A couple of years ago I met an old friend, actress Peggy Cummins, and Diana Rigg at an event at Elstree Studios that I was co-hosting. It was the first time I had met Diana so that was a great pleasure. Luckily I had known Peggy for many years and sadly it proved to be their final visits to Elstree as we have lost them both since.

Peggy starred in a classic supernatural thriller called Night Of The Demon made at the studio in 1957. I really recommend you watch it if you can. You may think an old black and white movie would be very dated now but it has a wonderful atmosphere and some spooky moments. It was produced by a cigar-chewing Hollywood veteran named Hal Chester, who I met in 1996 when he unveiled a plaque for me honouring Terry Thomas. The link was he also produced a classic comedy film at Elstree called School For Scoundrels, which starred Terry Thomas, Janette Scott and Alistair Sim. That was 1960 and it was the first outdoor filming I visited as they shot a scene at the top of my road with Terry and Alistair.

Hal told me he remembered the scene because the director was a drunk and was making a meal of the scene so he had to take over. Back to Night Of The Demon and Hal had to contend with another alcoholic in the shape of fading Hollywood star Dana Andrews, who was drunk throughout filming.

The man who wrote the script was Charles Bennett, who also wrote films for Hitchcock. He told me Hal approached him to buy the script but he later regretted the sale as when he returned to Hollywood he found out Cary Grant was interested in starring in it and with a big budget. Instead Hal worked on a tight budget and made the film in a few weeks.

Scenes for the film were shot in Watford, Luton and the final climax scene at Bricket Wood railway station, which remains hardly changed today although the waiting room is bricked up.

One of the cast was that late great character actor Maurice Denham, who I last met at the funeral of 1950s film star Anthony Steel. The latter spent his final years a recluse living in poverty. Maurice remembered little about Night Of The Demon except how cold the nighttime location shooting was and how they sat around in caravans with hot water bottles.

I never really understand why films cost so much to produce nowadays and how long they can take to make. Night Of The Demon probably cost less than £100,000 but today that kind of ' B movie' would cost £10 million .

I miss meeting old film and television stars nowadays but it was great fun and nice to look back on, at least while my memory lasts. We have lost so many actors from yesteryear but at least we can enjoy their films on television or DVDs. During lockdown I have purchased so many DVDs I now have a backlog that will take all year to view. I also miss visiting film sets, although it is not like the old days when you could interview stars between takes. I think I had the best of times and it is hopefully fun for you that I can share some memories on our weekly rambles. Until we share this moment in time again do not forget to watch Night Of The Demon with the lights out and a tub of popcorn or a glass of something strong and be prepared to jump.

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