It is great to have Strictly Come Dancing back on our screens, albeit it reminds me that autumn has arrived and sitting in my garden will increasingly be a luxury before I have five months indoors. Personally I have not heard of most of the celebrity guests but the fun is in the whole show and not individuals. I am glad to see they show Elstree Studios signage at various points as I liked the days when productions acknowledged where they were filmed in the end credits. I am very sad that they have needed to beef up security due to threats to individuals taking part. What stupid people there are out there today. The great news is the show is getting very big ratings, at least by today's standards.

I think Strictly is getting about double the ratings of EastEnders, which is shot across the road at the BBC Elstree Centre. To be fair, viewing figures for soap operas, as I still call them, have declined hugely in recent years. I believe Hollyoaks, voted most popular show at a recent awards ceremony, actually averages less than one million viewers out of a population nearing 70 million.

I have a great fondness for EastEnders as I was there at the start. I still remember being shown around Albert Square by the then Head of BBC Elstree Keith Clement and the set designer Keith Harris in about 1985. In part the show was the reason the BBC bought the studio from ATV as it had a backlot for the street set.

EastEnders was an immediate success to rival Corrie and in those early years the ratings were five times what they are now, but think about how television and viewing patterns have changed since.

The first time I visited them filming the show was, I think, in 1987. The BBC had decided to recognise the Studios' past by naming one of the 1930s buildings after Douglas Fairbanks Jr. I guess many have not heard of him but he was born into silent screen star royalty with his father and stepmother Mary Pickford. He was highly decorated in the War and received an honorary knighthood for fostering Anglo-American relations and was a friend of the Royal Family. His screen career lasted more than 60 years and in the 1950s he ran what is now the BBC Elstree Centre, making about 160 television programmes. Doug gave career breaks to the likes of Christopher Lee and fallen stars such as Buster Keaton.

The BBC knew I was aquainted with Doug so they asked me to invite him to name the building in a ceremony in which he cut the tape with a sword, going back to his films like The Prisoner Of Zenda and Gunga Din. Afterwards we visited the interior set of the Queen Vic and they stopped filming while he met Dirty Den, Angie, and the other characters of that era. Doug was real old school Hollywood and a true gentleman who was always willing to help me. I cannot believe that was more than 30 years ago and sadly no photographs or videos were taken except the one of him cutting the tape. He sent me a lovely letter afterwards but, alas, when I kick the bucket that, along with hundreds of other documents, will go into a skip or on eBay. What a great shame Borehamwood cannot have a film and television research centre and or museum.

Well, until next time, remember winter draws on, even if they are unfashionable. Blame a glass or two of mother's ruin - and remember, keep dancing.