Crossroads has been host to many famous faces over the years. Here is just a sample of some of the more well-known people who have wandered through Kings Oak.
Bob Monkhouse starred as himself staying at the motel as a guest on the 18th August 1966, arriving in a car with Joe Loss and Billy Wright. Bob was one of ATV’s biggest stars at that time hosting its flagship game show, The Golden Shot.
He went on to compare the very first programme from Yorkshire TV in 1968 and also hosted numerous other quiz shows in later years – his last being Wipeout for BBC One. Bob liked Crossroads so much he was the host of the Variety Club’s celebration of the motel saga in 1980.
Anthony Steel was during the 1940s and 50s a “silver screen Icon” of classic movies. He joined Crossroads – his first major TV role – playing con-man Phillip Warner-Blyth. From the motel onwards he starred in many other television dramas but decided to retire from the business in 1984.
Diane Keen played the motel receptionist Sandra Gould from 1969 to 1973. Diane has since gone onto other television roles including, The Sweeney and Taggart. Drama with Minder, Boon and A Touch Of Frost. She has also been a regular in BBC daytime soap Doctors.
Malcolm McDowell played Motel PR Consultant, Crispin Ryder, the son of Meg’s second husband Malcolm – who tried to murder the motel owner. It was McDowell’s first television role. Since those black and white days at Crossroads in the late 1960s, he has forged a career as a major international movie star. His film credits are numerous and include A Clockwork Orange, If, The Raging Moon and Star Trek.
Don Henderson is no doubt best remembered for his long-running role of detective George Bulman across three separate television dramas. He also starred opposite former EastEnders actor Leslie Grantham in BBC series, The Paradise Club, in the early 1990s. Don played the original Mr Black in Crossroads in 1979 who was a private detective looking for conman Phillip Warner-Blyth.
Ken Dodd was the most famous export from Knotty Ash in Liverpool, Merseyside. One of the greatest all-round entertainers in Britain with a career that spanned six decades, Doddy has been described as the last great variety entertainers who continued to perform his live stage shows up until only a few months before his death. In the 1960s he became a popular singer and comedian on television hosting his own series for the BBC.
In 1967 he appeared as himself at the Crossroads Motel as a celebrity guest. Other later serious roles include a guest spot in BBC’s Doctor Who.
Elaine Paige, in 1968, fresh from drama school, played waitress Caroline Winthrop from episode 880 onwards. The storyline saw her become one of Sandy’s many girlfriends. Elaine became a noted figure in the theatre circle after finding fame in the stage show, Hair. Theatre is where she has spent most of her career, although pop chart fame arrived in the 1980s thanks to a hit song from the musical Chess being released. She has also appeared in a couple of movies in the 1970s.
Carl Wayne appeared as Colin the village milkman, he also sung in the show. Carl, of course, is best known for his time in the sixties with pop group The Move and in later for a stint with The Hollies. Carl had a solo pop career between as well as a popular regular on ITV in the 70s, 80s and 90s on shows such as Lunchtime With Wogan, The Golden Shot, Hi Summer and The Pink Windmill Show to name just a few. He was also the voice of ATV’s talent show New Faces, singing the theme tune ‘You’re a Star’ on the opening of the first few series.
Bryan Mosley was Alf Roberts, the corner shop owner for over 25 years in Coronation Street, but he was also one of the few actors to appear in both Crossroads and Corrie at the same time. Bryan joined Crossroads in episode 501 as a Spanish hotel owner – just one of several parts he would play in the saga.
During his 1960s stint at the motel, he starred alongside his future Weatherfield wife – Sue Nicholls. Bryan spoke fondly of his time in Crossroads noting in his memoirs that it saddened him that the programme was often derided and that he remembered it with great affection.
Bob Warman is a man of many regional news programmes. In April 2018 he marked 45 years in broadcasting – a career which has seen him as a presenter on ATV Today, Central News and Calendar News. He also has worked as a breakfast host for Yorkshire Television and hosted Miss Yorkshire at one point.
He became a networked face when he was hired as the new host of the classic game show, The Price Is Right for Sky Television. Warman appeared as himself reporting for Central News when the Crossroads Motel staff walked out on strike.
David Jason appeared in Crossroads as a boxing promoter, and part-time gardener at the motel, Bernie Kilroy. His love of plants, however, wasn’t genuine and he was simply getting into Meg’s good-books in order to rob the motel. His boxing storyline did, however, introduce a long-running character of fighter David Cartwright played by former ‘porn star’ John Hamill.
David spent six months with Crossroads, before fleeing when Meg discovered his ploy. He later returned for two weeks a reformed Bernie who checked back in at the motel to show he’d mended his ways. David went on to huge success in comedy with many BBC sitcoms including Open All Hours and Only Fools and Horses.
Kathy Staff was another much-loved comedy star, from Mrs Blewit in Open All Hours to Nora Batty in Last Of The Summer Wine – her comic roles are numerous. She’s also appeared in other ITV sagas Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Castle Haven. However, her longest-running serial role was that of cleaner and kitchen assistant Doris Luke.
Staff joined the series in 1978 and remained on a contract until 1985. She rejoined the show in 2001 for a year. Kathy had also appeared in the soap for a brief stint in 1971 as Mrs Dingwall – as a character who was at the motel to arrange her daughter’s wedding reception. Kathy, although spending longer in Last Of The Summer Wine, always said Crossroads was her favourite show to work on and she never wanted to leave.
Jimmy Hanley appeared in numerous films including The Blue Lamp which later spawned BBC drama, Dixon Of Dock Green. At the motel, he played artist and old college friend of Meg’s Jimmy Gudgeon. He caused Meg blushes when he apparently painted a ‘nude’ of her, it transpired later that the body was of someone else. The divine Annette Badland appeared in a number of episodes in 1978 as Dawn a waitress at the motel, Annette of course is best-known these days as ‘baddie’ Babe in EastEnders.
Francesca Gonshaw became a regular in the cast of BBC sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo following a stint in Crossroads as Paul Ross’ daughter Lisa Walters.
Lynda Baron starred in the soap as secretary, Phoebe Tompkins. Phoebe was just one of the many women to have a crush on motel boss David Hunter, however, he declined her offer of romance. Baron is possibly most well-known for her role as Nurse Gladys Emanuel in sitcom Open All Hours – starring opposite Ronnie Barker. She has also starred in such other soaps as EastEnders, Coronation Street and Doctors.
Sue Nicholls started her acting career on Crossroads in 1964 and after leaving in late 1968 went on to many other television hits. From shows such as comedy series, The Rise And Fall Of Reginald Perrin to children’s slapstick with Rentaghost and finally in 1979 ITV serial Coronation Street – where she still appears as Audrey Roberts. At the motel, she’ll forever be Marilyn Gates the ‘tarty’ waitress with a heart of gold.
Carmen Sylvera starred in two Peter Ling and Hazel Adair soaps: Compact and Crossroads. In the BBC saga, she played Camilla Hope. In Crossroads she was Mrs Burnley a motel guest who appeared several times. After Crossroads she moved to comedy with a small role in sitcom Dads Army before becoming a regular in the long-running BBC comedy, ‘Allo ‘Allo.
Larry Grayson is a star name who first came to television screens on ATV’s entertainment series Saturday Variety. Larry proved such a hit with viewers ATV gave him his own series, Shut That Door, which ran for two series before he switched to LWT in 1974 and hosted a number of comedy shows including The Larry Grayson Show and Larry Grayson’s Hour of Stars.
During his time with ITV, he made numerous appearances in Crossroads. Firstly in 1972, he played himself. Grayson, while supposedly doing a theatre show in Birmingham stayed at the Crossroads Motel – and found the whole experience terrible. However, he forgave Meg for the Ferret in his chalet and returned for the Christmas Special where he starred as ‘Santa’ at the motel fancy dress festive party.
In 1975 he returned as the wedding chauffeur at Meg and Hugh’s wedding. In 1978 he switched to the BBC where he took over as host of popular The Generation Game from Bruce Forsyth. Grayson stayed with the show for five years. Noele Gordon appeared on “Laz’s Gen Game” twice, they also starred a couple of times next to each other on Terry Wogan fronted quiz Blankety Blank.
Larry semi-retired from show business in the mid-1980s, opting to appear on chat shows and the odd special, such as the Royal Variety Performance in 1995 where he made his final appearance.
Jean Fergusson is most famous for her role of Marina, the elderly tart, in BBC sitcom Last Of The Summer Wine. Fergusson played Marina – forever chasing a married man – between 1985 and 2010. Back in the 1970s, she played Caroline Herbert in Crossroads a former lover of Roy Mollison who was far from pleased he’d dumped her for Sheila Harvey. Jean went onto make small appearances in Granada’s Coronation Street in 1987 and 2010.
Jeffrey Holland turned up in Crossroads a month after making his television debut in BBC police drama Dixon of Dock Green, Holland was signed on a six-week contract to appear in as Jeffrey himself says on his website “Eleven episodes of the hugely popular ATV soap.”
Probably not surprising when you consider he is a Midlander by birth. He joined the cast as Mike Hawkins, a friend of Crossroads’ regulars Sheila and Roy Mollison and market fruit stallholder. Holland recalls that his storyline saw him acting as a go-between for his friends and a runaway boy. Jeffrey recalls “I went to the motel for some coffee and was never seen again.” In 2016 half an episode featuring Jeffrey was discovered, the only footage of his time in the saga.
After that final hunt for coffee, Jeffrey went on to numerous programmes including BBC sitcoms Hi-Di-Hi, Oh Doctor Beeching and You Rang M’Lord?
Jon Finch featured as Gareth Leyton in the Midland soap, the brother of Cliff Leyton played by Johnny Briggs. Jon went onto many other film and TV roles. From The New Avengers to Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile and ITC’s Hammer House Of Horror TV series.
Duncan Goodhew was an Olympic gold and bronze medallist at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. He appeared as himself in the soap when opening the brand-new motel leisure centre in episode 4,216 other sportsmen included back in 1965 Aston Villa player Phil Woosnam, Birmingham City football manager Ron Saunders and the new series saw Aston Villa’s Dion Dublin feature.
Steven Pinder first appeared on our TV screens in 1982 in a short drama series called Foxy Lady. His next major role was as Roy Lambert in the revamped Crossroads from 1985 to 1988. In 1990 he joined the cast of Brookside where he remained as Max Farnham until it was axed in 2003.
Judy Matheson was a popular television and movie face, from Z-Cars to The Sweeney and The Professionals to Blake’s 7, Judy spent time in Crossroads as Hugh Mortimer’s secretary, Vicky Lambert, who also went on to have a romance with Sandy Richardson.
Hugh – who moved his secretary into his cottage, much to the charring of wife Meg – also tried to make a pass at Vicky but suffered a heart attack in the process. He begged her not to tell anyone. After Crossroads Judy worked for TVS as an announcer and later joined Sky Television’s presenting team.
Vincent Ball started his television acting career in the UK on Peter Ling and Hazel Adair’s BBC soap Compact before moving over to Crossroads as motel manager Kevin McCarther. Meg met Kevin while on holiday in Spain. He thought she was rich, she thought he was rich. And a small romance bloomed.
It turned out that he wasn’t rich and she wasn’t as well off as he thought. Still, they became good friends and Meg invited Kevin to oversee her motel. Ball later returned home to Australia and became a regular in Australian dramas and serials including The Young Doctors, A Country Practice and most recently – aged 90 – in Home & Away.
Hilda Braid. Crossroads was the first of many ‘soap’ roles for Hilda playing Winnie Plumbtree the kitchen hand she is most famously remembered by fans of the serial for causing chaos in the kitchen when she somehow managed to blow up the motel dishwasher and flooded part of the motel in 1977. She went on to star in Emmerdale, Brookside and almost 18 years after her Brookside stint she returned to soapland in 2002 – as Victoria “nana” Moon – in EastEnders where she won the hearts of the viewers and became one of the BBC serials’ most loved actresses of the decade.
Shaw Taylor stayed as a guest at Crossroads. Shaw was a mainstay presenter at ITV, fronting groundbreaking crime series Police Five for several regions on the network. He also fronted many local programmes for ATV in the 1950s and 60s for both ATV London and ATV Midlands. In the 1980s Police Five helped found criminal appeal helpline CrimeStoppers which still runs today, despite the TV versions no longer airing.
Shaw also voiced documentaries and narrated clip series for ITV. Taylor recently starred in a spoof radio version of the motel soap in 2007. His catchphrase is “Keep ’em Peeled” which he reprised for Channel 5 in 2014 when the broadcaster revived Police 5.
Tony Adams was more famous when joining Crossroads for his role as Doctor Neville Bywaters in ATV’s drama series General Hospital. He is also a cult thanks to starring in BBC Science fiction drama Doctor Who and has more recently starred in The Grimley’s, The Upper Hand and BBC daytime soap opera, Doctors. Tony is the patron of Crossroads Care in Worcs.
Joe Loss was the youngest son of a Russian furniture maker, he attended the same London school as Lew Grade. Loss created his first band in 1930 and from then onwards The Joe Loss Orchestra, with Joe at the helm, were still performing well into the 1980s. He appeared as himself in the series alongside Bob Monkhouse and Billy Wright in 1966.
Kate Robbins reached number 2 in the UK pop charts thanks to Crossroads with the song, More Than In Love which she performed in the series. She went on to become one of the main voice performers in comedy puppet show Spitting Image for Central TV and later fronted her own ITV sketch show in 1988.
Arthur Pentelow turned up in Kings Oak in January 1965 as ‘The President’ in episode 54, part of the scenes involving the Army Court trial of Philip Winter (Malcolm Young). No doubt the popular actor will be fondly remembered as the character of Mr Wilkes in Emmerdale Farm.
Sue Lloyd is an actress who appeared in what has become known now as the ‘classic era’ of television. Featuring in cult ITC classics such as camp detective series Department S, action thrillers The Saint and The Persuaders. And that is just a handful… Lloyd played the divine Barbara Brady who became Mrs Hunter in the motel series when she married the dishy David in 1980. Sue appeared in the midland soap between 1979 and 1985.
Jean Kent first appeared as Jennifer Lamont in 1982, the snobby wife of garage boss Reg in Crossroads. She had been a major film and television actress for many years before.
Tony Britton. He may be most fondly remembered for his role in the long-running television sit-com, Don’t Wait Up, however, Tony Britton has a wide range of film and television credits that span many decades – from sitcom Robin’s Nest to drama series Holby City.
For those who like TV facts, Tony is the father of television presenter, Fern Britton. He played himself in Crossroads, boarding at the motel while in pantomime in Birmingham at Christmas 1966.
Jacqueline Pirie is famous for her roles in two other big serials. She spent two years in Emmerdale as Tina Dingle from 1994, before switching to Weatherfield in 1998 where she hooked up with factory boss Mike Baldwin (played by other Crossroads actor Johnny Briggs). She made her first TV acting appearance in Crossroads, aged 11.
Ronald Allen was a well-known actor long before Crossroads with roles in classic Doctor Who, Dangerman and The Avengers. After nearly 16 years Ronald left Crossroads behind and went onto make more drama in 1989 on BBC crime series Bergerac, and had a recurring role in Channel 4’s comedy, The Comic Strip Presents.
Derek Farr played Timothy Hunter, brother of David, in the 1970s. Timothy was always ‘on the take’ borrowing money from people, including Meg. He was left distraught in 1972 when a car he should have been driving crashed – leaving Meg’s son Sandy unable to walk. The character suffered a stroke in 1978 and wasn’t seen again. Derek had been a well-respected film actor since the 1930s and continued to act until his death in 1986.
Andrew Ray was the son of 1950s radio celebrity Ted Ray, Andrew played Howard Coates in the ATV motel saga. Ray was in much demand during the 1970s and 80s making many more television and movie appearances, these include parts in Anglia Television’s thrillers Tales Of The Unexpected, BBC police drama Dixon Of Dock Green, LWT’s period drama Upstairs Downstairs and Central TV’s crime drama Inspector Morse.
Arthur Marshall appeared as himself at the motel in 1983. Arthur was most famous for his role as a captain on the BBC daytime game show, Call My Bluff. Arthur booked into the motel for a quiet Easter break, talking to Jill Chance (Jane Rossington) about his famous television role. He appeared in the soap after noting it was his favourite programme and would love a part on it – Central gladly obliged.
Jane Freeman, of Last of the Summer Wine fame, played Ivy the café owner in the series. She had a very different character over in Kings Oak. Jane featured as Emily Burrell in Crossroads – a friend of farmer Ed Lawton, the uncle of regular Diane Parker.
Wendy Padbury played the 14-year-old Stevie Harris when she was 17 for a year. Wendy later went on to find fame in BBC Sci-fi drama series, Doctor Who.
Godfrey Winn was a one-time well- known author, and journalist, who also presented political programmes for ITV. He appeared in the soap twice. The first time to interview ‘Meg Richardson’ for an ATV programme and returned for the 1500 episode celebrations to report on the continued success of the motel – he also brought his ‘original footage’ along to screen to the gathered party guests. (The footage was the original trailers for Crossroads from 1964).
Sandy Ratcliff is best known in more recent times for her role as Sue Osman in EastEnders. Sandy appeared in Crossroads as Barbara Parker, the 30- years younger wife of series regular Vince Parker’s (Peter Brookes) dad. While Vince and his father didn’t get on, he did become close to his stepmother. Possibly too close…
Terence Rigby became the new motel owner Tommy Lancaster in early 1987. Has been seen in many dramas before and since the soap, these include the BBC’s Lovejoy, ITV’s Midsomer Murders and Thames Television’s Van Der Valk.
Johnny Briggs appeared as Clifford Leyton who walked into the motel in 1973 and wooed Diane Parker. Clifford was the owner of a taxi company and later invested in the Crossroads Garage. He also was involved in several other schemes including a rather iffy casino. He left in 1975 and then Johnny took on a role as Mike Baldwin in Coronation Street – where he stayed for 30 years. Johnny has also appeared in numerous films including On The Buses and 633 Squadron.
Stan Stennett was a jazz musician who also turned his hand to acting and comedy. He played Hilda Ogden’s brother in classic Coronation Street and has since continued acting, appearing in Doctors, Heartbeat and Casualty. Stan first appeared in Crossroads – his first serial – in 1970 playing GI Harry Silver who was on the run from the law. He ended up being sent to prison for 20 years after holding Tish Hope and Bernard Booth hostage with a toy gun.
He returned to the show in 1982 playing garage mechanic Sid Hooper for seven years.
Max Wall was born in 1908 and grew up to become of Britain’s best-loved music hall artists during the 1920s and 30s. His career spanned almost 70 years and one of his final regular TV appearances was that of Walter Soper, cousin of Arthur Brownlow and friend of Sid Hooper at the Crossroads motel.
Richard Thorp became a ‘telly heartthrob’ thanks to his role in ATV’s Emergency Ward Ten medical saga. Richard also had a stint in Crossroads during the 1970s as a love interest of regular hairdresser Vera Downend. Thorp’s Crossroads character was a sailor so he was able to come and go freely from the series for long spells – making his last appearance in 1976 following a disagreement over repeat fees.
In 1982 he joined Yorkshire Television as Alan Turner in their dales based serial Emmerdale. He became one of the longest-serving actors on the show up until his death in 2013.
Gretchen Franklin was Myrtle Cavendish in Crossroads, the second wife of Wilf Harvey – yes Jill’s mother-in-law! Sadly Myrtle eventually died, leaving Wilf heartbroken. But leaving Crossroads turned out to be a good move for Gretchen – she will be forever one of the EastEnders legends – Ethel Skinner. She’d had previous serial experience in Yorkshire Television’s Castle Haven in 1969 alongside Kathy Staff.
Jess Conrad starred as Philip Bailey in 1978. Following the death of his wife at the motel his character turns up looking for answers. During the 1950s and 60s, Jess was a popular pop singer, before turning to acting. Some of his hit songs include Pretty Jenny, This Pullover and Cherry Pie. Conrad has also had a successful stage career performing in musicals. In the 1990s he became a regular ‘special guest’ on Jim Davidson’s Generation Game. He’s most recently been seen back on prime time TV in Last Laugh In Vegas.
Frank Middlemass featured as a guest at the motel in the late 1980s, had a long and varied stage and television career. He became a regular on BBC sitcom As Time Goes By and other notable programmes include; Yorkshire TV’s sitcom Only When I Laugh and BBC satirical comedy, Yes, Prime Minister.
Miriam Margolyes and Jacqueline Holborough both featured in Crossroads as mother and daughter. Holborough played Shirley Perkins, a character in the series from 1966 until 1969. Originally Shirley was a friend of Penny Richardson – (niece of Meg Richardson) who was later ‘adopted’ by the Jarvis family after Shirley’s dad became a drunk and her mum tried to rob the motel.
Shirley Perkins later became a nurse after leaving Kings Oak school and nursed Vince the postman through his temporary blindness after Meg’s car accident. Vince dumped Shirley for Diane when he recovered. Shirley went off with Diane’s former lover Marcus the local antique dealer and was seen only one or two more times after that in the early 1970s. Jacqueline Holborough is now a playwright. The wanna-be-robber and Shirley’s mother Miriam Margolyes has had so much success since there simply isn’t room to mention her huge hits.
Gian Sammarco is best known for his role as Adrian Mole, Gian played a teenage troublemaker who was staying at the motel with his aunt and uncle in Crossroads. Quite a change from his geeky Mole image. As Jason Hathaway, he terrorised Benny’s dog Moses – and Benny didn’t take kindly to that.
Stephen Hancock is another one of those actors who departed Kings Oak for Weatherfield. He went on to Coronation Street where he played Ernie Bishop, Emily’s husband who was shot and killed during an armed robbery at the clothing factory.
Dawn Addams was a one-time major film star who appeared in Crossroads for a week during 1978 as the mother of Vicky Lambert – who was played by another busy film star of the time, Judy Matheson. Her final television role was in the 1981 BBC serial, Triangle.
Dee Hepburn joined the Crossroads cast in 1985 to play the motel’s, Anne-Marie Wade. More famous for the 1981 film, Gregory’s Girl.
Don McLean is best known as the presenter on BBC Radio 2’s Good Morning Sunday programme for many years. He made his acting debut in Crossroads back in 1965 and went on to be one of the hosts of Saturday Variety for ATV.
Wee Georgie Wood appeared as himself in the series, again a famous face that simply stayed at the motel. Georgie was part of a once-famous double act. Between 1917 and 1953 he appeared with his stage mother Dolly Harmer in many variety stage shows and pantomimes.
Billy Wright was a former England football player, and later Head of Sport at ATV, he appeared as himself at the motel alongside Joe Loss and Bob Monkhouse.
Fred Feast went into Coronation Street as barman Fred Gee the hard done by cellar hand. After leaving ‘The Street’ he went on to spent three years in All Creatures Great And Small.
Trevor Bannister appeared as twins Ken and Keith Willets in 1974. Using blue screen – and some very rarely allowed on Crossroads video editing – Trevor was able to appear onscreen as both characters at the same time. One storyline saw his character Keith become involved with a ‘dodgy’ casino which Clifford Layton (actor Johnny Briggs) was also concerned with.
The pair of cheeky brothers, who were travelling showmen, also tried to con the motel by only paying the one occupancy rate, pretending they were the same person rather than pay the two to a chalet rate. They swiftly left Kings Oak when owner Meg Richardson (Noele Gordon) sussed them out.
Barry Evans starred as Trevor Wood in Crossroads but went onto huge success in comedy series Doctor In The House and a number of movies.
Clifford Davis, better known as a radio and television broadcaster, has appeared in various television programmes and films. He checked into the motel as himself.
Liz Smith also had a stint at the motel in the 1970s – although currently, the archive isn’t forthcoming with any information on her time in Kings Oak.
Warren Clarke made a single-episode appearance back in 1966 as a hospitality officer on a London-bound train. The storyline saw some of the regulars, notably Diane Lawton (Susan Hanson), heading to the capital on the train.
John Challis, best know for his role as Boycie in Only Fools and Horses, appeared in 1971 as ‘dubious photographer’ Jim Wright for a couple of weeks. John also has appeared in several different roles over in Weatherfield too.