The Elstree Project

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The Elstree Project is an oral history project which began in 2010. The project is conducted in partnership by the University of Hertfordshire and Elstree Screen Heritage.[1] The project is endorsed by the BECTU History Project[2][3] and Elstree Studios.[2]


The Elstree Project interviews cast and crew members who have worked at any of the six main studios in Elstree and Borehamwood: Elstree Studios (formerly ABPC, later EMI), BBC Elstree Centre (formerly ATV), MGM-British Studios, Danziger's New Elstree Studios, British and Dominion Studios and The Gate studios.

The project has interviewed crew members from various departments including continuity, sound, post-production, camera and lighting, props and scenery and construction. Writers, producers and directors have also been interviewed, including Jan Harlan, Sir Roger Moore,[4] Brian Blessed,[5] Kenneth Cope,[5] Walter Murch,[6] and Steven Spielberg.[6][7]


There is currently no method of public access to the complete archive of interviews. However, the project content has been gradually made available through excerpts and edited documentaries. Content is also accessible in the Elstree and Borehamwood museum.[8]

The project has hosted three seasons of screenings, showing either three films or two films and a double-bill of television episodes of productions made at the studios in Elstree and Borehamwood. These have included The Shining (1980),[9] The Prisoner (TV 1967-68),[10] Flash Gordon (1980)[5] and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (TV 1969-70).[5] Edited extracts from the interviews recorded have been made into documentaries which have been premiered before each screening.

The 17-minute-long documentary which preceded The Shining, entitled Staircases to Nowhere: Making Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining', gained attention from film blogs.[11][12][13] Originally containing interviews with five crew members from the film,[2] it was expanded to fifty-five minutes with additional interviews with four more crew members and with Kubrick's widow Christiane. Project content has been used by researchers and authors, such as Kiri Waldon's book British Film Studios,[14] as well as specially created for publication in published works such as the DVD release of Elstree Story.[15]

Notable interviewees

Sir Roger Moore being interviewed for The Elstree Project, September 2012

Interviewed for ‘The Elstree Project’:

Interviewed for ‘Kubrick Visions’:


  1. "Making movie history in Borehamwood and Elstree". Hertsmere. Hertsmere Borough Council. 10 July 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Sugrue, Kacie (29 May 2013). "Students join The Elstree Project to document The Shining". Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  3. "The Elstree Project goes live". BECTU. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Slater, Anna (22 February 2013). "Project captures local film history". Borehamwood Times (Print). 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Davies, Alan (22 November 2013). "Brian Blessed stars at Hatfield film screening". Welwyn Hatfield Times. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 "The Elstree Project interviews legendary filmmakers in America". University of Hertfordshire. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014. "multiple-Oscar winner Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, Return to Oz) were also interviewed for the Project." 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Davies, Alan (5 January 2014). "Steven Spielberg interviewed by The Elstree Project". Welwyn Hatfield Times. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  8. Halkon, Ruth (8 July 2013). "New Elstree and Borehamwood Museum in Shenley Road to celebrate cinema in 'glorious technicolour'". Borehamwood and Elstree Times. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  9. "Elstree film season coming to Hatfield arts venue". Welwyn Hatfield Times. September 5, 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  10. Moorhead, Rosy. "UHArts' new film and TV programme includes the Elstree Film Season, a celebration of Welwyn Studios films, and Barry Norman's Favourite Films". Watford Observer. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  11. "The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (As Told by Those Who Helped Him Make It)". Open Culture. 21 November 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  12. "Staircases to Nowhere: Making Stanley Kubrick’s "The Shining"". The Overlook Hotel. 28 October 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  13. "DAILY Kubrick @ LACMA". Fandor date=October 31, 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  14. Walden, Kiri (2013). "Elstree: A British Hollywood". British Film Studios. Shire Publications. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-74781-284-5. 
  15. "Elstree Story: The Background". Network. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  16. Rowney, Jo-Anne (July 2012). "The Elstree Project". futures. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 

External links

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