One   of   television's   first   big   "super   bitches"   of   the   1980s Valerie   was   getting   into   cat   fights   at   Crossroads   before Joan   Collins   as Alexis   Carrington   in   Dynasty   had   even   had   a chance    to    appear.    Heather    made    Valerie    the    women everyone loved to hate. Do   you   remember   when   you   first   came   into   Crossroads   as Valerie? Well   I   can't   remember   the   year   dear,   but   I   remember   the   first   thing   I   did   in   Crossroads   was   they   asked   me   to   play   a   journalist,   so   I   did   an   episode   where   I played   this   journalist   which   they   must   have   quite   liked   because   they   got   back   to   me   about   a   month   later   "Would   you   come   back   and      join   the   cast   and change the colour of your hair?" Well,   I   said   okay   and   so   I   changed   my   colour   from   red   to   blonde   and   I   looked   exactly   the   same!   I   didn't   look   any   different   at   all. And   so   then   I   came   back as this naughty lady, Valerie Pollard. What was your relationship like with your screen husband,  Michael Turner? Oh he was pure gold! He was a very, very nice man and a very good actor, very nice to work with. He was a first class actor, Michael. And what about Claire Faulconbridge who played your screen daughter Miranda? Well   that   happened   much   later   on   when   they   brought   her   back   in   and   I   must   say   it   was   a   lot   more   fun   before   they   brought   her   back,   because   before   I   was the   naughty   lady   who   got   into   all   sorts   of   things   (mostly   involving   gentlemen!)   and   when   Claire   came   back   I   became      a   rather   boring   wife   and   mother.     And it wasn't nearly so much fun. I mean she was a very nice girl, it was nothing to do with her, but it wasn't nearly so much fun. The Pollards came and went from Crossroads on a regular basis. Would you have liked them to have become a more permanent fixture? Well   at   the   time   when   I   first   joined   there   were   some   very   good   actors   in   Crossroads,   I   mean   I   thought   the   standard   was   pretty   good.   I   remember   some time   before   that   I   was   in   something   called   "The   Newcomers",   we   had   longer   to   do   it   -   say   Crossroads   took   a   week,   "The   Newcomers"   took   a      fortnight.   I must   say   we   thought   ourselves   rather   a   cut   above   Crossroads!   But   when   I   actually   came   to   play   it   with   people   like Tony Adams   and   Michael Turner   and   Sue Lloyd and Ronald Allen, there were some very, very good characters in it and some good actors in it and I thoroughly enjoyed it. As   I   say   when   I   became   the   rather   dreary   wife   and   mother   it   wasn't   so   much   fun   and   also   it   became   less   good.   The   man   who   was   the   producer,   Jack Barton,   he   was   quite   bossy   but   he   knew   exactly   how   to   keep   the   animals   happy,   exactly   what   he   wanted,   when   he   wanted   it.   We   didn't   have   much   filming [outside   shooting]   which   was   just   as   well   because   the   filming   was   appalling,   very   low   standard.   And   it   worked,   everybody   knew   they   could   get   their weekends   off,      knew   when   they   could   go   to   the   dentist   or   have   a   baby   or,   you   know,   do   the   things   they   wanted   to   do   and   the   amount   of   time   they   could spend   on   their   script.   I   mean   I   used   to   commute   from   London   and   I   used   to   learn   my   lines   on   the   train!   And   everybody   was   happy.   But   what   happened later   was   they   kept   moving   our   rehearsals   which   got   worse   and   worse   because   you   spend   a   lot   of   time   in   rehearsal. And   everybody   got   rather   stressed   and bad-tempered. And   they   started   putting   in   more   filming   which   as   I   say   was   a   waste   of   time   because   it   wasn't   very   good. And   it   was   pretty   tacky   and   not   very   well   done. And   then   you   didn't   know   when   it   was   going   to   happen.   And   then   later   on   when   Jack   went,   which   was   a   shame   because   he   was   very   experienced   and knew   exactly   what   he   was   doing   and   how   best   to   get   the   best   out   of   the   material   he   had,   and   the   time   he   had   to   do   it   in   and   after   he   left   I   thought   it went   downhill   pretty   rapidly. There   was   more   filming   and   more   episodes   and   people   were   working   harder   and   there   were   very   unpleasant   rehearsals   and   I think it went downhill. Well   another   thing   I   was   going   to   ask   was,   did   you   not   think   at   the   time   that   Valerie   being   such   a      jet-set   type   of   person   she   was,   that   staying   at   the Crossroads Motel was kind of a bit down market for her really? It didn't seem quite believable that she'd stay in one of those chalets! (Laughs) Well it was rather tatty wasn't it? You could be right! And J. Henry as well, he was this multi-billionaire property tycoon.. (Laughs) No, it didn't make a lot of sense did it really? But it was fun and I think when it got sent up a bit it became more fun. Where did your wardrobe come from? I   used   to   provide   my   own   clothes.   Well   I   mean   the   wardrobe   had   about   two   pairs   of   knickers   in   it   and   that   was   about   it   (laughs)!   I   used   to   go   with   my friend Amanda   Barrie   to   Browns   in   South   Mouldon   Street   on   Saturday   and   up   and   down   Bond   Street   and   I   spent   my   whole   salary   however   much   it   was   on clothes!   They   did   actually   give   me   something   towards   it   later   on,   they   were   very   decent   and   I   said   "Well   look   here,   it's   costing   me   a   lot   and   you   certainly can't provide me with the sort of clothes I think she should be wearing." So in the end we came to an arrangement and they helped out. But I loved shopping anyway so that was fun! Did you find that people in real life expected you to be a bit of a super bitch like Valerie? Oh   yes,   yes   they   do   expect   you   be   that   character.   But   you   know   I   never   had   anybody   be   nasty   to   me,   people   were   always   very,   very   nice   and   I   had   very nice   fan   mail. And   I   remember   once   I   was   coming   up   to   Birmingham   and   I   got   off   the   train   and   a   young   man   had   been   talking   to   me   and   then   he   got   off the   train   after   me   and   I   said:   "You   get   back   on   the   train   this   is   not   where      you're   getting   out   is   it?" And   he   said:   "I   just   want   to   talk   to   you,   I   want   you   to   go out with me!" and I was about old enough to be his mother and I said: "Don't be so silly get back on the train I am not like Valerie at all!" (Laughs) Do you think Phillip Bowman wasn't really the right person to take over from Jack Barton? Well,   he   may   have   been   quite   a   nice   chap   but   I   don't   think   he   had   the   touch   that   Jack   had.   Or   the   experience.   Because   a   show   like   that   you   can't   mess about   or   try   and   be   clever.   You've   just   got   a   certain   amount   of   time   to   do   it   in   and   the   other   thing   is   it's   very   important   to   keep   the   animals   happy. And   if we   the   cast   are   happy   and   basically   we   all   used   to   get   on   pretty   well,   but   you   see   when   you   get   depressed   and   you   don't   have   enough   time   to   rehearse and they keep bringing in all this filming, everybody just gets so tired and bad-tempered and the standard goes down. But   certainly   to   start   with   it   was   great   fun.   We   had   lovely   actors   to   work   with   and   the   scripts..   although   they   were   a   bit   outrageous   (laughs)!   But   I   think the main thing that I brought to it was humour and a bit of camp. And I must say I did send it up rather! And I think it gained by having it sent up a little. Did people ever take exception to your storylines? No,   no   they   didn't.   I   had   very   nice   fan   mail.   I   personally   took   exception   to   my   storylines   sometimes,   when   I   wrote   poison   pen   letters   and   things   like   that,   I thought   that   was   very   naff   and   I   didn't   like   the   storylines   when   I   became   mumsy.   But   I   always   tried   to   get   some   humour   out   of   them,   to   say   it   with   a     twinkle or something. (Laughs) But the most fun I had was when I was helping out behind the bar which is a very good place to be if you're in a soap because you've in every scene. Did you think that J. Henry treated Valerie badly or do you think she deserved it really? I think she probably deserved it. But you know I always felt that she was very fond of him despite her failings, I think she really loved him. And he really loved her? Yes, I think if you play that underneath and you have that in your mind it softens it, takes the nastiness out of it. Did you have a favourite storyline or a favourite moment? Well I did enjoy the storylines I had when I first came into it, I did enjoy those and I did enjoy taking the piss out of Mr. Paul, I enjoyed sending him up! Did you see any of the recent revival of Crossroads? What did you think of it? Frankly I didn't watch it. Final question, how would you sum up your time on Crossroads? Well   very   happy,   it   was   a   fun   time,   I   enjoyed   it. At   the   beginning,   not   at   the   very   end.   When   I   first   joined   it,   for   the   first   few   months   I   was   in   it   was   great fun   but   after   Jack   went   it   became   less   good   and   less   fun   and   I   didn't   enjoy   it   so   much.   People   did   make   a   bit   of   a   joke   of   Crossroads   but   I   was   quite   proud to be in it and of course it had a bit of quality to it but it certainly didn't by the end. You'd   be   amazed   the   people   that   used   to   write   to   me,   you   used   to   think   "Good   gracious!"   and   the   people   who   stopped   to   talk   to   me   and   just   occasionally though  I look very different because I'm fat and old now and white-haired occasionally somebody stops me: "Weren't you in Crossroads?"
 © Crossroads Fan Club 1987-2016