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