This week we go back to what seems like yesterday but can you believe 1980 is nearly 40 years ago! These were halcyon days for Elstree Studios as business was good after the bleak years of the 1970s.

The studio was now known as Thorn EMI as the former company had taken over the latter and investment was forthcoming. A total of 27 new cutting rooms were built, as well as extra storage facilities, equipment upgraded and a giant new silent stage at the bequest of Lucas Film, which had now made Elstree their UK base. The term silent stage may sound odd as it means it is not soundproofed, but that is showbiz. Equally a film facility talks about sound stages whereas a television facility calls them studios.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark took up a great deal of space and I guess launched Harrison Ford into super stardom on the back of his equal success in Star Wars.

The Great Muppet Caper replicated the success of the original television series, which was shot across the road at ATV. For Jim Henson, Borehamwood had become a second home and for a while he rented a house in nearby Letchmore Heath.

Green Ice is a forgotten film today but starred Omar Sharif, who had shot to fame in Lawrence Of Arabia. His co star was Ryan O'Neal, who had shot to fame in a 1960s television series called Peyton Place and cemented his stardom with a film called Love Story. I seem to recall I was not allowed to visit the set as the era of making all sets closed had begun.

By contrast I was allowed and even welcomed to visit the sets and interview stars on two low budget movies that occupied stage space that year.

George and Mildred was a spin off of a successful television series, which often happened in that era but seldom does today, albeit Downton Abbey makes the usual exception to any rule. I interviewed Yootha Joyce and Brian Murphy on set and still have the tape recording, albeit with a lot of hammering and scenery changing going on in the background. At that time I still recorded my interviews but only as a memory aid and not for public use. What will happen to all these tapes when I kick the bucket is beyond me as copyright law is a big hurdle making them public. I cannot recall all of those recordings on old cassette tapes but know they include the likes of Gary Kurtz, Freddie Young, Trevor Howard, Peter Cushing, Edward Woodward, Dinah Sheridan and Donald Pleasance to mention a few.

I recall taking our Festival Queen that year, Sharon Day, to the set of Venom to meet its stars. Oliver Reed was one of them and what a challenge but that is for a future article. The other was Sterling Hayden, which is a name only film buffs may remember - but look him up on IMDB. You may recall him as a corrupt cop in The Godfather who gets shot or as the mad American General in Dr Strangelove. He spoke frankly about what it was like to work with the likes of Joan Crawford and Stanley Kubrick. Quite an eye-opener, but we have run out of space, so until hopefully we meet again have a drink on me but don't send me the bill.