We're   always   on   the   lookout   for   more   backstage   stories   and   memories   from   the   making   of   Crossroads.   If   you   were   part   of   the   studios   and   have   a story feel free to contact us . Below   some   tales   from   the   production   of   the   show,   but   we   start   with   a   review   from   Fred   Norris   who   sat   in   on   a   production   of   the   show   in   1974.   He tells us what its like to be at the making of a Crossroads episode.
Behind the Scenes
A   selection   of   backstage   photographs   taken   in 1973 in the Crossroads Studio. The    first    image    is    the    Kings    Oak    Café    set followed by the Crossroads Motel reception. We   have   two   photographs   showing   the   motel sitting room. A   shot   of   the   green   room   where   the   cast   wait to   perform   and   finally   a   snap   of   Noele   Gordon in    her    dressing    room    at    ATV    Centre    in Birmingham.
Birmingham Mail Backstage Special " One   moment,   a   bubbling   babble   of   friendly   voices,   punctuated   by   a   voice-clearing   cough.   The   next,   silence.   A   strange   sort   of   silence   that descends and stuns the cavernous Studio One in Birmingham's ATV Centre. It   is   the   kind   of   place   where   you   get   the   feeling   they   could   not   only   build   Concorde   but   fly   it,   too.   In   fact,   it's   a   world   apart.   The   whole   of Crossroads. A   quiet,   unruffled   voice   says:   "Quiet   please."   Eyes   are   on   the   VT   Clock,   screened   on   a   monitor.   "Twenty   seconds   to   go,"   says   floor   manager David Fletcher. One   senses   a   slight   steeling   of   muscles,   a   sudden   awareness   that   a   threshold   is   about   to   be   crossed   -   from   the   sweat   and   anxiety   of   rehearsals to   the   camera   rolling   actuality   of   performance.   And   suddenly   Noele   Gordon   is   speaking.   A   team   has   gone   into   action.   From   the   cameramen, floor managers, and sitting aloft in the production gallery, Michael Hart, Director is seeing everything. Yards   of   cable   snake   across   the   floor.   Scenes   switch   so   facilely   you   virtually   have   no   idea   that   the   action   has   changed   from   Meg   Richardson's sitting   room   to   a   chalet   in   what   must   be   the   most   famous   motel   in   England.   Then   we   are   back   in   reception   -   and   the   bar   where,   if   you   are adventurous enough, you will find that the beer pumps really work and they provide good beer! Suddenly,   people   start   to   talk   freely   again.   There   is   that   bubble   of   talk.   Actors   stretch   their   legs.   One   actress   rushes   off   and   returns   with   a paper tissue. She says she has a cold. To see her, you wouldn't believe it. But   the   first   part   has   been   recorded.   And   then   the   announcement   comes   through   that   the   recording   is   clean.   [They   don't   have   to   do   it   all again]   There   are   a   few   minutes   before   the   action   starts   again.   Floor   Manager   David   Fletcher   walks   across   to   Noele   Gordon.   She   says:   "Speak up, I can't hear you." Maybe it is the tension of the moment but David sits down, a little flustered. Noele   laughs.   "I'm   rehearsing."   There   is   laughter   all   round.   This   perhaps   is   the   greatest   revelation   about   sitting   in   on   a   recording   of Crossroads. There   is   tremendous   pressure   on.   There   is   a   fantastic   turn-out   of   material.   Four   entire   episodes   are   recorded   in   two   days   a   week.   Yet   there   is no temperament. Just friendliness, understanding, an infectious team spirit." - Fred Norris, Birmingham Evening Mail, June 1974
Studio One, ATV Centre, 1974. A   scene   is   recorded   in   the   Crossroads   Motel foyer set. To   the   right   of   the   motel   set   is   the   longboat studio   scenery,   home   to   the   character   of   Vera Downend (Zeph Gladstone.) Did you spot? If    you    look    closely    you    can    just    make    out some lettering on the studio wall…. It’s   the   illuminated   sign   for   ATV   game   show The   Golden   Shot   which   shared   studio   space with Crossroads.
Motel Madness Would Meg approve of people playing practical jokes in the motel? Well Noele Gordon certainly didn't mind a bit of a laugh on the set of the soap… Larry   Grayson   was   a   well-known   entertainer   and   comedian,   who   occasionally   popped   into   the   motel.   He   recalled   how   he   was   behind   the   only   prank   that left   Noele   speechless.   "You   see,   we   were   coming   to   the   end   of   the   episode,   which   was   basically   me   checking   out   of   the   motel. Anyway,   totally   off   script   I started   to   make   a   list   of   complaints   you   see.   Dear   Nolly,   she   didn't   know   where   to   put   her   face."   The   list   Larry   created   included   ferrets   in   the   chalet.   He added   this   because   Noele   had   been   receiving   letters   from   a   fan   asking   her   to   go   and   visit   his   ferrets.   She   didn't   like   the   animal   and   didn't   have   the   heart to tell the fan, so Larry decided to make it clear in the programme that Meg didn't like ferrets. Larry   also   said   in   his   un-scripted   outburst,   to   Meg   at   the   reception   desk,   of   their   being   fish   in   the   bath   and   how   he'd   nearly   broken   his   leg   falling   over   a bucket   and   mop   left   outside   the   chalet   door.   During   all   this   Noele   as   Meg   just   stood   dumbfound   at   the   desk,   until   the   closing   music   started   to   fade   up   and she put her head face down into the check-in book, where she uncontrollably laughed. Larry   comments   "When   the   recording   was   over   she   turned   to   me   and   said,   'I'll   get   you   back',   in   fun   of   course,   she   was   lovely   and   she   never   heard   from   the man with ferrets again." Speaking   of   people   who   don't   mind   a   laugh,   it   seems   back   in   the   1960s   even   Lew   Grade   and   the ATV   board   members   were   happy   to   have   a   bit   of   a   giggle on the studio floor. One   recording   of   Crossroads   was   taking   place   at   the   same   time   the   board   of   ATV   were   holding   their   monthly   meeting   at   Birmingham.   A   scene   involving Brian   and   Janice   Jarvis   arriving   at   their   new   flat   was   in   the   progress   of   being   recorded   when   Lew   Grade   and   the   other   board   members   walked   into   the scene   and   into   the   flat   -   to   the   surprise   of   everyone.   "We   had   no   idea   they   were   there,   they   had   crept   into   the   studio   as   a   joke   to   surprise   us   all."   Noele Gordon commented. Ronald Allen   recalls   how   Tony Adams   was   a   bit   of   a   joker:   "He   was   wearing   a   dressing-gown.   While   the   cameras   were   rolling   he   let   it   fall   open   -   and   there he was in suspender belt, frilly panties and black stockings! Everyone broke up. Tony is the resident practical joker - he'll do anything for a laugh."
Noele   Gordon   takes   an   urgent   internal   call   at her bureau in the sitting room.
Animal Magic Animals   also   caused   the   crew   to   have   to   some   problems   at   times.   The   show   once   had   a   scene   involving   pigeons,   the   directions   of   the   plot   dictated   that Wilf   Harvey   was   to   take   out   just   one   bird   from   the   pigeon   loft   and   then   remove   a   message   which   was   tied   to   its   leg.   During   the   dress   rehearsal   instead   of just   one   bird   being   taken   from   the   loft   all   of   the   pigeons   broke   free. The   rest   of   the   rehearsal   time   was   spent   rounding   up   all   30   escaped   birds.   Well   apart from one who stayed up in the studio roof while the episode was recorded - thankfully it didn't cause any need for Amy to fetch her mop. Jane   Rossington   recalled   an   early   scene   with   Brian   Javis'   dog   Petra,   the   great   dane.   She   had   a   scene   arriving   at   the   motel   with   the   dog   which   involved   the basic   and   seemingly   easy   task   of   walking   Petra   into   the   reception   area   where   Jane   would   do   a   scene   as   Jill.   Upon   recording   just   as   Jill   and   Petra   arrived at   the   motel   the   dog   went   running   off   -   through   the   motel   reception's   glass   doors   (they   had   no   glass   in   them)   and   took   Rossington   through   the   supposed windows too! A   duck   caused   a   re-take   in   1981   when   it   quacked   throughout   a   scene   with   Tony   Adams   and   Kate   Robbins   on   his   posh   boat.   Tony   remarked   that   someone should shoot the ****ing duck. The clip ended up on Alright On The Night. Double Take Geoff   and   June   Farnall   were   supporting   artists   on   the   soap-opera   for   the   entire   run   of   the   series.   Although   they   never   had   a   major   speaking   role   -   they would often be seen in the background of motel scenes. They   played   'Kings   Oak   villagers'   who   would   pop   to   the   motel   for   a   coffee   in   the   bar   or   a   meal   in   the   restaurant   and   so   forth.   Geoff   and   June   had   many memories of their time on Crossroads, and they spoke to the Crossroads Appreciation Society about some of them in 1990: "We   remember   very   well   the   first   producer   Reg   Watson,   who   of   course   went   on   to   produce   for   Grundy,   and   his   name   appears   on   the   credits   of "Neighbours",   "The   Young   Doctors"   and   "Sons   And   Daughters"   And   also   Alan   Coleman,   who   used   to   direct   us   in   the   old   days.   Most   of   our   time though was spent with Jack Barton, producer, who was like a 'Great Uncle' to everyone. He was a lovely man and very professional in his work. Weddings   were   always   a   great   occasion   on   the   Crossroads   set   -   and   we   were   guests   at   all   of   them! And   there   were   quite   a   few   over   the   years. It   was   lovely   for   us   when   Tony   Adams   came   into   the   series   as   the   character   of   Adam,   because   we   had   worked   with   him   on   General   Hospital which was made at ATV Elstree, and we became friends. Also   we   have   very   fond   memories   of   times   with   Sue   Nicholls,   who   also   became   a   friend.   But,   having   singled   out   two   people,   may   I   say   that everyone   who   came   along   to   Crossroads   as   a   character   were   lovely   people.   Very   easy   to   work   with,   and   fun   to   be   with   when   we   had   finished the   days   shooting.   Also   they   were   all   always   ready   to   help   with   charity   work   and   give   their   time   and   services   freely   to   help   those   folk   less fortunate. These are the things that stand out about our time on Crossroads. We were very flattered to be invited to be in the on the last occasion and to share in the champagne toast at the end of the production."
Kings      Oak’s      longest      lasting      residents: supporting artists June and Geoff Farnall. The   two   became   so   well-known   as   ‘extras’   on the   programme   Victoria   Wood   replicated   this in    her    soap    opera    spoof    ‘Acorn    Antiques’ where    the    same    two    supporting    characters would   be   looking   around   the   antique   shop   in each edition.
Mistaken for Real While   out   and   about   in   Birmingham   City   Centre   actors   Anthony   Morton   (Carlos)   and   David   Fennell   (Brian)   were   greeted   by   an   avid   Crossroads   fan. Unfortunately   in   the   throws   of   his   excitement   of   meeting   two   of   the   cast,   his   false   teeth   flew   out   of   his   mouth   and   onto   the   pavement. Anthony   adds   "It was   one   of   those   occasions   where   I   didn't   shake   the   fans   hand,   we   left   rather   quickly." Another   story   involving Anthony,   he   was   never   told   that   Carlos   was being   killed   off   from   the   show,   he   only   found   out   when   he   watched   the   episode   in   which   his   screen   wife   was   told   of   his   death. Anthony   was   so   upset   that   Carlos   had   been   killed   he   sent   the   producer   a   condolence   card,   with   "Wish   you   were   here,   Carlos" written on it. Two   babies   were   used   as   Diane   Lawton's   baby   boy.   One   was   as   the   script   said   -   a   boy.   The   other   was   a   girl   -   who   either   didn't   like being   dressed   as   a   boy   or   didn't   like   Susan   Hanson   -   as   every   time   Susan   picked   the   baby   girl   up   she   started   to   cry! Another   baby, Karen   Furze,   became   the   star   of   episode   2000.   The   entire   Harvey   front   room   set   was   taken   to   the   Queen   Elizabeth   Hospital   in Birmingham in order to record a scene where Sheila Harvey (Sonia Fox) gave birth to her daughter Susan. The   episode   was   a   two-hander,   one   of   the   earliest   in   soap,   between   Sheila   and   Meg.   The   entire   episode   took   place   in   the   Harvey sitting   room,   with   Sheila   going   into   labour   towards   the   end.   Karen,   just   a   day-and-a-half   old   at   the   time,   was   seen   in   Meg's   arms as   the   episode   closed.   Karen   made   a   couple   of   further   appearances   in   Crossroads   when   Stan   and   Jill   Harvey,   Stan   being   Sheila's brother, attempted to adopt Susan. In   the   end   Sheila   left   Kings   Oak   and   took   Susan   with   her.   Karen's   role   made   the   local   papers   and   the   Birmingham   Mail   reported how her parents Margaret and Graham had a little unexpected overnight star. Mind Your Language Deke Arlon   was   auditioning   as   an   Italian   salesman,   and   Reg   Watson   became   rather   baffled   to   why   he   kept   on   sighing   instead   of   speaking.   It   turned   out   that Deke   was   deeply   sighing   because   he   thought   'Si'   was   a   direction   to   do   so,   when   in   actual   fact   it's   Italian   for   'Yes.'   He   was   turned   down   for   this   role,   but later returned as Benny Wilmot, café manager and pop singer. Earlier   Gill Arlon,   who   married   Deke   after   meeting   him   on   the   soap,   and   her   on-screen   husband Anthony   Morton,   learned   to   speak   Italian   with   real   Italian hotel   staff   who   were   working   in   Birmingham.   Prior   to   the   show   launching   the   pair   spent   weeks   sitting   in   the   hotel's   restaurant   picking   up   the   lingo   for their new roles. Gill and Anthony of course played Josephina and Carlos the firery kitchen staff at the motel.
Sheila   and   Wilf   Harvey   (Sonia   Fox   and   Morris Parsons) in the Harvey canal side house set.
The First Noele Noele   Gordon   had   a   few   tales   to   tell   also,   the   first   from   1972   plots   where   Sandy   was   in   hospital:   "When   Roger   as   Sandy   was   first   injured   he   had   to   lie   in   a hospital   bed,   bandaged   from   head   to   foot. The   make-up   people   used   to   sprinkle   glycerine   on   his   face   to   make   it   appear   as   if   he   was   covered   in   sweat.   It used   to   get   up   his   nose   and   irritate   it,   but   he   was   unable   to   scratch   himself.   Whenever   I   passed   the   foot   of   his   bed   it   became   a   ritual   during   rehearsals   to tickle   his   feet,   and   everyone   else   did   the   same."     After   the   car   crash   scenes   many   get   well   cards   and   such   were   sent   to ATV   for   Sandy.   One   such   item   was a   record   voucher,   which   Sandy's   alter-ego   Roger Tonge   decided   to   use.   He   visited   the   local   department   store   in   the   city   -   Rackhams   -   where   he   picked   the song   of   his   choice   and   took   it   to   the   counter. The   checkout   girl   with   a   rather   shocked   look   on   her   face   commented   "I   thought   you   were   paralysed"   before she fainted! We'll have more tales from Nolly later.. Speaking of Noele, Greg Taylor posted some stills from the ATV staff's Christmas party from 1981 on our Fan Club forum and the following story: " In   1998   I   was   given   the   chance   to   accompany   a   Hospital   Radio   group   to   the   former   ATV   Centre   to   remove   items   of   use   to   the   said   group. Carlton   Central,   who   had   moved   into   and   indeed   still   operate   from   smaller   premises   nearby   -   Central   Court,   had   recently   vacated   ATV Centre. Items   removed   included   library   music   discs   and   a   number   of   1/4"   audio   reels   (for   re-recording)..   Some   of   the   audio   reels   were   later   found   to contain   recordings   of   significance   and   these   have   been   kept   -   for   example   the   full   suite   of   Tony   Hatch's   Crossroads   theme   including   all   the mood themes, end of parts and so on and the master copy of the 1982 'Central Television' opening theme and shorter cuts. I   also   took   a   couple   of   2"   quadruplex   videotapes,   which   purported   to   contain   clips   kept   by   VTR   Engineers   for   various   purposes.   These   have recently been dubbed onto DigiBeta and contain.. some out-takes and non-broadcast clips which are of significance. They   include   out-takes   from   the   outside   broadcast   undertaken   at   the   time   of   the   motel   fire   in   November   1981,   featuring   Susan   Hanson   and Paul Henry turning to camera to register the blazing motel, only to corpse hilariously. There's   also   non-broadcast   footage   -   yet   broadcast   quality   -   of   an   ATV   staff   cabaret   compared   by   Jim   Bowen.   Various   Crossroads   stars perform   turns   but   surely   the   best   performance   is   from   the   recently-axed   Queen   of   Crossroads,   Noele   Gordon,   who   in   funeral   blacks   sings   a humorous   song   about   her   sacking.   She   even   shows   a   framed   photograph   of   the   man   who   sacked   her   -   Charles   Denton   -   (to   rapturous   applause) before   concluding   heartily   with   the   final   lines   of   her   performance,   which   show   more   than   anything   how   upset   she   was   by   the   way   ATV   had treated her." The lyrics in full: "I   never   knew   that   our   romance   had   ended,   until   you   poisoned   my   food.   And   I   thought   it   was   a   lark,   when   you   kicked   me   in   the   park   -   but now I think it was rude. I   never   knew   that   you   and   I   were   finished,   until   that   bottle   hit   my   head.   Though   I   tried   to   be   aloof,   when   you   pushed   me   off   the   roof   -   I   feel our romance is dead. It   wouldn't   have   been   so   bad,   if   you'd   told   me   that   someone   had   taken   my   place.   But   no,   you   didn't   even   scold   me,   you   just   tried   to   disfigure my face. You'll   never   know   how   this   heart   of   mine   is   breaking,   it   looks   so   hopeless   -   but   then   -   life   used   to   be   so   placid,   won't   you   please   put   down that acid and say that we're sweethearts again." Spoken:   "I'll   never   forget   that   night   at   Crossroads,   that   was   the   night   you   said   'All   good   things   come   to   an   end.'   I   thought   you   had   a   strange sort   of   look   in   your   eye,   but   suddenly   you   smiled   -   and   I   knew   you   meant   it.   I've   only   met   this   person   once,   who   sacked   me   (holds   up   a   photo of Charles Denton) but I just want him to know, if there is anything I can do, anything at all - he can contact me via the News Of The World!" "You'll   never   know   how   this   heart   of   mine   is   breaking,   it   looks   so   hopeless,   but   then   -      If   you   think   you   have   scotched   me   (looks   affectionately at photograph) Well my dear, just watch me, you'll soon wish we were sweethearts agaaaaaaaaaaain!" Greg sums up the clip with, "The room then erupts into more thunderous applause."
Charles    Stapley    and    Joy   Andrews    record    a dramatic   scene   in   the   Kings   Oak Antique   Shop as Tish and Ted Hope.
Faking Documentaries Greg   and   Rob   also   told   us   how   the   making   of   "Crossroads   -   30   Years   On"   proved   more   difficult   than   expected.   Due   to   problems   going   back   to   before   1981, the   archive   of   Crossroads   episodes   had   been   somewhat   messed   up;   so   when   this   anniversary   programme   came   to   be   produced   -   the   researchers   found   it impossible to locate any actual reels of Crossroads tapes. In   order   to   make   the   scene   in   the   vaults   of ATV   Centre   look   good,   the   labels   as   seen   on   the   'quads'   (the   professional   videotape   of   the   time)   were   actually fake,   the   tapes   shown   were   not   really   Crossroads   at   all,   they   just   had   new   labels   stuck   on   them   to   make   them   look   like   they   were   from   the   soap-opera. Although the tapes may have been mock-ups the Co-presenter of the show,Peter Kingsman, of the Crossroads Appreciation Society, is very real. Extra Staff Keith   Jemison-Mills   told   us   how   he   was   an   extra   on   Crossroads   in   the   1966-1967   period   of   production   when   the   programme   was   still   based   on   the   outskirts of Birmingham at the Aston Cross Studios. He told us a few interesting things about those early Crossroads years. "I   always   found   Noele   Gordon   warm   and   friendly   to   me,   and   she   took   an   interest   in   how   my   career   was   going   (or   not).   She   was   coming   down the   stairs   opposite   the   green   room   one   afternoon,   with   armfuls   of   `tinger   and   tucker'   puppets   heading   off   to   wardrobe,   and   we   had   a   pleasant few minutes talking about acting. Roger   Tonge   always   seemed   like   a   good   guy   too,   showing   me   his   scars   after   he   went   through   the   windscreen   of   his   mini   cooper   on   the   Aston Road   one   day   as   he'd   pulled   out.   That   was   why   I   was   in   an   episode   as   a   policeman   at   the   scene   of   a   coach   accident.   He'd   been   written   out   for   a few weeks till he was OK again. That was why he grew his hair long after that." He   also   told   us   that   his   brother   had   taken   some   photographs   of   scenes   with   Keith   in   Crossroads   -   these   seemingly   now   the   only   source   of   his time   in   the   soap   as   the   actual   episodes   have   been   wiped.   "I   suppose   video   tape   was   expensive   then   and   being   owned   by   Lew   Grade   meant   they had   to   keep   costs   down.   Thinking   about   it   now,   the   studio   at   the   back   of   the   building   was   so   small,   it   was   a   wonder   we   got   all   the   sets   in.   Five or six usually." Setting the Scene Jane Rossington recalls how the set mis-behaved. "The   early   programmes   were   recorded   as   live   onto   telecine,   and   it   didn't   edit   very   easily,   so   if   you   made   a   terrible   mistake   in   the   first   few minutes   you   could   rewind   back   and   start   again,   however   if   we   were   towards   the   end   of   the   episode   there   simply   wouldn't   be   enough   recording time to redo it all, so we had to carry on regardless. The   one   scene   that   sticks   out   in   my   mind   is   with   Noele   Gordon   in   the   sitting   room.   She   had   a   simple   enough   task   of   putting   some   papers   in   the motel   safe,   then   come   back   to   the   sofa,   sit   down   and   pour   some   tea. All   went   super   during   the   rehearsals,   but   when   it   came   to   the   final   take as   soon   as   she   closed   the   safe   door,   it   swung   wide   open   again.   Noele   continued   with   the   script   as   if   nothing   was   wrong,   propping   back   the   door herself. In the end I realised what was wrong and poured the tea myself." John   Bentley   was   Hugh   Mortimer,   the   smooth   and   sophisticated   second   husband   to   Meg.   However,   on   occasion   when   the   role   demanded   it,   he   could   be quite   angry   and   demanding.   During   one   such   scene   Hugh   was   getting   all   hot   under   the   collar   with   a   local   newspaper   reporter   (played   by Tony   Howard)   and ordered   the   reporter   out   of   the   motel   office.   Unfortunately,   the   door   had   become   jammed   shut   and   there   was   no   other   way   out.   Hugh   kept   on   demanding the   reporter   to   leave   -   several   more   times   no   less   -   until   finally   John   decided   to   act   on   impulse   and   made   Hugh   totally   loose   his   cool   and   jumped   up   to open   the   door   himself.   At   this   point   John   managed   to   open   the   door,   however   with   an   extremely   loud   thud   and   most   of   the   set   wobbling   like   a   strong earthquake   had   hit   -   This   was   one   time   when   the   show   was   stopped   and   the   scene   had   to   be   re-recorded   -   on   the   second   take   they   left   the   door   open   for the whole scene!
David   Lawton   as   chef   Bernard   Booth   oversees the kitchen in this 1971 scene. Despite   rumours   David   had   died   in   the   late 1970s     he     celebrated     his     50th     wedding anniversary in 2017 to Rebecca. David will turn 95 in 2018.
Soap Survivor Noele   Gordon   recalls   how   her   good   friend   Jean   Bayless   was   invited   to   work   on   Crossroads.   Jean   and   Nolly   had   worked   together   in   1955   at   the   London Palladium   in   the   pantomime,   Humpty   Dumpty   alongside   Terry   Thomas.   "We   used   to   sing   each   other   love   songs   for   Jean   was   principal   girl   and   I   was principal   boy,   so   we   both   had   something   of   a   giggle   when   she   turned   up   at   the   Crossroads   Motel   -   in   overalls   -   to   work   as   Meg   Richardson's   cook."   Nolly explained.   "What   a   comedown!"   Noele   said   to   Jean,   who   got   the   role   on   Crossroads   via   Janet   Hargreaves   (Rosemary   Hunter)   who   introduced   her   to   then producer Reg Watson. Jean   was   the   wife   of   a   Midlands   garage   owner,   and   had   found   herself   sitting   around   doing   nothing   for   some   years.   Janet   one   day   said   to   her,   "It's   silly   for you   to   be   sitting   around   all   day   with   nothing   to   do   -   why   not   try   for   a   job   on   Crossroads?"   Over   a   lunch   meeting   at   ATV   Centre's   canteen,   Reg   and   Jean discussed   what   kind   of   role   would   suit   her,   she   informed   him   she   loved   cooking   -   and   so   Reg   decided   to   put   her   in   the   motel   kitchen.   Noele   continues   the story:   "So   red-haired   Jean   became   TV's   Cynthia   Cunningham.   We   have   many   laughs   together..   ..There   was   one   moment   when,   during   recording,   she   was supposed   to   say   'I   must   act   my   age.'      This   was   her   cue   to   me   and   the   line   I   was   waiting   to   hear.   A   blank   look   took   her   face,   nothing   came,   no   words.. nothing. Then   just   when   I   was   about   to   cover   up   for   her,   Jean   smiled   sweetly   and   said   'Meg,   its   all   the   rage.'   I   can't   recall   what   I   said   as   a   reply,   but   it   must   have worked fine as we carried on regardless." Jean   Bayless   actually   may   have   been   one   of   Crossroads   true   soap   survivors   -   not   for   any   on-screen   disasters   that   were   scripted   -   but   for   actual   accidents she   encountered   on   set.   She   badly   burned   her   hands   when   she   removed   some   plates   from   the   stove   -   which   was   just   supposed   to   be   warm,   unfortunately someone   had   left   the   hot   plate   on   full   heat,   and   the   plates   were   scalding   hot.   Jean   showed   no   sign   of   pain   when   she   picked   them   up   and   placed   them   on   a tray. A   worse   accident   was   when   she   sliced   off   part   of   her   thumb   (about   a   quarter   of   an   inch)   while   chopping   vegetables.   She   carried   on   as   if   nothing   had happened   until   the   scene   ended.   It   is   reported   that   Reg   Watson   was   actually   disappointed   Jean   managed   to   cover   up   the   accident   so   well,   he   went   as   far as   to   say   to   some   other   actors   that   it   would   have   been   good   to   have   used   the   incident   in   the   show;   "We   might   even   have   left   them   wondering   if   she'd   lose her thumb, or not." Reg commented. Lights, Camera… distraction In   the   1960s   other   incidents   of   near   misses   have   also   being   noted,   one   involving   Carolyn   Lyster   who   was   nearly   killed   when   a   studio   light   came   crashing down   only   inches   from   her.   In   the   show   she   had   moments   before   hand   been   seen   leaving   reception   with   tray   of   crockery,   the   sound   of   the   light   crashing actually aired - the producers thought the viewers would just think Carolyn had dropped the tray. Who   could   forget   the   infamous   motel   fire   from   1981?   Well   two   people   remember   it   very   well   who   contacted   us   to   share   their   involvement   in   the   story. Kevin Clark first: "Hello   -   I   really   like   your   website   -   very   informative!   I   was   the   punk   rocker   who   apparently   burned   down   the   motel   back   in   1981   and   when   the episode   was   filmed   they   over-ran   so   the   director   sent   everyone   home   to   come   back   the   next   day.   The   trouble   was   they'd   died   my   hair   3   colours (punk rocker!) and I had to go home on the train. Sensing my dilemma they loaned me Benny's hat to wear on the train home!" One   of   the   technical   crew   from   that   time   also   added   to   this,   with   the   fact   there   were   scenes   recorded   in   which   we   were   to   see   the   'thugs'   set   fire   to   the motel,   however   in   the   final   timing   it   seems   they   simply   didn't   have   time   to   include   this   -   so   the   thugs   burning   the   motel   down   was   never   seen.   In   the   end ATV themselves couldn't think of an excuse. A stray firework seems to be what the producers finally opted for. As   well   as   his   role   in   the   motel   blaze,   Kevin   Clark,   also   shared   a   few   of   his   other   memories   of   his   time   at   Crossroads:   "I   had   a   speaking   part   too   -   while disapproving   of   the   taped   "muzak"   in   the   Crossroads   lobby   I   said   to   David   Hunter   "Haven't   you   any   better   music   than   THIS?!!".   I   was   also   a   walk-on   when Benny was hospitalised, and then I'd died my hair so blonde that it all looked bleached out under the lights when shown on TV. Happy times."
The   Crossroads   Motel   Foyer   is   burned   down   in an open field in September 1981.
Strange but True More   from   Noele   Gordon..   "There   is   one   strange,   off-screen   story   about   Crossroads   which   involves   my   former   home   at   Weir   End,   Ross-on-Wye.   This   was   a beautiful   Georgian   manor   house   standing   in   its   own   grounds..   ..At   this   time,   Mother   was   living   at   Weir   End   during   the   week,   and   I   would   join   her   at weekends. In   one   of   our   Crossroads   episodes   we   had   just   started   a   situation   where   two   tramps   were   planning   to   rob   the   motel   for   no   better   reason   than   that   one   of them   wanted   to   spend   the   winter   in   jail.   We   were   all   working   away   in   the   studio   as   usual   one   Thursday   morning   when   Joy   Andrews   was   called   to   the telephone.   The   caller   said   'Joy   Andrews?   ..You   don't   know   me   but   you   must   tell   someone.   They're   going   to   rob   Meg   tomorrow.   Please   Mrs   Hope,   do something to stop them.' It   was   a   woman's   voice   and   she   spoke   with   a   strong   Scottish   accent.   Joy   was   obviously   puzzled,   especially   as   the   woman   first   used   her   real   name   and   then used   her   character   name   of Tish   Hope.   Joy   discussed   the   call   with   both   myself   and   producer   Reg   Watson.   We   all   decided   the   call   must   have   been   a   viewer who had seen the earlier episode with the motel robbery being discussed - and had taken it for real life. The   strange   sequel   to   this   is   that,   the   following   day,   burglars   broke   into   Weir   End..   ..A   number   of   articles   were   stolen.   The   CID   questioned   Joy   Andrews about   the   phone   call   and   they   even   appealed   over   Scottish   Television,   to   whoever   had   phoned ATV   to   come   forward..   ..but   nothing   more   was   heard   from the caller. It still remains one of Crossroads' real life mysteries." Food's off the Menu Another   recollection   from   Noele   involved   the   actor   Christopher   Douglas,   who   at   the   time   of   this   story   was   a   young   19-year-old   appearing   in   1974   episodes of Crossroads as the character of Martin Bell: “Christopher   had   a   scene   in   the   motel   kitchen   where   he   was   eating   some   old   sausage   he'd   taken   from   the   pantry.   He   didn't   bother   to   put   them in   his   mouth   during   rehearsals   -   but   on   the   recording   he   took   a   big   bite   at   one   of   the   sausages   and   was   nearly   sick.   However,   he   managed   to control   his   features,   pretend   all   was   well   and   that   he   was   enjoying   every   mouthful   -   and   continued   the   scene.   Then   when   the   camera   moved away from him he spat the whole lot out onto the studio floor. 'I just couldn't help myself' he said. 'These sausages are awful - they're rancid.' In   another   scene   he   was   mixing   shampoo   in   a   bucket   for   Vera's   Hair   Salon.   The   idea   was   that   the   shampoo   should   bubble   over.   At   rehearsals, the   shampoo   remained   as   flat   as   a   pancake.   'Don't   worry'   said   one   of   the   studio   staff.   'We're   putting   some   special   stuff   in   the   bucket   to   make sure it bubbles when it comes to the actual take.' And   that's   what   they   did,   I   never   did   discover   what   went   into   that   bucket,   but   when   it   came   to   transmission   and   Chris   was   mixing   the shampoo   -   the   whole   lot   exploded   -   the   studio   was   covered   with   foam   and   Chris   looked   like   a   fugitive   from   a   Mack   Sennett   custard-pie comedy. It all looked great on screen, so the director kept it in!"
Sue   Lloyd   and   Ronald   Allen   as   Barbara   and David   Hunter   are   joined   by   Sandor   Elles   as Paul   Ross   and   Jane   Rossington   as   Jill   Chance in   this   shot   from   a   technical   run-through   in October 1983.
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