I have just watched the first episode of Britain's Got Talent and I must admit I enjoyed the variety of acts, albeit they now import some from abroad as presumably Britain does not have quite enough talent. I cannot watch The X Factor, which seems to be full of wannabes desiring overnight fame and usually a sob story accompanied by violins.

Today we live in a world of so-called celebrities who can make a fortune but without any obvious talent or long-term future. The reality still is that most actors make very little money, showbiz is a very harsh career to go into and the element of luck remains an important ingredient.

This week we look back to see how four young actors in the 1960s survived becoming stars of the silver screen, with some drastic differences. Sir Michael Caine is the epitome of a British star who went from playing bit parts in 1950s films to strike it lucky in the 1960s by starring in two iconic movies called Zulu and Alfie. That took him to Hollywood with huge salaries and Oscar winning performances. Michael admits he has made films just for the money along the way but overall it has been an impressive career. I first met him on a set visit at Elstree in the 1980s when he was making The Fourth Protocol and last saw him last year at an invited guests-only memorial service at Pinewood Studios for Roger Moore. Of course he is now an elderly man and the days of cinemagoers going to the cinema because he is the star are perhaps long gone. However, I suspect he is enjoying himself playing character roles that can stretch an actor and he still entertains us.

By contrast his close friend, actor Edward Judd, blew his chances. He was that strong leading man type and found fame in the early 1960s with starring roles in such pictures as The Day The Earth Caught Fire, The Long Ships and First Men In The Moon. Columbia Studios signed him to a contract but apparently Edward began to believe his own publicity and started to alienate people in the business. That is fine if you a big star making studios lots of money but otherwise a bad career move. By 1992 his screen appearances had petered out after a few television roles and he left the business, or the business left him. He died in a retirement home aged 76 all but forgotten in 2009. Ironically, over the last decade Edward could have made a decent living signing autographs at film conventions.

Sir Roger Moore was of course a big star of television in the 1960s with The Saint, shot at Elstree Studios. He went onto even bigger global fame as James Bond and was the longest serving actor to play that role until, I believe, Daniel Craig, who apparently has just overtaken him. I had the pleasure to invite Roger back to Elstree in 2006 for a plaque unveiling in his honour. I also managed to gather together a host of his former actors and crew from The Saint for the first and, alas, last such a reunion. Roger was so great with everyone and sent me a lovely letter of thanks afterwards, which was very kind. Again Roger had worked himself up the ranks having started as a film extra in that pre-celebrity era of instant fame. Both Michael and Joan Collins shared some great memories of their friend at the memorial service. It is a great shame for copyright reasons although these events were filmed I doubt readers will ever get to see them.

To counterbalance the success of Roger, we have Ronald Lewis who starred in several British films of the late 1950s and 1960s. They included Taste Of Fear, Billy Budd and Twice Round The Daffodils. Okay they were not classic movies but should have provided him with a platform for a long career. Instead he also made enemies and his career petered out, possibly not helped by a drinking issue. The tragic result was that aged just 53 in 1982 he was living on social security in a London boarding house and decided to take his own life.

Is there a moral in this story? Well, that is up to you dear reader. Until next time thank you for your company .