Look away now if you’re one of those people who compare a daily soap opera to a twice-weekly drama serial.
If you understand that for almost twenty years Crossroads was unique in British broadcasting, then welcome to the motel. This fan club, creator and production company endorsed, aims to celebrate the long-running Midlands saga – a show which became one of ITV’s most popular, and famous, daytime programmes.
The series was commissioned in 1964 by Lew Grade, devised by Peter Ling and Hazel Adair, and the format developed by serial-legend Reg Watson.
Crossroads, despite what some write about it these days, at its peak was one of the most popular programmes in the UK and became greatly loved by millions of fans. The show was knocked by critics and those who didn’t watch it enough to understand it, but for nearly 20 million viewers the saga was a must-see daily treat. The production was finally seen in each UK commercial TV region (at varying times rather than networked) from 1972 onwards with it storming up the TV top ten.
By the end of the year, it was only a few thousand viewers behind some primetime series’ such as Coronation Street. During several periods in the 1970s Crossroads was the UK’s number one programme. Not just beating all other ITV productions, but the BBC ones too. The show also won numerous awards; as did its cast. For many years the series was the UK’s second watched soap-opera. And even when it ended in 1988 it was the UK’s third most favourite serial, Yorkshire Television’s Emmerdale Farm was fourth.
This was a daytime soap that reached prime time ratings! The Crossroads Fan Club launched in its original form as The Noele Gordon and Crossroads Appreciation Society on April 4th 1988 – on the same day as the last-ever episode aired. Contrary to what television critics may claim the network didn’t actually axe Crossroads. One executive at the Central production company who didn’t care much for soap opera discontinued it. He wanted their Midland studios to be creating big-budget drama content rather than what was deemed as a cheap filler programme.
We know most people at Central were sorry to see the series end just as much as the viewers were. With 14 million fans still keen for a dose of motel life Crossroads’ unfair removal from commercial television has kept the show’s fans united together far more than many other departed programmes. We have been proud to co-operate with Central, Granada and Carlton over many years and we thank all the staff at the companies, past and present, who went beyond their paid duties to help the fan club. These are the people who make commercial broadcasting great; Without them, we wouldn’t have had so many great events, the wonderful photograph archive, documents, fact files and many lost episodes back in the archives. They, like us, do it for the love of. And we know Nolly would be so pleased about that.
Crossroads is still greatly loved and much missed by many of its viewers. Andy Allan, the former Programme Controller at Central Television, said in 1988 when the series ended, it would be forgotten in eighteen months… nearly 40 years later it’s certainly gone but very much not forgotten!
No one needs to defend Crossroads – its legacy, when looked into properly, speaks for itself. With this site, we hope promotes the achievements which made the show a national institution and one of ATV and Central Television’s long-running successes. To date, it is still the ITV network’s number one rating weekday daytime programme and has been repeated in various countries around the world, including the UK, since it ended production.
Even Andy Allan later admitted taking it off had been the biggest mistake of his career!