Thankfully the Christmas festivities are over again for another year.

With the passage of time I grow more Alistair Sim Scrooge like in my dislike of the humbug and boredom that surrounds the commercially manufactured feel of the yuletide nowadays.

My Christmas Day was spent in four different locations, starting that morning with three hours in a police station, the details of which I am not permitted to reveal.

I ended up at midnight walking home in an East German Border Guard uniform, which is also a story for another day. In between, Susan stuffed good food down me in the company of her family, and later Ian and Maureen plied me with drink, as only veteran drinkers can!

While suffering the Boxing Day blues I watched a video recording of War of the Worlds, made in the early 1950s and starring Gene Barry.

The actor is now 79-years-old and that film has become a sci-fi classic.

Nearly 30 years ago Gene starred in a television series at Elstree Studios, which from memory I think was called The Adventurer. It was not a great success. However, it was one of a number of television series that kept the studios busy in the 1960s and 1970s.

Who could forget The Saint, The Avengers, Randall and Hopkirk Deceased, Jason King, Dept S and The Baron, to mention a few.

All these series entertained a generation of television viewers and provided much-needed work for the facility in an era of declining feature film production. The stars themselves have fond recollections of their Elstree days, even when they achieved greater fame elsewhere.

Peter Firth was Oscar-nominated for his role in Equus in 1977, but recalls: "Only a couple of years earlier I did a children's TV show at Elstree called The Double Deckers, which people still mention to me today and was great fun."

Roger Moore told me: "I had done a fair amount of film and TV work before coming to the studio but it was The Saint that really made my name internationally, and Elstree was a second home throughout the 1960s.

I was sorry to hear about the death of actor Jason Robards, who I remember years ago starred opposite Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave in Julia, at Elstree.

In fact, Jason won an Oscar for that performance. He was a very good actor and was once married to Lauren Bacall.

Lauren herself worked at the studio on Murder on the Orient Express, and later Tree of Hands, which seemed to disappear without trace.

Lauren will no doubt be remembered as the widow of screen legend Humphrey Bogart, but that would be unfair to a very talented actress.

Every year we lose more stars from the golden era of cinema and I am so glad to have been blessed with the opportunity to meet some in past years.

I have no interest in meeting Madonna or Michael Jackson, but cherish memories of even brief meetings with such stars as James Cagney. It must have been 20 years ago, I think at Shepperton, where he was working on a film.

I asked where he got that idea of his trademark hitching of his belt with his wrists and the neck movement which all the impersonators use before saying: "You dirty rat," which apparently he never did say.

Cagney replied: "I grew up in a rough area of New York, which gave me the ideal touch of the gutter for those gangster roles.

I remembered as a kid seeing a man who just stood on a street corner all day and would make that movement instead of saying hello and it stuck in my mind."

He said that acting was only a way of making money so that he could spend time living in the countryside, which he adored. "I drove past the Warner Bros studio not so long ago, where I spent 20 years of my life, and I never gave it a second glance.

I wonder if there is a kid out there, destined to be a star, who has been watching my mannerisms.

Just like Cagney with dirty rat, I am sure I will be misquoted as saying: "I will buy the next round!"