BARBARA WINDSOR HELPS CELEBRATE THE SCREEN HERITAGE OF ELSTREE & BOREHAMWOOD

Eastenders star Barbara Windsor, Pink Panther actor Burt Kwouk and Star Wars characters help celebrate the screen heritage of Elstree & Borehamwood.

Eastenders legend Barbara Windsor was guest of honour at an event to celebrate the film and television heritage of Elstree & Borehamwood.

Hundreds of people gathered on Sunday, to watch The Carry On star unveil a plaque dedicated to her at the newly renovated station forecourt.

She said she had many happy memories of working in the area and was honoured and thrilled to be invited back.

Barbara said: “Elstree Studios is such a wonderful place, its responsible for some of the greatest films ever made and its home to some of our finest light entertainment on television.”

She joked: “The only thing that makes me a little sad with Elstree Studios is that in the George Lucas stage, they burnt down the Queen Vic set exactly one year ago.”

The famous EastEnders set was moved to the film studios for a dramatic storyline in which the Queen Vic was destroyed to pave the way for Peggy Mitchell, played by Barbara, to leave after 15 years on the show.

As she unveiled the plaque, 'Babs' teased: “A lot of the EastEnders producers and directors use this station, so I'm glad they'll see what they are missing.”

Celebrations for the initial phase of the First Impressions project also saw a star for comic legend Peter Sellers unveiled by his Pink Panther series co-actor Burt Kwuok, who played the long-suffering servant to Inspector Clouseau.

In true Kato style, Burt tried to karate chop two bricks that were holding down the veil across the star.

Asked to say a few words, the elderly actor said: “Kato never said very much, so neither will I. Thank you for inviting me here, God bless, have a lovely day.”

Festivities continued with television actor Philip Madoc and director John Hough posing for photographs against a new heritage board.

The day also included volunteers dressed as characters from the Star Wars movies, the original film having been made at Elstree Film Studios in 1977, who posed for pictures with guests and excited children.

In one surreal moment, Darth Vader escorted Barbara Windsor through an archway made of lightsabers and blasters on the Elstree & Borehamwood Station platform – much to the confused delight of train users.

Borehamwood Brass Band accompanied the day's activities and local bus company Sullivan Buses provided two Sixties routemasters to ferry guests to and from Elstree Film Studios.

It was also announced by Larry Heyman, of First Capital Connect, which has supported the project, that the rail company would name a train Elstree Studios at a ceremony later this year.

Borehamwood & Elstree Times columnist Paul Welsh, who was master of ceremonies, said the event went extremely well and the First Impressions team would now look to build on the success of the completion of the initial phase.

The First Impressions project has been developed by Hertsmere Borough Council, Elstree and Borehamwood Town Council, Hertfordshire County Council, First Capital Connect and local volunteer group Elstree Screen Heritage.

By Josh Darlington
www.borehamwoodtimes.co.uk