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  1. #1
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    the 'great' news that big brother is returning to elstree may not be hailed with much joy by us film fans but it does help provide bread and butter income.
    better news is that major productions such as 'sherlock holmes 2' , 'batman' and the new brad pitt film are utilising the studio and it will prob be the base for warner bros until leavesden reopens.
    new tenant companies are also moving on site and all this strengthens the reasons to start building more stages and production facilities.
    it is proving a good investment for hertsmere council, as owners, as the revenue from the studio into council coffers is the equiv of 16% of the rates, which otherwise would have to be levied on local ratepayers.
    i had the honour to chair the campaign to save elstree from 1988 to 1996 when the council bought it, under pressure from the campaign, for under �2 millon. of course we lost 12 acres to tesco and it is not the studio i grew up with having first visited in 1960. however it can still fly the flag as a modern, streamlined facility and is still here after 85 years which alas can't be said about lime grove, gainsborough, gate, danzigers, mgm, denham, merton park, welwyn, walton, etc, etc. i still get a kick out of walking around the studio, seeing it buzzing and thinking without the campaign it would now be housing and a retail park. when i invited prince charles to open the new stages in 1999 he said elstree was an iconic name the world over and a special place - here, here

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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    A bit difficult to revive Elstree if most of the studio space and back lot has been sold off to Tescos, I would think....


    Elstree calling...
    The King's Speech puts Elstree Studios back on the map for Hollywood moguls | Business | The Observer

    The King's Speech puts Elstree Studios back on the map for Hollywood moguls | Business | The Observer

  3. #3
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    i would prefer elstree to have been as i remembered it from 1960 but no good wishing for the past. 12 acres were sold to tesco but over 15 acres remain and of that about 4 acres is the mound and waste land at the back of the site. if for instance two new big stages were built then the total stage capacity would be greater than it was in elstree's heyday of the 30s, 40s and 50s.
    i don't think it is a case of 'reviving elstree' but creating a modern, streamline facility, well located and with a good client base of films, tv, band rehearsals, advert shoots, etc so it continues to make a profit. i hope all our studios survive and am saddened that bray is currently under threat of demolition. the sad fact is nostalgia and heritage count for nothing in the commercial world in which studios have to survive.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: UK flynn's Avatar
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    shame they dont do Tours of Elstree as i would love to have a nose round.same with Pinewood.

  5. #5
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    sadly it's the general policy of film studios not to allow visitors. this is mainly driven by the fact that tv and film companies renting the stages, etc do not want visitors and the studio management have to please their clients. plus i think visitors expectations would exceed the reality. we did have 3 or 4 open days at the bbc elstree centre in the 80s and early 90s but costs and health and safety killed that. pinewood had an open day in the 70s but it was chaos and never repeated. we have considered visitor attraction at elstree but it became clear that you either have an operating studio or an attraction but not both unless you have the space as with the plans at leavesden for the harry potter attraction or 600 acres as with universal in los angeles.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: UK flynn's Avatar
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    Thanks for explaining Paul.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by flynn View Post
    shame they dont do Tours of Elstree as i would love to have a nose round.same with Pinewood.
    yes it is a shame elstree dont do tours pinewood one did in 1977 and what weekend that was for me and my sister when we were kids

  8. #8
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    yep i also went to the pinewood open day and remember the 2 hr traffic jams, etc :) it was a bit like 'coals to newcastle' for me as i've grown up at film studios but it was an interesting experiment - the health and safety mob would go berserk today :)
    as mr caine would say not a lot of people know this but there was talk in 1970 when mgm closed their 115 acre studio in borehamood of turning that into an exhibition centre/visitors attraction - that site had the car parking, history, space, road and rail links, etc to have been a great success but alas it did not happen

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: England harryfielder's Avatar
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    Keep up the good work Paul,,

    Aitch,

  10. #10
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    Hi,
    Of course, Elstree and Borehamwood have two Elstree Studios. The one next to Tesco's, which is famous for films and some television, of which we have been talking about. But the other, is of course what was the ATV, and subsequent Central commercial television studios, which the BBC took over. Now famous for EastEnders. Yes. The real Walford! I am also, like some other film studios, interested in what is going to happen here. Both the BBC and the other studios, could be at a metaphoric crossroad with regard to their future.

    The fact that Tesco have built, if you pardon the expression, a super, supermarket fronted by a bus terminus etc, could hamper any plans to expand the studio into a larger complex. The BBC may move The London Borough of Walford up to Manchester and be a neighbour of Coronation Street. Either because digital television showing more detail of the buildings of Albert Square, thus making it look more like a television lot. Or because of the BBC move to Manchester. Or even both.

    I say with tongue in cheek, at least people at both studios can pop into Tesco's if they want something quick!

    On a serious note, combining what may happen to Pinewood and these two studios at Elstree, does make, at the moment, the situation in the British film and television industry very interesting. I hope nothing happens to spoil what can be a very good form of entertainment, which our present day society, immersed in gloom, needs. Not to mention that it brings employment to people. I hope it does not bring job losses.

    Alan French.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: UK flynn's Avatar
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    i have nothing against Tesco.infact im more than partial towards there strong Cider.

  12. #12
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    Hi Flynn,
    If you must know, I found that branch of Tesco's useful, as I quickly popped in it to answer a call from nature, before I caught a bus back to Hemel Hempstead.

    Alan French.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Country: UK flynn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan french View Post
    Hi Flynn,
    If you must know, I found that branch of Tesco's useful, as I quickly popped in it to answer a call from nature, before I caught a bus back to Hemel Hempstead.

    Alan French.
    Hi Alan. thats two things they are good for.

  14. #14
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    Hi,
    Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

    Alan French.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul welsh View Post
    i would prefer elstree to have been as i remembered it from 1960 but no good wishing for the past. 12 acres were sold to tesco but over 15 acres remain and of that about 4 acres is the mound and waste land at the back of the site. if for instance two new big stages were built then the total stage capacity would be greater than it was in elstree's heyday of the 30s, 40s and 50s.
    i don't think it is a case of 'reviving elstree' but creating a modern, streamline facility, well located and with a good client base of films, tv, band rehearsals, advert shoots, etc so it continues to make a profit. i hope all our studios survive and am saddened that bray is currently under threat of demolition. the sad fact is nostalgia and heritage count for nothing in the commercial world in which studios have to survive.
    Also to mention what a convienient location it is Paul, as we have seen in Anthony Mckay's 'Avengerland' there are stack upon stack of oddball properties and sites for location work within just a 30 mile radius.

  16. #16
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    i must admit i have a long term worry about the historic bbc elstree centre, which under different names has a history stretching back to 1914 meaning we will be celebrating it's centenary in 3 years time. that is the same time that the existing contract to make eastenders there expires. thereafter it is a worry as the bbc have previously spoken to the local council and investigated plans to sell off the site for housing. potentially it is very valuable for that purpose and i suspect the only thing that stopped the bbc making that decision a couple of years ago was the collapse in house prices/land values and their accountants not wanting to sell at the bottom of the market. 3 years time may be a different story so we need to keep a watch. it is unlikely the local council would have the power or desire to fight any closure

  17. #17
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    In the end though a studio can only survive by the talents of the people running it.Brays Studio was no good without Hammer.Nettlefold was no good without Hannah Weinstein. ATV Elstree was a flea pit until Douglas Fairbanks Jrn got hold of it and later ATV itself , Merton Park was no good without Jack Greenwood,and New Elstree was no good without the Danziger brothers.
    These people treated it as a business like anything else and not (as in the past odd 30 years) some aloof and arty farty hidden message service that is so up its own backside that any young person entering it, is expected to get on their knees and work for nothing in many cases in their first years.

  18. #18
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    the film business has changed greatly over the years i have known it - the end of the studio and contract systems, the old movie mogols passing, etc, etc - in a sense the fun went to be replaced by accountants and corporations

  19. #19
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    The mention of the old ATV studio had me digging through a pile of old DVDs and there, as expected, was a disc that an ex-ATV employee gave me some years ago but that I'd never got round to playing. Turns out it's a 90 minute compilation marking the sale of the studio to the BBC, voiced by Shaw Taylor and intended for internal use only, of clips going back to the start of ATV's tenure. They certainly made a lot of programmes I'd either never heard of or had forgotten. Some of the older stuff really creaks - both dramas and variety shows... so much for rose-tinted spectacles.
    The early variety shows often had no sets at all - just a cyc background lit by irregular splashes of light. Later on they'd scatter a few flats to break it up a bit or fly cutout images of things like guitars. That must had saved them a bit of dosh in the days before they got their hands on American co-production money.
    Last edited by alan gowdy; 15-05-11 at 10:16 AM.

  20. #20
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    that is always the trouble when looking back at tv from the 60s and 70s with present day eyes. i used to enjoy tv drama like dixon of dock green and no hiding place but watched some recently and they creaked and seemed very static. on the other hand i think other series like the saint, the avengers, gideons way, etc have stood up well.
    personally i enjoy black and white tv and films but i know people in their 20s who would refuse point blank to watch anything non colour as that's what they know. i don't like silent films but 90 years ago i would have loved them.

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