Well, here we are again as time flies by so fast. Is that a sign of age? I seem to recall school holidays lasted forever in a great way and in those days we kids spent all our time outdoors. In my road I was the champion at hopscotch. Nowadays I rely on hops from beer and scotch from Scotland and fall over if I stand on one leg. I used to enjoy kiss chase but had to retire when the girls' husbands took to complaining. Did you go to Saturday morning cinema, if only to pelt other kids with orange rind or let your pals in for free via the emergency exit? What a generation of naughty children.

Enough of this nostalgia as younger readers, as we did, assume old people were always old. What was the first film you recall seeing at your local fleapit? Mine was Ben Hur, but I recall seeing Summer Holiday and A Hard Day' Night several times when first released. I never dreamed that decades later I would meet Charlton Heston and Paul McCartney, let alone interview Cliff Richard. I have lived a charmed life.

I was very sorry to read that the BBC has axed Holby City after 23 years. It has a loyal fan base. I am told ratings have dropped to 3.5 million and the show costs about £21 million a year to produce. The BBC wants to release funds to produce new series based up North and feel the soap opera has run out of steam. Holby City is produced at the BBC Elstree Centre, which in the days of ATV was also home to Emergency Ward 10 and General Hospital, which by comparison had far shorter runs.

When I visited the set two years ago senior production staff told me they felt the 'poor cousin' to EastEnders on site. They had no dedicated publicity staff, very tight budget and were annoyed about small but important morale things such as EastEnders cast photos were plastered around but none of Holby City cast.

Borehamwood Times:

Holby City filming at St James's Church, Bushey

Most of the crew are freelancers so I am sure they will find work elsewhere without too much trouble as television production is expanding in the UK. I feel sorry for most of the cast whose fame rests of being in Holby City. Life for soap stars after leaving a series is rarely successful due to typecasting and competition. Of course there are some exceptions but this is nothing new. When Emergency Ward 10 was cancelled after 10 years back in the 1960s with triple the ratings of Holby, hardly any of the actors went on to greater or even similar heights.

Overall I think the BBC has an uncertain future in the long term. I bet many younger readers rarely watch BBC television and how can they compete with the budgets of Netflix and their like? I don't have a great deal of faith in BBC management, which makes things worse, plus their obsession with political correctness, which can alienate the majority of their older viewers. Bring back Billy Cotton Jr or Michael Grade, who once were decision makers at the BBC and who actually had a showbiz background. Still, I am an old fossil so what do I really know? Until next time, keep them peeled as Shaw Taylor used to say in the 1960s on Police Five. If you remember that then there is life in us old dogs yet.

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