This week I am going to tell you how I got into this game of writing weekly columns for several newspapers. I started writing in the early 1970s with several magazine articles and at one time was the Editor of the RNLI staff magazine, which we called Self Writer.

I also wrote my first film book, which was about deceased movie stars, in about 1972. I wanted to get an old name to write the foreword so I spoke to Bruce Cabot, who was working on Diamonds Are Forever if memory recalls rightly. Bruce had starred in the original 1930s King Kong with Fay Wray. He offered to show it to his old pal John Wayne on his return to America, which sounded great. Sadly, Bruce was ill with cancer so I heard nothing further and he died shortly after that.

I then sent the manuscript to Dennis Price. He kindly read it but said he was no longer a name so felt I could do better. Eventually Peter Cushing stepped in and wrote a lovely foreword but ironically the book never got published. Since then I have enjoyed three books being published and have another on its way on the MGM Studios in Borehamwood.

In 1976 a newspaper editor approached me and said they were awash with advertising and could I write a weekly column about Elstree Studios past and present to pad out the editorial content? I had no journalistic training but let us face it writing is not rocket science. I was given a whole page and paid five pence for each printed word. It was illustrated and I had access to a staff photographer. One of my first articles was a two-page spread on a new film at Elstree called Star Wars. I was allowed on set and met George Lucas and members of the cast including Dave Prowse, who remains a friend today but sadly is not well. 20th Century Fox provided me with photographs. Another two-page spread came with Hanover Street, starring Harrison Ford. It is a pretty awful movie but I was allowed to take a photographer and we got some excellent shots of the wartime Blitz sequence on the backlot of the street set.

In 1977 the editor of the Borehamwood Times approached me to ask to write a smaller but similar weekly column. Now these were semi-rival papers so I adopted a false name of Paul Simon and obviously had to write two different columns. Eventually the first paper decided to drop my column but I have continued with the Times group ever since. I have no idea how many articles I have written since but I guess you can do the maths if you are bored. In theory it is 52 a year but you can deduct two weeks over Christmas when it is not needed and the six weeks in 2001 when I had my brain tumour operation.

Had I been wise I would have kept copies so I could be lazy and recycle every five years. The truth is, seeing your name in print wears off after a while. So you see I was given my own column on a plate, which is a dream for most young journalists. Just being in the right place at the right time. The film business has changed greatly over the decades and nearly everything is now a closed set and often publicity is unwelcome during production. I think I had the best of times. Writing is a lonely occupation, so bless you my readers for your feedback and apologies if I repeat anecdotes. I hope to continue as long as the papers want me, so until next time remember: nostalgia never dies.