“Crossroads was the kind of show that generated a lot of myths and stories…” – actor Paul Henry, who played Benny Hawkins.

Of course, any long-running television production is going to be host to such things, and here hopefully this page will provide some answers to those myths and stories seen in the press, and more recently online – along with questions we’ve been asked…

Were Coronation Street and Crossroads ‘Rivals’?

No. Both shows were on ITV bringing viewers to that channel. And while the press may have made it seem like the shows were battling each other, they weren’t. Granada – producers of Coronation Street – may have however at times been baffled that a cheap ‘dodgy’ daytime soap would sometimes beat their primetime serial in the ratings.

Granada in Manchester

It has to be said that when Granada first started showing Crossroads in 1972 they only showed three episodes a week instead of four, and also aired the motel saga in an early afternoon slot. Some suggest to try and stop the teatime show gaining such massive ratings. But as far as the production teams go, there wasn’t even that kind of ‘production company’ politics.

In fact, Crossroads producers and Coronation Street execs have co-operated in the past – with several cast members switching soaps. Johnny Briggs recalls his time at the Crossroads Motel lead directly to a 30-year stay in Weatherfield: “It was when I was in Crossroads playing taxi firm boss Clifford Leyton that the Coronation Street producer, Bill Podmore, wanted a Londoner. He said to the Crossroads producer, Jack Barton, ‘That Johnny Briggs, is he alright?’ Jack said ‘Yeah, he knows his lines, he turns up to the set on time,’ so I was asked to do it and I said ‘Ok, I’ll do three months.’ Then the years have just crept up..”

Deaths of actors have also seen both shows show respect for their fellow thespians. Its noted that Coronation Street sent flowers to both the funerals of Noele Gordon and Roger Tonge.

What is the name of the real motel that Crossroads is based on?

It is said that Peter Ling drove past – the now named – ‘The Open Country Motel’ at North Gorley, Fordingbridge in 1964 and the idea for Crossroads was born. It was one of the first motels to open in the UK. The complex was a haven for long-haul motorists becoming a popular stopping-off point on the A338.

In 2003 plans to demolish the motel were submitted, with a public hearing told that the ageing buildings could no longer pay their way, and the complex should be replaced with private homes. The motel has undergone a number of changes. A spell as a nightclub triggered controversy, culminating in a £6,000 court fine in 2002 for noise nuisance. The Open Country was still trading in 2006, listed in online web directories as an ‘all day diner’ – The Open Country is just one of several names the site has been called over the years. If you know of its original name.. ..let us know!

Can people really say they saw the walls sway?

Crossroads studio

The show was originally only due to run a few weeks so ATV didn’t invest in ‘proper’ sets. Added to the fact the show was being made in a former cinema – which the floor space was shared between all other ATV Midlands (and indeed ABC Midlands) programming. For those early months, easy to store and quickly build/remove sets were used. These did sway more than your regular studio sets – but once Crossroads was commissioned as an all-year series those ‘proper’ studio sets were built.

The sets have slight wobbles no worse than those in any other series or show of that era thereafter. And watch any show of the same era, Coronation Street, Emmerdale Farm or Emergency Ward 10 and you’ll see the same mistakes, set issues and actor gaffs. Producer William Smethurst believed Crossroads got the stick more than the others due to Yorkshire TV protecting Emmerdale Farm’s image and Granada caring about Corrie – where, he believes, no one was bothered to care or support Crossroads at ATV or Central.

Do mistakes only happen in Crossroads?

Same old, same old, peddled out by obit writers and critics time and time again the show with ‘wobbly walls, fluffed lines and stilted acting’. If you believe the rather distorted vision of the soap as portrayed through some of the media ever since it was axed in 1988 then yes. The truth, however, is that mistakes happened in all the shows of that era – even the lavish dramas and certainly the twice-weekly serials.

There are wobbly walls, fluffed lines, cameras showing parts of the studio, microphones in shot and even heard prompts in episodes of 1960s Coronation Street. Even today in shows such as Emmerdale and EastEnders you’ll see the odd microphone in view or slightly wobbly scenery.

Soap Critic Tina Baker once said people laughed at Crossroads rather than with it, is that true?

Well, people who didn’t watch it in the context of what it was – an escapist, entertaining, soap opera no doubt did do; but Tina ‘rent-a-quote’ Baker isn’t right if she’s referring to the regular sixteen million viewers.

Noele with her TVTimes awards

People don’t watch television when it’s awful, really awful, in that number of viewers. People don’t go out and vote for the show and its cast in award shows year after year – some of which they win if they’re laughing at it. There is no such thing as television which is so bad that it becomes must-see.

One of the most recent shows where people did watch to laugh at it, rather than with it, was ITV’s ‘That Antony Cotton Show‘ which flopped in dramatic style – by being, in the end, beaten by Children’s BBC on BBC One. People watched to see how horrendous it was over the first week, which gained reasonable ratings. Thereafter for the rest of the shows run the ratings dived, not slowly, but large drops week on week.

Furthermore, viewers would not invest in up to £40 a month on DVDs of Crossroads to simply laugh at it. They are buying the DVDs because they love the characters and enjoy the serious or amusing and, yes, sometimes-ridiculous storylines that the soap covers. Tina Baker hasn’t a clue what she’s talking about, and I doubt ever did. She is just one of the many critics with ‘handed down’ views of the show. I’m sure if she was asked for direct memories she’d be unable to bring up any personal memories of Crossroads that would match her statements.

We should probably note that from time to time – like many ‘soap operas’ Crossroads did introduce baffling and strange storylines that had viewers more bemused than laughing at it, but that’s the nature of the fast turnaround storytelling format.

Critics didn’t like it because it was too much like the ‘American’ soap operas?

When Independent Television launched it was knocked for being ‘too American’. Views held by the BBC and many MP’s of the time. They frowned upon ITV as being too vulgar and commercial. Crossroads being based, all be it faster-paced, on the hour-long daily daytime American soap operas didn’t sit well with the ITA regulator nor the critics.

Middle-class soaps have also always been frowned upon. The setting of Crossroads was also a USA creation – a motel. Coronation Street may have escaped the snipes for wobbly walls and fluffed lines because it was at least a traditional British back street.

Crossroads and Blue Peter – I was told there was a link between the two shows?

Joan & Noele Gordon

There are three links between Crossroads and Blue Peter. First off, Anita West was a Blue Peter presenter in 1962. She later starred in Crossroads as Dr Hilary Maddox in the 1970s.

Secondly, Noele Gordon’s mother, Jockey, used to enjoy making bog-standard trays a bit more exciting to look at. This involved covering the tray in foreign stamps – and then covering them with glue. Apparently, one such tray appeared in Crossroads, however, it wasn’t until the TV Times ran an article on Noele and her mother, who discussed her hobby that something odd started happening.

The ATV mail room was flooded for days with mail full of old stamps, all for Jockey to use on her trays. After a few weeks, ATV had to announce on their local news that Jockey had enough stamps and no more was required. Ultimately she had received so many, that ATV donated sack loads to the BBC Blue Peter stamp appeal, which ran yearly to raise money for charity.

The third Blue Peter and Crossroads world colliding was in December 1996 when Jane Rossington appeared alongside Christopher Biggins and Tim Vincent in a festive panto offering.

Did Crossroads ever do a ‘whodunnit’ or ‘Murder Mystery’ type plot which has become more popular on recent soaps?

In 1974 Noele Gordon talked a little of how the ITA were terrible at spoiling plots. They had in 1970 made the show drop the witchcraft and ghost haunting plot early – as they, as the television regulator, – thought those plots were too scary for teatime viewing. The Independent Television Authority also scuppered a murder mystery as Noele Gordon explains:

“We had a mystery involving a sudden death going at the time. A touch of the Agatha Christie. Perhaps you wouldn’t expect this kind of mystery in a show such as ours but those of you who are regular viewers will know how varied our plots have become over the years. We originally wanted to do a murder mystery but as Crossroads is for family viewing, the Independent Television Authority stepped in and told us we couldn’t show a murder at a time when young children might be watching.

“They did, however, approve an accidental death – as long as nobody was seen on screen! It took some ingenuity to overcome their ban and this is how we did it: Our plot was centred around a mysterious stranger who booked into the motel, wearing a gold ring in the shape of a skull. At his check-in, the ring was seen in close up, and when the death had taken place, instead of showing the dead mans body, it was sufficient to show only the hand with the ring on again.”

There were lots of accidental murders however, right from the 1960s into the 80s.

Did Crossroads have hardly any ‘outside’ scenes before 1985?

Motel sign

All soaps in the early years used in-studio sets as the ‘outside’ of buildings, Coronation Street certainly did – simply view the Martha Longhurst death episode to see the outside of the Rovers Return Inn is cleary studio-based, it’s just the way things were in all television dramas back then. And frankly, even in Corrie through to the late 1980s; Fairclough’s Builders Yard, seen with Alan Bradley as the occupant, was still using a studio set for its outdoor yard in 1988.

Crossroads was the first ‘serial’ to start regularly using Outside Broadcast units to record location scenes rather than film cameras from its launch 1964. The programme did, when OB video recording wasn’t available or impractical, use film cameras across its run. But it is untrue to say that Crossroads had less outside filming than other soaps in as much that Coronation Street had a backlot, Crossroads didn’t; so yes it wasn’t outside as much for the local buildings in the soap (those remained in-studio or still image shots) – but it did have around the same location recording as any other soap for special events or scenes in the village.

It should be noted that all shows, sometimes for ease, just used their internal ‘outdoor’ set areas rather than going out onto location to save time and money. Again in Coronation Street as late as 1988 scenes on ‘the doorstep’ of the Corrie houses are actually done in the studio rather than out on the backlot from time to time.

Was the supposed location filming in Tunisia really just a mocked-up set in Birmingham?

All the outside shots of Tunisia were really filmed in that location, as noted above many of the 1960s film-inserts for Crossroads survive, and the scenes recorded in North Africa survives, as do the scenes recorded in France (1965), Spain (1966) and later in the 1980s Italy. The inside sets for the Tunisia locations were all done in the Alpha Studios, Birmingham

Jane Rossington recalled how she was a bit annoyed with the fact all the other leading Motel stars had gone off on the location filming, and she was left behind due to the storyline having Jill overseeing the rebuilding work of the damaged Crossroads Motel after it was damaged in a bomb blast.

Shughie McFee (Angus Lennie)

Did Shughie McFee really disappear from screens for several years?

In 1980 Shughie suffered a breakdown. Doing terrible things at the motel, including smashing up the kitchen. With such goings-on, Shughie’s mother had to pop down to Kings Oak to sort her son out. It didn’t really work! His mother’s last words to him at the train station were “Oh and Shughie dear, make sure I’m cremated and not buried, I absolutely dread the thought of spiders creeping all over me.”

This lead to the famous scene of the spiders in the trifle. (which Shughie put there himself.) This was Shughie’s last major storyline. In 1981 the kitchen set was discontinued as the producers decided that they no longer required kitchen scenes.

However even Shughie’s departure story wasn’t quite the full-length feature it was supposed to be. The story was not fully completed due to the writer of it pulling out midway after falling out with director Kenneth Carter. So Shughie never did leave the motel… Between 1982 and 1985 although the set had gone – and the actor too – Shughie was still spoken of from time to time, still working away in the motel kitchen, just never seen. Shughie left the motel in 1985 – and a new chef – Andrew – arrived. He, however, was seen, along with his assistant, Paul. The kitchen set however never returned.

Angus Lennie last appeared as Shughie for Crossroads in November 1985 in the special 21st-anniversary programme.

Were the “videotapes” as seen on the Crossroads documentary “30 Years On” faked?

The quads (professional television tapes) were fake. The documentary production crew had problems in locating a large number of tapes to film – so they mocked up the labels. If you look closely, you can see the “ATV” covers for the tapes are far cleaner than the actual quads. Two ITV employees have confirmed the documentary team faked it for artistic licence.

Tanworth-in-Arden became Kings Oak in 1980?

The Crossroads Years book by Jane Rossington says this is so, however, photographs from the 1970s prove Tanworth was being used long before 1980. It appears the documentation of location filming by ATV had been lost some years earlier, and possibly Jane guessed 1980, either that or it was a typing error and should have said 1970. (Which is the correct year.)

The village can be seen in the Christmas 1975 and 1978 episodes on the Network DVD releases. The original Crossroads recording location was the village of Baschurch in Shropshire, why ATV abandoned this village isn’t noted however Tanworth In Arden is nearer to the ATV studios than the original village location, which may have been one of the reasons for changing the village setting.

Did David Hunter really suffer a gambling addiction for only one week?

David Hunter (Ronald Allen)

No, we don’t know where this myth came from. But having checked the TV Times for the ATV region we can report that details of David’s addiction run for over a month. The story also didn’t just vanish there was a proper ending to it too. Around six weeks worth of Crossroads features David’s flirting with gambling. The story also re-surfaced from time to time – including in part of a 1982 storyline and it was featured as part of David’s last story in 1985. So it was quite a recurring problem for David.

Lew Grade paid the ATV staff with cash?

According to a couple of ex-ATV staff Lord Lew Grade would arrive once a month at the ATV Alpha studios during its early days and pay the staff with cash.  This practice had long stopped by the time ATV Centre opened in 1969.

The cast of Crossroads performed an opera?

Yes in the late 1960s, although sadly the recording hasn’t lasted the test of time, it was also never broadcast – Noele Gordon explains more:

“The Design Department had been asked to provide a flat for the characters of Brian and Janice Jarvis, and the details of the flat had been left to the designers. The couple were just starting their married life, so all that was really required was a rather small apartment. However, the scenic people came up with a very splendid set, bay windows, Gothic arches – and that sort of thing.

“The outside sequences of their apartment had been shot at the Cháteau Impney Hotel in Droitwich. In the interests of accuracy, our design department had produced a set which had the inside with the same lavish architecture. ‘It looks like a grand opera’ one of the crew giggled. And this all gave us an idea. We all went along to the wardrobe department and got ourselves fitted out in medieval costumes – just the kind of outfit you’d expect to see on the stage of Covent Garden or La Scala during a grand opera season.”

An instrumental recording of March Of The Toreadors was found, and then when the moment ‘Crossroads‘ came to record the cast all marched into the Jarvis’ set performing the grand opera. Noele comments,

“It really was very funny, and quite a shock for Reg Watson looking down on us from the control room.”

In the 2003 episodes of Crossroads, the newspapers boasted that the new uniforms were all ‘designer labels’ is this true?

No. We took a close look at Tracey Booth’s bar uniform – it came from Marks And Spencer. That isn’t what we’d call a designer label, although 2003 series producer, Yvon Grace may do.

Did Benny vanish for a year looking for a spanner?

Benny Hawkins (Paul Henry)

According to Paul Henry, who played Benny – no. He made the story up as a joke, however, it has now gone into folk law as fact. Benny did often ‘leave’ the village from time to time – however most times an explanation was given. He would travel on the road a lot, for example.

Benny’s final appearance was a little unexpected. The Christmas 1987 episode saw Benny go up the ladder to put the fairy on top of the Christmas tree – he never came down!

Was there a fire in the mid-1960s that destroyed all the early episodes of Crossroads?

No. None of the ATV staff at Alpha Television recalls a fire. More so, it would have seemingly been a very selective fire if true – as all the 1964 Crossroads promotional footage is still around. It seems to have been made up at one point by ATV possibly to cover up the fact they wiped them all – even the first episode.

Also, it has been said there was a fire at ATV Centre in the early 1980s. Again this is not true. There was a flood, but none of the archive material was damaged.

What was Jill and Stan’s relationship like in the original series?

Jill married Stan in the early 1970s, but the relationship was always difficult, with Stan’s temper and Jill’s lack of common sense. In 1977 the couple split up over Jill’s affair with her half brother – Anthony Mortimer. Although it was Jill’s fault she ended up hating Stan because he moved to Germany – with their daughter, Sarah Jane. Jill never forgave Stan, but she did abide him on her regular visits to Germany.

Sarah Jane also often visited Kings Oak to see her mother. Sarah Jane was a bridesmaid at Jill’s 1983 wedding to Adam Chance. These facts conflict with the Carlton series’ ‘history’ of Jill and Stan.

Were there two Benny characters in Crossroads?

Yes. Benny Wilmott was played by Deke Arlon (real-life husband of Jill Betts who played Carlos’ wife) was the original Benny, the character ran the Crossroads Café in the motel grounds. This original Benny left in 1966, although he didn’t get written out – one of the many who simply ‘vanished’ from the motel. He was last seen going out to buy a bag of sugar for Meg Richardson (Noele Gordon) in the plot.

Deke did return as Benny, however only for one episode which was a special ‘tongue in cheek’ edition celebrating 1500 episodes in 1971. He returned to the kitchen – with the sugar! While none of his episodes survives, a 1960s insert shows him in character with Sue Nicholls flying a light aircraft.

The second Benny, of course, was the “famous” one everyone knows – Benny Hawkins, played by Paul Henry between 1975 and 1987.

Newspaper headlines

Were scenes of Meg really filmed in 1985 or is that just a myth?

The then producer, Phillip Bowman, talked a little about Noele Gordon’s return just after her death. We know she had met with Phillip in November 1984 to discuss her regular returns to the programme. She was given a three-month contract, which she signed. This would see her filming on the sets from January to March of 1985. Noele attended the Crossroads Christmas party of 1984, and former Producer Jack Barton’s leaving party in the same month.

In 1984, she spoke to TV-am about her return and seemed excited that Meg was finally coming home. She had, by all accounts, been welcomed back into the “Crossroads family” and Phillip Bowman was pleased to have her on board. Sadly, after what seemed like a grand recovery in December/January, Noele relapsed, and died in April. The scripts were written, the storyline was in place.

The Mirror reported due to her ill-health any scenes had to be dropped, and sadly she died before any were recorded. The Sun noted after her death she was due to return to the show with the character eventually ‘moving back to Kings Oak’.

How much did an episode of Crossroads cost to make?

When Crossroads started ATV allocated £700 to it – per episode. By 1974, Crossroads per episode cost £1,200. In 1974 Coronation Street was provided with £3,000 per edition. Cast on Corrie were paid up to as much as £400 per week, Crossroads cast, if they were lucky, were earning around £160 per week.

Between 1964 and 1968 Noele Gordon was paid £30 per episode. Which is very little when you think that the cast of Emergency Ward Ten at the same time was on £80 per episode.

Did Crossroads offend Birmingham City Council?

Yes, back in the days when the City Council failed to note that Crossroads was set in Kings Oak – a fictional village – rather than Birmingham. Some council members got offended by various plots. The most documented one was from the early 1970s. In one episode a councillor was seen asking a couple for a bribe in return for helping them get a council house quicker.

Crossroads aimed to reflect real life, but this real-life issue – which had actually happened (although not in the Midlands) – was a bit too close for comfort for the Birmingham Councillors, including Alderman Harry Watton who called Crossroads ‘pig swill entertainment’ at a council meeting.

Another member, Geoffrey Austin told the meeting that Crossroads was widely accepted ‘by most people’ that it was based in the City of Birmingham. ATV pointed out that Crossroads was not set in Birmingham City – but ten miles south of the city in a fictional village. It didn’t stop Mr Austin continuing; “The suggestion that a councillor would ask for money under these circumstances was an imputation against the chairman, members and officers of the Birmingham Public Works Committee.”

Crossroads with the very same episode also offended the Mayor of Birmingham, Alderman George Barrow who said he “deplored the episode.” The people of Birmingham were not so offended, one taxpayer, Nora Hinks, asked if the council in addition to its other duties would now be also vetting ATV’s programme content!

It should be noted that for the most part however ATV and the council, along with the programme, co-operated happily with the soap involved in many publicity drives for the city as well as attending special events held by the council.

Amy Turtle with Tommy Lancaster (Ann George & Terence Rigby)

When Amy Turtle returned in 1987 was her role restricted to occasional ‘cameo’s’ due to the ill health of actress Ann George?

Her role was always intended to be an occasional character (it was a publicity stunt after all). She was simply the housekeeper for the Lancaster family, which meant she wasn’t often seen in the programme; only when required. Her ill health however later brought those appearances to a close.

The suggestion by the press that she couldn’t record often ‘in-studio’ due to being too overweight, was rubbish, the society has visited ATV Centre – and the studios had lifts! Which she did use to reach the studios when filming demanded it. The fact was she was ill, and the stress of working in studio full time was too much for Ann.

As a side note, when Ann George walked back onto the Crossroads set after over ten years away, the entire cast and crew cheered.

Is it true the BBC made nine episodes of Crossroads?

Well, not exactly. They did make nine short editions, however, they were just for BBC Two’s ATV Night slot in 1994. The Crossroads Motel was the setting for the continuity links between the ATV programmes.

These special episodes which did include some Crossroads-style drama starred Jane Rossington, Angus Lennie and Tony Adams.

Noele Gordon Sings was recorded in 1967, not 1976!

This is a typo by the record company on the sleeve, it was very much recorded in 1976 as the EMI Abbey Road Studios’ history archive note. CAS leader Peter Kingsman was also at the recording having been invited by Noele, who he’d first met a year earlier.

The album was produced at Abbey Road with Geoff Love’s orchestra as backing.

Former ITV boss David Liddiment skipped over Crossroads quickly in his documentary about soaps, he placed things that happened first in the Midland motel firmly at the door of other shows, a total research disaster or deliberate attempt to re-write history?

In his dubious ‘soap history’ show, what brief coverage of Crossroads we got we found him comparing Brookside to Crossroads, which is really like comparing BBC daytime daily soap Doctors with once a week lavish drama Downton Abbey. Both very different productions.

It is quite funny how executives pigeon hole all serials in ‘one box’. It seems they just don’t get there are many different types of saga, just as there are varying kinds of drama. I’m not sure you could compare a high tech spy thriller to a slow-paced period drama, but maybe Liddiment could try for a witty documentary…

Noele Gordon explains perfectly why Crossroads could never be like Brookside, and nor did they want it to be: “When Crossroads started we were often knocked for being full of cardboard situations and plots. But the truth is, back in the 1960s this is what the viewers wanted. They wanted escapisms, they didn’t expect anything more of television other than plastic plots having little or nothing to do with present-day life.

“But viewers tastes changed, and stories have to become more adult. So Crossroads changed with the tastes. Viewers today expect realistic situations and the plots in Crossroads have dealt more and more with contemporary life. But at the same time, we are very conscious that what is seen and accepted in a family living-room is very different to what you would be prepared to accept in a film or in a soap airing later at night.

“So while Crossroads does handle taboo and socially aware subjects there is always a knowledge that such situations and dialougue must be presented in a way that will always be acceptable to family audiences.”

Also Brookside had the good fortune of not only airing later at night, but it also didn’t have the TV regulator watching its every plot – due to it not airing on ITV or at teatime. It is a noted fact the regulator shunted a programme made for ITV to Channel 4 as it was deemed unacceptable on the mainstream network, but fine to air on the other. ATV made sure Crossroads was tame visually, because of the young audience.

Director Michael Hart sums up perfectly how the motel soap worked: “I think it is [popular] because it portrays life as people like it to be. It is escapist enough for that. It doesn’t offend. It doesn’t overstimulate. And it does go along in a way that people can recognise and accept what is happening without making them think terribly hard. In short, it appeals to a large section of the tea-time viewing public.”

Mr Liddlement, we notice, didn’t comment on any of his numerous failed soaps; none of which have come anywhere near to running 24 years. I doubt it was a deliberate attempt, just terrible research by the factual department at the production.

Sandy Richardson (Roger Tonge)

Sandy Richardson was a token wheelchair character?

According to the BBC Two show ‘TV and Disability, Are you having a Laugh?’ then apparently so. Interesting to note it was made by the same people as the David Liddlement misleading series from a few years earlier.

Apparently because Sandy was a motel manager, who was treated ‘as normal’ by everyone. That makes him cardboard and token. They state all he did was wheel himself around the motel in a token fashion. Utter rubbish. He had romances, he had arguments, he did charity work and yes at times issues about being in a wheelchair came to light. He was an all-round decent wheelchair based character.

The BBC Two show just wanted to run a myth that TV was terrible to wheelchair uses up until the 1990s; so ignored all the positive portrayals prior to that point. It was misleading, and worse it excluded the fact TV has lead to one of the greatest things for the families of wheelchair users – the Crossroads Caring for Carers charity which assists families in caring for disabled people.

One talking head said she couldn’t identify with Sandy. Well as she was a teenage girl at the time, I doubt she would identify with a late 20s manager of a hospitality establishment. But just because he was in a wheelchair she was supposed to be able to identify with him? We weren’t the only ones noting its flaws. The Points Of View message board was inundated, and even for once, TV critics noted the show was unfair toward our Sandy.

Was Amy Turtle really accused of being a Russian Spy?

Oh, how the nation laughed – not at the time – but years later when some newspapers decided to make it into something it wasn’t, and then 30 years later a real old lady was discovered to have been a Russian spy. Not so out of place after all then! But yes, Amy was accused of being a spy for Russia within the programme. It was of course just a case of mistaken identity: A sinister-looking guest from Eastern Europe checked into the Crossroads Motel in 1973 and was sure he recognised our Amy.

He was positive that she was in fact a former KGB spy with a real name of Amelia Turtlovska. The story was a light-hearted sub-plot. The legend of this story seemed to imply that the authorities swooped on Crossroads and trooped off Amy to the spy interrogation centre. That of course, didn’t happen. And the guest went away simply leaving Amy slightly miffed.

Is that painting of the vase of flowers in Meg’s sitting room famous?

The original painting was created by artist E. Van Guelt. There are no further details on the artist or the painting. The original was sold off by Central in 1988, however in 1976 ATV and the Woman’s Weekly magazine joined forces to offer a limited edition replica of it.

The poster version sold for 98p, or just over £2 for three copies and a signed photo card of Noele Gordon.

Did David Lawton die in 1979?

For many years it was unclear if the actor and writer had passed away in the late 1970s. However, a friend of the actor informed the CAS Facebook page in late 2017 that David was very much alive. In fact, the retired performer had been involved with local dramatics for decades, had celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary to wife Rebecca earlier in the year and would be turning 95 in 2018.

A photograph of David and his wife from their wedding anniversary was also shared. Where his death myth came from no one really knows.

Was there a musical version of Crossroads?

No, but there have been events. The biggest was in 1980 when The Variety Club of Great Britain hosted a celebration of Crossroads at a Birmingham venue. It was presented by comedian Bob Monkhouse, who had appeared in the soap in the 1960s. Attendees included Noele Gordon, Tony Adams, Susan Hanson, Paul Henry, Pamela Vazey, Peter Hill, Lynette McMorrough, Ronald Allen, Sue Lloyd, Ian Liston, Janet Hargreaves, Roger Tonge and Jane Rossington.

Sandy was supposed to walk again but a viewer called in and said he couldn’t with those injuries?

Not a lot can be said on this, we have covered Crossroads Care and Sandy’s story in great detail elsewhere, but we will respond with producer Reg Watson’s comment at the time.

It is likely storyliners discussed Sandy being able to walk again, but as Reg said – it was never going to happen:

“Everything is carefully researched to make sure we have no inaccurate impressions given. For example, when Sandy had the accident we argued for a long time about whether he would really have let someone who was obviously drunk take over the driving. We were talking to one of the surgeons at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, which were our source of information for the spinal injuries, and he said ‘The same thing happened to me, only luckily we did not have a crash.’

“We had to take the whole storyline very seriously we also had advice from ATV’s own Dr. Richard Hudson-Evans and the Robert Jones And Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital. We had to make sure that the actor, Roger Tonge, realised it would mean sitting in a wheel-chair for the rest of his time in Crossroads. Yes it would have been wonderfully dramatic if suddenly he could stand up and walk, but we knew from the start medically that just cannot happen, so it will not happen. Crossroads is about people, real every day people, so it has to be real we cannot cheat.” – Reg Watson, June 1973

Research by Douglas Lambert, Peter Kingsman, Mike Garrett and Ian Armitage.