Stars shine at Elstree Studios book launch

Aimi Macdonald and the original The Saint car

A touch of Hollywood came to Borehamwood last week with the launch of ‘Elstree Studios: A Celebration of Film and Television’ – a tribute to ninety years of film and television production at the UK’s world-famous site.

Stars of film and television along with acclaimed producers and directors gathered at Elstree Studios for the celebration including Brian Conley, Jessica Martin,

Valerie Leon, Aimi MacDonald, Vicki Michelle and actress daughter Louise, Marc Sinden, Jack Smethurst, Marina Berry, everyone’s favorite voice over artist Peter Dickson and the infamous twins form The Shining Lisa and Louise Grady

Actress Nanette Newman, whose late husband, award- winning producer and director Bryan Forbes, who was Managing Director of Elstree Studios in the early 1970s cut a cake celebration the launch of the book and kicking off a year of celebrations for Elstree Studios 90th anniversary. And to keep them all in order, Darth Vader was on hand with a legion of Storm Troopers.

“It was great to see so many famous faces from both in front of and behind the camera. Some 200 people turned up to the book launch and it felt like one big happy family. The book is a tribute to everyone who has been part of the Elstree story and its amazing 90 year history”. – Author and chairman of the Studios Morris Bright

Star Wars

Elstree Studios was and still is home to some of the most successful and enduring films and television shows produced in the UK, from the original Star Wars and Indiana Jones trilogies to the The King’s Speech and Paddington Bear and from The Saint and The Avengers to Strictly Come Dancing and Big Brother. Elstree is also renowned for television drama productions such as Grantchester and Humans.

The book has an exclusive introduction written by director Tom Hooper and contributions from actors, directors and behind-the-scenes personnel, it traces the studios’ history starting in 1926, from humble beginnings, through the golden age of film, tough times and the threat of closure, to becoming London’s go-to film and television studio today.

“The fascinating history of the Elstree Studios is lavishly illustrated with over 250 photographs and film stills. This is a celebration of a world-class film and television site, and provides an intriguing insight into the past glories and hurdles we have faced as we now look forward to an exciting future.” – Elstree Studios

Written by Morris Bright and Paul Burton, a writer and film & television historian. Both have worked on projects relating to the history of Elstree Studios for twenty years. At one point the Borehamwood area which the Elstree Studios are based was packed with film production companies and studio facilities. Today only the Elstree Studios and the former Neptune Movie Centre survives. The later became a television-only facility in 1961 when it was re-vamped for videotape production by ATV, since 1983 it has been operated by the BBC. Only Elstree Studios continue to offer a home in the area to big budget international movies.

Pictured top Aimi Macdonald and the original The Saint car from the ITC/ATV for ITV series. Pictured Middle: Star Wars characters at the studios.

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