AS THIS is my last column until next year, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers the compliments of the season and a great new year.

Again it is a potpourri of thoughts this week as we travel together down memory lane whilst avoiding any mistletoe in case anyone gets the wrong idea.

I have read items recently in which the Elstree Studios crew have been shown in a bad light regarding supporting George Lucas and his filming of Star Wars at the facility.

I think that is unfair, as much of what made that film a mega hit was created on the sound stages by those same people.

Okay, I agree many had little faith in a young American director making a science fiction Saturday morning cinema movie when that genre was considered long dead like musicals and westerns in the mid-1970s.

I was invited to visit the set in 1976 and when the unit publicist Brian Doyle described the film to me and the unknown cast, except veterans Alec Guinness and Peter Cushing, I thought this was going nowhere and expressed that opinion to George. That is why Mr Lucas is now a billionaire in Southern California and I am a pensioner in Southern Borehamwood.

However, things could not have been that bad at Elstree as George returned again and again to Elstree over the next decade and turned it into what Steven Speilberg described as ‘Lucas land’. I even turned off a television documentary the other night described as the definitive history of the original Star Wars trilogy and never mentioned Elstree Studios once.

In 1988, when Lucas and Spielberg were shooting Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade at the studio, I had a meeting with them on the set and they both agreed to support the Save Our Studio campaign. Then in the early 1990s, George gave me special permission to show the original trilogy in their original format for the last time in the world at the old Venue theatre in Elstree Way and he and Steven sent me lovely messages when we eventually saved the studio in 1996.

George is now, I believe, 71 years old and I think understands the views of that Elstree crew back in 1976, and we all support him for his proven belief in his own vision.

I have just spoken to my old mate, actor Dave Prowse, who is best remembered as Darth Vader but prefers to be recalled for his role in the highly successful Green Cross Code public safety adverts. Hands up all of you who remember them.

I have known Dave for several decades and he is always willing to support my events, but sadly he is not in good health. Leg and hip problems mean he needs a wheelchair and his memory is now on the wane.

Dave was no stranger to Elstree Studios before Star Wars as he played the Frankenstein monster in a couple of Hammer horror movies and was in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. He is still more active than I will ever be again, travelling around the world attending Star Wars conventions.

Well looking back it has been a pleasure to meet some old and new actor friends during this year and to continue to acknowledge the town’s amazing heritage with events such as the unveiling of the Jim Henson Muppets plaque and the 60th anniversary screening of the classic The Dam Busters movie.

I hope Elstree Studios will be involving me in their 90th anniversary events next year, especially as I was involved in the 50th, 60th and 75th anniversaries, so it will make a great final hurrah. I also look forward to doing more veteran interviews on camera for the Elstree Project and events with Elstree Screen Heritage throughout next year.

However, my special thanks go to all of you who bother to read my weekly rambles and continue to come up to me and say you enjoy our nostalgic walks down memory lane.

Next year marks my 39th anniversary of writing these columns and I look forward to carrying on for a whole lot longer.