Well readers, we have made it through another week of strange times but a feeling of normality has not yet fully returned, especially for the entertainment business. Theatres remained closed and I suspect cinemas will struggle for a while - indeed as will any venue where a lot of people gather.

On the positive side,planning permission has been granted for the giant new Sky Studios to be built in Borehamwood and I guess they will hope to start building as soon as the situation permits. It will be the seventh studio built in Elstree and Borehamwood going back to 1914, which is a record outside Hollywood .

When those film pioneers just before the First World War arrived in the rural village of Borehamwood, they would have not dreamt of the things to come.

They bought 40 acres of fields just off the high street, which was then a mixture of houses and a few shops with a railway station at one end. They erected a silent film studio that boasted the first dark stage. That term meant it was lit by lights rather than relying on a glass roof. There was a bell above the administration block that was used to signal workers back after lunch. The late Edward Dryhurst told me: " I cycled from St Albans as a lad to get a job there, which I did. To supplement my income I used to play the piano to accompany silent films at the small local cinema and could earn up to £1 a week."

Local residents were often recruited as extras, but sadly up to 75% of silent movies have been lost due to fires and decay. This first studio was named Neptune and underwent several more name changes over the decades. During the Second World War it was allowed to continue to be used, albeit on a reduced level. By this time it was called the National Studios and was owned by Lady Yule, the rich widow of a chap who made a fortune in India. Their estate is still standing near Bricket Wood, where she bred Arab stallions.

A roll call of British stars worked at the studio including George Formby, Old Mother Riley and Richard Tauber, not to mention newcomers such as Herbert Lom and Bill Owen. In his latter years Bill became even more famous as Compo in Last Of The Summer Wine. In 1996 I invited him to unveil a plaque at the studio - what a nice chap.

The studio was leased in the 1950s by Douglas Fairbanks Jr, who turned out 160 television films and gave career breaks to the likes of Christopher Lee and old timers like Buster Keaton. In 1960 ATV bought the studio, converted it for television and for the next couple of decades produced thousands of television shows from The Muppets to launching Tom Jones.

The site was purchased by the BBC in 1983 and soon became home to EastEnders, Grange Hill, Holby City and a host of other shows. The backlot was sold off in the 1960s so I think the studio is now about 17 acres. The BBC are investing heavily in rebuilding the EastEnders outdoors sets and modernising the studio, which is great. The story of this survivor would make a great book and I hope in decades to come the new Sky Studio will have added greatly to the unique heritage of Borehamwood.

Paul Welsh MBE is a Borehamwood writer and historian of Elstree Studios