it or loathe it, the original
Crossroads will at least evoke some
sort of emotion in you and it carries
with it the nostalgia of the early soap
series where nothing appears to go
according to plan...
WITH THE RESPECTABLE NOEL GORDON at the helm, Crossroads was welcomed
as a way forward in television. But it became well-known more for its mobile
scenery, bobbing mikes, fluffing lines, suspect storylines and ham acting than
it did for its original idea.
Crossroads had a loyal following that couldn't wait for the next episode to
find out if Meg Richardson (Noel Gordon: Summer Royal, The Girl Most
Likely) could save the day or if her daughter Jill (Jane Rossington) would
find love with Adam Chance (Tony Adams: Hardly Working, Superfantagenio)
after her divorce from husband Stan (Edward Clayton). Jill later has an affair
and a son (Matthew) with her stepbrother Anthony Mortimer (Jeremy Sinden). Great
stuff for an early soap.
Set around a family-run motel on the outskirts of Birmingham, Crossroads
was prime-time viewing and it achieved cult status for over twenty-three years
between 1964 and 1987. More than 15 million viewers (including my grandmother!)
tuned in regularly for each daily instalment.
The show created famous and much-loved characters. Most popular was Meg, but
Jill and Adam were also favourites along with Benny Hawkins (Paul Henry: Bad
Girls, Romeo And Juliet), Marilyn Gates (Sue Nicholls: Coronation Street);
David Hunter (Ronald Allen) and Diane (Susan Hanson), whose love life was complicated
by her divorce from Vince Parker (Peter Brookes) and her marriage of convenience
to David's son Christopher (Stephen Hoy) and subsequent boyfriend PC Steve Cater
Adam was previously involved with Miranda (Claire Faulconbridge), whose father
J Henry Pollard (Michael Turner) had been going to finance Adam's ventures until
the wedding was called off when Miranda was caught out with Chris Hunter.
Dramatic storylines included Meg's feared death in a fire at Crossroads, Stan
kidnapping his daughter Sarah Jane (Sorrel Dunger), Meg's son Sandy (the late
Roger Tonge) tragically crippled following a car accident and Crossroads' own
JR-style shooting the increasingly unstable Rosemary Hunter (Janet Hargreaves)
shoots her former husband David the day he announces his engagement to Barbara
Brady (the magnificent Sue Lloyd).
The Crossroads series was originally created by Hazel Adair and Peter
Ling and was at first filmed in black and white before moving to colour. One
of the saddest storylines is that of the death of gypsy girl Maureen Flynn (Nell
Curran), whom Benny is about to marry. Comedy moments include an oddball called
Humphrey (David Trevena) who claims he's placed a bomb at the motel.
Other moments of drama that were particularly notable because they carried messages:
Rosemary agrees to see Dr Derek Maynard (Brian Hankins) about her cancer and
he tells her: "If more people could overcome their initial fear and see their
doctors we could do so much more." And when Glenda Brownlow (Lynette McMorrough)
foolishly hitch-hikes from London, where she has been living rough, to Birmingham,
she is picked up by a lorry driver who assaults her and leaves her unconscious
at the roadside.
Glenda later meets the good-looking Kevin Banks (talented and underused actor
David Moran), which is a rather nice storyline because of Kevin's understanding
after hearing about Glenda's ordeal. Sadly the Banks family along with
the Hunters were dropped from Crossroads on 14 January, 1985.
Meg married Hugh Mortimer (John Bentley) at Birmingham Register Office with
a blessing at Coventry Cathedral, but among her other love interests was Kevin
McArthur (Vincent Ball). At her wedding, Meg is driven in a white Rolls Royce
by Larry Grayson and at the reception a song is sung in her honour We'll
Find Our Day sung by Holly Brown (Stephanie de Sykes).
Some exceptional characters were Miss Tatham (Elisabeth Croft); Amy Turtle (Ann
George), Shughie McFee (Angus Lennie), Bernard Booth (David Lawton), Doris Luke
(Kathy Staff), Sharon Metcalfe (Carolyn Jones); Paul Ross (Sandor Elès) and
Vera Downend (Zeph Gladstone), who catches Meg's bouquet.
A number of star guests put in an appearance: Diane was once involved with motel
guest Clifford Leyton (Johnny Briggs: Coronation Street); Meg was the
subject of a controversial painting by artist Jimmy Gudgeon (Jimmy Hanley);
Bob Powell was played by Maurice Kaufmann); Miss Burney by Carmen Silvera; Wendy
Crisp (Yvette Dotrice); Mrs Crisp (Kay Dotrice) and Chester Harriott
the actor and pianist father of celebrity chef Ainsley appeared in one
episode. And one Christmas Noele Gordon sang, accompanied by Johnny Patrick.
Early Crossroads episodes featured: Spanish chef Carlos Rafael (Anthony
Morton) and his wife Josefina (Gillian Betts); Timothy Hunter (Derek Farr);
Tish Hope (Joy Andrews); Joe MacDonald (Carl Andrews); Lloyd Munro (Alan Gifford);
Mr Lovejoy (William Avenell); and the sinister Simone Clavel (Carolle Rousseau).
The striking music is by Tony Hatch but Paul McCartney and Wings produced a
special arrangement that was used in later episodes.
Some of the location shots were very good a number of episodes featured
the remains of Coventry Cathedral as well as the new Cathedral. Cleverly, while
Meg is trying to come to terms with her son's disability, she sees the word
'Forgive' etched into the wall.
Although early scripts were on the raw side, Crossroads developed and
scripts became tighter. It is fascinating to see how fashions were back then,
with kipper ties and bouffant hairstyles. Crossroads often ended on a
cliff-hanger and explored Meg's romances, Jill's traumas, divorces, suicide,
blackmail, death, jealousies, personality clashes, egos, betrayal and tragedies.
Always with a little comedy thrown in for good measure.
Network is releasing The Crossroads Collection
on 1 September (2008), following the success of these four series each originally
sold separately. This eight-disc set will be available at all good retailers
at a RRP of £39.99. Running Time: 1,020 minutes (approx) | Screen Ratio: 1.33:1.
The Crossroads Collection makes up a collection of four previous Crossroads
series with all 49 episodes compiled together for the first time along with
the special features.
Volume 1: Princess Alexandra opens ATV's Broad Street Studios and visits
the Crossroads set | Previously unseen 1978 Greek promotional trailer
| Episode 3,000 ATV Today cast interview | Wedding souvenir magazine
PDF | 1960s promotional trailers.
Volume 2: Why I loved Crossroads: In conversation with Sue Nicholls
| Crossroads Trailers | PDF Material | Crossroads: Thirty Years
On | Lunchbox.
Volume 3: Format V, Original 1960s promotional trailers (part mute) |
Viewpoint | Interview With Noele Gordon | Crossroads 3,000 | Noele Leaves Crossroads
| Dismissed From Crossroads | Meg Is Magic | Meg Mortimer's Last
Volume 4: News Archive.
"Love it or loathe it, the original Crossroads will at least evoke some
sort of emotion in you and it carries with it the nostalgia of the early soap
series where nothing appears to go according to plan" MotorBar