2017 News Crossroads footage ‘re-found’ for a second time Those   with   long   memories   may   recall   in   2008   Granada   and The   Crossroads   Fan   Club   united   for   a   hunt   for   missing   material.   It   was   part   of   the   bigger   Raiders of the Lost Archive appeal, which also included searching for lost BBC programming. With   former   Granada   employee   Greg   Taylor,   who   was   based   at   the   Yorkshire   Television   facility   in   Leeds,   we   persuaded   him   to   take   a   deeper   look   into   the ITC   film   archives. The   result   was   three   long   lost   episodes   recovered   -   including   the   earliest   known   to   survive   from April   1965.   It   was   quite   clear   that   many episodes   and   other   material   had   gone   missing,   at   some   unknown   point,   in   the   1990s.   Many   news   reports   and   programmes   had   featured   clips   from   editions which appeared in the 2000s to be lost. The   search   also   uncovered   insert   film   cans.   These   contained   mainly   outside   recorded   scenes   which   would   have   been   inserted   into   full   episodes   when recorded   ‘as   live’   in   the   studio.   While   the   studio   segments   are   long   lost,   the   filmed   parts   survived. These   included   Crossroads’   recording   sessions   in   France and Tunisia. In   2015   it   was   revealed   by   Kaleidoscope,   the   television   archiving   organisation,   that   the   inserts   had   gone   missing   again   within   the   official   archives, however this month (March 2017) they have revealed that they have once more been found, along with many more Crossroads cans. (March 2017) Actor John Forgeham dies aged 75 Forgeham,   known   for   his   roles   in   Footballers   Wives,   The   Italian   Job   and   Crossroads,   has   died   at   the   age   of   75.   The   Sun   notes   John   passed   away   on   Friday afternoon   after   suffering   internal   bleeding   following   a   fall   on   Wednesday.   The   tabloid   goes   on   to   say   John   fell   from   his   bed   and   broke   his   collarbone.   He was later rushed to hospital however died from the internal injuries. John   was   born   in   Kidderminster,   West   Midlands,   on   the   14th   of   May   1941.   Deciding   on   a   career   in   performing   arts   he   trained   at   the   Royal   Academy   of Dramatic   Art,   where   he   embarked   on   a   two   year   RADA   scholarship   from   1962   to   1964.   He   graduated   with   a   Silver   medal   for   Best   Performance   student. Other   notable   achievements   including   his   work   with   the   Royal   Shakespeare   Company,   founding   the   Globe   Shakespeare   Theatre   in   Sydney   Australia, following a tour of the country with the RSC. Film   roles   included   parts   in   1969’s   The   Italian   Job,   Adolf      Hitler:   My   Part   In   His   Downfall   of   1973,   1977’s   Star   Wars   and   1993’s   The   Young   Americans. Television   roles   saw   John   in   many   guest   parts   or   small   roles;   these   included   programmes   such   as ABC   TV’s   The Avengers,   BBC’s   Z   Cars,   Thames   Television’s The Sweeney and ATV’s Father Brown. His   first   major   long   running   role   was   in   teatime   soap   opera   Crossroads   which   aired   four   nights   a   week   during   the   1970s.   John   joined   as   motor   mechanic Jim   Baines   in   1974,   at   first   down   on   his   luck   before   finding   work   and   a   home   in   the   fictional   village   of   Kings   Oak.   Playing   an   unsympathetic   Brummie, storylines   included   initially   being   homeless   as   he,   and   his   family,   squatted   in   David   Hunter’s   (Ronald Allen)   cottage,   the   struggles   of   his   wife   Muriel   (Anne Rutter)   who,   unknown   to   Jim,   suffered   from Agoraphobia.   While   his   boss   was   sympathetic   to   her   plight;   this   only   lead   to   him   believing   they   were   having an   affair.   This   in   turn   lead   him   into   the   arms   of   garage   secretary   Sharon   Metcalfe   (Carolyn   Jones). A   softer   side   of   the   character   however   was   seen   during scenes featuring his on-screen children. Other   storylines   saw   him   suspected   of   attacking   Vera   Downend   (Zeph   Gladstone),   the   motel’s   hairdresser,   and   stealing   the   salon   takings.   Barman   Bill Warren   (David   Valla)   picked   Jim   out   of   a   police   identification   parade,   and   for   a   time   almost   everyone   at   the   Crossroads   Motel   believed   that   he   was   guilty. Fortunately,   for   Jim,   the   police   picked   up   a   burglar   and   found   Vera’s   cashbox   in   his   digs.   Jim   however   never   entirely   forgave   his   motel   co-workers   and   his so-called friends for deserting him. One   of   his   final   storylines   saw   the   character   win   the   jackpot   on   the   pools   and   it   seemed   his   life   was   on   the   up,   however   the   money   brought   its   own problems.   After   all   the   publicity   surrounding   the   presentation,   Jim’s   home   was   vandalised   and   he   was   inundated   with   begging   letters.   Girlfriend   Sharon seemed   to   be   growing   cooler,   and   there   was   more   trouble   for   Jim   after   a   very   public   clash   with   waitress   Diane   Parker   (Susan   Hanson)   who   sued   him   for slander after the row in the motel foyer. After   departing   the   Crossroads   Motel   in   1978   other   roles   included   parts   in   Granada Television’s   Crown   Court,   BBC TV’s   Juliet   Bravo   and   Central Television’s Boon.   There   were   more   substantial   roles   in   shows   such   as   the   BBC’s   Final   Run   and   Nice   Work,   Granada’s   Prime   Suspect   and   the   beeb’s   Making   Out.   It   was however in drama Footballers Wives he would get his most memorable television role. Appearing   in   the   Shed   Production   from   2002   to   2004   as   businessman   Frank   Laslett,   the   character   was   part   of   many   of   the   shows   big,   and   over   the   top, plots.   The   flamboyant   chairman   of   the   fictional   Earls   Park   Football   Club   was   part   of   that   rich   wheeler   dealer   self   made   set.   While   he   glittered   in   his   gold jewellery   his   mouth   gave   away   his   less   than   lucrative   past   and   upbringing.   The   divorcee   was   a   little   lonely,   and   made   the   worst   decision   of   his   life   when he   married   scheming,   selfish,   Tanya   (Zoe   Lucker)   who   ultimately   saw   his   demise   with   a   hard   sex   session   and   a   Viagra   induced   heart   attack.   Following   his time   with   Footballers   Wives   John   worked   less   on   television,   this   followed   a   spell   of   ill   health   and   other   personal   problems.   He   rarely   appeared   as   himself on TV, however took part in the reality series Celebrity Fit Club in 2004. (March 2017) 2016 News Actress Liz Smith dies aged 95 Former   Crossroads   actress   Liz   Smith   has   died. The   performer   appeared   in   the   Midland   saga   back   in   the   early   1970s. A   spokeswoman   for   the   actress’s   family released a statement today (26th December) confirming that she has passed away. She had recently turned 95. Smith   is   best   known   in   recent   times   for   her   role   in   BBC   One   comedy The   Royle   Family   and   is   also   fondly   remembered   by   sitcom   fans   for   her   appearances   in the   first   series   of   The   Vicar   of   Dibley.   The   popular   character   actress   also   starred   in   2point4   Children,   Lark   Rise   to   Candleford   and   Wallace   and   Gromit’s The   Curse   of   the   Were-Rabbit.   Born   Betty   Gleadle   in   1921   in   Scunthorpe,   Lincolnshire,   she   took   on   Smith   as   a   stage   name.   Early   acting   roles   in   the   1970s included   parts   in   Emmerdale   Farm,   Crossroads,   Crown   Court   and   Within   These   Walls.   Her   first   longer   term   role   was   in   I   Didn’t   Know   You   Cared.   (December 2016) TV Themes explored by composer Tony Hatch Tony Hatch is to host a special programme looking at the world of the television theme for BBC Radio 2. Tony’s   first   telly   tune   was   for   ATV   children’s   series   Tingha   and   Tucker   entitled   Over   the   ricketty   bridge.   This   lead   to   the   Crossroads   theme,   also   for   ATV, being   composed   in   1964.   Other   tunes   swiftly   followed   including   for   the   BBC   series   Man   Alive   in   1965,   action   series   The   Champions   for   ITC,   YTV’s   rural serial   Emmerdale   Farm   in   1972,   Border   Television’s   game   show   ditty   Mr   &   Mrs   in   1972   and   BBC   mid-week   sporting   highlights   show   Sportsnight   in   1973. Tony’s last major telly theme was for Grundy Productions’ soap Neighbours in 1985. As   well   as   top   TV   themes   Tony   is   also   well   known   as   a   pop   composer   devising   and   co-writing   hits   including   Downtown,   Joanna   and   Don’t   Sleep   In   The Subway.   Chart   success   saw   Tony   as   a   regular   on   ATV   talent   series   New   Faces   in   the   1970s,   and   you   might   have   guessed   he   composed   the   theme   tune ‘You’re a Star‘ sung for the show by Carl Wayne. Over   the   hour   on   BBC   Radio   2,   he   will   treat   listeners   to   a   smattering   of   those   familiar   and   unfamiliar   notes.   They   will   learn   why   hearing   the   opening theme   to   Newsnight   always   brings   a   smile   to   the   face   of   composer   George   Fenton;   why   Paul   McCartney   was   furious   with   Cilla   Black   when   she   mis- performed   the   signature   tune   to   Cilla   live;   and   how   Morse   Code   has   been   used   in   more   themes   than   just   Inspector   Morse.   Tony   will   also   be   quizzing listeners on their sporting theme knowledge. The programme airs on Radio 2 on November 1st at 10pm. (November 2016) Crossroads appears on Channel 5 shows Crossroads   has   popped   up   on   a   couple   of   recent   Channel   5   productions.   The   Most   Shocking   Moments   of   the   1980s   saw   Noele   Gordon’s   dismissal   at   number 19   in   the   top   50   moments   that   stunned   the   decade.   Colleague Anne   Diamond   and   co-star   Tony Adams   recalled   the   events   which   saw   the   former   West   End actress’ departure from ATV in 1981. (August 2016) Noele   was   back   in   on   Channel   5   screens   in   When   Celebrities   Go   Pop.   The   programme   looked   at   the   cross-over   of   personality   to   ‘pop   star’.   Noele   of   course had   been   a   successful   musical   performer   on   the   stage   in   the   1930s   and   40s,   however   turned   to   releasing   vinyl   recordings   several   times   during   her   career. In   1981   she   was   lured   into   releasing   ‘After All   These   Years’   and   ‘Goodbye’   to   mark   her   departure   from   Crossroads.   The   programme   looked   at   her   farewell ‘pop moment’. (December 2016) Made Television to take over West Midland broadcaster Big Centre TV Big   Centre TV,   based   in   Walsall,   is   the   UK’s   largest   Local TV   broadcaster   outside   of   London.   Launching   in   February   2015   it   originally   took   the   air   with   a   mix of   ambitious   regional   content   and   a   selection   of   archive   programming   from   ATV,   notably   Midland   soap   opera   Crossroads   and   a   ‘best   of’   Tiswas   the   1970s children’s   Saturday   morning   magzine   show.   However   in   recent   months   the   channel   has   relied   on   cheap   American   imports   to   form   part   of   the   daily schedule;   airing   1950s   and   60s   sitcoms   including   The   Lucy   Show,   with   Lucy   Ball,   in   the   afternoons   and   the   morning   news   programme   cut   down   and   partly replaced with The Beverly Hillbillies. Made   Television,   who   operate   several   Local   TV   stations,   including   Made   in   Tyne   and   Wear   and   Made   in   Cardiff,   will   re-launch   Big   Centre   TV   as   ‘Made   in Birmingham’.   Made   in   Birmingham   will   span   the   West   Midlands   region,   including   major   UK   cities,   Birmingham,   Wolverhampton,   Coventry   and   Stoke.   The TV station will add more than 3.2 million potential viewers to the network’s reach, and increase its overall universe in the UK to 15.5 million viewers. Despite   the   trumpeted   success   the   ‘city   stations’   have   gained   a   fair   amount   of   criticism,   with   Big   Centre   TV   coming   in   for   critical   comment   mainly   noting cheap   looking   production   values,   even   poorer   programme   content   and   technical   issues   such   as   low   sound   and   low   lighting.   These   issues   have   dogged   the ‘local’   channel   since   launch.   BCTV   underwent   an   image   revamp   earlier   in   2016   to   improve   the   look   of   the   station,   which   gave   it   a   slightly   more professional feel. (October 2016) Former Crossroads and The Archers Producer William Smethurst dies The   man   credited   with   saving The Archers   from   the   axe   but   who   took   Crossroads   to   its   final   check-out,   William   Smethurst,   has   died   aged   71. The   radio   and television   producer   best   known   for   overseeing   BBC   Radio   4   serial   The Archers   from   1978   to   1986   and   Central   Television   soap   Crossroads   from   1986   to   1988 died   on   July   22nd.   Smethurst   was   hailed   in   the   press   as   the   man   who   saved   the   radio   saga   from   the   beeb’s   swinging   axe   in   the   late   1970s   and   is   still   fondly remembered by listeners of the production for his mix of keeping the plots true to the ethics of village and country life while injecting drama and humour. The   Archers   is   set   in   the   fictional   midland   village   of   Ambridge   and   during   Williams   reign   was   produced   at   the   now   demolished   BBC   Pebble   Mill   studios   in Edgbaston. His era in charge is looked upon as a ‘golden time’ for the show with ratings and critical praise at a peak for the programme. A   few   miles   down   the   road   in   Birmingham   city   centre   bosses   at   Central Television   were   looking   for   a   new   producer   back   in   1984   and   offered   Smethurst   the top   job   –   he   first   refused.   The   position   was   filled   by   Australian   Phillip   Bowman   who   took   soap   opera   Crossroads,   which   had   first   aired   in   1964,   to   new ratings   success   and   viewer   appreciation.   But   top   bosses   Ted   Childs   and   the   late   Andy   Allen   were   less   impressed   with   the   slick   upmarket   new   Crossroads and asked William to reconsider in 1986, this time he accepted. His   changes   saw   ratings   free-fall   as   a   change   of   theme   tune,   titles   and   format   saw   viewers   desert   the   one   time   top   rating   saga   in   their   millions.   Plans   to rename   Crossroads   as   Kings   Oak   –   after   the   fictional   village   setting   –   were   aborted   when   Central   Television   pulled   the   show   in   April   1988.   Smethurst however   remained   with   the   company,   overseeing   other   more   successful   programming   including   drama   Boon   starring   Michael   Elphick,   David   Daker,   and   Neil Morrissey. He   also   devised   and   produced   at   the   Central   Birmingham   studios   space-based   soap   Jupiter   Moon,   which   was   part   of   the   early   BSB   schedules.   Posting   on The Archers BBC page, Graham Seed, who featured in both The Archers and Crossroads, paid tribute to his former boss: “I   not   only   played   Nigel   Pargetter   for   William   [in   The   Archers]   but   also   Charlie   Mycroft   in   Crossroads.   I   owe   him   so   much.   He   understood   the inherent   comedy   of   village   life   and   gave   me   a   fabulous   break.   Nigel   was   his   creation   and   what   a   privilege   it   was   to   work   with   him.   He   was   a brilliant special man.” (July 2016) Victoria Wood dies aged 62 Comedy   icon   Victoria   Wood,   who   was   an   honorary   member   of   the   Crossroads   Fan   Club,   has   died   aged   62   after   succumbing   to   cancer.   Wood,   who   shot   to fame   on   ATV’s   New   Faces   talent   show   in   1974,   became   a   member   of   the   Crossroads   Appreciation   Society   following   her   soap   opera   spoof   Acorn   Antiques bringing   the   world   of   the   worst   of   Crossroads   -   and   other   shows   we   may   add   -   to   screens.   Victoria   always   said   her   ‘send   up’   of   Crossroads   was   an affectionate   rib   at   the   hazards   of   live   television   serial   and   no   malice   was   intended.   She   however   occasionally   threw   in   the   fact   she   was   a   member   of   the fan club into her live stage act, especially if she knew other members of the society were in the audience. Born   on   the   19th   of   May   1953   in   Prestwich,   Lancashire,   she   auditioned   for   the   Derek   Hobson   fronted   talent   show   while   studying   at   Birmingham   University. The   series,   produced   by ATV   in   Birmingham   for   commercial   television   saw   Wood   win   the   1974   series   with   a   performance   of   witty   jokes   and   musical   comedy routines.   A   summer   variety   series   followed   on   ATV   with   fellow   New   Faces   personalities,   however   it   was   a   switch   to   the   BBC   that   gave   Victoria   her   first major long running television exposure. In   1976   she   joined   the   Esther   Rantzen   fronted   mash-up   that   was   consumer   investigations   meets   entertainment   series   That’s   Life!   providing   a   weekly musical   comedy   reflection   on   current   topics   of   the   time.   Across   the   late   1970s   there   were   several   other   ventures   in   live   theatre   and   television   including 1978’s   Talent   which   had   proved   a   success   on   the   stage   –   with   Wood   bestowed   a   gong   for   Most   Promising   New   Writer.   It   was   adapted   for   television   by Granada   in   Manchester   and   saw   Wood   team   up   with   long   established   pal   Julie   Walters.   It   was   however   material   from   the   1980s   and   1990s   that   Wood,   and indeed Walters, would be best remembered for. In   1984   Wood   left   Granada   Television   for   the   BBC,   who   promised   her   more   creative   control   over   her   programming.   This   lead   to   the   launch   of   sketch   series Victoria   Wood As   Seen   on TV. The   show   launched   a   host   of   well-loved   and   remembered   characters,   with Acorn Antiques   becoming   possibly   the   best   known. A   mixture   of   the   bizarre   storylines   from   Crossroads   with   iffy   production   values   of   serials   of   the   1960s   and   70s,   it   became   a   huge   hit.   Especially   with   fans   of Crossroads, Victoria later would become a honorary member of the Crossroads Appreciation Society. As   Seen   On   TV   ran   for   two   series   and   a   one-off   special.   The   show   wona   number   of   BAFTA Awards   and,   in   1996,   it   was   awarded   all-time   Favourite   Comedy Series   by   the   BBC.   In   1988   the   regional   Channel   3   network   celebrated   her   comedy   talent   with   the   prestigious An Audience   With   Victoria   Wood   produced   by London Weekend Television. The show later won a BAFTA. The   statement   released   announcing   the   writer,   actress   and   comedian’s   death   noted   the   62-year-old   had   died   from   Cancer,   stating   it   had   been   a   short ‘brave’   battle   against   the   disease.   Wood   married   magician   Geoffrey   Durham   in   March   1980.   They   separated   in   October   2002.   They   have   two   children, Grace (1988) and Henry (1992). (April 2016) Sherrie Hewson to step into Grace Brothers Department Store for Are You Being Served? Reboot They   may   have   “all   done   very   well”   in   the   1970s   and   80s   but   now   the   beeb   is   hoping   for   a   new   hit   with   a   return   to   the   department   store   sitcom Are   You Being   Served? The   show   ran   from   1972   until   1985   with   a   spin-off   series,   Grace   and   Favour,   running   for   two   seasons   in   the   1990s   following   the   closure   of   the Grace Brothers Department Store leaving some of the staff to run a country hotel. The   comedy   devised   by   Jeremy   Lloyd   and   David   Croft   is   to   air   on   BBC   One   later   this   year   as   a   ‘one   off’   special.   Not   learning   from   the   dismal   Dad’s Army film   remake,   the   beeb   are   to   reinvent   some   of   the   nation’s   all-time   favourite   sitcom   characters,   including   Mrs   Slocombe,   Captain   Peacock   and   Mr Humphries with new cast in the roles. Set   in   1988,   two   years   after   the   original   series   came   to   an   end,   the   programme   will   see   former   Crossroads   actress   Sherrie   Hewson   in   the   role   of   Mrs Slocombe. The part was originally performed by the late great one time Coronation Street actress Mollie Sugden. (February 2016) Terry Wogan Dies BBC   Radio   2’s   Terry   Wogan   has   died   aged   77.   Terry   often   spoke   of   Crossroads   on   his   top-rating   breakfast   show   in   the   1970s   and   80s   including   branding JoAnne   Good’s   character   of   Carol   Sands   as   ‘The   UK’s   poison   dwarf’   in   reference   to   Dallas’   Lucy   Ewing.   Other   topics   of   conversation   included   Doris   Luke’s hats and the depressing nature of ‘Benny’s Theme’ by Simon May. (January 2016) Paul Henry Marks ATV’s 60th Anniversary Paul   Henry,   the   motel’s   popular   handyman   Benny   Hawkins,   has   appeared   on   the   Lorraine   Kelly   breakfast   programme   as   part   of   commercial   television   in the   UK’s   60th   Anniversary   Celebrations,   It   was   September   1955   when   ATV   London   and   London   Rediffusion   Television   went   to   air   as   the   first   weekend   and weekday Channel 3 regional companies. (September 2015) Vanessa Feltz proves she’s a Crossroads super-fan On   BBC   One’s   The   TV   That   Made   Me,   hosted   by   comedian   Brian   Connolly,   Vanessa   Feltz   proved   she   really   is   a   Crossroads   know-all.   The   TV   and   radio presenter amazed Brian with the knowledge of the long running saga. (September 2015) Earlier News Stories can be found here .
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