In the Seventies, TV programmes were making successful leaps onto the silver screen. PAUL WELSH takes a look and says 'you've all done very well.' This week we have a potpourri of news to entertain and enthral you.

I forgot a few weeks ago to express my sadness on the passing of comedy legend John Inman. He was a guest at our Elstree Film Evening in the early 1990s and was due to be guest of honour about three years ago. However, the cab that was supposed to have collected him never arrived, and I got a frantic and tearful series of phone calls from John, as by then it was too late for an alternative arrangement.

I first met John and his fellow cast members on the set of the film version of Are You Being Served? at Elstree Studios in about 1977. It was a hotel built on one of the stages, as in the story, the staff of Grace Brothers were on holiday while their store was renovated.

Their destination was Costa Plonka, where became caught up in the middle of a revolution. In some ways it was reminiscent of the Carry On films, and there was a fashion in the cinema of the 1970s to make spin-off films from hit television programmes.

I enjoyed meeting some of the cast veterans, like Harold Bennett who played young Mr Grace and who also appeared in some episodes of Dad's Army.

Harold did not actually take up acting until he retired from architecture at the age of 65. He continued appearing in Are You Being Served? until he died, aged 82, in 1981.

Arthur English played the store janitor and shop steward. He had been the resident comic at the old Windmill Theatre after the war, and based his character on the old-style spiv or wide-boy. I suspect only readers of a certain age will recall such real life characters. George Cole adopted a similar comic persona in the St Trinian's films. Arthur died in 1995.

I also liked the grumpy Mr Grainger, who was the head of the store's men's section. He was played by Arthur Brough, who had enjoyed a long and successful career, running various provincial theatre rep companies which helped launch many a career. Sadly, for many years Arthur had to nurse his sick wife, and he died just a few weeks after her in 1978.

I see Hertfordshire Police has just released figures pertaining to the rising cost of policing the Big Brother television series at Elstree, although it is met by the production company.

In 2002, the figure was £13,665, but by 2006, that had increased to £115,983, in addition to which the production company also had its own security people.

That was probably the whole budget of the Are You Being Served? film and I guess it's a sign of the times.

Of course, security has been a big issue for stars in Hollywood for more than 40 years. The studios themselves were always guarded, but in Beverly Hills, the homes of stars like Lucille Ball and James Stewart were open to the road even at the height of their fame. Nowadays, such properties would be surrounded by high walls, CCTV cameras and security staff.

I remember seeing a newsreel of Marilyn Monroe walking to her car round a corner after having attended Clark Gable's funeral. She was followed by some photographers but no personal security or police. Can you imagine that happening today with the likes of Tom Cruise or Madonna?

I think what changed attitudes was the gruesome murder in the 1960s of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and her guests in her Hollywood home by the Charles Manson gang. Then, a decade later, the shooting of John Lennon in New York made celebrities well aware of the stalker danger in an increasingly violent world.

Even I have thought about being escorted around by armed personal security operatives, but that could stop readers coming up to buy me a drink, so I think I will continue to take the risk.