Introduction by producer William Smethurst, speaking to the Fan Club:

“Coming from BBC Pebble Mill I was shocked by studio practices. At the BBC every crew member in the actor’s “eye line” would know to remain quiet and still, to avoid distracting the actor. On Crossroads the technicians would chat to each other about Villa’s prospects on Saturday.

“Why did Coronation Street have such a fine reputation, and Crossroads such a poor reputation? These things don’t happen by accident, or by an act of God. Granada took pride, over years, in ensuring that Coronation Street had fine writers and high production standards. Yorkshire fiercely defended Emmerdale and has spent decades trying to overtake Coronation Street.

“Nobody at ATV, or at Central before Ted Childs came along as drama chief, cared about Crossroads.” – William Smethurst

Early 1980 and Crossroads is given its second on-screen make-over, the first major refresh since 1969 when the series began to be produced in colour.

However, while the look of the series was modernised, the production continued to be recorded ‘as live’ with again little editing time allocated to Crossroads. ATV’s Head of Programmes Charles Denton noted it was simply too expensive to give the soap opera full editing as it was still making four or five episodes a week – although by 1980 only airing three.

As noted in the 1970s, the television regulator had undertaken research with ITV viewers who told them that they wanted Crossroads back on five nights a week. In 1980 Charles Denton also requested, following ATV’s own research and regular viewer correspondence, to air the saga Monday to Friday. The IBA lead by Lady Plowden declined Denton’s request and went one step further – cutting its airing from four to three a week.

“Crossroads was extraordinarily popular with Independent Television’s mass audience in those days. Very successful, completely harmless – but the IBA.. ..were rather sniffy about it and in those days it was rather a predacean bunch of the great and the good. And they were rather embarrassed as they couldn’t really be proud of Crossroads at dinner parties and so on.

“And they didn’t like the fact that IBA’s top ten every week was dominated by episodes of Crossroads and they tried to either get its episodes reduced per week or get it cancelled. This is the regulator, who is supposed to be looking after the interests of the public, and when they were pressed as to why they wanted it axed, the IBA Chairman said to a gathering of IBA Chiefs that ‘the authority finds it distressingly popular.’ What an age that was!” – Michael Grade – London Weekend Director of Programmes, 1976-1982

The IBA regulator stated that by cutting it back they hoped the series’ technical quality would improve. It had no effect; ATV continued to produce four or five episodes per week, as it always had done, and aired three per week as the IBA requested… It simply gave the crew extended summer and festive holidays. The one thing many critics and viewers began to agree on was the series looking dated.

The 1960s television format was way out of the norm for production in the eighties and sets which had been seen since 1964 had little in the way of updates. However Jack Barton refused to change the way the show was produced and it wasn’t long before the critics had a real reason to laugh at Crossroads thanks to it fast becoming out of style, and out of date. More drastic changes had to be made to improve the show.

Later in the year, and only a few months after the death of Roger Tonge, who had played Meg’s son Sandy since episode one, Jack Barton’s idea for saving the series was quite at odds with what the viewers wanted. Since 1977 he had been putting his mark on Crossroads, and over time he tried to take it away from the American Soap Opera format, which it had pioneered in the UK, instead opting for the more traditional Coronation Street drama serial production style.

This move attempting to be ‘less soap, more serious’ saw the start of the decline in ratings, the introduction of dull characters and even duller locations and storylines. However, Noele Gordon as Meg Mortimer remained and carried the show through this time of mundane characters and plots.

In the end even Noele Gordon wasn’t safe from the changes in the move from soap opera to drama serial. Plans were put in place to make Crossroads an ensemble programme rather than having one central character. Throughout 1980 and 1981 the character of Meg Mortimer was slowly cut back, until a shock announcement was made on the 22nd of June 1981 – Noele Gordon had been sacked. Or as it turned out ATV wasn’t going to issue her a new contract when the current one ran out on December 31st.

There was huge newspaper speculation, the dismissal made both BBC News and ITN’s News at Ten headlines.

“It was huge news when she was sacked from Crossroads. No matter what ATV said, what gloss they tried to put on it, the fact is they had dumped their huge star – and they shouldn’t have” – ATV news reporter and TV personality Anne Diamond

Anne Diamond in 1981 worked for ATV in Birmingham on its local news show ATV Today. However she – along with the rest of the staff at the studios – was unaware as to why Noele Gordon had been sacked. The feeling around the building was – incorrectly as it turns out – that Noele was going because incoming ITV Midlands company Central Television wanted rid of Crossroads – and saw the removal of Noele as a big step in getting it off the air.

Head of Programmes at ATV and Central, Charles Denton, denied that was true. He told us that while he had plans for Central to be much more than ‘just Crossroads’ he was happy with the serial, it gave millions pleasure and generated ATV a lot of money in advertising revenue. As previously noted he had tried to get the soap opera back on five nights a week in 1980 with Noele Gordon in the role she’d played for nearly twenty years.

Noele Gordon talked about her sudden and unexpected departure from ATV in a magazine special in 1981 ‘Goodbye Meg’;

“The news that I was being fired from Crossroads shattered me. After playing the principal part of Meg Mortimer for 17 years I was hurt and humiliated by the manner of my dismissal.

“My manager had gone to ATV to discuss the renewal of my contract for 1982. It seemed a routine formality, until Charles Denton, the company’s Controller of Programmes announced ‘All good things must come to an end.’ My manager telephoned to break the news. At first, I couldn’t grasp it. I had harboured suspicions that I was being eased out because I seemed to have been given less and less to do, but when I had queried this the producer had told me: ‘Just be patient, darling. In a few weeks’ time, you’ll be complaining of overwork.’ I had never dreamed I would be sacked out of hand. I put down the phone in tears. I poured myself a glass of wine but was too upset to drink it. I cried all that night.

“I never asked to be consulted on how Meg would go, though I did tell the producer I would not be party to her committing suicide because that was not in Meg’s makeup. But none of us ever wants to know the future development of the story beyond the script that has to be learnt, because if you know too much about it you might act the part quite differently. It was quite enough to know Meg was to go.”

The Crossroads audience were outraged and disgusted over the leaving of Meg from the series, and only days after the announcement had been made the first protests began. Fans launched a ‘Meg Is Magic’ campaign: with demonstrations outside ATV Centre and thousands of calls and letters to the company. The Sun newspaper started a ‘Save Our Meg’ petition and various newspapers ran polls with overwhelming support for Noele, and the majority voting for the character of Meg to stay. The coverage of her sacking from ATV gained more press inches than The Pope being shot in the same year.

As noted earlier Crossroads under Jack Barton had been moving away from its, unique in UK broadcasting, ‘American soap opera’ format with Noele Gordon eased out of the main stories gradually since 1980. Fate may have also speeded up Noele’s departure from the show when in 1981 the IBA television regulator announced that ATV Network, after twenty-five years, was not to have its Midlands broadcast licence renewed.

The contract was won by, a newly formed sister company, ATV Midlands Limited. This spun-off venture would be less involved with Lew Grade’s ACC company – owners of ATV Network and ITC Productions. It would also see all programming based in the Midlands, with the North London Elstree ATV studios re-located to Nottingham. The IBA also issued one new stipulation – the ATV name had to go.

ATV Midlands became Central Television. It would launch on January 1st 1982. These changes were brought about after the regulator, viewers and MPs had noted ATV had been more interested in making programmes for ‘Birmingham USA’ than ‘Birmingham UK’. A ‘witty’ take on the fact ATV and ITC were big on deals with American broadcasters and networked programming over local Midland content.

The change from ATV to Central possibly led to those in charge of Crossroads taking advantage of this new incoming era – using it as an excuse to drop Noele from her show. It was also noted by several cast that Reg Watson knew how to ease Noele into situations, whereas Jack Barton just rowed and laid down the law. It is well documented that Noele was to some seen as ‘difficult’ however as co-star Charmian Eyre, who played Mavis Hooper, recalled:

“I first joined Crossroads just before Noele was sacked so sensationally, she wasn’t easy. She wanted everything to be right and when half the time it was wrong she would say: ‘I’m going back to my dressing room until.’ “But on my first day when I was feeling nervous and unsure, she was the only one who wished me luck. However difficult she might have been she is remembered with a great deal of affection.”

Ronald Allen who played David Hunter also reflected on his decade spent working with Noele:

“Very often, newcomers to Crossroads would act as though she [Noele] was the Queen, a star who was difficult to approach. But she wasn’t. She just wanted to be treated like the rest of us.”

It is unclear exactly whether it was one show-down too many, the easy option of blaming Central or something else entirely which lead to Noele being dismissed in the summer of 1981, the man who decided to drop her character – Jack Barton – died in 2002 and has taken to the grave his reasons. At the time Charles Denton, however, took the blame and flack for his staff. As he told us, he was the boss so the buck stopped with him.

He, along with Margaret Matheson, also revealed what really happened in 1981. While the press stated Denton was the man who had sacked one of ITV’s biggest stars – or as The News of the World newspaper put it “the most popular woman on British Television” – the truth was quite different.

“Charles Denton didn’t sack Noele, I didn’t sack Noele. You must ask Jack Barton about the reasons she went. I was happy to have her as part of Crossroads” – Margaret Matheson, ATV-Central Head of Drama, 1980-1984

“I didn’t sack Noele Gordon, she was a nice lady, I’d met her a couple of times at ATV events and so on and she was perfectly charming. I simply carried out the request of the Crossroads producer to dismiss her. I took the flack as that was part of my job to protect my staff.” – Charles Denton

Noele Gordon never discovered that her ousting from her own programme had come from someone so low down in ATV management. She believed it had been Charles Denton who made the decision. Noele left the series in November 1981 with the motel burning down and her emotional farewell as Meg on the QE2 liner. Noele went on to have much success back in theatreland with shows such as Gypsy.

“I’ll never forget the first night at Leicester, suddenly a lot of London theatricals were there such as agents and producers and that. And you knew that quite a few of them thought they were going to see her fail, and it was wonderful as they were on their feet [applauding] with everyone else at the end.” – Theatre Executive Roger Redfarn

Noele also made a brief return to Crossroads in 1983 for the wedding and honeymoon storyline of her on-screen daughter Jill.

The early hours of New Years’ Day 1982 saw ATV closedown for the final time after two and a half decades. Central Television launched with a slick, high-quality image. A deliberate style change from the song and dance style of its predecessor.

For Crossroads it was March before the new motel was unleashed, a hideous dark purple foyer, an even darker blue bar and the saving grace, a fresh green restaurant. Meg’s sitting room was replaced a while later with a modern version in the ‘new wing’ of the all-new Crossroads Motel. The change saw the soap opera format all but destroyed as a much more serious – and duller – tone took hold over the series.

There would be two main leading couples – David and Barbara Hunter played by Ronald Allen and Sue Lloyd as well as Adam and Jill Chance played by Tony Adams and Jane Rossington. A third power at the motel – J.Henry Pollard, actor Michael Turner, would come and go as the storylines required. In the series, Meg moved to New York and worked as a hotel expert for J.Henry, but was never seen in this role.

Ratings declined, the show fell from sixteen million viewers to thirteen million – still impressive however for a daytime series. While the overall tone of Crossroads had become serious, it did from time to time allow for a little nod to its former none-too-serious soapy format with the occasional – although much less used – incidental music and some characters who were allowed to be true soap – such as J.Henry’s wife Valerie Pollard – a super-bitch played by Heather Chasen and the divine Sharon Metcalfe played by Carolyn Jones.

However, these sadly too brief nods to the old Reg Watson style were wrapped between the mundane, depressing and dreary. The 1982-84 period saw endless dull board room business meetings, dreary storylines with the Brownlow family and so on. The series, despite being in a rut, did continue its socially aware plots. Unemployment riots in Birmingham were reflected with Carol Sands (JoAnne Good) and Kevin Banks (David Moran) attending protests, where the former was injured and hospitalised. Soap opera’s first Downs Syndrome actress appeared as Nina, who was befriended by Sharon Metcalfe. This gained much praise in the press and on television, the story making News at Ten.

“We gave Downs Syndrome children a sense of pride when we showed a [DS] child and gave an idea of what her life was like. Parents wrote in to say they held their heads up high after we did that.” – Jack Barton

Central noted that thousands of letters of support arrived at their Birmingham studios concerning the storyline, as well as thousands of pounds worth of toys which were donated to MENCAP. Secretary-General of MENCAP Brian Rix, brother of Emmerdale actress Sheila Mercier, told ITN Lunchtime News at the time he felt the plot would educate and change the view of many through the portrayal of the character in the story:

“Nearly a quarter of the population watch Crossroads… we believe through this dramatic form – Soap opera or not, it is after all drama – the case will be represented cogently and clearly. “It backs up our contention that mentally handicapped people should be used in real-life situations….

“I’ve no doubt many millions of people will now look on many handicapped children, and adults hopefully, will look on them with far greater favour than in the past.”

The series also portrayed some more gritty storylines such as the heroin addict Pete Maguire (Mike McNally) and his failure to give up the hard drugs – ultimately leading to his young death. Unlike the 1960s and 70s the high points – no pun intended – were outnumbered by the tedium of the bland characters, depressing dark sets and dull storylines.

Crossroads needed a change. Charles Denton and Margaret Matheson – Head of Programmes and Head of Drama at ATV, then Central, had been happy to let Crossroads plod along as long as it gained decent ratings and thus a lovely profit for Central Television. In 1984 this was to change when Denton and Matheson both quit the Midland broadcaster and production company to establish a high-quality television drama company. Their replacements – Andy Allan as Head of Programmes and Ted Childs as Head of Drama were more interested in the content of Crossroads and its image.

Some may say it was about time too, ATV had let the series get its reputation as unlike Granada with Coronation Street or Yorkshire with Emmerdale no one at ATV or Central had cared about the show enough to invest in its image or what the producers were doing with the programme.

November 1984 saw Crossroads celebrate its 4000th episode and also its 20th anniversary. It was the last celebration in the old and tired format. The first casualty of the modernisation was Jack Barton when he was sacked as the producer, while on holiday. What he’d dished out to Noele Gordon three years earlier, and several others before her arrived as a surprise for the long-serving controversial boss who had chopped loyal and popular characters over his decade in charge.

“Central’s Drama controller approached me about Crossroads before Phillip Bowman was appointed, but I was very wary. Ted wanted me to improve the quality of Crossroads and thus restore its fortunes. I said that with The Archers, I had taken on what was basically a Radio 2 (old light programme) show that was being broadcast to a Radio 4 audience that would welcome and appreciate something different.

“I saw Crossroads as a far more difficult job. Here you had a programme that was self-evidently satisfying a large and devoted audience, but that was regarded by the press and public and every comedian in the world as being a low-quality ham-fisted joke. If you changed it, you would inevitably offend loyal viewers but the press and world at large wouldn’t notice because they didn’t actually watch the programme. So Ted went and offered the job to Phillip.” – William Smethurst, Crossroads Producer 1986-8

Jack Barton was offered a role as an advisor to the programme by new producer Phillip Bowman – however when Barton learned Crossroads was going to be produced using modern techniques, no longer ‘as live’ and would be overhauled with a reworking of the theme tune and titles he decided not to accept the position.

Phillip Bowman had most recently worked in the UK on Thames Television’s Minder drama for Independent Television and prior to that for Grundy Television in Australia on soap operas such as The Young Doctors – which had been put together by Crossroads’ Reg Watson and Alan Coleman. At the same time as the motel’s 20th anniversary, Phillip was announced to the press as the shows new boss.

“Soap opera goes back a long way, I’m sure critics from time immemorial up to Dickens criticised ‘the serial’ which has now assumed the title of ‘soap’ due to the involvement of Proctor and Gamble, back in the early days, back in America in the 1930s.

“Soap opera will always be criticised at various levels, its the rate of time we have to produce it, the frequency of which it is shown and the sheer volume precludes excellence one may wish for in say a single play or a film.

“But soap opera has its own standard of excellence; by the way that it engages everyday people in the lives of everyday people on the screen. It must have been a very successful format, or it wouldn’t have lasted this long.” – Phillip Bowman, Crossroads Producer 1985-86

Phillip Bowman should be noted as the saviour of Crossroads. His time on the show saw it go from the most out-of-date British serial to the most modern looking soap on UK television. The changes saw the series return to its true soap opera roots, possibly not surprising as Phillip had worked under Reg Watson in his native Australia. The motel was given a glamorous new look, out went the dull and dowdy sets; in came bright and colourful versions.

Johnny Patrick re-arranged the theme tune, opening titles taking viewers from Birmingham City Centre to the Motel were introduced and the biggest and most controversial change saw a major cast-shake up too. Ronald Allen, who had been a lead actor on the show since 1971, was axed as David Hunter along with real-life partner and on-screen wife Sue Lloyd as Barbara. Lloyd had made her debut in the show in 1979.

Lynette McMorrough who’d starred as Glenda since 1976 was dropped along with soaps first test-tube baby Katie Louise. Also out was Katie’s father and Glenda’s hubby Kevin, played by David Moran since 1980. Phillip had lured back Noele Gordon as Meg Mortimer who was to have been friends in America with Nicola Freeman, played by incoming and well-known actress Gabrielle Drake. Sadly Noele was too ill to appear and died in April of 1985 a few weeks after she had been scheduled to begin filming on the refreshed soap.

Gabrielle arrived as Nicola, bringing with her not long after her step-children and her right-hand-man from Major International Hotels, Thomas Darby – played by Patrick Jordan who had previously appeared in Crossroads as a police inspector. Positive press articles and a boost in the ratings saw the programme back as the IBA’s most-watched daytime series. In November 1985 sixteen million viewers turned on to Crossroads Revisited; a prime time celebration of the show which marked twenty-one years on air.

Channel 4 in 1986 also looked at the workings of the saga in Open The Box, which also revealed Phillip Bowman would be leaving the series after less than two years. It was a blow to the programme which looked better than it ever had, and was proving successful in the ratings and with audience appreciation.

“They’d done all kinds of audience research and we were meeting all our targets and age groups, then suddenly it was going to be all changed again!” – Jane Rossington.

It is unknown what the Central management were unhappy about as new Crossroads was far from a failure. Unless, as some suggest, they wanted a failure and not a success. In late 1986 Ted Childs poached William Smethurst from BBC saga The Archers to oversee a more upmarket Crossroads.

“Central were unhappy at being the Independent Television company that made the serial drama with the lowest reputation, and which attracted an audience in the lower social groupings, which meant that advertisers would pay less to advertise in the Crossroads commercial break than in the Coronation Street break.

“They gave me a free hand, on the understanding that I would move the programme “upmarket” so that it would attract the A,B,C (I think) type viewers (sorry I can’t be more explicit, advertising isn’t my field) that were happy to watch Coronation Street.” – William Smethurst

It was all change again in early 1987 as William decided to move the series from soap opera to drama serial, which Jack Barton had attempted in 1982. However, it would be different in several ways. While Barton had dropped a lot of the village settings and characters to focus mainly on the motel and its staff, Smethurst would make the series more about the village of Kings Oak and the motel just one of a number of locations in the area.

The series would also have the luxury of outside scenes in every episode, so it wouldn’t feel so enclosed as the 1982-4 era had, and the show would also have a completely new look. The cosmetic changes were far more drastic than those introduced by Phillip Bowman. Central recorded another set of opening titles, this time focusing on the countryside aspect of the show with sweeping helicopter shots of green fields, the village and other rural imagery such as cows and flowers. The production would also be called Kings Oak, with no reference to Crossroads.

“I thought a change of name, theme music and titles was – by this time – the only way to stop the programme from being unfairly and continuously dismissed as rubbish by people who did not even watch it. The plan was to broaden the story out, so that it became the story of an English village in the Midlands, with typical, recognisable Midlanders as characters, a hotel (motel), a shop, and a pub.

“Kings Oak is an excellent name. I wanted the programme to genuinely, carefully, and humorously portray the life in a village south of Birmingham – in the way that Coronation Street was always proud to be a story of life in a Lancashire cotton town.” – William Smethurst

Kings Oak would launch in September 1987. An interim period across the summer saw the previous titles re-worked to say ‘Crossroads Kings Oak’ as a lead up to the change of format and name. Also at this time, William was making his severe cuts to the cast with many long-serving actors dispatched as well as a large number who had been introduced under Phillip Bowman. Surprise axings included Pamela Vazey as Kath Brownlow, Stan Stennett as Sid Hooper, Phillip Goodhew as Daniel Freeman and motel sex symbol Martin Smith as Mickey Doyle.

There were some shock announcements too. Susan Hanson who first played Diane Lawton in 1965 was to be killed off, village regular and her best pal Benny Hawkins – actor Paul Henry – was sacked after a row with a director, but the most baffling of all was the return of Ann George as Amy Turtle. For a show which wanted to get away from Crossroads and soap opera, this casting seemed odd. It, of course, was a ploy to get critics watching Crossroads Kings Oak to see the changes, or as Central would like to think – improvements. It worked; Nina Moskow gave the show a glowing report.

As mentioned earlier the series – thanks to producing four or five episodes a week while only airing three – was afforded long summer holidays. Before their summer 1987 break Central held a party for the series, celebrating Crossroads Kings Oak’s transformation. ITV bosses had also offered Central a weekend omnibus for the series to air against EastEnders’ version.

A week later, while the crew were on their holiday, Andy Allan terminated the Crossroads slots with ITV. The new theme tune, titles and even many of the new cast were yet to be seen on screen. Allan turned over the Crossroads hours for ‘more drama slots’. He felt that soap opera, and even drama serial, was a thing of the past and lavish dramas such as Inspector Morse were the future.

“It was Andy Allan who didn’t like the show and thought it would be on forever if he didn’t get rid of it. He sold getting rid of it to the unions by saying to them that they’d be able to do so many more things, such as drama if Crossroads wasn’t blocking up the studio. The unions were strong in those days, and they fell for it so he got its axe past the unions. That was the beginning of the end [of Central in Birmingham] as it drained them of money.

“In 1987 Central had a new Managing Director, Leslie Hill. Many years later he said to me that Crossroads being axed was the worst thing he ever did. He said he’d only been in the job three weeks and it was totally unbeknown to him that Andy Allan – through the press office – announced that the show was being dropped. Leslie added that if he’d been at Central longer he wouldn’t have allowed Allan to take it off.” – Jane Rossington.

In September 1987 despite the axe already well announced the new-look show hit the air, although as the series wasn’t to last much longer the countryside opening titles retained the Crossroads Kings Oak name. A brand new theme tune replaced the familiar Tony Hatch score. In the show, respected actor Terence Rigby was now leading the cast as Tommy Lancaster. His character also saw the Crossroads Motel undergo a transformation into the stop-gap Crossroads Country Hotel and then finally the Kings Oak Country Hotel.

The format of the show changed from soap opera to drama series, and the fast-paced slick style Phillip Bowman had introduced was replaced with slow and long scenes. While the programme featured more humour and a lot more of Kings Oak village, the slow pace seemed to make the show drag and once more it was deemed a bit dull and a bit boring. It may have been well written, but it failed to appeal to new viewers and it also failed to appeal to the Crossroads viewers.

For the first time since Crossroads became a UK wide series in 1972, the programme fell out of IBA’s Top Ten, and by the start of 1988, it was heading out of the IBA’s Top Twenty.

“It wasn’t Crossroads they took off. Crossroads had been killed off years before. You cannot suddenly say I’m going to play to a totally different audience, to ignore the existing loyal viewers.. can’t slaughter the cast and take out all those old familiar friends. It was never a chore for me or the people I worked with. We loved it, that’s why it hurt when people slagged us off. My aim was to make viewers happy, to help them while entertain them.

“After all these years I still derive satisfaction from the fact that there’s a four-bedded unit in a Birmingham hospital for people suffering from kidney disease that Crossroads founded. We gave Downs Syndrome children a sense of pride when we showed a [DS] child and gave an idea of what her life was like. Parents wrote in to say they held their heads up high after we did that.

“My successors took a totally different outlook. They weren’t interested in the family aspect, the caring aspect. It was all pretty pictures and smart speeches. Smethurst has changed it beyond all recognition. ..I can hardly believe what was done.” – Jack Barton

Crossroads left Independent Television screens on Easter Monday 1988 with a 75-minute extended episode. The series gained its largest audience for the first time since the revamp with over 15 million tuning in to see how Crossroads Kings Oak would bow-out. It was left open-ended, with a hint of a future, as Jane Rossington as Jill drove off to look for a new hotel, somewhere in the west country. On what she would call her new hotel,

“I always thought Crossroads was an awfully good name.” After the programme left Birmingham the Central studios in the city produced fewer and fewer networked programmes until finally, all that remained was regional news and local programming from the Broad Street site. In the early 1990s, Central submitted plans to close the complex down and replace it with smaller studios nearby.

Andy Allan was proved wrong as ‘soap opera’ took off in the 1990s as Coronation Street, EastEnders and Emmerdale all increased their output with more and more episodes. Allan noted as the soap boom took off that axing Crossroads had been ‘the biggest mistake of my career’. However, it wasn’t Allan’s fault really, after all, it was the reputation of Crossroads which he was embarrassed about. Who was to blame for that? It would seem ATV…

“As I said… I think the problem went back over many years. Nobody at ATV, or at Central before Ted Childs came along as drama chief, cared about Crossroads..” – William Smethurst

Page credits: written in parts by Mike Garrett, Douglas Lambert and Tom Dearnley Davidson.

Quotes from ‘Goodbye Meg’ by Noele Gordon, 1981, The Unforgettable Noele Gordon: Roger Redfarn and Anne Diamond 2012, Crossroads Revisited; Phillip Bowman, 1985, William Smethurst to Crossroads Fan Club in 2006. Jane Rossington to Crossroads Fan Club, 2001. ITN News; Brian Rix, 1983.

Photographs courtesy of Reg Watson, Central Press Office, Carlton Archive. Central Globe logo courtesy of Alex Fryer. Noele Gordon Estate. Press cuttings courtesy of Reg Watson and The Weekly News Manchester archive.