Hello again everyone and I hope you are all well. Once again my sincere thanks to the members of the public who tell me they enjoy my articles. I enjoy sharing your company as we walk down film nostalgia lane.

At the moment, I am trying to finish my book on the old 120-acre MGM British Studios that once occupied what is now the housing estate and business park off Studio Way and Elstree Way.

I had the pleasure to recommend to council the names of all the roads on that site from the late 1970s so they are all film related. Many recall the famous stars who worked in Borehamwood and the names of other famous British film studios. I always picked stars who were dead in case they embarrassed us later, and considering the modern day happenings, I think that was a wise move.

About 20 years or more ago, I was thinking of writing a proper history of Elstree Studios. A well-known old author and friend F Maurice Speed, who wrote the annual Film Review book from the 1940s for decades, said to me “write it soon as your readership will not remember who you are talking about, especially regarding the pre-war era of Elstree”.

I was too lazy, although I have been interviewing Elstree Studio veterans since the 1970s. Indeed the late great managing director of the studio used to invite me to be a guest at the annual B.I.P reunion at the studio each year. About 80 or so veterans would turn up but to be invited you must have filmed at Elstree before 1939. They shared wonderful memories of those pioneering days and sadly they are all gone now. They recalled the hectic days and beginning to create a film union at the old Crown pub in Shenley Road in the early 1930s. They recalled Stewart Granger, Michael Wilding and other future stars starting as one pound a day extras and a bonus if you could supply your own outfit such as evening dress.

I recall future Oscar-winner and Hollywood star Ray Milland telling me that he got his first starring role at Elstree because the star broke his leg just before filming and he was thrust into the role. Paramount spotted him and he was taken to Hollywood where he enjoyed a long career. I recall Ray telling me "Hollywood is a funny place. I started going bald in the late 1940s so they insisted I wore a hairpiece like Bing Crosby, John Wayne and several others. Decades later I discarded it for a big hit called Love Story and it launched me on a new career as a character star as my days of being a romantic lead were over”.

In the 1980s, a book was written about Elstree with the support of the then owners EMI who agreed to buy 900 copies. Most of them remained in storage at the studio until Brent Walker, when clearing part of the site, sold them as a job lot for pennies. However, it apparently sold well to the public as it was updated and reprinted later.

The studio agreed to allow free use of many photographs for the book. Ironically these same photographs were sold to the management of the newly-opened BBC Elstree Centre. Ironically, they still adorn the corridors of that studio even though not a single film they represent was actually shot at that studio. I did tell them about that in the 1980s but I guess why spoil things with reality. It is always important not to take showbiz seriously.

I am very lucky regarding my book on MGM. In a way I started it 45 years ago when the studio closed in 1970 and I was given a set of keys and three days to explore the facility by the new property owners. It made me decide to interview first hand veterans and to gather accurate material regarding its history. Now I have compiled 160 pages of text and 500 rarely if ever seen behind the scenes photos of films shooting, stars and the studio itself. Okay readers today may not recall Ingrid Bergman, Clark Gable, Robert Taylor, who filmed there but I bet they have heard of 2001, The Dirty Dozen, Where Eagles Dare and The Prisoner TV series to name a few.

With the Elstree Project we are still interviewing veterans who worked at the studios of Borehamwood and love to hear from anybody whatever your role in film or television production. To date we have interviewed about 70 veterans on camera creating a unique archive and making up for my sins in not doing it in the era of the B.I.P veterans in the 1980s. We have captured the memories from a lovely tea lady who worked at MGM in the 1950s to the likes of Simon Pegg, Roger Moore and Steven Spielberg. It will prove a unique resource for future researchers long after I have gone.

We should all be proud of Borehamwood's unique and fabulous film and television heritage, and who knows one day we may get a visitors centre or museum in which to celebrate it. I am happy to volunteer to put on a peak cap and stumble around entertaining visitors.