Paul Welsh MBE, the film historian based in Borehamwood, has published an exceptional and important book called Elstree Confidential. This book, long overdue, is Paul Welsh sharing the memories of the film and television personalities who he has met over the past 50 years.
Paul has interviewed most of the stars, producers and directors that have worked at Elstree Studios over the last 50 years. His collection of photographs and letters including one from Ronald Reagan who starred in the Hasty Heart at Elstree and another from Elizabeth Taylor are priceless film mementoes from the days when Elstree was called The British Hollywood.
Paul was instrumental in the campaign that saved the Studios from demolition back in the early nineties and for that, along with his outstanding contribution to the local film industry, he was awarded an MBE in 1997.
Welsh remains a firm supporter of Elstree Studios and most recently as chairman of Elstree Screen Heritage succeeded in getting financial support for Borehamwood to film theme the Train Station and High Street. He even managed to get First Capital Connect to name a train after the Studios.
Paul Welsh commented; “The book is a nostalgic romp through my memories over the decades of interviewing stars, organising royal visits and even help naming local roads after past celebrities. The book covers some of my memories of Elstree Studios but also other studios in Borehamwood such as ATV and the gigantic MGM Studios now long gone.
“All the proceeds are going to the Borehamwood Museum and Elstree Screen Heritage, two voluntary organisations dedicated to preserving this unique heritage for future generations. It is important we remember the past and it is great to see Elstree Studios thriving today providing entertainment for everyone. “
The Neptune Film Studios were sold to ATV in 1958 and became a television centre in 1960. They are currently home to BBC Elstree, with film production a distant memory. The MGM studios were closed in 1970 and demolished to make way for factory units and housing.
This book is a limited edition presently and is available online from http://www.elstreescreenheritage.org
If you are a film or television history enthusiast, it’s a must.