Once again we have held onto the wreckage and made it through another week. I have done absolutely nothing but still time goes past so quickly. Shortly I am due to take a helicopter flight from Elstree Aerodrome. My last such flight was over Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon 20 years ago. I hate heights but have reached that stage of life when I feel what the hell. I also tend to speak the truth these days as being retired nobody can sack me and as a grave dodger what is there to lose?

For instance I think the kids in charge of the Academy Awards in Hollywood have lost the plot. I do not give a damn what dress some overpaid actress is wearing on the red carpet. I am disgusted that several years ago they dropped the lifetime achievement Oscars from the ceremony and relegated them to a private event. Thus we missed out on magic moments with the likes of Lauren Bacall and Angela Lansbury as they deemed their target audience of under-35s would not know who they are!

Whenever possible I have loved saluting stars of yesteryear at the various events I organised from 1984 until 2008, when I retired. The list is so long I don’t have the space to mention them all but it was a joy to meet the likes of Herbert Lom, Luise Rainer, John Mills, Richard Todd, Roger Moore, Olivia de Havilland, Honor Blackman, Trevor Howard, Christopher Lee and so many others no longer with us.

The last event I co-hosted coming out of retirement was about three years ago at Elstree Studios. I was able to meet Diana Rigg for the first time and old friends Peggy Cummins and Dave ‘Darth Vader’ Prowse, but sadly they have all now gone as well.

I have been so lucky and at the same regret I rarely was able to sit down with these stars and discuss their careers at length. Being a host often means you basically end up saying hello and goodbye to your guests. When I first started interviewing stars on film sets in the early 1970s I used to take along a cassette recorder as a memory aid. Somewhere in my loft the tapes decay but I recall they include interviews with Edward Woodward, Dinah Sheridan, Peter Cushing, Donald Pleasance, Sterling Hayden, Yootha Joyce and other half-forgotten names.

I have always dreamt of a film and television heritage centre in Borehamwood to celebrate our unique past. In reality it would cost a fortune to do properly so will never happen and my archive along with others will end up lost. Thus, as this column goes out into cyberspace, I put out this appeal to George Lucas. Like me, George, you are no longer young but unlike me you are a billionaire. I know I told you on the set of Star Wars at Elstree in 1976 the film would flop but what did I know? Please give me, say, £3 million and we can create a heritage centre and make a dream come true in what young Spielberg once called ‘Lucas land’. The force is with you, George, and it could be tax deductible! Plus you can’t take it with you.

If he replies I will let you know.

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