Well, it has been another bad week for losing famous names from the silver screen, but thankfully they both enjoyed very long and productive lives and have left behind some great film performances.

I speak of Ron Moody and Sir Christopher Lee, both of whom I had the pleasure of meeting over the years.

Ron was a guest at one of the old film evenings I used to host, and he also came to the reopening ceremony at Elstree Studios in 1996. I still remember seeing him turn up with several of his young children, as he married late in life.

Ron began his screen career as an uncredited extra in a 1950s film made at MGM, and ironically ended with a 2012 guest star role in Holby City, shot at the BBC Elstree Centre.

During the 1960s, he featured in Cliff Richard’s Summer Holiday and Murder Most Foul, starring Margaret Rutherford, both made in Borehamwood, but he is best remembered as Fagin in the film musical Oliver!, which should have launched him to stardom. However, Ron had a bit of a reputation for being difficult with fellow actors, plus he perhaps lacked a clear vision as to which way he wanted to develop his career.

Sadly, his death was announced on the same day as Christopher Lee’s, which meant radio and television quickly concentrated on the latter, so ironically he was even overshadowed in death.

I had the pleasure of meeting Christopher many times over the past 40 years, the first occasion being at Elstree Studios in the early 1970s, when he was portraying Dracula on screen for the last time.

His film career stretched back to the late 1940s, and he clocked up more screen credits than any other British star of the past 50 years. He was also the only star I can recall who worked at five different studios in Elstree and Borehamwood.

In fact, Christopher told me he owed a lot to Douglas Fairbanks Jr, who often cast him, while other producers felt he was too tall and too foreign looking.

The range of roles he undertook over the next 60 years were staggering in variety, ranging from classic screen villains and creatures to comedies and even a Western. He won a new generation of movie fans by the end of his life by starring in the new Star Wars and Lord of the Rings films, and the offers never stopped coming even in his 90s, which must also be something of a record.

He often filmed at Elstree Studios, including starring in one of his favourite pictures called The Devil Rides Out for Hammer Films, a company with which he had a love-hate relationship. Christopher told me he would have loved to have been able to remake that particular film about 20 years later, when he felt he was the right age for the part and special effects had improved.

Christopher also said he had a permanent souvenir of Elstree dating back to the 1950s and showed me a bent finger. He said: “I got that during a sword fencing scene with Errol Flynn when he slipped and accidentally damaged it during filming.”

In 1996, I invited Christopher to the reopening event of Elstree Studios, which included several plaque unveilings. Oddly enough, I think it was the last time he and Ron Moody met.

I asked Christopher to unveil a heavy metal plaque honouring the late Peter Cushing and I stood beside him holding it as he started to make a speech, which I assumed would last about five minutes. However, he was not a man to use one word when ten could be squeezed in, so he took nearly 20 minutes, by which time I was ready to drop the plaque. However, his speech was full of warmth for his old screen partner and their genuine friendship.

I last saw Christopher in 2008, when I invited him back to Elstree Studios for the unveiling of a plaque in his honour – it proved to be his last visit.

At the next plaque unveiling to honour Christopher’s work, I made sure the plaque was mounted on stage and asked his fellow Hammer co-stars from 40 years earlier, Barbara Shelley and Francis Matthews, to do the honours. They both paid tribute and Christopher said Barbara’s words were the kindest ever said about him in public.

Previously, I had agreed what films Christopher wanted mentioned on the plaque and you will notice there are no Hammer titles, and certainly not Dracula, which he hated to feel had overshadowed all his other work, even though he had played the character only a handful of times. As he suspected, all the recent obituaries and news bulletins went with the ‘Dracula is dead’ theme, which he would have hated.

I will certainly bet anything that Sir Christopher Lee is not buried in the Count’s cape, as was his screen Dracula predecessor Bela Lugosi in the 1950s.

Both stars have left us with some great screen memories and films that we can continue to enjoy, and in that regard film stars never really die.