Hello playmates, how are you and hopefully are enjoying the sun? I had my first meal in a pub garden for about 18 months and it was nice although I am still avoiding crowded places. Mind you I am a bit of a semi-recluse these days anyway, compared with my heyday. I found my diary from 2000 the other day and noted I was out at meetings, visits, etc for 200 nights that year. With half of this year gone I have not spent one evening out and don't actually miss it.

Is it me or have the weekend offerings of ITV and BBC become rubbish full of silly shows often with guest judges I have never heard of or one time names probably glad of the work? If I see another programme featuring Bradley Walsh or that Rylan guy I may shoot myself. They are both nice guys and I have the pleasure of meeting them but there is such a thing as overexposure. What happened to variety shows like Sunday Night At The London Palladium or quality comedy shows like Morecambe And Wise? I cannot remember a recent quality comedy show like Dad's Army, 'Allo,'Allo! Fawlty Towers or The Vicar Of Dibley. Gone are the days when evening church services were cancelled and pubs emptied because the BBC were screening a series called Quatermass, albeit that was the 1950s.

Incidentally, Quatermass has a local link for me in that two of the spin-off films were shot in Elstree and Borehamwood. The first was called Quatermass II and was filmed at the infamous Danziger Studios in Elstree village. It starred a fading Hollywood star named Brian Donlevy, who was an alcoholic but had screen presence. He used to sneak off to the Plough Inn in Elstree at lunchtime and had coffee on set that was laced with vodka. The director Val Guest told me: "I never had a problem as he knew his lines and hit the marks. Sometimes I just had to remind him what the scene was about." The supporting cast included Bryan Forbes, William Sylvester and Vera Day, who have all since told me it was a fun film to make.

Quatermass And The Pit was shot at the old MGM Studios a decade later, but by then Brian had married the widow of Bela Lugosi and retired. Hammer cast Andrew Keir - who was a very good actor - playing the Professor and did it well but he told me: "The director had wanted Kenneth More for the role so it was a bit difficult."

I loved meeting these old actors as they had earned their stripes and had great stories to tell. I detest this era of so called celebrities who seem to become famous for being famous. I am not on Twitter as I have a life but apparently their every word is followed, which luckily for them means they can endorse products, etc and live a life that their followers could only dream of, which is sad. I have never bought a celebrity-endorsed product since Tony Hancock advertised that we go to work on an egg or that who man dived into the sea and came up with a box of Milk Tray. Those adverts were memorable. Put a tiger in your tank, remember the window to watch or the cigarette that was as cool as the mountain stream? I still remember the advert slogan that "it is so big you have to grin to get it in". No, missus you are awful - it was a Wagon Wheel chocolate.

Until next time remember: clunk click every trip and you can't go wrong if, as my old mate Dave Prowse used to say, you follow the Green Cross Code.

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