My house is full of film books. I suspect several hundred but I lost count. It provides me with my own research library and I am always adding to the collection. If we ever get a film and television heritage centre in Borehamwood then I will donate them so they can help create a reference library. Alas, that does not seem to be on the horizon but one can always hope.

The latest addition is a wonderful book entitled The Price Of Fame, which is a biography of one of my screen favourites. I have long awaited this as it tells the riches to rags story of the great Dennis Price, who was a star of British films in the 1940s and 1950s. At first the name may not be familiar but if you are a film fan you will remember him for his classic comedy role in Kind Hearts And Coronets and a dramatic part in Tunes Of Glory, not to mention his 1960s television hit as the butler in Jeeves.

Dennis rose to stardom very quickly in the 1940s, especially in the very popular Gainsborough costume dramas of those days, often playing the villain. Unlike Hollywood stars, the salaries were not vast and taxes were very high. However, it was a good life and as the book recounts Dennis lived it to the full.

Alas, he became a big gambler and usually lost. As my late Dad told me: "If you want to gamble, go into a betting shop. You will see three pay in counters and one that pays out, so beware." I only ever bet on the Grand National because I won once in the 1960s. It was the year almost every horse seemed to fall over and my outsider earned me five pounds!

Dennis, sadly, was not a winner and his lifestyle was destined to catch up with him. In the late 1940s and the early 1950s he suffered a couple of major box office flops at the same time as the film business was hitting hard times.

By the mid 1950s, whilst making a comedy film at Elstree with Dirk Bogarde called For Better For Worse, he tried to commit suicide by gassing himself but luckily was discovered by his housekeeper. There were rumours he was being blackmailed for being gay, albeit he was a father to two daughters although his marriage failed. The book says it has failed to uncover any truth other than just rumours.

Dennis continued to act on stage and in films, although in later years his parts were of the guest star variety or down the cast list. His increasing drink problem did not help and he was required to decamp to Sark in the Channel Islands due to tax problems with the Inland Revenue. In the late 1960s and early 1970s he returned to Elstree Studios to have small parts in Hammer horrors and television series. At that time I corresponded with him and I have kept those letters all these years.

I really recommend you buy this book from the usual online outlets or bookshops. It is a fascinating and very moving story of the rise and fall of a star. Elaine Parker has done some wonderful research and my old mate Gareth Owen, who has worked on sixteen film books and was Sir Roger Moore's personal assistant, have done a grand job.

I must end by saying how saddened I was to hear that my friend of many years Dame Barbara Windsor is suffering from that awful disease dementia. My heart also goes out to her husband Scott, as I know from experience being a carer is no easy task. I recall in 2008 organising and hosting a plaque unveiling in her honour at Elstree Studios. We invited a number of guests from local organisations along with showbiz pals. I whispered to Barbara "Do you want me to whisk you away after the ceremony?" as other stars on previous occasions had required me to do. Her answer sums her up. "Don't be silly Paul. They have all be so kind to come today, I want to meet everybody." and Babs went to every table of guests and posed for photos and signed whatever they asked. Dame Barbara, you are something special and I know my readers wish you, as I do, our best wishes!