Crossroads News is brought to CAS by ATV Today News Site.
Alan Coleman Dies
Award winning producer and director Alan Coleman who began his television career with ATV in the sixties has died aged 76.
Alan Coleman was born in Birmingham, he began his career as an actor, but ventured into the world of television as a cameraman at the Alpha Television Studios in Birmingham, home of ATV and ABC Weekend. Alan was the first director on Britain’s founding daily serial, Crossroads, later becoming head of Children’s Drama at ATV; before moving to Australia where he over saw such shows as Neighbours and Home and Away.
Joining ATV in the early 1960s he worked on many programmes including pioneering live daytime entertainment series Lunch Box. In 1964 he moved from cameraman to director bringing to life the first five-nights a-week 25-minute serial broadcast on UK television with the goings on at the Crossroads Motel.
In 1974 Alan was headhunted by Reg Grundy and flown out to Australia to help set-up and run the Grundy Organization’s Drama Department. While with Grundy – now Fremantle Media Australia – he produced, wrote and directed many shows which have in recent years become known as “soap operas”. These include Australia’s first teenage-aimed serial Class of 74 – and it’s follow-up Class of 75, Glenview High, female inmate drama Prisoner: Cell Block H and it’s male-prison spin-off, Punishment. He was also one of the leading figures in getting The Young Doctors into production.
In the 1990s he was the Executive Producer on Neighbours and later established Shortland Street – which was New Zealand’s first-ever weeknight soap. In the same decade he returned briefly to the UK and joined Thames Television to produce the Channel 5 daily soap Family Affairs. To mark the 55th anniversary of ATV Alan re-joined the company as Honorary President.
Stan Stennett Dies
Entertainer Stan Stennett, best known for his several years as Sid Hooper in Crossroads has died aged 88. Stan sadly suffered a stroke a couple of weeks ago, and died earlier today (16th November) in hospital. Our sympathies go to his sons and wife Betty.
Stan, described as ‘Wales’ Premiere Entertainer’, began his career as a jazz musician during the Second World War, after a stint in the Army he became a full-time entertainer working with some of the biggest names in show business over the next six decades. He performed on everything from BBC Radio variety shows to hit BBC One entertainment series'. He added comedy to his act in the 1950s and by the 1960s was also making moves into serious acting.
His first love however was the theatre and performed in over 70 pantomimes as well as hundreds of variety shows across the country over the past six decades. For us he was a strong supporter of Crossroads. In 1989 he put together the 25th anniversary celebrations in association with the fan club and also shared his vast Crossroads archive and memories with us in more recent years.
I met Stan for the final time in 2010, spending two days in his company, firstly at his home near Cardiff, and the next day while he put on a show at St David's Hall in the city. All I expected was an interview, what I was given was the warmest welcome by Stan and his wife Betty, who put on a lovely spread! He also spent three hours opening up all his Crossroads archives for CAS to read and copy. He was a gent, a professional and loved entertaining. But most of all Stan was a kind and generous man, we will all miss him at Crossroads. - Mike Garrett
Jean Kent and Bruce Beeby pass away
Movie and television actress Jean Kent has died aged 92. In the 1940s and 50s she was one of cinema’s biggest UK stars and by the 1980s had joined ITV’s most successful daytime serial.
Born in Brixton in 1929 Kent’s career began as a child in the theatre thanks to appearances with her variety performer parents Norman Field and Nina Norre. It lead to her own stage career which she launched aged thirteen at the Windmill Theatre in London as a saucy dancer. However it was her appearances in Gainsborough melodramas which made her a movie star of the 1940s and 50s, starring in forty-five films. Her movie roles saw her star alongside names such as Laurence Olivier, Stuart Granger, Marilyn Monroe and Michael Redgrave.
Kent became a regular face on ITV with her first soap opera role in ATV’s Emergency Ward 10 as hospital patient Gillian Blaine, she also appeared in numerous ITV Playhouse strands in the 1960s and 70s and also BBC serials United! and Angels. Jean would frown upon sad and depressing plots, often hoping for something a little more harmless and fun. In 1982 she promised to inject happiness into soap opera Crossroads, which she felt had become too serious since the departure of lead actress Noele Gordon the previous year. She played Jenifer Lamont in the series for six months in 1982.
Bruce Beeby who appeared early in the series has also died. His most prominent role in television, according to The Stage, was in ITV's popular daily saga Crossroads.
He played Simon Russell, one of the many rich and upmarket suitors of Noele Gordon’s Meg Richardson.
Paul O'Grady goes to Venice with Crossroads Theme
(November 2013) Paul, a regular promoter of the Crossroads Motel on his radio show played the theme (Sinfonia Per Un Addio) to the Venice episodes by Rondo Veneziano, which were aired originally in 1983 starring Noele Gordon, Jane Rossington and Tony Adams.
Sue Nicholls and JoAnne Good get Motel Nostalgic
(November 2013) Sue Nicholls - best known these days for her long running role in top soap Coronation Street - popped onto the Alan Tichmarsh Show earlier this month to discuss the latest Weatherfield plots. She also had time to share with fellow guest JoAnne Good a few memories of their time at the Crossroads Motel.
Nadine Hanwell takes on Beatrix Potter
(October 2013)And its fitting that the actress should make a public reading of The Tale of Peter Rabbit as Nadine is a direct descendant of Beatrix Potter - her great-great-grandfather was Beatrix’s great-uncle Sidney Potter
Nadine is delighted to be reading for the first time in public The Tale of Peter Rabbit at noon on Saturday the 12th of October as part of the Beatrix Potter Family Festival which takes place from 10am to 4pm at St Mary Abbots Church, Kensington. The event takes place as part of the 100 year anniversary celebrations of Beatrix Potter marrying William Heelis.
Nadine began her professional acting career at the age of 12. She trained at Corona Stage School, and has played numerous roles in TV, theatre and radio. However to most of us here she'll be best known for her four years as Marilyn Hope in Crossroads.
In 2002 she opened Nadine’s Window at the Barons Court Theatre and has directed/produced over 35 plays there, including “Daisy Pulls It Off” that transferred to the Arts theatre in the west end. In 2012 Nadine resumed her acting career - and recently played the lead role of Doris in the mini-series “Passing On” selected for a Bafta screening. Her book “Nadine Who?...and a dog called Shoe” is a memoir of wandering the parks and streets of West London with her canine companion. Nadine will be speaking to BBC 94.9 this Saturday (5th Oct) at 7.20am.
(October 2013) Damon Albarn, standing in for Dermot O'Leary, on BBC Radio 2 discussed the Crossroads theme and the programme. Albarn played the 1965 single release of Crossroads by Tony Hatch discussing with Paul Simonon how the chords have been seemingly an inspiration for other music tracks. The show aired on Saturday October 5th.
Benny's Theme on Graham Norton Show
(October 2013) Paul Henry's 1977 Benny's Theme ended up on Graham Norton's BBC Radio 2 show on Saturday 28th Sept 2013. The song written by Simon May - of the EastEnders theme fame - was originally part of the storyline which saw Benny Hawkins' love Maureen Flynn killed in a road accident. The track noted his love and loss for his wife-to-be. The song made the top 40 after viewers to Crossroads asked for the music to be released. Norton featured the song as part of his feature 'I Can't Believe It's Not Better' which plays 'terrible' records.
Norton noted: "That was strangely affecting. Well done Paul Henry. You know I've never heard that before, and I don't want to hear it again but I'm pleased it entered my life for that brief moment."
John Lydon speaks of his love of Crossroads
(September 2013) John Lydon, better known as Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten, fancied a part in ITV’s top rating daytime saga Crossroads in the 1970s. The punk star admitted the Birmingham based soap, which became loved by audiences but hated by critics and telly executives, was a must-see show in the sixties and seventies.
"As a kid, I used to rush home from school and put Crossroads on. So, once I became famous, I tried to get a spot on it. I wanted to play David Hunter’s illegitimate son, which would have been one of the worst things ever [for David]. After Meg and Sandy Richardson – the first disabled character in a TV soap – having me in there as well would have been a right whack-attack.
"I put the feelers out to try to get into it. And, guess what, I got a negative response. It was a shock, that. Because I would have done it in a heartbeat. Seriously. There’d have been something going on there and it would have been character-driven. In that way, soaps reflect humanity. If they are done well, they work."
Lydon however went on to note his favorite character from the show was Doris Luke, played by Kathy Staff.
Reg Watson & Crossroads in new Cell Block H book
(August 2013) There is a large feature, in the latest book about Prisoner: Cell Block H, looking at the 'King of the Soaps' Reg Watson. The feature of course covers Reg's early years growing up in Australia then moving to the UK to work in radio and television.
There is a detailed look at his years with ATV working alongside Noele Gordon and their venture in 1964 into 'soap opera'. The book looks at Crossroads and its storyline which saw Meg Richardson put behind bars for dangerous driving. There are also photos of Reg at the ATV studios and Noele as Meg in jail.
Crossroads' Midland locations make Birmingham Mail feature
(June 2013) There are some Midland organisations that don't believe Crossroads is 'midlands enough' to gain their interest. Thankfully the Birmingham Mail know their facts and put together an excellent article feature on where the show recorded local scenes between 1964 and 1988.
(May 2013) for two weeks in a row comedian and presenter Paul O'Grady has once more featured Crossroads on his weekly Radio 2 music show. On May 19th Paul played the Kings Oak theme which was used from September 1987 to April 1988. And on May 26th discussed the series once more, with the promise of the Paul McCartney and Wings' version of the famous theme to be played in the future.
Soap legend Richard Thorp dies aged 81
(May 2013) Richard will be best known for his three decades as Alan Turner in ITV's top rating yorkshire dales set saga Emmerdale. He also appeared in many other serials including his first; Emergency Ward 10 from ATV. He appeared from 1959 to 1965. Thorp also lead his own spin off series Calling Oxbridge 2000 which ran for a year, it also spawned a spin-off in 24 Hour Call which he guest appeared.
In the 1970s he spent three years in Crossroads as sailor Doug Randall, the boyfriend of motel hairdresser Vera Downend. In 1978 he joined daytime period saga The Cedar Tree and had parts in other classic series including Family At War for Granada and To The Manor Born for the BBC.
It was 1982 when Richard first appeared as Alan in Emmerdale Farm, at the time of his death he was the longest surviving cast member. He died on May 22nd. He became a 'friend of CAS' in recent years and recalled fondly his time in Crossroads and becoming pals with Noele Gordon and John Bentley.
An ATV video tribute, including a look at Richard in Crossroads can be seen on You Tube here.
Actor Norman Jones has died aged 78
(May 2013) In the sixties he became best known as Milkman Ralph Palmer in Crossroads, and later starred in 15 episodes of cult BBC sci-fi drama Doctor Who. Norman Jones was born in Shropshire in 1935 and died on April 23rd in the Shropshire market town of Newport.
Crossroads on This Morning
(April 2013) ITV magazine show This Morning has always been pretty good to Crossroads, and on Thursday 11th April 2013 it was featured as part of soap expert Sharon Marshall's just for fun competition to guess an old serial. Early clues given included a photo of Birmingham's famous Rotunda towerblock, The QE2, Spaghetti Junction motorway and cleaning utensils. Clips included scenes with famous characters such as Benny Hawkins, Meg and Hugh Mortimer and Shughie McFee. This Morning's viewer interactive presenter Stephen Mulhern introduced the Crossroads clips.
Crossroads star gets the Californian Life
(April 2013) Crossroads fans can catch up with Carolyn Lyster – who played Janice Gifford, later Janice Jarvis, in the 1960s – when she appears on stage in London later this month in Californian Lives.
Californian Lives is a production of three monologues written by award-winning writer Martin Foreman. In one of the monologues Carolyn plays a grandmother talking to her husband at the end of the day, remembering details of their life together.
It’s a difficult role, says Carolyn, “The character goes from being a relatively timid unworldly person to a strong fearless one. She makes quite a journey. I hope I can do justice to it.”
The run, at the King’s Head, Islington, London, is from 21st April to 26th May. More information here
Daily Mirror Crossroads Quiz
(April 2013) To mark 25 years since the end of Crossroads newspaper The Daily Mirror have put together a 14-question quiz to test your memory on the storylines and characters from ITV's biggest daytime saga, see how well you do here.
Crossroads Famous Faces recalled
To mark 25 years since the end of Crossroads ATV Today looks back at all the major names to appear in the saga over its original run. From the likes of Bob Monkhose, David Jason and Ken Dodd to Carl Wayne, Elaine Paige and Olympian Duncan Goodhew to name a few.
Birmingham Mail report on ten years since the end of Crossroads: Midland newspaper The Birmingham Mail have run a story on the tenth anniversary since the end of Crossroads on ITV. It can be seen here. The article also looks ahead to the show's 50th anniversary next year and how this fan club continues.
Crossroads Ten Years On: ATV Today takes a look at some of the stars of the 2001-2003 series and what successes they've gone on to since the motel doors closed in May 2003. The article can be seen here, which looks at names such as Neil Grainger, Lucy Pargeter, Freema Agyeman and Luke Roberts.
More from BBC Radio 2: The Paul O'Grady show once more paid tribute to Crossroads (24th Feb) as O'Grady once more reeled off memories from the teatime saga as well as playing the theme tune as part of a special 'theme tune hour'. A clip of Meg and Jill speaking from the programme was also included.
Heather Chasen News: Chasen who played super-bitch Valerie Pollard way before Alexis Carrington in Dynasty made it cool stateside is to star in the blockbuster movie version of stage musical Les Misérables. Chasen will appear as Madame Magloire. The 86-year-old is also to star in BBC Two drama Dancing on the Edge as Lady Altringham.
In the adverts: There have been a number of ex-Crossroads stars popping up in telly adverts lately. Graham McGrath continues to be seen in an advert for IGLU that was recorded a good few years ago, however new adverts feature Lynette McMorrough plugging a bingo website, Angela Webb sitting on a sofa for a furniture store and Alison Dowling in an insurance advert alongside comedian Paul Whitehouse. Spotted any others? Let us know.
Unforgettable Noele Gordon rates for ITV: The tribute to Noele Gordon, which aired on May 16th, drew in over three million viewers for ITV at 7.30pm, up against tough competition from BBC One's flagship soap EastEnders. The programme wasn't shown on UTV - which is surprising as Crossroads was hugely popular in Northern Ireland, nor was it shown on STV in Scotland.
Despite this the programme pulled in more viewers than other fully networked editions of the Unforgettable series, proving Noele and Crossroads remain popular.
The former front page promotion for The Unforgettable Noele Gordon can be seen here.
Crossroads Documentary: Due to going 'on hold' for ITV's Unforgettable Noele Gordon, it has been decided to release the Crossroads documentary in 2014 to co-incide with the 50th anniversary of the serial. It also gives the production more time to interview former staff of the show.
ITV to air Noele Gordon tribute show: ITV has aired a primetime celebration of one of their founding stars. Noele Gordon helped launch the network in 1955 and remained a face of the broadcaster until 1981.
From the 1950s to the 1980s Noele won many awards thanks to her apperances on ITV, including from 1969 to 1978 many TV Times gongs. In 1978 she was the first to be entered into the TVT Hall of Fame, which also saw her no longer allowed to be nominated. The programme will look at her huge popularity with the viewing public and her personal life, which included a long-running affair with ATV boss Val Parnell, the company which made Crossroads. The programme will air in May.
BBC Repeat Noele Gordon: BBC Radio West Midlands re-aired an hour-long special with Noele Gordon on Sunday 19th February 2012 at 11am. Recorded in Venice in 1983 Noele is also joined by Crossroads producer Jack Barton to talk about her return to the soap. The original interview was conducted by Midlands' broadcasting legend Ed Doolan. The interview has been kindly donated to the Noele Gordon website by Ed and can be heard here.
BBC Wales Margaret John tribute show: BBC One Wales are to pay tribute to the actress Margaret John who played Marion Owen in Crossroads from 1978 to 1985. Margaret is best known these days as the naughty granny Doris in BBC hit comedy Gavin and Stacey, but had a long theatre and TV career. The show also looks at her private life, which had its fair share of personal dramas. BBC One Wales, 11.05pm, January 16th 2012.
ATV Video, Kathy Staff memorial window revealed: An exclusive ATV video report can be seen in our video page on a new memorial to the Crossroads and Last of the Summer Wine actress Kathy Staff. The stained glass window was dedicated on Advent Sunday to the personality who played Doris Luke in the motel saga and of course the unforgettable Nora Batty in the BBC sitcom.
Vic Minett returns to Crossroads: Tony Adams returned to the Vic Minett show on BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire to star in A Christmas Carol re-staged on a sprout farm! (Nov 22nd)
BBC London with JoAnne Good: Thursday 17th November you can join two former Crossroads stars on BBC Radio London, JoAnne Good and Nadine Hanwell on the popular 'dog slot', Barking at the Moon. 10pm in the capital on 94.9fm and also online here.
There is Hope on the BBC with Nadine: Nadine Hanwell (Marilyn Hope in the saga) has spoken to JoAnne Good on BBC Radio London, you can hear the Saturday morning show again here until November 5th.
Sue Lloyd dies: We were very sad to hear that Sue Lloyd, who played Barbara Hunter in Crossroads from 1979 to 1985, has died aged 72.
The Weekly News: ATV and THE WEEKLY NEWS newspaper had a special relationship; a one that proved useful for ATV and one which gave the newspaper a rare insight into inside the studios. Our latest video sees Ian Towers of THE WEEKLY NEWS discuss the 1985 changes and the arrival of the popular actress Gabrielle Drake. Now online in our video page
Recent other videos added to the video page include ATV boss Charles Denton, the wife of John Bentley, Chris Stacey visits Nolly's East Ham birth place, also Richard Thorp, Carolyn Jones, Christopher Douglas, Lynette McMorrough and Angela Webb are all added to the video previews. See themhere
BBC Interview: On Tuesday 11th October CAS was proud to support the Vic Minett BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire 'Poke a Bonfire' cause which is to help save Hedgehogs sleeping inside the woodpiles from being burned. The fan club's Mike played 'Simple Handyman' against Crossroads actor Tony Adams' Mr Afternoons of the Afternoon Motel. You can hear it here courtesy of the BBC team.
Crossroads Actress' latest book: Nadine Hanwell took over the role of Marilyn Hope from Sue Nicholls in September 1968. Today she’s a successful director and producer with her own theatre company, Nadine’s Window.
In her new book “Nadine Who?...and a dog called Shoe” you can Join Nadine and her Doberman, Shoe, to savour a slice of life in West London. Escape into the lush green world of Kensington Gardens with its lingering memories of Princess Diana. Visit beautiful Hyde Park and walk along the Serpentine. See the less beautiful side with the ‘Can people’ of Shepherd’s Bush.
Wander along Queensway, feel its tourist buzz, meet Irish ‘Crocodile Dundee.’ Walk through Notting Hill Gate into Holland Park. Get to know the ‘regulars’ in the café and the local dog walkers. Laugh at Shoe, the picnic thief extraordinaire! The book is now onsale Click Here for more
Neil Grainger Great North Run: "Hey lovely Crossroads fans. Neil Grainger AKA Phil Berry from Xroads Mark 2 here. I am running the Great North Run on September 18th and would love it if you could sponsor me. I am running for Cancer Research, and as it's 5 years since I lost Mum to Cancer, it would be great to give a big fat cheque to an amazing charity. Please do give all you can and I promise to do all 13 miles in under 2 hours. Or die trying. Muchos Luvos xx" Neil told the fan club Facebook page. Support Neil by clicking here to donate.
BBC Local Radio: We featured on the Vic Minett show on BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire on August 17th alongside actor Tony Adams who was the wonderfully smooth Adam Chance. The debate was mainly looking at the enduring popularity of the saga. Music from Crossroads also features including the theme tune and the 1981 Kate Robbins Crossroads track More Than In Love. Vic on Facebook here
Weekly News, Newspaper: CAS and ATV appeared in an issue of the Weekly News to discuss the Return to Crossroads documentary.
Video Clip Update: Lots of new clips added including Angela Webb, Lynette McMorrough, Richard Thorp, Christopher Douglas, Tony Adams, Carolyn Jones and more!
In Memory Page added. More details will be added shortly. Currently online there we have Noele Gordon, Lord Lew Grade and Peter Ling. News archive also to be expanded.
Heather Chasen for BBC One's saga EastEnders: The TV Times say: "Noticed that Janine's grandmother Lydia, is looking a bit different? Eastenders bosses have had to recast the role because the actress originally selected to play her, Margaret Tyzak, has pulled out due to personal reasons. The actress now playing Lydia, 83 year old Heather Chasen, is probably best remembered as super bitch Valerie Pollard in Crossroads"
Nolly's Grave: ATV and CAS visited Noele Gordon's grave on April 14th. We are pleased to report the grave now is in good condition and ATV paid to have the grave (and Noele's mothers) cleaned up. Flowers have been placed. We were pleased to see others had also been leaving flowers before our arrival.
Charles Stapley, who played Ted Hope, has died. He had a long and varied career. He starred in ATV productions over three decades from The Adventures of Robin Hood to award-winning daytime serial Crossroads - for which he is most fondly remembered. In later years he became a regular in the press when commenting about his stepdaughter Heather Mills.
Charles joined the cast in 1970 having several spells as a main character as well as semi-regular periods up until 1979. In the series he played a retired navy captain who wooed and married a former theatre actress Tish (the late Joy Andrews) and together they ran The Hope Chest antique shop.
With an eye for the ladies his real-life months out of the show - often to do theatre work - were brought about by the fictional philandering of Ted and his saucy affairs. – Ted notably in 1973 and 1979 was seen to woo other women.
Crossroads co-star and personal friend Janet Hargreaves, who played Rosemary Hunter in the show, told ATV that Charles was “A dear friend and a fine actor.” And added that he was “always helpful” to his colleagues in offering support when learning lines and rehearsing new theatre parts. She added, rather sadly, that "I miss him terribly."
Video Clip update: An interview with original Crossroads director (1964-1972) Alan Coleman is now online in our video section.
Margaret John has died aged 84. In 1978 she was cast in the semi-regular role of doctors receptionist Marian Owen in Crossroads, who was also the Aunt of regular Kevin Banks. She was last seen in Kings Oak in 1985. In more recent years she became a comedy hit starring in BBC Three sitcom Gavin and Stacey.
On the Radio: Radio 2's Paul O'Grady Show has featured the serial and this very fan club a number of times in 2010. A special Friday Night is Music Night celebrating 'soap opera' also featured a live version of the Crossroads theme conducted by Tony Hatch and for Christmas 2010 Jane Rossington read the Nativity at Coventry Cathedral for Sunday Half Hour. The theme also has featured on the Chris Evans breakfast show too.
In the Press: The fan club has featured in the press three times across August 2010. It follows the long hunt for lost locations used in the series. Stories surrounding this news appeared in Midland paper The Shropshire Star and later national newspaper The Express. The documentary 'Return To Crossroads' is in production with ATV Network, you can see previews of this in our Video Clips section.
Earlier stories have been archived, we aim to add older stories over the course of time.