young lady.

Bob Lennard once said to me: “Such is the benefit of hindsight, but there were a number of other future stars we missed out on.” That is a story for another day.