THE Ovaltine factory could be captured on celluloid if a former Kings Langley resident has his way.

Mr Paul Croston, of Goodwood Avenue, Watford, has spent five years penning a film script featuring the site in Station Road.

The 35-year-old, who teaches at Luton Sixth Form College, lived in the village for 28 years and attended Kings Langley School in Love Lane.

The script is based on the experiences of two teenage boys, Will and Charlie, growing up to a soundtrack of The Smiths in the mid-1980's.

It is called Lodestone a natural magnet symbolising the centering relationship of the 16-year-olds.

Mr Croston said: "The Smiths were hugely influential on men who weren't football hooligans.

"For anyone who was not particularly aggressive and not particularly macho, The Smiths became a group of people you were into."

The script centres around Muhammad Ali's visit to the factory, which Mr Croston has moved forward to 1985, about the time the boxer was suffering from the onset of Parkinson's Disease.

Mr Croston said: "He was probably the most significant person to visit what's probably a reasonably insignificant village on a national level.

"My two characters still think of him being this great, all-powerful boxer."

He hopes his script will prove that "good" and "gritty" dramas do not have to be set in the North.

Will, a white lad, and Charlie, an African boy, attend Kings Langley School, where much of the script is set.

Another village landmark making an appearance is the iron bridge on the canal in Water Lane, where the characters egg each other on to jump the locks.

The factory and Ali's visit feature at the end of the script.

Mr Croston said: "I'm trying to sell it as a visual concept. The thing about the Ovaltine factory is it is an absolutely glorious building, a symbol that nothing lasts forever."

Mr Croston is making his final amendments to the script before it is sent off, but he is realistic about the odds of it ever being made into a film.

June 21, 2002 14:30