Hi De Hi readers and I hope you have enjoyed the recent great weather before winter draws on. That reminds me I must buy some new long johns as I am a martyr to my legs . Today I could not run 20 yards even if downhill and wind assisted, but enough about about the fun of getting old.

I must start by paying tribute to Dame Diana Rigg who was a source of many of my dreams in the 1960s. I have asked Whiplash Lil in past years to recreate scenes from The Avengers but it was never the same. I did meet and correspond with her co-star Patrick Macnee but Diana was always elusive about wanting to celebrate that classic series.

She finally relented and accepted an invitation to attend a tribute to her at Elstree Studios about three years ago. I was the co-host with Cllr Morris Bright and it was a sell out event. We put the show appropriately on stage nine, where she had last appeared in The Avengers 50 years earlier.

During the interval Diana, myself and my old friend the late Peggy Cummins sat at our own table and had a nice chat about old times. I never take what they call selfies but I have my memory. She was a feisty Dame and when she said she was off on a cruise to Iceland and I replied that it sounded a bit cold, she responded: "I don't intend to sit on the deck for the whole voyage, Paul."

She was a very talented fun person who never made it in films but was a star of the theatre and I suspect is wincing a bit about the media referring to a television series she made over 50 years ago. That is the nature of showbiz.

Have you ever seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show on stage or the film version, for which I think the post production was done at Elstree Studios? My mother was a great film fan and in the 1970s when I was told there was a new musical celebrating the sci-fi and horror films of the 1950s I naturally decided to to take her. From memory it was staged in a semi derelict cinema in Chelsea. I must admit when Tim Curry started thrusting away and scantily clad people appeared on stage I thought my mother would be horrified. Instead she adored it and insisted we went to every new revival in the West End. My mum refused to be old, so when she was 80 she insisted we went to the latest version. I spoke to the BBC local television news and they decided to film her at home and at the theatre. I was not daft as the theatre gave us front row seats free and the BBC paid for a cab there and back. She did not let them down, wearing a Rocky Horror T-shirt and doing the Time Warp in the aisle. The star Robin Cousins invited us backstage afterwards. At her funeral 20 years ago I had the Time Warp played. I hope I have the same zest for life in my twilight years.

It is good to see EastEnders back on television and I admire the restrictions of filming they now have to work under. It must take ages to produce compared with the pre-virus days. I really feel sorry for films, television, theatre and music during these times. Despite what we read, the vast majority of actors, musicians and crews do not earn much even in the good times, but now it must be awful as most are freelancers. Indeed I was surprised when I visited Holby City a couple of years ago at how many freelancers made up the crew. Let us hope 2021 brings better news for all of us and for us old timers remember our lives may lie in your hands, so don't forget to wash them!

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